Diaries 1956


May 15, 1956—Written at Tokyo Station Hotel


The journey over was a surprising one. No illness but indisposition for the first week, due in part to the pressure and parties before leaving. Kept up Nutrilite and the meals were quite good. Captain Norby, Mate John Davis, Purser Jack Orr. List of passengers with addresses given. Some may become good friends. To my amazement and in contradiction to past “enemies” I became a sort of leader in both entertainment and serious matters. Did some poetry writing too, but mostly canasta.

Good old Okuda-san met me at the pier. The customs, etc. was not difficult but exciting. Did not feel as if I was in a strange country at all. Other than the language and a certain percentage of old type clothing, everything seemed familiar. The trees interested me, mostly Plane and Ginkgo, with Pines in the parks. The Azaleas are in bloom. Flower arrangements everywhere. Some planting on the highway.

Courtesy at banks in exchange, then surprised Nakashima at the Nippon Central Bank, then visited Mitsui vaults. Everywhere tea and courtesy. Lunch at Kakusai Kanko, marvelous. Outside cost for 2, 1000 yen, which is less than $3.00. Exchanged $50. Bought two umbrellas, one expensive which may give to Robert of Princess in Thailand; one cheap which have loaned to Okuda-san.

Rainy day but more like Portland than the south, yet. Stopped at Soto temple and had a strange feeling of being at home rather than in foreign parts. Many school children visiting there and all other places: Yokohama waterfront, great department stores, etc. Children show evidence that the coming generation will be much taller.

Of course I have seen so far only evidences of prosperity. Much modern building, but large amount of stone work, ancient and modern. Many cars on highways, chief difference being 3-wheelers. Traffic system not radically different except they go left. Underground walks around station saving time and money but giving exercise. Bought first map of Tokyo and marked out place for Friends of the World and Mary Tabushi.

People do not look alike. Children seem rather surprised, young, rather gay and free. More impressed by the young adults than by children or older people; they seemed most alive and “civilized” without losing sense of courtesy. Quite different look on “laboring classes.” Purchased two umbrellas: 1 for 2200¥ which is slightly complicated and of fine material, which may be left in Thailand. Other only 300¥ which is an ordinary good umbrella which would cost several dollars in the States.



May 16

Slept very well. Retired 7:30 and arose 5:30. Meals in hotels are expensive and very gourmet-ish. Excellent cooking but rich. Prices no doubt cheaper than in many places.


[handwritten notes:]

May17 7000¥ Kamakura rail tickets for 2

taxis 100¥= pd 2000¥



May19 7000¥ railroad tickets

5000¥ 2 books-Newson

400¥ lunch



Tokyo Station Hotel

May 16, 1956


O Sabro-san:

Today I begin my plan of writing a letter and using the carbon for my diary. I arrived in Yokohama yesterday morning and was met by my good friend Kiichi Okuda. He was manager of Daibutsu in San Francisco Chinatown and in partnership with Shibata. We are always good friends. I hope someday that the American students who are interested in Zen will come to know what “good friendship” means. Emerson said:

“He is my friend in whose company I can think aloud.” But in the friendship of Zen there is generally one thought between two persons and also sometimes one silence between two persons. While many people were guessing my reasons for coming to Japan and some had a slight appreciation of my lesser reason, Okuda-san knew my deepest reason.

It has been raining very hard. On our way to Tokyo we stopped at the Soto-Zen temple and it seemed almost like home. I cannot explain it. I did not feel as if I were in a strange country. But between the rain and the fact that hundreds of children were visiting the place, we went on. The afternoon was spent in shopping.

Today we had a little difficulty in trying to find Mary, so we wrote to her father’s address and sent the letter special delivery. Then as it was still raining hard we had a feast of which we are the daimios and can only send you a few crumbs. For there was an exhibition of Sesshu at the Museum in Ueno Park of originals. Only the heart can speak of such things, and the heart prefers a kind of silence, interrupted by “Oh!’s” and “Ah!’s” There were hundreds of children there and they were delighted that an American should enjoy their fine things. It took some hours to go around, most of which was spent with Sesshu, but a little with the ceramics and ancient art.

Why does one feel happy with such things and not with European art? The inner being has a sense of space as well as of form and may regard the two as aspects of a oneness-of-nature. The line does not tell everything any more than the senses tell everything. The space was living and full, just as we know now that there are all kinds of sound and light vibrations which we pick up by instruments. But there is also an instrument within us that may pick up these things in a better fashion.

Long hours of walking made us hungry and we sought a little snack bar just back of Ginza which my friend says Americans enjoy very much. We had a hard time finding it. The food was delightful. We had a kind of barbecued eggs, chicken livers and chicken patties followed by a box filled with rice, shrimp, peas and bamboo shoots. I found a sort of ginger curry which went very well with it. We also had vegetables which were flavored with ginger as well as other condiments. There was plenty to eat and the cost for both of us was about $1.25, cheaper and better than in San Francisco.

I mention this because hotel meals are more expensive even than in San Francisco. They give you very rich, high-priced delicate meals, except at breakfast.

It stopped raining at sundown and tomorrow we hope to go to Kamakura. We must be back because I have been invited several times to dinner. I shall also try to get copies of Samuel Newson’s book to give to friends here. I have met my old friend Kaoru Nakashima who used to be vice-consul in San Francisco. It was a wonderful meeting. He learned that Okuda-san and I have the same “secret” and neither of us looks much different than fifteen years ago, while Nakashima-san has aged, just as most people age. Okuda-san is now past seventy but does not act as if he were even close to sixty nor does he look like it. There are some “secrets” in Zen which seem to belong to the essence of life and even the body may relate them.

I hope to get an envelope or cardboard to send three copies of our old man from the West, Daruma, with his leading disciple: one for you and one for Alan for his office (until the end of the year, then for his home) and one for Onslow Ford, please. Greetings to everybody, Sam



May 17, 1956


O Sabro-san:

I forgot to mention that your name was known to the young man at the Museum who sold us pictures. It was also known to the young man who conducted us through some parts of Engakuji Temple which we visited today.

Today the weather cleared and we spent much time at Kamakura. We climbed inside the Daibutsu and also visited Hachiman shrine. We were very fortunate to witness a wedding ceremony there and hear the flute music first-hand, which we both enjoyed.

But most of our time was spent at Engakuji. This has been the place of my dreams for longer than a generation. My true journey has some aspects which, when I tried to explain to Mary Tabushi, she said: “One does not speak of such things.” I answered, “That is correct, one does not speak of such things and that is why there are all sorts of wild dreams and rumors going around.” But there is no such thing as a coin with one face.

The first thing we were told on entering Engakuji was that the old Roshi Ferukawa was still alive but in retirement. We sent notice of our presence to him and in a few moments, to our surprise and delight we were ushered into his rooms and served tea. It was a grand meeting of old friends. The old Roshi is now way in his eighties but full of life and fire. Although he has resigned himself he has still plenty of vigor, though no doubt he could depart at will. He showed us much of the grounds himself and then introduced us to his successor, Sogen Asahina. Sogen is a very vigorous muscular looking man but also has what I would call “the eye of the dharma.” We were served ceremonial tea by the attendant—I took three sips to each cup and hope this was correct. I also held the cup correctly.

We learned from him that Ruth Sasaki is in Kyoto and we may see her before many days. He gave me his book on Zen and was very happy when I identified the pictures of Prof. Suzuki and my very dear friend, Robert Clifton, who is now in Thailand. He has asked me to edit the English portion of this work which I may do later. We seemed to understand each other, speech or no speech.

After tea he continued to show us the part of the grounds open to the public and then asked his attendant, who is a young man just graduated from the university to take us to the part of the grounds not open to the public. We were led to the tomb of the teacher of Shaku Soyen and also to the tomb of Baku Zenshi (if I remember his name correctly) who founded the first temple there. We were also shown the sculptured form of Baku Zenshi which is enclosed in the oldest building—a very fine piece of sculpture indeed.

The attendant seemed to be excellently informed on both Rinzai- and Soto-Zen. He gave us minute details in the lives of the monks, some of whom we saw working around. I was charmed by the trees and vegetation there.

At Hachiman we saw what maybe the oldest Ginkgo in existence, very huge. Around Daibutsu there is a landscape gardening project being carried on. Both of these were in holiday regalia receiving thousands of visitors, mostly school children, and there was some commercialism attached. But at Engakuji all was peace and beauty. There were less children and much less noise and no commercialism.

I feel especially honored to have been one of the few Americans visited by the old Roshi and given a tea ceremony by Sogen Asahina. The last Occidental so honored by the latter was Jacob Fuerring who is a good friend of mine and I am sure is known to Alan Watts and others. This is only a brief for the day.

At night I was treated to sukiyaki in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Soma, friends of Okuda-san. They will leave for San Francisco shortly and I shall give them the address of the Academy.

Tomorrow will probably be spent in Tokyo and will be concerned with more mundane affairs. One of these will be the trip planned for Kyoto and Nara.



May 18

Morning and part of the afternoon were spent in outer affairs. We visited the Imperial Hotel and I purchased 2 copies of “A Thousand Years of Japanese Gardens,” one for Okuda-san and one for a present to somebody. We spent time at travel bureaus and decided temporarily against Nikko. Some time in trying to locate hold-luggage. Then more time in arranging trip to Kyoto, obtaining reservations for Wednesday, 23rd. Have wired for ryokan rooms, to be confirmed later. Also decided for sight-seeing trip for Saturday afternoon, May 19th. Luncheon at a place patronized by well-to-do business man. Had tempura while Okuda-san had an oleo of clams, noodles, bamboo sprouts and vegetables which he urged me to try.

Late in the afternoon things began to happen. My baggage was located and promised delivery at 5 o’clock, which was kept. Things all in good order. Dried figs and perhaps part of chocolate for Roshi Ferukawa. One jar coffee and copy of Netsuke to Kaoru. Rest of books to go to Itako with rest of food. Also some fertilizer.

Balance of fertilizer given as gift to Friends of the World. We got in touch with James Otoichi Kinoshita, chairman of board who came over with some literature. It was obvious that he, and his organization, are not only working along the horticultural lines I had planned but also more or less along the same spiritual lines. The result was a long and profitable conference. I gave him more of the Atlas and he said he would arrange meetings with proper agricultural scientists. This was enhanced when he brought up the subject of trees for rapid growth for fuel and swamp drainage. I told him of E. globulus and he may arrange for me to meet representatives of New Zealand and Australia. A number of other matters also which will be detailed as they occur. Plan to return from Kyoto on the following Sunday, to be followed by these meetings and then to Itako.

Evening we went to see the Kabuki but did not go in. The early performance of Yoshitsune confirmed. Then to Nair’s, a Hindu rest. Very jolly owner and a good tasting curry. Okuda-san did find it hot and spicy but I enjoyed it very much. “Kabobs” were like the Armenian ground lamb but more spices but a mild curried dal. Very good. Then mutton curry and rice with a strong pungent side flavor. It is obvious that much of the “lamb” in U.S. is mutton. Tea. Then walked around Ginza and side streets until nine p.m. then home. Tired and slept well.

Gave Kinoshita 1000 ¥ for membership. 5000¥ for books, 7000¥ for trip, and will pay for hotel and meals in advance. Taxi 70¥, dinner 780¥ for 2, lunch 400¥, tips 30-40¥, small expenses 40¥.



May 19. Morning spent 16,000 additional ¥ for Ryokan, Kyoto plus 140¥ taxi for Okuda. Railway was also 4000¥ one way. Then 1600¥ for two pair of boots. Luncheon only 400¥ for two Tendon, very fine at popular restaurant in department store. Then 1400¥ for sight-seeing in the p.m. Saw Kwannon Temple and one fine garden; we had European cake (rich) with tea in Ueno park. Also saw Judo. Also went through cheap shopping section near Kwannon Asakusa. Gave Kaoru copy of Netsuke and 1 jar of coffee. He was very happy and said he used to collect art books. As this one was from S.F. and not readily obtainable here, so much the better.


Supper “Wild Pigeon” 360¥, 40¥ tip. Sunday, luncheon Daimaru 400¥. Two taxi trips 200¥. Stationery 140¥. Misc. 80¥.

Dinner Sunday night... 1400¥ Italian dinner-2 minestrone, coffee, spumoni, 1 mixed pizza, 1 spaghetti and tomato sauce. Italian Gardens. 2 neckties, sidewalk 200¥. Misc. 40¥, tip 60¥.



Sunday May 20

Not so much this day. KO did not arrive until 10:30. We taxied to Tsukiji Hongwanji to hear a celebration in English of Shinran Shonin. The speaker was very good. Rev. Sasaki of Sacramento led discussion group. Several leaders from Calif. Japanese young men very well instructed in Buddhism, far more than priests even in the States. Questions by Americans and assertions not so proper, showing little foundation.

This also proved to be a fine venture. After several attempts to learn about Ikebana we learned there will be a great celebration of Shinran on Monday, May 21, with many flower arrangements, tea ceremony and Noh at 3 o’clock. This will satisfy us both in the extreme, but will also look up further.

Discussion in the basement in the rooms of the International Buddhist Assn. IBA. They know a little about R. Clifton.



May 21. Postage was 456¥ but only 20¥ for pictures. Lunch was 400¥ but dinner, at a second class restaurants was only 280¥. This covered Sushi (100¥) and a large dish of rice with all kinds of things (150¥) name later; vegetables 30¥. Misc. at least 40¥, taxis over 200¥.



May 22. Went out and had shoes shined, gave 30¥ instead of 20¥. Presented bill which was slightly over 18,000¥ for everything to date. This was close to the $50 I had estimated. Ghost of Saladin at temple, article in Magazine. Visited Bank of America and had a very friendly greeting. Ready to cash $100 today.

(Hotel bill to May 23: 22,105¥)



May 21, 1956


My dear Lois and everybody:

I have sent some air-mail letters to Sabro, but my correspondence is so heavy and often pressing that I actually cannot afford to keep up this form of correspondence. Postage has been running well over a dollar a day. Now a dollar goes a long way or a short way. Last night it cost 1400¥ (Yen) for a small Italian dinner for two. Tonight we divided sushi and a big dish containing spiced rice with all kinds of side dishes, vegetables and tea. The whole (for two) less than a dollar—280¥ to be exact, and better food. It pleased my host very much because we leave for Kyoto shortly where I will have my initiation into Japanese inns (ryokan), sleeping on the floor, etc, These inns throw in breakfast and supper.

I am not, however, writing about food though I think I have gone from BSc to PhD in chopstickology. The same beautiful opposite-to-irony continues as I wrote to Sabro. Yesterday morning I picked up the paper and found that there was an English celebration of Shinran Shonin at a temple not far away. We went and the next thing I knew I was meeting Californians! Issei. We had a discussion in English and I guess I was the only one who knew about Nagarjuna or Shinran. I got my 10¥ worth.

The result was we were invited back today (Monday). We came. Were admitted to a tea ceremony free, saw a big ikebana exhibition and my first Noh which also included a comedy about drunks which needed no explanation. However, my friend Kiichi Okuda was kind enough to explain to some Americans. This attracted some Japanese who know a little English and the next thing we knew we had some excellent introductions to Nara and Kyoto, or Kegon and Zen. We open our mouths and instead of putting our feet in, we stick in our thumbs and pull out plums.

Actually I seem to have made a hit all over although I have not been trying. But a stranger is under observation. Accepting bowing, smiling, chop sticks, Japanese foods, and Japanese religion cuts down the barriers. Then when they hear me offer my explanations of ikebana and Buddhism there are no barriers at all. Besides my two closest men friends, Paul Reps and Robert Clifton, have been accepted in Japan. And so it goes.

We have been invited to the temple tomorrow to meet some professors but I also have an open invitation from Mr. James Kinoshita. He has the same interests, ideals, and purposes in life—the parallels are many and striking—and is also anxious to introduce me around.

I have not yet contacted Mary. She may have written to my permanent address which is in a country village called Itako, but we have not been there to collect mail and will not for several days. Wednesday morning we leave for Kyoto and Nara, then back to Tokyo, then Nikko, then Tokyo and then, perhaps Itako, unless I contact Mary. But I have also put out my first feelers for an American contact and that is working too, and in the right manner. In fact everything is working in the right manner. The only strange thing about this trip is that I do not feel strange, and the grapevine has it I am a reincarnated former Japanese—which might be, among other things. (My Hindu alter ego had better move over.)

I have been collecting round bits of scrap metal for Jim but won’t mail there from here because…. But they are nothing like the round pieces of scrap metal found the other day by excavators, worth 3000¥ in gold and 8000¥ apiece from the numismatists; i.e. $8.50 and $22 for each one and there were a lot of those “each ones.”

The Noh flute is not nearly so nice to my ears as the one used at the Shinto shrines. The dancing, both serious and comic, attracts me. Lots of Buddhistic holiday celebrations now, but every Shinto shrine has its own holidays and they act almost like Hindus with daily processions here and there and everywhere.

Brought rain but now is warm and clear—too warm for the natives! But I got my blood mixed with smog from you know where and the heat does not bother me—yet.



Tokyo, May 23, 1956

My dear Harry:


I sent you either a post card or letter by regular mail some time back but things are happening so fast, and so excellently that it is most important to get this off air-mail. Some time ago I mentioned that my past was catching up with me, that many things which I had tried and failed in were coming to life. They have not only come to life now but are coming to success.

I am keeping a fairly complete diary which must remain in the background. It covers all kinds of subjects. I came to Japan with some knowledge of Buddhism, tea ceremony, painting, ceramics, gardens and horticulture, flower arrangement, history, customs and food—in a word, a good deal outside of the language. I caught on and was caught on before I recovered from “land sickness.” I met my old friends and made my new friend, James Kinoshita. I have already seen many things few, if any, Americans have seen and am gaining new acquaintances, and perhaps friends, at a rapid rate.

After making these contacts I have found in many instances that I am following in the footsteps, socially at least, of some of my closest friends who have been in this country before. In no instance, however, was I given direct introductions. And you may be surprised to learn that Harry Nelson is also known and respected here—in the horticulture world, in the department of plant quarantine and in some sections of the department of Agriculture. So much is this so that people are more than ever anxious to cooperate. In turn I expect to take out a membership in “The Friends of the World” in your name.

Mr. James Kinoshita who has been in the States and who is chairman of the Board has nearly all the same interests as I have, not only in the list of things mentioned about but in international outlook and other matters on which I am not an expert in any sense. He has gone ahead and mailed you some seeds already.

On the third day here I went to Kamakura and was “taken behind the scenes.” This gave me an opportunity to witness natural park scenery which was there used as a backdrop to the landscaping. Engakuji Monastery, under whose representative I have done my deepest Buddhist studies, is like a park. They retain many lay gardeners besides the monks who reside there and must work. This is based on some ancient traditions which means that the emphasis is on trees and shrubs. Ginkgo trees are prominent all over and at Kamakura also I saw one of the old and historic trees which is large.

Incidentally I am told that when produced from seed the maximum of female trees is about 6%. One can see in the seeds a vague resemblance to some of the conifers. Of course there are lots of Cherries, Plane trees and Conifers. Cryptomeria more in temple grounds than in parks. There are two basic Pine trees seen so far, quite different. There are many small Junipers but I suspect some of those are imported.

Parks and gardens are Oriental, Occidental and mixed, with more emphasis now on the last. They are beginning to introduce flowers, chiefly those grown in California. Some of the beds rather resemble those seen on the highways, first on the Fruitvale Freeway and now being introduced in San Francisco.

I have also contacted the Honganji Buddhists which represents the sect of most of your Japanese pupils (Shinshu). In the morning we saw a large exhibition of ikebana, flower arrangements. Even the most radical do not seem to depart much from the fundamental tradition of heaven, earth and man. But there is the same driftwood enthusiasm as in California and I notice that there are professional driftwood collectors—and believe me, if I were returning just from this country I should probably be spending a lot of money.

I do not tire of those flower arrangements. But I do notice that the seasons are not the same for bloom. For instance Gladiolus are now in full sway. There is more and more attention to Roses and growing attention to small flowers as Marigolds. Incidentally the Japanese tend to repeat only the species name when the genus is obvious such as Bayleiana, Melissima, Globulus, etc.

In the early afternoon I was guest at tea given by some VIPs, chief of which was Baron Nakashima who seems to have played an important part in his country’s history and development. While most of the discussion was around Buddhism and semantics it was all done by leaders of The Friends of the World and will lead up, I understand, to invitations to parks, gardens, etc.

Then we went to the Agricultural college—the Japanese name for it means, simply, “Agricultural College.” It is private and I was given a little idea of the difference between public and private universities. In the state schools there is a degree of authoritarianism and a lack of free research. In any event, if you see Mezzera, please tell him that Atlas has gotten into the hands of the very best people in all Japan and I shall follow it up when I am home. But we did not go into this subject.

I must say that I almost wept when I was shown the experimental gardens which are the pride and joy of the Japanese. We are way, way ahead. I had to repeat your name over and over again and told them that the best floral societies meet at your Greenhouse. I have thought it best—subject to change at your advice—not to mention the names of other people and institutions in your vicinity, even though Butterfield and Stout might mean something either as names or as personalities. In fact for the while I have mentioned only two other institutions:

Ohio State, with the specific name of Hottes; Clemson, for information about S.E. United States and the handling of erosion problems. This means that for the while I have divided the U.S. into three sectors for shipments and contacts.

I was first shown the Rose garden. This is their pride and joy. They do not cut flowers. The soil is a heavy clay and they employ cow-manure, and not very well rotted at that. But the flowers grow fine. While I am not a Rose expert I found that I knew far more about this plant than they did. The general purpose is natural—to provide blooms over a long period—practically until November. I showed them certain almost obvious differences between short- and long-stems, climbing, arbor, bush and shrub plants. I had to go a little deeper because they wanted to use the “seeds” and do not know much about cuttings. They are just beginning to learn about grafting and take great pride in what little they know. But they have used good stock.

There were lots of Iris, all cut, and I simply presumed that they know about this plant. But there were also Iris outside the experimental garden. The cold-frames (which are built to change into hothouses) contain our general flowers: Stalks were rather lengthy and sometimes straggly. Apparently they do not know about pinching. Snaps were marvelous, equal to the best I have seen. They evidently tree them exactly the same. The purpose here again is to provide long blooming or multi-seasonal plants. They have some very fine Pansies, several varieties, but not many all told.

Their experimental lawn was of a Grass from Korea. It seems to grow on the surface, rather than up but is not the least bit like our objectionable stoloniferous varieties. Lawns are kept more as they are on the highways, every green thing being allowed to creep in. But this Korean grass smothers out weeds and is therefore quite serviceable. They are just beginning grass research which will be the subject for the following semester, and year.

The Nandina are just beginning to bloom and I told them that this was not generally so in California. The common Japanese shrubs appear all over in parks and gardens but not so much at this experimental station. We did not spend much time on Conifers but those have grown successfully from cuttings.

This Farm also has an animal section from which we were given some very good fresh milk. They want to know more about you so I expect to take out a membership for you in the Friends and also wherever it is to mutual advantage of American-Japanese relationship.

I also saw the experimental Tea garden and asked them specially to furnish you with seeds. We did not spend much time with the Camellias which grow very well. In fact I shall go over the seed situation again later and into other matters later.

I leave for Kyoto today and return on May 27. If he is on the campus please tell Slosberg that I have been invited to dinner by his friend Joseph Littlefield on May 28.

We have made tentative arrangements to visit Tokyo University and see the government experimental station and later will go to the greenhouses and leading nurseries. Kyoto has the best gardens, I understand. I purchased here copies of A Thousand Years of Japanese Gardens which was written by my friend Samuel Newson of Mill Valley.

The fruit season is also a little different. Loquats and Kumquats are already on the market and Cherries are just beginning. Despite warnings I find the Strawberries quite cheap and very palatable. I wash them thoroughly and carefully before eating.

I did not bring a camera and there is so much to do anyhow.

I also expect to meet representatives of New Zealand and Australia and want to go into the whole field of E.‘s for drainage, for arid districts, etc. I have with me considerable literature on drought tolerant plants and Avocados to take to various countries. I also now have a large number of introductions to Thailand, where my few friends all happen to be VIP-VIP (one of them is an aunt of the King).

When you consider that I have taken up here just one-third of one day’s accomplishments, you may get an idea of how much is experienced.

Please share this with your colleagues and also, if you think wise with Lloyd, etc. and with Slosberg. But mostly entre-nous, as the French say. While the above is not strictly confidential I am not writing on this subject to others. However, it is possible that later on you may be contacted by Asia Foundation. I also have a meeting there next week.

Well, we carry on.


Samuel L. Lewis


A.M. again to Honganji. Eiko Kondo introduced us to Prof. Kotani in charge and to a professor of English who graduated from Oberlin. Bought book on Shinshu for the A.A.A.S. Many introductions for Thailand and very happy discussions. Wish to go again.

Early p.m. Kinoshito introduced us to Baron Nakashima, Mss. Kumara and Kumagai. Discussion on Buddhism and spiritual background of FOW. J.K. and I agree on most subjects. May lead to further introductions and visits. Have to take membership for M.N. as above.


Postage 350¥, book only 40¥.


Train trip. Country more beautiful as we approached Kyoto. 2nd class train very comfortable. For well-to-do. Special chair cars. Meals 285¥, plus 5% tip. Quite good. Had dinner at inn. Very fine. Seikoro Ryokan. Several Americans here; also visited by Hindus, etc. Seikoro means “wild duck” derived from Chinese pronunciation. Took hot bath with Kiichi-san; ambition realized. He saw that bath was not too hot and gave rub-down. Enjoyed it very much. Also slept on floor and I mean slept excepting that I had a dream of meeting Fulton Lewis and bawling him out.

This is evidently a high-class ryokan, recommended by the travel bureau. We met George Uedo at the station and I saw a little about his problem—I think it can be settled but would like to go in to KO‘s also. He is to come up Saturday. Perhaps we should have arranged for a longer stay but pressure at Tokyo and failure to receive mail (from Japanese) has made some things uncertain.

We have had a little chance to examine this building. First at night while we were trying to locate Rinzai U. and Mrs. Sasaki—not entirely successful, or rather, it was long and complicated. Arranging for sight-seeing this p.m. (5/24).

This building is of course “Japanese style” and much fine wood and bamboo; also shoji. These have a fine paper. Straw on floor. Change shoes for sandals at outer door and take these off before you enter your room. Some kind of tile like slate used in doors, etc. which helps render fire-proof. Tile-roof and garden effect around with inner garden. Flowers everywhere. Eating on floor spilled soup. Help very helpful and cordial. Put on kimono at night. Up-to-date with both Western and Japanese toilets. Have own wash-stand but extra ones all around, and some kinds of faucets I have never seen before. Also Japanese wash-trough with dipper.

Has been raining off and on since we left Tokyo. Inn very comfortable but might be hard in winter although it has depression for hibachi, etc. Found orange juice in room after returning from bath.

For the first time regret having no camera so could take down details. Has neon lighting system! All furnishings Japanese but in excellent taste. We have small sitting room also with porch and a fine Pine. R.R. tracks just outside but were not disturbed. In Tokyo, being by station, could hear trains and announcers but got used to them. Had written Delaplane about it.



5/24: 6,880¥ for tickets back to Tokyo; 1400¥ for bus; 100¥ for taxi 300¥ for post cards and extras. We leave 1:14 Sunday, arriving in evening after 8:00 at Tokyo, back to hotel. Had buttons put on overcoat. Pants too long. KO tired from walking partly due to rubbers.



May 24, 1956


Tonight my diary is dedicated to Chris. Here I am in a Japanese Inn, Seikuro Ryokan, dressed in kimono, typing. We arrived last night and my first night sleeping on the floor was sleeping, which Kiichi Okuda-san was too excited and got up at 4 and did some meditating but was too tired even for that and too excited. I arose as usual and we admired the trees around the inn. Seikuro is derived from the Chinese way of reading the symbol for “wild duck.” The inn is right near the banks of the Kamo River which divided Kyoto.

I had ordered a Japanese breakfast with coffee. Not being sure whether I had ordered a Japanese or American breakfast they brought both. Well the slogan “eat a larger breakfast” ran into almost gargantuan dimensions. On account of the events of the day my memory does not run too strong. We had drunk our orange juice last night; I discovered hot tea in a thermos pitcher which had been left in our rooms—thinking it was ice or spring water, so had some. They brought us first pickled cherries and tea. Then ham-and-eggs, two distinctly different fish dishes and vegetables of several kinds, as well as rice. Having no toast—thank God for that—I wiped rice around the ham-and-egg dish until it was cleaned and we both did eat. Well and good for we had no lunch, excepting two extra morning bits and came home very hungry to a large dinner and did eat again, and maybe again.

We located Ruth Sasaki by phone late last night and had very little difficulty in finding her, although it takes hours as a rule. The chief obstacle was rain and in the rain we met very few people.

This was a coffin nail meeting. I do not think Alan will again dare to take any stand against me whatsoever. I do not know whether Ruth purposely misled him or else was not straightforward with him because she sized him up. After all he divorced her daughter, whatever may have led to it. My visits around this country convince me that one has to call Buddhism a religion. Excepting Baron Nakashima I would not say any one was acting as if it were a mere philosophy or cycle of philosophies. People have all the spirit of devotion and something near prayer. And they know how to catch on.

Ruth jumped right in and asked me some pointed questions. I told her that I had just that morning told KO that when Sokei-an had in my presence said: “Yes, I see the future of the world but I will not tell you about it, I caught the whole thing and foresaw the World War II, and the downfall of Hitler even before his rise. I told her you could find evidences of that in my poetry and in one note book saved for many years but I never told before that I got this in a single glimpse from Sokei-an. I then told her of the immediate cosmic communications I got from him, etc. As I had told her about Ferukawa over the phone and then how I brought Sokei-an and Senzaki together, etc. there were no more doors. We discussed what Alan has presumptuously rejected, the relationship between fourth dimensional mathematics, philosophy and experience with Zen experience, etc. It was all on the very highest level and stands as the final note to a series of dualistic experiences which should never have arisen, especially from one who dares to explain Kegon and Zen in the classroom. After all he has not been accepted by Sanghas and has actually been rejected by at least two that I know about. He should become humble and willing to learn. You might grind out D.D. degrees (at a price) but this does not mean that any established and recognized religious institutions will accept you.

KO places Ruth Sasaki in the same class as Abbot Asahina, which is to say, among the realized souls. I see no reason to change such a stand. We did, it is true, go over some semi-mundane matters so I could visit the N.Y. headquarters in a more intelligent manner. There is now a Roshi there.

The “Rinzai University” is a misnomer. It is Daigokuji temple. It is a huge place and we did not see much in the rain. We both accepted our visit to R. S. as a pilgrimage to a living bosatsu and of the first order.

We then went downtown and bought 2 sight-seeing tickets for the equivalent of two dollars each, and, having an hour to spare, taxied to the Sanjusangendo temple.

This contains the Hall of the Thousand Buddha’s which is an actuality and not a symbolic term. It is incomparable. The figures are all of the same size and of the same materials but with different mudras and details. I do not know if it were possible for a single one to have been made by anybody without some enlightenment and the huge number made examination totally impossible. Besides, they are in rows and I do not know how to examine or judge those in the rear. However, there are so many in the front rows, that you get dizzy. Unless, of course, you practiced some meditation or dharani-concentration. I do not know whether this place is under Shingon influence or not. I did see mandalas on the ceiling of the emperor’s palace but that is the only evidence of Shingon so far.

We also saw the figures of the guardians spirits, some Buddha’s and other evidence of art. I gave a small contribution, wrote my name in the book and bought some post-cards, all of which will soon melt away. We received some sweet rice cakes.

We walked down to the station and boarded the sight-seeing bus at 1:30. We first stopped at Higashi Honganji temple, the second largest wooden building in the world, built in 1602. I made the driver laugh by taking out my beads. I carried and twirled them. They have stood me in good stead but politically I am on the other side, being temporarily, or permanently allied with Nishi Honganji and the Otanis. We walked all around and it was a treat. Actually we saw two temples in one building, used for different ceremonial purposes but each with a huge and complex altar with a “Buddha” in back. This was probably Amida. We were shown some great ropes made of human hair from women who sacrificed materiality for the spiritual life. Of course our shoes were off. We played on-again off-again all day.

We then went to Nijo Castle which was built by Takagawa Ieyasu and housed his descendants, the Shoguns, until 1868, being the real center of Japanese power. It had a “nightingale floor,” a beautiful almost musical squeak, but the real purpose of this was to detect intruders—which was very easy.

I regret we had to walk so far. For there were beautiful drawings all over, including the largest one of a pine branch and many examples of early Kane. If you looked at the walls you missed the ceiling and if you looked at the ceiling you missed the garden which was different from almost every few feet but always beautiful. This must have been a wonderful place excepting in winter, for there was no way to heat it. It is strange that the Japanese never learned the Chinese, or better yet, the Korean method of heating houses.

The guide there explained the theory of rock gardens and how the first rocks were collected. Neither he or the others knew about Newson.

We were then taken to the grounds of the Imperial Palace, very grand with all sorts of trees. Unfortunately many buildings were dismantled at the time of the war because of the fear of bombing. Actually the American forces were instructed not to bomb Tokyo. There has also been a small recent fire so there is work of construction and reconstruction. As this is now not the active home of the Emperor; many trees have been brought in instead of new buildings going up.

Pause. It is late, I am tired, and a neighbor is practicing the flute. There seem to be several types of flute of which shakuhachi is only one.

Morning May 25. Slept wonderfully—on the floor. I like sleeping. I am already used to sleeping on the floor, but with a sort of mattress under one and a pillow, the nicest I have ever had, that is something. Instead of a wooden block, I had a pillow which beats anything I have had in home or hotel, including Statler’s.

Well, we were taken to many places around the Emperor’s grounds which made it difficult for the photographers. You must not take here, you should not here, here it does not matter and here you must take and we will not go on until you do. It was all very difficult for them—fortunately I have no camera. Add to that where you must and must not walk and the fact we were permitted to walk where the school-children were not and it becomes complex.

One thing is illegal and that is to stand in front of the throne. This is not only discourtesy to the emperor it is also discourtesy to the hundreds of sight-seers who also want to look at it. Back of us were hundreds of school children looking at us as well as it. The throne-room is now retained only for coronations. The detailed work around the palace buildings is tremendous. Every log used has a chrysanthemum designed in the end of it; this flower is only for the emperor and it must have required thousands of workmen, all of whom had patience and skill. The amount of work in the roofs, the making of the tiles, the selection of the wood—cypress for all great buildings, the small pieces for lattice work different everywhere. Then the gates, marvelous, often large. Then the paintings inside. From what we saw in the Emperor’s grounds the pictures were derived from a sophisticated Chinese school with Confucian, not Buddhistic background. We were told about the sacred symbols: sword, mirror and jewels. Now most of ceremonies in Tokyo but this place used in traveling and parts of it as summer grounds.

The gardens are designed to give pictures at every point and particularly is this true of the entrances to the Emperor’s private garden. Cherries, pines, azaleas, some cypress and cryptomeria, but not the usual ginkgo or plane trees so much. Of course water in the private section as well as in the shogun’s gardens and in the shrine next visited.

This was the Heian shrine with huge torii which were explained. There were a number of girls in red dressed employed. They are going to build a special wedding pavilion. The garden inside the shrine grounds is said to be one of the most beautiful in existence. I would agree. Again the care in rocks and the absence of flowers excepting the azalea, and of course, flowering cherry. I have not seen much wisteria. We were all getting tired here and hunger was coming on. Several besides us had not had lunch.

Then we visited the art stores. The block print took so much attention and interest that we were too tired to pay too much attention to the damascene and silk work. But this was unfair because the detailed care and the marvelous complexity worked out really means we should see it. I had to padlock my sentiments and pocket book. If Shibata comes that will be different but we do not know yet.

KO says the Japanese trips are better because they skip the stores and see more temples, gardens and shrines-though we saw enough. They were so late they skipped Sanjusangendo which we had fortunately seen.

We got home tired and very hungry and supper was slow coming. Then it came—first tea. Then a sort of custard with a soupy base which had to be eaten warm—some fish in it. Then the heaven-man-earth dishes with foods—this should interest you Mr. Confucian studying Chris—fish (raw) on the heaven dish with onions—a kind of anchovy with some kind of bark or vegetable product on the “man” dish, and pickled vegetables on the “earth”-dish. Arrangements, size and shapes according to symbols. We also had cooked fish with vegetables (cold) and other fish and pickled zucchini, or something like that in vinegar which was rather salad—and finally strawberries.

We had to wait a long time for our bath and both of us were very tired. It did not seem so hot, partly because they tone it down for Americans, partly because we were late and partly because one gets used to it.

It is now the morning of the 25th; got up at 5:30 to type and be ready to go to Nara as early as possible. Trains every hour and the cost is low, I am told, 90Yen, which is about 25cl. Horiuji is not as near Nara as I thought but there will be plenty to see. There is also plenty still to see here.

I became friends with the guide and went to send him “Netsuke” and he asked if I could come to Kyoto again and that he act as my special guide. I hope this can be arranged. I also want to give him Mitchener’s address. I think the two ought to get together. That is enough now.



May 25, 1956

Post Cards to Delaplane


Dear S.D.:

I am in Kyoto. I am not going to write to you about Kyoto. I am going to write to you about JTB. This is supposed to mean “Japan Travel Bureau.” But as I am behind the scenes and using the smile-with-chopsticks instead of the cloak-and-dagger techniques, in the interests of our country I should tell all.

The JTB uses a weapon we call “abacus.” It comes from China. It does calculations. Once they set up a Japanese with an abacus against the adding machine. The latter got stuck at the post. Then we invited the calculating machine but put your bets on the tortoise, gents, the hare hasn’t got a hair of a chance. Then came the lightning calculator but even Einstein did not give that the speed of infinity. Finally the electronic robot, but the abacus just laughed.

When MacArthur got unconditional surrender on the Missouri he did not invite the abacus. That was the hidden weapon that even the kamikaze forgot. The General said—I ought to know because my traveling companion is Kiichi Okuda late of Daibutsu in Chinatown who was Doug’s interpreter—“You Japanese bad people. I fine you one billion yen.” That looked like a lot. Well they inflated and deflated and flated the yen until there are supposed to be 360 to the dollar.

Then JTB got busy. The hotels raised their rates just 100 yen a day. Well 100,000 tourists came, paid 100 yen a day extra and that meant already 10,000,000 a day. They stayed 10 days and that meant 100,000,000 Yen. The restaurants just gave a slight revisal and the stores got busy and pretty soon, before the season was over the Americans raised the 10,000,000,000 to pay the debts we put on Japan. When we got a little soft the abacus went to work.

Now we have a foreign aid program. This is wonderful. Congress just decides how much “aid” we give to certain countries and our tax-payers are supposed to green and make a lot of noise. Actually there is no noise. It is only in Japan, and Germany and Italy which we are supposed to have fought that the tourists rush in, pay the “foreign aid” maybe with a little surplus or a lot of surplus and Marx’s “International” goes down the drain while the orchestras boom “Can’t We Be Friends.”

Of course this does not go for allied countries. They have no JTB or anything like it. Nehru is supposed to be coming to Washington. It hasn’t anything to do with politics. India is learning two things from Japan: how to plant rice and how to manage a tourist bureau. Pretty soon all the Americans who read the columnists that Nehru is nothing but a Moscow stooge will be rushing over to India and paying hotel rates and railway fares and buying a few goods and paying the foreign aid that Nehru will get (congress will give him millions instead of billions because he is supposed to be a stooge of Moscow and the travelers won’t know the difference and will and will pay billions instead of millions and pretty soon India will be on “our side.” (Quentin-Reynolds, take notice.)

There is another thing I notice in Kyoto, the national game called basebaru which is played on every lot. I understand this game is popular in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. But as every American boy aspires to be President he learns to play golf instead.

Of course I am in difficulty. I have been a Brave rooter and was delighted to find Milwaukee ahead—maybe they use the abacus. But after one quaff of Asahi, good-bye Schlitz, good-bye Blatz and we’ll bury Anhauser-Busch by the old pine tree.

I am sleeping on the floor and will next send you advice for Benchley fans.




May 25


Well, Chris this has not only been a red-letter day it has been a red-letter day among red-letter days in Japan and it is also a red-letter day for my life. We took the 9:15 to Nara and arrived before 10. Trip only 90 yen—you can’t figure things out here. Low cost despite it being an express train; we learned that Horiuji was far away but saw more than plenty.

We taxied up to Kasuga Shrine and paid 130 Yen for the trip. After that we walked. Here the original forest has been preserved; huge cypress trees stand out, with magnolias, pines, camphor, etc. Marvelous place with running water better than Marin or Macleay Park, Portland. 10 yen to feed deer; the doe pulled at my coat when I did not feed her enough or fast.

We then went to the Shoso-in Treasure-house containing almost the oldest art works outside of Horiuji. Almost cried before the Buddha there and chanted. The skill and inward élan of the artists was terrific. We then went to the Daibutsu which is in the largest wooden building in the world (Nishi Honganji being the second). The Buddha was stupendous and we saw the guardians and the attendant Bodhisattvas flanked by many children. Before leaving Okuda-san explained that I was interested in Kegon. This had been said before and brought most friendly greetings, but here we were invited to climb up and around the Buddha. We saw the details, where there had been gold inlay and the wonderful carvings in pictures and Chinese characters, some of which have survived fire and what not through the ages. We could examine the metal and saw the largest jizu (rosary) in existence; also the tiles contributed by wealthy to be used in repairs.

This Daibutsu was originally financed by the Emperor and in a sense continues to be imperial property, although now part of the national treasure. Both the chrysanthemum and the Kegon flower-seal are used. There is still shiny gold on the roof, too. Aristicial lotus used and flowers and incense but more subdued than in some places.

The monk said that Kegon was Buddhism par excellence and not sectarianism. That came later. We were united in a spirit of devotion and he then telephoned Kainu Kamitsukasa, Secretary-General of the Kegon order and abbot of this temple-monastery. We were served ceremonial tea and met a professor who came in later who lectures on Kegon. They admire Suzuki and the professor knows Malalasekera very well. They gave us special copies of pictures and a fine book, which materials are never sold. In inspiration I said I would contribute a copy of the Buddhists encyclopedia when it was off the press—this after racking my brains what to do. Whether it will cost $50 or $150 will not matter; this may be very important. KO says this means that my name will go down in Japanese history because this will be a most valuable contribution and token of amity.

We later went down and saw the five-stories Pagoda which is Chinese in general style and under the Hosso sect which is quite small and where we were unable to make ourselves understood.

All the beauty of the day, the seeing the oldest treasures, the Daibutsu and the men have gone to my head. I forgot—we were also shown the Bo-tree in the restricted area (closed to tourists) and given an explanation of it. Now my introductory work for Japan is to all extent and purposes closed and my real work may begin. I have within me a national epic, “The Ascent of Mount Fuji” and several papers which may go first to Baron Nakashima. It is now almost 9 P.M. and I am tired. Bought, wrote and ready to mail many post-cards, and some day they will be valuable, together with my autograph. This is a portent but I now feel that “secret” of my life is coming out.



May 26, 1956


The diary for today is addressed to Drs. George and Paul Fung, with a copy to Alan Watts.

When we visited Nara yesterday we were given the name of Phillip Eidman of the University of Minnesota now staying at Nishi Honganji, Kyoto. Since we have come here and been the guests of Nishi Honganji from the beginning we have not made direct visits to Higashi Honganji although we saw their wonderful temple in Kyoto a few days ago. It is the second largest wooden building the world, the largest being the temple holding Daibutsu in Nara which we saw yesterday.

Mr. Eidman is an invalid, being supported, apparently by Mr. James McCullough who seems to be in, around, ahead and behind us somewhere. He is undertaking a very important work on the history of Buddhism in Japan, something not done before, depending only on Japanese sources. He can speak both Japanese and Korean and can read Chinese. He seems to have both a deep understanding and a greater reverence for what he is doing. I told him of our visit to Nishi Honganji in Tokyo which was most profitable and also of the Chinese Buddhist temple in San Francisco. We may visit him tomorrow and I shall tell him more.

He knows about the AAAS and Alan Watts as well as Robert Clifton and Yudale. We discussed mostly the need of the type of work he is doing and the editing to see there is unification between Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese and English with regard to word-usage to avoid confusion. He knows Ruth Sasaki and says there is a student from Nebraska at Mount Hiei who is a novice and may become a Tendai monk.

His room reminds me of Duncan McDonald and he resembles Kirby who incidentally lived in Minnesota before coming to Japan. He spends practically all the time all day working on his thesis, excepting where he does special work on some of the little known sects which came from China to Japan.

As we received his name from the abbot of Daibutsu in Nara, one must go back and briefly tell about yesterday. We saw the oldest treasures in Nara but did not go to Horiuji which is too far away. Perhaps it would be well to spend some months in Nara and Kyoto. With a next door neighbor at this ryokan coming from AAAS and with several graduates and ex-students running in and out around here one almost feels at home…. We went to Daibutsu and when the monk found out about our interest in Kegon, we were allowed to take off our shoes and climb up and around it examining it in detail. We were then taken through a courtyard (restricted) and saw the Bo-tree which was brought in, I believe, from Ceylon. It does not grow so tall and massive here as in India but still is a large tree.

We were then introduced to the abbot who is also Secretary-General of the Kegon group. They identify Kegon with Buddhism (Bukkyo) and consider it above sect. We had some discussion, were again honored with ceremonial tea, met a professor who is lecturing on Kegon philosophy at the colleges and then were given copies of post-cards and a book on their art-not purchasable, but only as gifts. Those I am sending to the East-West Gallery to Rudolph Schaeffer, 350 Union St. While meditating on what to do for them—I had considered a monetary gift, it came to me to sponsor for them a copy of Malalasekera’s Encyclopedia, when ready. They know him and this pleased them very much. I shall try later on to get in touch with him.

I cannot go to Ceylon now but I have a flock of introductions to Thailand, to people I would probably have met through my friends but probably can meet directly. There is at the moment more exchange through Buddhism to different nations of Asia than ever before and even Nehru is looking at it with quite kindly eyes. Every day there are news items in the paper. I shall probably learn more when I again visit Nishi Honganji in Tokyo. There I met several Californians who have very good understanding and even better command over English.

Other notes are in the diary and will be used when I get back to the States.



May 27, 1956


The California theme still continues—with AAAS students in the next room at the ryokan, the janitress at the treasure house at Nara from Oakland and then the Ueyedas came, born in San Francisco, the wife also but left as an infant and does not speak English. The mother does and mother and son came after our return from Nishi Honganji and Eidman. We had to discuss his personal affair, mainly the transference of PGE stock which was in his father’s name. The father died intestate but witnesses can prove he wished to assign the stock to the son (George Uichiro) and the mother has signed a waiver. However I shall do what I can to help legally and financially—mainly to assure his return to the States, which would be paid back. He is an electrical engineer and I do not think there will be any trouble about a job. He speaks excellent American English. We got along fine.

Expenses for the day very little, only remember taxi and a picture of Miroku for the mother, a little over 300Y=, and two taxi fares in the morning, another 300Y=.

They took us to Horiuji. Took electric train two blocks from inn to a place called Horiyama or something like that. Another train. Bus to Horiuji and another bus right up to the compound. Light luncheon—chicken-egg and rice. Insisted upon eating because I said we would do much walking, although KO was so anxious to see the grounds he could not wait. This was fortunate as the compound is very very large. As usual there were school children, more interested in history than in religion and more interested in the visiting American than in Buddha.

Well, I finally saw Kondo about which I had read in With. Saw many Buddhas and bodhisattvas in that building, the lecture hall and the Green Pavilion which we visited last and which has the best works including paintings which to me were in the Arjunta style. It seems that the first stream of inspiration came during the Suiko period and then another during the Kamakura period and then no more. We did not see any monks there, only guides and attendants and they know about Shotoku Daishi but not about Buddhism. We saw the plates for the first Japanese Constitution and one for the first scriptures—if I remember rightly this was Sanron Buddhism but will try to check with Eidman today. Actually one should spend hours each as many pieces show fine detail work. This is especially true in the Green Pavilion. Fortunately too Mrs. Ueyeda Sr. is a devotee and slow walker (but she can run if she wants. The Miroku is simply astounding, but all the fine filigree work in gold and bronze makes one wonder about the patience, skill, scientific development, mineral resources, technology, spiritual status as well as advanced artistic ability. I did not find anybody who knows about With nor who knew more than the scientific knowledge of these things.

If I catch up with Mary Tabushi I am willing to go again. It is very far from building to building and there is plenty to do in circumambulating, too. Had pictures taken at two spots. There are signs against photography but this applies to art objects inside, not to buildings or persons. Oh, yes, I also contributed 100Y= to fund—and it seems as if there was only paper in this box. But everywhere people threw coins from 1Y= which is very little, to 100Y= and they are left there. This seems to be true in most temples. They have several types of collection boxes. First the usual found in most temples with the cross boards, then special ones for funds for this and that, very necessary too, then before each sacred bodhisattva or Buddha, but especially Kwannon. The monks all seem poor outside of Honganji, but the collections at some of these places if piled together, seem much larger. At least rich Honganji just has one collection box.

One other expense—I did buy some pictures for Ching Wah Lee—can’t for everybody. Have to come again coming the other way, to pick up pictures to bring home, by ship. Leaving everything but pictures and art books; this could be quite an assignment. Now breakfast is ready and it is another day.


Extras Tax and hotel levy-paid with tip 3800Y= extras



May 28, 1956


This page of the diary is being sent to Frank Udale. I arose at 4 at the hotel having slept considerably on the train back from Kyoto. Dinner for 2 cost 750Y= which seemed high to Okuda-san, but he ate steak and his food alone would have cost him that in the States.

After Horyuji it did not seem possible to have another banner day but yesterday was something again for we are sure we have met a Bosatsu. Phillip Eidman is an invalid, confined to a wheelchair and with twisted fingers. Yet his knowledge of Buddhism seems second to none; he has karuna as well and perhaps better than wisdom and he has plenty of intellect. He answered all our questions immediately, directly and in detail.

Horyuji had been in charge of the Hosso sect. We had met this sect at Nara and had not been given a warm greeting—the only one so far. We found that the best monks are away traveling. During the occupation much was done to encourage the growth of Christianity in Japan and to weaken Buddhism. This has also been weakened during the War when Shinto was encouraged and all universality and freedom in Buddhism were suppressed. The Japanese so far have not been able to repeal certain nefarious laws, which has resulted in property and ethical legislation being contradictory and causing endless confusion.

The custodians at Horyuji set themselves up to be independent of Nara and were encouraged by the Christian groups among the occupational forces. The result is that they now call themselves “Shotoko-Daishi-shu.” There is a certain truth in it as Shotoko Daishi did not introduce Hosso. The scriptures shown the public at Horyuji I had identified as Sanron. Eidman confirmed this but said that Sanron had disappeared by the Kamakura period and is only taught as theory. It is true that Shotoko Daishi is particularly honored at Horyuji and we neither objected to this but did not offer any positive status or teaching. The place is more in the hands of custodians than monks and they are not museum guides so much as museum attendants. They know little of the value of their treasures.

We were conducted to Eidman this time by the grounds keeper, not by the priests. They had taken us through the gardens and rather rapidly so we could not enjoy them. The grounds keeper took us another way and when I called attention to an impressive door—please by this time I have long run out of adjectives—he told us that that was the Emperor’s door and was open once a year for him. That door was something and we looked at it again on our way back. Japan certainly had its correspondences to “Ming” in its ornateness but I have not yet found anything debilitating like “Ching.” We also saw some wonderful fire-proofed storehouses and the oldest buildings. We were invited to see the artistic works afterwards which we did.

Eidman gave us some knowledge of the weaknesses and strength of present day Buddhism. His defense of Shinshu is not very different from my defense of integrationalism. All Bukkyo is in some way based on Kegon, which is, however, very deep. Sectarianism came afterwards. We had some discussion of Tendai where there is a student from Nebraska who later intends to be a monk and specialize in this sect. I have made a mental note but do not intend to go immediately to Mt. Hiei. Eidman explained the relation of Nichiren to Dengyo and said that the Shonin did not resemble his followers and really had no spirit of intolerance. He was trying to explain and follow Tendai as he understood it with emphasis on Hokko but no over-assertion. This has certainly come in later.

Zen is in a deplorable state due to the legal anarchy concerning the ownership and operation of monasteries. It is neither congregational nor Episcopalian but has resulted in either “abbotism”—the head monk controlling all without recourse, or the “museum attendants” holding the property and letting the monks get along as best they can.

I told Eidman that so far I had in the main seen two types of temples: the wealthy and the collectionists. At Nishi-Honganji, which is wealthy, they have one collection box per temple. At the

Kwannon Temples and Horyuji you are reminded every moment to contribute (the Roman Catholics are pikers to what I have seen.) Fund boxes here and there and contributions before every Bodhisattva figure and left there. If they collected their collections they would be rich; poverty seems to be a front, not a reality. Kwannon temples cut across sects and everybody seems to accept Kwannon. But instead of the divinity helping Humanity, the poor are giving and giving and with the number of statues abounding and the temples, the collection must be something, only it is not collected. It is just piled up and I wonder what would happen if a typhoon came along and blew all that paper money around.

Buddhism is further divided between the intellectuals and the devotees and there are several self-imposed philosophers who know all the book-Buddhism but who are utterly lacking in compassion and humanity. Eidman has met many real awakened saints in Japanese country districts and in Burma. He is confident that their inner power will be strong enough to overthrow the self-imposers and the dilettante politicians who are making a cause of Buddhism.

For that reason he is rather strong for Shinshu. At least it communicates. It tells the people something, and wealthy though it is it also gives and tries to keep alive both historical and cultural Buddhism, especially as they have developed in Japan.

He is not so sanguine of the U.S. yet, though my Japanese friends here feel different. He is one man with whom I wish to continue corresponding. He has given us a little literature also.

Nishi-Honganji at Kyoto was a surprise to us who had been filled with surprises. Our social politics has kept us with this group, both in the States and here. Nor were we so impressed by Higashi-Honganji whatever the reasons for its separate being be. Incidentally we contacted Eidman not through the temple but through Matsyama, son of the former “Bishop” of S.F. The father directs a school for girls at Kyoto but was away. I would have liked to have spoken to the son. Okuda did not know that Matsyama and I are old acquaintances. There is a note here, too, that Eidman is as yet pessimistic about properly trained Shinshu representatives for the U.S. but the boys at Tokyo certainly have suitable backgrounds.

We were taken in through the backdoor and did not have to pay visiting fees. We were asked to join a group of Japanese tourists which we did to save time. The guide could speak English but kept to Japanese most of the time. However it was hard to see everything and keep up with the group. For while we looked inside to the best Kano paintings, to ceiling and wall embellishments and listened, we could not coordinate eyes and ears. I do not know how many artists worked there, but the detailed work just about knocked one over—after being knocked over a lot. We (shoeless) were taken into rooms used by the Emperor and saw those used by daimyos and high officials and tramped over other “nightingale” floors. Then we were given a single look at the garden. It was better even than anything we had yet seen and the guide said it is one of the four wonders of Japanese art. It is in the Chinese style with special emphasis on rocks. But the tree arrangement, from small shrubs in front to a giant Ginkgo dominating the background, the relation of the green things to each other, the relation of the rocks to each other, the integration of rock and foliage and water was just too much. This is a place I hope to visit again, and again.

After the tourists left we were taken into the drum rooms (sounded like taiko) and saw the fine ceiling art. Then a few more things I do not recall, then to the hotel and paid the extras (about 2000Y=), taxi 140Y=, red cap 100Y=, dinner 750Y= as above, coffee and ice cream before training time 170Y=, real ice cream only so far. 100Y= for attendant at hotel and back to “home,” room #205 Tokyo Station Hotel. Took hot bath, American, near as I could get to Japanese style.

This morning for errands and postage—after all the cards and souvenirs on the Kyoto trip it will be something; then either Nikko trip or luncheon engagement but not both. We may even cancel Nikko the way things are going.



May 28, 1956

My dear Tony:

I have just returned to Tokyo from Kyoto and am following my usual method of writing my diary and dedicating to different people each day. But this letter is a cross street, also carboned for the diary, to record some of my experiences and observations by subject rather than by time-event. Incidentally some of the material contained herein has already been written in a humorous fashion for Stanton Delaplane of the Chronicle, carbon to Gavin Arthur; finally I became so enamored of my own humor that I entered these matters in the diary also.

In Kyoto I had my first experiences in a Japanese ryokan or inn. The standard price for both hotel and ryokan is about $6 a day, but the inn throws in breakfast and supper and you get about $6 worth of food and service. I have written that there are four classes of meals: chopstick, Chinese spoon, Western spoon and full silver service. Thus the hotels charge you about $1 for breakfast, $2 for lunch and $3 for dinner, page Lucius Beebe and Elsa Maxwell. You get only the finest delicacies with a dent in your pocket book.

In the ryokan they were not too sure whether I wanted Japanese or Western breakfast so proceeded to bring both. Actually I have eaten breakfasts that you would think I was Gargantua or at least Gulliver in Lilliput. First we had pickled cherries and tea. Then they bring you a 2-egg dish (alternate days boiled, the others various), several kinds of fish dishes, generally with a good deal of seaweed, pickled vegetables, usually of two sorts. One fish dish is usually raw, the second cooked; one vegetable dish is usually pickled, the other contains either egg-plant or squash, very fine. Oh yes, and you begin with soup.

Dinner is large and meals do not always give the same kind of tea. You also have a soup but you do not begin with it, although one meal we had something which was between a custard and a soup at the beginning which you take hot. There is no limit to the small size of fishes and I have had some, sardine size of salmon variety which I did not care for and some of the smelt size which I enjoyed terrifically. Most raw fish I like. We sometimes alternate one fish dish at breakfast with bean-curd preparations. Supper usually has thus three fish dishes, one raw, one cooked and one cold. The latter is usually served with vinegared vegetables and is like a salad.

We have had many kinds of tea and also been given tea ceremonies in many places. Some of these are public, some courtesy, but we have been honored by highest spiritual officials of at least two sects.

I like nearly all, but not all Japanese dishes. I enjoy tea but at the inn I got coffee afterwards, extra. They charged me 60Y= extra at the inn, which is almost 20cl and above standard price which is 50Y=. It was, however, thicker and stronger and I could tone it down with water—they also served it boiling hot. It probably came from Java. But Brazil is on good terms with Japan and also sends some in. You get real ice cream here too, same price as coffee.

At the opposite end we go strolling just off the Ginza and try all kinds of places and have had dinners where the price, for 2, did not amount to $1 U.S. and what folk-delicacies! Shrimp dishes, their own form of barbecued meats, very reasonable and very fine. Nearly all cooks are very good here and I have eaten Chinese, American, European, Hindu and Japanese meals; the Italian dinner was expensive and only average, the minestrone being spiced, not hot and not very much either. The pizza was supposed to have everything in and did, too large and slightly high. Made square. However I would like to try another but my companion, K. Okuda late of Daibutsu in Chinatown winces every time I spend money and does not even like me to give him over expenses.

Later I shall no doubt go to his town where the inn will be much cheaper.

In the inn I slept on the floor and I mean slept, better than in any bed. You put on kimonos after coming in, eat on the floor, take a hot bath and go to bed. The bath, my one fear, has not yet materialized as a fear.

The Russians may be ashamed of their plumbing, the Japanese no. So far I have found both Western and Japanese baths, toilets, showers and what not. Ryokans are not heated but have a sort of hibachi system. Stoves are being introduced in some places and there are smoke-stacks here and there to indicate it.

Local travel is cheap, long distance travel expensive. This in contrast to us where you pay 50cl to go 20 miles and $5 to go 500. But you immediately graduate to second class on distance and pay. You can travel all over the cities and never feel it, and this includes such trips as Tokyo-Yokohama and Kyoto-Osaka with the side trips to Nara and Horyuji.

I have been to so many wonderful temples and had such contacts I cannot repeat; they are in my diary. The same concerning Noh drama and dance. Time has not permitted us to attend Kabuki, for we have been uniformly successful in meeting people and having wonderful outcomes which includes the need to meet other people and so on in a very un-vicious circle. Today, May 28, I must resume my main contact in Tokyo, James Kinoshita, chairman of the board of directors of a group interested in promoting international welfare through tree-and-seed exchange. This almost immediate contact followed by others, seems to have no end to possibilities for the world, and for me. I also have my first two appointments with Americans today, one in the afternoon, one at night. (Time out for breakfast—been typing 2 hours already!)

I came prepared with a lot of knowledge to this country. I have astonished all the guides—in Kyoto my knowledge of the arts; in Tokyo of earthquakes. But I lacked the language and now I am anxious to learn. I have been prodded but I have said it was necessary to have an impetus first. I might not be able to speak Japanese but I know the theory of rock gardens and flower arrangement. In the inn even the dishes are placed according to the same principle, and also the food in the dishes and one carries this on even into the way he eats. Emily Post would thrive here but I wonder about Else Maxwell.

The greatest pleasures of the Japanese seem to be bowing, being on wheels and becoming Westernized. That is all right for me. The first Father I met was in Kamakura and I greeted him like a brother and he so greeted me but the only priests I have seen had sour faces. This Father was beating the Japanese at their own game while the others were refusing to play it. For there is something missing in Japanese religion. I have enjoyed Shinto music and weddings but I see nothing deep or moving in folk-religion as religion. Thus I am far away from Judaism and from a large part of Christianity. But although the people think I am an advanced Buddhist, I not only recognize the folk-elements but the recent Congresses in Kathmandu and Ceylon have deliberately been pointing it out. In Catholicism and in temple Buddhism one can step from folk-religion to cosmic-religion without too much difficulty. However even I prefer the art and devotion to delineating philosophy. The look on eyes, faces and hearts is more striking than mouth-words.

My next letter to you will probably be written at Itako where I am to go early in June for a rest, but do not know how long. I also await a letter there which will tell me when to go to Hong Kong.

This letter does not tell much of what I am doing nor whom I am meeting; these to diary with snatches here and there to friends. My main contact in San Francisco must be Harry Nelson, Greenhouse, City College for anything connected with plants; and with Rudolph Schaeffer in art, with occasionally snatches to Ching Wah Lee. But believe me, Leonard, in less than 2 weeks I have had more happen to me than to many people in many months.

In Kyoto at the ryokan, the next room was occupied by Mrs. Reeves, a fellow-student at the American Academy of Asian studies. The janitress of the treasure house at Nara came from Oakland. The first Buddhist sermon I heard preach was by a Sacramentan and when I was in Osaka, both my host and hostess were from San Francisco. Kyoto gives delicious fresh-water clam soup. I am glad of all this gourmeting in preparation for Hong Kong. My fears have been, Japan—hot baths; Hong Kong, too much eats; India, the heat. Well, we shall see. The first fear has been by-passed even as seasickness was by-passed.



May 29, 1956

Post Cards to Delaplane


Dear S.D:

RAH! RAH! And OSKI! But more OSKI! Than RAH! This good-will dun get me. I weighed my things and was over for PAA so began to give away books. Went to Nara and decided to give Buddhist Bible to Daibutsu Library and “That’s just what we have always wanted.” Good-will stock zoomed. Then visited Asia Foundation and gave “Economic Situation of S.E. Asia.”—perfect gift, “That’s just what we have always wanted”—up ten points on the Ginza Market.

Last night met Jos. Littlefield of Camp Drake and said: “Here is old friend, good-bye. Book on post-cards most important for Japan, by one Stanton Delapl...” Sentence not finish. Thanks, domo arigato! “That’s just what you have always wanted, I suppose.” “Roger! Roger! Roger.” Do no more Buddhist Bible, no more economics, and get out gift handkerchief, no more “Postcards.”

Came to Japan to study and make friends and bathe in hot-water good-will. In Japan when you get in hot-water that different meaning, that best. Did not come as private eye to go into past life of Monsieur Delaplane.

Go to Kyoto and live in Japanese Inn. Woman in next room fellow-student at American Academy of Asian Studies. Go to Nara to sacred building and janitress from Oakland. Go to Horyuji with two guides, both from San Francisco. Go to Osaka to meet people, from San Francisco, of course.

Once made slight remark in defense of Earl Warren when he was criticized. Crowd gathered, good-will up and up. Did not realize what I know now. Visit Asia Foundation and slight light why Cal. Stadium did not have big attendance last year and why population of Tokyo increasing so rapidly. Last night find out with more good-will. That time all Americans. No time for passports, just sheep-skin from Professor Sproul. Enough.

Good-bye “Post Cards,” but tell all. Book gets me free drink, free dinner, copy of Hokusai and Hiroshige for East-West Gallery (Rudolph Schaeffer), 350 Union St. and handshakes all around. This not officers club, this Cal. Alumni House. How is San Francisco? How is Berkeley? What is Dick Tracey doing? What about the cable cars? Why don’t you go to Monterey to study?

Then light dawns more. First Sunday here went to Buddhist temple, all speakers Issei from Cal. Now Americans, all graduates from Cal. Next time I get lost, no more Star Spangled Banner, too political. Just get out in street and sing “All hail, Blue and Gold.” Hope no Stanford people around. So far am safe.

And no wonder Japanese and Americans getting along so nicely. Cheers and Banzai for old Alma-Mater and empty seats at stadium. Occupational forces and Japan Travel Bureau in alliance; instead of Japanese invading California, California invading Japan.

No wonder “Post Cards” from Delaplane immediately popular. For others nostalgia going up; to me good-will stock up with jet-propulsion in the stratosphere.


Expenses were high and fortunately KO does not want to go to Nikko which will cost 4500Y. Postage 600Y, transportation at least 80Y, book on Japanese forgot price. But safely 350Y, took Kinoshita to lunch which adds 2000Y to bill, tips and extras small amounts, strawberries only 50Y—would like to have bought higher quality but KO parsimonious and maybe just as well. He would not let me buy postcards or contribute.



May 29, 1956


The diary for the day is being sent to Mervin Slosberg, City College San Francisco and is being sent in duplicate with a request that he send the carbon to Harry Nelson for reasons that become obvious when he reads this. There is also a carbon of the “Postcard to Delaplane” which I trust he show to Lloyd Luckmann and Eel Eisan, if he wishes. I never met the Eel but had a very pleasant conversation with his brother at the Bowles luncheon in March. This last of course shows a very different side of me. Life becomes a balance between sedate Buddhism, bubbling horticulturalism and blowing off steam to Delaplane.

I have now been in Japan two weeks and almost every day have had surprising things happen. To have been greeted personally by Abbots of two different sects, treated to ceremonial tea by them as well as by others, found my best friends and met acquaintances and made many new contacts is outstanding. I not only have seen the marvelous show to tourists but have been admitted by back-doors literally in temples of three different sects and seen things that have not even been mentioned in books as well as those which are rarely mentioned. I have had conversations with at least two leading American Buddhists who have given me some firsthand information on the history, development and present status of Buddhism as well as on what they consider mistakes. When I met the Littlefields last night they confirmed these statements which indicate they were not untrue or one-sided at all. We have also gone to some out-of-the-way places and will do so. But things are happening so fast that if they are not entered into the diary immediately they become lost and there are so many events that it is simply impossible to enter them—two heads being better than one, we each remind the other.

For I have been very fortunate in having my old friend Kiichi Okuda, formerly of Daibutsu in Chinatown meet me at the pier and be with me constantly; to have met another old friend, Kaoru Nakashima, former Vice-Consul in San Francisco and have a cordial greeting—but I have not had time to telephone him since, things are happening so fast.

Yesterday morning was spent first in completing diary and correspondence and then all slack time in getting things ready for mail. The postage for the day was high, 600Y which is somewhere around $1.75—i.e. postage alone which runs over $5 a week. We later walked to the largest book store, Maruzen I think and bought “First Lessons in Japanese.” We got back just in time to meet James Kinoshita who was to be my guest at luncheon.

The work with Kinoshita covers many facets and we seem to prepare to work together closely. The idea of an international tree-and-seed exchange and of building up the greenhouse, nursery, etc. at City College goes ahead. I mailed a cut-out from one of the papers on rose-growing in Japan. I also took out a membership for Harry Nelson in the “Friends of the World” for 1000Y which is slightly under $3. This will enable Harry and J.K to correspond and cooperate while I am off in other lands keeping separate contact with each. We had a long build-up for meeting people and seeing places. The moment has settled visits to other experimental farms and gardens and actual visits to gardens on June 1 and 2. Then, after I go to Itako and spend some time writing, to return to Tokyo and meet VIP’s who are interested in the same subjects. My friend and guide, KO will not be with me much of that time. And I am very glad I could give J.K. luncheon at the hotel; hotels serve European rather than American meals, breakfast-stylized and cheap, other meals (comparatively) elaborate and expensive.

After J.K. left we visited the Asia Foundation but Dr. Hall was out. I had to leave my name and address there because the staff feels, from what has happened and what my plans are he ought to see me. It was partly a courtesy call anyhow. I left copy of book on “The Economic Conditions of the Far East and S.E. Asia” which I had purchased from the World Affairs Council, and this happened to be very welcome and wanted book.

We next had a walk to the temple of the 47 Ronin. This is a place where all patriotic Japanese visit and visit frequently. However we were not swarmed over this time by school children, many of the visitors were elders and when the children came they showed or were taught to show a respect not exhibited at Horyuji, the temple of Shotoku Daishi. I easily kept the same slow pace but chiefly because I wanted to see and examine. There are the tombs of the Ronin, the special tomb of the merchant who outfitted them, the pool where they committed hara-kiri and the stones and trees there their blood fall. The trees are still there. We then went into the museum, and this time KO was willing that I pay the 30Yen each fee but no postcards. It is a different kind of museum, of folk-art rather than fine-art but every bit as interesting. The armor and much of the clothing has been preserved and about everything that has been connected with each of them. There are also 47 figures, on either side upstairs (the building either is of, or resembles Western architecture). I did remark of the end of the careers of Lincoln, Gandhi and others and their deaths have increased Japanese admiration for them. As we had failed to make contact at the Shingon Temple which is midway between Asia Foundation and this one, I studied every detail, still having plenty of time.

The appointment with Joseph Littlefield and his wife was for 7:30 and they were there on the date and took me to the officer’s club. We had to rent a tie for me, 100Y which was a deposit, not a purchase—beg pardon, $1, but not U.S. currency. Special dollars for GI’s, officers and civilians for purchase at clubs, commissaries, etc. But everything cheap. I gave them my “Postcards” which pleased them very much and in turn they wanted to buy me something. I took Hokusai and Hiroshige which I intend to mail to the East-West galleries, 350 Union St., S.F. but really do not want anything which is heavy to carry. I like these artists very much.

The club used to be the Peer’s club and I greatly admire the Littlefields for their appreciation of the wood-carving and other attractions. We had one drink and then dinner. The cooking is very fine. I had a curried shrimp but the shrimp were even larger than the prawns I have eaten, almost like small crayfish; very delicious, cooking excellent and I had ice-cream over strawberry shortcake. They told me that they pay no taxes and expenses are for them very low.

They told me that the average Japanese wage may be around 300Yen and even if 500Y; a cup of coffee is a necessary luxury. Outside of Tokyo wages are low and their own place is way out, so they pay their servants little. Many places give free food and lodging and even clothing but not much else.

We discussed many thing but one of the first was the possibility of sending stone lanterns to the U.S. Mrs. L. said she could handle all the shipments and I said I could help her market them, which is so. So I gave her the name and address of Samuel Newson of Mill Valley but now as I write I can recall other contacts in Santa Barbara and Mrs. Claiborne of Tarzana. As we are to meet again I want to go into it. It also seems proper, if the cost is not too great, to send one to the City College. Actually then and now I am a little excited over this and the possibility of further cooperation and friendship. So I thank Mervin Slosberg for this contact.

Our last discussion was over my learning Japanese and they told me of the school in Monterey and how to get there; I can pull the strings, and if the cost is not too high (a relative matter) it may be. Anyhow I am now ready to start my lessons. A few of the whimsical points of our conversations are included in the “Postcard to Delaplane.” My conclusion at the moment is to try help them with the stone lanterns and in turn accept whatever they offer. And I think this will fit in with the “Friends of the World” program too; its “commercialism” harmonizes anyhow with their philosophy.



May 30, 1956

Today’s diary is being sent jointly to Robert Sumangalo and Brother Patel, for I am not sure who will get it first. The news from Katmandu and Ceylon is fragmentary but important. If Otani returns while I am in Japan I may meet him. So far the cost has been somewhat above even the highest estimation while the results far overbalance that being beyond the wildest dreams and fulfilling down to the letter what Paul Reps and Hugo Seelig predicted.

As this is a diary and not a letter it is necessary to record that I took a long walk yesterday all the way to Sumida-ku and came back by slant streets which seemed to go in the right direction and did—although they are not on the map. I saw pets of Tokyo, pleasant and unpleasant and am now getting a certain “feel” of the city. Kyoto has the great advantage of straight streets and I guess a two week’s stay would be enough to learn its transportation system, but if I, a great one at this, and a native, have just about grasped the system in San Francisco, how can I dream of learning it in Tokyo!

We mailed the materials from Nara to Rudolph Schaeffer and after a light lunch went to Sojiji. We had to change at Tsurumi, finding the local turned back there, which is good to know. The return train was direct.

I had to tell the senior monk that Sojiji was the first place visited at Japan and I said to Kiichi Okuda: “I feel strange because I do not feel strange. I feel at home.” It seems that at many places I have followed in the footsteps of my very close friends Robert Sumangalo and Reps-san. Where I have been and honored or been entirely successful is in many cases outside their realms but all written in the diary which will be shown to my friends in Thailand. I am writing a diary, not a book at this moment.

After our experiences at Engakuji, Daikokuji, Nishi-Honganji-Tokyo, Nishi-Honganji-Kyoto and especially Nara, we could not except any more climaxes but one came just the same. If I cannot pay Okuda-san in money as I hoped (which will be made up later anyhow) he is the living witness to experiences which we share together and marvelously. This has led to the conclusion to start studying Japanese.

We were hosted by the Senior Monk Taizen Saito and offered tea at least three times and given cakes for souvenirs. We were taken all around with changes from shoes to sandals to stocking feet—which I do not mind at all, in fact I enjoy. He explained to us the position of Amida and Buddha in Soto which is exactly the same as that of Allah and Mohammed in most of Sufism—this down to details. The position of Manjusri makes it very clear and accounts more for the differentiation between Sote and Rinzai teachings than all the discussion which followed. The Abbot believes that Suzuki has caused a lot of confusion. Between the invasion of my party by “Dzen”-devotee and Vocha Fiske’s explanation of “Dzen” that is very right and I have written Thea McInree a long letter. Alan Watts has never accepted me much, save perhaps in the very last week, and over here he is not accepted much. Hollywood-Dzen at least broadens people but it does not deepen them. They neither meditate nor look into their own natures. Alan’s ideal is Krishnamurti, not Manjusri or Kwannon or any other Bodhisattvas, archetypal or historical. I hope he will change. Anyhow I shall tell Robert the Ruth Sasaki and other conversations.

We were shown the rooms with the ashes, the memorials to past abbots and monks, the meditation rooms for monks, laity and visitors, the work-rooms, the gardens which are of several kinds, the buildings being erected, the older ones and the newer ones, the use of cypress, gingko and other timbers, the wall screens, the method by which they are used as shoji, the meeting and conversation and teaching rooms, upstairs and down all around. Although Soto emphasizes simplicity it does not ignore beauty. I had a chance to see the paintings close up and examine the technique. While fundamentally they would be classified as different from those of Nishi-Hongaji-Kyoto, there was a fuller feeling in them; for each was the work of different artists, of many schools, yet all gave the impression of deepest devotion and spirituality. The Nishi artists seem to have been inspired by financial payments or the On-philosophy of respect for VVVVVVV-I-P’s, but the Soto artists worked from the heart and must have been close to enlighten or passed through it. This cannot be proven by words, of course, but atmospheres tell something.

The conversations with Taizen Saito were revealing—I think in the true sense of the word. I gave a hint of my understanding of Manjusri, which was accepted. We talked about the need of English speaking masters-of-meditation going to the States. The monk in San Francisco does not know much English and, ironically, he has been more successful in attracting Americans than Japanese. I have been asked to write at least one paper, to come and speak and even to live. The paper came to me inspirationally on the spot: “How To Be a Buddhist—How To Be a Buddha.” This I may write at Itako for have a full program the rest of the week. But at night the inspirations continued for my poem: “The Ascent of Mt. Fuji.” These will be show verses, usually three lines and perhaps never more than five. As I am in an intellectual mood at the moment I am not receiving, so to speak.

Taizen Saito explained the three aspects of Soto which I also accept, but these involve three stages of Tri-Tatna. These same three stages were included in my first epic: “The Shastra of Universal Peace,” which Goddard rejected and much of which was lost in the 1949 fire but I think I can reconstruct it, or revise it now which would please Taizen Saito.

When Robert gave me the notes of the 1934 (?) Pan-Pacific Conference I copied Soto last as being my ideal at the moment although I know little of it. I see nothing to change that despite the warm welcomes elsewhere. Of course psychologically I am close to Kegon and I think it will fulfill the needs of philosophers and scientists. Even Taizen Saito is aware of Bertrand Russell’s stand toward Buddhism. Besides that B.R. was always close to meditation and had no use for prayer. I am not in this sense a propagandist, but a realizationist both in science and mysticism and I am being confirmed in this all the time. I still stand opposed to metaphysics. Both Ferukawa and Uchida warned against this years ago but in the U.S. metaphysics is the fad although hiding under other names and speculation is damned by those who do not know anything else but how to speculate. That is why both Suzuki and Takagusu have been received in Japan with a mixture of admiration, criticism and dismay. Everywhere the Japanese bow to Kwannon but the lectures on “Buddhism” have their own ideas which have nothing to do with history or social institutions. No doubt the Germans are the worst, but Buddhism in Great Britain seems to have been reached important persons and their linguistic work is better than the Germans, but how near are they to satori?

The whole thing makes me want to see Robert soon, and I may push my departure date forward. Besides this I have a flock of invitations for Thailand and extra ones for India. My writing can go on despite geography—if I can stand the weather. I am assuming it is going to rain some times, some places, so I can do some writing. The question is how much, under the heat? Will meet that when I come to it. Will leave as much surplus clothing in Japan, in order to buy tropicals at Hong Kong. Sending Buddhist Bible of Goddard to Nara and taking my Theravadic selections today to Nishi-Honganji.

I am not fooled by weaknesses or mistakes but I do not let them cloud the vast areas of agreement. The whole nation must be lifted out of a miasma. Industrialization, followed by militarism and then defeat are three terrific shocks to these people. Yet last night we saw a martial Daibutsu on the Ginza and today I am going, I trust, to make inquiries about Miroku-Butsu.

An airmail letter from Thailand should reach me here at the Tokyo Station Hotel by June 15. At some nebulous date between then and July 1 I shall be

c/o Mr. & Mrs. Fred Woods

28 Island Road,

Repulse Bay Villa,

Hong Kong, B.B.C.



May 31

Yesterday was an American holiday but I did not spend in among Americans. A lot of GI’s are arriving and the place is full of New Zealanders of all sorts. Not only is the Prime Minister here but there seems to be the same GI substitution as among the Americans. There are also quite a few Hindus, mostly business man an route to Osaka, but even the tourist I met last night was in a hurry. All Indians trip short.

Spent 400Y for postage, 220 for lunch, 400 for supper (at Nair’s), 250 for cards, 120 for a note book, 200 for taxi and transportation.

We went to Nishi-Honganji last in the morning to tell about Eidman. Met several more Buddhist leaders and most of them want me to write. This request for articles from the Dhammapada which I have not examined and another from the Nichiren sect which seems to have substituted Tien-tai for Buddha and which has a very nice geometric pattern, a lop-sided map of the universe-territory. I got into two separate discussions—the persons present had other business. The Nichiren representative was making a dichotomy between Indian, Chinese and Japanese Buddhism which I do not necessarily accept. Then an elderly VIP came in and tried to put me on the spot and I stuck to art and he seems to think I ought to study Japanese art instead of Buddhism but I was not going to expose myself. But most of the men present were discussing with Okuda what I should write for them rather than getting into any arguments. They especially want articles on what I have seen rather than what I might believe and this is better all around.

We lunched in a cafeteria not far from the Tabuki theater, where the food-cost is low but they do not give you tea. Having had tea at Honganji and later on at the hospital, it was just as well. I bought KO doughnuts which he said is among his favorites but he was too full to eat them. Ate one and took one to Jim at the hospital.

In the morning it seemed to take quite a while to locate Jim (Young Soo Rhee) at the hospital, but not to be who expected that. But we did get his room number and taken the Chou-Ku train, got off at the second station. There were a number of large buildings in the vicinity and it took a little while to get to Yuntendo, the hospital. It is somewhat nearer downtown than the Tokyo U. we had the room number #122, and his name was last on the register. His doctor, Dr. Sato, is said to be a world wide renowned-specialist.

He was in the room with two other young men and an elderly woman who may have been the mother of one of them. The first operation had been a success but there are several more coming. Although he had been frightened, naturally, his eyes were bright and he was happy and gay. We talked about a number of things. More important was Buddhism, especially as the young man opposite was a devotee of Rinzai who we told him a little. We had considerable fund at his expense when he asked us if we knew about Rinzai. The other young man leaned toward Jodo. We think Jim can gain from some knowledge and practice of meditation and study of Buddhism. But he expects to see Virginia at Sendai and seems almost more afraid of her than of God. When I learned that Mrs. Claiborne was coming the next day I left a message but we met Mrs. Claiborne and Mrs. Riddle in the lobby! And I sold her a stone lantern on the spot and some how there is a surprise or a number of surprises. We must be coordinated to something! Or some One.



May 31, 8:30 P.M.


Have just returned from Nikko and my diary entry for the day will be sent to Evelyn Engle. The expenses were around 500Yen which covered postcards and incidental food and drink. I took a quart of Japanese beer which I have found refreshing and tasty; the other folks tried warmed saki which they have never had before—some of them tried it cold. I also took ice cream which is ice cream and not a combination of plastics, oils and corn starch.

Arose early as usual and wrote my diary for May 30, then spent some time on the poetry which I am submitting to Baron Nakashima and which will be given to my friend James Kinoshita on June 1. On June 1 and 2 I expect to be with the latter to visit experimental agricultural and horticultural stations and visit gardens; but I may also see some of the VIPs he has introduced me to. Next week I go to the village of Itako and will see the country side, dwell in a ryokan (inn) and write, I hope. If it rains, as is likely, I should be taking lessons in Japanese.

Both hotel and ryokan charge about $6 a day, but the latter furnishes you food which is worth about $6 compared to what you get in hotels and restaurants—the best of Japanese cooking. I am an adapt with chopsticks and raw fish and am beginning to learn to smack my lips at the right places but belching is not so common as I have led to believe. I have slept on the floor, and mean slept, and worn kimono and sandals and have been told this will be repeated in Itako. I shall leave all surplus clothing in Itako and travel light, leaving room to make purchases in Hong Kong.

Nikko is the Yosemite of Japan and more as well be unfolded. We arrived quite early at the Japan Travel Bureau, and there were five of us: a lady from Massachusetts, a gentleman from Australia, and the majority, a Los Angeles lady who loves S.F., North Hollywoodian and myself who were soon good friends. (The mayor of L.A. is a former next-door neighbor of mine.)

We taxied to Asakusa station which appears in former notes and there took a very good train which reached Nikko in two hours. Most of the trip was through fields, but when we reached the hilly country we saw Cryptomerias, which are relatives of the Sierra Sequoia, cypress, pine and fir trees. The ginkgos thinned out and there were a few oaks and trees I could not identify owing to our rapid movements.

We then went to the hotel and contrary to predictions from then on the country slightly resembled the description Col. Younghusband gave to the Himalayas with azaleas taking the place of rhododendrons, but we did see rhodies higher up, and all in bloom and very colorful. There were some kerrias (Japanese rose) but not in bloom and both the Acer palmatum and Acer Circinatum (maples), with usual variations. We did see some small birds around the temples; there are deer and bears in the mountains, the slopes of which are steep but the tops are so shaped that roads there are easy—getting up and down is the problem and there were actually thirty-nine hair-pin turns on the way up.

We lunched at the hotel, good food as usual: cream of onion, soup, a large salad—about the best so far for Japan has not the knack of salad making, trout and a choice of steak or frankforter with cheese which I found very good, all the vegetables you wanted, real strawberry jello and tea. Strawberries are the cheapest fruit just now and despite warnings I found them far better than our Imperial Valley red mush which passes for them. There were not many people in the hotel—the festival season being over and the summer season not yet begun. It has tourists eight months of the year, and although it snows, there are too many trees to provide ski-runs and it would be a shame to cut them down.

We next visited a place where we found Shinto Shrines and Buddhists temples together, the first place where this was done. These were established by the great Chinese influence. It appears that after the overthrow of the Mings, or even before, many Chinese artists and craftsman came to Japan.

All the gates had guardians and inside of them either a lion and a dog, or a caricature (don’t know the spelling) combining features of both. ‘Taint no such animal perhaps but we also saw many drawings and carvings of the phoenix, symbol of immorality which is an is-you-is or is-you-aint and I don’t know. There were so many details—ornate Chinese colorings which stood out against the ever present green of the forest (few azaleas here), marvelous copper and tile work, floors carefully selected, pillars of oak carved in detail, one pagoda of five stories with the usual symbolic meaning and the high pole-ridge with the usual metal work on top; this top is not entirely symbolic for it seems to steady the tall structures during earthquakes.

There was a lot of taking off and putting on shoes. We walked through the shrines which have a peculiarity: in the temples there are shoji which can be slid back and forth so you can have as many, or as few rooms as you want. This was like a stage with the first act being given in front, then the back wall removed, the second act there, then the wall removed and the final act in a room which could only be occupied by the high Priest and Emperor. Here the Emperor was regarded as an incarnate deity but since the war not so. All the ceilings have figures, and I remember in particular the phoenix and dragon panels, no two alike. The guide did not explain the mirror in the front room. We had another difficulty, that it would rain and stop, but fortunately after it stopped here, we did not run into at all afterwards.

The temples here as well as the one higher up belong to the Tendai sect which is an eclectic form of Buddhism borrowed from China, very broad and catholic and so inclusive that it is difficult to study at all. It also has a small degree of magic and talisman working which some other schools have criticized. But all temples seem to invite monetary offerings at all altars and there are plenty of them. We jumped back and forth from altar to shrine and were met by so many of the usual traveling school children that details are impossible.

We landed in a shrine section where I saw my first Japanese folk dance (Futura-san Shrine). I noticed the legend of the dance refers to Shodo, who was actually a Tendai Buddhist monk whose temple is on the top of the mountain near Lake Chuzanji which we visited later. The dancing is very different from the Noh or the types one sees in S.F. and L.A. There was an accompaniment by flute, large drum and small metallic instruments; this flute is quite lovely. When the dancers turn in a circle, they do not hold on to their garments; in fact much more attention is paid to their swords and I imagine Millie V.K. would appreciate it. But contrary to the sword dances of the Near East, the movements are slow, deliberate and charming. They dance in stocking feet and movements are very well coordinated to the music. The dance is not difficult but much attention is given to head control and poise. It is a control rather than a movement dance and thus in harmony with the Japanese. Although we did hear about the dragon and the dragon-dance here this was about as far removed from them as is conceivable. Folk-dancing is usual seasonal but this is done every day and is supposed to protect travelers. It cost 50Yen, about 15 to see it.

We then went to Kegon waterfall which is the pride of Japan and might be likened to Yellowstone. But there are several small falls in the horseshoe there. We were to have gone to the bottom in a cable but just then 1,111 children arrived, made viewing difficult and the descent impossible.

We then went up to Lake Chuzenji. Here Shodo established the second Tendai temple years ago (8th century or so). How they got the metal up there for the gongs and statues is a mystery but there are copper mines not far away. We had long since been joined by a mother and two daughters from Hawaii. Two of them and I were the only ones interested in seeing the temple. To me it was worth it.

I have not been to Mount Hiei but otherwise this temple showed an advance on Nara and was more “Japanese.” There were not so many figures here nor was the work so ornate. Thus the roof-beams. In general it was comparatively simple, but there was some improvement in the skill and technique of the artists and the statues showed more balance if less imagination. Kwannon was the leading figure (Goddess of Mercy).

I have here omitted two things. In the temple lower down with the dragon ceilings, if you clap your hands you can hear the dragon. Actually there are two roofs and there is a reverberation between them if you make any loud sound or heavy movement. But this sound is clear.

The other thing is that we spent some time before lunch in a curio store and our attention was drawn to various types of foot-gear. My host is opposed to my buying geta, but there is a sort of street sandal which is not costly and may prove very advantageous. I shall price these before leaving and will then, as pre-arranged, send them to Capezios. I shall not buy Japanese clothing or wares but am preparing to visit land again (God willing) going the other way around and using ship from Japan. This would enable me to bring in without freight charge, whatever is purchased.

This lake is high up in the mountains—over 4,000 feet and it was cooler there. There were also some trees but Shodo picked out a wonderful place for meditation and peace. Today there is only one ordained monk there, but there are nice seats from which to view the lake and I am sure, have picnic parts; the Japanese are most careful about cleaning up trash and in sacred places, no smoking.

We went down a little ways and took a cable car which holds 140 people, goes down a 45 degree grade and has never had an accident. We who have taken Angel’s Flight in L.A. had something to contrast. It is a long decline and we went through a long and a short tunnel so there was little to see except near the bottom where we crossed above a stream running over rapids.

Back at the hotel I had beer and the others gradually warm saki which they had never tasted before. The trip was rather uneventful; certainly for me who slept. Being tired and taking beer, you can’t have insomnia. So now I am wide enough awake to type and not wait for the morrow.

I learned several things about Hong Kong such as there are more the old and the bicycle type of riksha, very cheap and very comfortable. Also it is hot. Today it was not.

Bought a set of post-cards for the East-West Gallery, 350 Union St. (Rudolph Schaeffer) and another set the disposition of which is not yet decided.

Not seen geisha-gallies, eat-um with chopsticks dandy, but great discovery, Japanese national game, base-baru. Velly nice, only they say very and my name is Samaru; which is between Sameru, the most sacred mountain and Samarai, a noble warrior; you takes your pick. Saturday I pick up my own calling cards which are needed here. I have a stack of them.




June 1, 1956


My dear Harry,

It is six o’clock and I have just completed a very important day—I think, but almost every day has been important and I seem to meet people and go places which are quite different from nearly all tourists and I am one of the few, and perhaps the only American who has been permitted inside some very sacred places; and often I am shown things through the back door both literally and symbolically.

Yesterday I went to Nikko which may be called the Yosemite of Japan. The town itself is 2,000 feet up and we climbed another 2,000 before the day was over, over a hairpin road which has 39 switchbacks. I have never been troubled by Japanese driving. And I have been a most un-disappointed man. For instance I was told there was not much color in Japan after the Cherry and Wisteria seasons. Instead I saw Azaleas: the white and lilac-purple were distinct but there were a number from red to salmon-pink and beyond, sometimes pure, sometimes faded as if there was some cross-breeding. When we got up high we found Rhododendrons, and all these were in bloom.

We found Pines, Cypress, Cedars and Cryptomeria and a few Paulownias, and the gradual disappearance of the Gingkos. I want to go again without taking the tourist trip which, while costly, is worth it. But I am interested in the flora and in Buddhist art and not in going to Western hotels to eat Western meals. However I did consume a quart of Japanese beer in the early evening and had ice-cream on the way back—you get real ice-cream in Japan.

The waterfall (Kegon) is like Yellowstone, but there are a number of small falls in sight. The slopes are very steep and we came down via a cable-car which holds 140 people and had never had an accident. My fellow-travelers included two Los Angelinos and we made fun of Angel’s Flight there which was insignificant by contrast. The lake above is very peaceful and the tops of the mountains are somewhat flattened out. This is important for there is hunting there and no one could follow animals on the slopes, but up above it is possible.

I have written to Mervin Slosberg and asked him to give a carbon to you; I often write in duplicate and copy of this is for the boys on the Highway. For what I failed to find out yesterday—the names of local trees, etc. I learned today and more. In fact I am sending you one or two packets under separate cover by straight mail. These include “Forest Research,” “Correction of Principal Research Themes,” “List of Themes in the Bulletins of the Government Forest Experiment Station,” and three papers of the type one might find in “Hillgardia.” Also some minor papers. More important is “A list of planted trees and shrubs in the Asakawa Arboretum.” This saves me the trouble of listing everything I might have seen today at Government Forest Experiment Station, Megura, Tokyo, Japan. It also gives you an opportunity to ask for seeds, cuttings or plants. You may hear from them directly or through Mr. Kinoshita. Anyhow I have given them your name and both addresses: one for correspondence, one for specimens.

I also have a carbon of letter Mr. Kinoshita has written to you and I may have some other things around which will be mailed later. In turn I was asked specifically for seeds, cuttings or anything of: Alnus nitida Endlicher, Alnus cremastogyne Burkill, Alnus lanata Duthie ex Bean, Carpinus orientalis Mill, Rauwolfia serpentine.

I gave them the address of Prof. Hottes, mentioned Michigan and Cornell, and, as you can gain from the detailed diary which follows, Prof. Stout, UCLA; Howell in G.G. Park and MacMinn at Mills.

This has been a very full day, not completed. However it is going to be followed by other visits the week after next, and possibly a repeat here. A petition is also under way for me to go to more restricted places and if it goes through I may have at least one more day of surprises.

We took a cross-town line to Meguro Station which trip cost only 10 Yen or 3¢, then a taxi of 70 yen or about 20¢ to the head office. Before I went in I saw Cercis canadensis and Elaeagnus pungens Thunbergia. As many plants had “Thun” after them I asked why and they told me that Thunberg was the first Occidental who really showed interest in Japanese flora and the first to visit this place. There were a number of Robinias around; actually this tree has become a sort of weed and nuisance, as it crowds out various timber and ornamental trees. We were shown around by Prof. Takeyasu Ishikawa, head of the Silviculture Division and Kiseo Yamaji who was very much interested in you and may write separately; it is also possible that others may write separately. I am not encouraging this too much until I am sure of Quarantine permits at each end. Mr. Kinoshita’s organization is all prepared for international shipments and combined ones might cut down on costs. But everybody was very eager to exchange greetings and specimens. In any case, after you get the lists, you could write either to the station or to Mr. Kinoshita yourself.

Leaving the office the first things I noticed were P. yunnanensi and B. microphylla. They showed me a huge Zelkova of which they are very proud and rightly so and then I especially asked that you receive seeds or specimens. Next they showed me a large weeping Ilex, the only kind that grows in Japan, I. crenata Thun. convex Makino. We the passed on to their “live oak,” Cyclobalanopsis stenophylla Schott. This is used for making charcoal but again I asked them to see you get it. Next a Daphne odora Thun. leucantha Makino.This grows very much larger than in the States, far larger than the largest I have seen in Marin, for instance. Also it blooms early, being the first flower of the year. We were then shown a laying out garden with root cuttings of a Formosan Paulownia, then Firs and Larches. Japanese Spruce, P. stukensis, is quite different from any I have seen. Then the White Pine, called P. koraiensis but still is a native of Japan. Then the Ash section, I think it was F. [anurans] Sieboldiana. Next we saw a huge C. camphora, then Chamaecypari obtusa. Then P. palustris Miller and a quite tall Thuja orientalis Linnaeus pendula partdori, which weeps, but does not come true from seeds—these return to original habit.

Morning June 2. We were next taken to a lab. which would have delighted you. They are studying bark beetles which infest the pine trees used for lumber. They have not been able to discover as yet any disease resisting varieties and indications are that cross-breeding is ineffective. Soils, weather, and ecological factors, etc. do not affect the beetles which are a menace. At present the only control seems to be BHC spraying…. Another section of this department is concerned with pests in general. The beetle family seems to supply the worst enemies. They showed me with a certain smile the Japanese beetle which they confess is as dangerous as claimed but also showed me a vicious California beetle which is now causing damage there. They also have their students do bug collecting although this section was made up of professionals and semi-professionals and all detailed work is done by hired labor. (Don’t have Pete tell his classes!)

There was a dogwood, C. contraversa, I think, still showing flowers. I told them a little about dogwood and, incidentally, while touching on Californians, spoke about the wild Lilac and I hope you get some Ceanothus seeds. I also saw the Japanese Tilia and one large Catalpa which they say does very well. Although we walked slowly, our party was joined by the director of each section when we came to it. Mostly there were about six of us, and with more conversations, some requiring an interpreter, some not, I forgot to attend to my notes. I must say that in all departments they used either the English or the International scientific standard word, so conversations were questions-and-answers or side-commentaries.

We next went to the Mycology Department which is one of their prides and joys, with already a large commercial outlet, chiefly the Chinese. Most of the section consisted of large oak logs, about 2½’ long and 3” diam. Leaned against each other. They use systems something like budding and place the mycelium in the holes, where they grow. Q. celata is used. It takes 3 years for the first production, and there are two crops per year. The first comes in Spring and another, a minor one in Autumn after the Summer rains. The fruit can weigh about 120% of that of the logs, and does. The prediction was that these logs would last 120 years and they have already been in use for 80 years. They collect mushrooms both “wet” and “dry” largely for experimental purposes to determine size and weight, but above all odor and taste. This has now been settled, but they keep many specimens on help to help explanation. The logs themselves are in the shade. They do not use the natural forest for collecting mushrooms as do the French; they say it is too expensive and now the crop produced artificially is better in every way. There is a danger of “foreign” mycelium infestation; on the other hand there may be spontaneous production, as there was, but it is always small and not worth the labor of handling. They place the spawn in bottles with cotton and cuttings and “feed” with rice hulls which have found to be very good.

They are also experimenting with large logs and have an instrument which imbeds the mycelium which themselves are imbedded in sawdust. This has not proved as good as the other but they will continue the experimentation. It requires some skill to set in the sawdust capsules. Sawdust is also used in the culture. I have eaten these mushrooms and also had soup from them; some Chinese restaurants in S.F. either use the same or a similar variety.

I next saw Lithocarpus edulis which is also used for food. Then Distylium racemosum, a Hamamelidaceae from southern Kyushu; I did not believe we had anything like it and asked if seeds could be sent to you. As we walked toward another lab we saw a rather high shrub: Pieris japonica! When I mentioned this was comparatively rare and expensive in California they laughed; it grows all over their forests. But I gave them the name of Prof. MacMinn of Mills, as I think they ought to have his books. From this point on everything is from memory:

We saw an ultra microscope and they used it in operation (Ray Herman should be interested in this). They put a piece of plastic against the twig cuttings and then put them in a pressure machine at 180° making the impression on the plastic. This is then put under the microscope and the result is a large picture of cells or what not. At the moment they are engaged in pitch investigation and I saw some of the pictures in the wood technology lab later on. This was all new but the wood-tech man comes from Wisconsin and speaks good English. About two years ago they built the wood-tech labs and at the same time introduced the latest equipment both into that building and into the histological and other departments, so from this point on I was often way ahead or way behind.

From this point on my report is from memory: we went into the Soils Department. The first room was devoted to Soils Physics and they made tests and observations. There is a general comment here and I make not of it because I want to compare it with India, etc. There is a class distinction and all manual work seems to be done by laborers. No one could do what you do, pick up the soil and get some idea of the feeling nor did I see the simple Michigan method of determining organic matter. All was exact engineering or microscopic tests, often to find what to an American would be most obvious. These people were fine scientists minus instinct and generally also minus direct experience. And I regret to say also that some of the entourage showed slight signs of provocation when my interest in the Soils Dept. in general was very high.

They did not use a Michigan method in soil testing but apparently their own derivative from Oriental Analysis which seemed to me rather long and complex although very exact. To my surprise, they did not use any electrical method for determining the pH, but a much simpler system even than the one you had. Nor do they determine pH exactly but roughly, to the nearest unit or half-unit—for forestry purposes that is close enough. On the other hand they had an electrical microscope with both a meter and a very exact color-microscope to determine N, K and P down to a small point. I would like very much to have seen this in action, but I have already reported their reactions. Unfortunately, too, the director of this section was away and there is a certain degree of noblesse oblige.

At this point I wish to say you may copy, use or repeat any of these notes in any way you like and share with whomsoever you would like. You may want to make extracts, etc. for interested parties; please do so. Actually it helps both Mr. Kinoshita and myself to work with strongly placed individuals rather than share all around.

Then we went into the forestry lining out grounds where different conifers, mostly cuttings, are placed in beds with pH 4, 5 and 6 respectively. It is too early to determine results. But my parting words were that I want to visit the place again or on a later trip—and I hope I can go again before I leave Japan.

We were also shown the Soil Microbiology section, the director of which is very enthusiastic and I am mailing you folders on some results. I did mention Hillgardia to them without much response and I am not pressing U. C. on them so we can let that go now. This work is very exact and very fruitful to some degree. They are very much interested in Acacia and work covers at the moment A. decurrens, mollissima, bayleyana and melanoxylon. There is also a large New Zealand delegation here who have introduced A. koa (I believe). We also discussed the advantages of Australia-California and New Zealand-Japan reciprocity and then the cross-exchanges between these groups. Frost has killed many Acacias but they want them for southern and eastern Japan.

This carried us to a station where they do two kinds of experimentation with water solutions, roots kept in the solution. One was on feeding control, minus and plus N. P, K and Mn. The other of the big three with and without inoculation. But these inoculation treatments also cover several non-leguminacae. The Greenhouse immediately adjacent has some curious experiments—the above with two types of trees placed together to see if they would rob or assist each other. In general Alnus and Pine work together but Robinia is a thief. Incidentally they are very much interested in Alders and I have mentioned species above which they would like to have.

Another glass house had experiments in pine cuttings. They have been trying 2-, 3- and 5-needle pines, with or without “eyes” and have been able to get some cuttings to root and so well in six months. They use a sort of roughly powdered brick. I purposely omitted making any statements here to enable you to make your own suggestions—my stock is pretty well up and beside, you have a certain prestige here. Let’s go to it.

The interest in microbiology gave me the opportunity to plug for Atlas. They realize the dangers of inorganics where the rains are heavy, or there is a drought. This is not so bad for most of Japan but the North and Hokkaido are in the fog area. We discussed this at tea and I told them that both Prof. MacMinn and you could be helpful; also U.W. at Seattle. I told them of Eucalyptus in S.F. etc. I have asked Mr. Kinoshita to go with me to the Australian Embassy but if he cannot I think I shall go anyhow, for I should be meeting problems again which involve Australians. And for the students and alumni, they don’t know about Pittosporum and Cotoneaster here!

We finally went into the Wood Technology Bldg. (note the word finally). Here I was in strange ground. But with a U. of Wisconsin director the language problem did not arise. We saw ultramicroscopic as well as macroscopic pictures of various types of sawing and planing, advantages and disadvantages of different saws, plywood, veneer, etc. They are doing work here also for Phillipine timbers and I saw some wonderful samples, especially for floor boards. When they wanted to show me the bamboo section I threw up my hands. I told them that I had little time and to stay less than half an hour in that division would please neither them nor myself. I do not see how one can rush through bamboo. In fact I am already planning another trip, either if this one is successful, or on further demise of relatives leaving me more money, I want to go into this more fully.

Our last venture was of more interest to you—bamboo as forestry weed. At present they simply mow it. I mentioned to them the selective weed killers which were just coming into use, those that killed lawn-invaders and those that killed Graminaceae, grasses, etc. But I never once mentioned Dow, Dupont or anybody, again leaving this in your hands.

In the same section was a lawn, all P. pratensis which they find neither satisfactory as a lawn, nor the cuttings good for compost or mulch. This may also give you an opportunity. I said we had some new and excellent grass mixtures on the market in California. And with a million opportunities to say “Ferry-Morse,” I kept quiet here, too. But I do believe that this corporation would be interested in my ventures, and when I visited them the secretary was one Mrs. Frances Bradley who was once an assistant to me—so the in would be easy, but you take it from there.

I came back with apparently no engagement for Saturday June 2, but my guide-interpreter friend, Mr. K. Okuda, formerly of Daibutsu in Chinatown was waiting for me. He has been invited to a special luncheon to act as interpreter for members of the L.A. symphony orchestra who are here now, and he made it appear that he was obligated to help me, so I go also. And I have other later engagements.

Next week I shall be for a while in the village of Itako which used to be the Iris center. Then I come back to meet Mr. Kinoshita’s employer, baron Nakashima, who is a big wig and quite an important member of the House of Lords. I have already submitted a paper to him and he has commissioned me to write two others and I have about four other writing engagements. After that I come back to Tokyo to go with Mr. K. to Tokyo U. and some special parks and gardens and, perhaps, to follow up introductions made by the worthy noble. My host tonight, Kaoru Nakashima is an old friend who used to be Vice-Consul in S.F. and I shall ascertain if there is any relationship.

As my work in the fields of Buddhism and Japanese Art have been just as heavy and so far just as productive as this, you can see how things are going. For the moment it is almost a heavy financial investment but it is up to me now to see that it pays.

In my letter to Mervin Slosberg, which I sent in duplicate, one for yourself, I told about his friend Mrs. Littlefield, wishing to market stone-lanterns in the U.S. and I mentioned at least one possible outlet. But I have already made a sale and think I can follow this up. In any event I shall keep you informed. It is a wonderful thing and still more marvelous after a tragic past to running a batting record of many, many runs, still more hits and practically no errors. But I keep watching and trying to practice self-control. I also delight people because I am a good operation of the chopstick and enjoy Japanese meals.

Next week I also begin lessons in the language.

Best regards to your staff and to the VIPs on the hill. I hope to have something really for Lloyd Luckmann when I return. And, oh yes, if you see Archie Cloud, tell him I have already submitted some poetry and will also let you know how this comes out.


Samuel L. Lewis



June 3, 1956


The question of whom to dedicate the diary for the day was answered in a very curious manner. For most of the day was spent in company of Silvio Lavatelli who now lives in Eagle Book and was the desk-mate of Wencislao Villalpando at Old Faithful, P.P.I.E. in San Francisco.

While Friday had been an exceedingly full day, I found my friend and interpreter act as interpreter Kiichi Okuda, formerly of Daibutsu, S.F. waiting for me. He had been asked to act as interpreter for two members of the L.A. symphony orchestra now touring the country and we were both invited to a special luncheon. Mr. Kawanichi, who has relatives in California, one an accomplished violinist, acted as host. We had a hard time locating the musicians later Friday night because there is no way to spell “Lavatelli” in Japanese, but we did come close to Jonkel, his companion. We had another difficulty because the army hosts the orchestra first, then they go to Yokohama, then they come back to Tokyo to play for the general public at high prices. It seems that the Japanese, overtaxing the American tourists, in turn pay extra prices for American entertainment. But there is a rage for American music and Strauss.

On top of that, Silvio had come in with Army script and buy Yen by the complicated method of first buying travelers cheques. This took some time at the Bank of America which was swarmed by Californians of all descriptions; Okuda-san even ran into an old business associate from S.F. One just talked to anybody and it was probably an old neighbor, especially for me who lived all over the State. While this was going on KO and myself crossed the street to see if my calling cards were ready; they were not but we were told to come back in ten minutes. While we were window shopping the girl-clerk rushed out to find us and bring us back as the cards had come. We finally finished all business at the B.A. at 11:40.

Herbert Jonkel is about 6’3” and wide around the girth. In spite of that he is not a piccolo player, he is a tuba player and was the first person to play the part of Tubby the Tuba Player! He is a Buddhist and a lover of Buddhist art. He also came from the Baltic section of Germany and loves folk arts, so we had a marvelous time. He lives Box 155A, Tujunga, and I said I would visit him when I next went to see my uncle in San Fernando.

Silvia Lavatelli, 1100 Rockdale Ave., L.A. 41, plays the cello in the course of conversation we found out we each now W.V. so I concluded to send the diary notes to Helen. S.L. is a typical Italian artist, learns the Japanese language and customs quickly and loved all the charming and wondering things about the arts.

We drove to Chinzan-So which is to the Northwest. This belonged to Prince Aritomo Yamagata, during the Meiji era. The place burned in 1945 but restored in 1952. We spent some time going around the garden which contains 8,000 trees and plants, some stone carving, some stones partially carved and some just set in the gardens. The large pond seems natural. The walks have been made to appear natural rather than artificial, so the lawns. Except for being very clean, it has a natural setting. The folder received will remain with the diary.

We had a Genghis Khan lunch which cost about $10 for four. The ingredients rather resemble those of sukiyaki, but also roughly so. The meat is a little thicker; onions both large and green, mushrooms, peppers and sweet potatoes are added. The whole is broiled over charcoal after being dipped in a soy preparation. Very tasty and you can have as much as you want. They gave us beer during the meal, also as much as you wanted. Even Herbert said that Japanese beer is supreme and superior to his native beer or that of Czechoslovakia—which is something. Kawanichi remarked about my skill with chopsticks, but after all, I am a veteran and the musicians were novices.

After we ate all we could we were served rice and pickled vegetables and tea. We then went to Kawanichis.

This home has a wonderful stone garden in front which took Silvio’s breath away, and one does not blame him. Okuda-san explained the theory of rock gardens to them, how the Japanese used small spaces as well as large ones, but made gardens beautiful, whether huge like the one seen in the morning, or even tiny; or if they had no yards, built tray gardens—which have not yet been introduced into the States.

We took off our shoes, went inside and were served tea and confections; these were prettier and sweeter than any I had yet had, made by Mrs. K. We had plenty of conversation on art, music, and many things but on a high level, Later on Mrs. K. brought out some kimonos and asked if they could be marketed in the U.S. KO said yes, despite their price, but they looked too beautiful to wear. The more gorgeous, and I mean gorgeous, was of the type used in Noh dances. They then brought out a fireman’s coat and I jumped up and tried it on; but all said it was too warm. So they brought out a festival coat and a string of bells—children put them around their necks; when I found it would cost about 1000 Yen, less than $3.00, I wanted it and may buy it before leaving the country, to be sent with sandals, etc. to Capezio’s, 988 Market St. for display. (time out, late) For some hours we examined wares, told of prospects in the U.S. and discussed Japanese art.

As KO and I had a 5 o’clock appointment and as we heard of some instrument makers nearby, we all wanted to go. H.J. has been collecting flutes and wants a koto; he knows something about koto music and sees tremendous possibilities of combining it with our strings. We both like some of the new “mixed” compositions and all of us agree of the three separate influences from U.S., Latin American and Italy. I also learned that present day Korean music has been influenced by Italy. The Latin-American music is heard more in the instruments, the Italian definitely in the singing.

The string shop was closed. There were kotos and samisens in the window of various degrees of making and also a contraption for making and also a contraption for making and conditioning cat’s guts—from old cats preferable. All instruments are made by hand and slowly; this is definitely a household art.

The flute shop turned out to be a shakuhachi place; I prefer the cross-flute and really wanted one. I also have a Chinese friend who wants a samisen. We saw bamboo of all sizes and conditions; they do not use what we ordinarily call lacquer but a related substance which is water-proof which is put into the main-bore. Each pipe is studied separately and they may be ornamented, aged, etc. Prices run from as low as about $3, away up, accordingly. There is a concert today, Sunday June 3, but the orchestra plays for the military. I had planned to go but Okuda-san will be free so we shall be together in the p.m. His friends, the Homas return to S.F. today.


Omission: While we were at our host’s he took out a large dictionary to show us cuts of Australia and Japanese armor. Later I looked through it and follow the woodwind variation of the first movement of Bizet’s “L’Arlesienne.” I was reminded that on the visit to Nikko some high school girls were singing the theme of the opening movement and I caused great amusement by singing along with them.



June 6, 1956


Dear Miriam,

This is not a letter but a continuation of my diary. We met Kaoru at 5 o’clock on June 3 and he took us “down town” to the Ginza area to a Chinese restaurant, or a Japanese version of what a Chinese restaurant is. While I enjoyed his company, there is a system of exchange of gifts which may take on almost a “pot-latch” aspect and put the other fellow in a difficult position. But this is never discussed. I had brought him some things because it was natural.

We started off with shark’s-fin soup, and we also ended with another soup, before tea. Rice is served, as in many parts of China, only at the end, not as we have it, throughout the meal. We had servings of fish, a sliced chicken with a sort of bean-sprout noodles, very light and delightful; some mushroom dish; some meat which my teeth could not handle; at least one vegetable dish and on until we could not eat more. Then rice and tea. We walked around and enjoyed everything until we got our first set-back. He took us to the public bath-house and showed us the works—public and private baths, bars, dance-halls, cabarets, etc. Finally we agreed to have a glass of port and we got it. In the first place we were served dubonnet which costs more, then we were given a lot of things we did not eat; then there was a cover charge, etc. and the whole thing, with the two taxes amounted to 3,000 Yen, which is about $8—robbery. Part of this was due to Kaoru’s telling them we were from San Francisco; another part was due to my failure to continue my role of Buddhist devotee which has stood me in good stead.

The sad part of all this is that the place was empty excepting for some “shills,” and this on a Saturday night. They wanted me to dance and it is fortunate also I told them I was a writer, not a dancer. It is noticeable that there were many, many Americans in the baths and none in the drinking places—this despite two consignments of new GI’s and at least one of New Zealanders during the week. The place was packed by employees and I could see the girls were not having a good time, for their salaries depend upon patronage. What was sadder was that they do not seem capable of learning. They have roles to play and they play them to perfection, but uselessly. What is more, they must dress well; where is the money coming from.

To the further credit of the Americans, they were either going to the Kabuki to see Mei-Lan Fangi, or more likely, if they were GI’s staying at Camp Drake to hear the L.A. Symphony orchestra playing that night (we hosted two members during the day). Even on a bright Saturday night—an interlude during the rainy season—the “sporting” places were not getting anything from foreigners. We did see a Japanese mah-jongg parlor, quite filled, and many of them playing the local variation of pin-ball.

I had to loan Kaoru some money—I always keep well-heeled, and that morning I had drawn for the whole following week. He paid it back Sunday but I wish he had not. He gets a very good salary, but there is also a very good tax collector. He would like to return to the States and if I have a chance to write to Russell Smith I shall do so. I shall telephone him again when I return to Tokyo.

Sunday morning started out all right. I went to the English service at Nishi-Honganji and gave the celebrants some information of Kyoto and parts of the very bright reports I had given to Mr. Kotani there during the week. I also said good-by for a while. But in the afternoon I took sick. It was probably more psychic than physical. Hardly 15 days in Japan and I had met more people and seen more things than some Americans do, I am told, in years. I had no rest, but a continual series of surprises, delights, and even triumphs. Fortunately KO telephoned and brought me some APC pills which I took then and Monday morning. I even slept while he was in the room. I ate nothing all day save some strawberries I had bought in the market.

Monday morning I ate milk-toast as he advised. Packed and checked things; went to bank, travel bureau, paid some 22,000 Yen at hotel, covering 8 days, extra lunch for Kinoshita, laundry, and incidentals—this covered all tips excepting 100Y for the bell-boy. Extra expenses over this period were probably around 700Y but postage for the morning about 500Y, nearly $1.50. Large and unusual, but will do for a while.

Diary is generally written at once, but due to illness and travel, this has been delayed. Kaoru has a son attending college in S.F. I again reminded him that he should let Miriam know, that she would be glad to meet him and extend her hospitality. I shall again remind him when we meet.

Nearly 11:30 we took the train for Ochimidzu, Tokyo being the end of the line for it, and at Ochimidzu we took the train for Chiba. That being the end of the line for it. That way we were assured of our seats. At Chiba we had to wait 1 ½ hours. So we walked around the town and looked at the shrine. I did not want tendon and I did not want chicken. We finally found a place which serves sushi (raw fish) and bento (sweet bean curd cakes) wrapped in rice. That is what wanted and I ate heartily much more than KO. But he enjoyed them and I said I liked much better than the Genghis Khan luncheon we had Saturday. That luncheon must have cost at least $10 for four; this was 120Y for two!—about 35c and we enjoyed it more. There are certain tastes I enjoy and it just seems that so far as Japan goes, these cover less expensive foods. This was fine because KO insisted on buying—here I am his guest, not he mine. We also bought some for Mrs. Okuda.

We then took the second-class for Samara. This actually was not much more comfortable than the third class—the other second class trains were wonderful. But it was more private and cleaner. The country-side was nicer than most of what I had seen and the evidences of prosperity greater. This is one of the best rice-sections in Japan, both for quality and quantity. Also the fields are larger. As it is already planted at Itako, I cannot tell how they work here, but on the way it was mostly peasant hand-labor.

At Samara we boarded a taxi, crossed a bridge, passed through a village and finally (from the shopping-center standpoint) came to another. But from the P.O. standpoint I think it is all Itako. Again I was undisappointed. Okuda-san kept telling me the iris—for which the place was famous—are nearly all gone or the blooming season passed. But I saw, and I see as I write, plenty of iris.

We came to a hotel—really an inn—operated by friends of his. My room is simple and here one has to use public wash-room, lavatory and bath. The bath was hotter than in Kyoto and larger. KO kept the cool water running until I could take it with such ease I could move to warmer portions. But this public bath was larger than either of the two at the inn in Kyoto and I liked it better therefore. There was just one shower, and this American style. The flush-toilets are Japanese style. The cost is 1000Yen daily, or about $3 and this covers two meals.

For supper I refused eels but they brought squid—which are certainly (to me) not as bad as eels; also raw fish, and cooked small fish and larger, plenty of vegetables, rice and soup. For breakfast ham, 1 egg, seaweed, vegetables, some fish, rice and tea. There was meat at night but my teeth could not handle it—I have not particularly enjoyed the meal here except sukyaki, but I have enjoyed all fish, raw, pickled, cooked and served hot, warm or cold. We had different bean-curd materials each meal. Before breakfast here we had tea and pickled plums.

Okuda-san has been in and out. There is a letter from Uchiro which he has not brought so I shall stop for a while at this point.

The diary must stop at this point. The letter was in Japanese and I shall write to Miriam shortly of its contents and of plans. Kaoru has urged this visit on me so I can see Koyasan, which was my intention anyhow. There was a newspaper article that Mary Tabushi has from San Francisco....



June 7, 1956


Post Card to Delaplane and Daughter (Maybe)


Dear S.D.

America-jin Nippongo ga wakarmiasen—American does not understand Japanese. However I once was a pen-pal to Richard Haliburton. R.H. wrote Royal Roads to Romance and died. I have not written and I did not die.

The chief difference between us is that I have a French accent. I am, like him, a perennial bachelor and have become a perennial rover. But I do not forget, “les demoiselles, toujours les demoiselles.” In fact in Japan you cannot forget them. In the inn at Kyoto I had one who made … better skip you have some female readers. I have some now.

I am the only American in Itako, a village some miles to the North-east of Tokyo. It used to be known for its irises and its beautiful girls. It was the training-ground for many geisha, especially those who kow-towed to the diamio and the VVVV.I.P’s. I was told that today Itako ain’t what it used to be. Be, no more pretty girls, no more iris. Well I have been undisappointed for the umpteenth time. What do you suppose I have seen in Itako? Right, with Eversharp and its $64,000 successor.

In fact, they are putting on an iris show and I shall probably air-mail a report to Harry Nelson, Greenhouse, City College. This shows how much the public knows about Itako, hussies! In fact I have a maid (Oh! I forgot, you have female readers.)

Today was spent with les jeunes filles. I was taken to the junior high school, English class, corresponding to the 9th grade. They made me honorable teacher. I heard many girls read and one boy. Then I told them to how to make money from knowing English. They liked me.

While I was waiting for the VIP. I did an umbrella dance and started a take-off on George E. Cohan, but the VIP arrived. At the close of the class I sang for them, a song from the “Geisha,” or rather the opening chorus, “Happy Japan.” Good-will rush from stratosphere to ionosphere, or what have you. Everybody happy.

Came back to inn. Last night full of honorable gentlemen. Take ofuro, which is honorable bath, all alone. Take hot water, all alone. Enjoy it, all alone. Come out and put on kimono, wrong. Soon loads of tittering. Les dames et les demoiselles all over the place and all rush to fix my kimono.

Now I am in Richard Haliburton’s shoes, but I shall retain my French accent, n’est-ce pas? Anyhow am invited to speak to the teachers. I think I prefer les jeunes filles, n’est-ce pas?




Slept wonderfully despite party being on. Maid interrupted me to take heavy roll away and give me soft cushion. Slept long and well, with curiously happy dreams at end. Walked before breakfast. Good but with ham, which is also hard for me to eat. Raw eat. Lots of sea-weed. Did some writing and KO came to get my trousers fixed. He did not come back. Got good cleansing, then went out for walk. Maid saw me and took me to Okudas. Nice lunch—first time I really enjoyed tuna. Same with peppers and tomatoes, toast, cheese and coffee. KO brought me some coffee too, but I shall not use much of it. Started to leave clothing there and book for Kegon, Nara and vase for R.S. Other things for Harry and Rudolph shortly. Wrote long diary notes and letters.

P.M. went to Rinzai temple, closed, and then to nearby school as above. Back at 4:30, bath at 5 and now, nearly six, waiting for dinner.



June 7, 1956


Dear Evelyn, Grace and Jim (the rest of you can cock you ears): I am in the village of Itako, in Barbaki Prefecture which is some distance north-east of Tokyo. I am living in a ryokan, which is a Japanese inn, dressed in kimono and sleeping on the floor and I mean sleeping—on the floor. I eat raw fish with chopsticks and like it and I drink all day because everywhere you go they serve tea.

Itako used to be known for its iris, pretty girls and fine geisha. I was told that they are not here anymore. So I give you all three guesses what I have seen in Itako. I think you are all right on the first guesses so let’s go ahead.

The first thing I saw in Itako was a bed of iris. They were very fine. Today we were going around the city and found a place where they are going to have an Iris show, an annual affair. I hope I can get in. I always seem to get in by the back door. I have been in temples and met some very prominent Buddhist leaders—by the back door. Don’t ask me how; I just get in. I have seen beautiful paintings and gardens which few Americans have ever heard of, even those who are authorities. (This is for Margaret).

Now Julius: When I was in Kyoto I lived in an inn and it cost about $6 a day and the food was worth $6 and all the time I had the most beautiful maid looking after me, much more beautiful than the geisha I may tell you about later. Now I am in Itako and it costs only $3 and I have a pretty maid who is much better looking than the geisha who are performing below and whom I may go and see again in a few months. Why don’t you come to Itako?

They don’t do any folk-dances any more—excepting, of course, where the tourists do not visit. In booklets I have found that folk-dancing is best preserved in the western part of the islands and in the small islands off shore so I do not know whether I can see them. Also they are having a folk-dancing festival just after I leave, dog-gone the luck! But one can’t be everywhere all the time.

The geisha do not seem to me to be prettier than other girls; in fact I prefer my maid who has just come in (don’t crowd, fellows) with lemon squash and loquats. The folk-dancing resembles the Hawaiian in the way they tell stories with their hands. They are wearing kimonos with the Iris theme in keeping with the local folk-songs and folk-traditions. The steps are simple and in the final number of the first series, a comedian got up and joined them—and did at least as well as the girls.

Music was samisen, the three-stringed instrument, and drums, the players of which sang during the dancing. They worked much harder and took no rest. Now I have to eat the fruit. Her name is Sako-san, or Miss Sako. I teach her a little English and she teachers me a little Japanese.

Today I visited the junior high and had to talk—and sing. I also did a little dancing, balancing an umbrella on my fingers. Tomorrow I visit the senior high.

Later: More folk-dances, solo by a man, excellent but short; then a long travesty by a man; then a fine duet by geisha which could easily be made into a couple dance. They had an interesting hand clasp from the back which I have never seen but did not exploit it to full—the drama rather than intricate patterns seems to be the idea. The music was in slow 4/4 time mostly. One could learn them without great difficulty. The steps are not intricate either. Now, it is quite late and I have a heavy day tomorrow. The above was also interrupted by host-friend-interpreter coming in and going over correspondence and forthcoming plans.




The first part of the diary for June 8 is being sent to Hazel Reeve for reasons that are obvious in its content. I arose early and went out for a long walk, going as far as the Itako hotel. They have put in a modern Iris garden there and I was fortunate to being taken there again later in the day, and at evening. They are just introducing bearded Iris but my friends, the Okudas, have some in their garden.

This place is the Iris center of Japan, like Santa Rosa once was a rose center—but I do not know about Iris growing elsewhere. At night they have lights on and many people visit the place which is kept weeded and the place is given what we should call proper care.

When I returned my maid insisted I take a bath and it was my first experience with mixed bathing, but the water was not too hot. I had hardly finished breakfast when my friend Okuda arrived. We had to go over some matters; he had packages ready for two monasteries. We went to the express office but no one was there. The place was very busy what with the ferry that crosses the river and the one that goes to the next town taking on (after letting off) passengers, and possibly a little freight loading. But it all seemed to be self handled.

We then went to the P.O. which occupies a large but old building. Postage, which included both air-mail and regular to the U.S. cost 500Yen which is over $1.50. This is one expense which runs high and it is going to run high today (June 9). The postmaster is a relative of my hosts so I was introduced to him; everybody gathered around and listened. Some can read but none can speak English, but all know geography.

The civil service for the postal department requires a high standing and a job there is one of honor; the pay is also better than in some other services—they were certainly better dressed than the school teachers despite the fact that their work could not always be so clean. There were a large number of clerks in contrast to the few at the windows and they were much more busy, too. I told them a little about post offices in the U.S., how today they often have fine, modern buildings and in some towns and villages the P.O. is the most imposing structure there, often with offices.

This place was no doubt all right in summer but it must take a stiff person to work there in the winter, for there are opening sections—they have a stove, it is true, which is rather rare, but still I do not think it would be nice. In the warm weather they dress lightly.

We spent some time there and then went to Okudas where I had an American breakfast for lunch–grapefruit, hot cakes and coffee. They use something like a desert sugar here, but we had bottled maple syrup. After that we went to Kashima shrine which is several miles away, toward the ocean, and built on a mesa plateau. The height and the tall woods modulated the heat, so it was the most pleasant day since I arrived. They have retained all the natural forest, which contains many kinds of trees. Their cryptomeria – which they call “cedar” takes the place of our redwood. Their live-oak has trunk and branches like our live oak but is much taller and has a very un-oak-like leaf, the same being quite regular. But it does have acorns and they are good to eat—sweet and something like pine nuts. We went down to a charming pool where we rested and I bought—this weakness I cannot overcome—postcards for my friends. After tea we walked some more then took the bus home and I took a second bath.

At night Okuda-san dropped in again and brought his best student. We talked a while and then visited all the Iris places—this was fine physically but I am not getting my typing done and am beginning to worry. Attention is wonderful, but…. I was supposed to come here for a rest.

(Hazel, the night before I was invited—by the back door—to see geisha folk dance. There is not much folk dancing where I have been—I am either too early, too late, or in the wrong parts of Japan).



Thursday, June 7


I am not sure of the date but it may be right. It is late in the afternoon and raining. I am living in a small town which is the home of my friend, Kiichi Okuda and I think our old friend Kyogen Senzaki might like to have the diary for the day. Every day I write my diary and make a copy for some friend, one who may be interested.

Last night Okuda-san came over to this ryokan or Japanese inn where I am living. I am living in Japanese style, eating raw fish and Japanese food, sleeping on the floor, taking hot baths and at this moment wearing a kimono. Sometimes I think I am Lafcadio Hearn #2. Anyhow I opened the package which was addressed to me by mistake; it included two books which I had ordered for Okuda-san some months ago, but had heard no more about them and was beginning to worry over the difference in the bank account because the check was not cashed. Now everything is all right.

One book was on the history of Zen in China of which Mrs. Ruth Sasaki was co-author. Now that Okuda-san has met Mrs. Sasaki and liked her I believe he will also like her book. The other one is The Cat’s Claw which contains a number of things written by Sokei-an and also contains some material by Shaku Soyen. KO is always troubled over my buying him expensive presents but I try only to get him things that he will enjoy.

After that his star pupil came over and we walked around town at night, seeing the iris all over again and enjoying the fine evening and the people. I was very tired at night and my sleep was troubled because with everybody being kind I have so little time for my writing or business. However this morning I was able to write down all the long notes for the previous day’s visits to town’s-people, Kashima shrine and the iris exhibition. I also got my postal cards ready, labeled the packages for Rudolph Schaeffer, the American Academy of Asian Studies and my horticulture teacher, Harry Nelson. I then worked some time on Roshi Asahina’s book and also wrote an outline for my Friday speech at school.

As it was getting late I went over to Okuda-san’s house; we had coffee, fruit and some horse beans that Mrs. Okuda had just picked that morning. Then we walked to the P.O. and my mail cost 400Yen which is about $1.25. Next we went to Soshiji (I think that is the name) Rinzai Zen temple in Itako. The mayor of the town who also is a Rinzai devotee made the arrangements but he had to go away today on business. We passed a Shingon temple but did not stay as KO was not interested. We soon came to a very clean and nice Nichi-Honganji temple and stayed a short while. All the temples here have graveyards attached.

Not far away was the Rinzai Zen temple and we stayed so long that KO became hungry but I was so interested I did not think about eating. We had been there before but no one was in. When a Zen “monk” marries he becomes a “priest” and this temple had been controlled by a priest who died a short while back. Outside is a large bell which is a national treasure. The sutras and much of the preserved correspondence of this place also are national treasures; however exact copies have been made of many things.

At present the place is very clean and the priest’s widow acts as caretaker. Their son is studying at Daikakuji, Kyoto so KO told the lady about Mrs. Sasaki who is living there and I also may write to her about this visit. We saw several pictures of Daruma and several other good pictures, mostly in Zen style. My attention was drawn to a picture on the wall; this was either the same picture or taken from the same negative as the one old Roshi Furukawa brought to San Francisco and based a lecture on—the presumable picture of historical Buddha Sakya Muni. I did not see any such picture at Kamakua and so I was a little excited—anyhow I was too interested to think of food until late in the afternoon.

This has been the only temple so far where I have burned incense, although I have bowed and chanted and meditated in other places, too.

Soshiji is connected with two important names: Yoritomo and Bassho. Yoritomo is one of the most famous names in Japanese history, but the way he treated his brother Yoshitsume has deprived him of admiration to a great extent. He seems to have financed this temple and it is full of relics of him.

The temple itself gives honor to Bassho and has a memorial epitaph for him. This whole country side of full of Bassho. I did give Okuda-san copy of translations of Japanese poetry by Kenneth Rexroth of San Francisco. There is not much Bassho in it but when you read those verses here you can appreciate them fully. Some of the original trees of this temple are still standing and over in Kashima, too, they have preserved the actual trees which were admired by Bassho long ago. This, to me, is one of the great wonders of Japan.

There was another thing in this temple which also excited me—and kept me from getting hungry while Okuda’s stomach was rebelling; the garden in the rear has been constructed to resemble the background in Kamakura. Now we were taken in the rear at Kamakura to see the sacred tombs. There is a steep hill there almost like a wall, which insures privacy and peace. At Itako the landscaping has been made by placing giant trees in the back, and training them like the same kind of wall, then smaller trees in front, then large shrubs, then small shrubs and flowers. The illusion is marvelous but can only be appreciated by those who have seen both—and I do not think many Americans have seen either.

We told the widow about the books from Mrs. Sasaki and are arranging that the young priest (or monk) meet her in Kyoto. We stayed a long time.

We then visited the junior high and arranged for a talk at the senior high on Friday, June 8; also for a gathering at Okuda-san’s house in the evening. We could not meet at any hotel because of a large convention gathering. Both in the afternoon and evening Mrs. Okuda gave us figs and coffee from California. For late afternoon lunch we had the true and mock sushi, both of which I now enjoy.

After that I came home and had another bath and the attendant, having nothing to do, rubbed me down and has gotten me used to hot water—of which I had been afraid. But he makes me take a cold shower at the finish and that one feels after one has been used to the heat. But we can both laugh together and I am gradually learning a few Japanese words and the staff a few English words. I then typed a while until supper—which was large and I could not eat it all—four kinds of fish, three salads, rice and tea. I hardly finished when Okuda-san arrived and when I reached his home there were 8 or 9 teachers already there and then some relatives and his star pupil came in.

I told them what I like least about Japan: instructing students in French methods of drawing, filling their whole canvas with colors; and then about nicer things. Also about Buddhism, exchange of peoples and building up friendships. Although I left late I met a Christian Japanese gentleman at the hotel who spoke good English and so I did not get to bed until late and for the first time slept fully unto 7 o’clock. (I sleep better on the floor than in bed.)

Now I have received a very important letter that I shall be seeing many more things of interest to me in and around Tokyo, including an invitation to the Imperial Gardens. If this goes through it will be a great honor. But the simple things like seeing Bassho’s tombstone and the picture of Sakya Muni may be even greater honors.


Little extra expense. Letter from J.K. to be Tokyo 2 p.m. Monday, to visit Baron Nakshima. 1 p.m. today to high school.




June 9


My Dear Harry:

I am living in a village, northwest of Tokyo, Japanese style. This place has been known for its Iris, geisha, pretty girls and folk songs. I have been told they are no more. So I came to Itako and what do you think I have found? Right! Roger and tres correct. However my maid (and me a perennial bachelor) is much prettier than the geisha and a lot of the girls sing better. But they do not sing folk songs and do not do folk dancing professionally – although last night I saw some of the town girls doing it in the street. I guess they thought I was a G. I. I am the first American here since the G. I.’s left. But we’ll have to skip the girls here and go on to the Irises.

The Japanese name for Iris is Ayami. You have Ayami Hotel here, the geisha wear Iris costume and it is all around like the Rose in Portland and the Chrysanthemum in Oakland. In the morning I had walked to the Itako Hotel and found a modern Iris garden there. I was taken there by the manager of the Iris show both in the afternoon and evening. In the afternoon we met the gardener. This place is weeded, manured, etc. and the weeds are composted. They have added what they call “French” Iris and I call “Dutch” Iris. I explained, however, that it was probable that they did come from France but that the Hollanders have been the professionals in propagating them and spreading them all over the world. They asked me about cutting the leaves and I told them how I do it.

This garden has just been put in and they do not expect it to really flourish for about three years. They used a sort of wooden spatula in weeding—tools are different in different places and so it is the manner of working. But the gardener looked bright and was interested. (I may send a note to the San Rafael Independent later on—I once worked at the Novato Iris gardens when it was in existence.) At night the place was kept lit by lantern lamps. Of course there is the usual water and bridges, etc. They also asked if the Dutch Iris should be on slopes—they have plenty of slope there on which to place, and I told them this was possible.

The Iris show is an annual affair and a sort of town festival, too. Growers bring their plants in, but there are no judges, prizes being awarded by voting. But they have some trouble as the Easter Lily does—the warm weather here pushed them ahead, and if they over-water now the blooms will come out too soon. Generally speaking the exhibits had tall stalks which seem to be highly prized, and I guess rightly. The colors are not quite so varied—reddish hues being absent, and it does not seem to me that they know very much about cross-pollination. Temperature, water, feeding and soil-conditioning are given much attention.

There are large flowers, but the simpler types run more to deep colors and I guess are grown for that purpose. My own hosts have Dutch Iris but have never thought of exhibiting, but again the blooming season is much earlier. You can’t bet on blooming season for the Glads were already in bloom when I reached here and Watsonias shortly after.

I hope you will tell people, either at meetings or in the paper, about this. (Time out for breakfast. I don’t know what I had this a.m. but when I visit City College again you had better put signs around the Biology Department: “Restricted Area” and everywhere else, “This way to Cafeteria.” Else hunger signs might produce more material for the dramatics department and cause shudders to the dieticians.)

P.S. It tasted fine though I don’t know what IT was. Anyhow I also had the best eggs since landing here.

The afternoon trip of June 8 brings up what to me is a serious subject. Since the war there has been a considerable interference and back door pressure against the real religions. I really know little about Shinto and have some apathy about what I term “folk-religion” but yesterday I saw another side.

Kashima Shrine is located in a town about half way from where I am stopping and the Pacific Ocean. I understand the sea-coast is unsettled but have not been given a satisfactory answer, I who am a veteran of Pismo Beach, Calif, Myrtle Beach, S.C. and have stayed at Virginia Beach and Atlantic City. Kashima is the last town on the way. It is located on an elevated mesa, so flat you only know it from the winding roads up and down.

Although the Bible teaches “God does not dwell in temples built by human hands”; here I realized it more than any other place. These people simply would not cut down any imposing tree to build any house of worship. In fact the architecture is by far the most simple –with very few exceptions—that I have seen in Japan. They do have a few excellent metal lanterns and some good stone ones. But the fine tree could not be replaced, and when branches are too heavy, they place poles and posts under them to keep them up. Not only that they give trees—not men, memorials. There is one single exception—they put all the human memorials on a huge tablet and let it go at that. Other holy places are full of human memorials.

Kashima forest is many storied. Highest are the cryptomeria, some of which have huge trunks. They do not, as a rule, have long branches and while their foliage is more like gigantea their general appearance is more like sempirvirena. They call them “cedars” locally. I saw a libani at the Forestry Experimental Station and there are several deodars around, but they said that the C. libani had been difficult and C. mauretania had failed.

There were also very high Zelkovas and huge “Live Oaks.” This time is obviously a relative of Quercus. The trunk habit is much like that of the “Live Oaks” I have seen in California, but large like those of the Southwest, only much taller. The sign said that the acorns are good to eat. I would like to have tasted more but my friend-host was not interested. The acorn is small and tastes rather sweet being much closer, for instance to the pine-nut than to any acorn but it is much larger than a pine-nut and is said to be a favorite of children. Probably of monkeys too, for they have some there, but caged. No deer.

This was a real forestry preserve. Pines, firs, spruce, etc. grew underneath. Occasionally I saw a wild or escaped camellia, larger than usual. They also have camellias trained with leaders. A few Fl. Cherries, then smaller shrubs. I am sorry I did not take my note book.

But what gets me is that they preserve every kind of weed. It should be a botanists and taxonomists paradise. I am sure one will find specimens here that may have disappeared from other parts. This is certainly true of one Fragia which they have earmarked, but I also saw other wild strawberries around which are inedible or at the best tasteless. But one can at go around with a friend and browse in the weeds as one browses in the library. I only call to your attention that this place needs a combination of Fairchild and Howell, and I hope it will not be long.

I return to Tokyo when I hear next from Mr. Kinoshita—big things coming I understand. No note-book makes me forget things like Ailanthus. Next door instead of letting the clover invade the lawn, they have used the clover as ground cover and fed it! Some nice and rather larger flowers! Anyhow good green manure.

I have spoken to the junior high students and next senior high. I see untold possibilities here for a college department like the Hotel Section of City College. This is a separate matter which I may take up with Lloyd, or with Melvin Slosberg when I next write to him.

To the Mrs., the family your staff, students, and all Iris and wild-life lovers,



It is Sunday morning June 10 and so many things have happened that I may be omitting some from the diary. The ribbon is getting worn out and the way of replacement is different. The directions do not show how to use the lower half and taking the spools out is complicated. I only hope I find enough time in Tokyo to take care of this. But tomorrow morning I shall be catapulted into a series of events which will climax my visit socially and scientifically as it already has been climaxed spiritually.

Saladin Reps and Hugo Seelig rightly predicted what would happen and Corinne Reinhold was correct in probing certain antagonisms. These antagonisms have all been met objectively. The greeting of Buddhists here, their acceptance, the place my friends Reps and Clifton hold here—the absence of acceptance of those who are honored in the West and a number of other factors have paralyzed Alan’s attitude toward me. In my notes I have gone further and pointed out the inherent weaknesses in the positions of Krishnamurti and Heard. Nobody knows of Heard here and I do not think he will ever have acceptance in the Orient; on the other hand B. Russell is highly regarded. The typical Krishnamurti situation came up when, after returning from the great forests at Kashima, K. Okuda, my guide-interpreter-friend told me that K. said he loved forests. I said that was a typical Krishnamurti statement—he loved forests so he lived in a semi-desert! The confused lead the confused and both love it. KO admitted that he did not get much in reading Krishnamurti.

I contrasted K. with Ridman, confined to a wheel-chair, with gnarled hands, doing a great spiritual work and not advertising it. Not talking against having followers to the multitudes, and letting the multitudes follow him, but going deeply into the spiritual realms and letting it go at that.

The other two persons who have stood in my way, and much more deliberately, have been Mrs. Duce and my mother. The receipt of the letter from J. Kinoshita, outlining the program for the coming week ends all of that forever. To be the guest of a peer of the realm and later on to be invited to the Imperial Gardens, an honor restricted to high diplomats climaxing a number of honors makes this diary look like a fairy book, and also makes H. Alger a piker.

I have told many people they could not follow me. Only Saladin Reps and Kiichi Okuda would fill the roll, and failing the first, I have been fortunate to have the second. So far as I am concerned, there will be no more nonsense from ignoramuses and metaphysicians concerning that of which they know little or nothing. What Inayat Khan proposed to me in 1925 is coming true and coming true rapidly. The refusal on the part of the bulk of his followers to pay any heed, and now with the split-ups and what nots, I may be in a position either to unite or transcend factions. Having seen this in the physical skies, only to have other witnesses give the lie to what they experienced with me, has meant a long uphill journey. Harold Skinner of Detroit is about the only one alive and so long as he remains affluent he will deny this; a tragedy, only, would compel him to acknowledge but that is the way of life. However there is a letter in my attorney’s hands from one of Inayat Khan’s last leading disciples which when forwarded, may become important. I do not have to forgive those who have never harmed me, just encourage them.

A good deal of the time since the last diary record has been in personal affairs. We both had complexities owing to the fact that we are both receiving mail from within Japan and sea-mail and air-mail from the States. Long conferences seem to clarify the atmosphere only to have the postman come again. At this writing it would appear that both George Uyeda and K. Okuda have very good chances of obtaining assets now being held by the Alien Property Custodian. The Uyeda affair is on its last legs; as it concerns P.G. & E. stock, if it is not settled when I return I shall have opportunities in both Washington and S.F. to do something. KO’s case comes up in August but I shall type the report to the Tokyo Embassy after completing this entry. I want to go to the Embassy anyhow if I have any free time next week. I am supposed to have a free day, but where have I heard that before?

Thursday night was spent at Okuda’s where I met a number of school teachers and we discussed the speeches I was to make. The high school talk was outlined but we soon passed on to other things—Buddhism, advantages of learning English, stories about Japanese in Calif., etc.


There is a Lafcadio Hearn theme in my life. I have been the first American in Itako since the G.I.s left and am very different, in general adapting myself to the Japanese way of life. This makes for popularity and acceptance. Friday afternoon we went to the high school where I spoke at some length on the advantage of learning English and how to make friends in Japan, how to make friends with America. I illustrated a little with stories and songs and finally ended with “Old McDonald had a farm,” which brought down the house. I have used themes, both in story and song from the nearly forgotten comic opera: “The Geisha.” Expenses this day were low. I had my usual bath and we had a walk at night, more geisha shows and a good sleep.

Arose Saturday a.m. to shave and get clean for a trip to a village between here and Kashima where I addressed the junior high. This time old McDonald got in sooner and I gave the “Pancake” story, changing to “Hot Cake.” I began with the “Baaa ba, be be” and gave the pronunciation to a number of English words, then “ball,” “better,” etc., and “batter” to the homologue from flour, etc. Told of games, amusements, studies, etc. Then lunch which consisted of high class “bento.” I am now used to raw fish and soy products and have been trying to avoid meat. My teeth do not take kindly to it and most steaks and chicken taste terrible—and politeness forbids saying anything. In the end there is a double gain when I take the Japanese meals.

* In the afternoon we went with Okuda’s youngest niece and his star pupil to Sawara to see Katori Shrine which stands very high in national repute. I notice that whenever wealthy Japanese see beautiful trees they erect shrines and the trees cannot be cut down. A wonderful deep blue hydrangea (quite a different species from that in the U.S.) grows there. They have another one of those ancient gingkos and quite a few tall cryptomeria.

We next went to Sawara but Okuda’s brother was not in and there was no priest at the Jodo-Shinshu shrine so we doubled back and finally went to Kashima skirting the forest which gave way to scrub pine, and reached the Pacific. We were joined by a number of little girls, “America-jin! America-jin!” and saw the fishing smacks high on the beach, which was rather gloomy and deserted. (Fred, clam season is also closed now; they also use the foot method).


*Omission. After lunch we found we had to wait for the car. We climbed a high hill which showed the surrounding country. It had fine tall oaks and some pines. Robinia was growing wild and a bamboo-ish grass which we call “bamboo” plant studies but not in taxonomy which can be confusing; the Japanese do not regard it as bamboo. Then I did in turn Italian, Irish, Scotch, and Spanish folk dances, topping with Russian and somewhat later adding Mexican. This broke the ice and they did for me some beautiful native folk dances. These were much finer than the geisha dances both in choreography and grace—the kids did fine and the principal encouraged by singing and even dancing. In the Irish dance Mrs. Okuda joined and even Pal Kiichi. Then there was a fan dance. I gave a report to “Let’s Dance” in S.F. We had our pictures taken and I guess I delighted the principal by putting my arm on his shoulder—he is the first person I have touched here –everything else has been done by bowing. But we took to each other.

I forget too, on Friday I was asked why a fine young man like myself was traveling alone and no wife. The children, who are studying English, broke into an uproar when I wrote my name on the blackboard!

Saturday, after seeing the ocean we came back late and hungry. I took the hot bath, and after a huge dinner—5 kinds of sea-food and greens—watched the TV until Okuda came. Then again a little after a conference but so tired I slept for almost 9 hours despite parties going on on either side of me (in the room).

It is Iris time and the “season” in Itako, that is why so much is going on, but there is already a semi-legend about me. At least I have met hundreds of teenagers all around here.



My dear Harry:

It is Sunday, June 10 and about the quietest day I have had in Japan. Next week will be very full with the schedule largely in the hands of Mr. Kinoshita and I should be sending you some full reports.

Yesterday we went to Kotori shrine which is northwest from here. I notice that whenever there is an old or majestic tree someone starts a shrine. The word kami, often translated “god” seems to be to be rather “nature spirit” and more related to the Grecian ideas than anything else of the Indo-Germanic peoples. This shrine is of second importance in Japan because of the functions that the Mikado used to perform in the Shinto faith. The second is Ise where he went as a devotee rather than as an ecclesiast with ceremonial role. The special attractions are two: a Gingko with a stupendous root system; and an equally imposing Cryptomeria root from which three tall trees now grow. I was also attracted by a type of Hydrangea which appears in abundance here with a wonderfully deep blue flower (no recessive pink). I also noticed then and today that when Wisteria is aged, they top the “trunk” and let a single branch grow vertically, giving it the appearance of a tree. But in the temple at Itako which we revisited today Wisteria is grown as a low shrub even more spreading than Tea. I have also seen many camellias with “leaders” and sometimes they appear as full conical small trees and sometimes also lower branches are pruned away.

In the morning I had visited a school and was taken to the top of a high knoll. There were fine “Live Oaks” and evergreens, but I noticed there and elsewhere that Robinia grows wild and is not particularly respected. There was also woody grass which we may include in our Bamboos, but is not a Bamboo and here is classified quite differently. A taller type menaces the forests which I have seen recently as was told in the visit to the Ag. Exp. Station.

Another service of the shrines is to offer playgrounds. Thus they are natural parks somewhat resembling those of the Northwest.

Today I was also taken to the Itako Shrine which has since become the City Park. It is also located on a mesa-like knoll from which one can see all the way to the ocean and even as far south as Fuji on a clear day—unfortunately for this it is the rainy season, although it does not rain very much, yet. This park is covered with something like second-growth Crypts. Below is the Zen temple referred to above which has some fine Chamaeocyparis, I believe. It contains a tea-drying house and pruning- and other tools. Tea is cut by pinching and also by “Dutch-pruning”—I do not yet know how else. We see all kinds of Camellia handling. As the Iris season ends it is followed at once by Hollyhocks and these are some of the best I have ever seen. The wild rambler Rose, the only one here in abundance, is in bloom. But my own friends, having lived in California, also have some Calif. type plants. They have a Laburnum and I saw another today.

I had to continue something of my program of reading, singing and telling stories and games to children. When I become tired we went to the Iris show with the intention of voting and were begged to do so on entering. In fact today is a semi-holiday preparatory tomorrow which is a full holiday closing the Iris season. I regret I shall not be here, but I did not know this (I had been told the Iris had gone the way of all flesh). There were some fireworks today, and as it is clear now there should be a big celebration tonight…. We had no particular basis upon which to vote, but I selected one with a unique (to me) color combination. Some have longer stalks, more blooms, deeper hues, etc.

I then went on and bought some sandals for my folk costume collection, very good and cost only about $1. These will be sent to Capezio’s 988 Market and will be exhibited there—but not immediately until I get enough stuff to send off a package. I came home, took a bath and then indulged in the hotel “sport,” watching baseball over TV On the whole the playing may be equal to that of the U.S. and the pitching even seems better, but not managing. They are way below in that. Fielding is not quite so good, and base-running on the whole, inferior, excepting among the amateurs. We did see part of a ball game but were both anxious to get to the Iris show. I have to get a new ribbon and will try in Tokyo this coming week. It is very fortunate I came here and have boosted good-will for the U.S. enormously by so doing, yet I came rather for those things I have been reporting to you, or else for “rest”!?!? Among other things I have learned is how easy it is forget plant materials and even if you know a lot, how much more there is to learn.

Monday morning June 11, we left for Tokyo. The shrine at Itako is Inari or Fox shrine. I have been given several gifts, one a set of pictures offered by the school children which I expect to send to Douglas Ingram. We stopped also and visited the shrine at Sawara. There is also an old Judo-Shinshu temple but no one around who could help us. I have spent 2,000Y for tickets and other expenses for KO. We had to be back in Tokyo to see Baron Nakashima. Minor expenses were paid for by Mrs. Okuda or her sister-in-law. We taxied to Sawara, then train to Chiba but did not stick around, taking the Tokyo electric from there and arriving in good time and lunched at the Castle. My room was changed to 215 from 205, and again when I returned to 217.

The Seikukyo Ryokan at Itako charged me about 8500Y and I gave the girl 500Y, and the treatment was superb. It was the “season” before the hot months come on. There is a slight possibility of my return in case there is a delay in getting flight space. Unfortunately at this date, 6/14 I have heard neither from Hong Kong or Thailand and if I do not hear soon will go to Thailand Embassy for advice.

This becomes important because Baron Nakashima wants me to call on the P.M. of Thailand with his ideas; also Radhakrishnan, to whom I must write. We discussed, all rather melanged, Buddhism, Friends of the World, and Universal-Love. My later discussions with the Baron show an anti-Christian feeling and I have proposed that instead of his Buddhist-Confucian front he work with all the Bandung nations. So far as Christianity is concerned, I defend Christ but see no room for any “God” which excludes trees, flowers, mountains, atoms and light. It is not Christianity that is to be feared, but ignorance and ignorance goes by enlightenment.

I also met Mr. Toda, a former peer, who has kindly arranged for me to visit the Imperial Gardens on Friday, June 15. We did discuss a little about the new double-wheeled hoe which is taking over on Japanese farms. I see a great future in it and may discuss such matters further with him.

I checked out for 1 day at the hotel so they did not charge me for it. On coming back Wednesday, waited for KO and we ate at a Chinese restaurant, run by a Chinese, near Yarachao—450Y included quart of beer, 2 lamb curry rice and 1 shrimp and onions. Did not take tea after the beer.

June 14 was comparatively an “easy” day. Arose at 5 and typed until Okuda came. Then, after sundry errands went to the U.S. Embassy, and saw Salwin as my appointment had to be delayed until the P.M. Lunched, semi-American style in the basement where Mr. Shimeall’s offices are, 450Y for 2, and saw him, a “Sooner” football player type—and we got along fine. Then to Consular office at Embassy, a Mr. Girgen (?) who listened with interest and then with a cocked eye at my report, and then walked around and back to hotel. Rested until KO came, more typing and making arrangements. Then wet to see “The Swan” and he raved over Grace Kelly and we both greatly admired acting and a plot which would not offend the Japanese. Back to restaurant near the Kabuki and home. Incidentals around 1000Y. Note from J.K. that he would call at 9—which I had told KO before. And reminded him of what I said when we left Engakuji: “This is an omen, and now it has come true.”

Also visited library and pleased them with my interest in Townsend Harris.



June 14

My Buddhist experiences of the past two days are being sent to George and Paul and might be of interest to all their friends, and a carbon for Thailand for Robert Clifton and his friends.

We left Tokyo early June 12 and were later joined by Masao Kusaka. After visiting the nursery and arboretum at Asakawa, guests of Mr. Hayashi, we went up by cable to Mount Takao. (No—between times we visited the shrines of the late Emperor and Empress, I being almost the first American to go there for they only bring people from S.E. Asia there, or to the places above.)

Leaving the cable, top of which was very steep, we walked to the stupa being built for the ashes of Buddha. It is not yet complete and has a blending of Tibetan-Nepal and Theravadin styles, and not Chinese or Japanese. In fact newer temple buildings are borrowing from both of these regions. My hosts contrasted my behavior with the last alien visitor who was the Prime Minister of Ceylon. They say he spoiled his fine clothes by kneeling in the rain before the stupa. I tried to show respect in the Japanese manner at the tombs of the Emperor and at the stupa, excepting that here I chanted the Pali formula and when leaving the next day gave the “Namo tasa, etc.” Behavior reaction improved still more when, at arriving at the monastery, I was offered beer or saki; I said I was not an abstainer but would not think of drinking them in a holy place.

We bathed together, the tub being more like an oblong deep bathtub. I have found that the hottest water is at the tap and if one turns on the cold spigot it may even be too cold at the bottom, especially in a deep tub. Actually this fear has vanished but I will not always take the cold shower afterwards. It happened to be rather cold, having rained all day and we were now in the mountains.

We were given an enormous vegetarian dinner. We had some kind of vegetable found in the forest—also given for breakfast, with a second type, to me very delicious. There were bean curds, deep fat vegetables and lotus root, also other lotus root pickled, two types of pickled vegetables, soup with a mushroom base, large forest mushrooms, sweetened soy beans, which I did not eat; sweetened horse beans, sweetened green soy pastry, potatoes and a few other things. I did not finish my rice. We had all the tea we wanted, tea when we came in, tea when we get up and, of course, tea at meals.

We did some discussing of Buddhism after we came in but I did not know what Shingi-Shingon meant. Shingi means “new” or “revised” and Shingon may be translated “True Word,” “True Sound,” “Truth,” etc., but the sect is supposed to be a continuation of Mantrayana. Three monks came in and I noticed that the younger one gave shorter and better answers than the elder ones who tried to seek refuge in the complexity of Shingon. Next morning I found out why – the young monk understood English and was answering me directly although pretending to depend upon the translations.

The Building has been wired with electricity, even for radio and TV and has plumbing fixtures with a strange flushing system; cold water everywhere but hot water and heat only in the bathing room. Evidently they discipline themselves against cold, but the monks wear many clothes. We were given kimonos and slept two in a room. I awakened at 4 and was up at 4:30 but James Kinoshita all but overslept.

It proved to be a bright clear morning and we could see far away. There is a warning gong at 5 giving the same call that Senzaki-san has used at Zendo. Fifteen minutes later another gong rings and we went to the temple. We sat on the side where there were rugs. The Abbot, senior monk, six monks and three novices came in. The novices at the extreme end of either side had small parts to perform during the ceremony, one playing a huge drum at one point and another performing a role analogous to an acolyte in Mass. A monk also had a minor role. The center monk performed a role analogous to that of a demon, reading verses before responses (or reciting) but joining in the chants thereafter. He also performed on a drum and cymbal like little instruments. The abbot was very busy throughout.

He began with a series of mudras and rang bells, hit small gongs of musical like instruments. But his main task, as he explained afterwards, was the performance of an elaborate ritual of purification by water, and throwing oil into a fire. Both incense and kindling were burned and both the water and fire ceremonies were elaborate. I know we were there a full hour but did not glance at my watch when it was over.

The chanting was done with voices somewhat similar to the European and nothing like Chinese or Japanese voice placement. It seems to me that it was perhaps Japanese Sanskrit that was used. The first part of it seemed to be either sutra recital or litany; but after a while it was quite evidently mantras, repeated over and over again to various rhythms and various degrees of amplitude. It quite affected the atmosphere too.

Toward the end there were genuflections. One of my companions insisted that Kukei (Kobo Daishi) who introduced Shingon was himself a friend of various Nestorians and one can see this influence at Koya where I may go later. These genuflections were certainly Christian-like although the prior performance seemed to me to come from ancient Indian fire and water rituals. (Personal view.) We had a full breakfast which I could not eat and a very long interview with the Abbot. He explained the ritual and further the Shingon view that every living thing, even of low order was really enlightened and contained the seed, if not the essence of the whole universe—this is an extension of the Kegon view. He also discussed evolution from the Buddhist point of view, vegetarianism, and above all love and compassion. Fudo is the Bodhisattva of Compassion; he represents the masculine to counterbalance the feminine aspects which appears in Kwannon. Fudo therefore leans toward Wisdom and Kwannon toward Mercy without either of them departing from love. At no time was there any insistence on Wisdom, which he seemed to place along Compassion.

Zen emphasizes jiriki or self-power, Jodo Shinshu tariki or other power. But in the infinite there is no such difference. Shingon also stresses satori which was discussed at length and the monks leaned toward “sudden” rather than “gradual” development, but the Abbot included both. However Shingon stressed the need to combat evil within oneself more than did the other schools and has a number of rather severe disciplines. This monastery is on a mountain and it must be cold in winter.

But Abbot Yamamoto regards Shingon and even Buddhism as ways-to-truth. He considers love and universality above them. Any religion, and this might include all religions, that bring about deliverance through love must be right. This happens to be my view and we ended in surprising agreement. In fact the last part of the interview was nothing but a series of agreements over views and the later purposes of my trip. I have introductions to the university at Chiba and the head monastery at Kyoto—but do not know whether I shall visit them or not this trip. I believe that Lama Tada must be at the university because there is a good deal in Shingon rather resembling Tibetan Buddhism.

I do not remember much after that. We climbed the mountain and saw Fuji and I am happy to have had my picture taken both the Fuji in one set—and the sacred stupa in another set, this last being taken by a professional photographer. Perhaps the most delightful thing was that wile preparing to leave I saw a large, and the best excepting Seshu picture of Daruma (T’amo) on the wall. The place has accommodations for many … Dharani are repeated just three times a year at festivals.

The Abbot said I was the most intelligent visitor he ever had!



Tokyo June 15, 1956

James A. Michener, Tinloum, Bucks Co., Pennsylvania


My dear Mr. Michener:

I once wrote you after reading Sayonara and now I write again. I read The Chrysanthemum and the Sword which to me seemed to be a wonderful piece of literature and Beyond the Chrysanthemum and the Sword which I considered a marvelous example of decadent writing. I have come here to feel from the top of my hairs to the soles of my feet “Sayonara.” I have come, perhaps, to write later, “The True Philosophy of Travel” to show the difference between a spirit rising in America as against a spirit sinking in Europe. The French writer of the pseudo-sequel mentioned and the late Count Keyserling are examples of what should not be done if we want peace and understanding. I purchased new spectacles for this journey, and in a sense am using them.

Like Cesar I may write: “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” and in another sense like Burton, “Peccavi” (for “I have sinned”)—the spirit is much nearer the latter and the immediate occasion for writing is that I, Samuel L. Lewis, a totally unknown simple American citizen is guest of honor at the Imperial Gardens this afternoon.

Coming here after studying Buddhism, Japanese spiritual and folk-art, history, horticulture, etc, the first day of my arrival I said, upon being taken to Sojiji at Tsurumi, Yokohama: “I feel strange that I do not feel strange. I do not feel as if I were in a foreign land. I feel at home.” Since that hour I have been received as perhaps no American has been received. The old Abbot at Engakuji came out of retirement to meet us; the new Abbot gave us ceremonial tea; the attendant monk at Nara took us up around the great Daibutsu and showed us the Bo-tree, perhaps the only one in Japan; the abbot gave us ceremonial tea and art treasures which have been sent to East-West Gallery, San Francisco; the Senior monk at the Sojiji invited me to write and come again; the abbot of Shingi-Shingon on Mount Takao has been my host; I have seen the stupa over the ashes of Buddha and eaten monastery meals and slept there—and invited elsewhere and visited the incomparable cemetery where the remains of the last Emperor and Empress lay. Etc.

The welcome by the horticultural scientists has been the same and has been written up at length. I have joined “Friends of the World,” an organization striving to promote World Fellowship through tree and seed exchange. The welcome by the children has been the same and by the few peasants and peers I have met—but I have met them and had heart-to-heart talks at all levels. At the moment I do not intend to write, like Fielding Hall did for Burma The Soul of a People but hope to come again.

I have seen Kwannon staring out of the eyes of millions of women. I see all the longing, hope, sadness and futility, deep passion and compassion, and these smothered by a strange combination of total exploitation and masterful spirituality which does not seem to belong to this world. The conversations with leaders have been at the highest level with requests to carry messages to other countries, or with introductions. Honganji and Zen, Kegon and Nichirin have treated me as a friend; I have been invited into homes, slept in Ryokan, eaten their foods, enjoyed their baths and been here only a month.

“Sayonara” is not known here very much. I did bring A Thousand Years of Japanese Gardens written by my friend Samuel Newsom of Mill Valley, and also a book on Netsuke published in San Francisco by a friend of mine.

The highest talks have centered around universal love, of a quality and type and degree one would hardly expect. Whether it is understood or not, this is something. Yet the few Japanese Christians I have met have an inner alertness far above the missionaries who have won them over. Laughingly I have called myself “Lafcadio Hearn #2,” but am not staying and not marrying—at least not yet; and I have looked again into Townsend Harris, and written epic poems for Japan which may someday be published. But all-in-all, where does Kwannon end and your “Sayonara” begin? Where does “Sayonara” end and Kwannon begin? The hearts of all lovers beat in unison, but the world, while saying it, does not know it—yet.



Dear Harry,

It is June 15 and unfortunately I have had hardly any time to myself. From early morning until well in the evening I am in the company of either Kiichi Okuda, my dear old friend, or James Kinoshita. This is fine from the linguistic and other standpoints but it becomes impossible to keep up with my diary when I should and so much happens every day. With the forthcoming visit to the Imperial Gardens—and this saddled in between other engagements, I shall do my best.

Unfortunately also it was raining on June 12 and my notes are either messed or missed—walking around in the rain with umbrella and notebook and full of enthusiasm among enthusiasts is something. We left Tokyo early on the Asakawa train which is the local going to the West and get off at the last station; Asakawa is at the foot of the mountains. The very last flat land is the nursery, and right above it is the forestry experimental station; however they belong to different departments, something like the relationship between yourself, the rhodie greenhouses and Balboa Park being juxtaposed (ouch!). We were joined by Masao Kusaka and another man from the Tokyo Exp. Station given in former report. A good deal of my notes are going to be taken from Kusaka’s “A list of planted trees and shrubs in the Asakawa Arboretum” and “A list of plants, spontaneous in Asakawa Experimental Forest.” This following genus or species will be easier than following notes.

I shall begin with the “redwoods” and their nearest allies. I feel more strongly than ever of working closely with you here, and then, if Anderson wants to come in, well and good. There is a C. japonica radicans at the entrance, and its general appearance is like that of Sequoiadendron while C. japonica has a branching to it more like Sequoia. The similarity and differences came out at several points. Cryptomeria have been found to grow well in Japan, China and India but not in Europe or U.S. The soil reports are at the Tokyo station and even if I see them this would involve other matters. Both Eric and Andersen have discussed this with me.

There was a large Cunninghamia sinensis and I asked for seeds for you. There were several Matasequoias but I did not try to see T. distichum which grows well in the South. S. gigantea does not do well and most of them have died from diseases or enemies. There is one thriving one but it is slow growing. The contrast with S. sempervirens actually knocked my eye out—in thirty-five years they seemed to me to be 100 feet high, outstripping everything there, and only in that time, and I am not at this moment writing about infants. They could easily become an important forest tree and used for timber. I believe the redwood people should know about this, but again, I am confiding things to you, although the dramatic side will no doubt appear soon in a San Rafael newspaper, but the biological side is still entre nous.

Sciadopitys verticillata does quite well, but Ps. douglasii does not and they have given it up for the moment. On the contrary side there is a Ps. japonica, a much smaller tree with the same foliage habit, not at all imposing and much more fit for ornamental purposes. I will now go to my notes which are jumpy and then back to species. Most of these notes were taken at the nursery and arboretum. The nursery is the go-between between the stations and industry and has for its purpose marketing, etc. both for ornamental horticulture and the wood industries.

On the way down to the nursery I notice Castanea—this used to be the center of the Chestnut Industry but a bug has done much damage. Then a Nerium odorata. The main project at the nursery is to discover and produce disease resisting Pines, etc. They have found—contrary to my former report, varieties of P. densiflora which is immune to beetle attack. There were Pines all over the place and also on the mountain side. (You will note, however, that this is the only pine found naturally and there are only four varieties of Gymnospores found on Mount Takao above, a good deal of which mountain we covered subsequently.

The two most imposing trees after S. sempervirens were A. firma which is sacred and found on the top of the mountain and L. tulipifera which takes on gigantic proportions and grows between the nursery and station. There is a good deal of graft work being done on Abies. The name of Sieboldii stands out as the leading taxonomist, with Thunberg and Sargent in high repute—as you will see from the books being sent.

You will find in the lists that there are many missing species—Taxus, for instance. A number of plants have been placed in the cemetery for the shrine of the late Emperor and Empress not listed. This is particularly true of Junipers. They like the low and prostrate forms here and there are endless possibilities using them in small gardens or miniature tree industry.

Salicaceae. Willows grow easily. There is only one Populus listed as natural. P. nigra is coming into more common usage in many places.

Myrica rubra thrives in the arboretum and the fruit is edible as well as ornamental. They did not know about M. californica but there are many similarities in habit.

Betulaceae. Not as much work on Alnus here as in Tokyo. Carpinus very fine in natural forest.

Fagaceae. I have already mentioned Chestnuts. Experiments are to revive the industry but Mr. Hayashi, director, was more interested in ornamentals and timber than in food. Although Fagus is listed as in the Arboretum but not in the forest we found some excellent growths near the top of the mountain. It seems to do better high up. The Oak lists are different, partly because the station is at a low level. Q. serrata, in particular, did well on the mountainside and summit. It is a small leafed evergreen, “Live oak,” but huge (I think I have mentioned this before). It grows well around deciduous trees.

Ulmaceae. Celtis does fine in arboretum. Little work on Ulmus but all are very, very proud of their Zelkovas. I don’t blame them.

Moraceae. Work on Ficus difficult and there were no greenhouses in this section except for incidentals in propagation. M. bombycis listed in forests, they must do work on Morus elsewhere, perhaps in connection with the silk industry for I have seen many species, wild and cultivated.

Berberis. Does very well, used as ornamental shrub but not hedge. Big field here, but there is always the disease problem.

Magnoliaceae. You will find that many do not grow here and they know little about them. Dogwood functions as M. stellata. Liriodendron too fine but there is still a good field. Michelia compressa does very well.

Caryophyllaceae do very well but I have paid attention only to Dianthus, which could be used more if they knew how to “space” their “timing.”

Ranunculaceae. This genus and others suggest flowering plants, many of which I have not seen in gardens. They are just beginning to get the ideas of having blossoms during rainy months.

Lauraceae. There is a tremendous field here. I am going to the Imperial Gardens today, June 15, because tomorrow, June 16, is to be given to a reception for the Australia prime minister. Next week I go to another part of Japan, and on my return Kinoshita and I will no doubt call on the Australian Embassy and go into many things. I will keep you informed. Sassafras does marvelously and I was shown some of its relatives while going up the mountain which thrive on the slopes.

Spiraea does very well and the Japanese are fond of it. I saw a fine Amelanchier asiatica in the arboretum. It is very tall, but used as an ornamental. Little knowledge of Cotoneaster and Crataegus yet. I have seen Yodo hawthorne all over, of course, but omitted to report it. I told them about Toyon which I think ought to be introduced here. Sorbus alnifolia in arboretum, fine. But they have a lot to learn about roses and their allies, excepting Prunus. Rubus listed as natural, but on the whole this species yet neglected.

Kinoshita has told me they are going to cut down trees in a plateau section and I told him about California grapes, pears and berries are possible hillside crops. What do you think?

Saxigracaceae. This is one of the best families in Japan. The list at the arboretum is much smaller than the forest list. D. crenata in bloom and it is the bright jewel of the mountain. It comes, in a sense toward the end of the Azalea season. Much finer than the cared-for plants in California. The Hydrangea list should interest you. I notice one Ribes; this suggests some exchanges here.

Leguminocae. This section does nothing with Australians and they are not acquainted with Californians either. Neither are they enthusiastic about their own species. Buxus grows quite tall at the arboretum. Rhus does very well but they do not know about the California varieties. Ilex has already been discussed.

Geraniaceae. The forestry list shows G. thunbergii and this must have been the one I saw in bloom. I asked them why they had not domesticated it more and told them about Gs and Pls and their possibilities in Japan.

Hippocastanaceae. Aesculus turbinata is rather straight, tall and very graceful and is used as a small street or avenue tree. Of excellent habit.

Sapindaceae. They showed me with pride a tree which from the description must be Koelreuteria paniculata. It was raining pretty hard at this point.

Acer. This is a pretty big subject. I was taken to the top of Mt. Takao next morning where there is a surveying monument and an excellent view of Mt. Fuji—my picture taken. It was perhaps the best day from the weather standpoint since landing and we saw 12 prefectures, the ocean, the mountains and alpine scenery, as fine as I ever witnessed. On the edge, at some distance from each other stands a P. occidentalis and with leaves rather similar to an Acer which did not appear in their lists. I said it must be A. pseudoplatanus and they all agreed (these were top men with me). The similarities and contrasts between the two fit a fine picture and they are grown as if to resemble the two poles of a shrine.

Rhamnaceae. As Rh. japonica does well I mention Rh. Californian.

Araliaceae all do well and I saw a thriving Ivy which must be Hedera tobleri. It is much prettier and not such a pest as H. helix.

Cornaceae. This dogwood was in bloom in the cemetery. It does not resemble our dogwood so much, with a five-lobed flower and the leaves already out and it being June and not early spring. But the effect was like that of Deutzia or a white Lagerstroemia.

Puniceae. They are just beginning with this, at least at this station.

Ericaceae. I will not write on this excepting that you will find many species missing in their lists, some of our most beautiful ones and this will give you another opportunity. They say Rhodies run wild in their uplands. Azaleas of different types bloom at different part of the year giving a long season of color.

Oleaceae. F. sibolidiana and Chionanthus axilliflorus do fine in the forests, but despite the fairly long arboretum lists they have very few, actually trees. Osmanthus does very well, but I think they have losses to a plague in Praxinas, Jasmine, etc. Ligustrum is often tall and grows as a tree, much as I have seen in Golden Gate Park. Catalpa does very well, but too few.

Caprifoliaceae. There is one large Ab. grandiflora in the Arboretum but they still know too little about this species. As said before, too few Lonicera. Vibernum do very well. They are also proud of them and one species was in bloom near the summit. I identified one small tree as a Sambucus and my friends said they never heard of Sambucus, but I see S. sieboldiana listed among the forest trees. Weigela also do well.

We had lunch as guests of Mr. Hiyashi, the director, whose name means “forester.” I said this was the same as “Mr. Sylvester” in Latin and told him about Mr. Evans and the national tree organization. (A copy of this sent to McMullen may be read by him later on.)

After lunch I was taken to where very few foreigners have ever gone, and perhaps no Americans—the last visitor was the Prime Minister of Ceylon. We were driven to the park-cemetery which has the remains of the last Emperor and Empress. There is a marvelous hallway of Cryptomerias functioning like F. negra, but of course, evergreen, and one would think they were pruned to shape. I have never seen anything like them—analogous to the guard-mount in London. While walking between them you see nothing else. Then you come to a broad open space where nothing has been planted but native trees of the prunus family (both plum and cherry types) have been preserved. The hillside is landscaped, but again Cryptomerias dominate. There are large gates before the tombs of both Emperor and Empress. We bowed before the gate of the Emperor and I went up alone above to examine the species, again bowing, and saw a variety of Juniper which makes there an excellent ground cover, only pruned at the wall edges. But just as I left, Hayashi pointed with pride and used that sinful word which I had not yet heard of in Japan: Pittosporum!

(I’ll bring that up, of course, when we visit the Australian Embassy.)

Then we took a cable car, very steep in the upper section and visited the stupa over the grave of Buddha and later stayed in a monastery—those notes sent to Drs. Fung, 700 Sacramento St. But I must comment on the way they handle the forest there. It is dominated by huge A. firma and every one is considered sacred. As you come in, at least the first three trees of any variety have their names in scientific nomenclature, if not in Japanese and sometimes notes about them. No A. firma is cut down and sometimes there was skill in putting up the signs. The slopes were very, very steep. Unfortunately it was still raining that day and while fine the next we had other things to do.

When we left the monastery next morning we saw the trees to which I have referred. Also some Marigolds in a shrine garden near the summit, showing possibilities. They seem to understand soil and species here but not the advantages of north, south, east and west planting, nor courtyard and exterior planting. One could do a good deal of simple and easy landscaping around this monastery on Mt. Takao, and I suppose elsewhere, just by knowing this.

We came down mostly by the same way we came up, but had no car at our disposal—but this day the weather was fine. Coming down on cable we studied the plants, but this is incorporated in reports above. Then we returned to the station for lunch and visited the zoological section. The flying squirrel is the chief forest pest, being a bark eater and having few enemies. Most of the beasts are rodents. I did not like to see the collection of birds, necessary for scientific reasons and showing that there are many types in the forest and mostly bug eaters.

We then met Mr. R. Koyama and I am sending you his “Forest Insects’ Pathogens in Japan.” I have already included a short note on it. They have found definite cycles but I later asked whether they had related these to weather cycles or not. This would bring up a lot of other questions, but as these may be down your alley, I leave it with you there, to communicate with him, etc. as written.

Mr. Kinoshita called early on Friday, June 15. He went to Asia Foundation and he was finally convinced that while they were interested in his efforts, they simply did not have the machinery to promote it. I had to prove to him and to them that I knew all about their internal operations in San Francisco, which I have seen in some detail, and that you were prepared already to do everything, if not directly, then through persons and organizations you could easily contact. I myself believe that we can get the Cuthberts into line here but everything has to be planned carefully.

I lunched with my friend-guide-interpreter Kiichi Okuda, after which we were joined by Mr. K. and Teyotero Toda, Pres. Akita Steel Mfg. C. Mr. Toda is a former peer and close friend of the imperial household.


Omission: Pernettia and Kalmia are the two shrubs whose names I forget, I would like to see introduced into this country.

I guess you can imagine my feelings during the next two hours when I was where few Americans have gone. Mr. Toda expressed a regret that I did not bring a camera, but if I had, I would have been taking pictures and not seeing things, and from this report, I must have seen a good deal.

The Imperial Gardens covers 280 acres. The main palace was bombed, but the lesser palaces, occupied by a prince and princess respectively of the royal family still stand. The administration buildings are in Western style and probably new. By the entrance we came in which was to the right of the one for ambassador, we crossed a bridge over to a huge open space. This had the only real well kept lawn I have seen and in addition, it had been recently mowed.

The grounds are opened to the public only on the Emperor’s birthday, or possible New Year’s. The only other way to get in is to volunteer to work there and there are constantly 300 such workers with a waiting list for the next two years. I saw many scores of such people coming into the grounds. We were introduced to the guide, Mr. K. Takai and the way the name “Lewis-san” was used world have made some of our Senators and VIPs groan with envy. “Lewis-san” was a sort of magic password for the day.

The palace is surrounded by a huge V-shape moat. The way the stones are piled and fitted shows skill in both engineering and artistry. I preferred looking at the walls to listening to explanations. The inside of the outside wall is planted with tall Pines, Gingkos and Oaks, and below the parapet flowering Cherries. These dominate the whole grounds, but the landscaping usages are different in different parts.

After long explanations we were driven around all places excepting the Emperor’s private home and garden—rather small in comparison with what we saw. The two things that impressed me most were the shrine grounds and the nursery. The Emperor visits the shrine every ten days to pray and show his respects to the gods, on one side and his ancestors, on the other. The trees are all tall, majestic, with straight trunks, few lower limbs and add to the silences. There is moss on the ground and here, no low shrubs. (I seem to be one of the few Americans who ever was admitted there.)

The next section I put down as “Prince’s Garden.” It is landscaped with the tallest cherry trees I have ever seen and perhaps among the oldest too. Underneath are a nicely mixed assortment of Aucuba and Fatsia with an occasional Cypress here and there, and a small stream to one side. There are shorter Cherries toward the exit and Azaleas near the walls.

On our way to the next section we passed an avenue of Paulownia, which was most fitting. Then we came to the Nursery which was my pride and joy and met the Gardener (with a capital, please) and it was his pride and joy and he had more enthusiasm and ability than any man I have met so far in Japan. He was bubbling over and then some and he had two green thumbs and a brain to match and also a tongue.

There I noticed a frame, with cover now off containing the first Petunias, Pelargoniums and Geraniums I have seen here (beyond maybe a rare exception). The Pets and Pels were fine but the Gers. were mostly those which we would now discard. I told the Gardener I was most happy to see he was interested with plants with long blooming seasons, and that got him started. His roses were far the best I have seen, the only ones which would really pass muster in the U.S. He did not allow them to “cabbage” but cut them at the right time.

I saw Marigolds (several varieties), Lilies, Campanula (I have seen Foxglove also in Japan but not reported), Asparagus Fern, Michelia, Dianthus, Canna and Pansies. I later saw Fuchsia and most of our special pot-plants in the Greenhouse, which was a true Greenhouse. There were Begonias growing outside. I also found Thalictrum in pots which I greatly praised. The Emperor is especially interested in small flowering plants. Unfortunately I was not able to get around and with the enthusiasm of the Gardener I probably would have remained after the guide’s working hours.

The Gardener has developed a new form of Bonsai or dwarf plants. We had a long lecture on this. Cherries are used and pruned to shape to take or imitate the different positions of dancers. In other words, instead of having pictures, a whole arrangement has been made of dancers, with the Trees pruned or shaped to position. The Gardener himself did some wonderful posing?? He also does something like our basket-shaping.

Another thing that is done is to send men out into forests where trees have been cut. Especially for kindling and then dig up live stumps, the older the better. They go in for this like some of our people go in for driftwood. If the shape of the stump is not “right” the skilled hand corrects this by the proper growth of the subsequent branch or branches. This becomes a parallel to the Bonsai of ancient plants.

The best work among the ancients is, of course with Maples. But they are up with Maples where we are with Roses. Some are primed for color—and I have seen some nice variations here—some for shape of leaves, some for shape of plant. There was one supposed to be a thousand years old; some of the Bonsai Maples were less than 300 years old. There are also old Cypresses, etc. used.

Another variation is to comb forests after fires and dig up old stumps and “resurrect” them for Bonsai. I think they use everything but the smoke and sometimes I am not sure of that.

Well, Harry, all good things have to come to an end but Kinoshita stayed behind and discussed “Atlas” with the Gardener, which delayed us and delighted me. Outside the Nursery and along the road was a hedge of Ligustrum, now in bloom, but there was a long parade of “volunteer” workers so I did not examine any more plants.

We were then taken to the Emperor’s private theater which was arranged like an outdoor arena. This is for “Bugaku” or traditional song-and-dance. I have sent my souvenir to a friend who is interested in this field.

Finally we went to the stables; saw the old carriages which used to be reserved for Cabinet Ministers and Foreign Potentates. Some of them are of excellent workmanship and there was the Phoenix, the Emperor’s emblem, in gold, used only on state occasions.

The horses themselves are of fine Western style breed or for English saddled use. No “ponies,” at least not where I was. The stables are clean and the animals well trained. I won goodwill by my interest in the theatre and also in horses—I actually like riding and watching gymkhana and polo games so it pleased the guide and Baron Toda.

I leave for Wakayama Tuesday so may not have time to report Monday which day I am supposed to be the guest of the city of Tokyo. Now Mr. Kinoshita has arrived, so I will close and try to post this—or see it gets off soon.


I have lost all count of expenses or other matters. Generally tired by night. Saturday went with J.K. to dinner and with his family, best tempura I ever ate: shrimp, marvelous fish, string beans, carrots, greens and something like an Ash leaf. Also another local vegetable mixed with beet-tops or ally; other things besides, very big dinner. Only 1 bowl rice and 1 cup tea; water with meal. Sweet soda later. Salted crackers and loquats for dessert.

All fears transcended when letters arrived from Hong Kong and Wakayama. Made plane space reservation, cashed $70 at bank, bought a few envelopes, sent mail—about $1000 for 2 days? Lunched at Castle 300Y for 2; Friday 190Y downstairs. KO went home with some of my things. Paid hotel bill and more Sunday.



June 16, 1956

James O. Kinoshita,

Friends of the World,

Central P.O. Box 1567,

Tokyo, Japan


My dear Mr. Kinoshita:

After the glorious experience of the past week, I feel at this time I ought to express not just thanks, but some reflections which I believe might be of benefit to us all.

You have kindly introduced me to Baron Nakashima, Mr. Today and various persons of some account in their fields of activity. From them and through them I have seen aspects of Japan which I have longed to see for many years. That is very fine. But what I would like to emphasize is that more Americans may also like to see some of those things, especially those Americans, and many other non-Japanese who may be interested either in the activities of the Friends of the World, or in coming to Japan.

The Japan Travel Bureau is doing some fine work, but it is still a young organization. Some of the things they emphasize may not always be the best means of promoting either international good-will, or bringing tourists with money to Japan. After you get their literature and come here you receive either free or at small cost publications which assume that American tourists most of all are interested in buying luxury goods, eating steaks, drinking cocktails and going to Christian churches. Now I admit this is true in large part of the civilian and military personal who are here, in fact too many of them are here. But these people interested in luxury goods, eating steaks, drinking cocktails and going to Christian churches are well supplied with army scrip, not with Yen, and their lives are patterned accordingly.

There are today many, many Americans who have money and who are interested in luxury goods, steaks, cocktails and attending church. But there is a wild world for them to visit. They go to Europe, or to South America and other places. There are also many Americans with money, who seek broader ways of life who come to Asia. They do not want to see a transplanted United States, they want to see Asia and a very large part of the literature is not concerned with their wants or interests at all. Then, outside of the spiritual failure to promote brotherhood, they do not spend their money here.

I came over on a freighter. The two poorest people were Christians; those with spending money have-wide views and I believe I can easily interest them in the Friends of the World. But they are through with the past; they have had enough of it. They came here because they wish to broaden their lives. Then, after looking at the literature which is given them, those who have money to spend say they will go to Hong Kong. They wanted to get away from luxury goods, steaks, cocktails and Christianity.

I met one of them here and asked if she wanted to purchase a stone lantern. She said, “yes.” I am making arrangements for her. She will buy it and ask her friends to buy them. This will build up business. She would like to have visited temples. She would have spent money at these places too, and perhaps even contributed to their upkeep.

The stone lantern business can easily be established and there are other businesses which can at the same time increase good-will and bring needed dollars to Japan.

When I return I am going to have some good talks with my travel-agent Tak Kusano. I believe we can get many, many tourists to visit some of the places I have gone to, such as Kashima and more to Nara and less to Tokyo. I believe that when they are better advertised more tourists will eat Japanese meals—without necessarily staying at Ryokan. Or, as I have spoken to Mr. Toda, the establishment of a “mixed” hotel will bring more business and more money. And the money spent can go to Japanese and not to those few Caucasians who operate European or American restaurants and grills.

Speaking as a friend of the world and not just as an American, I see endless opportunities for Japanese manufacturers to supply less advanced countries with simple tools, particularly in the field of agriculture. There is no need to initiate or try to undersell foreign competitors; there are plenty of fields in which there is no competition at all.

I hope some day there will be pilgrimages by Americans to the city of Lafcadio Hearn; I hope that there will be real exchange tours between college-students, and farmers.

Finally I feel that there must be a greater exchange on the highest levels, as expressed by Baron Nakashima. Some time ago I wrote a letter to Dr. Charles Moore, University of Hawaii. I reviewed and gave some criticism to every philosopher in the world who appeared at his East-West seminar. He replied that he hoped I could come to a future seminar, or at least prepare a paper. And on the same level I am going to present your whole program to Harvard University and seek a tour of students of that famed institution to your land—to the real Japan, and not the luxury goods, steak, cocktail and church false front.

I, and nobody else is responsible for the above. If any opinion is not entirely in harmony with your own, I shall make the necessary adjustments to further spiritual international good-will.


Samuel L. Lewis



June 17, 1956


My dear Mr. Winter:

I have been in Japan now a little over a month and my visit to the Seicho movement this morning causes me to write now which may be a terrible warning, a warning which may go unguarded until it is almost too late. For the cold War is now being superseded by something, which in the name of love and brotherhood can do more to destroy the power of Uncle Sam than all the arms and weapons in the world. This is especially true if we continue to develop such scientific weapons of destruction as will endanger all civilization. The simple answer of Jesus Christ is now being used and used effectively by all non-Christian peoples, i.e. the predominance of Love.

We could easily forestall these movements but I doubt whether we shall until it is almost too late. Ambassador Mehta came to San Francisco and pleaded for us to send Whitmans to the Orient. Instead we sent that glorious trinity—hip! hip! hurrah!, and plenty of newspaper space: Richard Nixon, Glenn Clark and Billy Graham. Any good ???red-blooded??? American is allowed to damn the late great President Roosevelt but to speak against this man is forbidden even when large political forces are now permitted to attack the Supreme Court. Then, for good measure, the (get your pens and pencils out, boys) the M.R.A. sends over leaders and great speeches are made at the top levels, sometimes, and over-reported—all the time.

Walt Whitman is represented in San Francisco by Gavin Arthur (Chester A. Arthur III) who calls newspapers at night near Roos Brothers and who thinks that “The song of the Answerer” is the song of the answerer. Well, I have tested it, and it is true. A few years ago I went back to college and took an examination and was asked, “If there were a hundred people in the room, how many do you think you would be superior to?” I put down 98 which looked like gross egotism and was later called on the carpet for an inferiority complex. The psychologists insisted that I would be No. 1 in that hundred. Be that as it may, this is what has happened here. Newspaper men and a large minority of college professors refused to take seriously this trip, but with all other people in all other walks of life it was. But it was not as easy as I have found it to be.

Becoming a sort of Walt Whitman, or as I laughingly call it, Lafcadio Hearn #2” I have seen in a little over a month what many tourists do not see in two years. I have been at places where not even a VIP –V.P. with a glorious I-eye could go. I have been received from the very start in a spirit that was far beyond my dreams, or most exaggerated—if they were exaggerations and not intuitions—could have boded. Lived in cities and villages, communicated and communed with peasants, children, schoolteachers, peers and the top ranking scientists and Buddhist monks and sages. This forthcoming week I visit former San Franciscans in another part of Japan but my final week will continue the same regimen.

I took this nation to heart and it took me to heart. I have lived in Japanese inns and monasteries, had more kinds of food than Duncan Hinds or Also would have dreamed of, and even evoked folk dancing from people who are very shy in the presence of strangers. I have been admitted free to Geisha shows, seen art objects closed to the world, scenes of Nature few if any Americans know about, and taken to see the ashes of Buddha, and the tombs of the former Emperor and Empress. To Top It: I am the first simple citizen in the history of Japan admitted as a special guest to the Imperial Gardens, and there, among other things had a wonderful talk with the gardener nursery man. This letter will be followed by my being a special guest of the city of Tokyo. Thus my credentials and you can check reports with Harry Nelson at City College Greenhouse and Drs. Fung, 700 Sacramento; or for opinions at the Indian and Pakistani Consulates. Now to the story:

Japan in the name of anti-communism armed against China, U.S. and G.B. leaving Russia alone. We, in the same name backed the landlords of Korea and Indo-China, and backed the missionaries against anything which in any way resembles democracy.

We backed the landlords and missionaries in Thailand and have won, so far. We backed them in Burma and Ceylon and got beaten at the elections. We backed the missionaries but not the landlords in India; we backed the landlords but not missionaries in Pakistan. We have an organization called “brotherhood” in San Francisco headed by a man with a most suitable name: Just Us. Against Just-Us is Pearl Buck’s memorial translation of the Chinese counterpart of the Arabian Nights: “All Men Are Brothers.” Nix-on that and up with Nix-on, and I am not fooling.

Act I. China. The Chinese are not inscrutable excepting to the one-eyed. They are at this moment changing but Stalin & Marx to Confucius and Marx. They have thrown a little Buddhism in for good taste, or better. Not only have they come out for Confucianism, but as a result of a series of actual scientific experiments, they are promoting their own schools of medicine and healing, which objective experiments cannot be tried out in the U.S. at all under present systems.

I doubt if there are a dozen people in the whole U.S. who understand Confucianism. There is one Choy in S.F. who tried to ram it down my throat and he was successful. I saw it had depths and aspects which our superficial understanding and acceptance of quasi-religion can never withstand. I saw how easily it is to amalgamate Confucianism with 20th century physics and other branches of advanced learning. You can consult Ji Ming at the American academy of ancient Studies on this, or his star pupil, P. Grimes, 3084½ Market St. There is far more Confucianism in Japan than one would surmise even from The Chrysanthemum & and the Sword. Our answer, of course is in that very glib book, Beyond the Chrysanthemum and the Sword by a Frenchman who understood Japan like Keyserling understood the world.

Orientals do not adhere to orthodoxies. Religions are either eclectic or synthetic, each man selecting his like each selects his tidbits at a dinner. They do not accept any form of narrowness especially narrowness surrounded by metanoic adjectives. So the new China policy is going to affect relations with Japan and Indo-China, easily. It will invade Singapore while our Marx M.R.A.-Nixon-Just-Us bloc succeeds in uniting all the groups against the West. We shall howl at affairs, or at England. But we will not, unless warnings are heard, dig up Whitman, Emerson, Holmes, Cranch and Lowell.

There is no way to meet this threat unless we look deep down into the spiritual insides of ourselves and stop, in the name of the Golden Rule, subsidizing missionaries who give fine things which are medical or scientific but not theological. By our theologies we are going to be doomed, unless we awaken, really.

Act II. South East Asia. By this I mean the Buddhistic countries. Buddhism is spreading into the Western world while Christianity is spreading in the Eastern. But compare the IQ’s of the converts. At the highest intellectual and sometimes also at the highest spiritual levels, these people are now cooperating in getting out a gigantic encyclopedia and sometimes in temple buildings. They are striving to get different forms of Buddhism to cooperate. The average Japanese is not a sectarian—this is true both of peasant and poor. Only highly paid propagandists are strictly sectarian. And Buddhism has some aspects which go far beyond the temple, into aesthetics, and these aesthetics are beyond the art studio, into many aspects of the private lives.

I am not going to visit Ceylon and may not go to Burma, but Thailand, yes. The conversations I have had here with a few Americans and many Japanese of the highest aspects of Buddhism would hardly be understood by the Christians of the day—that is, self-realization or illumination. On one point, however, I have been quite successful, even at the highest levels, of clearing Jesus Christ of any criticism. They can accept he was illuminated, or even the Son of God, but not as a unique example of it.

Revived Shintoism. I came to Japan knowing little of Shinto but prepared to visit some of the more stately shrines. Some pictures have been sent to East-West Gallery 330 Union St. But I soon learned one thing: Shinto practices “God dwelleth not in temples built with human hands.” “God is the creator of heaven and earth.” Not-talkie-talk. Shrines are near mountains or lakes or the sea, or mostly by stately trees. The Christian, seeing a tree, would say, “Let us cut this down for a house-of God.” The Shintoist would say: “Here is a handiwork of God, let us build a shrine here.” And the tree or trees would remain and do remain. This is the first phase.

With the overthrow of national-Shinto there has been a most remarkable revival and this is included in what I have derived from the Seicho movement:

Religion, like Science, must be progressive—not progressive as in the “theology” of Unitarian Christianity, but actually progressive. God is infinite, not verbally but actually. Therefore our working conception of God must be great enough to embrace the actual kingdoms of nature, the scientific theories thereof such as Darwinianism, the work of Roentgen, Curies, Crookes, Michelson & Morley, Einstein, Rutherford, Lawrence, etc., etc. Along with that must be the growth in consciousness until cosmic consciousness is our actual experience.

They differ from the Sudden Schools of Buddhism in embracing both the evolutionary and revolutionary possibilities and their favorite form of Christianity is that of the Unity School, of the Fillmores of Kansas. They are at the present moment synthesizing Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity. The emphasis with them as with all the Buddhist leaders I have met is on Love, Compassion, Spiritual Awakening and Cosmic consciousness. And they are living it.

Despite the prevalence of Masochism in this country the people at Seicho were all smiling, glowing and alive. They will visit San Francisco after a tour of Brazil. Their emphasis is on practice, not doctrine. You are determined by what you think, or as Emerson put it: “What you are speaks louder than what you say.” It was the first place where I saw no distinction between men and women. The smiles were real and the heads high.

I have placed these three revivals here, and will later let you know what I find in Hinduism and Islam. Actually I have much better introductions on the mainland than here. Here I “earned” them. I must call to your attention that India celebrates the birthday of Jesus Christ but not Christmas. So long as we stick to Santa Claus—and we are going to stick to it for some time—our condemnation of the “superstitions” of others not only sounds silly but is silly in effect. The combination of the missionary and the armed forced here is the greatest contribution we can make to “neutralism.” We will howl at “neutralism,” subsidize missionaries and keep armed forces which must certainly cause the ghost of the one famed Senator Hoar to turn in agony and even Rufus Choate feel thankful that he did not live long in the 20th century.

The Olympic Games—where we are liable to get a good shellacking—followed by the All-Asian Games in Japan in 1958 will awaken our sporting element and that will be good. One baseball team is worth, actually a dozen M.R.A.s or Billy Grahams, or in my opinion a million of them—costs less and may even bring back a return.

I was with two members of the L.A. Symphony Orchestra when they were here. They love Japan. Send them here some more and they will turn to Buddhism or Shintoism.

Finally I must, even at length, warn against the intransigent attitude of the press. This may cover only a minority of it, but the warning remains. The first is the campaign for more scientists by a host of highly paid propagandists who cannot always fathom the sciences. Why should the young go in for science and work hard when they can go in for salesmanship or advertising, not work so hard and get bigger pay?

Members of the press consider it within their ken to determine the truth of the Bridey Murphy experiments. They killed Crookes’ psychic work, but did not stop his tubes; they nearly destroyed Pasteur only to acclaim him at the end and act as if somebody else had been his enemies. They would have crushed the Curies if they could, and they have Prof. Soddy of Great Britain and given all the credit of his work to Prof. Rutherford, once his collaborator. A tremendous amount of so called “realism” which is generally “surrealism” obscures reality.

With this is the hopelessly un-semantic attitude of the word “love” which means bestiality in the press and cosmic sympathy in Jesus Christ. So long as the press continues in its verbal un-semanticism, the whole of the United States is subject to criticism and no warning of any kind will stop it. In H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, the Martians were destroyed by microbes. The same thing will happen here if we do not re-awaken to our own national treasures. We have to spread the word of Jefferson, of Lincoln, of the Transcendentalists, and of those Americans who are admired abroad.

I won broad smiles at the Embassy when I mentioned “Townsend Harris.” I hope to do a work on him some day. I have met two Americans in Kyoto who I think are about the most perfect people on earth, both dwelling in Buddhist temples. I have kept a complete diary. I have seen things at close hand, and I have talked and listened.

Most of the time Kiichi Okuda who used to manage Daibutsu in China-town has been with me. The rest of the time, James Kinoshita has been with me, about which man I may have lots to say when I return—world understanding through the exchange of trees and seeds, pen-pals, etc. but always universal love and compassion. We have no weapon against love-and-compassion.

Before many months I shall no doubt be with Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. I have written an epic poem for India and many papers of importance. I am not standing alone. I think I am far more in the spirit of the U.S. than Nixon-Clark-Graham and the M.R.A. Actually I am not against them, I am against ignorance and short-sightedness and I think you are, too. Otherwise I should not have taken the time to write.


Samuel L. Lewis


On Sunday May 16, when I was not writing, I was with J. K. at the Seicho foundation. This organization is a fusion between synthesis and eclecticism of Shinto, Buddhism and Christianity. It emphasizes the practical side and admires Unity. It believes that ultimately we come to spiritual realization. Steps between manifest in healing and other phenomena which can be demonstrated in daily life. The people had more sense of humanity than any other group, as a group I have yet met and women were permitted the same privileges as men—so far as I could see.


God is closed to Dainichi Nyorai of Shingon than to the Divinity of Judaism and Christianity, and is also identified with Amaretasu. There were good questions and answers but these did not give me a full sense of spiritual liberation, only a good working philosophy, say such as Unity.


This group especially protests against the “sin” emphasis of Christianity and Jodo-Shinshu and reemphasizes Buddha’s teaching that all are enlightened or enlightenable, and the Biblical teaching that God is Love and God is Perfect.



Wednesday June 20, 1956

My Dear Harry: I am in the city of Wakayama which is on a peninsula below Osaka. I have met the guest of two S.F. Issei, one is young George Uyeda of Osaka whom I have met before; the other is Shimotsu-san (Tom Ushiro) who came here last year and whose ancestors are from these parts. This is a sort of “rest” period between high excitement. Mr. Kinoshita will host us again June 24 – 28 and I leave on the 29th. He has been anxious to hear from you.

Monday we went to two nurseries. They said it was not necessary to take too many notes as they gave us a plant list. This will be sent to you when I return to Tokyo (or before). But the list is mostly trees and shrubs and fortunately I listed many flowers. And, Harry, thanks to you and yours I “saved face.” For the big shots do not always know plant materials and at least I get the genus right or it proved I had never met the plant before. So I will first write of the visits and if anything is omitted will go over the commentary on plant materials.

In Tokyo the Streets, Playgrounds and Parks are all in one department so there is no division of gardeners like in S.F. However, as I wrote McMullen in my first card, they tend to use large gangs then complain that they have not money to cover all sections. I notice that what corresponds to “gardener” on the Highways is the master-gardener who can work alone, while the others are treated as “grounds men” and work in groups. The tendency, as far as my observations go, is that they work very hard and then have rest periods.

We were escorted by Mr. Fujita who is over all plant materials, and P. Koike, of landscape construction. We went west to the edge of the city in the general direction of Asakawa reported to you previously. We were met by YoshinoAizuki Nursery Manager. Here the labels are not in international terms, but the catalogues are, which meant much time lost. In the second nursery we were met by the Head gardener who reminds me of McMullen (not physically, he is smaller even than I) who knew the scientific names (often when his superiors did not). But when there is no Japanese word they simply adopt the species name as Tobira, Molissima, etc. of which I have told you before. Very fortunately I get Quersus, Buddleia, etc. correct and even Sophora which I did not recall having seen as a tree.

The Nursery originally covered 260,000 tsuba, a tsuba having about 6 sq. ft. McCarthur took a large part away to give to homesteaders (150,000 ts.), now they have control over 57,000 ts., of which 30,000 is nursery, the rest park and the unaccounted remainder is playground. The place was all but deserted, almost like a cemetery without graves. Although they complained, when I visited the second nursery and found 12 people doing the work of 4, this seems to me to be bad management rather than bad budgeting. The second nursery was kept clean and fine, but this one was kept up wonderfully from the scientific point of view, but not from the garden maintenance point of view.

Outside the main building were Cypress, Hydrangeas and Abelia. They like Ab. but did not flower as in the U.S. It does shrub well. Eleagnus were scattered here and there. They evidently taste everything for they know what is edible, inedible, and poisonous. The list is very incomplete, for to begin with I saw Labyrnum. They were very proud of their Metasequoia which was doing very well. There were all kinds of representatives of the Chrysanthemum family especially of the Marguerite type. I also saw P. polyanthus. Sometimes the system admit of as many as “three stories”—flowers under shrubs under trees.

We next stopped at a remarkable tree with colored leaves which they identified as Filipendula hexapetala purpurea (walking too fast to get exact notes); one I think ought to be introduced into America. Then one with compound leaves which I had eaten at Kinoshita’s and which is Xanthoxylum piperitum. Next we looked at Hydrangeas which take on most beneficial colors in Japan, tending towards deep blue. They do not seem to know the effects due to pH changes. They have some Dogwoods from the U.S. which take on reddish colors. When I was in the South they called these “Florida Dogwoods.” I always thought this was a variety, not a species change.

Prunus sp. brings up many problems. They never know before hand whether a plant will grow or how. Many are subject to nematodes and they asked us about that. I said that in Calif. only certain ones were planted and then grafting operations were performed, but I did not remember which. (Note: Can you get this information from Pete?) I was not able to examine all Prunus carefully however, as we often walked too fast. I thought I saw P. lusitanica in the afternoon, at the second nursery.

The Camellia is now being thoroughly investigated and there are crews in western Japan and in the forests looking for new species and varieties. They have found both, but not yet placed in Tokyo nurseries. C. japonica are, of course, found everywhere. They have, at the nursery, a large number of C. sasanqua which they told me would soon cease to be a rarity.

There were 13 beds here, six of which are large. Total nursery space for planting is 190,000 tsubas of 6’ sq. for Tokyo in which there were a total of 1,200,000 seeds planted coverings 260 varieties. After this I forgot to take notes and will write partly from memory. They told me that the species appear in the book given, so I shall go over that and make reports accordingly.

Although they have lots of Abelia and like it, they were not blooming well. At this writing I am in Wakayama (see below) where it does very well indeed. One Vibernum was in bloom. There were many Catalpas. I saw Ash then and later but the only one listed is Fr. japonica. Plenty of Ligustrum of all types and doing very well. Trained as hedges, shrubs and small trees. Osmanthus abounds and some in nursery. Did not see Lilacs but they told me they had some and it is listed.

They have a pond for Lotus, doing very well. Many plants of Rh. obtusum in nursery. I asked about Kalmia and was surprised to find one in the second nursery lost in a Rhodies bed. Chief Cornus in this nursery, C. controversa and C. florida.

They have tall Platanus ready to move and under it shrubs. In the corner I found tall Azaleas doing wonderfully well. Although they have P. granatum listed, I only found the nana variety. They have a good bed of D. odera which does very well and is the first bloom in early Spring. A large bed of N. syriacus recently brought in and doing very well.

Among the Maples special attention seems to have been given to A. japonicum—many varieties and variations, A. negundo and A. succharum. Unfortunately they are treating the latter as a Platanus, too close together. They asked us about training and handling and I told them that the State of Vermont could offer the most information, or perhaps the Canadian Embassy.

I saw both Euonymous fortunei v. radicans and E. japonicus and E. j. aureo-varietus. Unfortunately they did not take good care of it and did not regard it as a good shrub. I think the combination of poor soil and handling, and in some cases too much shade had brought aphids. I did not see any aphids in the p.m. and it was doing excellently at the second nursery.

They like their B. microphylla very much, and, of course, it does well in small gardens. They told me they had no Ailanthus, when the question of smoke-resistant trees came up but I found A. altissima listed. Civilization is working havoc with Gingko. I told them that both McMinn and Cornell could give them lists of trees that do well in busy cities.

Albizzia julibrissin and R. psuedoacacia do so well they wonder why they have trouble with Acacia. I did not find great obstacles at the experimental stations and you will see later that it does well in Wakayama. Wisteria does well under all types of training.

Among Rosacea, Kerria j. does very well and so does Cotoneaster franchetti (where have I heard that before?) but they have not yet introduced other Cotoneasters and although Pyracantha are listed they can hardly have occupied much room.

Among Magnolias M. obovata was in bloom; After I saw M. grandiflora also in bloom but at the monastery they were too small. L. tulipifera did so well everywhere I think this ought to be good Magnolia country but the deciduous species seem absent.

Outside the nursery there was a large park, with fixed beds of plants. They use B. thunbergii usually as the outer hedge and Mahonia just inside. That was even more true of the afternoon. They have some fine Q. borealis and some other oaks; in particular Q. phylliraeoides have been introduced. I recognized some Sophora and there is an Escallonia listed (grahamiana) which I have seen since. Actually the printed list is not complete and the landscape construction man carried a complete list in both scientific and Japanese terms.

We left at about 12. The outer side would probably be a fine garden but no help. After a Japanese luncheon we came to the oldest nursery which is in the NW central part of Tokyo, Nakata. It is in back of a sanatorium and I think they grow cut flowers also for it. Coming in by the auto road we found a profusion of Camellia, Aucuba and Magnolia. The overall of Aucuba is that it does well and badly, is cared for and not, but no one seems to have taken an examination to present an overall picture. (Omission, just noticed I skipped the conifers but there is no outstanding comment excepting they have not had such bad luck with S. giganteium, nor such good luck with S. sempervirens as in the forestry station.)

To continue, the Nakata nursery is laid out rather like a garden and the whole hillside is properly laned and divided. Instead of being under-manned they are over-manned and the whole place is clean and neat. Inmates walk around and there is some therapeutic benefit from it. I did see all types and arrangements of Lonicera and at last C. franchetti– and I found it first, so don’t make me down. Also Olea and Rhus and a shrub from Kyusha called, I think, Eirya emarginata. There were some Cassia in back where we could not approach because of heavy copses. There was also a shrub which is highly regarded called Flacourtiacaea macrophylla normalize. Then with a Catalpa-like leaf, Cathay polycarpa. More Sophora, Photinia glabra, P. pissardi, which they like for contrast, and then I got it right, a Hypericum (palustina or something like that). I also showed them that a shrub must be Buddleia; it was poisonous, they said, and the flowers not so profuse as davidii. I find B. asiatica and B. lindleyana listed, and my hunch is the first, but you had better consult Bailey.

There are plenty of Yucca here and they do very well, forming the backbone of avenues for other plantings. I saw a small legume which seems distinctly related to Lupin and the only thing in the Japanese book like it was Indigofera incarnate. It has very light leaves. Incidentally Asparagus fern is grown as a vine and even trellised. They then showed us Walnuts, Persimmon and a fine Iris garden. There were also Calliopsis and other flowers there. The thing they are most proud of around the Rhs. are their work on “Air layering.” They did not know what to call it but they do very well and are rightfully proud.

These two visits took so long and as the man had to go back downtown—their office is not far from my hotel, I was willing to call it quits and continue some other day. I then laid out my program with Mr. Kinoshita which is to resume these meanderings on Monday (June 25?). We will fill my program. I then took the train to Wakayama, stopping at Osaka where I had been before and became the guest of Ushiro Shibotum (Tom) who left S.F. a year ago.

On June 20 I began my tour of Wakayama and it also turned up plenty of surprises. I noticed Gaillardias (I have seen some elsewhere) and hedges of Yew, Hawthorne and Escallonia – I presume E. grahamiana. I saw plenty of Camellias in bloom, especially those which have been neglected. We went downtown so I could buy Yen at the bank and my tickets back to Tokyo. We visited the largest department store which has excellent ceramics and lacquer ware at low prices. Lunch cost about 20 cents (70 Yen), and I did not finish mine.

We next visited a Shingon Buddhist temple. I bought post cards, mostly for my friend Rudolph Schaeffer, 350 Union St. They have very old Cherries there, and the same kind of Hydrangea as in Calif. Also shrubs of the Cascara family. The view was magnificent–bay and mountains and fine water scenery. Good for pictures, fishing and boat rides, although the last seem rare. I shall probably write on Shingon Buddhism to someone else after my visit to Mr. Koya perhaps later in the month.

We next went to On-San-Shot, or Catanoia Park, once owned by a wealthy Mr. Kita who has since turned it over to be a public garden. He searched all over Japan and here he found what he wanted–fresh water ponds and pools near the ocean and also fresh water cascade. Also the type of rock which can be quarried for walls and “islands,” and seats and rocks in lawns. Incidentally I found a grass there which resembles St. Augustine.

I noticed in several places a white flower, six petals, and if my memory is right – and you got me here, it is Trachelospermum asiaticum. I was very much surprised to find A. dealbata and Ab. grandiflora doing fine; also N. oleander just coming into bloom. But the most ubiquitous shrub looked very much like California Valley Oak, and I also saw some trees more like it than Q. agrifolia, right near the ocean. Pines always near water, and often beat by the wind, with very pleasing effects. Euonymus doing very well. Also P. tobira and Escallonia. All shrubs were pruned to resemble a gigantic tea plantation.

This is the first time in Japan I saw large plants landscaped to resemble small ones. The opposite is nearly always prevalent both in theory and practice.

After long and slow meanderings around trees and water–sea and ponds–we came to the garden where we saw Gladiolus, Zinnias, Cannas, Geranium (poor variety), Roses, Dahlias, Azaleas and other plants. They told me most of these grow smaller every year; they evidently do not buy new seeds although they have an ambitious fertilizing program. They used a mixture of soil, leaf mold and a fertilizer made up of chicken dung, charcoal, rice hulls and vegetable oil. The end is a fine, rich light soil, but the mixture has to be used within six months–standing by itself it can decompose.

The prize of the place is the work on Chrysanthemums and this would make your Oakland gardeners take notice. Just as I have tried to introduce San Rafael and Itako to each other, in re: Iris, I ought to introduce Wakayama (pop. 225,000) to Oakland in re: Chrysanthemums. They start with Bonsai, to produce imitation effects of old trees. They even get tree stumps, etc. and train the plants around them. Cs. are treated as biennials; third year not so good. They put up frames of bamboo, making all sorts of cross-grills and lattices with many varying effects. They use bamboo tubes to establish “leaders” and imitation “stock” effects. They do hanging basket work, they combine the methods, from simple to the most intricate, trying not to duplicate. They have one huge pot with almost a 100 stalks, all from one original root. The gardener must know his stuff for all the time he was talking he was pinching. The object is also to get few but large blooms. I found the soil very light and with much more organic matter than usual.

I get the same feeling here from and concerning Chrysanthemums as concerning Bonsai from the Emperors Gardener. I think I shall be able to remember the system well enough to help you enter an Oakland or other show some day to good effect. This visit was worth the trip

Omission. Nakata nursery used a lot of compost which the big nursery did not use. That may also have been a factor in their better success. I think this is enough and I am tired.


Samuel L. Lewis


VI-P.S. Both bought and have given Morning Glory seeds which will try to send to you somehow. Also will send booklet and anything else next week when I complete Tokyo visits.



June 25, 1956

Post Cards to Delaplane


Dear S.D:

It is evening. In my past letters I claimed to make history. But Clio, she says: “Love may be a many splendored thing, but not a one way street.” And did she smackeroo me. Let’s go back to the beginning and start all over.

This has really nothing to do with me. It has to do with Townsend Harris. He’s the guy that started this global good-will but the patents ran out and nobody claimed them. So that let me in and in I be.

You see I was not only pen-pal of Richard Haliburton I liked biographies and auto-biographies of adventurous persons: Lady Hester Stanhope, Trelawney, Mogul Babar, Admiral Byrd and somewhere along the line swallowed Townsend Harris. He used to work for the State Department. They sent him to Thailand (then Siam) when they said: “Anna does not live here anymore, in fact she has not even arrived—yet.” But that did not stop H.T. In he went. He not only learned to bow and kow-tow, he learned to grovel. So Uncle Sam sent him over to Cipango which we called Japan and which ought to be Nippon. They said: “We’ll fix this Yank. We’ll make his knees go out and then he will go home.” So they bowed and he bowed; they kow-towed (that wasn’t I the test but they tried it anyhow) and he kow-towed. They tried judo and he came back with yoga and they shouted: “Best 2 out of three,” and then “Best 4 out of 7”—they didn’t get to first base, so T.H. was the first minister plenipotentiary who sneaked in and the crack became wide enough for some people. He won the Japanese version of the Olympic Games but they did not broadcast that in the U.S.

Knowing all about him I took my cue. Once I went to a reception. It was for a Vice-Consul of Japan. All the VIP’s were introduced. Small, insignificant guys like me not introduced. You know these diplomats—you get introduced then make a B-line for the bar or substitute. The Vice-Consul was left alone (he always is anyhow). So I broke diplomatic tradition and went up and whispered just a word in his ears and pretty soon it looked like we went to Waseda together. Everybody thought I did some Oriental hocus-pocus and I let them think so.

You see I went to the O.W.I. during the war and they thought they were broadcasting to the Japanese and were so busy answering letters of praise and gratitude (from Hollywood) they did not know a war was going on. And when I mentioned Townsend Harris I was given the icy-state, etc. So I kept quiet. And now the Vice-Consul and I became thick, it was too simple.

Just before I became Lord Emperor for a piece of a day I went to the Embassy. Everybody was busy so I went to the library. “What the heck do you want?” “I want something on or by Townsend Harris.” Pretty librarian leaned over and only wide partition kept her from kissing me. (What’s this guy Harris got anyhow?)

This is a an awfully long introduction and the story is on the other side.

Today I was wandering around a little frequented part of Tokyo (I mean by J.T. B. travelers) and seeing there was a temple nearby, I asked my friend, Mr. Kinoshita, if we could go there. “Oh, you mean the Townsend Harris temple.” Just like that. Then Clio grabbed me and we were off.

We first came to a big slab and on it was a picture of a man and the notation: “On this spot opened the first American Legation, May 7, 1859.” Nearly a hundred years late but I arrived. Then we went to the temple and learned this from the young man there.

Townsend Harris was admitted (champion in the sticking-out-your-neck game) and offered the temple grounds which the British Lord Uppity-Up had just rejected. T.H. being more democratic and aware of the housing shortage even then grabbed it and everybody was pleased.

That is everybody excepting the Bakufu who ruled Japan in the name of the Shogun who ruled Japan in the name of the Emperor. Those guys were little Hitler’s with the morals of Al Capone and Murder Incorporated but you could always buy protection. Well Townsend Harris had bought protection, but from the Temple not from the Gangsters. They then began blaming everybody else and suing or threatening. So a couple of “patriots” came and killed all the guards but did not kill the redoubtable Townsend. You see he had diplomatic immunity; he also had the championship belt for bending and bowing and they could not take that away. The honors were satisfied.

Of course a good deal of the temple grounds was burned down and they had to do some rebuilding or turn the land back to the farmers (not to the Indians, and of course, not to the Ainu.)

So Townsend Harris lived on and died very famous among all peoples who should not know about him and unheard of by 100% Americans who do not want to study American history. And in 1936 the Americans and Japanese got together and put up this monument. This has also pleased the temple authorities. The Jodo Shinshu hasn’t got as many millions to support them as some other but they have been hoping that some Americans will someday find out about this Americans here—and I hope they do.

The underground is now some people are beginning to find out about his. I may take up his trail in Thailand and I may take up the trail of some other Americans who did lots for their country, while noise makers just shout. I certainly hope the next time a big diplomat comes here he will visit this spot. Meanwhile I shall continue to collect good-will dividends until they do.


P.S. To David Stephens: I have a pile of information in my diary. I am finishing one of the best good-will tours ever tried by anybody. I do not even know how or why I succeed; I just do.



June 25, 1956


To George and Paul, with a carbon for Alan Watts:

When I arrived in Osaka on June 24 to meet my friend George Uyeda, formerly of S.F. I was greatly surprised when he told me he thought we could best spend the day by visiting Obaku Temple. George has become a Christian. But the days before that I was with Uchiro Shimotoa, also of S.F. and when we visited Koyasan his spiritual etiquette was tops. I shall write my Koya experiences later, excepting for a few notes going to the Academy. I am also sending some things in Japanese there, assuming that Sobra Hasagawa or somebody will translate.

Obaku is 15 miles southeast of Kyoto and can be reached from Osaka by a single transfer. The town has also received the name of “Obaku.” The compound is built facing the west, while the mother temple in China faces the east, so they are “looking” at one another. There are 7 buildings, and I was told that this is traditional in this sect. These included assembly hall, zendo, refractory, examination building, great temple for the Buddhas and sutra chanting, smaller temples for Bodhidarhma and Inchen, the founder.

All the architecture is in Chinese style. There are the same kind of courtyards and walls and all details are Chinese. It exemplified the saying: “The best collections of Chinese art are in Japan.” Inchen came with a group of Chinese monks, at the invitation of a Japanese monk of Nagasaki at the time the Ming dynasty fell. He brought with him a wonderful artist, who is responsible for most of the things, but who went back home later; also 70 artisans came. There was a continued influx of Chinese into this region for some time and the first 13 Abbots were Chinese; but after that Japanese.

The term is relative, for many Chinese, mostly artisans, came here and intermarried and the people around have considerable Chinese blood. The monk who attended us was both larger in body and mind than most Japanese and had a sort of wit about half way between. (If this means anything)

There are several basic characteristics. One is the detail work in straight lines and cross pieces. Another is the placing of the wooden columns in marble bases; both the columns are bases are either round or square so round columns are on round bases and square on square bases. A good deal of marble is used all around, in the courtyards and walks. Broken pieces and broken stones are used in the minor walks.

Sutra chanting is in Chinese and they stand excepting where the ceremonies require bending or bowing. There are mats for this purpose—they are not used for sitting or meditating. The room is very light and seems to follow the dictum of the sixth patriarch that the true self is already illuminated and does not have to be cleansed. On this point I find Kobo Daishi and Inchen at extreme opposites although both holding strongly to inner illumination. The Buddha is utterly outstanding and indescribable. The remarkable thing is that they were constructed at a much later date than most of the great treasures and art pieces. (One Buddha , two Bodhisattvas here—I am writing from memory.)

The room also contains 16 about life-size figures of the chief disciples of the historical Buddha and 2 other figures. There were no temple guardians as one finds in most of Japan.

The fencing is based on the swastika theme and this is almost the only place in Japan where I have seen this emblem. There are graves of Inchen and Prince Konoye (of the 17th Century, I believe) who financed much of the undertaking.

The Zendo in form was between the Rinzai and Soto. The metaphysics and theory, I was told, are exactly the same as that of Rinzai. The attendant monk asked me if I had Asahina’s writings and was pleased—which obviated any need to go into theory. There is a stick in the Zendo used to wake up failing monks and disciples. The Abbot or a Senior Monk watches them; if they are too adept in sleeping, he knocks them over to wake them up.

The Bodhidharma is famous for he is shown smiling and with teeth. It is not known where or how the artist got this idea, but it is said that this was the true nature of the Patriarch. He is much more handsome and loving than in the general traditional forms.

In the pictures one sees the Block used for telling time and the symbol-Gong for summoning to meals. There is also the same kind of block for other meetings as I saw at Engakuji. All the ornaments in the temple are definitely Chinese and look as if they had come from Ching Wah Lee.

There are guardians at other points, however and roof ornaments of a symbolic nature. The planting is almost entirely of tall trees. There are few shrubs, and little of the intricate landscaping one finds elsewhere. However the monk told us that this sect was especially known for its contributions to Tea-ceremony and once was widespread on this account. I regret that it was difficult to find a tea house where one should expect them. Instead one finds many places selling what I consider low-grade soda-pop. And if one should establish a few even fair tea-houses today, he would make a good return.

Another thing I found out. One cannot believe statistics. You cannot put down Japanese as necessarily belonging to this sect or that. This monk said even today Obaku has 600 temples. I was told that Kegon was about finished but did not find it so. Also I found slight attendance at some of the wealthier temples.

Obaku seems to me to be working for good relations between the Chinese and Japanese and I am hoping the San Francisco Temple will recognize this. If you have any pictures to send them, now or later, I think they would appreciate it. I hope that either Sabro Hasegawa or somebody else will translate the pamphlets being sent to Broadway St.

Sam Lewis



June 25, 1956

Post Cards to Delaplane

Dear S.D:

I arrived back in Tokyo to find I am becoming famous in Marvelous Marin. It is all through the flowers. I joined “The Friends of the World” which seeks to bring about better world relations by mutual exchange of seeds and plants. As the main efforts are international or else, we shall skip them and turn to some more important things.

Cable Cars. It is true that meeting a San Francisco Issei and introducing him to another S.F. Issei was just in front of a trolley bus, but our further adventures took us up mountains. I have been up three mountains and did not have to use knapsack or boots. I have just written to the Japan Travel Bureau that if they want more Native Sons here it is simple: just advertise those cable cars. Maybe no more Fillmore Hill, but my boyhood days came back with interest. I think one would have more benefit from some of these trips than rubber necking and it costs less.

Monastery Meals. I first learned about Buddhism from one who had been a Roman catholic and said he gave it up because he had to eat too much. I am becoming suspect. Well I know just enough of Buddhism to have been allowed to stay overnight in two monasteries—after the cable car journeys, of course. And both are now famous—not for their spiritual philosophy (they have that) but for their meals. I have lived where “G. Washington slept here”; now I live “Duncan Hinds did not sleep here but wished he had.” I think all good Americans ought to become enough interested in Buddhism to take these cable car rides and visit Mt. Takao (where some of the ashes from Buddha’s actual body repose); or Mt. Koya, where the art treasures have no end—and get a chance to bathe, sleep and eat.

Anyhow both my Buddhist and Christian friends said: “When you go to Hong Kong, be sure and visit the Buddhist Temple and have one of their meals.” Well, Barkus is willing and methinks we have the proper introductions, plus appetite. But don’t ask me all I ate—I could not tell you though I studies Botany and Horticulture.

Orange Valley, Japan. I did not go there but may sometime. You see after Florida and Texas and California, Japan also lays claims to best Oranges. I met a man who lived in Texas and he said it was so—but he was born in Kentucky. Anyhow, being on a diplomatic mission I thought I would wait for the fate of Dicky Nixon. I once lived in Whittier, too, and in an orange grove of all places. (Keep this secret from Democrats, please, and from all Texans.)

Good Will. Now I will be the guest of the city of Tokyo for my final hours, and understand there are some big things coming—not necessarily meals. If I meet you in New Delhi or Bangkok or Damascus, I will not high hat you; I did not bring any hat.



June 26, 1956


My Dear Harry:

I failed to mail the last report because I have been busy all the time. My friends seem to anticipate my wants and when they do not I just blunder into the right things. Thus yesterday I said I wanted to go to the Embassy of (you may remember that I told you my past was catching up with me—in the right way). They refused to see me on the grounds that I was too important a visitor to receive less than half an hour and 3 hours would be better! Having time, we wandered out (Mr. Kinoshita and myself) smack into a monument of Townsend Harris, first American envoy to Japan—which means something. I shall give details to Lloyd Lukeman and Merv Slosberg when I return.

I determined to write about this to Delaplane “Post Cards”—I am writing “Post Cards” to him. To my surprise I got a very fine letter from his publishers who want to see my stuff. And so on, and all very good.

Well, after my last report I went up to mount Koya which was established by Koba Daishi, sometimes called the Leonardo of Japan. The first thing I saw was Cinerarias! There was a note that Koya has Alpines and sub-alpines not found elsewhere in Japan. I found an interesting Primula which ought to be called “Pagoda Primula” six stories. Later the attendant says that sometimes they have as many as nine-stories. They also have Cherry Trees 800 years old there, presumably placed by Kobe or his earliest followers. He was also the original Johnny Appleseed for a large part of the country. His form of Buddhism is very complex and I have to include it in other reports. I slept there and had a different kind of vegetarian meal.

Saturday we went to the castle grounds in Wakayama; it was destroyed during the war. I was with Uchiro Shimotsu whose ancestors come from this region and who is really a San Franciscan. I said, “That looks like a Californian Native.” I went up and plucked some leaves; Umbellularia californica! On top we found some P. lusitanica! I guess they were either sent or brought some from Cal. Actually I ran into a number of Issei. The weather in the district is most like California anyhow, not nearly so hot or cold as Tokyo. The scenery, she is magnifique!

We also visited one garden as a specimen. The basis is rock work. The original owner must have spent a fortune both for rock and marble. The inner garden, which was not destroyed, is basically rock and trees and shrubs then fit in—the usual pond and running water, very good. The new owner himself is interested in gardening and the outer garden is basically a huge azalea show, with some Cherries and conifers in the back. The servant-gardener was watering and using a hose exactly as in California but did not speak English. The ground is thoroughly fertilized before planting but not much afterwards excepting to see there is plenty of organic matter. There is a lot of fine landscape rock around Wakayama used both in walls and walks.

Today I am going to the biological experimental station to see what they are doing with Algae, etc. for food. I expect to send this report elsewhere but, of course, everything is in my diary, too.

Mr. K. wishes you would write him. Already some reactions of my doings have reached here, and very good.



June 27, 1956

Visit to Tokugawa Biological Foundation


Mr. Kinoshita and I arrived at this Station at about 10:00 A.M. June 26 and stayed 1½ hours as the guests of Dr. Tamiya, the Director. He has been in the United States and speaks a good English, writes an excellent Latin—his basic writings are in Latin, not in English or Japanese—and “looks like a scientist.” There was no language problem here, except the need for us to translate Latin for Mr. K.

The basic purpose of this laboratory is to study from both the scientific and economical points of view the adaptation of the Algae, Chlorella, for food. Ford Foundation put up $300,000 in 1954 and the Japanese Government an equal amount. They produce 18 Metric Tons of their product per year. The process has been written up by Jack Myers of the University of Texas and published by the Stanford Research Institute of Menlo Park so there should be no problem getting published material. However at this date separate pamphlets have not yet been distributed and one would have to buy the complete report. The above was in connection with the world symposium on Applied Solar Energy held in Tucson, Ariz. which was attended by Dr. Tamiya.

He has been to Stanford also and made friends with Dr. F. Spiegelberg. This is important because one purpose of this visit is to help India and Pakistan in the “solution” of their food problems.

The experiments vary. There were a number of tanks using self-rotary pipe, or a series, and the water is charged with CO2. Much depends on the availability of Carbon Dioxide and sunlight. But they have used both the simple and multiple systems of pumps and rotary pipes, as well as varying the shape of the tanks to ascertain maximum productions. The holes are arranged in the pipes so that the movements are automatic. The general over-all efficiency is about 90%.

There are many variations in feeding. Basically they use Nitrogen, Potash and Phosphorus, which are the Big 3 of plant foods. At the present time they have finished using KNO3 (Potassium Nitrate) and have turned to Urea and its relatives for Nitrogen which they find better. I called attention to the work being done on Microbiology and its value in plant feeding and questioned the use of inorganic fertilizers. They have come to the same conclusion—even for Algae, the inorganics are “dead,” and are really forcing rather than feeding. Besides, it is difficult to make measurements owing to inorganic chemical reactions, questionable effects under varying conditions of rain and drought and varying heat and sunlight.

They have also come to the conclusion—from their experiments—that plants need many of trace elements which have been shunned alike by the medical profession and the larger producers of fertilizers (inorganics). Below there will be a list of the minimum and maximum percentages in the chemical analysis of the food. This list of elements is almost the same as that put out in the product called “Nutrilite” and fortunately I had some tablets with me and am submitting chemical analyses to the Station.

The objective now is to establish 1-acre plants. 2 square meters turns out about 12 grams and the cost is 25.8¢ per pound, if a 100-acre plant is set up in Japan, 33.6¢ per lb. if in the U.S. This cost is much lower than the relative production of proteins from most sources, all excepting skim milk. (Perhaps Cottage Cheese, too, which is not listed). But these proteins do not include the trace elements needed for human consumption and Chlorella does.


Chlorella had the tremendous advantage, then of being a relatively cheap Nitrogen as food which is also replete with vitamins and trace elements, and if added to unpolished rice should be a perfect meal. Besides there would be and should be no objection to it in India excepting taste. I ate some with Tondon (pork and rice) immediately afterwards, and with vegetable curry rice today, and to me, they made harmonious tasting meals. The taste is somewhat like Seaweed, which I happen to like. However I called attention to the lemon-peel infusion in the Nutrilite and the professor liked the taste of it.

A very small acreage is needed to establish a “farm” and it could be a natural in Java, with its pressing population problems. It does not require much water and could be established even in the Indus Valley. The water is not used after the product is withdrawn by suction, but the tanks are cleaned.

Experiments are going on to determine the time per crop—this also might mean several crops per year—and the food effects on animals. This means variations in trace minerals and the physiological affects of the fertilizers, particularly from various sources of Nitrogen. Actually the Chlorella can be used, as I used it, as a powder over rice. It is also put out as capsules and tablets; also a Soy-sauce substitute has been made. The odor is not bad. The question at the moment is its palatability. After Clinton’s failure to get the Indians to accept the low-cost Soy-by-products, the Station is well aware of people’s taste habits.

Chlorella does not manufacture nitrogen, but uses that from the fertilizers (90%) efficiency. Rockefeller has put up $5,000 for a 2 year grant and this has been written up in Publication 600 of the Carnegie Institute of Washington by John S. Burlow.


Chemical Composition. Parts Per Million


Carbon 49.51-7017 Zinc 0.05

Oxygen 17.40-33.20 Cobalt 0.05

Hydrogen 7.57-10.20 Molybdenum 0.01

Nitrogen 1.39-10.98 Vanadium 0.01

Sulfur 0.91 Chromium 0.01

Phosphorus 0.94-1.51 Nickel 0.01

Calcium 0.00-1.55 Tungsten 0.01

Potassium 0.04-1.44 Copper 0.01

Magnesium 0.26-1.51 Titanium 0.01

Boron 0.05

Manganese 0.05



S.L. Lewis

June 27, 1956


Dear Harry:

This will probably be my last letter from Japan. There is some uncertainty about my future movements owing to right timing with my next contacts. I do not know what I shall be doing in Hong Kong. As I have not heard from my own friends for over two months from Thailand, I shall next depend upon the Atlas man there. He is an orchid grower and I have not found it possible to pay much attention to that speciality. Tomorrow we may be visiting nurseries and greenhouses, or even repeat some former visit.

In both my trips yesterday I found myself with men who spoke some English and wrote also in Latin. Fortunately I know enough of the Latin so there was no barrier there. The morning trip to the Biological Experimental Lab will be recorded and sent to a friend who is working on food problems. In the afternoon we were with Prof. Fumio Haokawa, Director of the Botanic Gardens, University of Tokyo. Two of the catalogues are a mixture of English and Latin with a sprinkle of Japanese; the third in Japanese with a species, or rather a genus list. The reason is that some plants were grown from seeds sent and others collected.

The Botanical Gardens are a huge Arboretum or Park and the general feeling is about half-way between the Waltherorium and the Park itself, except for the absence of traffic. There is even playground equipment. Unfortunately boys have been more interested in fishing than in swinging and caused some damage which was being repaired. The long neglect from the war is also just being amended now. I must say that the attitude of the staff toward the gardeners was different. They treated the gardeners as if they were skilled workman who passed stiff C.S. exams. With a single exception, the gardeners had their own areas and their own responsibilities. The nursery people, however, were working as a crew, and against time in their potting operations.

One catalogue has lists in alphabetical order and the other in classical order. I shall therefore refer to my notes first. We arrived at 1, to be met later by Prof. Haokawa and Prof. Asaki of the Forestry Station in Tokyo. The latter, from the Tokyo Forestry Station was with me at Mt. Takao also and brought the pictures which may someday be valuable. He also used to be employed in the Garden and has done research work there.

At the entrance I listed Armeria vulgaris, Calendula, Bellis (oh boy!), Babiana stricta, Snaps; then shrubs Astilbe japonica, Hovenia dulcis, Stirax shiraiana and Excordia recemosa. This last is from China. They are very proud of their Chinese collections and are anxious to have better relations with continental countries for botanical and scientific purposes. They told me that this is now actually going on and if Mao and Dulles continue to make faces they except to act as go-betweens in the plant-exchange operations. You can take this for what it is worth.

I next saw Alangui chinensis which was raised from seeds from the Lu Shan arboretum. It looks like a Plane but the leaves have six points and it has small white flowers. Near it were Pr. triloba and Acer monocuepictum. I did not find this on either list but there were plenty of species not listed. In fact this is definitely one place I want to visit again. This maple has soft, green leaves, the texture quite different from any other maple left I have yet seen. There were Acer negundo nearby.

Next I listed Diabotus glabra, but did not see fruit. We then walked up the hill on a wide road with Hamamelis mollis in the background. This is from China. In the front of this Rh. pulchrum and obtusum. Here and there Yucca alnifolia. And just behind the border Hosta undulata. This last has become a favorite, along with Lilies and does very well.

Further up the slope the grounds widen and the background was covered with Passiflora edulis, a large wide spreading tree with edible fruits. In front of it Cortadena argentea from Brazil and Pr. yedoensis. The front was covered with Jun. lutchensis, a very good ground cover. On the other side were Ilex integra and Podocarpus nagi, one of the few trees not doing well, and Rh. indicum. By the main building were Castenopsis cuspidate, the seeds of which are food for squirrels, Aucuba, Q. myrsina which is very tall, Astilbe japonica and Pansies in front.

Here and there were Ribes fasciculum japonica. While I was away Mr. Kinoshita and his principals were taking a great deal of interest in Amaryllis. I told him of plantings between Amaryllis and Agapanthus, which often bloom together making a pink-blue combination (and in about two shades, as luck would have it we found some Agas in bloom) … and a similar color combination in California between the native wild Ribes and Ceanothus at another season. As I have written before, they are particularly anxious to obtain Ceanothus. We also saw Q. pedunculate, a fine rounded oak.

At tea I noticed the absence of Agrestis and the use of bent grass. One of the staff was aware of the new mixtures. As Mr. Kinoshita and I are very anxious to start a “Friends of the World” in or near San Francisco, our first step may be a delicate one of how to bring the seed companies in, and, of course, learn about their grass seed mixtures, etc. They should be willing to give some contributions. But I have also some good financial leads in Marin County among the social leaders there so we would both prefer to work with you or obtain your advice.

The grounds that we visited consisted of several areas: (a) nursery and greenhouse, (b) a huge park arboretum, far from covered, (c) an area being reconstructed which would be fine for rock gardens and smaller plants, (d) a species lining out area which was far from covered too. And it contains a number of varieties not yet listed. We did have some talk about Cotoneaster. Their present research is on Cotoneaster, Primula and one other genus.

The pictures include an overall view (which does not do justice to the beauty or grandeur), the main building, part of the arboretum, the approach to the nursery and the orchid greenhouse with prominent “stage.” (At tea, then and later I saw a book on the farms of Nepal and the Himalayas. I pick up mail in Hong Kong to ascertain whether I go to that region or not. We discussed Kingdon Ward who has always been one of my idols.)

The first thing I saw in the Nursery was a nice shrub “bottle brush” in bloom, with an excellent compound leaf. Despite its bushy appearance it looked more like a Melaleuca than Callistemon. I then discussed with them the advantages of getting Australians. During my absence Mr. K. did go to the Australian Embassy for information, but I think I could do better and will, perhaps in H.K. They had a number of Sedums in small pots with some Smilax which does very well. The Emperor likes these things.

They have been given 8,000 seeds, the largest group covering 200 varieties of Primula. That is why the Nursery crew were busy, and how. They use lots of various kinds of organic matter in their potting mixtures together with some stuff like broken bricks which is used instead of vermiculite.

I did not take notes in the GrH, it being devoted largely to Orchids, but they were very much interested in a very fragrant one, now in bloom. An orchid fancier could stay there for weeks. But I felt I should send them “Atlas” and Mr. K. says he will give them some. (Incidentally Mazzera and K. are now in direct contact.)

The entrance to the Arboretum has a most imposing Gingko. Just after a woodsmen hit it with his ax (Gingkos make excellent pillars), a Botanist noticed it was a Female and there is a sign: “60 years since the discovery of Spermatozoids in Higher Plants.” The tree perhaps is over 300 years old and more spreading (umbrella-like) than the male trees. Gardeners object to its use. There were a number of drupes on the ground which are not objectionable at this season, and do not look too different from any drupe which has not stone seeds. Fertilization takes place in September, germination in Spring.

There was a large Diopyrus virginians, which is much larger than Kaki but the fruit small. Near it several Acer campestre which makes a wonderful background tree. Then we passed down a long avenue of T. europea till we saw the largest Plane trees yet encountered, one each P. acerifolia, P. occidentalis and P. orientalis. I have been awed many times but here, again. These were planted 70 years ago. This area is certainly excellent for forest growths, but this was a Botanical Garden, and besides this, in the middle of a large city.

I then saw Euonymus alatus which is a large shrub, at least 8’-10’ and spreading. Then Verbena cannabifolia which is much larger, around 20’ and has a slightly fragrant leaf. Then Evodia donelli from China, used for medicine, 25’-30’. Then Juglans caucis (?) which has a very large influorescence. Then Cornus officianalis, which resembles more C. Florida in its habits. Then Michelia fustaca, and a Pr. laurocerasis—I think the first I have seen in this country. Then a group of Hamamelis from China, Ilex latifolia and Hyd. Verniculata, and Hyd. otokusa, named in honor of Siebold’s wife. Incidentally, he is the most honored, as I think I have reported before, of all Western botanists.

We then went around the rock-garden section and the gardener and I bowed to each other, and hurried over to the lining out gardens. Here everything was in order and very carefully tended. But as time was passing we only did spot visiting. They showed me Veronica sibirica which rather resembles a Buddleia. It is evidently deciduous; they do not know much about this genus. There was a good Acanthus, and near it Scopolia mollis, of which I did not take notes. Then Buddleia shimidziana next to B. Davidii so they could make comparative studies. Then Syringa, and Lythrum salicardia which has a fluorescence rather like Buddleia. (This a sort of “lilaea” group.) Then different kinds of tea-plants.

There are 800 species hear and this systematic arrangement is the first consideration of the garden. I saw Nasturtiums which were not too happy—perhaps because there has been considerable rain, and Geraniums. There were also Geraniums in the nursery but no careful selection of varieties and they do not yet know the distinctions and did not (with one exception) know about Pelargoniums, of which there were two there.

I also saw Acer carpinofolium and A. rubrum next to each other, specimen trees, the latter turning a beautiful blood-red in the fail. Then a shrub Sophora (I missed this one badly)—S. flavescens. It is a vine-like shrub spreading wide with greenish yellow or lemon colored blossoms on stalks. It is used in medicine. (You might guess the shape of the leaves, like Carpinus).

We also saw Geum, Filipendula purpurea which is very beautiful and Horseradish, grown for the leaves which are used in flower arrangements and which they say are not edible, although they look like it. Then I saw Stephania cephalantha, which is used for an alkaloid and is a specific in T.B. I said that this meant in Greek “Crown of thorns flower.”

They then showed me Ephedra—they also have “everylastings” and take great interest in these “missing links.” At final tea we discussed Cotoneaster. They prefer small-leaf and prostrate types and any help, especially as advice, would be valuable. I hope to come there again, but will close as there are other reports to make. I failed to make extra copy of this for the Highway Dept. but of course have my diary notes.

Omissions on other side.

Another “missing link” in the Nursery is the Cyclads. They are placed with the Ferns and of course superficially look like them, but we did not discuss this subject. They also have Selaginella involvens and a number of Salvia, beginning with S. koyama. There should be good opportunities for this genus in Japan. There were a number of pots with “Thyme.” They themselves have a double job of repair from and since the war, and of keeping up with scientific progress.



June 28, 1956

Post Cards to Delaplane

Good-bye Marin, Farewell Maranouchi, git along little doggies, I’m going to Hong Kong, and hello, Mr. Calabash, wherever you are.

I had better let you in on a family secret. When I was born my grandmama was wardrobe lady to De Wolfe Hopper. (I don’t recall who the Mrs. was but I do know grandma was once palsy-walsy with Edna Wallace). Hardly could I say “Goo” when I knew the music of “The Geisha,” “San Troy” and “Wang”—a good sprinkling of G & S soon followed. Well I’ve been checking upon “The Geisha” and “Happy Japan” and so far as I know it is all true.

I rang up the Embassy to say good-bye and told them about Townsend Harris. That was fine but better yet is the successful campaign to make Americans Americans instead of just 100% and blah. They are going to celebrate Townsend Harris on July 4; they are going to celebrate Townsend Harris and invite the French on July 14. In fact July is going to be “Townsend Harris” month. I don’t know where Father’s Day fits in. (Anyhow my PAA-PAA is calling, git along little doggies, I’m going to Hong Kong.)

Well I’ve been to another Embassy. I produced my credentials and they told me I was VIP and come back. So went back and after 1½ hours decided I must meet the Ambassador, so on my farewell day, I shall be with the Ambassador. What have I got that Marilyn Monroe hasn’t? I don’t know but it works. This good-will done got me. And I’ll probably meet some more Ambassadors soon, and to me from now on P.M. is not a kind of whiskey.

This ought to help me help struggling writers who have to sit below the salt at international functions. But I honestly don’t know how I do it. And of instead of selling California oranges I’m trying to introduce Cacti into India and Pakistan.

Tomorrow I go to some more Imperial Gardens. (What have I got that M. Monroe hasn’t? I wish I knew myself.)

I am now an authority on Japanese womanhood, which means I know nothing about them. But I’ve stolen something from the late Huey Long and come out for “Every woman an Elsa Maxwell.” They like that here. I am told that amplitude is a good part of pulchritude. This also makes me popular. And as the Socialists and Liberals are waging a sort of “Git along little Yankee unless you are a baseball player” campaign, all soldiers are ausgespiel and all Ohio State ball players are national heroes. (Is you or is you ain’t with us?) So the politicians are going on a straight anti-US campaign and win and dismay Washington. Then the crowds will celebrate by deserting their own cinema and paying good-prices for the latest Goldwyn production. (Is you or is you ain’t?) Dunno.


Git along little doggies, I’m going to Hong Kong; my PAA-PAA is calling me. Sayonara. (But seriously this trip has been a pip.)

S.L. Lewis



June 30, 1956


Dear Ruth, Herbert, Ruth, Emily, George, Ruth, all youths, relatives, colleagues,

Ruth and diary—and oh yes, dogs, please:

After missing Fred in Tokyo he phoned me and I came on the next flight and everything is fine. This hotel is air-conditioned. And don’t get nervous, Doug, yes I went on a long speedboat trip yesterday and that is one reason why I feel fine. Please be patient and don’t crowd.

Everything I guess went about perfect in Japan. I have written John and perhaps there will be another notice in the papers. I have been writing seriously and funny and doggone it if a syndicate did not approach me and I am not ready yet. I seem to have had more opportunities in Japan. On the last day I was with an Ambassador—at his request—and then had a tea with the big people who palsy-walsy with the Emperor. But no high-hat, I haven’t a hat or striped pants. Yes, the first thing I did was to order clothes but not a hat too. They took me to a tailor who outfits Clark Gable. I did not tell them I have lived in Hollywood so they did not quote me the highest prices. I refused to buy everything suggested and when they translated Hong Kong dollars into U.S. money immediately ordered another suit. Brains are a little mixed up because I have been thinking in Yen.

My diary begins to look like a Wonder Book and my wallet is bulging with introductions. I left Tokyo at 1 a.m.—I get a little mixed up because they use the 24 hour system there. Then you have a complicated time change because H.K. is on daylight saying. My name was called out when I landed and I got through customs very quick. After resting went to Repulse Bay Villa where your in-laws have a large home and two servants. Did not see Dennis who was away. Did see Jan Louise, who is Jean and want to visit her dancing class. Will report later. Examined her costume and told her about my friends who teach Indian dancing in S.F. and Oakland. She ought to be very good for Lennie.

Did not eat lunch, only ice cream. After resting went for a ride. It was like my first-horseback ride. You get it in the rear, but I enjoyed the coming back, after a drink at the private yacht club—so much that, yes, Doug, it was perfect. Saw sampans, junks and all kinds of things from rowboats to flat-tops. Think somebody could cash by writing about them. Fred says reporters never see anything and we share the same opinion. Next week he is going to sic me on them.

Oh yes, they have one big dog and a lot of Pekinese. I made friends with them right away, which is important.... Toward the end of the boat ride we went on a ship-restaurant and had prawns and rice, then home to a duck dinner with excellent cake and ice-cream. Fortunately I had not eaten lunch and the prawns did not hurt my appetite. Today Fred is away and Louise was ill, but will probably contact her by phone later.

Louise’s pictures make her look very much like Ruth and sometimes she says the same things in the same way, and again very different. Actually her hair and chin are different. Fred told me a good deal of his plans for the future, after they leave here. I hope they do settle near S.F.

The breakfast at the hotel was the best and cheaper than in Tokyo. Fred has found the same things I did about Tokyo meals, tourists and a lot of other things. This is my seventh letter this a.m. Had a lot of mail waiting for me. You will hear form me again, and soon. I have omitted lots of things concerning Japan. May be later. S’long.



June 30, 1956

This Is A Post Card, Really!


Dear S.D.:

It all started innocently enough. My host here is an in-law of close friends in marvelous Marin. The San Rafael Journal-Independent has been giving me publicity. So Fred decided I should be a guest of the press club here. Thus I began preparing an essay:

Hong Kong is a British Colony. It is not English—good heavens, no! It is largely Chinese. The loyal subjects of the Crown are divided into three groups: (a) Veddy; (b) Semi-veddy; (c) Right Joes—who are in the vast majority. The Veddy people are few in number and won’t let anybody join them until one departs from this land by any and all means. They include some who were incarcerated by the Japanese and anyhow you have to be here a long time to join their ranks.

They include school-teachers, clergy and any remote relatives of clergy, retired civil servants and such. They teach the children to sing “God Save the Queen” but not very successfully. The children have some remote idea that this refers to Queen Elizabeth II but the Veddy are always thinking of Victory or at least Queen Mary. This has produced a serious impediment in getting the children—who are of all races but mainly Chinese—to take anything too seriously. But the system must not be changed even if it does not produce loyal subjects. These children and their parents cannot possibly join the Veddy, so why worry.

The semi-Veddy form Yacht-clubs and drink. They have money. Their motto is, of course, “We have not been introduced.” They want it that way excepting that it keeps them out of the Veddy group and they would like to be Veddy and are thus self-excluded. This produces a situation which was solved this morning and that is why I write. I must not write about the “right Joes” because I could never get in, ever. The “right Joes” are often in trade, and to be in trade—yes, I actually once had a grand uncle of the Uncle Bim Gump type, Australian citizen of course, and I still have one loaded cousin down there—the rest all died off and let her struggle with the collector of internal revenues, the meanies. And they told me what it means to be “in trade.” Let the Chinese be in “trade.”

Now in my last letter I mentioned I was in the black. Very bad for American tourists, and builds up bad will. Get splendid cooperation in China. First thing, order clothes. Second thing, order clothes. Third thing, order clothes. Fourth thing, repair clothes. And so on. Conscience easier, wardrobe better, good will still better. No boom and bust. Just boom, boom! If still too much in black will get 100% cooperation.

After fine sleep air conditional hotel, fine breakfast, very cheap. Write letters. Ten o’clock ready to mail, and go out, first for fitting. Next page.



June 30,1956

Page 2. Meet Jimmy, get coat and pants fitted. Make necessary alteration. Then order overcoat and pick out. Get ready to divide clothes and send all heavy things to West Pakistan. Bushed, sit down. See neckties. Ah! Presents for my future hosts. Buy 5 ties, 2 shirts. Give ultimatum: no more until I go. Will check budget, and if still too much in black get full cooperation.

Now it comes. Talkie talk. Tell yesterday’s adventures and say will notify one man of doubtful vintage who has monopoly on “Postcards,” must pay tribute. Yesterday Jimmy say; “I am Clark Gable’s tailor,” Rushes to window, pulls out sign, “I am Delaplane’s tailor.”

Now opposite of radio contest, “I hat Jack Benny,” put on “I like Postcards because….” Then I like Stan Delaplane because…. Then 50%-Veddy comes on, asks no introduction, takes floor and pushes Jimmy and me into silence…. “I like both Stan Delaplane and postcards because….” Long speech, no interruption please. But interruption comes. In comes a Veddy-British and wants no half-caste 50% Veddy to monopolize talk, pushed him off and begins to forget “God Save the Queen” and gives his opinion that S.D. should have at least an Oscar. Cheers and bravo! Better than all the political speeches in Japan.

Then interruption: “Master, this is Saturday and we need pay. Maybe these gentlemen can stop a minute and help poor servants out.” End of colloquy on Post Cards and Delaplane. Traffic cop clears sidewalk. Jimmy yanks out Stan Delaplane and puts back Clark Gable’s picture. Business as usual.

I go back to hotel and start writing. In walks hostess. No more. Until p.m. I mean, late lobster lunch very cheap, long taxi ride all afternoon, help get rid of surplus on conscience. Everything OK and finally finish letter. Will see Jimmy Monday. All say “Hello” to Senor Postcards, but strange rumors. He is in_____and revolution breaks out nearby; he is in XYZ and there is international trouble in Q. Does Jimmy sell cloaks? Does S.D. wear some? But me, I am getting stripped pants in one new outfit. Very, no Veddy suspicious.


Samuel L. Lewis



Kowloon, Hong Kong

July 1, 1956


My dear Mr. Winter:

I am writing to you and sending a copy to my friend, Jack Kraftsen, 792 Geary St. He will bear out my opinions from conversations I had written in the past. Ever since Stoddard wrote “The Rising Tide of Color,” there has been an undercurrent in Asia of “Asia for the Asiatics.” No matter what appears on the surface, it is my belief that underneath the Bandung nations will support Japan and take every advantage of the American-Russian impasse to see that both are gradually put in their places.

There is the political side. The excuses used for keeping a large force in Okinawa prove that 100% Americanism today is directly and in every way opposed to 100% Americanism of a former era. The opinion supported by Senator Hoar would be regarded as a blasphemy by McCarthy, Kneeland and Bridges. I must repeat that we are following Japan’s “anti-communist movement against the U.S.” with the same kind of movement against Japan, against India, etc. We have lost the elections in Iceland and will in Japan because we have stuck out our necks. As I see it today, both Russia and the U.S. have stuck out their necks; both are imperialists; both are working in their own ways for a kind of white supremacy which both will deny, and both contain large sections of people who will be more against the Africaans (Boers) than the British or Hindus are. In other words, that strange psychology which gave us prohibition and liquor still operates.

I have been to many places in Japan where few Americans ever go. I made some of the staff at the Embassy raise their eyebrows. On the last day I was given tea by personal friends of the Emperor and then spent a full hour with the heads of the Japan Travel Bureau, or rather Terrorist Bureau whichever it is. I may return to Japan any time and can even work there if I wish.

The list of my accomplishments is long, and even at the risk of repeating I put down:

a. Visited great forests at Kashim and Mt. Takao which equal anything.

b. Visited both the tombs of the late Emperor and Empress; was the first private citizen in history to be guest of honor at the Imperial Private Gardens and was later guest at the Public (Imperial) Gardens.

c. Was guest at 2 forestry and 1 agricultural experimental stations; visited many parks and gardens which are never seen even by specialists.

d. Was honored by 5 Abbots of 4 different sects and slept in temples of 2 sects. Was permitted to visit the stupa over the ashes of the Buddha and had my picture taken there and elsewhere.

e. Lived in village inns, in private houses, as well as in high0class inns, and met peasants, teachers, peers and scientists

f. Just happened upon the assistant to Townsend Harris, and, reporting to the Embassy learned that at long last the American colony has discovered him and will honor him this July 4th.

But I must confirm my suggestions that non-Christian religions will become anti-US in a way that Communism has never been anti-US and we can lose our tempers and howl and that is all. My host says I am one of the few people who knows how to perceive and wants to take me to the Press Club to tell your colleagues how to really get information in the Orient. He is very pessimistic after living here a long time. He insists that the newsmen are lazy and exceedingly subjective, that they do not know where or how to find real information. Certainly my methods are different.

In the past I learned about Communists by going to Communist meetings of meetings where they spoke and not by interviewing them or their enemies privately. I have learned of ways of infiltration—which have been reported to the FBI but are too subtle for the press and are mixed up with the American position, [?].

What does the 4th estate stand for: Christianity, staying away from Church themselves, liquor and plenty of it, whoring—high class if possible, low class if not, and disdain for humanity, humanism and humanitarianism. It is so far away from realities that I find less difference between high industrialists and leftist unskilled labor, then between either and the press. The pressmen simply will not stand for reforms. The press follows the Senator from Formosa and concentrate on “anti-ism” without facing or realizing what the problems of the world are.

When I went to the Embassy of X in Japan—more to test where I really stood after being so well received by the Japanese, I presented the following:

a. Introduction of trees for swamp drainage, and for arid areas.

b. Introduction of economically valuable cacti in desert regions.

c. Introduction of fertilizers which will not leach out with rains and will cooperate with micro-organisms (this may invoke enmity of certain large businesses and the good-will of others).

d. Methods of getting fresh water from the ocean at low cost.

e. Introduction of Algae as a source of low-cost protein with natural minerals and vitamins, obviating the need of medicinal expenses to supplement foods.

f. Respectful visits to shrines and holy places of any and all faiths. First I was refused audience in the ground I was too important (a new one for me). Then, after 1½ hours, I was asked to terminate the interview and meet the ambassador.

I represent the opposition of reality to realism. I represent views based on actual historical and cultural knowledge against superficialities. I represent direct observation, as in science, against indirect methods. The rise of Buddhism, Confucianism, etc. will not be reported. The ways these will be used against the forces will cause both the U.S. and Russia to retreat. And our confounded trust in super-power with the superficial claims to religious beliefs will cause us to be distrusted even by some of the most anti-communistic groups in the world.

I have been to more places (many not listed above) where the supreme teaching was love and compassion. And this “love” has nothing whatsoever with the four letter word covering the behavior of cats (and their human counterparts) in the daily press. I can only repeat my warning: in the Orient, one reporter is worth four communist agents; and what is more, the U.S. pays for the reporters and thus saves China and Russia money.

Of course, the teachings of Christ could counterbalance all this. But not even Schneitzer and certainly not Stanley Jones—a thousand times less Billy Graham, and a million times less the playboy from Orange-land. Iceland has a grim warning. I expect to find grimmer ones. And I am well prepared to meet any Indian or neutralist in the debate, but know this is difficult. I shall carry Whitman and Emerson and Jefferson, and above all Tommy Burns, “A Man’s a Man for a’ that.” I think you probably agree. There is nothing personal in this.




Kowloon, July 1, 1956

My dear Rudolph,

My visit to Japan was in nearly every respect a constant series of surprises and successes. The details are now too long to relate and the apparent good fortune continued until the last moment. Kaoru Nakashima stayed with me until the airport limousine arrived and Kiichi Okuda went to the airport with me. Actually the 17 days of May cost considerably more than the 28 days of June—one thus learns the ropes. And my next trip will cost less because I won’t have to stay at any high priced Tokyo Hotel.

When you get this letter, if you are in the U.S., I would appreciate it if you could let Willie Wise and Tak Kusano know.

The grandest part of my trip, from several standpoints, was the one to Mount Koya. I was the guest at Wakayama of Uchiro Shinotsu, whose ancestors came from that region, but whose life is spent, in great part in and around San Francisco, where he has many friends. The most interesting thing about him was that he became a real devotee at Koyasan, something he does not do at home. For his daughter is Catholic and I believe his wife is some kind of Christian and he does not want to hurt their feelings.

My journey covered the three ventures: philosophic, esthetic and horticultural, but they always overlapped and no place more than on Mount Koya. One can get there from either Osaka or Wakayama (by change of cars) and then go up a very steep cable. All the mountains I have ascended seem steeper on the sides and much less near or on the top. Actually there is a walking trail which leads to a great gate; this must have been the original entrance, for it is less steep on that side, and more like our California mountains.

The claim is made that there are different types of plants here. You cable up the mountain and then take a bus. Certainly the first thing you saw was C. ineraries growing all over.

[?] which is said to be the largest in Japan. Evidently this is where the walking pilgrims entered. Although very well preserved, it is not “treasured” in the sense that there are guides, beggars and peddlers at this end. They are all crowded, and I mean crowded at the top of the cable car line.

The town is long and rambling, weaving in and out of the not so steep sections and between the temples and the other monistic buildings which are scattered everywhere. The prime mover of all this was the great Buddhist monk, Kukai, known as Kobo Daishi, and he not only introduced Mantrayana Buddhism but was a tree planter, Johnny Appleseed and the Leonardo of Japan. Briefly although he is certainly over-advertised in contrast with most “Daishis” and “Shamins,” the amount of work he did and the effect on Japan is probably so stupendous that it will take ages to catch up with him.

This sect is the most complicated of all in Japan. He bears some resemblance to Tibetan Buddhism. Some of its Bodhisattvas, e.g. Fudo, seem to resemble Kali in their functions—horrible fronts over cosmic benevolence. But the Indian gods are also referred and the Shinto deities at least respected. Yakushi was presented as the spirit of Compassion also. There are 5 cosmic Buddhas, or rather Nyorai which look like aspects of God. This is especially so when one goes into theory.

We were taken to a monastery and given room by a charming little lake with the surrounding garden. The Azaleas were all in bloom—the Azaleas were especially hospitable to me while in Japan; everywhere I went seemed to be blooming season for them. There is a picture of it among those sent.

This temple has been repaired recently. Thus electric lights, and lavatories, baths and water closets all tiled. The bathrooms were very recent. I am sorry I was not able to visit any kind of tile or porcelain factory. The temples are also famous for their vegetarian meals. They were ample, not gourmet banquets like I had at the Shingi-Shingon on Mt. Takao. They also gave you 3 meals daily instead of the customary two I had elsewhere—although I was often treated to lunch, especially in my last two weeks in Japan.

I got to enjoy Japanese meals. However this is written in Hong Kong and if I never have better food than here I shall certainly be content for the rest of my life. Thus this hotel serves excellent food at low American cost and the coffee is superior to most even in U.S.

The visits at Mount Kaya were nothing but a series of thrills. It is fortunate I had an interpreter, not only for the sake of learning, but the time taken in translating made most walks slow and gave more times for observation. We visited several gardens. As usual they preserve all their Gingkos and the Flowering Cherry remains the foundation plant. They also do pot planting and at least one temple had a specialist in Bonsai, the miniature tree work. Not as good as the Emperor gardener in this, but the temple had encouraged this art along with others.

The place is among the best for the transition of Chinese into Japanese art. Our room had walls in the Chinese style, among the eldest there—800 years at least. (I was not sure of the time of Kobo Daishi either.) But it was certainly pre Kamakura.

The first Kanos, father and son worked here and their works are in evidence. The wood sculpture in the Museum was a source of wonder after I had seen so many wonders. The great Daiichi Nyorai and some of the Amidas were, to us, perfect works of art. The monks and the young men were patient in their explanation. There is a complete educational institution at Koya from the beginning through university and university students are all trained in Buddhism and to some extent in Shingon.

The branch temple at Wakayama had some of the best filigree metal work I have ever seen, also old, and looking like metal lace. Gilding is a large part of artistic endeavor, over metals and wood; and, I suppose in some cases gold itself has been used, but did not choose to be curious. Nor did I take any pictures other than those sent.

The last definite Western visitor here was Beatrice Luane, with whom I used to correspond. My credentials had, by this time, become quite satisfactory. Shingon teaches that everything and everybody are of the essence of ultimate light and everything and everybody is reflected in everything and everybody else. They use the mandalas which have interested Jung and practice concentration as well as meditation. They believe they at train illumination but do not accept the Void or sunyata of Zen. All the monks were serious and all also emphasized compassion above all else.

I found very little evidence in Japan of interest in theoretical philosophy and metaphysics and an almost disdain for Suzuki and thus for the thing called “Buddhism” in S.F. Esthetics and the spiritual of compassion ruled everywhere. The rites at Koya were not so elaborate as at Takao but then the Abbot was missing. But they recognize the universe of sound.

These notes are short because so much happened since. My friends asked to be remembered to you and I hope I can come this way again. But I am now many days behind in my diary and am trying hard to catch up.

Also visited the Obaku Temple near Kyoto later. I was the first Occidental visitor for a long time. A lot of it looked like Chingwah Lee’s collection. “The best Chinese Art is in Japan.” All in Chinese style and the first 13 abbots were Chinese. I think I sent postcards on this, too.




July 2, 1956


Dear Jack:

When I made my note-book out I copied your Sutter St. number and put down “Geary St.” with the result that I was off and so am sending this to Geary nr. Leavenworth. I am not sending anybody a copy.

A good deal of what I have been saying and thinking is being confirmed. I purchased a copy of Eastern World today and find myself in remarkable agreement with all the writers, so far. I am very glad because this substantially supports my “reality versus realism” belly-aching. Of course I may have it out locally with the U.S. press representatives later but I have some people on my side.

At the tailor’s this A.M., the chief engineer of one of the largest U.S. construction companies was there and in the course of conversation I said: “Well I have been in about 15 places where Mr. Nixon could never get in, even though he is Vice- President; President Eisenhower maybe, but Mr. Nixon, never.” So they are sending Orange Valley-Playboy-Christian Missionary over here, with automatic applause machines and the U.S. papers will copy and you should read what Eastern World says of the U.S. press.

This afternoon I was closeted 2½ hours with “Mr. Han,” a euphonious name. He had what I consider the pure traditional Chinese-civilized knowledge and world culture. He is a trained scientist yet knows Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism and I mean it. What do you suppose his attitude will be when Missionary-Playboy-V.P. comes to Asia? And if a relatively “conservative” man (socially) reacts this way, how about the masses?

Actually the masses here are hodge-podge. I ran into the “native Chinese” at a picnic. They seem (to me) to have a lot of Malay blood in them and their huts seemed far closer to Island homes than mainland ones—of course they live on Islands. Their skin is dark, they wear hats something like the Annamese style, and they do not have almond eyes. Yet they are on the whole Mongolian, and they jibber-jabber like “Chinese” whereas Malays smile more than talk.

The city dwellers are merchants and refugees. The Buddhists are priest-ridden, though they will deny it. The Catholics are much cleaner, taking their whole program into consideration. Personally I believe that many Buddhists will form anti-American centers, and you can bet when Dickie boy comes here the “underground” will be saying what the press will never dream about. My pre-impressions of the press is that it is composed of whiskey drinking boys who wear out their arses but not their brains from hard labor?? “Give ‘em what they like”—and you decide what “they” will like.

Both the engineer and Mr. Han are quite aware of the very unscientific and over- subjective attitude of too many American “experts.” Both accepted my view of meeting peasants, scientists, businessmen and the “elite” with equal composure and both are very strong for the “doers” over the “sayers.”

I have been doing some objective reporting and am to call on McNaught Syndicate in N.Y. when I return. They handle Delaplane’s stuff and want to see me.

At this end of Asia, although there is not much love for the Arabs, there is the acceptance that Israel is nothing but a Western-imperialistic infiltration of the Asian continent. There is no love for the Jews. Despite Hitler, they prefer officially to palsy with members of the religions that persecuted them and snub those that have tolerated them. Besides, there is nothing on the practical side of their present-day religion which leaves scope for our huge scientific progress. This is easy for the Chinese faiths, and simple, and no pretense and no hypocrisy.

This is written before my official meeting with the U.S. Consul-General, Mr. Rice. I have already met him socially and gave him a brief of the purpose of an Asian meeting. He is interested.

I also went to call on the Burmese Consul-General and the Australian Trade representative. I have no troubles—none so far—in pushing my ideas. Had a nice interview with a Pakistani merchant today. There are a lot of Pakistanis here, or Shia Muslims, who are largely illiterate or at least do not speak either English or Chinese. This merchant used several languages. More later.

There have been some petty annoyances and frustrations. But the interviews at the American and Australian consulates have been excellent. I met the American Consul-General (Mr. Rice) socially. My problems may be handled by American Express. The Australian interview can be made into something important—the cards are now in my hands. I may visit them later.

Unless these men are pulling my leg, they seem to think I have something real, vital and important, seeking new fields for international friendship. According to the papers here, even Mr. Dulles is playing ring-around-a-Rosie with himself. Knowledge would probably be anathema but his name is not mentioned, as if it were a four letter word. If he persists the whole of S.E. Asia will turn against the U.S. Grant Ave. votes will not control the destinies of the Orient, or the world, and there is no assurance that these votes are in the majority.

The biggest noise is that the U.S. is against plebiscites where they will go against “us.” The British are trying to face reality rather than realism, so-called.



Kowloon, July 2, 1956


Dear Paul and Ethel:

I am in Hong Kong Territory. The package to be sent you from Japan has been delayed and may be delayed more; and it may have some presents in it for me about which I do not know.

The first thing I did in Hong Kong was to order clothes. I have some very definite ideas and am not here to save money or compete with U.S. industry. I am only anxious to accommodate myself—and my friends. I had to do a lot of talking to unconvince the tailor and he finally got 4 orders from me. I was even more adamant when he tried to sell me H.K. bargains. I told him the only thing I was interested in outside of clothing was shoes.

Yesterday I saw some “expensive” Indian shoes which I liked. Today the tailor sent me to a shoe store which sells shoes either made to order or in the ordinary way and they began quoting prices and all the styles were from American magazines. If they gave me a pair I would not want them. So I walked around the streets and I saw at least one place where they make Chinese shoes, and I believe they will be cheap.

Trying to find out about Pakistan trade I landed in another shop and the man tried to sell me brocade. I came to no decision but I have come to these alternatives:

a. I may buy some brocade for US, or I may buy the Hindu shoes, but in any case I think I shall buy 2 pairs of some kind of shoes.

b. I may buy brocade only for Pakistan. This I would take with me.

I want to send shoes for another purpose and I hope you will assent. To put on a Capezio Cinderella contest! I may send shoes in and I would like to combine this with an F.D. festival, especially when I get back, but not necessarily so. Nobody would have to pay anything, just have a fit and the one whose feet fitted the shoes best would be given a pair. Or we could vary it. For the Federation it might be a Capezio-Sam Lewis gift, but it will not be just a Sam Lewis gift. This would give you some nice publicity at no cost.

Of course it is barely possible that I may send several pairs in and one of them might fit a certainly lady who had a wonderful ability for “putting her foot in it”—I won’t mention names. But you know what they say: if the shoe fits.

Yesterday I celebrated “I am an American Day” along with the air line employees. Others celebrate today—banks and big business. Government employees will celebrate July 4 on July 4; others will just celebrate, I guess. It does not make sense, or maybe it does very well.

When they “take you for a ride” here it is probably in some kind of boat. Of course I have used both taxis ($1.00 please, but that is actually less than 20 cents) and rickshas which start out very low and add extras and extras and etc. I taxied all over for $19.50 HK and then found the sightseeing trip is a minimum of $20.00 HK. Being used to Yen, the HK dollar is not yet fully in my consciousness.

Have been well and this weather is not too much for me. Meals? Superb!



Kowloon, July 2


Post Cards to Delaplane


Dear S.D:

I have been in enemy territory. There is a lot of enemy territory around here. But it was not my enemies. You see yesterday they celebrated American Independence Day, Airline Daylight Saving Time; today they celebrated American Independence Day, Bank and Shop Daylight Saving Time; I don’t know about tomorrow but when July 4 comes around it will only be the employees of the embassy left, and I mean the lower ones because I have already met the Consul-General with the sky pilots.

You see they were enemies of TWA (and all of them spying on each other). It was almost neutral and anyhow everybody ate and swam and drank with each other. I changed my brand, drinking whiskey and lime juice while my most alcoholic friends were guzzling beer and suds. Even my stomach was thus in enemy territory.

I did not have much choice in all this. I bought an air ticket and my agent said “Yes” and wrapped it in PAA tinfoil. I got here and was carted from the airfield by Pan-American. I understand now. With Okinawa and South Vietnam and Hong Kong loaded with American GI’s, the Airlines must be American, so Japan is taking over the Honolulu service. I don’t want to predict but I can surmise that soon the Greeks will be operating the airlines within the U.S. while the American companies will monopolize the taxis from Madagascar to Africa. This might give the Skouras and Hiltons some ideas at that.

There is a new way to be a man of distinction today and not by buying a certain brand either. Have you had a part of Antarctica named after you? Or one of the Himalayans? Well, there is still hope. There are all kinds of rocks and Islands. Hong Kong is like Japan or the Philippines but much smaller. There is plenty of room to have “Postcard Talent” and sell a lot of them to tourists too. So then you will annex the “enemy territory” and they will have to pay obeisance to you.

So far there are five kinds of people I have met. The Chinese beg to grow rich and spend more money. The Hindus try to grow rich and spend less money. The Pakistanis try to grow rich. The Americans who damn the Washington giveaways rush over each other pall-mall to do their own private giveaways to help these folks out. Every counter a bargain counter. The British look on suavely and collect the rent.

I bought some magazines today. I nearly fainted when they said: $4.50 and me still trying to find out how many dollars in Yen—1,000. Then that portion of my subconscious which deals with figures and figures shouted—“That’s less than 1 buck in U.S. vintage.” I recovered so quickly I came home. No abacus or adding machine and this typewriter on the fritz. I am very glad I don’t have to figure any forms 1040-XYZ at the moment. And there is no use, by the end of next week it will be Tikals, then Bahts.

I taxied all over the earth the other day for less than $20, but this week H.K. and I found I could get the same trip, cheap for $30HK if I signed up. I hate to translate this into U.S., it makes me feel like a heal. Why when I went from Hollywood to Laurel Canyon recently they charged me … this is a good-will trip and I had better stop until there is more news.

S. L. Lewis



July 3, 1956


The report on yesterday afternoon is to go to Dr. Quantz Crowford with a copy for Pierre Grimes who will know what to do with it. Dr. Leung Tit Seng belongs in the same class with the Buddhist Abbots met in Japan. We were together about 2½ hours and unless the gentlemen was merely polite, it was nothing but a symphony of close harmony. It was another, and to be glorious occasion where I found myself in complete accord with an Oriental on Oriental matters where in some instances Occidentals have refused to accord, or have given downright different interpretations of Oriental “wisdom.” The first case was that of Henry Hart whom I knew as a boy and who may even have been a distant relative. He had all but a monopoly over Chinese translations and interpretations in S.F. and was more snooty than even the “veddy” British here. Most of the British are all right, but they are not the ones who get into newsprint.

Age of Chinese Wisdom: We agreed that this must go back very far. I presented my conclusions from the technical analysis of early art and he told me that even back in the Wang Ti era there was every evidence of advance in acupuncture and herbs. We agreed that the Chinese have essentially always been “civilized” some indefinable ways. Most of the arts have been lost or gone underground, but at least his daughter is receiving his training. His sons also, but they have gone to Great Britain for profits and training in other fields.

The Human Body: He proposed two points which are entirely out of accord with present day Western teaching: a) The human body and human personality is essentially a cosmos, b) There is something more fundamental than even blood which he says roughly speaking means “sir” of “breath” and yet is not either. This must be broken down. But as with Mr. Choy in San Francisco I found absolutely nothing which was essentially different from Kabbalah and the highest aspects of Sufism and Hindu teachings—which things have seldom or ever been given in the Western world and which I am now prepared to shout or ram down the throats of others, if it helps bring East and West together.

The reflection of everything in the human body, and/or personality can, of course be realized in stages of deep meditation and actual occult or mystical experience—and to hell now with talkie-talk! We immediately went into:

Buddhism: I showed him my picture taken on Mt. Takao and explained the kind of men I was with. To me Dr. Leung is a true Buddhist. His philosophy was very close to Kegon and his method of meditation perhaps a little closer to Shingon than to Zen. We both agreed that what passes for “Buddhism” is at best only dharma-transmission and neither Buddha-transmission nor ananda-transmission. Our views concerning both Hinayana and Mahayana were identically the same. This applies alike to theory and practice. I am inclined to believe it will be confirmed by some leading Western Buddhists.

Back to the Body: The immediate conclusion is that the human body reflects everything in the universe. He says that the bladder is more important than the heart. His further explanation throw far more light upon the “chakra” in the general region than anything I have ever gained from Indian or Taoist writing. It is both economic and down-to-earth and none of the hyperbolic “psychic” stuff thrown out to the West by the pseudo-enlightened. I would follow his nerve tracings and believe he could knock the neurologists all over.

Philosophy Thereof: He criticized Eastern physiology and especially Western medicine for its emphasis upon “analysis” and especially “corpus” analysis. It did not tell about life. Fortunately I told him that my inner experiences were reflected in the condition of my body. He guessed my age at 50 and then admitted he was purposely stretching it a bit—no one has been anywhere that near. But he recognized I had an inkling of the Chinese method through my living, but not, at least not yet, in my thought.

Diagnosis and Treatment: His needle system, he says, is much more complete than that used in Japan and has been far more effective. He finds no difficulty whatsoever in curing cancer and polio, and that actually they are simpler than some other ailments. But one cannot understand Chinese Medicine without accepting Astrology, and he finally pinned me down here, did I accept Astrology or not, and I added “yes.” We went into an “occult” discussion of the relation between Astrology and medicine. This was substantially in agreement with Rom Landau’s talks on Islamic Medicine and Kabbalistic traditions. It is also in harmony with my own “cosmic relativity” philosophy and with some of the deeper schools of Buddhism. Everything within corresponds to everything without. This was also taught by Jesus Christ but has been relegated to “Gnosticism.”

Chinese Wisdom” Truth is universal. It was mutual recognition that brought Taoism (which he pronounces as written. Indeed he pronounced all Chinese words exactly as written in English)…. Buddhism and Confucianism together. They are still together on Mt. Omei-Shan which he assures me is the repository of the greatest living wisdom. By this he means the greatest living sages, illuminated men. It is also a region of great beauty and if it be possible I should go there someday.

American Medical Association: He is utterly uncompromising on this point. To me there is no such thing as “medical logic,” just a huge trial-and-error society with a monopoly on drugs and practice. I told him of my actual scientific experiments and conclusions reached, and that I still had y note-books. Someday I am going, perhaps, to challenge the semanticists, but I have personally found that those semanticists who have laboratory experience other than in psychology, and some here, too, come to the same point. It is only the verbal semanticists, but they are now the “high priests” who don’t accept such things seriously.

Actually the AMA, along with the Missionary, are doing the U.S. more harm than an army of Reds, though we do not see it. So Dr. Leung turned down all offers from the U.S. He is debating going to Europe, to which country there, and whether to have just a few pupils or a seminar. At the moment it looks as if the Germans will be his best pupils.

I called his attention to “Gestalt Psychology” and to the crazy pattern, that in America if you don’t accept “Gestalt” you may be regarded with suspicion, but if you want to apply “Gestalt” to Physiology, you are ruined. The AMA simply won’t let it.

Glandular System: The nervous system undoubtedly feeds the brain and upper centers and Yang and Yin must be about the same as Pingala and Ida and, of course Jelal and Jemal in Sufism. This is taught in the Naqshibandi school of Sufis and will be made public by me whether the American Academy permits it or not. It may be done privately or maybe at the Yoga Center on Powell St. These energies go up (or down) and feed the various parts of the anatomy, or stave them; hence health, hence disease. It is about what Wilhelm tried to teach, with some understanding, and Jung, with less.

Breath: It is about time to take a lot of false mystery away and put the true mystery there. The relationship between breath, consciousness, time-and-space functioning, etc., have been sealed off. Even better, H.P.B. (and the theosophists may not like this) there were others who established their own East-West-occult framework with a lot of fog. It did help to bridge continents but it did not bring enlightenment to anybody.

I told Dr. Leung of my own first efforts to link Breath and Astrology. This was well received by the Astrologers, but smashed by Mrs. Q. who, although purportedly both an Astrologer and a Sufi would not let me function. I now know that what I was doing was correct from the Chinese point of view.

In order to understand Chinese medicine, as well as all herbologies stemming from ancient wisdom, it is necessary to change our entire concept of space. Can we prove that space is not living? We have a less glorified vacuum, or void psychology of space which has only a negative satisfaction. European science, up to now, including Paracelsus was based on the existence of vital forces in bodies human, animal and plant. I am inclined to believe that even Aristotle, for all his logical weaknesses, had collected more material if not scientific evidence than my friends, the X-ray technicians, would admit. Besides, accepting semantics, one is drawn to the rigorous conclusion that articles on the subject are of necessity, obstructions—or rupa.

Christianity has done incalculable harm by making use of words like “pneuma,” “psyche,” etc. and clothing them with different meanings than that of the Greeks. Pneuma, in particular, seems to come very close to the Chinese condition of fundamental wind (or air). And thus Galen and Hippocrates may have some contents not too far from Chinese science.

Christianity: Dr. Leung bore out to the full the futility of sending missionaries to Asia. From his point of view not only are they totally ignorant of nature as it is, but they are filled with concepts which are speculations. He refuses always to accept the Bible as either revelation or a book of authority. He rejects the total God-concept of the West. But he did not reject my explanation of “Jehovah” or the report I gave of the discussion on the ship as to its meanings. It is “Eternally-becoming-life.” Jehovah does not mean “Lord God” by any manner of means. From the wrong translation into the Greek the ancient Hebrew religion has been smeared, and the presumable Christian correction of O.T. errors are quite ineffective against an intelligent Occidental. The final test being pragmatic, I believe Dr. Leung can hold up his end both against Western metaphysicians of the U.S. or Unity type and the whole medical world.

Science: I went into my own plant experiments and explained the relationship of Potassium to Yang and nitrogen to Yin with correlative processes in animals and humans of which I was not too familiar. Excepting of course, that vague field which is termed “yoga” and includes many catch-alls and non-specifics. It is becoming a matter of less and less concern if I personally am rejected by “philosophers” and metaphysicians, in particular of the ivory tower type. So far as I can see, let them live in their dream-world and verbalize “nirvana” of which they have not then slightest conception. This of course, goes most of all for the professor of Yale who has made himself the interpreter of East for West and West for East and is accepted by all the intelligentsia of New Haven.


I am more than encouraged by my interviews here with the representatives of the U.S. and Australia, on high levels. The Australian secretary challenged me in a friendly way and I pulled out the answers so far that I was greeted by “I agree entirely with you. I believe you are right and I wish for your success.” This was in answer to the religious prejudice of certain Asiatic countries and the failure of the U.S. because we send over persons with their own orthodox traditions (outside of science) to introduce science. They are thus challenged from the ground up, and some American projects have failed therefor (like Prof. Bingham of U.C.).


Pierre: Will you please phone Haridas and tell him I tried to contact N.C. Patel, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo in H.K., but he has gone to Singapore.



July 3, 1956

Dear Harry, I have been so busy that only now after several days, am I writing my last report for Japan. When I entered City College I took examination with Mrs. Golding and not only did I have a very high entrance examination but aptitude test showed still higher latent ability as a an executive or administrator. I have never put in a “heavy” supervisorial position but once for a short time. But my life has taken such turns, that it is entirely news.

The last day in Tokyo (June 28) began with a very early visit to the Shinjuku Gyoen, the public Imperial Gardens—I have already reported on the Private Gardens; then an hour with an Ambassador at his request; then returning downtown; after lunch a farewell tea given by heads of “The Friends of the World,” who incidentally are buddy-buddy with his Imperial Majesty; then an hour with the President and 1st Vice President of the Japan Tourist Bureau which is over the Travel Bureau; then to Irene’s Hungaria for dinner largely because she may open in S.F.

As I did not receive a catalogue at these gardens I shall refer to my notes, which may jump around. We came as guests—Kiishi Okuda, my very dear friend, and myself, and later Mr. Kinoshita joined us, but left and we met him at tea. As we walked toward the Adm. Bldg., I spotted Kuomatea glabra, a fine large tree with leaves that seem to be deciduous. Then L. mobilis—I do not think I saw this in Japan before. Then T. cuspidate and C. Libani deodara which does very well here, and finally, before going in Erythina crusta-galli which was in bloom and is one of the prides. There we had tea with Mr. Sasaki. It took 20 minutes form downtown and we were told not to be there before 9, but after we got there we were told it was a pity we could not come sooner. There we met Mr. Sasaki who guided us around.

Both Mr. Okuda and I concluded this was the finest park we had ever seen—and we have seen a few things. It is very large, in the west-central part of Tokyo and rather easily reached. It is divided into three very large sections: English, French and Japanese. We did not visit the French section but could see the entrance where Plane trees had been trimmed to resemble pyramidal poplars. I believe Mr. Sasaki did not care for this part so well—too much departure from nature.

The English section had broad expanses of lawns which, like the Imperial Gardens are kept up. I saw the man using a modern type of gas-mower but we went in the opposite direction. The clippings are piled, presumably for compost. We were given as reference once Prof. Kenasawa Asumotu who has written on trees and this name is put down as reference.

We did not go through much of the English section then, although the first trees are in this part, but ventured to the Greenhouse which has flower beds outside and specimen trees in the background. So far as I could observe all trees are labeled excepting in groves and copses and with international names and not always in Japanese. This is wonderful for the visitor. Outside I saw Marguerites, Zinnia and many of our bedding plants and roses properly pruned and handled. You will remember my first reports. But private gardeners and even nurserymen have not caught up with the Imperial Gardens.

This was the first Greenhouse in Japan and the only one with all the equipment for heating, ventilation, etc. But there is no set system for watering, each house being adapted to the type of plants in it and a considerable use of watering cans. But the “floor” is used whenever available—for pots, plants and B. rex, etc. Cross rods are used for hooking on hanging baskets and the benches are arranged in about the manner of a good commercial greenhouse rather than in a park or public one. So some houses were fixed as if for economy of space. Others were adapted for the special species, or genus in them. They used fine gravel in their cutting bench, and sphagnum moss for a lot of things.

At first we were in and out of a number of Orchid houses—arranged sometimes for genus, sometimes even for species, and others are catch-all houses. There was a large collection of Anthirriums. We also saw some blooms worthy of our best houses and I spoke to Mr. K. about introducing Atlas here.



July 5

There was a fine Vanilla planifolia in the rear of one house, and then we came into one devoted to Philodendrons and Ferns. There was the largest Monstera leaf Ph. I have ever seen (so far), but what got me and which I think is most important is the Saintpaulia section.

Here they did not use the term African Violets because the majority of them are not anywhere near violet in color. They are very careful to use cuttings only as they have some 80 strains and wish to keep them up. In this house I saw one mostly red and slightly mottled which was a beauty. These pots are placed on the front row in succeeding houses. The collection would make Avesino-Mortensen and others sit up. In one house I found several with compound leaves, and they would make an “African Violet” lover shoot right back at any Camellia grower. Some of them were almost as complex as Roses. Not only doubles but multiples! I could not get over it and I wish I could have taken a few leaf specimens to send to you. If you don’t have them by 1958 I think I’ll do something. This is a place for trade and I don’t mean maybe. However I’ll keep my eyes open in succeeding countries. But gosh, don’t overlook this and please write to Mr. Kinoshita. And I think the big seed companies would like to get in on what I have seen, or done.

We then passed through a Cattleya house in the end came upon Cyclomata datacea or Tento Tree. This comes for Indonesia. I saw three all told, but each in a different house. “Mother-in-law’s tongue” they called “Tiger Tongue.” I am not sure whether they know how to use the cuttings on it.

We then went through a house with cacti on one side, in particular Opuntia and Echinocactus. The Cereus and their relatives were in another house where plants were arranged according to pot-size rather than to Genus and Species. Then to some houses like those in G.G. Park with large species. Thus M. paradisa-sapanta (?), a type of banana. Then Mangifera indica (mango). Then Eugenia jambo which is called “Rose-Apple” (my next report is on Australians and I’ll check). Then Annona reticulata, custard apple. All those had fruits.

Then the real F. religiose; Coffee Arabian (which I have been looking for); Passiflora edulis (which I naturally knew) and F. elastica variegata. This has very nice appearing leaves, not gloomy. Then Carion papyrus, the ancient Egyptian wonder, then Litchi chinensis. Next I saw something in bloom which reminded me of one Harry Nelson: Clerodendron thomsonae—there were three specimens in three different houses that I noticed. Next Saraca indica, or “Sorrowless Tree” which was sacred to the Emperor Asoka and is one of the three sacred trees of Buddhism. Back to the fruits: Garcinia Xanthochymus (mangusteen) and Agava sisala from Yucatan.

Then Strelitzia reginae which they admire but which was not so good as most that I have seen. Then Muehlenbeckia platylong (?) … we were walking too fast here. Finally the third of the Buddhist sacred trees Plumeria acutifolia, or the Temple Tree. Walking fast I did get time to copy down, but not too sure of exact spellings: Cyperus papyrus, Phoenix canariensis, Nephthy nastoriana; Strobilanthes, Capparis spinosa, Croton, then many orchids of the Anthirrium type and a whole house of Lady’s slippers. Then the best African Violets as above. Then Piper nigrum and a whole house to Pepperonias with Calamus margritas and Fittonia verschaffelti in the next. There are also Serracenia drummondii (Drummond’s Side Saddle), Clivia miniata (Australian Sandal), Drosera (Sundew). I also saw many Aspargus Ferns in bloom with pretty little flowers.

There were many Begonias chiefly Rex and its relative and fibrous types; no “Wax.” Tons of the Rex leaves were the largest and most molted I have ever seen but they have some insect enemy. We also saw Fuchsia, Vuesia splendene, which is very beautiful and Desmodium gyrans or telegraph plant which apparently move around. Also several heliotropes but those were not too good.



To Bryn Beorse

July 6, 1956


My Dear Bryn: I am about ready to leave Hong Kong. I am facing my first real difficulty (or it may be imaginary) owing to failure to get any response from Bangkok. I am told it is hot and humid here. It is quite warm in HK, but it has not gone much about 90 and is not nearly so bad as New York or Washington in the summer. It is probably delightful much of the year. The main guest, as you must guess, is in the hotels because they have air conditioning, fans, etc. thrown in. But the services (outside of tips) are very low and tiresome holds true with the meals.

Actually I have not eaten any large meals or even gone to many restaurants here. One does not get hungry in the summer even when food is delicious.

The political view is much more real and not so “realistic” as in the U.S. I get a good deal of confirmation of my own outlooks. It is, briefly, that in the end the divided Caucasians–U.S. and Russia–will both find themselves up against the Bandung nations. I don’t think Nixon understands anything at all, and he is roaming around these parts. He is roaming around these parts and they will give him banquets and welcomes but never invitations to places such as to those to which I have gone.

I am taking to India information about a new vegetable-protein food which can be obtained at comparatively low cost and little space with all the vitamins and minerals necessary. I have written to Radhakrishnan.

When I visited the Pakistan Embassy in Tokyo I was introduced to the Ambassador himself and he expressed great interests in the “problems” and the “solutions” presented. We did not go into the water-problem much, but that is why I am writing now.

Hong Kong is today a series of islands and a chunk of mainland. Everything looks green and there is sufficient rainfall–for the plants. Some of the islands are very steep and most of the land is pretty rocky. The combination of refugees and prosperity has resulted in the restriction of water-use. Taps are shut off for many hours. This brings up the possibility of your plan here. Although the place is comparatively small, being prosperous I think the authorities might be interested in a plan. But my plan is as yet to try to interest Pakistan or some other nation–first.

Today I visited the Garden Department of the City and also the University. As Mr. Dean, head of the Garden Dept. was away on business he asked me to come again today. This will give me an opportunity to approach him, at least. But I shall not have time to write as there are other engagements which will keep me busy until late at night—and tomorrow I leave.

It not only has been easy to interest people in the plant-seed schemes which I have been holding–I ran right into operations here–but not on the scale desirable. I did learn there is a Los Angeles County Arboretum and I am going to write to my friend, Norris Poulson. I think the Catalina Cherry could be introduced here, which is a very good true in and around L.A.

I have also run into a good deal of information about Camellias and I have made note of one name in West Hollywood.

It is going to be very difficult for me to give any long talks to friends. I shall try to “professionalize” on my experiences. God has been with me and my health has been astonishingly good. My plans now are to go to Thailand, Burma, (transit visa), Dacca, and then Simla, skipping over the Indian cities until the weather is better. According to the information book June is the hottest month in India. I have also been told by friends it begins to be much nicer by the end of July,





Kowloon, July 6, 1956

Russell Smith

Vice-President, Bank of America

International Department

San Francisco, California


My dear Mr. Smith,

It was not my original intention to write you while on this trip. However it is always possible to make the most of opportunities and opportunities have certainly been coming my way. I have written a short wire to the A.A.U.I. but have not been able to correspond with even my best friends. For the results have been startling in the extreme.

My basic plan to establish an international seed-and-tree exchange ran into a flourishing organization in Japan. The leaders are prominent men in the world of Buddhism and heavy industry, and very close to the Emperor. Between them and my personal background any “Japan Story” reads like a mixture of Hans Christian Anderson and Horatio Alger. I have been in so many places not visited by tourists.

Without going into detail, on the final day I was given a farewell tea by personal friends of the Emperor and then spent a full hour with the heads of the Japan Travel Bureau which is over the Tourist Bureau.

It is possible that you may have come into reports of my adventures in the San Rafael Journal-Independent. I have picked up special information on Camellias and Chrysanthemums which will be of interest to the Rose Art and Garden Center.

I do not wish to go into long reports now, for the purpose of my correspondence is to send in reports on “The use of Bank of America Travelers Cheques.” I am thereby submitting a paper and will continue to write from various lands. I am doing this now because with every day heavy and busy, memory is of little value. But I shall keep a carbon in my diary.

With kindest regards to Mrs. Smith and yourself,



Please excuse this jumpy typewriter.



July 6, 1956


Dear Harry, I shall begin by referring to Camellias, and taking some extracts out of my notes before making the regular diary notes. After visiting the Botanical Garden and obtaining their “seed exchange list” which will be sent separately, I visited the place, but in the meanwhile was asked to see Dr. Tung, of the Herbarium, Hong Kong University which gentlemen I strongly suggest you to contact.

Dr. Tung told me there are six native Camellias. Five of these appear on the list. C. assimilis, hongkongensis, C. oleifera, C. salicifolia and C. sinensis. The sixth is C. granthaminana, named after the recent Governor. There is a single specimen found on rather poor soil, 1000’ high. They have tried cuttings in sand without success. To my surprise they seem to know nothing about peat– or sphagnum moss, and the Botanical department turns out excellent taxonomists who know nothing about soil chemistry. Even in Japan this field was not so highly regarded.

They have tried air-layering with considerable success. But they have not yet begun work with seeds either. This is even more surprising because they have had the greatest success with seeds of C. hongkongensis. This has bright red flowers. C. salicifolia has small flowers, only about ½” in diam. I was told that C. reticulate comes from Yunnan. I do not know when I can report to Japan about this.

My adventure started off in another dramatic fashion. I went into a book store to see what I could find on the flora of Hong Kong. I purchased one volume which has been sent to you already. But while there a young man came up behind me and told me he was a botany graduate from the University of Florida. He advised me to visit Cloister Arundo and Gloucester Hotel Arundo but I have not yet. He then told me about the Gardens Dep. of Hong Kong which offices I have visited twice, as well as the botanical gardens twice. (Note for future: Andrew J. Tao) This will interest ATLAS. A large investment was made here into an Ammonium Sulfate factory. It started out fine but after a while the natives refused to use it. In fact they put up a silent boycott. But the factory is trying to turn out a complete fertilizer but with little success. Some company began putting out Orzano and they are making considerable headway.

Now Ammonium Sulfate on alkaline soil breaks down in warm weather, and I should not be surprised if it were not ineffective in said soils. There is constant possibility of leaching out by rains, and there is excellent draining here.

The Botanical Gardens are located on the side of a hill not far from Hong Kong business district. This prevents them from having too many English formal effects, although there is one section so arranged, chiefly with Canna and the only planted Lantana, which is otherwise wild. Impatiens also grows wild. Foundation planting in this area is chiefly of Leguminous trees, even the local Albizia being much taller than the ones used in California. The list is not complete and I saw a large picture of A. julibrissin at the University.

There is a grass which is very short and tends to spread, with a wider blade than the Korean type I saw in Japan and even shorter. But there are signs all around to keep off. Apparently plants only receive rain water excepting those in the green and lath houses. A very large number of trees are suitable for lawns and a very large number of shrubs grow in clumps or copses.

To illustrate how incomplete the list is, the first plant I saw was Rh. Simonsii, local. Plants which are found hare and in neighboring China will be regarded as natives; others I shall try to give native habitat. I think the Rhodies are all American, but mostly small clumps.

The next tree listed was Aleurites fordii. Tung Oil trees, small and low. These and other Aleurites on the list. Next Ochrosia parviflora from Hawaii. Then C. Camphora. This grows into a very large tree here. Then Davidsonia pruriens, or Davidson’s plum from Queensland which has large leaves. This is probably in the Australian book which I returned yesterday.

A. negurido was doing very poorly and no other maples listed. Rhodoleia is a small local native shrub with medium leaves. Cinnamomum has a large trunk but grows only about 15’. Most I saw Pterocarpus indicus. Then B. runesse rosarvi (?) about 50’. Then Macadamia ternifolia, Queensland Nut. There are several of them, doing well.

Next, a friend of yours, M. soulangiana. Then Litsea monopetala, about 40’ with a large trunk. Leaves grow right out of the trunk covering it, but they also grow from branches. Crape Myrtle not nearly so tall as I have seen elsewhere. Schinus superbus, a delightful shrub. Strophantus divaricatus grows as a copse. Laurus canariensis, also; it has bright flowers which look like large Lanthanas. Tutcheria spectabilis, which has been cut down to 20’. Fine appearance on lawn. Another Pterocarpus indicus, which has a large umbrella shape.

I then went into the lath house. This contained the same plants as you have in the greenhouse. I saw the greenhouse today, but in the summer they take out all the glass and put on bamboo-strip-laths. I saw Opuntias, Sedums, Cymbidiums, Dracaena, Dendrobium; Prunus grandifolium has large leaves and makes a nice green plant. Dischodia chinensis has small leaves.

There were quite a few Begonias. Most of them had large but smooth leaves. Chalida sinensis looks very much like the African Violet when not in bloom. But the flowers have long stems, are tubular and paler in color. I am sorry the greenhouse boys did not speak very good English, or rather, were trained in the care, but not in the nomenclature of the plants. Caladiums grow rampant around here, and I saw leaves like them but with a few motley spots in otherwise green leaves. Coleus also grows—I saw few in Japan. They do appear as garden plants with much better flowers, but the leaves are generally monochromatic. Some of the flowers here are bright and on long spikes.

Outside was Maianthemum nervosa from India. In general appearance it looks like Hydrangea but there were no flowers. The day after I saw actual Hydrangeas in bloom on a hillside in the sun, and like some California wild iris, it had the effect of stunting the plants and decreasing the color, to an almost gray blue.

Terminalia catappa or Tropical Almond has leaves somewhat like Catalpa. This is not a misspelling for the Australian book said Catappa is the Malayan name. It is about 20’ high with horizontal branches at different levels, making a sort of 3-storied effect.

Lycidice rhodostegia was a fine tree about [?]’ with one straight trunk and another one makes a side-V angle. Gossampinus malabarica is a small lawn tree whose name suggests its origin.

As this report is very different from the list of trees submitted it is evident that botanists take tree census both in home gardens and in the “wild.” The private garden trees were mostly quite different from those reported here.

On the next day I went to the Herbarium where Dr. Tung told me they have some 5,000 specimens on their exchange list. Personally I think Pr. illicifolia could be planted on the hillsides. Delonix regia is the principal ornamental tree in this region. If I remember it correctly it looks like a large Albizia with almost “bird-of-paradise” like flowers. As his specimens are pressed leave, flowers and stems, one could only make some guesses. Plumeria acutifolia looked like a large Daphne and he told me the flowers are quite fragrant. Tutchoria belongs to the Tea family and it has possibilities which rival the Camellia if used more. Paulownia fortunii does very well here, but the only Melaleuca is M. leucadendra or Paperback tree; it grows [?] which is in Australia; you might know about them.

We next saw Jasmines (in bloom with excellent scent), Agapanthus and Crinum latifolium, then Euphoria longan or longam (that is the way it was listed), then a very large Michelia champaca which is also sacred, then Sapodilla, or Chewing-gum tree. Then Stokesii loens (?) and Helenium autumnale.

We went outside and through the English toward the Japanese section. The plant which interested me most was a Maple variety with a striking rust brown color. This is only gained by cuttings but I think you ought to write for it. It is, of course, subject to the usual Maple seed cross-breeding, so the seeds are never used at all. Lantana were growing here. The French garden was in the opposite direction. We went toward the Japanese Garden and stopped at Han-ten or “Hobby Coat,” one tree from which I did not get the scientific name.

As we entered the Japanese Garden we saw a stone lantern made of natural stones. It is popularly known as “Ghost lantern.” Then we saw malus halliana and Kerrias. Behind there was a large tree: Cyclobalanopsis myrsinaefolia and may your classes prosper on that one. There were a number of P. rigida in this section but few other pines. I also noted Illicium anisatum, Osmanthus aurantiacus, and Sakakia ochnaceae.

We went from there to an Embassy, then to Tea with “Friends of the World,” etc. My other very close friend, former Vice-Consul Kaoru Nakashima came down to the hotel and was with me from 9:30 to 11! I learned that he is a brother-in-law to the Demotes of Harvard. If you ever get down that way please tell them he is doing well but hopes to come to the States. This also gives me leave to get in touch with them myself.

There is another angle here. The Littlefields who are friends of Marvin Sleeberg, have shipped their store lanterns to their seniors at 770 Vincente, Berkeley, landscape 5-2639. I have written once to Sam Dawson of Mill Valley but am inclined to think that Demotes also might be interested in this business. The bug in it is that future orders may have to be shipped to size, for one reason or another.

This just about winds up my Japanese visit.

I have not yet contacted local botanists and although I understand there are some books as to flora, they did not have some at the book store I have visited. Impatiens, Lantana and Caladiums abound with plenty of Colasia which are used in table decorations. The Chinese seem to be more interested in the medical than the ornamental use of plants. I have not investigated Tiger Balm yet.

Sunday I went with a lot of Americans, mostly air-line employees on a pre-Independence Day picnic (many of them work on July 4th). There I met the Consul-General Rice with whom I had a nice interview and then went to the new Australian Consulate and saw the assistant trade Agent. He has loaned me Native Trees of Australia by Audas, a very recent book published by Whitcombe & Tombs. I told him the nature of my business—which incidentally went over. The first thing I learned from him is that the staff in S.F. is composed of men versed in horticulture and agriculture and you should contact Mr. Hardy there. He undoubtedly knows about this book and could help you increase your collections. Mr. Kinoshita did not put it over in Japan and I am sorry—here he stole a march on me and failed.

I am now reading the section on Eucalyptus and those are classified according to economic usages. The list is too long to say much about but the possibilities of introducing them into the Brahmaputra and other valleys where they have floods—and they are having one now—should go over. I have already convinced the Pakistanis of this.

Jumping around I find that A.decurrens molissima not regarded as a good tree. That after my California and Japan experience! I’ll go over this section later. I am going to list the Conifers for I’m not sure that Mr. Anderson has the right dope:

Dacrydium franklinii, or Huon Pine, Tasmania’s distinctive tree but grows now also here, in India, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Phyllocladus rhomboidalis, Adventure Bay pine, also Tasmania.

Athrotaxis cupressoides and laxifolia (selaginoides simile). I think these are whet Anderson wanted.

Callitris glauca, White Cypress of Murray pine. Many other Callitris and also Araucaria about which you know. There are also Podocarpus and Agathis.

The Myrtus family is very large. There are many Eugenia; also Backhousia, varieties of Myrtus itself, Rhodamnia, Rhodomyrtus, Syncarpia, Tsitania, and Lagerstroemia, as well as better known genii.

After the more common families are listed, trees are placed according to alphabetical order of Genus. The list of Casuarinas is very large. Hakea list very long but only one Hymenopappus (flavescens). Five Myoporums are listed but only five Pittosporum. There is very little on Leptospermumbecasue most of these are shrubs. There is an extra section in the back, after a long on in the front, on Eucalyptus. Also on Acacias, in addition to what is in the front and sections on trees more corresponding to Horticulturalist work.

I definitely recommend this book.


Hotel in HK cost $38 per day which is about $8. Meals cost from about 60¢ U.S. to a little over a $1 U.S. unless one stuffs. Spent about $135 for clothes at Jimmy Chen’s 12A Cameron Road, i.e. 1 linen suit, 2 press shirts, 1 woolen suit, one overcoat, as well as shirt and ties; the latter for gifts. As Nicou is dead he can become my permanent tailor. Work very good and highly recommended. Advertises himself as Clark Gable’s tailor but is actually an international institution and makes clothes for Delaplane also. Bought some slipper-shoes, equal to about $1 apiece but will ship from Thai on account of red tape. Best to go by ship if one wants to make large purchases here. Ferry 20¢ HK and bus fare 20¢ but 60¢ to Repulse Bay-about 5.90 HK to $1 US. Had to Exchange mentally Yens, $US and $HK to Pounds at express and post offices; rather complicated. One boy flunked his exes by failure in this.

Social problem and class distinctions all over the place with Americans wishing to ignore them. Actually, although the Chinese are in the majority they are very much divided. Large minorities of Pakistanis, Hindus, Americans and British and the latter very much divided too.



On the Use of Bank of America Traveler’s Cheques.


I. Japan


Everyone using Bank of America Traveller’s Cheques ought to visit the main bank which to located in the New Maronouchi Building, not far from the Tokyo Station, the Japan Tourist Bureau and main offices of the airlines. You will receive a friendly welcome especially if you are from California, and are quite apt to run into friends or neighbors. This was especially true at the time the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra came to town.

Musicians are not regarded as good business men. Many came to Japan without Traveler’s Cheques, and other forgot to put them in their coat pockets. But many of these men had personal checking accounts with the B. of A. and were given every assistance at the proper windows. Owing to the fact that everyone seemed to be meeting somebody, no particular notice was given to details, but everybody did come away satisfied.

The Bank of America always gives the highest amount of Yen per dollar U.S. There is a “black market” which tourists are advised to avoid. It not only may bring difficulties but it operates on the assumption that your time is not money. Keeping close to the letter and spirit of the law is one way to make friends in Japan.

Some Japanese banks are very friendly. This was especially true of the Central Bank of Japan where I had gone to visit my old friend Kaoru Nokashima, who used to be Vice-Consul in San Francisco. Tea is served and sometimes sweets—if you are kept waiting. But this was a social call. On the next occasion my companion and I were greeted as old friends.

The staff at the Mitsui Bank were almost as cordial. My traveling companion (Kiichi Okuda, formerly of the Daibutsu in San Francisco) has had connections there. One is served tea, business transactions are regarded necessary interruptions of otherwise cordial affairs.

The advantages of going into such a bank is that the Japanese are very anxious to got hold of United States dollars and each visit is regarded both a personal, and an international gesture.

These banks also pay more than one gets at his hotel and from the public money changers who are licensed like Notary Publics. You have to pay a slight fee.

The advice from former travelers was to cash large amount in the big cites only and smaller amounts elsewhere. I took with me two books: one with only $20 cheques obtained from the Bank of America in Fairfax which houses my savings account. The other with both $20 and $50 cheques obtained by the Day and Night Bank, San Francisco, where I kept my commercial account. This I always deposited in the hotel safe with other valuables, excepted when money was needed. The other was kept in my pocket for emergencies—and they do arise.

Many small towns and villages do not have banks. When a tourist visits Mara or Nikko, it is better to have sufficient Yen in one’s wallet. Just to see what if was like, I went to bank in Wakayama and cashed $20, paying 100 Yen. This was the bank of Uchiro Shimotau who is well known about San Francisco Bay. The translation took longer and they were not friendly as in Tokyo.

Owing to war-time destruction and industrial revolutions banks in Japan are not like other banks in Japan. One finds everything from the old style country-town banks to those housed in the latest type building with all conveniences up to and including 1956.



On the Use of Bank of America Traveler’s Cheques.


II. Hong Kong


Hong Kong is not only a polyglot colony; it uses three different monetary systems and keeps the abacus operators very busy. As most America tourists come after visiting other lands this seems both complex and confusing. Most store prices are quoted in HK$, but the press, and in particular the financial section prints $ or US$ and even some articles are not carefully edited. But the Post Office and even America Express places pond-sterling evaluation on shipments.

Being informed by my hosts, who are also Californians, that there was no B. of A. here I was taken to a money changer. This is an open market operation and usually they pay more than the quoted rates. The advantages are that you receive more and the operation is rapid. The disadvantages are that it is very easy for them to take advantages of strangers, and that for small amount and odd amounts this does not hold. Then one receives considerably less than the quoted offerings.

This has become such a vicious evil that recently women of the American colony have organized and are assisting the service boys in every way possible.

With the proper introduction one receives the maximum amount of HK$ for US$, and merely has to sign the cheques. Immediately after the first transition, I was introduced to Jimmy Chan, the tailor. He has a large number of California clients. He also took care of the further exchange of checques and again I received over the quotations for the day. He bills his customers in both types of dollars, but is very scrupulous and it is chiefly to assist the customer in his calculation.

It is generally easy to exchange HK$ back into other currencies. However, by having traveler’s cheques in small amounts, such as $20, one may calculate pretty close. On the last day one can than present tips and purchase gifts, or, arrange final transactions at the airport, or with the money changers, to get rid of surplus HK$.

As one sees considerable alluring merchandise in Hong Kong, travel by ship is preferable to travel by air, if you intend to go on a spending spree. Spree is really not the word for it. My own aims are to buy folk-products and not to compete with American Merchandise. In the case of clothing cited, purchases were necessary because of a long planned trip, and preparations also for another journey, leaving surplus or personal possessions on route.

For shipping directly to the United States, as by parcel post or otherwise, one should have as much information as possible. This information may be obtained from the ship and air lines, or from the consulate offices.


Samuel Lewis



[date unknown]


From both Dr. Tung and Mr. Dean, superintendent of gardens, I received the impression that they are tuned here to build up a large specimen collection with emphasis on sales, purchase and exchanges. I saw Mr. D. on Sunday and went back to the botanical garden. (Taxis cost more on the H.K. side than in Kowloon where I stay. Buses run 25¢ per zone HK which means about 4¢ US.

Aglaia odorata is a small rounded shrub about 6’. Callatus cupressiformis is called Cypress Pine but it does not look like a “pine” at all—perhaps this may be from the cones which I did not see. Thuja orientalis does very well, Crateva religiosa is the Spider Tree, rather small but with a very broad umbrella formation. Miconia alata comes from Australia and functions like Magnolia. It has both red and yellow flowers; I could not examine them singly but have concluded that the red are the pistillate and the yellow the stamens flowers. I also saw Rh. pulchrum v. phoenicium, an Azalea, whose name suggests it has fine purple or purplish red flowers. Avocado was put down as Persea americana. Cleistocalyx operculata or “Water Banyan” has very large trunk and branches, which start down low, but is not a tall tree. There were also Mangoes. Thevetia peruviana is a very wide shrub with yellow flowers.

At the upper end of the garden I found Miconia alata from Australia and a specimen grove of Eucs. Sapium sebiferum is the Tallow Tree, about 20’.There are a number of Hibiscus also in this section and several Tr. conferta, growing on the lawns. Bauhinia blakeana is a local species, not on the list, not tall.

This about covers what I tried to do in H.K. But if I come again I shall bring information on the solution of their water problem and also visit the Forestry Department. I did not do more, caught between the illness of my hosts and the failure to get any kind of response from Thailand, whither I am going.




July 8, 1956


Dear John. It is Sunday and I guess that is the date. I have just gone through a comedy of errors—but is a comedy. I failed utterly to get any mail from Thailand and become so anxious I left Hong Kong ahead of time, without knowing what I would do. As a result I had to pay extra fare on the plane and go to very high price hotel with visions of “getting” into the red. I lost my address book and misplaced my raincoat—both of which were properly rescued.

The inability to figure out time was also a comedy. Hong Kong operates on daylight saving time, Bangkok does not, and on top of that the plane one began gaining and gaining. It moved very rapidly placing us in Bangkok hours before a sundown. I then tried to find my friend Roon Sukul. This might not have been an easy operation for she has rented her ancestral home and thus has no phone. Somehow or other we located her residence to find that she was at a Buddhist meeting—in fact presided over it. I was told she could not be interrupted but I learned to my surprise that my very close friend, Robert, who is now the monk, Bhikku Sumangalo, had had just returned to Bangkok. We got there in a few moments to learn that neither he nor his friend, Mr. Patel, P.O. Box 409, had heard from me, although they had written. After a 2 hour visit, we lit out for Patel’s to find he had room for me and instead of my stay being costly, it will be very cheap indeed.

I saw Princesses Poon this A.M. and she apologized and we have a date of for Tuesday. Tomorrow I have to get passport photos—I have been given lots of wrong instructions but so have other people. I hope to call on the Bank of America, and as soon as feasible on the American and Indian Embassies. I have written a heavy letter to Indian and sent a copy to the Embassy here where Mr. Lal, who used to be in San Francisco, is employed. There are also two Marinities, Mr. And Mrs. Bucks of Bolinas, who are near me and I shall try to locate them tomorrow.

At this moment my intentions are to be with Rajendra Singh, Baghal house, Simla about August 1st. I may be with Ahmad Farid,/117. Fatimullah Muslim Hall, Dacca, East Pakistan around July 20, and may be with him for 10 days, or move on, stopping en route. But unless there be an emergency prefer mail to Simla; this holds for forwarding mail, not for communication from you, for which you must use your judgment.

My 3 friends here are all VIP in a sense and already I met one man I was supposed to see. The Princess was delighted about my Japanese trip. It is warm and humid here but not so bad as Washington or New York. I have written Ingram’s both air mail and regular (post cards). Connections here will properly get me “in.” In fact the taxi man apologized after trying to squeeze me when he found out what I was doing. I have written to my mother to let her known I am alive and it is barely possible that she will recognize it. I have also written to my cousin in Sydney telling her of my successful visits to the Australian Consulate in H.K. I sent a copy of this to Leo Davis. Please tell Hilda I shall have a long and perhaps important story to tell her about Nutrilite when I return—cannot promise it now for things just do happen. Will write again when where is “news.” Have to put your name down on several documents. Just in case. It is demanded.




July 10, 1956


Postcards to Delaplane


Dear S.D.:

Here I am in the land of the Thai which means free. And if any people have gotten tangled in their alliances it is the “free.” You get feudalism, capitalism, democracy, and everything all mixed up. And I don’t think anybody cares. If the politicians are busy, the people are at the cinema.

In fact if you have any pull with the administration I solemnly urge you to beg them to send Walt Disney over as next ambassador. This is a little on the ungrateful side for any host is the friend of Mr. B. the Ambassador and I hope to meet him soon. Anyhow I have meet his chief courier who owns a car and a lot of dispatch cases and running errands for SEATO or something.

This night life is not so lively as in Tokyo or Hong Kong. But neither is the day life. The Japanese are busy trying to imitate jet propulsion in their day-life and night-life. But if we want to win the affections of the Thai, we have only two choices: Walt Disney or a good American with lots of Mexican ancestry. I think the Thai would like Mexican food, Mexican dances, Mexican Siestas and Gordo.

But there are a lot of Chinese here, and I am sorry to say the Americans don’t understand these Chinese. In San Francisco, Hong Kong and Singapore the Chinese are divided into those who want Mao, Chiang and remain neutral—and at the same time the Chinese aren’t divided at all. But here the Chinese are good Buddhist which makes them friendly with the Thai and not friendly toward any politicians.

Please don’t blame them. Politicians mean taxpayers. The Chinese are the landlords, capitalists and workers. The Thai just stand by and say “Ho-hum”—when that is not too much exertion. Then they go to the temple, then they rest, then they go to the cinema. The land is fruitful, why not.

From that point on I am in American politics. You see I have come out for Disney and Jumbo, Dumbo and Co. and I have ignored each other. I haven’t seen any elephants at all and I don’t believe they are in S.F. They may be in water-holes hut all the water-holes I have seen are occupied by caribous who have very soft-gentle yes. The dogs here look more like dogs. In Japan they look like foxes; in Hong Kong they look like toys. Here the look like dogs but are friendly, and don’t keep pedigrees. And I haven’t seen a Siamese cat … yet. Cats, but not with ancestry.

It may be some compensation that I have danced with a beautiful Thai girl who speaks good English. Night Clubs are operated by Philippines who speak better English and the prices are down to earth. They welcome you, they don’t rob you.

Sorry, but I have to go off to sent my friend the Princess. But I have found my address book and all is well, or pretty well.

Visited B. of A. and was advised to get cash only from money lenders. Asst. Mgr. school mate of Russ Jr. at Dartmouth. Also looked up L’uang Ior who had gone home. Visited Indian Embassy. They refer me to Indian International.



July 11, 1956


Dear Rudolph:

Here I am in the land of the “free” or Thai. I arrived after comedy of errors, but somehow or other located the house of Princess Poon. She was not at home but presiding over a big Buddhist meeting. The Vice-President greeted me and to my surprise I learn that my very dear friend, Robert Clifton—now Bhikku Sumangalo, was in a house nearby (monastery). We met and spent 2 hours together and then I was directed to my friend K. Patel at this address. Mail on both sides had not come through.

Patel seems to know everybody in Southeast Asia and could be of greatest assistance to the United States. Actually all power is in the hands of the monks. I met the chief Abbot through him and found that he is the Chief Abbot’s chief lay assistant. So I can meet anybody in Burma or Thailand.

Yesterday I was with Princess Poon about 21/2 hours. We spent a good deal of this at the National Museum. I regret to say that both there and while with the senior Monk of the Chief Abbot, while they both extended all kindness, they walked too fast for men. Now I am one of these guys who is a rabbit at climbing mountains but a snail in the art galleries. This is confusing and I don’t blame anybody, but that is the way it is.

The National Museum is Chingwah Lee greatly magnified. You have to look at the gold, at the paint, at the designs, at the works themselves. There are all kinds of figures from all kinds of places and I tell you those Oriental Art courses were of supreme value. About everything the former king collected was saved for public conservation. The only thing official is the throne and the Princes showed me the different gradients of the throne—for business, pleasure, rest and devotion.

Thai painting is more chemical than esthetic and also very exact mathematically. I wonder at the patience and detail. I am still all but stunned by their ability in metals—which has to be studied from many points of view. Temples are all “air-conditioned” in a simple, ancient way. There is strange combination of linear and very elaborate curvilinear forms. The outsides are so ornate one is struck by the use of straight lines in inner architecture. But Princess Poon also explained that they have a system of dividing pavilions and large halls into smaller compartments to meet needs.

There are a number of students not only studying traditional painting, but learning how to repair and restore older works. While I think Japanese painting is far above Thai, the people here are not spoiled by vacuous occidental influences which mar. It is true there was one striking Italian piece, but the Chinese have contributed far more than Westerners, still little outside of ceramics.

The Thai admire Mahayana art, and architecture seems to have been subject to influences from all surrounding peoples. I think that the present day schools in the U.S. could gain a good deal from this as architecture is today building up its own philosophies and making its own ventures—some of which are very sane in my opinion. If that were done, other arts would follow.

There were two rooms dedicated to musical instruments. One is a real gallery of collected instruments. Many are of the gamelan or xylophone type. But I have the same thing to say here as of the architecture. We have a good deal to learn and this should be done a la Henry Cowell, not a la Dane Rudhyar, in my opinion.

I have taken one brief lesion in Thai dancing and may try more although it is difficult. It seems to be based on Buddhist mudras.

When you can’t take notes you have to depend on memory and my day was full indeed. Thus there was a glass collection. It reminded me of the advertisements by liquor corporation showing different kinds of bowls and cups. It is very good for comparative vitriology. The Thai porcelains are admittedly inferior but there were Chinese pieces here and there and evidently this influence increased in time.

There are elaborate dishes and this involved both the designs on each, the ceremony of the whole set, the arrangement, etc. Off hand it would appear that there is a “Malay” influence here. Although I had lunch with Princess Poon, the flavorings were a mixed in already and one was too bland, the other too hot, so I had to mix them myself. I did not care for the Thai curry as much has the Indian but this is only a first adventure.

I must make the same report on wood and metal as on glass and ceramics. Given a good dosage of history, Buddhist and architecture all nicely spaced and seasoned with Chingwah Lee Sauce, and it is hard to visit the gallery. You study the art, the forms, the composition and what not and your guide is already way ahead. Litters details like the position of the knee, the handling of the sash, the folds of the garment, shapes of heads, the top-knot or hair dress all interest and excite you.

In the afternoon (skipping here) I was taken to the Marble temple and in discussing with the senior monk who objects to the Chinese, I said, “I don’t object at the Chinese. I have too much excitement in my own private life; those fiction stories are too empty for me. For instance—and I would point to an obvious Cambodian head—and he liked that. For it is true.

The first thing is that the Marble Temple has a nice floor and I hate not to take off my shoes. I like the feeling. I like the way they worked that marble, comparable to the Japanese with wood. I liked the designs. I liked the great collation of Buddha’s from all places, which I imagine Martin Roseblatt studied in detail. But I did not like the inability to meditation in front of them, at least to getting the spirit of the artist. People talk a lot about the inner eye, but just try and use it?

I have purchased some pictures, which I shall forward as soon as I obtain suitable envelopes. One has to depend upon two intermediaries here. It will not be so in Burma, I understand, where many speak English. There are many Americans here but several are connected with SEATO or USIS. There were a number of them at the Temple but I don’t think I gained their admiration, only their envy, to be escorted first by the Senior Monk, and then to have them note be both spoke good English and had a sound knowledge of everything as if he were curator of the Boston Museum.

I regret that both of these appointments were thrust on me. But I did meet a Singhalese who speaks English good and who has offered to be my guide. I accept even at the risk of dipping into my funds, for it should be worth it in the end.

Now for the record I am going to give you the nasty news. All Buddhists and pseudo-Buddhist theoretically believe in karma, that we sow what we sow; then they make many, many exceptions. Well, the stock of the Broadway school is pretty much below zero. When I was in Japan my first official visit was on the heels of Jacob Fuerring. When I mentioned the names of Robert Clifton and Paul Reps, my very closest friend, I received smiles and greetings. But when I mentioned other names, I was greeted with cold silence.

When I mentioned my own criticism of certain intellectuals, like Suzuki and Takagusu in the U.S. I was all but thrown on my ear, only to hear these same people criticized in Japan. Then I told Princess Poon I had done this she all but embraced me. Religion and devotion are not elaborate forms of metaphysics without beginning and end. The devotion of the heart, the expression of calm compassion, the extension of love, the actual growth of wisdom which is reflected in one’s daily deeds—these matter. I have met so many leaders now, wise men, realized people, and they all tend toward universality and the experience of cosmic illumination. Some are engrossed in deep translations and interpretations, and some in esthetic movements. But there is no real difference.

There is a coming together of hearts which neither politicians nor Roerichs can understand. My host, K. Patel, understand and he is one of the leaders. Neither materialistic Russia nor materialistic America will dominate the world. But the United States has to make some small simple changes, while Russia must actually change. These small changes—and I hope will at least see my point of view: If the United States wishes to further either capitalism of democracy in the Orient she must stop supporting Christian missionary movements. It is that simple.

However the U.S. if full of Professors-Suez-Canals who think they link the East and West and whose influence does not extend beyond their campus and not always there. I tell you, Rudolph, if you admire a single Buddha figure here it does as far as if you have read all the Pali Scriptures—and sometimes further.

I do not know whether I shall make any horticultural studies here. People know naturally how to take care of simple gardens. There are a number of Chinese here who take to it naturally and whose methods are somewhat more advanced from the American point of view than what I saw in the private places in Japan and Hong Kong—use of laws, mowers, shears, hedges, flowering plants—rather than green shrubs—and many vines.

I have eaten many strange fruits. Like mango and have eaten some things I cannot name: jujube and a much larger fruit which looks translucent also but tastes different; papayas are good even if almost tasteless. Pineapples are plentiful and cheap and bananas are varied and wonderful.

I shall try to take a note-book but do not promise. However I have a tentative arrangement for visiting Mahayana temples Thursday.

Please share this with Chingwah and your staff. And if you can, please telephone Willie and give her may love.



July 13, 1956


Dear George & Paul:

What started out as a personal venture is no longer one. To run into complexities is a part of life and I am compelled to explain them in order for you and others to understand what I am trying to do. The first complexity concerns those who, because of some intelligent position, are trying to place themselves in public we as religions leaders and are not. They may be respected and respectful; they may know many sutras. They may be even has had a little—a little but not much—discipline in life. Their efforts to spread personal philosophies as “Oriental Culture” are deeply resented in the Orient. I felt this was so and it was naturally supposed to be a personal opinion. Alas, I have found the resentment extreme an even terrible.

Now today I went to Mahatato Temple where people come from long distances to practice Dhyana. It is a samadhi-dhyana. I don’t care what books say, I don’t care what professors say, I don’t care what so called authorities say. I have seen it and when I attempted to express my deepest appreciation of it, the Abbot smiled and said it was not necessary. My guide is an English speaking Singhalese who has both complete academic and Buddhistic education.

I have found the temples clear and not only clear but with marble floors so it is actually a relief to take off one’s shoes. I have seen so many marvelously carved Buddha’s that I cannot get a full impression myself. The detail work in the temples and outside, on the ceilings and walls inside are tremendous. Generally the ceilings carry on a rough Arjunta tradition—that is genetic stencils; and generally the walls have scenes either from the life of Lord Buddha or form the Jatikas. There are a number of gaps between Hinayana and Mahayana art which easily can be filled. There are Chinese influences in Thai art, and here, the counter-influences of Thai art in the Chinese temples.

Bhikkus seem either to smile or scowl and my bet is that the smiling ones are the realized ones. When I saw a boy go into the samadhi-dhyana and the monk first explained why and how the boy was strong and I tested it, I also realized more fully the source of my own strength. There is more attention to breath than text-books suppose. I hope you will let me lecture on this subject. I have gone about 10,000 times further that some people who are qualified to speak—within the confines of the United States. Here it is very easy—either you know or you do not know.

The Wat Po contained the reclining Buddha. This is tremendous. It is covered with gold leaf. But the seated Buddha’s in the other temple are also covered with gold. I marvel at the perfection in bronze, at the details of covering, at the fine work in opal and opalescent stones and with detail work that I do not think even the greatest Christian or Japanese Buddhist buildings can ever approach. And it could not have been done by slaves. It would take Thai, that is, free men, to do it. I have bought pictures which I have sent or will send to Rudolph Schaeffer.

The other complexity is even more serious. Americans bombed temples here and have refused to admit it—so far. Too much foreign policy is pro-Chinese rather than anti-Russian. I have found everywhere so far people more are anti-Russian than anti-American. But far less anti-Chinese. And so long as the American government leans a single eyelash toward Christianity we are making an easy time hard.

This afternoon I went to Chinese Buddhist temple. It was, rather, a series of temples. As in China, the outside is simple and one has to see the altars to find something. There are Buddha’s in both Chinese (mostly) and Thai style. But what I found here is that the recent ones are done with the same care both in metal casing and details could work as in traditions, and so far as embellishments are concerned, are improving—in a sense, as Ming is over Tang.

I shall learn tonight about the theory of Chinese Buddhism here which is very strong. But I understand it is still stronger in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and it has not been studied by Western investigators. I am hoping to convey your message of good-will to the Chinese here. So far as I can see, they are much finer than the Hong Kong types of merchants, exiles and very ignorant peasants. They are the brains and brawn to Thailand. But it seems that the morale of the Chinese is in almost every way superior to the Thai. Their being in Buddhist country has encouraged them.

There are both artistic and cultural exchanges here. Most Thai, though Hinayana, are not hide-bond. There are two divisions, one democratic one conservative. The latter have been in control in Burma and Ceylon. After what I have seen of the meditating, I am satisfied Hinayana and Mahayana may come closer together. My friend, Mr. Kotani, head of the Japanese section of I.B.A. is also somewhere around. I will continue later.

Later. I shall not visit the Chinese temples again for a few days. I have learned that Chinese Mahayana Buddhism is very vigorous at Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Although Singapore is not regarded as a “good” city, the Chinese there have fine English educations. In fact one can “study” Buddhism in English and if I should come this way again I hope I can skip this route and go south.

Two people have assured me that Buddhism is also growing in mainland China. Christianity is not forbidden; only foreign missionaries are not allowed. The churches are well attended but the temples are increasing more. There is some feeling that Chinese traditions should be preserved. There is even greater feeling that Russia actually fears the Chinese but will goad them to action in Indo-China and Korea to play the United States and China off against each other. I am afraid this is also the view of some rather powerful politicians in the States.

Best regards,




July 14


Dear Paul & George:

Today I visited three temples in company with a Mr. Boon who lives No. 44F, New Road. I have put this name down because if I come here again I hope to hire his as interpret to me. However we did not meet any learned monks so you will have to guess through what I gained by observing the art.

We first went to Kam Low Gee. This, with the temple I visited the other day, are the main Chinese temples in Bangkok. All the Mahayana temples have 18 figures on either side, either 16 and 2, or 18. The interpretation given at Obaku in Japan was that they represent 16 disciples of Buddha and 2 attendants. These are generally simple sculptures but some artists put in a great deal of care to show that they are human and not cosmic.

A common characteristic is that figures are not to be cleaned. The incense smoke discolors them. The new figures are bright gold, either being gilded or else they have a brass-bronze which looks like gold. There is also the use of a stencil by which the metal is beaten afterwards. Generally the Hinayana art is much more elaborate than the Mahayana. The frontal robes in Mahayana are simple, but sometimes the aureole and back are worked out very fine.

I understood Kam Low Gee better by having visited Obaku in Japan. There are ceilings which resemble rice-paper but between them windows of translucent glass. The pillars are placed very much like at Obaku. The Omito occupies the same position as in Soto Zen, but in Soto I have seen the temples of Lord Buddha and Amida (Omito) separate. Here the position of Buddha is rather like an intermediary between Nirvana and Samsara.

There are three cosmic Buddhas at Kam Low Gee with the early Buddha in front. But there are also two Buddha’s in Thai or Hinayana style on either side occupying a position similar to that of the Bodhisattvas. I think this is the temple that my friend Robert Clifton (Phra Sumangalo) described. There is a place in it for every kind of Buddhism.

I brought the monks your greeting which they were very glad to have. They showed me a Mongolian inscription and they have some Mongolian writing on the wall. In the annex there is a Mongolian altar with many cosmic figures of Buddhism and Bodhisattvas. There is there and elsewhere a small figurine of Kwan Yin, very beautiful, not tawdry as in the Kwan Yin temples.

There are also side altars to Kwan Yin. There are other altars, one to the Kitchen God. There are also large Guardians at this temple, not very different from in Japan. There are also elements drawn from Taoism and Confucianism but less than at Yong Hock Gee which I visited later on.

Monks are dressed in yellow, about the same color as the Thai costume. But they were Chinese trousers more than robes. However the monk who was busy at devotion also wore robes. I find that they also follow the Thai and are not like the Japanese, in accepting the warmth of the day to relax, or even sleep.

All the temples have marble floors, so it is easy to walk around. You take your shoes off only if you go up to the altar, not just on entering the temple. But a good many Chinese devotees seem to be interested in casting their fortunes. At Hong Kong those in trouble at least consulted the monk in charge. Here they accept the fate shown them.

The basic art work seems to be on the same technical basis as Thai—bronze with a gilded superstructure. And I have reached the temporary conclusion that the artists are more spiritually advanced that the monks.

Pow Hok Gee and Yong Hok Gee are next to each other. The former is the Vietnamese temple. I was told they are quite anti-American but they were rather surprised to have an American visit them and very very kind. On the surface Vietnamese art is a mixture of Hinayana and Chinese influence. But the Buddhism seems to be different. The Chinese temples seem to be Universal like your own, combining, in a sense, Chan, Pure Land, T’ien-tai and the Garland-of-Flowers (Avatamsak-Kegon). But the Vietnam temple is more complex, including definite elements which are known as Shingon in Japan and I think Mo (or Mantrayana). That is the Pure Word, or Pure Sound.

There are many figures of Buddhism and even if the main One is called Omito, the position is that of Dainichi Nyorai in Japan. One finds the various cosmic Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, with Thai Buddhas on the side. The disciples are simple in the Vietnam Temple but in the Chinese temple (Young Hok Gee) more attention has been paid to them and less to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. These temples also have fine figurines of Chan or other monks.

There are several stupas around and I think these are really better, comparatively speaking, than the temples. But there is a sort of Vietnamese Pagoda which struck me very much. It was of porcelain, quite large, and the art work was certainly not either Chinese or Thai, but derived from some of the peoples of Indo-China—it was even less like Cambodian. I have always regarded Indo-China as the home of three or four distinct cultures, but know very little of any of them.

Young Hok Gee was the dirtiest temple I have seen here, but this is only in comparison. It has an attendant, not a monk. If it has a monk he lives and studies with the Vietnamese. I must confess I have not seen anything detrimental as I have read in books. Yes, the folkways between Mahayana and Hinayana people are different. But excepting for the fact that this is the Seclusion or Vihara season, the Chinese seem to me to be much better devotees than the Thai. (This may not prove to be so in Burma which I have not visited.)

I think it is wrong to make comparisons. Yong Hok Gee was “dirty” according to local standard, but that is all. It had figures of Confucius and Lao-Tsu. It as small but still the artists and sculpture must have worked with a spirit of devotion. It was located at a very convenient place for the people who shop or work in the markets.

There is a break here of several hours. During that time I visited the flower market and what would correspond to the Farmers Market. We bought a lot of things, mostly cheap. I was so successful this afternoon that I sending you and air-mail letter which will arrive long before this end then will resume with details.

The next visit was one of the high points of my life. It was to the Annamese Temple which is called Wat Samanamboriharn. It is not far from the Radjadharern section and not too far from Princess Poon. I was told that these people have no use for Americans and one would be unwelcome. I experienced no such difficulty.

In the first place, on entering, I pointed to a scroll on the wall (rough outline painting). I said, “That is Tamo.” It was correct. I saw the altar which is very elaborate. Again the Omito figure dominated with a comparatively small Buddha. But there were many kinds of Buddhas, including the Burmese type. There are often three figures in the Mahayana temples or a single dominant Omito. But all figures are elaborate with skill in execution and in gold.

I omitted to say in the “dirty temple” all the figures are covered with drapes to keep them clean, and in the “clean temples” it is considered a custom to let the incense smoke discolor the statuary and then someone gets a new Buddha in clean gold.

I was told that the Abbot, Bao-rung was an illuminated soul. I must say that he looked very much like Roshi Asahina in Japan. In fact the whole resemblance was remarkable. Later he looked over me and this confirmed it in so far as one can judge outwardly. The chief difference is that Bao-rung gives up all his time to help humanity. He was trying to heal people. He seems to understand the nervous system, and prods the vital spots with an instrument which seems pointed, but did not puncture any tissues. It was like a sort of “chiropractic” on finer bodies, or based on the physiology of the traditional Chinese system. He also uses water for both drinking and sprinkling. Much of his time was given to an infantile case and I do not know how it will turn out. However the maid from this house was ill but says she was better after he was through and will not have to go to the hospital.

This temple was not only used for healing but the activity of the Abbot also helps break down the lines between Hinayana and Mahayana in practice. He wore yellow but otherwise Chinese clothing. Yet most of the people there I would say were Thai.

They gave me some material in Thai and asked that I present to the Consul General in S.F. I am sending it but will bring it down to L.A. He also gave me some pictures and charts. The charts have Chinese writing on which you may be able to decipher. My host here could translate but that is not the Abbot’s wishes. Besides it will help build up a more solid understanding to have this done in California.

The pictures deal with the fire-rite. They have an instrument, which is placed in the mouth. But anyhow the Abbot has command over nature. Fire does not burn, it purifies.

The pictures which I call Mandala should I believe, be distributed in some manner as (a) the temple, (b) your office, (c) the homes of your leaders or (d) retained for class or other explanation. If I ever come this way again I should certainly like to meet Bao-rung. He is a man.

I have found that the Chinese method of divination has crept over into the Thai temples.

This was certainly true yesterday. We went to Nakhon Pathom, or something like that. That is where Buddhism was originally established in Thailand. It has an immense stupa and there are also ashes of the Lord’s bones there. What I liked about the place was that they are actually collecting all kinds of archeological remains and keeping them there—especially from Ayuthia which is not close by. It is very hard to be compelled to walk quickly and not observe Indian, Chinese, Burmese and other influences. I did have an opportunity to see some local snails and can observe double snail influence. I do not know if anybody has written on it.

You first have the hair dressing which is supposed to represent the snails covering the Lord’s head when he was in samadhi. But you also have a sort of conical figure, which is actually in the form of the Siamese snail. Yes, I have seen hat-figures and others, but I did not notice this before.

Another thing which I is clear is the advanced technical development at an early age. In marble, mosaic, tile, and engineering construction. Stupa-geometry has not always been carefully studied.

We went later to Ayuthia which is largely but not entirely a mass of ruins. But reconstruction work is going on. This is such an immense study by itself. I can only give an outline. I bought some materials which I am sending to Rudolph Schaeffer. One can also buy good Buddhas cheap, of ancient make but I am not prepared to buy. Even the simple shipments I expect to make produce a problem—with my short time.

But across the river was some Buddha. How large I have no idea, but it dwarfed everything. I have seen large Daibutsus in Japan and both large standing and reclining ones here, but this was a skyscraper and all covered with gold-leaf—not gilt. And in a perfect state of repair. It was left untouched when Ayuthia was destroyed.

The functional place of the Bodhisattva was occupied by very large figure of Moggallana and Sariputra. These alone were large Buddhas. But they were plain. The disciples are always made plain. What becomes the aureole in Mahayana was made into a sort of fan, down low in front. It was elegantly enameled like the aureoles, and perhaps more so.

I found it very difficult to take notes. The atmosphere there was peaceful, really peaceful. I have tried to point out here and there the existence of meditation-Buddhism along with ecclesiastic-Buddhism. This during the Vihara or Lenten-season, which is now in vogue. Whatever the defects of Hinayana they do practice a pretty good meditation.

This also reminds me of an omission concerning Wat Samanamboriharn. The main stems of Chinese Buddhism seem to go to Chan or Pure Land. I found that they especially study Lanka Sutra which, of course, is very profound an especially valued by Chan. I have not had the time or the guides to go into profound interpretations, for those who know English are not steeped in philosophy. This must wait until one visits Singapore or Penang.



20 July 1956

My dear Bryn:

I am being more and more confounded at, but not by events that seen to crown and crowd my life. I am in Dacca, and finding my host had left, I completed a letter to Vilayat and went out on what is to me the most remarkable of all my adventures so far and they are crowding on me thick and fast. It met one after another the family of my friend Muin Kahn whom I mentioned to you while in Berkeley. Each one greeted and treated me. We finally came to the home of Pir Moulana Abdul of the Chisti School.

I was no sooner introduced than a man present said he had been translating Sufi Inayat Khan’s writing into Bengali, had all his music, many of his pictures, had been corresponding with Saida in Holland and wanted to know more of the Mysticism of sound.

I asked the Moulana a very deep question and he came up with appropriate deep answers. He gave me my new Ryazat or spiritual practice and predicted my future for a limited period with the injunction to study the language of the country I am to visit. It may be that I shall, after all, live in Japan where I have already been invited. I shall not go into details as I shall be seeing him again afterwards. But I must say, despite Lucy Goodenough, despite Mahebood Khan, despite Rabia Martin and, above all, despite Mrs. Duce he more than confirmed what Murshid said to me in 1923, and reconfirmed some of the things Murshid said to me in 1926, and added to them. I no longer have any choice. It is the same as foretold at birth: either world fame or ignominy, no middle path here.

I read my “Sand and Glass,” a tribute to the Prophet Mohammed on his birthday two years ago. I cannot go back. I now belong very definitely and already here publicly to the brotherhood of Sufis and I have a commission to fulfill, much greater than anything appearing in Paul Brunton. I do not know what it means but I do know it is my dharma.

This has come quickly on my first day. It is a repetition on higher scale of exactly what went on in Thailand and Japan. I stayed one day in Burma; I was not there one hour before I met a cabinet minister who wanted to send me to another cabinet minister. But I had come for another purpose. All the things of my life are clearing. I am with friends of friends of Murshid and even before I knew it had the spiritual directions for my next stages. Everything I have felt or thought or said has been confirmed, and this by an illuminated soul. It was foretold I would get guidance but this has come with suddenness and swiftness. I cannot turn back. The work that God has given me will, inshallah, be fulfilled. And all of this was reflected in a hundred smaller things in a very short space of time.




July 20, 1956


Dear John:

I have been through so many adventures and misadventures the past few days that there has been no time to write my diary so I am sending it all to you to save time. Talk about E. Phillips Oppenheim “Fools for luck.” This time I am in it to the full, and no kidding.

I received your letter telling about a dividend, but no date for same. I was surprised early n the year to receive two checks instead of one; one, I think for $175 and the other for $433. This has made it impossible to guess my income. If, before August, I do receive another dividend, I shall certainly ask for a goodly sum. But oven if I have to spend a thousand or more it may worth it.

I did not receive other mail at Bangkok, nor were my own letters received, or did I get letters written by some people. I left with the information that my flight had been OK’d on to Calcutta. When I got to Rangoon it was not so. Then I was held up at Rangoon because somebody else was held up and they did not want the air-field bus to leave. Then I found I could not book passage, then I located the Pakistani Air Lines and was told there was a plane which would take me to Chittagong and a hotel room would be provided.

Next I started to look for information and was talking to the Minister of information and he wanted to send me to another Minster. This would have meant a stay in Rangoon and I would be on my way-up, instead of going to my destination. Instead I called on my friend, Bill Eilers of San Francisco, who knew more about my plans than anybody else. I spent all afternoon with him and turned over my reports to him, for his benefit. I also got some good tips from him and learned lot about Burma which is never in the papers.

When I arrived in Chittagong I had no local currency. It has been a legal holiday in Burma, it was also one in Pakistan and neither country honors Thai money. Hotels do not receive travelers cheques there. Why, I don’t know. This hotel has already given me rupees for dollar. Next I was held up on a gift I was carrying and there was interminable red tape and I am going to have to pay $50 U.S. unexpected. But I shall not send up a sign, I hope, until I reach Simla.

Well, they sent me to the U.S. Consul who turned out not to be the U.S. Consul at all, but Mr. Sparr, head of the Forestry Department organization on some deep diplomatic exchanges and meeting him more than compensated for all the trouble. In not time I found information on the library shelves that would have taken me months to fathom out and he told me the best place in the world for further information and it appears to be not far from Simla. As my host-friend there is now a VIP there may be lot more feathers in my cap?????????

I got off to Dacca bright and early all bound with red-type an arrived in Dacca to find that my host-friend had first moved, then left Dacca for Chittagong. He left his message with a friend, who has out. Hard luck? Hardly. I was in the hands of one Jemal Ghandhuri, a nuclear physics grad at the University who wants to help me out. He sent me to USIS and then to this hotel which is much cheaper them others because meals are thrown in as in Japan.

I hardly signed the blotter when I found myself talking to a UC student from Berkeley who knew the first references I gave him and also knows Muin Khan who invited me here in the first place. Well, it was Muin’s cousin, Ahmad Farid who was supposed to be my host. I shaved and then went out to look for their aunt, Suphia Kamal, who is the leading poetess of East Pak. By the time I caught my breath I was eating and meeting one number of the family after another and the dates began to pile up. These may be very important, so the immediately financial strain is well worth it and it may not be a strain at all—simply unexpected expenses.

Meanwhile Jamal C. (Jimmy) has been bobbing up here and again and tomorrow I shall probably go to the U.S. Consulate and the university, so it looks as if I were “in.”

One thing I cannot overestimate is the kindness and hospitality already received. It is the finest yes. I met the Japanese as if we loved each other but I meet people as if we were part of one family, very close indeed.

So far my health has been holding up and I have some pills to use when I drink water, but have been guzzling tea even to stop that. This country suffers from heavy rainfall and floods.

I have not had time to sleep much during all this. Both Burma and East Pakistan are less oppressive to me than Thailand; the air seems clearer and so do the faces of people. The animals are loved and everybody seems to have pets. Dogs were most friendly in Thailand but even here I find that they are far better treated than one would expect in an Islamic country. Animals are not licensed and the pets including cats, dogs, horses, goats, cow and buffaloes all seem very friendly.

Women are coming out of Purdah. But do not ask who wears the wants, here or in Burma. For more man wear forms of sarongs and a considerable number of women wear trousers or pantaloons. I have a sarong but I have not worn it yet. Also a pair of Thai pants, modern, not traditional style.

I have misplaced my address book again, and these constant movings and upsets make it hard to keep track of things. But I am learning the ropes, and should I come this way again, may be helpful to myself or others. This hotel has a room and bath. In Thailand they give you a suite—and charge you accordingly. In Rangoon you room with running water but no bath. They soak you for dinner, but breakfast is free. Also the planes give you plenty to eat.

The Hotel Strand in Rangoon is the scene of mystery, intrigue and cloak-and-daggers. I was watched from the beginning. I began to talk softly about Buddhism and increased the amplitude so people did not have to eavesdrop. As there were execs and Chinese of doubtful backgrounds and other around, it was jute as well. No one dares to handle a good Buddhist. But when I took a taxi I learned to be Muslim. The Hindus over change, the Muslims have a fixed rate when I greeted them they shaved this down. I won’t worry over East Pakistan, but may relax until I reach Calcutta; then we shall see.




Bashir Ahmed Minto,

Ahmaddiya Movement,


July 24, 1956


This morning I greet you in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. God has guided me through many lands. I have seen what others do not see or are not permitted to see. I have met whom others do not meet or are not permitted to meet. I have learned what others do not learn or are not permitted to learn. Then I came to East Pakistan in the midst of series of episodes.

My plane flight was not confirmed. I had no information about Pakistani air lines. My hotel reservation did not go through. I left Burma during a series of holy days and I arrived in East Pakistan in the midst of a series of holy days. I could not buy exchange. I could not even report to police…. In the midst of that I was given refuge by an American, Mr. Sparr, Chief Forestry Adviser for E.P. and a man who gave me invaluable help for my further journey.

I came to Dacca. I did not know how to proceed. A young man on the plane helped me only to learn that my host had gone away and left no message. And this was the beginning of blessings. I was shown this hotel, but cannot take advantage of the free meals. For although I was honored in Japan as no single American has ever been honored, and honored in Thailand in a most astonishing manner, the reception of a foreigner was marvelous. When it is learned that the foreigner professes Islam it is still more marvelous. And when it is discovered that the foreigner professes Islam it is still more marvelous. And when it is discovered that the foreigner is a Sufi … there is nothing to say.

Before the day was over I met many friends of my friend Muin Khan who is now in Indonesia. And with the coming of evening I was in the midst of a Sufi group led by Pir Maulana Abdul Ghafoor. Next to me, the first to greet me, was a disciple of my own teacher Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. I submitted to tests, I listened and I spoke and now my program is very full indeed.

Now I have written airmail to Dr. Nizam and send two letters to Alice Sayid for the Islamic Society. I have sent plenty of news and a grim warning. Inshallah, I return to America a very important man and the more important, perhaps the more humble and less anxious to express myself. The dissensions here are only of the highest order. There is no foolish talk, but we go to the core of things. I had to stand the tests, and before God, I have stood the tests.

No names are mentioned but the fact that an Islamic Society is organized in San Francisco, independent of other societies, influenced strongly by non-Muslims and non-Muslims and newly converted people who know very little does not meet with approval. The introduction of politics, especially in the name of “no politics” actually provokes a horror.

When you meet real saints, real Khawwalis, real sages and real Sufis, and feel the marvelous spirit about the educated, you can ask for no more. But neither can you surrender to the less. It is all but forbidden to me now to follow the ignorant and self-willed, no matter now “nice” they are. Being “nice” does not promote Islam.

I was strongly challenged last night but reached this agreement: either Islam or a universal religion. Either Islam proves its superiority or it must join with other religions as one of several ways. It will not bow down to other religions but it must either take its place alongside of them or prevents its prowess. It does not prove it’s prowess by argument and force, still less by rage and anger.

I admitted it was possible for sages of other faiths to reach the higher stages and perhaps even the highest. But I had to add I have not yet myself met any non-Muslim superior to my own teacher and I have met the greatest men in Buddhism and Christianity. The real test will be with the Hindus. If they have love and insight I shall have to admit it. But while I bow with all humility to their sacred books and philosophies, I must confess I do not understand their religions at all. I find little connection between their sacred literature and common practices. In humility I shall try to learn. It is not revulsion against idolatry that prompts me, but revulsion against ignorance and superstition.

Therefore I am not against Nehru as some people are. I talk here of his philosophy. My stand on Kashmir is that if we surrender to God, this will straighten out the problem. But the Muslims are going to lose Kashmir because they have made the thought about Kashmir a partner to the thought about God and sometimes they think much more about Kashmir. This is not Islam and can only have the same results as happened in other lands. Seek wealth, property and empire and you will lose both them and God. Seek Allah and you may gain wealth, property and empire. It least this is my stand now.

I do not know when I shall reach Lahore. I have not even entered India. My immediate address will be, inshallah.

c/o Rajendra Singh Parmar,

Baghal House

Simla, India.



I can hardly keep up my diary. I have been going to Pir Maulana Abdul Ghafoor, 78 Santinagar whenever possible. Yesterday I was the luncheon guest of Capt. Sadik who is also a devotee. Today I shall be with the Brigadier. I was with the Swami Maharaja in the evening. My day report at the university will follow. I have been called a Khalandar and a Jalali and even more. It is hard to realize. The Pir has loaned me “Futuh-al-Ghaib” of Hazrat Shaikh Muhyuddin Abdul Qadir Gilani, translated my Maulyi Aftag-ud-din Ahmad of Woking. At 11 I am supposed to meet a venerable Sufi. Tomorrow to a shrine.



July 27, 1956


The diary notes for today go to Abdul Rahman, with a copy for his nephew. Yesterday was a very trying day. I went to the Pakistani Observer office and spent all morning waiting for the editor who did not show up. I then went to the radio station. I was introduced to the staff and preliminaries were made for recording my voice, finding the records of my teacher, Sufi Inayat Khan, and obtaining introductory letters to Husein Nizami of Delhi, son of Hasan Nizami.

However I was compelled to cut the visit short in order to retrieve the watch held by customs. They had kept me four hours at Chittagong, and then, all efforts to get information about it had failed, Major X, however saved me and took me to the airport.

I had had so many estimates of duty, and when the final figure was given me I refused to pay it. Fortunately a compromise was quickly reached and though there was a delay the amazing thing was the Major knows the relatives of Abdul Rahman in W.P.! Then, to add to our amazement, we were late to get back to the radio station only to find the whole staff with Mr. Nasari in front of my hotel! This sequence of dilemma’s and surprises is now a daily occurrence.

It started when I failed to find my host Ahmed Farid, to land in the midst of a Sufi group headed by Pir Maulana Abdul Ghafoor. I must now state once and for all that this nonsense in San Francisco about there being no Sufis or that they are unimportant must stop once and for all. I may have to write a book on my experiences here. The Pir Maulana is the most perfect ordinary man I have ever heard about but, his father was extraordinary—about that later, inshallah, when I return. Through him I have met leader after leader here—civil, military, professional, educational. There is hardly an important man in East P. that I have not met or who has not sought me our—mostly the last.

I did not have a chance to rest when my friends look me to the tomb of Pir Shah Ali. Dervishes came to East Bengal around 856 A.H. and began converting the peasants and established the first mosque in a wooded country. A century later the Pir came and really established Islam, this long before the Mogul conquest. There is a complicated relation between the propagation of Islam and the preservation of Bengali. It was the Muslims who protested Bengali again at Sanskrit and this the West Pakistanis are now only beginning to realize.

I chanted Zikr there and believe me there is also going to be no more nonsense about my not chanting Zikr. If Dr. C. does not permit me full sway, superior to that of politicians taking over in the “non-political” society, well and good, I’ll speak on Castro St., but even more likely in more important places.

Last night I went to an Islamic wedding. The place was packed, but for every one who accosted the groom, ten went to Pir Maulana. The Kadari Pir was also there. I have met many holy and wise man; I have met more good man in every broad sense. The good-will was the most perfect I have experienced. If I remained here another week I would be a famous man, but my job is to do Allah’s will. The fee will take care of itself and I seek no fortune except where it is permitted. I even had to remonstrate with my friends that I have to do little alms distributing whenever I am ahead on my budget. It was pretty hard for them to understand it.

I shall send a copy of this to M.Y. Khan and then write to him. My name has been changed form A. Murad to Ahmed Murad. My initials will be S.A.M which stands both for Ahmed Murad and also for SAM, my usual name, short for Samuel.



The diary note for 29 July goes to Bryn. It is a remarkable thing that no sooner had I mailed the letter to Vilayat than I found myself in the midst of Sufis, and even some of them know about him, although very little. The last night in Dacca will always stand out. I was feasted and had the most loving embrace form a large number of men, some saintly, many officials and intellectuals, but all loving. I was advised to visit the tomb of the Pir Maulana’s father, whose name is long and which I have elsewhere and who is even popularly known as The Murshid, I hope to have his life story when I return as it is now being published in English.

The head of the East Pakistani army and his aide, Captain Sadiq took me to the airport and I found also fellow Sufis on the plane. I came directly to Mr. Haider’s house. 90/1 Ripon St. After a short supper we went to the Murshid’s shrine. I started to chant Zikr but it was soon that the Murshid was using my body to chant through me. He then told me that I need not wait to go to Ajmir, he confirmed my musical gift and said I was to use it immediately. He also gave me the blessing of the crescent and star at the top of my forehead above where Murshid Inayat Khan had made his sigh. He said he would guide my footsteps in India, certainly till I went to Delhi and visited the Dargahs.

I have had a letter of introduction from Ansar Nasari, director of radio at Dacca. He is also a Sufi. My voice will be broadcast shortly. During the actual broadcast I seemed to receive divine guidance. This will be going out over the air. It is going to be very hard for all but my closest friends to realize that I, Samuel, now known as Ahmed Murad and as Sufi Ahmed Murad, the initials of which are S.A.M, which is also to be my name, have been nominated as a candidate for the Waliyat. In any event the grapevine is very strong in my favor, as strong as it was weak before. Those like Hugo Seelig and Paul Reps and Corinne were very very right. The events prove it. It is beautiful to see others touch the feet and hands of holy men, but it becomes awkward when one finds himself a subject of veneration.

At the Indian customs I spoke out. Thus I had no trouble, only cordiality. I have a Muslim servant in this hotel. I shall probably visit shrines, gardens and temples while in Calcutta. The hotel is elaborate but I seem to be under command of how much to spend and am still on the “safe side.”

I am to leave tomorrow night and will go out and try to make initial arrangements. The PAA office is there and I shall ask them about Delhi hotels, if I cannot get other accommodations, but I am to reach there in the morning, which is good for me.

This whole trip has been stupendous but the Pir Maulana said it will be more so, and he has confirmed every experience that I thought was spiritual. All this has forced me to use the whip on Alan Watts and by indirection on Rom Landau. I am not to use the whip on Mrs. Duce, who is liable to become Mrs. Dupe. She may need care and help. The death of Rabia, the hospitalization of Norina, the injuries to Elizabeth Patterson, the demoralization of Jean Adriold, the dramatic demise of the Malcolm Schloss all show a definite pattern form which I have been rescued, but which experience I must have needed for my own evolution and development.

But things are utterly out of my hands. “Food for India” and “Water for Pakistan” still stand out. I am liable to do a little shouting. The Egyptian development makes me more demonstrative. I therefore trust Bryn will come into his own on a high level. I can get all the introduction me necessary for West Pakistan, but must take one thing at a time. Pir Maulana says, “This breath is the one that counts.” At the same time there is an all abiding all-pervading Divine Breath.

The final point is, where will this place me with regard to the disciples of Murshid, or rather Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. My directions are simple; I am to be the Shamz-i-Tabriz and the Maulana Roum. But if he fails, then another door will be opened to the message of God under auspices I do not know. Saadia has been successful here, but Vilayat is at least recognized. Can antagonistic forces be brought together? This is as yet in the unseen.



July 29

My dear Rudolph: I have just returned from Dakshineswar, the temple compound famous for its association with Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and the Tagore. I must apologize for failing to buy pictures but will try to visit the city office which is not far from this hotel.

My report may be disappointing to some people while it may refresh others. I am not to be taken as an authority. I can only see according to my own light and training. I differed somewhat from the Hindus on the subject of awe. I differ from them very very strongly upon returning from the temple.

I entered the place with more interest in architecture than in religion or sculpture. I left with the same feeling. There is a distinct flavour of the buildings which is akin to frozen music. I may not go so far as I did in Thailand and say that the greatest devotees were the builders, not the monks. But I did not see any beauty in the idols or symbols. They are like plastic dolls compared with beautiful girls, with respect to their nature in contrast to the forms in Thailand, Japan and Southeast Asia.

The great rulers of India were either Buddhists or Muslims, not Hindus. At first glance it almost seems true of the great art of India. My interpreter was a Muslim and, of course, he did not enjoy it. It provoked or invoked in me a great love for Gothic and other cathedrals which I have not visited. I received neither the awe nor the majesty, neither the beauty nor reverence which I have found in several Christian churches. I admit that I have a tremendous respect for Ramakrishna, Vivekananda and the Tagore. The Swami Maharaj of Dacca who gave me an introduction is a saint. There is no doubt about that in my mind. But there is an almost impassable gulf between Indian scriptures and India worship; only part of which is bridged by the architecture.

I became tired of Beauty in Thailand. Regardless of the level of Buddhism there they knew, they even know how to build. Of course they sanctify atmosphere; I agree. I agree with meditation, too. But if I criticize some Christians with substituting beggary for prayer, it is nothing to what is here in the best of temples.

I visited shrines and I was blessed, but at Dakshineswar it was I who did the blessing. I gave out the calls of Krishna’s flute myself. They cannot do this, Samuel can—never mind how. That will come out later. In Dacca I was recognized. You may judge for yourself what this means. Only a few people every really saw me and they saw me much better than I could judge myself. I play a new role. East Pakistan more than confirmed Japan but there was a great possibility indicated in the prophecy concerning my life to study Japanese and go to Japan again. Apparently Japanese and Hindi may be two languages for me.

There are several temples in the compound and I liked better than these the meditative place under the banyan trees. Saints build up atmospheres and ignorant people have enough savoir faire to know they can benefit by breathing in those places. There is a possibility that someday I shall write on “Real saints, real sages, real shrines.” I stand between those who deny their existence and those who clothe them with awe, imaginary, fantasy and hyperboles. These prove nothing.

I even wonder whether some of the contemporary trends in American architecture are not leading the way to something greater. At this writing I have great hopes in the architecture and music, next in house interiors, far less for painting and poetry—at the moment. But the spirit is there and I am wondering if I find it here.

The relief of famine is an example. These people do not relieve—it is not a question of whether they can—they don’t. They pray when they should work and they beg when they should pray.

I go to Simla and there shall write to the Aurobindo Ashram—I have something for them. It seems that I am to give to the Hindus and get from the Sufis. This needs no commentary. I must lecture when I return, but I should prefer to arrange things with you—and with the World Affairs Council (Russell Smith) before others. Today, thank God, I am fully alive. And if you have a chance, please tell Willie and Carlie that things are really happening.




[date unknown]

The diary is getting full.

I spent two days in Calcutta, chiefly in the company of Mr. Hyder at 90/1 Ripon and Mr. Duplay, disciples of Maulana Ghafoor. We visited the shrine of the Maulana’s father twice, each time with blessing. He chanted through my body and told me that the gift of music was confirmed without any need to go to Ajmir for that purpose. He blessed me making the sigh of crescent and star. We went also to the tomb of a Syed saint and I felt the atmosphere very strongly. I then sought some healing power to help my friends. The visit to Dakshineswar is long and complicated but the visit to the hdqrs. at Wellington Square to buy pictures brought a fine response from the monks. There is a strong reaction today against idolatry, supporting the Arya, Brahmo and Vedanta movements. The Sufis, while in some respects very strongly anti-Hindu favor them and say if idolatry is wiped out they have no objection to Avataris, interpreting Avtar, as I have done, the same as Rassoul.

The Hotel Grand charged me some 123 Rups for 2 days and here in the hotel is 18 Rupees daily (Airway Hotel). I paid 58 Rs for 1st class round trip to Simla. I misplaced money and papers trying to find a safe place for them but although I am down to $580—$20 below par—I have sufficient immediate currency to more than make up for it. Besides it is almost August 1. If this hotel is OK I may come again and again.

Nasari (Ansar) gave me an introduction to Husein Nizami, which I showed to many people and did not have it. But by a “fluke” the taxi stopped right in front of PoM’s tomb. I went in and cried. Then we met Husein who is fine spiritual young man, and visited the dirgahs of Nizamuddin Auliya and Princess J., daughter of Shah Jehan. We talked at long length over future cooperation.

When impugned to give I warned that this kept me from giving, and that if I become wealthy, inshallah and only inshallah, I must give, but when begged must not give. Husein understands and told the attendants making them feel ashamed.

I talked to Radhakrishnan’s sect., saying I would write but have not been able to contact Dr. Keskar. Will try again. The Swami Maharaja is away.



My dear Quantz:

It is already August 3 and I find I have not made diary notes for several days. I also have found some large envelopes and I may send therefore a whole packed registered. The letters are testimonials or appointments from Japanese sages, etc. or other things I would like to be placed in my files.

The last days in Dacca were wonderful. I had my voice recorded on radio Pakistan. I was given a great dinner by Pir Maulana Ghafoor, the Murshid of the region, and a large group of brethren, most of whom come from the highest walks of life. I was greeted by the general of the army, some of his staff, many governmental officials, etc., on leaving. Don’t let anybody fool you about there not being many Sufis.

I went to one of them in Calcutta and met others. We visited the shrine of the Pir’s father and I had some important mystical experiences there. We also visited the chief mosque and the tomb of a Syed saint. Also Dakshineswar temple where Ramakrishna and the Tagores functioned. I was not impressed by ritual and idolatry and personality worship. I gave to them, did not receive from them. Visited Ramakrishnan mission and was much more favorably impressed by the actual men. Also visited Buddhist art exhibit.

Reasoning Delhi went to seek Husein Nizami, the outer Sufi leader. Car stopped right in front of Murshid’s tomb. Went in and cried, copiously. Met H.N. and we had long talk a about Sufi publications in English and an international Sufic alliances. We shall no doubt meet again. Visited tomb of Nizami-ud-din Auwliya and Princess Jayonare. Greatly impressed and chanted Zikr.

Went to Airlines Hotel. Sought Guide. One Mr. Kabalee come up and offered his services. He is a Bhakti Yogin, yet the pioneer of aviation in India and a great engineer. He took me to Jantar Mantar, the 18th century astronomical observatory. I asked about astrology and was told there were few astrologers in India—but one was coming the next day. I met him and gave him my horoscope. I shall either hear from him or visit him in Jaipur.

We saw the Kutb Minar and Asoka’s pillar. Then to Birla Dharamsala, a group of new Hindu Temples. Got nothing out of them but went later to the temple of Krishna, and chanted Krishna’s flute to the astonishments of the audiences. Kabalce then invited me to visit him at Bombay and meet his brother who is a great Bhakti and also a great musician.

Took the night train to Simla, changed at Kalkar and met Mr. Anand of Simla, a high government agent. Mr. Anand told me all about Brahmanism, and his knowledge of herbs. I am going to get you and him together, but I am also going to write at length to Fred Reinhold and send you a copy. I was astounded by what I was told.

Kabalce also said he could introduce me to the leading Ayurvedic physicians. I am learning more and more, and more is happening. If you ever see Grace West, you can tell her that by the time you here this letter I will probably have sent some material on Indian Folk Dancing the Grace Perryman and Ed Kramer. Time out.

I am living in a vegetarian home. I like the Indian vegetable curries. I have made first arrangements for travel with the tourist bureau.

The above are diary notes bringing my things up to date except for the esthetic and horticultural reports, both of which are very long. I may add to this later.




August 4, 1956



Dear Fred and Corinne:

Shangri-La is where you find it, and I have found it, even in Shangri-La.

It is all right to make beautiful legends out of reality but I am making beautiful realities out of legends. It is just impossible to keep up with everything that is going on. I received some more cryptic prophesies from Paul Reps. But as everything else he said came true I will observe his remarks with the greatest caution. I have made some reports to Bryn but I have no continuity of time, space or experience. I have written in part elsewhere to Quantz Crawford but am sending him a copy of this for his own use and for my permanent files.

After I am through with this I shall have an appointment with Mr. Anand. He is a high government official here, an expert economist. But it is not that Mr. Anand that I am meeting. Now call in Paul Brunton, Nicol Smith, Talbot Mundy, “Mr. Isaacs” of Marion Crawford, and Major Yeats-Brown. Then let Alma read this and anybody else worthwhile. Also please give the gist of it to Mrs. L. Berrenberg of 1800 El Cerrito. After that you can notify Aldous Huxley or your colleagues or anybody.

It did not begin, it continued; it continued every since I reached Japan. I had nothing but a series of humorous troubles in East Pakistan which landed me in the midst of a Sufi group, headed by Pir Maulana Abdul Ghafoor. As soon as I sat down I was asked the name of my Murshid and when I said Sufi Inayat Khan the man next to no gasped: “Why I am translating his works into Bengali.” I was in.

It was a large assembly of business and profession men, college professors and saints. There was one exception, an ordinary, if not ornery man who was constantly chewing beetle or smoking. He talked about a cricket match, then healed somebody, then explained his interest in football or fishing and listened to somebody’s troubles, etc. He was the guy. A champion athlete, former director of the Calcutta stadium and about as much a man’s man as ever I did see. His spirituality is veiled, but behind his mask—and I could read the faces of everybody else—was a tremendous light. He gradually elicited my own experiences, rejected totally by Mrs. Duce and largely by a number of amateurs in the mystical field and said he had gone further but on the same path. I accepted that. We jumped back and forth from mysticism to sports, I stayed for dinner end was there many nights.

I did spend one night with friends and one with the Vedanta Swami. The first night I missed and the army was out looking for me. Literally. All the high officers are Sufis and the Murshid was extolling me no end. Why, I went in social circles just as in Japan except that there is more spirituality in social circles in East Pak. I visited the tomb of Pir Shah Ali and was told that when I went to India, if I did not seek Holy Men they would seek me; I had such a send off, the same spirit, the same class of people is in Japan; but many, many more of them.

I went to Calcutta, visited the chief Mosque, the tomb of a Syed saint, Dakshineswar where Ramakrishna and the Tagores frequented, the Vedanta headquarters, and the tomb of the Pir’s father. There I had a series of mystical experiences and blessings, chief of which is the inner mystical music which I can now give to the world.

Flew to Delhi and the taxi stopped plumb in front of my Murshid’s tomb. Went in an had a good cry, met Hussein Nizami, the exoteric leader of the Sufis, had long, extended talks, visited other shrines and prepare to meet again when I come back.

Got my hotel, the Airlines, which costs loss less than the expensive ones, serves both Indian and European foods, and you can mix with anybody. You never meet those “Working class conscious guys” except at the swankiest of the swank.

I went to look for a guide and Kerballe came up and introduced himself. He is a Bhakti yogi. (You see the serum is working.) He took me to several fine places. That night we went to Jantar Mantar a glassless astronomical observatory build with exacting engineering and mathematical skill. You see Kerballe is the man who introduced aviation into India, an expert ex-pilot and a consultant engineer. I inquired about astrologers and the upshot was that the next day I gave my horoscope to one from Jaipur whom I should be seeing later on.

The following day we visited the Kutb Minar, Asoka’s pillar, many relics of Islamic rule and the huge Birla Dharamsala, a group of temples. I was invited to live there. Instead I went into the Krishna temple and gave the chant of Krishna flute. I did two notes at Dakshineswar but a whole song there where may Hindus could listen, listen and not say a word to or about the Feringhi.

At mealtime I brought up the subject of Ayurvedic medicine. Wow! Did I hit the jackpot! So Kerballe opened up. He is a thoroughly westernized scholar of the highest degree with an equal veneration for the Vedas and Ayurvedic medicine. He asked me to visit him at Bombay, meet his brother who is a Bhakti and singer and he would see I get to meet the best Ayurvedic practitioners in the country.

Meanwhile my host, Rajendra Singh Parmar, had come down to Delhi. He is now a V.I.P. who associates with V.I.P.s and he can get me to almost everywhere I should and must go. Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.

At dinner I met some Indonesians and I hope we can meet again.

That night I took the train to K. where I changed for Simla. I was asked if I wanted an express coach. As some of the lines were washed out, I found the regular would be late. That is how I met Anand. Anand is also a sort of Bramoist and Bhakti. The Brahmoists and Sufis are now in a sort of quasi-alliance against idolatry and this alliance is making great headway among the intellectuals.

Anand told me a great deal about himself. We watched the mien scenery which is like that of parts of Marin County magnified ten times. Deodars supplant Redwoods, and he was surprised to learn we call deodars deodars (the native name). I saw two rhododendron in bloom and they beat anything. But at Simla the flowers are very much the same as “at home.”

Somehow or other the subject of Ayurvedic medicine and herbs came up. Anand knows a good deal about herbs—he does not know of many but those he knows, he knows. He also knows of a concoction of roses which the Mogul princesses used to drink and after a while their bodies smelled of rose. He put two proposals to me:

a. The commercial possibilities of introducing this into America.

b. The possibilities of introducing herbs into the country for specific purposes. I am writing to you and sending carbon to Quantz rather than the other way around both became you are in a part of the country where these things might go, and also because you have a room in your house in case a foreigner could not find a suitable place. Anand has five more years to work, and then he must retire according to civil service law. But he speaks excellent English and could lecture on quite a number of subjects. From my information USIS and some of the foundations in the U.S. are looking for competent Indians either as lecturers or exchange professors. (Incidentally are they down on my former mandates Rom Landau and Alan Watts—but I hope these men turn over a new leaf—they had better.) This leaves several doors open.

I could not take notes on specifies but am to see him later so will leave the letter stop at this point. I just thought of an awful pun: I’m relaxing, not Tensing.

I may mail this and follow it up because instead of my visit to the Anand’s being a private one a number of people came, including the Chief Engineer of the District from whom I learned a great deal about dam building in Russia and his wife from whom I learned a great deal.



Dear Quantz:

Please keep enclosures for me. Things are happening very fast. I have written Rudolph Schaeffer with a preliminary proposal that my first public appearance be at his place. I do not know when I return, but later in the year I shall ask you to write me a letter, which will be sent either to New York or Boston vicinities, for I have to be very careful where I first stay when I come back.

My deepest friends are without doubt in Marin Country, but they are not Sufis. But a man who may become my sponsor, and who has been my employer, Mr. Russell Smith, also lives there. Mr. and Mrs. Smith knew me well enough to “guess” the purposes of my trip where some people who saw me often did not.

I would be most happy also to be with Gavin Arthur or Leonard Austin in S.F, neither of whom are Sufis, but am afraid I would have no special privacy. I might be, strange to say, invited to stay at the American Academy. It has been or told that people who opposed me in the past will rush to be on my bandwagon. That may be.

Otherwise I might even go to my friends the Posposels, 5229 McArthur Blvd., in your city. They and their families are very spiritual; I would be protected, and also near you and my things. I have not written much to them but have asked them to telephone you occasionally. I cannot keep up regular correspondence with everybody. Mail was awaiting me here from six nations. What is it going to be later on?




My dear Harry: Simla, India, August 5, 1956

I am in a land made famous by Kipling. My actual life is much more like that of an actual strange character of some of his stories who was also the hero of Dr. Issacs of Marion Crawford. The list of my adventurers is mounting, but I relate them I shall be sending a book. I went here to restrict the communication to horticultural notes. However I must say that as things look everybody bodes for a strange and wonderful success.

The continual series of quasi-fictional episodes makes it impossible to get my notes together. In my address book I find a sheet which reads:

“Sp. 1st Camellia japonia Sp. 3rd Camellia hayaoi

Sp. 2nd Camellia rostrata Dist: Insula Yakushima, so, part of Kyushu.”

Now I have introductions to Kyushu which I did not use and one man whom I consider a great sage urged me to study Japanese and revisit that country.

Here we run into a difficulty. As our getting together seams to grow more and more important, the success of all parts of my mission keep on leading me to higher and higher circles. I met everybody who is anybody in East Pakistan. My host here in India, is Rajendra Singh Parmar. Since we last parted company he has risen in the world and was assured by him in Delhi that he can introduce me to almost everybody in horticulture and farming.

I visited the Shree Dagon Temple in Rangoon and was not favorably impressed. The place is highly commercialized. I was willing to buy Jasmines and Honeysuckle (Believe it or not your friend Burmese Honeysuckle does very well in Burma). But I had to draw the line when they tried to force on me their specially, Dahlias! They are very proud of them and would have been shocked to learn that I grew better ones when I was 15 years ago (in the stone age). I saw much better Dahlias both in East Pakistan and here. They are among the leading flowers and much admired. Those in Pakistan and India that I have seen are quite good.

From that time on I got into trouble and the troubles landed me, of all places, in the home of the chief Forestry representative from the States—I think I dropped you a line. I copied:

FAO publication #11, “Eucalyptus for Planting” $3.50

#5 “Tree seeds for Tropics and Arid Areas” $3.50

#3 “Forestry Planting: Against Diseases & Insect Pests” .50

#4 “Handling Forest Tree Seeds” $1.00

In Preparation “Poplars for Planting”

Now the purchase of these books will help me also in the political, social and public work I shall I shall try to land in. Mr. Lloyd Lucknow knows the people on Powell St. and this will connect my United Nations propaganda with your efforts. So I hope to buy these things for you and later will look further into FAO publications.

East Pakistan is having a famine. There is plenty of meet to eat so I did not starve and was actually given a feast every night. The land is rather barren and I have written to Washington on the need to have more people from the southern states come and advise. The country has had only three crops: rice, jute and tea, and last of which you can’t eat. I came out boldly for diversified crops. I also learned more of the failure of chemical fertilizers and the need for organics. Unfortunately my “Atlas” has not been shipped here, but I think I can now arrange for the Indian Government to be the consignees. I cannot find my notes from the garden of Hotel Shah Bagh in Dacca but I do find my Hong Kong list which I enclose.

Now don’t fall over. The grass used in Dacca is Cynodon dactylon. The hotel man says they have a very fins local grass which welcomes weeds. So they plant C.d. and that drives out the weeds. Then, if necessary, they add the local grass. But C.d. behaves very well indeed. It stays within bounds, it does not grow tall, and in the monsoon it presents a fine green cover which stands a moderate amount of traffic.

I visited the University of Dacca twice. On the first occasion the time was split between Nuclear Physics and Botany. I gave the professor of Botany my Avocado materials and told him about certain Eucalyptus and T. distichum. They have another Taxodium there. I forgot all above Anderson, but next visit was with Mr. M.S. Khan, Department of Botany, Dacca University. I gave both of these gentleman your address, and also told them of Giannini Hall.

They gave me a list of shrubs and trees. I shall copy the names of those which I do not describe. They are very much interested in seed exchanges, etc. I have not had time to write to Mr. Kinoshita but will do so after I get these reports off.

Most prominent of the trees were the Litchi and Albizzia richardiana which grows to about 50’. I had been so many large trees which looked like Albizzias which I could not identify, but that was correct. It appears to be leading tree in all S.E. Asia. Cassia siamea is 30-40’ and is also important. Alangium lamarckii is 20-30’. Alstonia scholaris is Devil’s Tree, about 30’. Swietenia mahagoni (mahogany) is about 30’. I mention these as I go along, for they will be glad to send you sends of whatsoever you wish, preferably on an exchange basis. Gr. robusta grown as a street tree, as does Cassia nodosa, which is good specimen tree, 50-60’.

The most beautiful while I was there is Lagerstroemia speciosa. This goes to about 30’ and was in many gardens. It is also a leader in the Calcutta region. It looks like an enlarged L. indica, which it is. The latter is used as a sort of filler between larger trees.

The next trees I saw all out have come from Tropical America and are not listed. Delvigia sissoo (?) (50’). Tabebuia triphylla and Henna brasilianca (?). Then Terminelin catappa about which I have written before and was told I has medicinal value. It grows larger in Dacca then in Hong Kong. Gleditsia maculata looked almost familiar.

Poinciana regia is a most common shrub. But I also saw Poinciana vides, a much finer one.

They also grow Annona squamosa, the custard apple and A. reticulate. Moringa peregrina has edible fruit, 30-40’. They also have a flowering plant in the garden which I have misspelled, something like Eryngium proteiflorum . I saw Leimoseps elongi, edible fruits and fine flowers; Egal maimulasa, edible; Lantana camara—and I find lantanas all over. Also Marigolds, Verbena, Canna (wonderful), Hibiscus, Impatiens Balsamina (all over), Amaranthus tricolor. Other flowers did not get names correctly. M. Indica was there and I have seen it in India too.

There were two Cinnamomum: C. iners and C. tamala, which is more common. There was large Eugenia malaceensis—and all Eugenia’s here seem to have edible fruit. Caladiums also abound. L. Japonica does not do well and no fruit. They have Laportea crenulata from Assam. Also Melia azaderach and M. azadirachta (I do not know the differences).

Citrus docuneum has the home of the largest fruit I have ever seen—very much larger than grapefruit and sweeter. They also have C. auranticum and C. medica ver. acida. Gloriosa superba is the Glory Lily and I think you would like it. F. elastica grows well. They also have F. benjamina ver. comosa. F. bengalensis—of which I saw plenty in Calcutta, F. religiosa, of which I have written before, and F. hispida.

The Banyan Fig is not eaten because insects lay eggs in them and when opened you get a flock of insects and little fruit (information from India). Anacardium occidentale is the Cashew tree.

Bixa orellan grows 15-60’, seeds are used for coloring. I next saw Pelloria aveariana, summer Cosmos, Calliopsis, Chrysanthemums (rather unhappy, and C. Camphora).

Artocarpus integra is the jackfruit tree. The fruit is large but was not yet ripe. There is also Artocarpus lakoocha, I also saw Herichum hydra chlonerium, Rolfia serpentina (medicinal) and may Salvias. Also Catawba spinosa.

We then went to the herbarium where I looked over dry specimens. First I checked over the Fabeacea. Acacia farnesiana is listed as growing outside, bu they have A. moniliformis and A. arabica. There were quite a few others. Leucaena which resembles Acacia, Entada, Mimosa pudica, Acidanthera, and Enteroblotum (?) which resembles Laburnum. They did not know about St. Johns Bread. I went over several lists but I was told the best place to go is Dehra Dun in India. It is not far from here and I hope to visit there and give a long report or get—which I could not at Dacca—printed materials. I shall next copy the tree list of which seeds are available. Some of them you know and some obviously come from Australia, etc.


Adansonia digital

Albizza procera

Acacia leblek

Ascarina lucida

Anthocephalus cademba

Areca catechu

Averrhoa carambola

Aegle mamelos

Bashinia acuminate

Bashina variegate

Bashina pupurea

Barringtonia acutangula

Bischofia javanica

Baccaurea sapida

Borassus flabellifer

Bixa orellana

Butea frondera

Caryota urens

Casurina equisetifolia

Carica papaya

Cordia myxa

Cordia sebestena

Croton liglium (very prevalent)

Crataena religiosa

Crocus nucifera (of course)

Dillenia indica

Dipterocarpus turbinatus

Dalbergia sissoe

Diospyros embryopteris

Eriodendron aufractuosum

Elaocarus floribundus

Erythrina indica

Eugenea jambos

Eugenia jambolana

Flacourtia catabracta

Flacourtia ramontehi

Feronia elephantum

Garcinia coma

Garcinia xanthochymus

Guazuma tomentosa

Gmelina arborea

Gelonium multiflorum

Holarrheua autidysentrica

Hopea odorata

Helioteres sora

Aleuritus moluccana

Amoora rohituka

Cenangium odoratum

Cedrela toona

Cassia fistula

Enterelobium saman

Leucaena glauca

Litseaea sebifera

Mangifera indica

Mallotus phippinensis

Microcelum pubenscens

Michelia champaka

Magnolia graniflora

Miliuse velutina

Millingtonia hortensus

Morus indica (common)

Murraya exotica

Murraya koenigii

Mimusops elongi

Mimusops hexandra

Mesua ferrea

Nycanthea arbortristis

Oroxylum indicum

Odina wodier

Phoenix sylvestria

Polyalthia longifolia

Pongamia glabra

Pterocarpus indicus

Pterospermum acerifiolium

Pithecolobrium dulce

Psidium Guyana

Punica grantaum

Putranjiva ronburghii

Ricinus communis

Saraca indica

Sapium sebiferum

Shorea robusta

Salmalia malabarica

Sapindua mukorosti

Schleichera trijuga

Sesbania aegyptiaca

Spondia magnifera

Shevitis nerrifolia

Streblus asper

Tamarindus indica

Terminalia arjuna

Terminalia balerica

Tectona grandis

Trevia mudiflora

Trema orientalis

Thespecia populnea

Sterculia foetida

Sterculia villosa

Sterculia alata

Zanthox budrunga

Zizyphus jujube


They do not have much success with conifers but have hardly tried those which grow in warmer climates.

I have before me a catalogue of Poha & Sons, A. Middle Road, Poona. This book seems to have been gotten out by Americans as it has the same format. Going over items I find Tuberose; Cannas which are among the brightest flowers in the regions traversed; Dahlias—but the number of varieties is comparatively small. Gladioli—and I have seen some beauties. Vegetables follow, all American, but fruits, etc. different. Then a Seed supplement very much like at home. Petunias much mentioned. The latter part of the catalogue all America.

Indian Farming, March 1955: Ipomoea carnea turns out to be an ideal border green manure plant.

“The entire area of the black soil block of 106 acres has been planted with this border crop from 1953 onwards, and within the past two years, a border crop of the length of 7 miles 6 furlongs has been established. A well established border crop tow years old and one mile in length was found to give 75,000 pounds of green matter in one year, obtained in six cuttings. With this as the measure, it is expected that the entire border crop of the black soil area would give six lakh (100,000) pounds or 270 tons of green matter during 1954-55, when all the plants attain an age of two years…. Thus the production is self-sufficient….”

“The rain-fed black soil on Koilpatti have been found to respond to the addition of nitrogenous manure in the form of groundnut cake or ammonium sulphate. An application of nitrogen at 40 pounds nitrogen level has been found to give an increased yield in cotton by 57 percent, and has also been found to have residual effect on the succeeding millet crop…. By a mere addition of compost obtained from 50,000 pounds of organic matter to an acre, it has also been found that yields of the above mentioned major crops were increased by 10 percent….

Indian Farming, October 1955: “Fertilize deep for Rice.”

“Nitrogen is the most important nutrient required for the growth of rice. It can be supplied to the crop by applying the fertilizer to the rice soils. The best fertilizer to use is sulphate of ammonia. Urea is equally good. Nitrate of ammonia and nitrate of soda can also be used, though their fertility is less than that of the first two.”

“When you apply the fertilizer to the surface of the rice soil, the nitrogen contained in the fertilizer escapes in the form of free gas or is washed away by water. Twenty to forty percent of nitrogen is lost to the crop when it escapes in the gas form. This loss takes place within five to seven days of applying the fertilizer in a waterlogged soil.”

“When the fertilizer is applied in one to two inches of standing water, 20 to 25% of it is washed away in 48 hours after application. An additional 10 percent is lost in another six to eight days. Heavy rains during the period may cause a still greater loss.

Indian Farming, June 1955 has an article “Be ready for Urea,” showing its vast superiority over Ammosulph.

I am stopping here. My host comes tomorrow. There will be lots more later.




Dear Bryn:

This is not a letter. These are my diary notes, far behind, but I may write below.

R. L. Anand is the economic adviser to the State of East Punjab who lives at Simla. I met him in a dramatic manner—foretold, and found he was most interested in spiritual philosophies. He wishes to introduce herbs and a secret rose-water into the States. I am writing Fred Reinhold (carbon to Quantz) on this subject. I have also given your name and address to Anand’s oldest son who wishes to come to the States and complete his education in engineering to get the highest degree possible. I have given him what information I had but also asked him to write you.

The real reason for wishing to establish this contact is that you, of almost all men in the world, seem to me best qualified to offer to India (first) suggestions that would pull her of her economic morass. These people are instinctively against Sovietism and super-technological capitalism but do not know which way to turn. If you have any copies of your writings and could send one or more to Anand (no further address needed than Economic Adviser to East Punjab, Simla) it might open the ways to other things.

Dr. Abdul Najid, 44 Clarke’s Hotel, Simla, is a pro-Indian Muslim, a lover of Gandhi and an advocate of universal religion. We should send him a copy of “Unity of Religious Ideals,“ etc. but I also believe he would enjoy your book and go along with you on a number of points. I am sorry that his own book is out of print, but if he wishes to give me any literature I shall ask his to mail some to you.

Yesterday day I visited the Agricultural Exp. Station high in the Himalayas and wrote a detailed report to Jane and Vincent in Saratoga.

There is increasing opposition to idolatry here and the Brahmo Samaj is very strong with the Arya Samaj second. But the latter has become anti-Christian. I knew this would happen because the missionary movement has taken its cure from Nixon and Graham and not form Stanley Jones. Dr. Majid supported me strongly on this point and said he was long a co-worker with Jones.

I have written endless letters so that most anti-Americanism is due to antipathy to missionaries. The papers this week have had long editorials on this and they are more against the U.S. on this point than on the Suez issue. I have spoken endlessly and have still to find a single person who has answered me differently on this point. “If U.S. Capitalism would divorce itself from an alliance with the Christian missionaries would you support it against Sovietism?” In fact—and McCarthy & Knowland would never believe it—if the U.S. ever went to war against Russia, the people here would volunteer—they are too near Tibet and they know. But they don’t mealy-mouth like the propagandists at home; they face realities.

Actually there is little liberalism in most places. But anybody who protests against graft and corruption is called a Commie by the U.S. press. This policy has lost us one country after another and we are going to see more unless—freedom of the press in the U.S. has come to mean freedom to make enemies for our country.

The Indian policy also is now to employ West German instead of either U.S. or Russian technicians. As you are a Norwegian I see all kinds of possibilities. Without waiting I shall make a few injuries, but it would not hurt also for you to write Mr. Anand. Besides this, my host, Raja Rajendra Singh Parmar, Baghal House, Simla, knows many people in high places. Both knew Mr. Nangi, the dam engineer and hydrologist. So I’ll keep my eyes and ears open—which does not stop us in West Pakistan—or most of all in Egypt. If I have the chance I’ll go to the Egyptian Embassy in Delhi. Remember I am now Ahmed Murad. And, of course, I’ll see Husein Nizami again, inshallah.

End of notes.

August 10. Much time writing. Finished “Purna Vedanta Yoga Gita” and sent to Pondicherry, copy to Kabalce at Bombay.



Dear Chris:

It is August 14 and things are happening so fast that I do not get to my diary until late at night or early in the a.m. Yesterday I had a long and thorough talk with Prof. Parkash of the Ayra Samaj. We went over many things and I should say he answered every question in a satisfactory manner. He has given me a book about Swami Dayananda which I shell probably mail to you but goodness knows when you will receive it.

The position of Arya Samaj, as I see it is that they want to go back to the Vedas and adhere to what they call eternal principles—which in English would be sanatana dharma, of which more anon. They still use come Vedic ceremonies. They are utterly against caste and idolatry. They do not countenance worships which have no scriptural authorization.

But their work is practical rather than theoretical. All their moneys are concentrated on building bigger and better schools, or alleviating the suffering of the starving. They accept Gita, Upanishads and Vedas but not Puranas. They accept the mukti-samadhi experience. They try to adhere to an honest logic. There was no subterfuge. Everything was totally above board. Although my first two questions were challenging, after that it was a love-feast.

Prof. Parkash does not hold with some sections of A.S. which have become anti-Christian. Naturally if we continue to send the Nixon-Graham types instead of Stanley-Jones type, the conclusion is that the missionary work is just a cover over politics. Besides, the missionaries do not go deep into philosophy and the school systems of the two are practically competitive, though both fine.

My talk today with the representative of the Sanatana Dharma school was not so regarding. He was much more cordial and gracious than Prof. Parkash but had no sense of logic at all. He failed to answer my questions about the equivalence of Kali to Krishna. The only examples he gave of illuminated souls were Ramakrishna and Ramomaharshi. This stands opposed to my actual experience in meeting quite a few Buddhist illuminati. They experienced Samadhi, of that I have no doubt.

He referred me to a Vedantist Swami which I consider as a defeat for him, for if the Sanatanists, who are not real Sanatanists, have to take refuge in any teachers or leaders of later dates, they do not have an external teaching. Besides he admitted he had not achieved. So I took the position of Buddha and held to it. He is a nice man but will prove in the end to be effective.

In the educational field, however, I think they have an excellent program and very good methods.

I have already met the granddaughter of Keshub Chandra Sen and today spent half an hour with he Raja’s uncle. He began by challenging me but I answered his questions as one who has had the authority of experience or guidance. And he said that my poetry—which I could not present at the Academy—was real Upanishad literature. This was something.

I spoke tonight on “ Americans in India and Indians in America.” The young people heartily accorded with me but I found that they were all outlanders born in British Guyana or East Africa or from what is now Pakistan. I successfully thwarted all questions on the Negroes and actions of our very rich. In fact these questions boomeranged in the objectioner’s face. As I started out by assuming the truth of basic Indian philosophy I had the audience in my grasp. They never heard an American before who wanted to meet them on their ground and stick there. It made everything run very smooth. I could easily gain fame here but my inspirations are running away. Today I wrote “ Food for India,タ?? “Fertilizer for India” and “Muslims, Mohammedans and Mullahists.” Yesterday I wrote “Mahmood versus Mohammed.

Tomorrow is Independence day. I may add to this or not it is quite late.



Dehra Dun

August 19


My dear Harry:

These pages are really diary notes but there may be some space at the bottom, or top, for other remarks. I came to Dehra Dun because I heard from all sources that it had the best Forestry Station in Asia. I agree. Not only that I hope I can come here again and if I do may be of greatest help to you personally. I have already purchased three books “Forty Trees Common in India,” “The Afforestation of Dry and Arid Areas” and “A List of Plants, etc.” I shall try to mail them in Delhi. My time here is all taken up, writing, Forestry men and personal contacts, the most important of which so far has thrown me right back into your lines.

I have already sent notes from Simla, some ordinary, some air mail. It is very hard for me to know where to begin. I never say a purple cow and don’t care but I have seen cows drawing lawnmowers. These mowers are either by hand or bovine, and must be American. If they were Russian, there would be great headlines in every paper. The Russians advertise everything useful; the Hollywood films have put a terrific crimper on all literary efforts.

As in other places C. dactylon is planted. There is a battle between this and weeds after which native grasses are grown. My special host here was R.C. Kaushik, Principal New Forest Research Institute, Bunglow #5, Dehra Dun. We discussed and he is very much opposed to this tendency to grow foreign grasses on lawns which is found everywhere. The grass always seems to be greener. He says the local grasses keep out weeds and mow easily. But C. dactylon is the prize and I have sent you notes on the medicinal value of it. I am now going to jump about beginning with the most important. When I saw Agathis palmerstonii, a broadleafed conifer from Australia, my heart jumped. After all the statements about Gingko, here is another broad-leafed conifer, and it appears to be deciduous too. Its leaf superficially is shaped like an Acacia phyllodium. There is also A. brownii which is listed in Bailey. If you don’t know about it I think you should look it up. These “missing links” are always important. These are tall trees, looking superficially much more like Acacias, but the leaves are smoothed, not veined. Cycads are also grown here for those interested in “links.”

The other thing that made me jump came late in the day when I saw part of a trunk of B. sempervirens, which I understand grows to about 25’ and is used in furniture and wood-work. As its native habitat is in just that part of West Pakistan where I hope to go later on, I shall try to learn more about it. This stands in strong contrast to our use of Buxus.

Lagerstroemias are at the moment the prevalent flower. There are seven species listed. I have seen them all the way from very low L. indica to quite tall trees. I forget all about Rhodies and find they are not grown here, so my apologies to Frank Hilton but I hope to visit other places in future trips (optimistic, ain’t I?)

In the list of 40 trees you will find the dominance of Leguminosae, which are often placed as Mimosoidae. The sensitive Mimosa grows as a wild wood in the Botanical Garden. Cassia fistula or the Indian Laburnum and Alb. lebbek are dominant trees all over. Terminalia and Ficus also. There are also all kinds of Bauhinias, trees, shrubs and vines, with various kinds of flowers and different blooming seasons and habits. One whole street is devoted to and named Jacranda (this not a native).

I was sure that the shrub which was treated as we do Boxwood was a Baccharis and I found B. halimifolia is listed (115) Another street was lined with Aesculus assamica. This is much larger than our species, finer, holds the leaves better and they say it has most beautiful flowers.

Alstonia scholaris is grown for its medicinal values. Although this was a forestry station, practice has shown that of some 2500 trees grown only 400-500 are valuable for lumber, timber and furniture. Many of the others are either ornamental or medicinal, generally both. Breadfruit and Jackfruit offer three purposes of wood, food and beauty.

Conifers do not do too well. I saw an Arauroria and it seemed unhappy. Your friend M. souglangia is very much admired and there were many plantings of M. grandflora which is also a pet at the station. There were many Coleus and they looked quite different from these I have formerly reported, tending toward drier and less greenish shades. Entada scandens (396) is considered as very valuables. It comes from Assam and requires 4-5 years for maturation.

E. jambelana is described in the book and there we other Eugenias also in the garden. Artabetya oderatisimmus has one of the most fragrant blossoms of any plant. Michelia fuscata is also very fragrant hare and in some places there is a concentration on gardens for fragrance. Poltophorum vegelianum is listed as coming from Brazil. It is evidently a Legume. It has long pods and so is called “Copper Pod Tree,” but also “Rustic Shield Bearer.” Ponciana regia also abounds.

I spent some time with the Botanical and Sylviculture Departments and they would be interested in arranging exchanges. M. B. Raizada is in the Botanical Department too. There I got my first surprise of another order. I have listed C. siliqua as a “must” for India. And just then a letter arrived from West Pakistan asking for seeds. This brought up the whole question of Rajasthan, the semi-desert area. I have my own lists here which I do not wish to gives away yet. But this plant is listed in the booklet of the Sylviculture Department. The fact is that India is large, has different languages and as yet there is terrific jealousies between sections.

I also discussed at length Olive. Only O. cuspidate is mentioned for arid areas. Here they planted it in temperate zones and the monsoons knocked the drupes down. I also find that one of the cabinet ministers is interested in cacti.

One of the most ironical situations concerns Eucs. They did not know about them at all in East Pakistan, and the American Forestry men laughed at the idea. But not only did I saw E. globulus in Simla, but I was surprised to find a whole avenue known as E. Ave. and the trees not only tall but of full girth.

I also spent some times in a garden here connected with an Ashram. These differ from those in Japan being a combination of practicality and ornamentation. I found Zinias, Marigolds, Calendulas (about which I have reported on medicinal valus separately), Dahlia, Rose, Chrysanthemum, Daisy, Hybiscus, Cypres, Camphor, Cukes, Imp. balsamic, Okra, Litchi, Almonds, String beans, all Citrus excepting Orange and one that looked like a lemon crossed with either Grapefruit or Pomelo, Papaya, String Beans—one of the few places in the world with both good Apples and good Bananas, Pomegranate, Sandelwood, Grapes, Chorella, Bale, several scented bushes for which the host had no name, String Beans, the five-sacred trees, Pipal, Sal, Banyan, Mala and Asoka, etc. They have gourds and pumpkins of which they eat flowers and leaves, and eat as many types of leaves as possible. The peasant and garden helpers know the medicinal value both of all the plant materials and wild herbs which abound.

An this place is operated by an Australian lady and American man; it does not depend on planted lawns but uses the natural ground covers. Many shrubs are sheared and the fruit trees pruned. It is, however, a large place, undermanned and I myself could go there. But I must move on.

I expect to see the food-and-agriculture Minister in Delhi (Mr. Deshmuck) although he is supposed to be in Dehra Dun now. I would call this place roughly the Santa Barbara of India, with its trees and gardens of specimens from all climes and a mountain background (but here no ocean). As the books contain the best information my notes close here.



Dehra Dun,

August 19, 1956


My dear Fred,

This is much more a setting forth of some aspects of my diary notes than a solid or complete letter. After having most satisfactory meetings with representatives of the Arya and Brahmo Samjes I reached an impasse with the leader of Sanatana Dharma in Simla. My point was that equality in size of statues of kali and Krishna and equality of ceremonials did not result in the same spiritual elevation. Finding he could not satisfy me he sent me to one Swami Baskarananda. I considered this a victory.

I called on the Swami next day, after finding he was the head of a Parliament of Religion for India, which is an improvement over the earlier millahs. I am certain that the methods used would shock some men who place very high opinions over their knowledge of religions; this goes from “Suez-Canal-Northrup” to some near home. None of these men and most of those admitted to the University of Hawaii colloquiums would be permitted to attend excepting in very humble capacity—i.e. with the mass mob who listen but may not participate.

Their methods are very straightforward. If you went to a Nuclear Physics colloquium you would have to present a paper or some evidence of your laboratory research. In a similar way at these parliaments you must have had some religious experiences to be permitted to speak. Otherwise you would be ruled out; opinions and commentaries are regarded as wasting time and also showing lack of consideration of others.

I felt very distinctly that the Swami wanted me to attend such colloquia at some future time and also to present his ideas abroad. We then went into the discussion of the day before and on the whole he was getting the best of me. I then asked for a recess and chanted my “Flute of Krishna.” He never said a word but sat and stared me straight in the face with an expression almost of amazement.

I left Simla on the 16th and on the 17th arrived at Dehra Dun. Almost the whole day was spent at the Forestry experimental Station—and later I spent some time with the principal too. I did have some discussion about the relationship of Indian philosophy with actual processes of that actual nature which is not a word but the arena of phenomena outside of our skin. It was most satisfactory.

I then looked up my friends Mahendra Pratap who is in Delhi and Surindar Suri who is in Europe. Between their places we stopped at the Anandamayee Ashram. I had been told of the place twice. I went in and instantly felt a most elevating atmosphere, the nature of which is hard to explain and which I intend to write up for their magazine. I then purchased a book and Atmanada, a woman of Jewish Viennese extraction mentioned your name and I said: “Why that is the man for whom I am buying the book.” We then discussed a little about Viennese Jewish refugees in India, a subject continued the next day, too.

On the 18th I spent some time in their garden and made notes which will be sent to Harry nelson of the Greenhouse, San Francisco City College. I then meditated and told Atmanada my criticism of the magazine. It was short: “Mother says, ‘I want to be honey;’ the disciples say, ‘I want to taste honey.’” I told her that that was the destruction of the work of every divine personality in the history of the world. But as I have received a blessing at least 10,000 times that of Dakshineswar I have been asked to write that too.

I later had a long visit with Swami Suvrahananda at the Ramakrishna Mission nearby. This was very cordial. I insisted on his giving me his name because I wanted to write it to you. If you intend to visit India ever again we shall have to go over many points together. I can be of greatest assistance to you now…. continued later on.

Diary Notes, August 24

Returned to Delhi from Dehra Dun by bus. This was a rapid express and said to be one of the best lines in India. Left at 8:30 and arrived at 2:40. Met a young American who is going to Brown. He did not have changes so I paid bus fare for both. I was very low in Rupees and somewhat ahead in dollars. When I got off the bus one coolie helped me but more arms were extended than the statue of Shiva has. Fortunately I was able to show them empty pocket after paying the coolie. I had just 5 Rs. Left when I reached the hotel. They were all very glad to see me.

A good deal of time was taken the next two days getting money. I had to go to two branches of the Punjab National Bank and also to the Embassy where my mail had been sent. I saw Mr. Gordon at the Consular Desk and told him of my past successes and future plans. There was a woman there in trouble and I also met her later and she had been told not to go to Egypt. I had received no such request, but then, again I have “entries.”

It took a long time to get my rupees only to be told that I had to go to the Bank of India for traveler’s cheques. This also took a long time only to be advised later that they were not good at the railroad stations despite the fact the railroads are supposed to be nationalized. I also had them refused at the hotel twice, but fortunately the manager took them. I paid my bill for 10 days which amount to Rs. 214—10 Rupees a day plus taxes and extras which is about $43. This includes meals. I do a good deal of small tipping, however. Laundry here is exceedingly good and cheap and usually quick.

It took a long time to get my ticket to Ameravati via Jaipur, Agra and Nagpur. I have written to Nagpur already. I saw Husein Nizami as soon as possible and he has been to tea. I must telephone again. He gave me a book which I have asked him to send to the Pakistani Consulate in San Francisco. This book has the picture of Rabia Martin in it and I am going to have it translated from Urdu to English as it may contain some material about Murshid. I am to have a special photo taken at Murshid’s tomb.

I have gone to the Jama Masjid which looks better in photos than facts, the opposite of the one in Calcutta. But when I was shown the hair of the Prophet I broke into a loud cry; it was a cry neither or joy nor sorrow but like that of a Madzub. I saw other holy records and have reported to Alice Sayyid, S.F. I was asked for a contribution and gave Rs.10 which is more than I usually give. I was very pleased when the attendant told me this would go to Zakat. I also told this to Husein Nizami.

I missed Dr. Ghopal Singh twice at the office of the Liberator. But I have had a long talk with him since. This covered mostly my own writings and I left some with him. I also talked at some length about Bryn’s economic ideas and I felt that India would them. Since then I have made dates with Dr. Syed Mahmud, who is a Sufi and Minister of External Affairs; Dr. Deshmush, minister of Food & Agriculture and Mr. Radhakrishnan. Those are most important.

I have also received a letter from Kabuli insisting that I join a congress of holy men at Nasik and I think I am now prepared to go. Also from Satchidananda, very, very late, inviting me to Anandashram. This, I think is possible. But I also await mail at Amravati which will determine details for S. India. I am a little perturbed on time and may ask for an extension of my visa. Want to Motel Mahal today which is famous for its chicken, N. W. Province style. Had barbecued chicken, chicken and pilau, vegetables and coffee. Somehow or other this coffee tastes poor without sugar; but sweetened it is excellent.

Have had mail from Saladin, the Anjuman at Chittagong, East Kista Radio, and Japan; the last very important. I don’t know how I shall handle it all when I return. Have written strong letters to Anandamayee Ashram on “The Shame of India.” Even in the teacher’s lifetime, he, or she is deified, and defied. The teacher, not God, is worshipped. I have written the same to Pakistan. I’ll have none of it. Absolute respect and surrender to the teacher, but praise and worship to Allah alone.

New Delhi, August 27, 2006

Dear Professor Sorokin:

This is not so much a letter but diary notes covering some of the events of the past two days. During the period, I met one Prof. Chatterji of Calcutta who has been a visiting colleague of Dr. Norman Brown at Pennsylvania, whom we both hold in high regard; and some others with whom we find no communion. I mentioned, that as an alterative, I had hoped to visit Harvard on my return to the States and to lay come matters before you. Prof. Chatterji not only approved of this but named several persons on the staff of Harvard University whom he hoped I would also meet. Our discussions took both low and high levels and I wish to discuss some of the low levels first.

These involve a group of highly placed personalities whom we must call S-C and S. R. S-C stands for Suez-Canel and covers a number of intellectuals who regard themselves as authorities in explaining everything “Eastern” to the West and everything “Western” to be East. They have highly commended themselves to themselves, and to each other. Unfortunately they are placed where they can and do grant high scholastic degrees and even place their graduates in lucrative positions in the State Department. Situated at scattered points in the Nation, they can easily recommend each other’s books and do. They do not come out so well when they attend or send papers to conferences at the University of Hawaii and elsewhere. They brush off criticism with disdain and go ahead making the same mistakes. Actually 90% of the actual Suez controversy of the day is due to the influence of such men in all parts of the world.

The Professors S-C would have not time for any reports I have to make. Neither do they place any validity on the masses of devotees, even though these number into the hundreds of millions in certain faiths. Nor are the monks or priest who head these faiths allowed to do so. Nor are the English writings of these devotees or their prelates give n much record.

Of course the Professors S-C are among the most stirring champions of the Anti-Personality Cult. And I can assure you, professor Sorokin, that if I have an introduction from the members of the Indian Cabinet or the Swami Maharaja or the Rama Krishna Mission of Vice-President Radhakrishnan, with all of whom I have had very friendly and very lengthy discourses, these some Professors S-C would reverse themselves and want my papers. They would especially accept papers on Buddhism and Sufism, which high philosophies are not those of the persons mentioned or referred to. All of which prevents valid and concrete examples and explanations of these movements becoming known to the American Public—not while the Professors S-C can help it.

I have before me “2500 Years of Buddhism” by P. V. Bapat with an introduction my Vice-President Radhakrishnan. Much of this book is not written by Buddhists all. But where is one Anagarika Govinda, a German, who has become an Oriental devotee who strikes out boldly and unequivocally against the S-C type and shows point by point where a certain authority is wrong, and not only wrong but has spread confusion through the world. At least I can support this gentlemen by my own visits to leading Buddhist monasteries in Japan which gives one valid objective data, all of which would be in support of Anargarika Govinda, but not necessarily thereby acceptable to the professor S-C type.

As I am engaged in a mission to promote good-will and as I have now had innumerable experiences to support this point, I may even descend to the state where I mention personal ties when I reach Harvard. If we are going to have wars and/or international misunderstandings, these should not arise because of the high position of some scholars, usually with good linguistic backgrounds, to speak or act for the public in every avenue of life remotely connected with those languages.

The same is true of the Professors S.R. type which means “somatic relations.” I have had to write some stiff letters to Dr. S. I. Hayakawa on this point. I am sure they will have little effect; but when said Dr. Hayakawa finds out that I have been consorting socially and intellectually even with people he cannot reach, in the name of “democracy” and “anti-personalism,” of course, my views will be accepted.

I can assure you, Prof. Sorokin, that the leaders of the S. R. movement have paid no attention to my contributions, through they are backed by a host of laboratory notes, with one or two single acceptations. I am equally sure that when they learn with whom I have consorted they will have a rapid change of heart. But, again, into the name of scientific democracy and anti-personalism, I can assure you, smile or laugh if you will, that as soon as I preface my remarks with “pupil and disciple of Cassius Keyser” the pseudo-pygmy becomes a pseudo-Hercules.

I have written to S. R. leaders and pointed out that years ago I submitted a paper on “Zero and Infinity” in Indian mathematics to one of the most popular writers on mathematical subjects in the whole U.S. He wrote back “India is a land of pseudo-swamis and yogis who have contributed nothing to the world’s civilization.” Which did not prevent him from incorporating some of these same ideas—far more than seven years after originally submitting them—in a best seller. Allah may be great but “truth” is greater.

In the conversations with Prof. Chatterji and the Swami Maharaja, they told me of a professor of mathematics who come to India to study Nyaya logic. This logic, as you may well know, has premises both “inductive” and “deductive,” or more exactly, intensional and extensional. A study of it ought therefore to commend itself to the S.R. people. So far it has not. And so long as they dabble in the utter illusion that the world is and has been basically anti-Aristotelian (whatever that means) instead of being light-bearers they become obscurantists.

Nowhere is this so well borne out as in the present Suez Controversy about which I have written a paper: “A Place of string with one End,” in which I endeavor to prove that all such things as Karma, cause or hetu, history and morality are omitted. The whole approach form beginning to end is one of preudo-Aristotelianism but I have still qualms that E TC. would publish my contributions to show that some nations differ from the U., because they have never been “Aristotelian” in any sense. From my point of view, there is a need to study Nyaya to being with.

But beyond this, and mentioned many times in “2500 Years of Buddhism” is the logic of Dinnaga. I think it is now time to get this before the present scientific world. I believe that between Nyaya and Dinnaga we could unite the scientific West, with the “spiritual” East, all the S.R.’s and Viennese philosophers to the contrary.

In all my conversations I stressed the difference in the use of words at the manushic, Vijnanic and anandic levels. Coming from an American, this broke down all barriers and will make it possible for me to render a contribution to you and your foundation, not conceivable when I left the States. For to me, Professor, you are striving to operate at the anandic level. Therefore, though you use words, they must not be accepted at any “intensional” level.

Besides this I have found nearly all the intellectual people incarnations of love and compassion, not one but multitudes and perhaps more. Then I ma being invited to go to Nasik to meet many of the great holy men of India (invitation strictly personal); another to meet Sufis here; another to go to ashrams in the south of India where love is stressed. All of which I hope will be of interest to you.


Samuel L. Lewis

P.S. Please do not answer

Because of uncertainty of my whereabouts.



New Delhi,

August 28, 1956


To the World Affairs Council,

421 Powell St., San Francisco, Calif.


Dear Friends:

There is no doubt that this letter will be received in seriousness in some quarters because the writer has had interviews with some very high officials. Altho Saturday and Sunday form a "week-end" here as at home, as much of my time was taken up with very important persons.

An introduction to Dr. Syed Mahud, Minister of State or Foreign Affairs. Dr. Mahmud occupies a position somewhat between that of Mr. Dulles and Mr. Hoover for Prime Minister Nehru holds the actual post of executive of the department. Dr. Mahmud is no doubt known to Mr. and Mrs. Grady and he asked me to send his regards, which I have already done.

The conversation with Dr. Mahmud was on a level which is little understood in the United States and not understood by the press at all. These people are everywhere interested in religion and man’s relation to eternity, whether they accept God—as they do in India—or not, as in Thailand and Burma. The case of the Chinese and Japanese falls between these but is closer to the Indian and Muslim points of view than is popularly supposed—practically all the books to the contrary notwithstanding.

There are here two quite unnecessary evils which fortunately today are being combated. The first is the evil of semi-official, support in any foreign land for the sectarian missionaries, whomsoever. When men of high political position visit a foreign land and use their offices to support an external theological movement it does nothing but cause resentment, and what is worse, anger and persecution.

Non-theological Christian groups like the Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A. and Friends are admired and have been doing valuable work. Some Church groups have never permitted themselves to be involved in any type of politics and there is no resentment against them. And, in these so called "socialist" countries, those very same Church groups are doing more to improve education than even their own publicity organs relate. For these organs do not measure the pubic reactions or the counter activities of theological groups. Here competition has proven to be, if not the life of trade, the life of education.

The visit of Chief Justice Earl Warren is also undoing some of the evil wrought by thoughtless activities of former close associates. At this distance one does not know what publicity he is getting at home, but in India he is certainly being given more attention and more welcome than some others where press releases were broadcast for home consumption.

The total answer of this—and it cannot be overemphasized—is that there is more pro- Americanism here than in any country of Asia so far visited. And, with the Suez Canal controversy going on, probably more than in any country in Asia—political alliances and other factors to the contrary, notwithstanding.

The very close spiritual sympathy between Dr. Mahmud and myself made the conversation as if between long-time friends. He was a disciple of the late Khwaja Hasan Nizami whose influence extended far and wide over India. The close feeling between the Khwaja and the Gradys is well known here and already the Ambassador and his Misses are the subjects of fine stories if not downright legends. (The Khwaja has also been mentioned by Nicol Smith one of whose "fams" I happen to be.)

Former Consul-General Azim Hosain lives across the streets from Dr. Mahmud and we meet today after this goes to post. No doubt something interesting will transpire which will be included either in a letter to you, or to Mr. Russell Smith.

The second evil is the sur-realism of a portion of the United States concerned with publicity—movies and the press. In the case of the latter it is much worse because long commentaries are written on present-day events without any consideration as to what has happened before, or as to actual feelings of actual people. My own suggestion to combat this is not to interfere in the slightest but to flood this country with agricultural journals, particularly from those parts of the United States which have similar conditions, or similar crops. Then Asia could learn from a real America instead of from a sur-real cover.

This point must be considered in all seriousness. When I visited Dr. Deshmukh, Minister of Food and Agriculture, and his top experts, every one of my suggestions was belittled or out rightly rejected. This despite the fact that some of them had been highly evaluated at the Forest Research Station, Dehra Dun, by India’s greatest botanical scientists.

This rejection was followed by a long conversation on the deeper philosophies of India. When these high officials recognized the seriousness of my approach and the introduction of modern scientific methods and actual agricultural operations in harmony with the spiritual traditions of India, there was a complete reversal. This matter had already been taken up in California with experts and university professors. Some of these men have failed and some of them are outright skeptical. But I doubt whether these men ever interested themselves in Indian philosophy, psychology or religion. I found when hearts are attuned all suggestions are welcomed.

This was even clearer the next day when I had interviews with the Swami Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Mission in New Delhi and Professor Chatterji or Calcutta who has been a co-worker with Professor Norman Browne of Pennsylvania. I cannot overemphasize the fact that the two American intellectuals most highly praised here have been, without exception Dr. Browne and the later Professor Ryder of the University of California. I am even going so far as to write the university and tell them to send no more "experts" here unless these "experts" pay at least lip-service to their great departed colleague. This of course, is not expected from representatives of other Universities.

Later in the day I spent some time with Dr. Radhakrishnan. This was a very easy interview because I have read practically all of Dr. Radhakrishnan's books, enjoyed them all, probably agree with him on everything, and, no matter how abstruse, believe I understand them. The claim to the understanding of India's met complex philosophies may seem hyperbolic, but I can assure you, they soon find out. And it did not take Vice- President Radhakrishnan long to find it out.

In a certain sense I find Vice-President Radhakrishnan has a blending of Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman and Will Rogers. He has the sane universal outlook which is now becoming prevalent in some of our large Universities and is excellently expressed in the works of Professor Oliver Reiser of Pittsburgh. But it is almost out of piece to verbalize encomiums on a man with whom you agree entirely.

The next day was spent at a memorial given to Master Tara Singh, head of the Akali movement. I do not know what this movement stands for except that it is one of the two large divisions of the Sikhs. I do not believe our press, or even our missionaries, could understand that the meeting was started by the leading direct descendent of Nizam-ud-din Auliya, the greatest Muslim saint of this area. Many of the speakers were Muslims and Indians and all came out for wholeheartedly nationalism and brotherhood. Again and again America was cited as an exemplary land of complete religious tolerance, and confraternity.

Not only did Muslims and Hindus speak , but the leader of the opposition group of the Sikhs also paid tribute. It was exactly as if Mr. Truman had been invited to come to the Republican Convention and say nice things about "Ike." Where such a condition prevails, it is pretty hard to see where any outside propagandists can present any message of "love ye one another."

One element of surprise was a vociferous speech by a Kashmiri (Muslim) asking to speak for Kashmir. That is not the fashion in most parts of the world. Great nations claiming to be in the vanguard of "democratic" movements of all sorts, have been pre-determining the fate of Kashmir without any regard to the peoples' opinions. Here no one objected to letting a Kashmirian present his views on the subject.

In conclusion, it cannot be stressed too much that there is practically no pro-Russian feeling here. In fact for every one of McCarthy-like sympathies, you find ten or a hundred downright adherents to "Judge Lynch." Far from being internationalists the so-called Communists here are supporting the most reactionary and federalist movements; and supporting them by riots and bloodshed. Even if they succeed in one or all of those ventures, it would not add a single item of benefit or relief for any of the downtrodden. No wonder India is looking to America.

Samuel L. Lewis



August 29, 1956


Things continue to happen very fast. Monday was spent in writing, and it cost me almost Rs.20. Went to the railway office and found my bookings had gone through. It would be interesting to find out whether I meet Earl Warren who is going to Jaipur and Agra respectively about the time I do. I tried hard to get hold of Ghopal Singh and wrote my paper on the Suez Controversy.

At night went to the Tara Singh testimony. It was remarkable. The meeting was opened by a descendent of Nizam-ud-din Auliya. Husein told me that Nanak was originally a Sufi. There were other Muslims also, one speaking passionately for the Kashmiris. He did not think much of the politico-religious State. There were also several Indians. One of the main speakers was the Sikh in opposition to Tara and I guess Ghopal leans toward that view. When it was nearly over Nehru came in and he was the only one who did not speak like a politician. In the end Tara and Punditji went out together and the next day news came of a political alliance. It is hard to tell what it means, Sikh accusing each other of not wanting to line up with Hindus and pro- and con-communalism quite confusing to a foreigner.

Ghopal will use some of my “Integration” and awaits other material from Simla. He will also use part of my Suez paper. It seems our ideas are pretty close. Also visit Kamath at the Food & Agr. Department and met P.H. Dabadghad, the ecologist. I would like to cooperate with them. Got a number of free publications for Harry.

Then saw Azim Husein who is now a Jr. Under-Secretary and surprised Srinavasan when I walked in on him. He is in the Kashmiri section. He said he would phone but has not at this writing. Later visited Husein and we went to the tomb of Humayun. Very much impressed. Circumambulated the grave of Dara Shikoh with “Ya Allah” 7 times and then repeated “Allahu” 21 times. Went all over the place, every bit enjoyable.

Then visited the ruin khankah of Nizam-ud-din Auliya. Very much impressed. Wish to meditate where he did, to spread out a carpet and also give spiritual help to humanity therefrom. Hope this is possible on my next visit. At the Singh dinner I was introduced as an American Sufi. “What does Sufism mean?” “God alone exists.” “That is the same as Vedanta.” “Yes.” Met Nureddin Ahmed who wants to see me when I return. He seems to have been a strong Anti-Pak man. Many Muslims here were not a bit interested in Pakistan. In fact the theme of the Singh dinner seemed to be “BE like America.” Even California was mentioned.

Today visited a Krishna Temple 700 years old. There were two altars to Krishna and Radha, one to Siva and one to Lakhsmi. The place is marble and usually kept clean. Went to a Sikh temple nearby. A stranger came and explained the temple and religion and positively refused contribution. This is so superior to other places. That did not prevent some woman from coming up and doing the usual; with a child of course, and I am beginning to wonder whether some of these children are not borrowed for the occasion. The real refugees seem to want to work.

Have introductions to Hyderabad, etc. and now getting itchy feet.



Agra, September 1, 1956


My dear Rudolph:

Jaipur was not on my itinerary and although the prime purpose of my visit was to meet people—the original host proved to be a frost. However I left this city with an utter contempt after what San Francisco calls an art show. The city itself is the cleanest since I left Japan. It is the first city in Jaipur of which I had heard, because of ancient stereopticon pictures. My visit was rather high for taxi and guide, but the emphatic experience has made as even more Buffoonish in reaction against certain tendencies. This Western tendency which I do not like is the inability to understand time and space and the parts they play in it. However I am even more against some of the recent things done in India. Money is not substitute for time and space and I believe your students would love Jaipur. I am sending you postcards but do not know when. I expect to buy al lot more here in Agra and will put them all in a packages and register them.

The Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds is facade, not building. It is the first “pink” building I saw and generally I liked the color. But there is now a tradition, which has been made into a law against the use of dissonant colors in architecture. The basic sandstone is the “foundation” material but plenty of marble has been used, and also other building stone. The Jantar Mantar or observatory is finer than the one in Delhi, but this was meant to be the “central observatory.” Although there are no telescopes or glass instruments, everything is so calibrated that observation and calculation are simultaneous and you do not have to resort to mathematical tables.

I visited the palace, fort and temple at Ambar not far away. I regret there are few pictures showing the glass. Glass is also used at the palace in Jaipur which is still functioning in parts, the rest being a museum. I found here a continuation of at least the traditions of floral art which were prevalent in Buddhistic times. But in addition there were a number of Persian arts—floral designs, general wall patterns, rugs, landscaping and the fundamental architecture. That is why it is called Indo-Saracenic art, and in a sense, this immediately preceded the Rajput period which followed when the Mogul sway was lessened.

Glass was used in a number of ways which would fit in excellently with contemporary art. First the glass was usually backed by silver or quicksilver, but sometimes with gold or other colors. Then the reflections were made to appear (a) in daylight, (b) in the darkness presenting phosphorescent-like phenomenon (c) in each other, i.e. sometimes the reflections were onto other mirrors giving very enjoyable effects. But these reflective effects also have to be combined with the glass colorings, the background colorings and the general decorations. The result is you cannot easily get tired of them, which must have been psychologically beneficial to women confined to rooms—most, but not all of the glass work was in the woman’s quarters.

An entirely different type of glass evidently came from Persia having cobalt-blue colors, later we visited the museum and one can see the development there of post-Iranian ceramics, again with cobalt-blue dominant. But an even more pleasing effect (to me) was in some the windows. A few of them beat anything I have ever seen in multicolor window effects.

There are a number of over-all surprises. This synthetic art was started by Rajput Man Singh, commander-in-chief of the Mogul Akbar’s armies. He combined both Indian and Islamic skill with some leaning toward the Persian. One is surprised to find how developed they were in plumbing, piping, bathing and latrines. These places must have been among the most sanitary down to modern times. Evidently bathing was encouraged. I saw facilities for three kinds: (a) hot water, (b) cold water-stand up baths not too different from the Hebraic mikvahs and pool bathing which was become famous. There were also number of fountains and waterfall effects. At the present time the latter are on only occasionally at night. They used to use a combination of colored lamps to give scintillating and rainbow effects.

At the Palaces and also at the tombs of the founders and Maharajahs I always marvelled at the details. For pillars single columns of marble were used. Sometimes the figures were in the marble, sometimes they appear as added on—evidently sometimes heavy blocks had to be cut down. The filigree and mosaic work was such you could stick a paper behind the figures. They used the non-representative Arabic, the floral Persian and the human and heavy beast India all together as to render complete harmonies, particularly in the later development. But there was no wasting for the ceilings are either carved or painted or inlaid. One has the same difficulty as in Japan because each one of your three dimensions has something to offer.

There were also eating pavilions, more in an Indian style, but the ceiling pavilion methods were also used as canopies to provide shelters from rain and the sun. The gardening was not equal to the other arts, being considerably less developed than what I have seen elsewhere, or expect to see in Agra. The arches combined Indian and Saraceni methods and also used each; in general the walls were of a caravanserai type, Persian with Arabian influences. White and pink generally formed the backgrounds and deliberately.

Many floors were covered with matting, with rugs or with light mattress material. Evidently much of the latter was in the zenanas and must have been used by slave attendants who thus did not need separate beds. There were all kinds of comforts and the later Maharajas added Western, Chinese and Japanese things. This also covered their art collections.

To the Jaipur locals the armory is something and I think I’ll write this for Delaplane. Some of the things were to me ingenious and even humorous. But I can’t say for all its glamour that it could compare in the least with either Japanese or Austrian armor and sword art. That is just an opinion and I was much more interested in other things.

I saw little of preservation of costumes or any fabrics other than rugs. They did have many excellent paintings of the Maharajas, evidently stills which took some time. Of recent years they added photographs, especially of durash. Frankly, Rudolph, I hope to visit Jaipur again if I do not come alone. I felt hungry at a feast I could not share. Now I’ll leave this open for my Agra reports.

I omitted from the above the work done in ivory. Actually the ivory at Jaipur did not excite me. I have seen much better work at Agra but am not prepared to buy anything. The marble work, of which a card is enclosed, is much more satisfying to me. But I dare not make any extra purchases because of shipping and other involvements and I shall not know my financial status for some time.

Agra is, of course an experience. Visited the tomb of Akbar, of Jehangir’s Prime Minister, the Fort, etc. with the Pearl Mosque and the Taj. Have bought a lot of pictures which will be mailed as soon as I can get them wrapped. They tell the story better than any written record can. I am just suffused with marble and the fact that nearly all the work is inlay of stones, marbles, sandstones etc. The Taj is said to be the glory of the world, and I do not dissent. But my guide wisely took me by “steps.” I spent many, many rupees on cards, most of which I am sending you. It will be like a continual record and I half wonder about lectures on Oriental art. I think I am now capable of it. Some of these things could be worked out with Chingwah, others with you, but I still am unable to suggest a time of return.

I am now ready to work on my Taj poetry which I am sure will be published. I am both very tired and very inspired. And I am continually getting new friends, which makes the whole problem of correspondence a burden. I shall not go into details but believe the cards will “remember” for me. The glass work at Agra was inferior to Jaipur, but the marble, etc. probably superior to anything in the world. I expect to go to the Taj early Monday again, and also study the landscaping.


Dear Mac: It is September 3 and I thought by now I had better write you official report. But my diary needs attention and I want this to be official—for Ed Silverfoots, who would be more interested in what is happening than a nice article on “The Highways of India.” So I will make it diaretical (whatever that means) and tell my diary nearly all while you fellows can listen.

I went to Jaipur on August 31 because it is a “must.” Everything is a “must” here. You “must” visit please which the other fellow hasn’t seen and you are free to give whatever contribution you want to men who cannot read and there is a sign on the wall to report to the Government all efforts at beggary. If you did that it would take up 24 hours of each day and maybe some time over to continue. Jaipur is the cleanest city in India and they have laws there that you can only build in pink or white, and you have to keep it clean. So it is called the Paris of India. I visited two palaces there, among other things, the other things are ruins which would interest Pres no doubt but I think Ed would be more interested in the rooms where they used to keep slave girls. I didn’t see any slave girls and if I dreamed of them at night I would charge others admission to come in. But the Maharajah of Jaipur is still functioning and when I was in his palace they were getting out the red carpet for Earl Warren. I mean they were getting out the red carpet for Earl Warren and no figure of speech; also the blue, Greek and a lot of other huge Persian carpets. Because now days Maharajahs cannot buy slave girls, only carpets.

Then I come to Agra and I have seen many most beautiful building here and also ruins which would interest Pres and not Ed. I am at the Imperial Hotel and when I got here there was one guest, a women. She had to leave to be hostess to the Warrens. But she introduced me to a temporary guest-ah! young, beautiful, and costumes. Well I have given pictures and two addresses, and she not only does all the ancient Indian dense but is said to be the best rumba artist in the country. You can see it in the rhumba costume (!!). She is divorced, but don’t get any ideas because there are several girls back home who have. Anyhow, I am going south and she north. Think nothing of it. But we are both going around in circles.

Next the hostess asks me how to start a flower business. Not a chicken farm, or a hat shoppe, but a floral business. I found out later that it was not she, but another guest, who turned out to be a French countess! It just happens I am a seedy chap, but I mean a seedy chap like I meant the red carpet above and I am giving her some free seeds.

When the women were away there was only an Englishmen here and he told me the problems of a poor girl. It was a poor girl like in the movies. She was doing some Buddhist research and needed help. I, although not a Charles Boyer, offered help. Then I learned that her father is one of the richest Sikhs and her brothers have a library worth untold dollars, rupees and everything else. Why does everybody have to pick on me? Why must it be me that is always asked to help the damsel in distress? Want to get in line?

I am not going to write on the Taj. A book has been written on it. If I come again I may write on the landscaping of it. Most of the writers are filled with such enthusiasm and ignorance, that no matter if they turn out best sellers, they are often wrong. The Taj is, was and ever will be the epitome of Persian Art. The whole thing is essentially Persian from one and to the other. The use of columnar cypresses, etc and the employment of squares and fountains is a continuation of a traditional art.

I don’t know the names of many of the trees. You find long-needled pines in Agra and evidently the choice of materials is due to uncertain rain, often drought. There are two kinds of lawns, one of which is watered by flooding, or control of the water table. The other depends on rain and is kept mowed. Several species of Impatiens serve as central plants and the border seems to be some king of Boracea. Everything is kept clean. Fountains only run once a week. These are foremost for emergency watering. They use 2” hoses mostly.

The trees are filled with birds and the park with chipmunks. Dawn is musically noisy. A large portion of the gardeners are woman.

I once gave a talk on various types of lawn mowers for Harry Nelson. Well, I’m learning things here. In many plans they use a whole crew with sickles. I have seen one-man lawn movers and one is like those at home, another has a good roller and another has a shredder. I have seen one-drum law-mowers. But yesterday I saw a five-drum lawn mower, four in back and one in front. It is about double the size of our hand mower and has a shredder attached, which is also like a small roller. They cannot use heavy gas engine mowers on account of the nature of the ground, and sometimes on account of the nature of the grass. Nor can they use big power mowers because Persian lawns are full of trees and garden beds.

I cannot give a very complete report on highways. Some of them were started by Mogul Emperors—some may even be older, but the Moguls were great on tree planting. They leaned toward columnar trees, and fairly high broad-leafs, rather than the shady umbrella style. There are banyans and other Ficus also, which is an Indian heritage. Trees are numbered and your location on the job is “Such-and-such a highway by trees #….” Where there is plenty of room between the older trees, young ones, and especially shrubs are placed but not numbered.

You will find highways with cans—kerosene type filled with earth and placed in the ground or concrete barrels; otherwise there are wells and generally large basins of two types, one flush with the ground and the other elevated. There do not seen to be many regular employers on the highway. But any person is given a week’s free vacation at his boss’s expense if he volunteers to do planting on the highway. There is thus a sort of National Arbor week.

Saplings and shrubs are sometimes fully braced or placed in frames. Otherwise they are held up by cut branches stuck in the ground to form a sort of tepee formation. I don’t know how much pruning is done but I have seen men climbing up in trees rather monkey fashion and use long tree saws. The purring is good, but form our safety point of view the operation might seem precarious.

There is also a lot of nonsense. I have been practically called crazy because I suggested Eucalyptus in one place only to find them growing elsewhere to perfection. I was called to account by the Chief Ecologist of the whole country who said that he had visited California, after I spoke about trees for drought areas. He hadn’t even heard of Mojave and knows of Imperial Valley only by name. I was able to give him necessary information.

In the warm climate here I have seen Zinnias from 2 to 4 times the size of those at home. Cannas are all the year plants. L. camera is prevalent and there are Roses, which I think, come from Persia—all standard types. Much use is made of fragrant trees as well as flowers, and also of brilliant leaves. In other words, cut flowers are not grown here so much for their own sakes, but Gaillardias and Calliopsis are like weeds and you get fresh bouts every day. Most of our temperate annuals are grown here in the winter. But India has yet much to learn from other parts of India.

The soil here is terrible and you even see adobe houses. The corn isn’t ripe and they don’t know how to grow it. Popcorn is eaten everywhere—excepting in the movies! In Jaipur I saw camels, elephants and peacocks all sound and the only place you did not see monkeys—yes, that’s right—was in the zoo!. But the bears and deer ate the peanuts anyhow. The bear here functions like the monkey with us, playing tricks and showing off. The elephants are also not in the zoo and I would not let a camel walk a mile for me, no sir.

I spend loads of money for souvenir postcards for my lectures and a few rupees for postage. And tell Ed excepting the dancer, after you see some of the girls here you solid wish they put their veils back on. I have not met any princesses here, unless you can call ranis princesses, in which case—but I’m paying for my own trip and I still am true to the U.S.A.



All Sunday morning was spent typing. It is now evening and this is the 15th letter of the day. One was a sarcastic letter to Claude at the Academy pointing out a serious defect in the Hindu religion. First God, then Paragod, then Mahaparagod, then Mahaparagodnarayan, then Mahaparagodnarayaneshwara who is small stuff before Shri who quails before Shri Shri who is nobody before Shri Shri Shri. Well, the experiences of the day bore this out.

I went to the Ram Tirth Ashram of which I had heard so much and we had better stop there. They could not answer any questions. They do not teach Veda, Upanishads, Gita, Yoga, Pranayama, Jap; they just read Ram Tirth and have hypnotized themselves into believing they are helping all humanity. Of course their literature is full of words like “love” and “compassion” and “heart” of which they have not the slightest idea. They finally said I would have to see Sivananda. Well if I have to see Sivananda, what is the purpose of their ashram? It is to me third rate Vedanta.

I will not say this for the Ramakrishna Mission which claims it is now very strong in India. If it is strong in India it is because they have better Swamis then those they send to the U.S. I have a letter to Swami Ranganathananda. He was not in Delhi when I was there, but arrives in Dehra Dun tonight. I left my card with a message I would call on him there. He returns on the 24th. Actually I believe the smallest person at this ashram knew more than the biggest one at Ram Tirth. They swallowed spirituality; he swallowed lexicons.

My final visit to the Anandamayee Ashram was short and most important. I definitely felt her instructions which were like this:

All these Swamis, true and false, establish sangas and in turn these sangas tend to perpetuate the names of their Founders. This has the two questionable results of establishing rival sangas, which is ridiculous; and producing mental idolatry in place of the physical ones at the temple. In either case, instead of finding God you find something or someone else.

Real instruction comes from self to self. Mother does not use manas, and there is no need for her to. Manas is for science, art and culture, not for god-realization. In writing letters or talking to scientists, manas is necessary. In the spiritual life it is an abortion. Manas is finite, not infinite. Mother uses Vijnanamayakosh when she has to speak. This produces strong result and strange effect but it does not establish hindrances to spiritual development.

The commentaries of her followers, other than their spiritual experiences, are useless and confusing. Their experiences are valid and their love is valid. The most is nothing but egotism asserting itself. In would be better for them to repeat La Ellaha Il El Allah. Now, despite her efforts, her followers remain in ignorance. But her love prevents her from scolding them often and her love would be the best means to elevate them, not her words. And if she avoids all the rival schools her followers will establish another and rival school too.

What is worse, her followers call her Avatar, Saraswati, Kali or higher one moment and even in the some article compare her to Kant, Carpenter and Krishnamurti, etc. This is the stigma on all spiritual movements.

Fortunately Atmananda has not fallen into this trap and I hope to visit her and this ashram later. She has given me introductions to Viennese in India. If I meet them I shall write you further.

Faith fully,

Samuel L. Levis



My dear Fred: This is morning, Sept. 5 and these are my diary notes. Facts sometimes prove more strange than fantasy. It was foretold that when I came to India when I did not seek spiritual people they would seek me and this time I have to rely upon your collaboration for the last person I met, in the same strange manner, was a friend of yours—and note it is not the first person who has mentioned your name, this time it was R.N. Rahul.

I went to Jaipur to meet an astrologer which proved to be a frost. I also ran right into the Austrian doctor whom Atmananda wanted me to meet. I saw many buildings there and wrote my diary notes to Rudolph Schaeffer. I did not write complete notes on Agra. I told my guide, Mohammed Shafiq, that I was a most unusual person. Thus I asked him where Shah Jehan was imprisoned, where Akbar played chess and where Tansen lived. I am the first Occidental to have performed the pilgrimage to Sheikh Selim Chisti’s tomb, chanted Zikr there and had a certain portion of my future revealed. I learned that the Chisti family has continued on as guardians of Fatehpur Sikri and they must be in possession of important historical records. I have been invited to stay with them should I come this way again and I think it is so written.

I visited the famous mosques of Agra and there met with the Sufi Imam who gave me a book which corroborates some of my, let us say, deeper wisdom. The Arabic words ma’arif and ilm have no exact translation and they are used in very confusing manners by Arabists and Ph.Ds. who monopolize—up to this time—the scholarship on what they called “Sufism” which has no relation to Sufism. Thus I was again, for the third time, called upon to explain Ibnu l-Arabi, and I assure you, Fred, anything I have said publicly would be rejected in almost all the “leading” schools of the Occident, and has won unanimous approval so far, in the Islamic world—as well as outside on cognate subjects.

These experiences and others—as at Taj and the tomb of Akbar—brought some most pleasing reactions from both the local people and the Occidental residents.

I took the express train from Agra to Nagpur which is the central point of India for all practical purposes, and there, like a thief in the night came Rahul. He must have gotten off at Sanchi, for after he gave me all the help he could, I promised to help him in the morning and in the morning he was gone.

We discussed at some length the condition of Oriental studies in the U.S., a subject to which he has given some attention. His opinion of Yale is the same as mine and in accord with what Prof. Chatterjee said in Delhi. We both were strong for Harvard and Pennsylvania (Browne) and he criticized Columbia. He also likes California and Stanford very much. Which brought up the same controversial subject. And the same conclusions have been reached in India as in Thailand, etc. and the same information was given me that U.S. authorities do not look with favor upon degrees being granted by anybody by persons who have a sort of quasi-legal rights.

In the first place Uncle Lewis is no more popular in Asia than he was in San Francisco. I know little of his past except I found he had innumerable enemies. After he turned down every suggestion I ever made I had to keep quiet for in a sense I am a protégé of a much more powerful personality in the S.F. Bay region who is both professionally and otherwise a competitor of L.G.

The same reaction was received upon the right of any person who, because he has Ph.Ds. from universities in the U.S. and abroad to grant D.D.s or similar degrees in religious organizations to which they do not belong, except by verbal claim. No Pacific School of Religion could grant to anybody the right to become a priest and preacher in a Catholic Church. And the same holds for Buddhism. In fact, Rahul, who is ready to go to Kathmandu said I could not go, but since I have actual written authorizations from both Soto and Rinzai Zen as well as Sini Shingon I am one of these fools who can rush in where certain professors will fear to tread—and if they did, they would be thrown out.

This interference in the rights of ecclesiastic movements by “Americans” belongs to exactly the same type of psychological phenomena as the present Suez controversy which turns the whole continent against the West.

The Professors Northrup, whether they are in Yale or San Francisco, who arrogate to themselves certain knowledges and certain credentials are abhorred here far more than your Billy Grahams and Richard Nixons who are certainly not popular. The Soviet Representatives have made no attempt to conciliate the religious and spiritual leaders of the Orient but they have not dared to do what is being done in the U.S., establish institutions conferring theoretical degrees and honours upon students in “Asian” subjects, which degrees and honours, in some cases, I assure you, Fred, will be terrific liabilities in all the lands I have visited. You cannot touch the Northrups, whether in Yale or in San Francisco, but Rahul said it would be a wonderful thing if I exposed them once and for all.

This is not my intention. My future was told by one sage who said that the very persons who stood in my way in the past would want to jump on my band wagon and pull for me the hardest. Years of my life were devoted to Akbar and the Moguls in general. When I complete my journey I am going around to purchase pertinent books which are practically unattainable elsewhere and cost very, very little here.

I have written strong letters and even sent a copy to Prof. Hayakawa against the nonsense by men (and this includes him too) who preach about “anti-personalism” and reject contributions because you don’t know the right people. Well, today I not only know the right people but I know a lot of the “right people” whom the “anti-personalists” or “an-atta-ists” cannot even meet. Dr. Malalasekera, with all his éclat, was almost thrown out of the Buddhist Sangha because he has been preaching a good deal of his personal philosophy and palming it off as Buddhism. The leading Buddhists, and this certainly includes Rahul, avoid the self- and ego-expressions.

We agreed that the words “Hinduism” and “Buddhism” are nonsense, that these are terms given by men to aspects of “Arya Dharma’, and that “Arya Dharma” was the true “Sanatana Dharma” which has become nothing but a trade name. I have written on this to the Aurobindo Ashram and they have not answered. It is a little embarrassing because I have a letter from Satchidananda suggesting my route and I think I shall follow thereon.

I shall have to wire today about Nasik, my next destination, and it is barely possible that I shall visit Ellora and Ajunta beforehand, though I do not know how to get there. I am going to have to apply for an extension of my visa.

I am at the moment living in a home. I shall be seeing villages and going on unusual trips. I may leave room for postscripts—





Visited Multinagari Falls, a ribbon-like formation 60-70’ above a cataract gulch. Series of Jain temples, largely of marble, some black, with carvings. Found three distinct Buddhist figures in one temple. Visited 2 villages. One of Mahrattis, working for Devi’s relatives—a prosperous farm, rather modern. The other of aboriginal Gonds and Bhils, who keep animals, and live in wooden, not earthen homes. They retain ancient customs and are closer to the Jains than to the Hindus. Visited the Majors and Norton at the American Leprosy Hospital; long talks. Spoke before a small group of Harijans and “demonstrated” Krishna. Held to the point that Krishna was a cowboy, not a cow, and was warmly supported by a few. Am to talk to them again later.

In the next days I visited the Maharajah’s school which also uses Ayurvedic medicine. Spoke before the People in the town near the Leprosy hospital, spent one day there giving advice; also visited two “gardens.” Trouble: pests. Saw C.I.D. film, very good. Met a lot of people. Did the shrines one night, chanted and made friends with the priests of Krishna. Shiva temple very old, where Krishna is supposed to have kidnapped Rukmini. Spoke at Jr. High School, had my writings read. Ate at hotel restaurant, I think 8 annas and all you want to eat. Everything cheap. A few purchases also.


Dear Quantz: I begin with diary notes on September 10 and then will add on anything that might interest you at the bottom. I left Agra and had a strange meeting with one Rahul on the train. We discussed Roerich Museum, American Academy, Northrup and the general state of Asian cultural relates in the U.S. He then gave me some addresses and I said I would, in turn, give him some introductions in the a.m. But in the a.m. he had disappeared.

I have been up in the mountains and visited shrines and waterfalls. The shrines were Jain temples but I found some Buddhistic pieces in one of them which were certainly not carved there. The only Americans around seem to be missionaries and of these most come from California. One has a large leper colony. Leprosy seems to be one disease not covered by ayurvedic medicine. I have purchased some of this for use as laxative and may try it later. But generally the tendency here is the other way, and people suffer mostly from dysentery, diarrhea and malaria—elsewhere from malnutrition. They find that Western medicines, especially the new types, prove to be much more effective. Ayurvedic medicine is slow, according to my druggist friend, and of the homeopathic type.

I have visited the mosque here and the keeper who turned out to be a Sufi thought we could hold no conversation. I have visited the temples here. There was an old Shiva temple. But because, as the story goes, Krishna kidnapped Rukmini as she came from worship at this temple, a Krishna temple was built here about 300 years ago. The Shiva temples are supposed to be over 1, 000 years old.

I made offerings in these places and later gave my Krishna chant. This amazed the priests of Krishna. We then had some delightful conversations over the meaning of the Upanishads and also discussed modern India. We were rather in agreement.

I have been kept very busy here with persons and also visiting gardens and farms. Pests are the main problem here although there is a supposed nitrogen deficiency in the soil. I have purchased a book on contemporary Indian agriculture and will give it to my host (Devidas Bobade) after I read it. All the plants suffer except bananas and sorghum, which shows the soil is good. I think almost every type of animal pest is prevalent and I have written to the U.S. and will continue to do so to get help.

I leave tonight for Ajanta caves if my reservation goes through, otherwise to Bombay. I am to speak today at both the high school and university. Saw a fine Indian film, C.I.D. last night. Acting good, although both Hollywood and Italian models were used. As usual, the interludes of singing and dancing, quite enjoyable.

I have received a very important letter from Bryn. Our lives are grossing mentally in another most unusual manner and may lead to our cooperation in an entirely new mission. All I can say now is that I shall follow it up at Bombay. (End of notes.)



My dear Rudolph: This will be irregular typing, being written in Bombay concerning my visit to Ajanta. I cannot promise to see all the caves and I cannot say I shall not. My host is away and this will be finished before my itinerary is established. However I should go to Elephanta while I am here—or when I come back. My trip roughly is Bombay-Hyderabad-Madras, Pondicherry, Anandashram of Ramdas, then Bombay.

Among one’s greatest thrill is the realization of life-long dreams. I walked through Ajanta with the ghost of Kenneth Saunders accompanied by a Mr. & Mrs. Isaacs of Hyderabad, Christians, and architects who hope to come to the U.S. I therefore told them a little about you and will try to see them later.

I purchased two sets of cards for you, one of paintings and the other of the rock-sculpture. This pleased me much more. The whole setting is at the top of a sort of ravine, one of these delightful spots which almost pleases, if not thrills me. In fact I should like to explore the grounds around and especially to have or hear a flute player, for there is a sort of echo in the natural formation.

I am not going to repeat here what others said, but after changing my diary sheet will give some of my reactions.

A single visit to this place does not convey too much, or maybe it does convey so much that one cannot speak. The mass detail, the patience in the rock-carving, the wonder about the tools, etc. Most of the rock is porous and that accounts for several things: the comparative ease of detail-cutting, the wearing-off of the paintings, the non-completion of several caves because of improper, unsuitable rock formations. It looks as if certain monks must have spent their whole lives on a single panel, or at least many years.

There is a certain uniformity of perfection in the carving but not in the painting. Roughly speaking, painting is of two classes. The one, mostly on walls, comes from the Jataka or Birth-stories, or else from the life of the lord. In these there is a certain finesse and finish and it is usually “civilized.” As art it is supreme, but it does not always convey the awe and holiness of the “gate” and “stupa” carvings I saw at Calcutta. The wheel and the lotus either disappear or take on actual rather than symbolic representation. Much more seems to be done to hair and head-dress than anything else. The pictures give everyday life of a clearly developed community.

The ceiling painting began with rosettes and stenciled geometry forms, becoming more complicated as floral themes were introduced. However, the later use of heavy paints and quick workmanship showed evident decay. But while this decay was going on, there was the introduction of Persian art forms and themes evidently from carpet and tapestry material, so the decadence never dominated.

Persian persons are also included in many of the panels, both semi-historical and folk-story. But it seemed to us that many sections were done by people under Gandaric influence also and others distinctly Burmese. I am forced to conclude that Buddhism was introduced into geographical Burma at an early date as the Burmese claim. One can see distinctly North-eastern faces and heads even in the earlier drawings. But the reclining Buddha is distinctly Burmese in all its forms and as it is in a “Hinayana” cave, which generally meant an earlier one, it shows this probability. Besides these Burmese and Talaing faces came at a time long before the caves were abandoned, and I think they were before 500 A.D.

We paid a little for lights to go on but it was the guide’s day off, and we both saved money and the nuisance of the rigmarole-rote explanations which were given us by two attendants. Fortunately they did not ask for extra money.

My plan and hope is to obtain funds and take some real photos from the inside, and be able to give some direct fundamental explanations. I am sorry I didn’t address a single post-card to Chingwah Lee. I am sending a set of 18 to the Chinese Buddhist temple.

This visit was made after reading “2500 Years of Buddhism,” put out by the Indian government, full of subjectivities. I feel the same now about Havell as I have always felt.

I had this curious experience coming down from Agra. A Mr. Rahul introduced himself to me. He said that the name Rahul was derived from the son of Buddha, that he came from the hill country and was now a confirmed Buddhist. He was one of the last persons to see Theos Bernard alive. He knew a lot about the Roerichs which we discussed in turn. He was fully in favor of Harvard and Pennsylvania, and against Yale, Columbia and the A.A.A.S. (So called.) He gave me a host of suggestions and introductions—then disappeared in the night, probably to go to Sanchi. Fortunately I just received a letter which will enable me to reciprocate.

I have been advised to see museums in both Bombay and Hyderabad and will record those visits later.



September 13, 1956


Dear Chris:

This is my diary notation. I am constantly struck by the universal similarity in reactions which I get here and in confirming news. The vast difference between making God one’s adventure and writing about it is tremendous. My whole career has been that fools do rush in where angels fear to tread and one Swami Maharaj told me he hoped America produce more fools like myself.

I was at Ajanta and am able to make some original contributions to Buddhistic knowledge. For my final proofs I shall have to take some pictures. These pictures have not been taken and may even have been purposely overlooked because their existence is contrary to some well established theories of Europeans, theories which non-Buddhistic Hindus have copied fully without the slightest investigation. I should be able to get some recognition of this ultimately but my first step will no doubt be to report to the embassy of at least one Buddhistic nation. While book-writers quarrel over historical theories, the man on the spot is often embarrassed by his total inability to get by. I could easily confute most of the articles in “Twenty-five Hundred Years of Buddhism.” Not only that, I could do this successfully at Kathmandu. I had a long session with a leading Buddhist over credentials and he finally reversed himself and wants me to go there, but this is too much.

A sort of dream I had of becoming “Mr. Asia” is rapidly coming to pass. And no European-born is going to stop it, but they are going to stop themselves. Thus, one person who will most certainly not be invited to Kathmandu, even as a listener, is Mr. C. Humphreys (excuse his first name). Like a lot of other highly degreed and pedigreed intellectuals he puts out books which have nothing to do with Asian Buddhism in operation and which may never have been in operation. But he is an authority. These authorities are, in part, becoming the laughing-stock of Asians, and where they are not laughing-stock, they are totally ignored.

There is nothing so ridiculous as a champion of an-atta boosting himself, and having mutual boosting admiration societies with others.

On the other hand, I owe a certain indebtedness to Haridas. Please tell him I spent an evening with a Mahdva Acharya here in Bombay. But I did not spend any evening such as in his presence or at the academy. Despite the fact that he holds an actual exalted position, actually, and has no doubt had samadhic attainment actually, he treated me as a brother human being. His explanations of God were new to me but very acceptable and quite different from anything I had ever heard excepting from Ramdas and was especially cordial when I said Ramdas was my guru.

I differed from him in particular in his commendation of Sanskrit. I cannot agree because the Vedic ceremony which he led was full of musical connotations and mantric repetitions which supported my contention that there is a conveyance above language. As we were communing, and I saw the high development of his eyes, forehead and atmosphere, and he tended to accept everything he said of spirituality, we at no time departed from friendliness. In the end I was permitted to give my own chant. This is being more and more accepted here.

I have since met many Muslims. I also continue to get most important introductions about which I can only report after a fait accompli. Today I went to the Victoria Gardens, but I also have errands yet to do in the agricultural field. I have had reports from other nations and everything points to my being able to speak in all quarters on many subjects on which I have been shut up. Of course I am dreaming now of cooperation, but otherwise I shall simply bypass. But I shall speak what I know from both inner and outer knowledge, and no nonsense. And I wish I had company when I visited legations! This is all for this day.

Later. I have walked a little on the waterfront. This is one of the famous thoroughfares of the whole world. I begin to feel funny. I have been on Broadway, Atlantic City boardwalk, Hollywood Blvd., the Ginza and here and what not.




September 14, 1956


William L. Eilers,

P.O. Box 1492,

Rangoon, Burma


Deer Bill:

I continue to have a most successful and surprising journey with all kinds of adventures. The way I have been received all along has been beyond my most optimistic expectations. But I find the some difficulties as at home—there are two classes of people you cannot deal with; the press, and international tramps born in Europe and becoming “authorities.”

This was my beef in San Francisco. It is time to end all this nonsense of having “experts” control our platforms who explain “Asia” to America and “America” to Asia. When I was in Agra I found—as I found before and as I have found since, every Indian very strong for Chief Justice Warren. But the press was far from unanimous and one of these European “authorities” was very critical and said that Bulganin got a much better reception. But I have talked, with Asians from cabinet ministers down to simple farmers, and I mean I talked, with or without an interpreter and “not a coughs in a carload.”

I am mentioning this also because while I did not discuss Asia Foundation, there have been some criticisms of it being established in India from exactly the same quarters. I have written to the S.F. Chronicle, “No matter how much aid we give to India the press will be against us. No matter how little we give the people will be for us.”

I have not seen Nehru and I do not know whether I shall—I mean in interview But I was the only outsider at the Tara Singh testimonial dinner which has since proved to be an historical event. I can assure you that what I, who was present, may say, will not coincide very much with whatever the press of either India or the U.S. may say. But I can get a lot of support from people who were there to listen, not to make camouflaged reports for public consumption. And Nehru impressed me as very, very sincere.

I have written at length to Russell Smith. India is neither capitalistic nor socialistic. It has far more “free enterprise” in the sense that the people who use this almost non-sense term think it means that the U. S. has. It is in the 1820-18l4 era and is full of small businesses all over. These people are deadly against communism. But on this subject, alas I come to that thing which is never published in the U.S.: in both Ceylon and India communism is most definitely strongest in Christian districts. I have not met many Christians and they were all Catholics of some sort and certainly absolutely anti-Soviet; I have still to meet any pro-reds outside of the press and I still have to run into any difficulty in meeting criticism of the U.S.

Readers Digest has interesting articles by Michener and the Alsops. The Alsops report the Russia is running way ahead in heavy industries. Hurrah. It takes people of “working-class” consciousness to do that; But I have been out in the fields and met the peasants and discovered that what India needs most now is good seeds and a good spraying program. So I have been to Monsanto and will try and cove other American industrials. My two hosts in this country are now high officials in the senior and junior farmers’ organizations and all of us have separately met the top men in the Food and Agricultural section. I have also talked to all people who sell any kind of American farm machinery and to Mr. Davis, field crop adviser in New Delhi. His name is OK for he actually was long on the staff at Davis, Calif. And from my point of view he knows exactly what to do and how. And we will simply get under the Russian tractor “‘working-class-conscious”-super machinery operators and appeal to actual humble, often illiterate peasants in languages they can understand. I have no fears for India.

Now all of this leads to what I want to report to you in an entirely different manner. You are in Burma and are fully aware of the Burmese attitude toward religion. I have since read an Indian work “Twenty Five Hundred Years of Buddhism.” Some of it is excellent. Some of it is “research” which means that Mr. Thesis Bookworm covers a lot of books of a lot of “authorities” and comes up with “answers.” Those “answers” often haven nothing to do with anything known as Buddhism practiced anywhere.

I understand that the Burmese declare that Buddhism was established in their country at an early age. As we say in the laboratory, “if the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts.” This is quite true about Burmese Buddhism.

When I was Thailand I saw where Buddhism first established there, and I began to wonder if they had flying machines in those days that the faith should already be in geographical Thai without touching the intervening countries. Logically it should mean that the very latest date Buddhism could have been established in Burma was 300 A.D.

Well a few days ago I was in Ajanta and I noticed that many paintings and carvings do not appear in pictures at all. Nor has there been too careful consideration of the “styles” to the eras. I found there a large reclining Buddha which was so Burmese that my companions and I gasped. The style was Burmese; the figures were Burmese in a geographical sense—not racially Burmese, but of the pre-Burmese “Pagan,” “Begu,” “Arkan” and other types. Yet it is evident that this was the first panel to be executed there.

It is generally held that the “Hinayana” caves were excavated before the Mahayana. Furthermore the next panel showed distinct Gandhara influence and yet must have been done either
coevally with the first or later—certainly not before. Besides, despite its “conservative” techniques, it showed theme-tendencies which were leaning toward Mahayana-art-styles.

All of this, I believe must have been before 300 A.D.

But the Burmese art was not primitive. It showed a high degree of fine artistry and workmanship. So it is my intention either to get a flash bulb camera and make a more detailed study, or ask you to show this letter to the minister of Information, whom I have met, or to any competent Burmese. And remind them it was an American who makes this report.

I have also received a long letter from my friend, Sumangalo Robert Clifton, who is the leading actual American exponent of Buddhism and a high monk (he is now in Xiengmai). He both deplores what Europeans and a few Americans are doing in “research,” with notable exceptions. But I am scientific enough to make actual examinations, as they may, in situ, and draw my own conclusions until somebody shows me something better.

I am now on my way to Hyderabad and there is some chance I shall meet his Excellency, the Nizam. In any case there I start from pretty near to the top, down. I make a circle in southern India and will reach here sometime in October, then move toward New Delhi.

Cheerio and good-luck,

Sam Lewis



September 17, 1956


My dear Quantz:

I start out with diary notes a I am sure my notes now will never be complete. For more is happening than I can record. Thus on the 15th I went out for a walk early and ran into a real Swami. In the evening I thought I would speak to a stranger in the hotel. I had just written some poetry which I hope to be able to present to the Nizam of Hyderabad—at least I can hope—and pushed it in front of him. He proved to be a Chisti-Sufi. You see the unconscious, when God-guided, is more successful than anything.

Yesterday my man failed to wake me, and I had to catch the early 6:20 train. But God brought me a taxi. It was fortunate. Every 12 years there is a great pilgrimage to Nasik where Rama is supposed to have stayed 11 months. People go there and bathe in the river. Yesterday was the climax and the crowds were in tremendous multitudes. (The newspapers are so full of what is not taking place in Egypt that they have no room for such stuff.) The train was overcrowded.

I got there alright and found I had to be inoculated, but the head doctor was kind and I did not have to stay in line. In fact everybody was glad to see a stranger. My host did not show up and I was all ready to see the sights when he came. It seems that lots of places have changed their names in the last 12 years. Kabali is a strange combination of one of the most up-to-date scientists and engineers with a spiritual nostalgia.

Anyhow, we got to the river and I baptized myself. The temples were excellently executed but unfortunately every time there is a flood they are dirtied. They will be cleaned after the people depart. There were hundreds of thousands of them. You could hardly walk, and the only hotel is some distance away. There were all kinds of ceremonials going on and I can say the side-shows outdistanced the circus.

After a lot of walking—which I enjoyed—we visited the Fruit Swami. He began immediately to talk about God and self in ways I think one ought to talk about God and self. What connections there are between him and all the fol-de-rol outside I do not know. Mrs. Kabali makes it her business to collect funds to give him and this is used to distribute fruit to the people. Another lady was distributing bread free. She gave to multitudes sitting quietly against a wall. But a crowd began to follow her and make demands. She called the whole thing off. In this you see the best and worst in India. There is an extreme lack of human consideration with an intense devotion. But you can’t tell them not to bite the hand that feeds them; they don’t want to understand. I have the greatest respect for that rich lady.

Evidently the Fruit Swami has his own disciplinary methods. But he impressed me both inwardly and outwardly and gave me “spiritual” instruction, by which I do not necessarily mean intellectual dissertations. In the end, I chanted for him and he has invited me to Brindavan. Brindavan is one place where Krishna lived, just as Nasik is one place where Rama lived. I accept these places much more than I do Benares, which has become a pilgrimage-center, I think, built up largely by priestcraft. The Ganges was not originally the “sacred” river it became. What makes a river sacred?

Saturday night I attended a musical. But a good deal of time has been taken up with my agricultural reports with the representatives of Dow Chemical. So much so, that with Kabali away I have not been able to go to the Ayurvedic people. But I still have to come back to Bombay, etc.

I have received very little news and it may be due either to poor mails, or to my abrupt change in plans. My own correspondence is now so great that it presents both financial and practical difficulties. Besides this my “partnership” with Bryn has taken on an astounding feature, which we have to leave to God.

End of diary notes. I am supposed now to go to Hyderabad, Madras and Pondicherry in turn, and then to the West Coast.





September 17, 1956


My dear Mr. Winter:

A man’s methods of observation and conclusion may not have universal validity, but at least they offer a form of first-hand knowledge of sorts. The type of information will no doubt be at variance with much of what appears in the press. My own cayennic opinions indicate that the true historian will not depend too much upon the daily news although in theory it ought to offer the best source material. I have found, with few exceptions, that pure objectivity is unwanted. Even those who write keenly about “semantics” tend to use it as a weapon against others.

The wholesale use of this word “semantics” is entirely against anything one finds in Korzybski’s Science and Sanity. The actual methods of actual scientists—and I can even include myself here, have very little to do with the now popularized usage of this term. The Stuart Chase of “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Rich Land, Poor Land” is an extensional, sound investigating personality. The Stuart Chase of “The Tyranny of Words” is the investor of (to me) a loathsome and foulsome “tyranny of tyranny.” What has happened therefrom is that among the most active opponents of the personality cult everywhere there is a deleterious from of noblesse oblige which is all powerful. Chase, indeed, did turn his own weapons to some extent against his own past; then proceeded to drop them wearing his new crown. Others do not even dare to do this.

Indian newspapers are even more skillful than those of the U.S. for they point out invariably to the non-semantic methods of the American govt., press and what-not. They never point their telescopes at themselves. That is why the pure scientists want no part of semantics for this has of itself become an extremely multi-ordinal word, used almost entirely by people who do not actual scientific research, or even any direct observational work at all. Pills must be sugar­coated whether they contain anything or not and whether the sugar in the end brings sweetness or bitterness.

This has placed me in a very strong position. For I have now a number of introductions and entries into some of the more serious universities in the U. S. whose professors are academically honest and not in the least move by quasi-public reactions.

I am enclosing copy of letter to my form employers. Mr. Russell Smith of the World Affairs Council and the Bank of America. I could add a lot of clippings. One of the papers here yesterday published a speech of Mr. Eric Johnston and the latest news and legislation from the actual Asian country of Burma. What we need most of everything both in the U.S. and everywhere is a copy of Shylock’s speech substituting for “Jew” anything. Heavenly forbid! The Burmese do not like Hollywood productions and the Indians are trying to out-compete them rather than legislate against them. The C.P., of course, wish all the Hollywood films possible because that gives them their material for propaganda and this is going to continue, as I have told you before, despite all the A.B.C. on the ground studies.

Equally censored—and in the lands of “free press” there are some interesting forms of censorship—is that almost everywhere outside the Iron ad Bamboo countries the C.P. is strong where Christianity is strong and, weak where it is weak. We must, of course, pull down the blinkers and write at great length about the success of Billy Graham. I have met exactly one Indian who liked him and he was raised a Protestants, Almost all the American Protestants here admire him but none of them have pointed out an actual single convert.

I am still hoping to meet some Indian communists myself. But I have met innumerable Indians who have told me that they were strongly questioned in the U.S. where there are feelings that communism is very strong here. Yes, Senator Unowho is resented everywhere, but I have written in several letters that this resentment also involves a lot of disciples of Judge Lynch. “Hang ‘em but don’t hate ‘em.”

The arrival of American farmers here is, in my opinion, going to do more good than 1,000 newspaper men or orators, excepting a few like Chief Justice Warren who have heads, hearts as well as tongues. The resignation of Ambassador Cooper is coupled with the policies of Mr. Dulles on Suez. Dulles is now the target for all the Bagung nations. Russia is seldom mentioned and there is a strong feeling here that that country is going through difficulties. In fact they act here as if there are four first-class nations, e.g. U .S., U.K., India and Egypt. Russia, China and Japan come next. France is loathed, and Pakistan may turn against us if we keep backing France.

Asia as a whole still remains a continent where one can write “best sellers” without touching anything. Dr. Gardner Murphy of Menninger came over here and did (to me) a most splendid job. Dr. Kingsley Davis, South Hall at the Berkeley’s Campus, did another splendid job. So, reviewers say they wrote for “specialist” and all they tried to do was to remain objectively honest. I personally admire Gaither and I have not a single criticism to level at Toynbee. I have seen things often as he does and like him I used integrative rather the analytical methods. “Semantics” has not led to Integration, although from Newton down this is the approach of most of the actual scientists in making their supreme discoveries and attainments.

In going through this country I find remarkable objectivity among the scientists and cultural people generally, coupled with a reference for their older philosophies and often a much better understanding of them and of life generally than one gets from books or attractive lectures on the subjects. Any real Emersonian American can have a capital time here.

Actually I have gotten into very deep waters and this may, or may not, result in abrupt change of plans. Most changes come through sudden opportunities.

This country needs doctors, engineers, scientists and every sort of metalworker. This covers the arts as well as the scientists. Architecture is still at a low ebb and although great folk traditions persist, they are often overlooked in an age of speed and technology—uselessly. In fact as I see it, the United States is now exhibiting a kind of spirituality through its architecture and perhaps generally through the Mumford approach. Here we have surpassed India and the “deeper” people here agree. If churches were to adopt in India some of the methods in building they are now using in the West, they would be much more successful than through emotional harangues—fine for the newspapers, no value to the soul.

I hope, after posting this, to visit the St. Xavier College, and if not now, later. They do respect the philosophies of India without touching the religions. You can read Upanishads a thousand times without ever feeling like going to the temple or turning from the church; the Catholics know this; the Protestants will not even look. You can draw your own conclusions.

However Mr. Average Man here is often likely to be much lower than even Mr. Tobacco Road. There is a strange combination of lofty aspirations and extreme farsightedness. I believe that more Indians in one town understand the whole problem of Suez than perhaps the U.S. and can almost believe that there are more people in Crackertown, Georgia who can solve agricultural problems, than in a tremendously large part of India. This may be an exaggeration but even the leading agricultural experts have something of the same view. It is good to hold such a view temporarily in focusing lenses.

Even on the sacred pilgrimages yesterday, for every one person who asked me what I thought about them, five asked me about Suez Canal! When I say that Katharine Mayo, Gandhi, Gardner Murphy, Toynbee, Bowles and Mitchell (“India without Fable”) were all right, it may sound crazy and it is probably crazy. But that’s the world in which I am living.





September 19, 1956


My Dear Harry: Diary notes.

Whenever my host does not show up I seek adventure and generally I find it. I visited the secretary of the Nizam, said to be the richest and stingiest man in the world. The secretary refused to make an appointment, but I think he is on the way out from things he said. But he is interested in seed exchange and already in stamp exchange.

Noting a Quarantine Station and a park nearby I visited each of these in turn. I have written to Dow with attention to Raynar telling them of my experiences in the Central Provinces and Bombay in regard to Diseases and Pest Problems which are far underrated. I enclose a slip from the man I interviewed here. They are well aware of the problems, and there is another problem, to convince the people of the need of a spray and dust control, and then to establish a valid program. I learned here as I had been told by the head of the Indian Commercial Co. in Bombay that there is need for good stickers. As one goes south rain is uncertain and sudden and may follow any spraying operations. So any information in regard to stickers would be more than welcome.

This place acts like a reserve echelon warehouse. They have all kinds of equipment. The newer knapsacks have gauges. A large portion of the new items come from Australia; the prices are much cheaper than American made, but there is some dead weight and dead space—in other words, they are not compact enough. The German and Japanese looked better.

Evidently they hope to have these placed in every village, perhaps on a cooperative rental basis. The peasant cannot afford them, but the village or cooperative could certainly pay for a per diem or other period usage.

I ran into some other problems. One is bat control, especially fruit bats. They say that Oregon has this problem and they want literature. I see that I am going to be very busy. It is evident that my idea of flooding this country with farm literature is meeting a fine response. It is all the more important because many Indian magazines and also stores lean heavily toward Russia. Russia is well able to give them cyclotrons and tractors but not simple machines that go out into the fields. It is impossible to take any but the lightest two-man equipment into the paddy fields.

Another thing brought up. There are many pharmaceutical factories and after they take the vitamin and hormones out of livers, etc. the leftover animal matter contains a great deal of nitrogen. They do not seem to know how to powder or dry it. It cannot be applied directly for it not only acidifies the soil, it partly sterilizes it, and the labor is too costly to put it down deep. They know nothing about Milorganite, sewer sludge transformation, etc. here in Hyderabad, and there is certainly a cry for N-fertilizers. I’ll try to follow this up. Evidently opportunities are where you find them, but I am wondering if Swift has faced this problem and done anything about it. This may put a bee in your bonnet.

I then went to the City Park which has fine Islamic style gates, which are the best garden gates I have seen outside of Japan, or maybe even including that land. They are all kept bright and clean.

Zinnias are among the most common plants here but in the private gardens they have molds, the same as at home. The park ones are taller and cleaner. Roses do very well here because they are properly pruned (see some of my former notes,) and cared for. Salvias are all over and doing fine. I saw many types of Casuarinas, and met the Superintendent. I complimented him because it really is the first park I have seen which is operated in the way I think a park ought to be operated.

They are doing here what I have been belly-aching all over India about. The trees are pruned, and well pruned. The leaves are taken off and put in composts and they have large compost piles. The wood is divided into twigs and fagots, and heavy wood, which is used for fuel. No wastage.

Although I told the Supt. that the trouble with India was lack of coordination, he denied this. Then I asked him about the lawn and he was lugubrious in his praise of C. dactylon. I just finished the standard work on Indian Agriculture. The writer skips all the evils of insects and diseases and puts in pages damning C. dactylon. You takes your choice and this is called “coordination.” Actually the ag. man ought to have paid more attention to insects, but I guess he has his own pet peeves; haven’t I?

Casuarinas and Leguminosae are the main trees. The Lagerstroemia is doing fine. They use a Baccharis also for hedges. I saw the nicest hedge of pure white lantana but this plant was all over and used in several ways. They use the columnar Poplar which was a favorite with the Moguls. Cosmos is now in full bloom and also Star Jasmine. Also Hibiscus.

The lawns are kept clean and they use fairly large hand mowers, nonstop. They use one-man, two-man, and even three-man mower. On the largest lawns they have a very wide one, requiring at least one man to drive the oxen and another to operate the mower, with a standby to help. All mowers contain either catch boxes or good rollers or both. The cuttings are composted.

It just happened that the Supt. is a close friend of my purported host, the Town Planner and he got busy and located him for me. I found also he knew about my first teacher in oriental philosophy, so the doors open and this letter also stays open for a continuation.



Sept 21.

Now all kinds of things are happening with a “bang” and there may be a long continuous story. Spent some time with the Supt. of Parks and I told him in my opinion he had one of the best parks in the world. It is roughly half British and half Mogul. The Mogul planting is very much like that of parts of the Arboretum in G.G. Park, with small lawn space. (Theories of perspective and art come in here.) The chief difference is that the Moguls use straight lines. The British begin with lawns and the plant; the Moguls use the lawns as “empty space.”

In the none-lawn areas there is absolute weed control. Evidently they must use sprays but I have not gotten around to it. The ground is constantly swept or raked and all leaf fall is composted. In addition to what I have reported, being taken around in part by the Supt. and in part by the Asst. Supt. I found andanum and lots of leafy growths, small palms and lago Ferns interspersed with Asparagus Fern. Most of the trees give filtered light. C. equisetifolia is one of the main and this is used for all the formations mentioned above. They also experiment turning vines into shrubs and the opposite. A. lebbek and Pone. regia are among the chief trees.

One reason for this is that with C. dactylon, shade is harmful and there is a vigorous pruning program on the broad-leaves because of this. I was asked about shade-lawns and here, I confess, I forgot the names. I am therefor mentioning the Supt.:

Mujahid Ali Khil, Supt. of Parks, Hyderabad, Deccan, India.

He also wishes to learn more about Zoo maintenance. All I could do is mention Fleishacker in S.F., and the Central Park Zoo, but this is entirely out of my line. The Zoo program is not as ambitious as in Jaipur. But the whole park system is way and above, in my opinion, that of Bombay which is over-advertised.

I saw many Dahlias, not too good; and Hollyhocks, few but excellent. They use Calodendron for vines and topiary, much of the latter being animals and good, but some as umbrellas and not to my mind good. The make Begonia edges and more Ipomoea high vines—this incidentally is used as Ivies elsewhere and far, far better. There were a few Budhlias, not too good. The main broad-leaves are Ficus and Cassia. I have seen Peltiformis; Jacarandas excellent, very tall. They say they have wonderful blooms in season.

The Asst. Supt. took me through the Mogul gardens with the Roses and column Cypress. He showed me a lawn of which he is very proud of Kenya grass. I should say it was one of the best lawns I have ever seen. It is small and evidently is in an experimental state. Owing to work pressure neither of these men completed either tour or discussion with me.

I was brought over to the nursery where I should like to have spent more time. It is well kept, orderly and clean, much more like a good commercial nursery than any public institution. Everything in rows by varieties, pots kept clean, everything weeded and cared for. I had not seen this place when I was complimenting the Superintendent.

A good deal looks like the plant materials of our greenhouses, but outside. By far the largest number of plants are Coleus. They have both this and near relatives, all sound. They have found it possible to change colors by variations of light and shade, but did not know of the chemical effects. But they can arrange these either by getting single varieties, or by making all kinds of color combinations in lay-outs, etc. This can be done on a massive scale.

The Caladium fronds are much larger than I have seen elsewhere, with a slight sacrifice of color The Dahlias in the nursery were much better than those in the park and the best I have seen since leaving home. They also have many pots of Chrysanthemums. There are summer varieties in the park itself. There were some Geraniums, not very good and a plant, I think, called Generaraia which makes good potting flowers, and they have brought out fine colors, yellow or white.

They have some Celosia, good; and Coxcomb, fine flowers and colors but smaller than I have seen elsewhere. Queen Anne’s lace grows both wild and cultivated and is used as a cut flower. The assistant, Fazul-u-Hosein, wants to see me.

It was here that I began some discussions which have been the crux of my failures and successes in the Orient. I have excellent backgrounds in many branches of Oriental cultures. When I was in Thailand my best friend, who is now one of the leading Buddhists of the world, warned me that Asians are far more interested in the preservation of their religion than anything else. I got the same report from Wm. Eilers in Rangoon, but already I had been “In.” I know how to interpret Sciences in terms of Oriental philosophies and vice-versa.

Well, I had to go see my host, Fayyum-ud-din, and found he was the actual head of the School of Oriental Discipline in which I have been trained for many years. I also found he is a close friend both of the Superintendent above and Mr. Ameer Ali, the chief soil manager for the whole of the Deccan and he wants to have a special meeting to bring us together. Everything looked excellent at this point, and maybe it is.

But when I got back to the hotel I was sent for by Mr. Engel, the chief American soil manager for all India whom I had missed up at Delhi. He is a strong advocate of Am. Sulph. and it is also evident that he has not succeeded in converting people. He was very strong in his contention that all “civilized” people have used inorganics. As I am not an expert, but know that the Chinese and Japanese are “night soil” people and that both the latter and the Irish use kelp in quantities. I don’t want to argue. But he has failed to grasp either the Islamic or Indian psychologies. I think I reported to you the sudden reversal in Delhi of the experts when they found I understood Indian philosophy. I have since made a strong bond with one Dr. Satya Prakash, head of the Arya Samaj which tries to preserve Indian culture, and who is undoubtedly one of India’s greatest scientists. We have understood each other perfectly and I think brother Mazzara & Co. would have been delighted with our mutual methods–I have written Atlas.

Because of this I did not call Engel about the liver conversations above mentioned, and I don’t know whether the Indians would talk to him as man-to-man. He is a deeply versed and extremely honest and devout Christian, which I like very much, but this doesn’t communicate. I have run into other Americans whose scientific knowledge or acumen is way above mine but they don’t get “in.” (“Your best friends won’t tell you when you have B.O.”) Within 5 minutes everybody I meet talks to me like an old-time friend—if it takes that long. I have to record elsewhere some of these adventures.

When I criticized the reports I have seen, Engel took exception and says he has seen a hundred thousand. But he can’t explain to me why everywhere the Indians are going over to Japanese methods, and where they can’t get help from Japan, they are turning to West Germany; or why it does not take me any time to meet anybody.



My Dear Gavin,


It has been my dream to come to this place and solicit cooperation for the A.A.A.S. It is impossible now for two quite different reasons. In the first place, there is a political transformation going on which makes the position of office-holders very insecure. And in the second place, the subjective attitude of accepting the absolutely unconfirmed personal remarks of somebody as being “factual” for a whole continent, most of which was never visited has turned out to be pure nonsense.

What is my position here? I spent some hours before I located Fayyum-ud-din; my host. I found that he is not only Chief Town Planner, close personal friend of Nehru, yet possessing the good will of the Pakistanis and is the actual exoteric head of the branch of Sufis into which I was originally initiated.

He says he has ten thousand followers in this district alone and gave me a little of the connection between himself, his father, Husein Nizami (the friend of the Grady’s) and my own teacher, Sufi Inayat Khan. He introduced me to his staff. I also learned he is a close friend of the Superintendent of Parks here with whom I had been spending much time, and, I guess, does understand the combination of my love for plant-life and spiritual development produced a marvelous harmony. I am putting all this in my diary which will also be of use when I enter the actual Harvard arena against the methods used by Yale which latter methods have authorization in the U.S. but cause consternation in the Orient.

I run into the same thing here. Fayyum-ud-din said he would introduce me to Ameer Ali, chief soil man of the Deccan. He had already met Mr. Engel, chief American farm adviser for all India. I met Engel too when I had had an introduction. He was not in Delhi when I was there. Engel claims he is a great authority on fertilizers and no doubt is, but he is thoroughly “civilized.” He does not understand Oriental philosophies at all, and has overlooked the whole Japanese approach. This I have thoroughly explained and this is what the Indians want. And while Engel would undoubtedly be an authority over me, a rank amateur, his conversation brought out the fact that he has not succeeded, while I am already in the good graces of those who are either “in” or “in the know” or with certain American corporations whom I would not mention. And when I tried to tell Engel about Calspray’s (S.F.) policy in Thailand, he waved me off. This is why the U.S. Govt. doesn’t get to where it should and why I get to all kinds of plans and peoples.

Now, for the reward, I have to go back. Last Sunday I went to Nasik, to join a pilgrimage of over 100,000 – maybe many, many more. It is a 12-year cycle which attracts more people than the Wagner Oberammergau. There was not a newspaper reporter or camera man and no mention by the press. My hotel did not waken me, but I was fortunate to find a taxi and lucky for the train was soon overcrowded, even the First Class. I got to my destination and found I had to be inoculated. But the doctor, finding that I had come so far, did not make me stand in line and I was soon through.

I had a hard time finding the hotel because it had changed names and owners. The present owner is a Farsi– (br!!) and a devotee of Meher Baba. Baba lived in Nasik, has a center there and many followers– which didn’t include the rest of his family. He knows Jean Albright. They speak English in the home.

Just as I was about to give up hope, my host appeared, delayed also by the change of name and ownership– he comes just once every 12 years. He took me into the crowds, and they were crowds. The army and boy scouts had been called out and they were needed, much needed. I had my baptism in the Godavari, and except for place etc. it was not very different from Christian methods. Then we went through very crowded streets. A rich widow was distributing bread to the poor who were lined up against the wall, but some intrepid people, mostly young men, began to follow and mob her so she quit cold. I don’t blame her. The Indians are the finest and least considerate people on earth and you can’t make head or tail of it.

My friend-guide Kabali then took me to his guru who is known as the Fruit-Swami. Mrs. K. collects funds to buy fruit. The Swami then cuts it up into salads, put on small banana-leaf plates, blesses it and distributes it. He lives entirely on milk and curds himself and has a vigorous body. Without waiting he began a profound discourse on God and self, meaning my-self. When Kabali told him about Ramdas he then explained how Ramdas was helping me by the cat-method, well known in India, and the advantage of the cat-method over the monkey-method. He gave me curds and fruit– which I ate later.

The Swami impressed me with a vigorous body and mind, and clear eyes and heart. He made no attempt to go farther except to say that Ramdas would help me. I later went back to the hotel. I was having trouble getting a taxi when the officer in charge put me in with several Indians and I got to the station. Then, although I had a first-class ticket, I could not get on the train–it seems that the first-class compartment had been invaded by holders of other tickets and they were not examined until we got a mile from the station.

But while in the taxi I explained why I had come to Nasik and my own views of Indian philosophy. This surprised and awed my companions. So although the train was full, one of them signaled me and I got into the concession car, which was not crowded and had more seats than the first-class compartments. All of this seems miraculous so I want to have it on record. It is also strange how many times I have been asked to visit the Aurobindo ashram. Well I have also been twice to the Indian School of Music and Dancing here in Hyderabad. I have chanted for them, discussed the deeper aspects of their philosophy and last night it came out that the percussion player is also a disciple of Swami Ramdas who has many followers in these parts.

I must call your attention here that my discussions on Vedanta, Yoga and Sufism have all been much deeper than I would have dared to say in San Francisco or certainly, in many cases, been allowed to say. But every step I go adds to my “authorization.” I am today, September 21, awaiting telephone calls from people here and hope to see some of the Sufis before long. They hold many of the offices here.

I failed to get an invitation to the Nizam. The fact is that his secretary, who refused, seems definitely on the way out and is in trouble. In fact he asked me for help. I was almost ready to do it when I found out that one of my Sufi brothers put the same question to me, of unloading types of stamps on the market which would fetch good prices in the United States. Naturally I want to help my spiritual brother.

There are several “revolutions” going on. One is a language gerrymander. Another is a social revolt. A third is a political reorganization. This both puts the Nizam in a peculiar position and the office-holding Sufis are being transferred. Although some of them fear for their positions, discharge would psychologically help Pakistan, and Nehru is so against the orthodox Indians that he plays very fair with all the other groups. So he is intensely admired by some Muslims and even coming to be regarded as a saint.

The Bhoodan movement (Bhave) is also active here, but I can’t see everybody or everything. This hotel is full of Americans, mostly farm-adviser types. They are very proud of their achievements, but I want to get the local reactions, too. All the employees in the hotel here, as elsewhere, became friendly because I discuss their religions. But there are also flare-ups in India, quite artificial and silly in which the reactionaries of both sides resort to mob-violence and think they are accomplishing something.

The morning paper came out with one of my pet peeves–the Indian starch diet. It took about the same stand I do and realizes the difficulty of overcoming false, nasty habits which have been identified with religion and which have no basic scriptural or Sruti background. You can get drinks here, but I am going around with too many Muslims.

There was a case in the paper yesterday. A Muslim boy was arrested in Bombay for kissing an Indian girl in public– and found guilty of obscenity. The court of appeals reversed the decision and said it would have to be proved it was an obscene act. Don’t get any idea of the sex-morality here. I mean any idea at all. Yet Kama Sutra is on sale now all over. Two and two make 22, not four– you have to use that kind of logic or you are licked.




September 21, 1956


My dear Evelyn,

My search for Indian Folk Dancing still goes unrewarded. In Bombay they have music and dancing, but it is for intellectuals. You either have very highbrow Indian classic art (including, alas, its most decadent features), or you have Western ballroom dancing which is very objectionable to most citizens. The movies are combining a new Indian plus South American music which I like and which is becoming popular among the young. As yet it is a spectacle, not a performance.

I found an Indian School for Music and Dancing here in Hyderabad. I got “in” because I know Indian philosophy. If you know Indian philosophy you get “in” everywhere. They teach singing, instrument playing and dancing. I like the dancing and percussion playing the best. You need percussion instruments for all dances. G.N. Dantie is the principal. The school runs from 7:00-9:30 A.M. and 5:00-7:30 P.M. Regular schools and universities are open 10:00-5:00 which makes it possible to get your art training while working (10:30-5:00) or going to school.

I spent a good deal of time with Sri T.K. Narain, Man Road, Marrepali, Secunderabad. He has his own “Academy of Bharata Natyam” the rest of the time. Bharata refers to classical India and Natyam means dancing.

Indian music is roughly divided into Bharatic and Carnatic. The former is mostly by women, the latter by men. In the former they use only cymbals, block and a tuned drum, which is called Mudgan, not tabla. In the latter they have several instruments which are varied according to whether a male or female character is doing the main dancing.

Bharactic dancing is solo mostly, costumes but not much makeup and makes much use of mudras or finger positions. It lasts a few hours. All the “Devadasi” dancing, subject to much controversy, is in this class. The Carnatic is closer to drama. They use masks and men take on the female parts– I have seen this in Noh dancing in Japan. The costumes are ornate and the masks very important– color, shape, size, etc. Much of it is close to the epic dramas and may go on all night, because the dramas are long and the epics much longer. They are always stories.

Narain has a number of girls who can do Folk Dancing but they did not show up last night. At present all classes are mixed, both boys and girls or men and women taking part. Generally the girls are much younger, excepting in the singing classes. The men are older (generally in their twenties) serious and intense and perform very well. The Carnatic dance teacher is a woman. She looks as if she has Western dance training too.

Folk Dancing is preserved mostly by hill tribes and villagers and is generally performed at harvest time. They have partnership dancing and men and women do hold hands, at least.

I have done one Tarantella and a little Mexican and Irish demonstration while they rest or recess. But when I get to Madras I hope to see Rukmini Devi who has been in the U.S. and meet her and other teachers of Red Fairchild of Oakland whom some of you know. I’ll try to get a fuller report and by then maybe write an article. You can make any extracts of this you wish.

Actually, the art is, in practice, confined to highbrows and very folksy-folk. This leaves the mass of shopkeepers and office holders without proper art training and here is where we may come in. (I want to have some good talks with both Gracie and John Filicich when I return (when?).) Actually this fool rushes in where angels fear to tread and generally comes out with something. But I have to carry on about four distinct types of correspondence in addition to details and trying to inform friends and relatives. So excuse please if I cannot say more. Next stops are Madras and Pondicherry.

(Girls, kissing is against the law in some places and regarded as obscene elsewhere. You have to do it by remote control. Or else you get psychological compensation at the movies. Or do you?)



Dear Rudolph:


These are my diary notes for September 22, 1956. Instead of airmailing them and sending pictures separately, I send them together 1st class sea. In one sense, I should not have come to Hyderabad. It was one of those “musts” imposed on me. I was refused admittance to the Nizam and my other host has been so tied up I could hardly see him. But I did enjoy the parks and gardens here so much that I am angry with the Tourist Bureau who has pictures and advertisements of the Hanging Gardens of Bombay which aren’t worth 1/10th of those here. Also I have been three times to the school of Music and Dancing which impressed me tremendously. It is government operated and I am planning to come this way again, if and when fortune smiles, and do something. Today I went to the Salar Jung Museum. The curator told me that it was a collection, not a museum. And just as I made a personal conclusion that much of the wealth of the Indies landed in Burma, so I have found that many, many great masterpieces (originals) are here in Hyderabad. The Tourist Bureau says nothing and they are going to hear from me and good. The Americans at this hotel said it was the best place next to the Louvre. I can believe it. I believe I shall like it better because it has a preponderance of Asian things.

The Chinese collections are too large for one place, even for students. There is one room filled with Celadon alone and it is some room. They have far more than they need. I made special note of the Japanese Satsuma and enamel. They have some very large, better say huge, vases here. I was able to “sound” some although one is not supposed to touch anything. There are 77 rooms, some quite big. This was the palace of the present Nizam’s grandfather and it must have been a luxurious place.

There was one room given over to Burmese wood carving and this was in every way superior to what I saw in Rangoon. Generally the Far Eastern things were laic, not many religious pieces and not too good. But fine screens, paintings, etc.

Of course a very large portion was give over to Indian things, particularly of the Mogul period and after. This meant a good deal of Rajput, Deccan and Southern art. The Deccan screens were fascinating, fine, delicate work in wood, etc. Generally speaking, I do not care for Indian painting excepting early Buddhist and Mogul. In the Mogul art special attention is given to costumes and faces, portrait painting being a really fine art. This can easily be confirmed because quite a few artists must have drawn the various pictures of the same characters.

There was plenty of opportunity to confirm Persian influence—against my pet peeve, Havell. This started with book printing, calligraphy, illustrations, etc. Most of it deals with Sufi works, Persian poetry, or with Urdu. A whole room is dedicated to Omar Khayyam. But there are copies of great Islamic scientific works also. There are examples of writing in gold, decorations, miniature or fine writing and all kinds of Qur’anic and “Allah” embellishments.

There are rooms given over to jade, ivory and metal work, especially weapons. I am always drawn to jade, but despite the Ivory Carpet, this room was one of the least interesting to me. The armor and weapons were superb, much better than Jaipur. There are excellent collections of Persian rugs, textiles and some costumes. One cannot do justice to these things in a rush.

Hyderabad has its own local inlay art. I really want to get you something, but my past experiences with shipments stand in the way; I can only plan to come again by ship and handle things personally. At least I am learning where to go and what to buy.

There are many European rooms. One has what to me is the most fascinating wood carving I have ever seen. From the front it is Mephisto, proud and arrogant; from the rear it is Marguerite, sweet and gentle, but with little spirit. I have never seen characters better depicted, and the curator’s assistant believes it is the best carving in the whole world. I would not dissent.

There was an excellent picture of Saint Peter’s in mosaic and many original Venetians and some Dutch.

The best British contributions to me were the pottery, and with this, the Wedgewood room. There were a great many original 19th century British paintings also.

The curator explained to me the difference between a collection and a museum. The place is called Salar Jung Museum. Actually, a museum is for exhibitions. These were collections, mostly by the grandfather of the present Nizam. He spent his money and must have spent much.

If this place had been in Japan, it would have been crowded with school children. The strange thing about this is that each suite is turned over to a sort of caretaker-guide who has been given a fine art education. Most of them spoke English well; all were enthusiasts, but a little “school boyish” to the point of claiming their works the best. Unfortunately this was not so in one of the Islamic rooms, especially Islamic literature turned over to Hindus who had no idea as to what it was. The Muslim employees were much more interested in talking. I am even inclined to say they were more interested in art than in earning money therefrom.

I cannot give an overall picture of the place. Each room is set up to form its own harmonies. When this is not so, as in the Celadon room, it is a monophony (not a monotony). The curator has the full sense of everything from picture- hanging on the wall to the arrangement of sofas and beds. It made me ashamed of some things in the U.S. and especially some quite close to home. Neither was the place overloaded with employees, but rather with these courteously trained attendants.

The armory was much better than the one in Jaipur, but with some of the same villainous devices. There was also a Near East weapon room and a European armory. The Indian was by far the best, and around the Mogul times it seems that metal carving and inlaying became a very fine art indeed.

The Char Minar (I think this means “4 towers”) is still living art, and yet it is also used as the motif in metal inlaying, porcelain, painting, etc. You can see it and in the other buildings the blending of both the Turkish and Persian elements of Islamic art with the Indian. In general that can be said of Hyderabad esthetics.

I could not possibly give attention to the Persian rugs, the tapestries and much of the European furniture. There were many original pieces Louis XIV, XV, XVI, etc. and much made of Marie Antoinette. The last things done just before the British left are tawdry. The school of “Arts” at the University is largely devoted to Liberal “Arts” and did not interest me at all.

But there is fine cloth work, shoemaking and folk art work still preserved here. I see I shall have to come back to Hyderabad some day. Before that I am going to write a fairly strong letter to the Minister of Information. They send out booklets which presume one is an Orthodox Christian interested in obscure points in Indian temple building; one who desires to retain luxurious living and travel in an ox cart; one who must come by air and then use a flimsy bus to get to his destination; demand, deserve and sleep in dark bungalows. Not only are these things incongruous, they are fallacious. The Americans here and southward are nearly all interested in farming and education, and the tourists mainly in Kashmir. A lot of accessible, wonderful places have no publicity at all. A lot of booklets are put out on so-called historical monuments and you have no idea where they are or how to get there.

That’s enough for the diary.




October 1, 1956


My dear Professor Seroking,

It is indeed a strange experience to find oneself in a realized “Shangrila” or “Shambhala,” to find, in fact, what has appeared in book or legend. Talbot Brady’s “Shambhala” or Hilton’s “Shangrila” may have excited many. The Roerichs wrote long tales of fancy and fantasy and considered the “truth” of them more important than the facts of life. One stands constantly between the surrealists who vainly consider themselves realists and in no case will examine the world as it is, and those metaphysical people who are only interested in hyperboles which they also call “truth.”

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram belongs in all three classes–it is a fact, yet is full of fancies and most of the people here want to be realists with regard to their own accomplishments and skeptics or downright scoffers with regard to others. The worship is directed to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, which obviates a good deal of prejudice, sectarianism and nonsense, but equally veils the Cosmic God so that He becomes a sort of backstage hand who obeys orders. This is a terrible indictment of what is undoubtedly one of the most curious and also marvelous places in the world.

To me the Sanskrit “ashram’ is probably connected with the European “asylum.” In Greece, Palestine and Egypt we found the word “thebe” or “thebes.” We have unfortunately mistranslated this word into “ark” which has no particular significance, and have lost sight of the wonderful “cities of refuge” and the later Krotons of Pythagoras. These were undoubtedly the forerunners of this place. A sort of parallel also existed in the Jesuit Empire of Central South America, but here there is a latent anti-Christianity. This is denied and there is, of course, no ill will. But there is a smothering. This smothering is in a country where, to me, the Catholic Christians and especially the Jesuits are rather unusual, and have much deeper attitudes and concepts than in much the rest of the world. In fact, today there is much competition to rush toward the 21st century in all things, and this institution seems, at the moment, far in the past.

Here you have cradle-to-the-grave security, and this security is much vaster than anything most of us conceive. It includes education of every sort—physical, moral, intellectual and spiritual. The physical education is marvelous and is applied to all people of all ages and types. It may seem a curiosity to find vitality reinvigorated into the aged of both sexes by practical gymnastic and other Western means. It is all the more curious because the literature is very strong for “yoga’ and very critical of “science.” But all the literature has logical validity (?) by simply making a multi-ordinal use of words, following the semanticists, so that the words “religion,” “yoga,” “science,” “humanity,” “India” and whatnot mean all things to all devotees.

The educational systems include and really integrate all that Switzerland, Sweden, Dewey, etc. have to offer and yet present the same as if it were a continuation of traditional Indian methods. The same attitude is seen in a criticism of Bertrand Russell because he has insisted on the emancipation of women, as if this were a “fait accompli.” It is, in this Ashram; this Ashram is in some respects a Wellsian “Men Like Gods” place—yet the literature, at times, presumes that what is going on here is true for all India. Yet Pondicherry, until a few years back was French, not English territory and the people speak, I believe, Telugu and have been quite outside the pale of most Indian movements, traditional or recent.

The educational system is not only for all the “Krotonites” but they admit many of the surrounding children. Those who pass intelligence tests are admitted to the regular schools; but a number who do not are given free technical instruction in cottage industries. Side by side here you find a full operation of cottage industries with complete and extremely up to date equipment and methods in baking, cooking, printing and publishing, farming, etc. (With the continued snide remarks about “science.”)

I do not know if I can make myself clear, but this place seems to be organized much like the human body is organized, with its cells, systems, organs, etc. in one grand whole. I think this has always been the “ideal” society and one finds it in Swedenborg also. I myself lean very much toward the same view. My objection is that the integration, while sometimes real and valid, is also accompanied by views that it is an extension of Hindu spirituality and rather offhand attitudes are taken toward other faiths.

Thus Sri Aurobindo somewhat, and his disciples vociferously, hold onto the word “Truth.” It stands out everywhere. Yet this word does not correspond to the word “Truth” as used in science; nor does it mean what we Westerners call “God.” Nor does it seem to include such things as the Ten Commandments and Sermon on the Mount. The word “revelation” is used and it seems largely confined to Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mirabai. Yet although the Mother seems to be quite empty and is in no doubt a saint, there is nothing in her prayers or methods which indicate the profound divine realizations.

As a result, there are obvious inconsistencies. One which is quite Indian, is that no one who has had deep experiences ever mentions it; along with that the quotation is made of Ramakrishna, using his words and testimonies to prove it is possible. This glaring inconsistency is also used all over India to quote Ramakrishna to prove your “Truth,” and then start a rival movement to the Ramakrishnan Vedanta Movement. Yet by and large I have found the Vedantans actually spiritual people.

The same is true that they presume that Aurobindo brought forth a new “revelation,” and to support it quote Professor Khalifa A. Hakim of the Camanic University: “Thus Sri Aurobindo’s Supermind corresponds with Nur-i-Muhammadi or Huqiqat-i-Muhammadi of Islamic philosophy.” In this connection it is worth quoting in extenso what a distinguished Professor of Islam has said about The Life Divine: ”… I was overjoyed to find over again the corroboration of the great truths of the higher Sufism in this profound message of Sri Aurobindo demonstrating once more the Unity and Universality of all real religions….”

Which does not prevent this institution from putting the quietus on the whole Islamic and Mogul period of India, from having practically no books on Sufism in its library, from having almost nothing—and the little by accident on the great Emperor Akbar who did unite most of India, was a Sufi, and made a very serious attempt to integrate all religions.

Nor does it mean that I did not know all this nor that I have not met many in India—many Sufis and a few Indians who know this.

Therefore the integration is incomplete and I regret they take a very dim view of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan for whom I have the very highest regard and who, although in politics, seems to be doing far more for the brotherhood of man than anybody. For Dr. Radhakrishnan, in his support of Indian spirituality never tones down the Jewish-Christian contributions to the world.

I have not seen all this place. I recognize transformation in human nature here. Men like Billy Graham and Glenn Clark would be compelled to bypass this place. Yet, for all that, I do not see any universal God here Who created all men, sinners and virtuous alike, and Who controls the destinies of the universe, not under any rules and regulations of anybody.

In a sense, it is a shame to say this. One is very well treated. The place is being constantly visited by pilgrims, many from India, and some from all parts of the world. Nehru and Prasad have recognized it. There is no idolatry and little superstition. Yet it does retain some Indian customs and, alas, a lot of Indian chauvinism masquerading as integrated spirituality. And alas, also, despite its literature and word usage very, very little yoga.



October 2, 1956


My history the last several days has been difficult to delineate. I was given a grand send-off in Hyderabad. I have the promise to speak at the University and I note there is one Professor Kalifa A. Hikim at the Osmania University with whom I should like to correspond. However, I have written to Husein Nizami and have sent a copy to Fayyazudin. My arrival in Madras was another one of those things. Dr. Singh had disappeared and, as my coming was uncertain, he left no word. My visit to Adyar brought mixed reactions, unfavorable at Kalakshetra, Rukmani Devi’s school–the way the staff acted. Exactly the opposite at T.[?.] which I hope to visit soon.

I had difficulty getting away from Madras. To the travel bureau and railroad it was “unthinkable” that I take the bus, and yet they could not book me. The bus fare is much less, it takes much less time and you can see the country–which is different. Only at both Madras and Pondicherry the cycle-riks and taxis gouge you. They do not hold to their own bargains. So my stay in Madras was costly but I want to see Adyar and try to contact Mirza and others, to leave on the evening of the 4th for Ramdas’s Ashram.

This place is Shangrila, or if you don’t like it, the Land of the Lotus-eaters. The overall system is marvelous and a transcendental integration. But I should say they are in fana-fi-Sheikh and they have reached the last goal. The Mother is a sort of saint and to me her darshana seems effective. She has a kind of real motherly love, the magnetism of which is too strong to be a mere affectation. I think most of the devotees are sincere. Jay Smith has been here a long time, and I ran into Mike who did not recognize me, I think, because I had colored glasses on. This morning, as I mentioned names, and had lighter glasses on, I think he recalled me. He is taller and thinner, still has the “nice, sweet” face and has decided to remain here indefinitely and then go to Ramdas. It will be interesting to find out what he says next year.

I visited the fishing village above here and was given some green coconuts. They were not fully ripe; the sugar content was low, the meat soft, but not sweet and the white part far from plentiful. One of the men accosted me in French and I entertained the kids and then left 2 Rupees for them all-this being a substantial amount here. I also tipped some children who showed me another way back.

In the p.m. I made my pilgrimage to the tomb of Margaret Woodrow Wilson–forgetting my morning appointment and going to sleep. The cemetery is some distance off and the grave is neglected, so I left 5 Rupees. It says: “Ici Git La Depouille Montelle De Nishtha” Margaret Woodrow Wilson, 16 Avril, 1886-12 Fevrier,1944. I believe the place should become a shrine and scene of pilgrimages.




October 2, 1956


My Dear Harry:

I just remembered “Fescue to the rescue” when I last posted you a letter from Hyderabad. I have had the ironic fortune to have my hosts disappear, generally suddenly. For the whole country is being reorganized and men are moved around without notice. As a result I did not see the celebrated Nizam, but I was given a tea by notables and preliminary arrangements were made for me to speak at Osmania University when I come again. It has also been my “luck” to reach universities during intercessions or vacations.

I ran into Mujahid Ali Akhil when I was trying to complete my walking tour. He did not think much of fescues, but I said there were several and there might be one to meet his need. I saw more Kenya Grass at the university where it was used for foundation lawns. It does not grow without care or without 2.4 D. It invites weeds unless planted very closely. They evidently planted it the same as C. dactylon which is planted as we do some Meosembryanthemums and other ground covers.

Mujahid took me to his pet project, the landscaping of the highest hill in the vicinity. Climbing there you can see all Hyderabad. Although there is a big lawn, it is not for traffic. Pyramidal Cypress will be planted there. There is a large cement industry in the vicinity. They make nice blocks for concrete steps and rougher cement for walls. The Park has a system of skilled laborers who put in fences, painting, frameworks, brackets, etc.

The slope below will have Columnar Cypress and he explained the landscape use for each. Below there is a terrace where Bougainvillea shrubs have been planted which will both cover the fencing and run down the slope. There are all kinds of Bougainvillea for many purposes. These were largely red, as the place is called Red Hill.

They have to make their soil mixtures. I have complemented Akhil on his use of organic matter and have written to the newspapers. I saw enough in Hyderabad to make it one city which I want to visit again–music school, parks, the second greatest museum in the whole world, the University, and, in my own case, “belonging” to the organized group of notables perhaps, for the rest of my life.

The university which is one of the most famous in all Asia (Osmania) would have delighted one Harry Nelson. They did not start with the university or grants. They started with one C. K. Jengar, the horticulturist, and (ahem!) The Harry Nelson of Asia. He began planting trees on the roads, then he put out a huge landscape gardening scheme. He planted foundation trees and then the university buildings were put up to harmonize with the trees.

C. equisetifolia is the main tree, and it is peculiar that when cut to a leader, it makes a huge one, and when the roots are pruned, it makes a fine hedge. This is because, although the soil itself is not very good, there is a water table underneath, and around the water table nutrient elements and, evidently, organic matter have collected. When roots get down deep, therefore, everything shoots up.

I am sorry that I had to worry myself around and could not copy all that I saw. In the first place, Jengar claims to have the best Croton collection in the world. He has 80 varieties and most of them have leaves which are Green in the early stages, turn by stages in which there is mottling, to red, and then become dark brown. By timing your plantings, you get a continuous variation in colors; or you can plant all together and have a monochromatic harmony (now, Sam!)

His main work was to do engineering landscaping below a slope. There, avenues run off in 5 directions to 5 main buildings. There is an esplanade in the center and this runs down to a fountain and behind the fountain is a large, concrete platform for meetings, giving out diplomas, etc.

Five species have been planted in such a way that there is continuous bloom, with some overlapping. Thus, there is Peltiforum which has yellow flowers and is used over much of southern India. Gulmar or Poinciana regia, which is also prevalent. Lagerstroemia flos-reginae was in bloom at the time. There is also Poinciana pulcherrima which is a shrub and also known as “Peacock Bush.” There are many Lantanas and Bougainvilleas.

Ipomoeas are used as ground covers on the hill slopes. Indeed, everywhere there is Ivy in the West, Ipomoea is planted. I think one Harry Nelson would like it very much better. I also found a Hydrangea brought in from Coorgy. I think that is hill country in the South, but as you go south in India, toward the Equator, it is not quite so warm as in the great northern plains.

I regret my notes were either lost or grew cold–though I did not. I was taken through the Nursery which is either under lath or old palm fronds, etc. They have modern watering systems also in Hyderabad (not at Pondicherry, non monsieur,) with plug taps, etc. I found both Jengar and Akhil modern in every sense of the term.

Then I was taken (by the Dow representative) to the Agricultural Experimental portion of the University. At the present, there are three main activities there: Liberal Arts, which, to my disgust was open; Agriculture; and the third department, which combined Forestry, Botany and Landscape Gardening under Jengar, the Harry Nelson of Asia.

That station gave me a headache. I have been told by the chief American Farm Adviser that only Ammosulph countries were civilized. So he is propagandizing this and has been successful at the university. This did not stop me from being stopped by an Indian who asked me, “Are you one of those Americans who is trying to sell us fertilizers that give us bumper crops one year and then denude the soil the next year or forever?” Or to have as my traveling companions from Hyderabad to Madras (I always run into these things) the leading French Farm Adviser who is peddling potash compounds and damning Ammosulph. (Will the Suez Canal result in a N vs K war?)

Anyhow, at the station, the first thing I was shown was the result of fertilizer experiments. They used several organic fertilizers and 1st in all cases was a defatted cottonseed preparation. Ammosulph ran 4th every time, if it was not left at the post. So what do they use in the fields? Roger! La science, she is grand.

I also saw their pest control work, on which they are quite enlightened, but say the peasants are hard to convince. Also their work in cross-fertilization and new varieties imported, as our friend Joe Garrett is someday going to learn, from Texas. You see, the Farm Advisers come from Iowa and I was living in a hotel full of “Iowayans” with their ideas and their failures which they blame upon natives. I have been writing to Congressmen for strains of Dixie varieties because conditions are like in Dixie, and not in “Ioway.” So, despite the Ammosulph experts who don’t like me, the Texas strains have turned out excellent for that part of India, which never has frosts and the Iowas types, n.g. (Please don’t start the civil, I mean war between the states over.)

I left Hyderabad for Madras and no hosts. I ran into one of them here, the other is I don’t know where. There are fine gardens in both places. I expect there are even better ones further south, but I am Horace Greeleying it to the West side of India. Anyhow, I have had fresh coconuts from the tree cut especially for me, an honored guest, because I still remember a little French. They have more fragrant flowers down this way, and I wish they would get rid of English and French ideas. Cut out stupid lawns, which do not do well, and have more fragrant plants, which the Indians like better, anyhow.



October 3, 1956


My dear Fred,

This letter is being turned into diary notes because it will undoubtedly contain much of interest to “Papa” Ramdas. I am staying over in Madras a short while, to leave on the night of the 4th, and should be in Kanhangad on the afternoon of the 5th. I ought to be in Delhi by the 20th or 21st. That means 18th and 19th or so in Ajmer, so should be in Bombay enough days ahead to book proper passage. I think I may be able to write to Thomas Cook to take care of this.

I have long been considering my two themes: “ Real Shrines, Real Sages, Real Saints,” and “Asia against Phant-asia.” I reached Ajanta shortly after reading Twenty-five Hundred years of Buddhism, which is not about 2500 years of Buddhism at all, but is a compendium of mostly Indian writers who draw heavily on philosophers and linguists and very few Buddhists have had anything to say about it. I was with one Vincent Isaacs, a pretty VIP at Ajanta and our examinations gave us pretty substantial proofs that some of the things the Burmese have been saying about Buddhism in Burma are correct–many scholars to the contrary notwithstanding.

Well, the other day, U Nu had published his own ideas. Any relation between them and what appears in Twenty-five Hundred Years of Buddhism is due to the fact they all admit that Buddha lived at a certain time. I had no difficulty at all in reconciling U Nu’s views with “universal mysticism,” just as I had no difficulty in reconciling Choy’s views of Confucianism. One has to assent here that the Theosophists were correct that the esotericists of all faiths come together. But the books are not written by the esotericists and the books hold it is impossible to reconcile certain faiths–which does not prevent some rather “astonishing” reconciliations going on right in front of me. This will make a lot of professors angry and the “ghost of Kabir” smile.

Nevertheless, if one is honest–and a lot of top-notchers in different countries are not–we would accept what U Nu says is valid Buddhism and what Choy says is valid Confucianism though they may not write books. Malalasekera has already been taken to task and Christian Humphreys will hardly be permitted to attend the forthcoming Kathmandu conference of world Buddhists–though Sam Lewis would go if he wished. This does not mean that universities would close their doors on Humphreys or open them to Sam Lewis. However, I have Harvard with me and I am going to lambast what has been spoonerized as “to yell with Hale” and until the Northrups are shut up–and I doubt they will be soon, it requires a lot of work by a lot of Coopers, Boyles, and Gunthers to make up for what pseudo-intellectuals are permitted to do.

There is a good deal of Phant-asia as well as Asia at Pondicherry. I went there with three gifts for “Mother” and will write you from Kanhangad after a talk with Papa Ramdas. I had a very strange mix-up with my railway ticket and because of it ran into my friend Mirza. Mirza was one of my Bombay hosts and was to have been one of my Madras hosts. But the political resettlements here meant great complexities at Bombay, Hyderabad and Madras in turn. Meeting my friend Mirza was a greater Godsend than you could imagine.

When I got to Madras, I called on his brother and there he was, also delayed. We made arrangements to meet in Bombay. He is a friend of my good friend Kabali there and Kabali “knows everybody.” His own guru is a friend of Ramdas. Well, Hindus and Muslims make all kinds of friendships that never appear in the papers and Madras Mirza is a very close friend of the grand triumvirate of Nehru, Pasad and Radhakrishnan. He is also a Sufi and we were seen agreeing on about everything from abstruse points in Sufism and the Qur’an to and through politics and about Aurobindo Ashram.

The new books printed at the Ashram have plenty of encomiums from Sufis, but the gist of these encomiums is that Aurobindo is giving the world what the Sufis have long taught or known. Only the Sufis do not advertise–or, in my own case, have been shut up by people with authority and nothing else but authority. The wild use of the word “truth” at the ashram does not prevent a thorough censorship of the work of the Sufis or Moguls in India and has some sides that will not bear investigation. Indeed, I am wondering how well they will carry on after the Mother leaves this world.

The Mother, undoubtedly, has some saintly development and an ability to transfer power or blessings. I cannot say she has any selfishness, or if she has–which may be– that selfishness is certainly overcrowded with a practical wisdom. This wisdom has made possible a very busy ashram. I should prefer to retain details for lectures.

I was well able to “gauge” the spirituality of the ashram, to compare the India darshan with the Sufic tawajjeh; their concentration with the Sufic Murakkabah and their prasad with Sufic methods. The main difference is the unhallowed method of Indians to claim spirituality in all they do and deny it to others. My Persian Sufi friends reached exactly the same conclusions independently.

This leaves me for a moment in a strange position. In my anti-Billy Graham attitude, I want to tell the world that Shangrila does exist and is neither Buddhist (as the Roerichs dogmatically insisted) nor Christian (?) derived from Milton, but Indian. I would like to tell America that India can tell us a good deal about God. Unfortunately, while the Ashram people also hold to this view, they immediately follow it up by ignoring Christ and Mohammed, compare Aurobindo to Buddha, make Nirvana into a concept–and not a very high or noble concept at that–and call their system “Prana Yoga” which is neither Prana nor yoga. It is exactly the Indian counterpart of the Japanese tariki (other power) as opposed to jiriki (self power).

This leads to all kinds of contradictions. One is the statement that no realized soul ever tolls and if one claims to have experienced Samadhi, that is a sure proof that he didn’t (forgetting Buddha), along with Ramakrishna, who is always quoted liberally to “prove a truth,” and then ignored.

Another claim is that all Indian art, literature and culture is steeped with spirituality, along with the most devastating criticisms of Sankara and Radhakrishnan, to say no more. Not only that, almost every celebrated genius of the West is criticized in the writings, largely because he did not agree with Aurobindo on something. If he were an Eddington and his scientific views were acceptable, he is criticized because he did not have Aurobindo’s social philosophy; if he is an Einstein, he is criticized because he knows nothing of “Supermind”; and if he is a Marx, he is a materialized.

So, there is little room for God and God’s Love. Yes, the Mother has some love and insight. On the last night (due again to my train mix-up) I met Norman Sr., a poet and after he gave me his theory of poetry I submitted to him the poem which had been rejected and we’ll see what happens. I know, or believe I know exactly where these people stand.

Jewish Mysticism (which is almost entirely forgotten) gives four degrees of interpretation of the Bible: literal, anagogic, figurative, and esoteric. Aurobindo’s treatment of the Vedas is figurative and symbolic; it is not esoteric. I am also taking this up with Ramdas and Kabali. One of the Ashramites has written, “Prana vidya has nothing to do with Pranayama.” Yet we are told that India always had the spiritual message. If you deny Pranayama–and by implication, or what is more obvious, in practice, deny Dharani, Dhyana, and Samadhi, what wisdom did India ever have?

Actually, the lecturing at the Ashram and the writing, too, is largely in the hands of skilled dialecticians, many of whom have studied Marx and Hegel, and not studied Vedas and Upanishads or practiced real Sadhana. What this means I do not know, for withal it is Shangrila and it is Dante’s Earthly Paradise. There is nothing like it anywhere. I don’t remember, but there was a French saying, “C’est magnifique mais ce n’est pas le guerre.”

India marches on and the Ashram has much to teach real India, but it could teach a lot more if it would learn, and I am afraid, excepting for the wonderful devotees, it will not. Unfortunately, the devotees, though many, are wrapped up in devotion and leave the noise-making to others. I met a lot of wonderful souls there and may go back. I expect to send you a copy of the letter I may write to Mother after Papa Ramdas knows about this. I also visited the Museum and Art Gallery here, and in the morning go for my second visit to Adyar, this time an official one.

Evidently, several of your friends have been to Pondicherry. Mike arrived shortly before I did and says he expects to stay six months, and then go to Papa, Calcutta, and Japan, in turn. He looks taller and thinner. His views will be most welcome, and may differ from my own–broken into bits, with the best parts kept back.



October 6

My Dear Quantz:

This is written at Anandashram, Kanhangad, which is some miles below Mangalore on the South-Arabian Sea Coast. You will find a lot of paper enclosed for my files. My trip at Pondicherry brought out a lot of things, which either I should not make public, or the manner in which this will be done may turn out to be quite different when I return even as I found both astounding wonders and some “other things” at the Aurobindo Ashram. They are not very far up on the Sufi scale and this can easily be proved.

I returned to Madras and found one of my hosts in, and met his brother who turned out to be a very big shot, close to Sufism (they are Persians), and a friend of everybody who is anybody. At the ashram I have made some more Madras contacts and it looks as if another trip to South India will prove very successful. As it is, I have taken in quite a bit. I have my material whipped up mentally for lectures and my “natural” still is the Yoga Center. However I have not written them a single line. I have kept in constant touch with Rudolf Schaeffer but can hardly ask him to let me give “spiritual talks” there. The Muslim situation is delicate at home and complicated abroad.

By “chance” I ran into one of the Muslim leaders in Madras and also lay the grounds for further efforts. He gave me Lahore and Karachi contacts but these people have so mixed their spirituality and politics that they don’t know whether they are coming or going. I seem to be doing little things which will make me a sort of saint in some places.

I have rather fallen down in following the Ayurvedic people but with all that I am carrying it may be too much—now. I shall try a little in returns to Bombay and Delhi respectively. I have not asked you to write, excepting when I may have sent airmail letters but when I do ask others to write, they have usually not responded. This may work out to “your” satisfaction in case you want to shut me up in your place.

After all some of my close associates are not spiritual disciples and I shall not want to be exposed too much. If people want to learn what I have gone through they can pay. I am with Swami Ramdas who, after all, is my guru. He is the embodiment of love. It rather surprised the people here that I came as a disciple, not as a visiting tourist. I shall now read Papa’s book in which he names several of his American chelas.

The events that I experience have little to do with the news. You can be sure that when there are large strikes or boycotts, the press will exaggerate the Muslim-Indian outbreaks; when there is a great internal language problem the Indian press will be full of disturbances over “integration” in the U.S. The American weeklies we get here will over-exaggerate trivialities and water down real troubles. There is a gradually awakening of social consciousness and many are becoming “just like us.”

I shall be glad to go over social and political situations as well as spiritual and religious things when I get home. I must not, however, interfere with your personal inclinations and you alone can decide how far you want to be on the “Indian” side and how far on the “Sufi” side and how much you want to integrate (which I rather suspect). I am in a stronger position to help Vilayat now and await his answer. I think I send you copy. It is silly to capitalize Murshid’s name or epithet. It is against his teaching. We are united with “all the illuminated souls” to form a single embodiment. In any event I shall give you personally some hierarchal instructions—if others want it, they will pay.

I will be sending you herewith or later copy of air-mail letter going to James Wardlaw, 673 A Greenwich, S.F. You might telephone him some time.

We have 5:30 a.m. singing, then 15 minutes meditation till 6. At 10:30 we have another meeting and there are no more spiritual gatherings until 7. From 7 on there are music, instructions, meditations, and conversations until not later than 9:30. Lights out at 10. This is fine for me. In the afternoon, one can see “Papa,” i.e. Swami Ramdas. He is an all-embracing love who uses love first, foremost, and always, without disregarding intellect.

Kanhangad, So. Indian Railway October

My dear Rudolph: I am not purposely trying to write to you or slight you but take things as they come. However, I ran into such further “fools-for-luck” experiences in Madras and Pondicherry that I have either lost some notes or they are piling on too rapidly with the short time at my disposal. The awkward things were intuitively anticipated, that sooner or later I would run into subversives where one would not expect them—and I have; the better things are so good that they leave a very great many doors open should I pass this way again.

I had to economize on expenses as I had no report from home. Here I did get a letter from my attorney and I am rather on the safe side of the safe side. This means we shall have to talk over some things, for example the purchase of books on Buddhist Art from the city of Madras. I am sending you some cards from Madras and they cover two subjects: Madras Art and Amaravati Art. I am sending two pictures to brother Okuda-san with a copy of this letter.

My visit to Pondicherry found me in the midst of what I call Chauvindians??---. Everything Indian was, is, and will be spiritual, and no other people can say that. At the same time, almost every great Indian is taken to task for some shortcomings. I will not write it as it will certainly be shocking. They teach everything but God is Love. Where I am now Jesus Christ is recognized and with it a full appreciation of Gothic and Cathedral art. I have today two eyes and maybe a third one, and while in a certain sense I am anti-Christian (or rather anti-missionary), in another sense I am quite for ritual, cathedrals, church-windows and papal art.

As I am nearing the time for leaving India, I go with the same firm conviction as when I entered, that the greatest art is Buddhist and Moghul. I have not seen much of south Indian art. It tells you too much. It is not quiet and peaceful. Shanti is a noise-word; they do not understand repose and they are more adept at explaining meditation than doing it. This belittles nothing excepting the exaggerated propaganda which is always in evidence when there is decadence. I met one man who had seen Sesshu and he knew exactly what I meant.

The newer buildings are terrible, with quickly constructed tile scripture and no depth of feeling. They are attended with commercialism and I regret to report that whatever my Christian friends and guides have said has been confirmed by the more honest Indians. This decadence is not true of Islamic art, of which at least one example is enclosed.

But it is about Amaravati I wish to speak. I simply do not get over it. The two examples enclosed are, in my mind, two of the finest pieces anywhere ever. This, of course, is one man’s opinion. If you can take it, I have become extremely susceptible to atmospheres, probably developing a kind of psychometric faculty. With this Amaravati Art, I felt much as I did in Calcutta with the Ranchi and early Buddhist Art, but here I find a definite esthetic advancement. This, to me, is superior technically to the Ajanta caves. It has made me decide I should visit Amaravati on my next trip, which has to be very carefully planned.

I am still quite against the experts. I think I wrote you one of my cayennish letters after visiting Ajanta. Sometime later U Nu published his views of life. It was way out of line with what the professionals and experts teach is Burmese Buddhism and so pleased me that I will try to visit the embassy in New Delhi. There is a habit of somebody poll-parroting somebody else—usually intellectual non-Buddhists quoting other intellectual non-Buddhists telling the world what Buddhism is. Dates are determined, traditions defied, and the monasteries ignored. This is what is called ”good international relations??????”

I expect when I get to India, to come all out for a rather obstreperous man, Rev. Jack Austin against some rather often-quoted experts who are recognized neither in Japan nor Burma, but are the supreme authorities in universities outside of great Britain. This includes you-know-who.

My next hope is to visit the Father Herez collection at Bombay. I shall be on the go until I get to Abbottabad in West Pakistan. Swami Ramdas is wonderful. He happens to be a close friend of the spiritual advisor of my good, Japanese friend, James Otoichi Kinoshita. The world is small.



This is Sunday October 14 and it finds me in Bombay with a diary badly neglected. On October 1 I made a mistake in trying to leave Pondicherry and by this mistake met Mirza which was a Godsend. I met Mirza at his brother’s house in Madras. Before that I went to the U.S. Consulate and told them of my Pondicherry visit—the pilgrimage to Margaret Wilson’s grave, the tip-off first and the contact second with the Communists and how they are using the Ashram. This was not only confirmed by the Mirzas, but their position is so strong that it leaves me in a delicate situation regarding Harias Chauduri and Judith Tyberg. These angelic souls simply do not see, or do not know what is going on.

Evidently Dilip Koomar Roy did, and although he has been an obstreperous person, his transfer to Poona has raised his prestige. When I come to India again, I hope to visit him and complete what I was not permitted at Pondicherry. Mirza of Madras is a Sufi. We found ourselves looking eye-to-eye on many things. He is also a friend of Nehru, Prasad and Radhakrishnan just like Fayyazuddin of Hyderabad (the present exoteric head of the Nizam-ud-din Chistis).

The week at Kanhangad was very different. Swami Ramdas is a real guru and gives spiritual unfoldment through music, meditation, and love. Very little intellectuality. My plan is to come to India next by Bombay and then I could visit him at either Ashram and conduct my researches accordingly. I want to purchase his books when I return, and have written at length to Sorokin at Harvard.

I went to Mangalore and visited two temples. I gave the Krishna-music at one and the Saraswati music at the other. I am beginning to understand Indian religion which is not in accord either with its silly apologists or blind critics. I still remain of the opinion that the Ramakrishna Mission is tops in India and the Arya Samaj a good, but far behind second. The true gurus and swamis are for the few and do not influence the lives of the nation.

I have failed utterly to see any such development in Hinduism as in Sufism. Ramana Maharshi is dead and his place is occupied by obscurantists, as if the light went entirely out. In my discussions last night, I said you can measure a spiritual person by the enlightenment of those in his presence and this was agreed. The Ramakrishna people and the Sufis transmit light, but the Ramakrishna people “withdraw” at least from meat and marriage and the Sufis see God in everything.

The attitude of the Aurobindo people on Sufism shows their tremendous limitation. I go around visiting mosques and making slight contributions and the people happy. Sometimes I chant or pray and sometimes just smile. The visit to Ajmir will, of course, be the culmination of my Indian visit. Even Hindus like to go there and there are rumors too, that Indians still go to Sufi saints everywhere. My trip has been highly commended by most nationals.

I was kept a full hour at the Consulate yesterday. My “legend” is progressing as much among American authorities as among the natives and this is going to work out to the consternation of some people at home who wish to live and love in their own thoughts. I cannot fully measure things at this time. I have written Martin Rosenblatt on the living arts of India. All looks as if I will and must come again in about two years. It will be interesting to see how facts affect this.

Visiting mosques is an amusement and I let them “convert” me to their great pleasure. I still do not know the internal divisions here, although from the types of caps there are several, and it is easy to make a mistake. But all Muslims are happy to see a foreigner cross their thresholds. So far, I have not been unwelcome anywhere. In fact, all plans are to come back.



Oct. 22 I am way behind in my diary and partly because of illness. I am writing this to Gavin because I am getting ready to send him a number of books. Three on mathematics are for Lloyd and perhaps one on science. I have written Lloyd therefore. The others are to be kept by Gavin either permanently or until I return and we shall discuss these. The ones for Lloyd involve the mathematical study of some Oriental religions from architectural and metaphysical points. This has not yet been done properly.

A large number of books are from the Burmese. I have been “belly-aching” against the authorities who write so many books on Buddhism and have never really practised meditation. I have gone over some discoveries and all I need is a good camera to slap down some of these men who describe “Buddhism” from the library cells much as Marx described “capitalism.” Some of my own rejected writings did nothing but suggest what U Nu affirms. Now U. Nu is a Buddhist and on two points I am very strong for what he has written, and be more. But now I have the U.S. officials so interested in my work that if any paper is to be written and rejected again, the one doing the rejecting himself must submit to an investigation.

I have been very successful in finding out where and how to go after money or support at home. My suggestions also to study Catholic musics here received high commendation and I can even go after the Cardinals. But this impetus to study untouched Indian musics reached its height at Ajmir. I have heard nothing like the Sufi Khawwalis. You can take your Marion Anderson and your Chaliapain, or anybody – they do not come anywhere near. These men sing to God and are far superior to Negroes or Russians, my erstwhile favorites.

My coming to Ajmir was nothing but a series of miracles. Before I put my baggage down my room was invaded by Chistis (Sufis.) How they found out about me I don’t know; I was with them constantly and not only that I am now officially Ahmed Murad Chisti and I am sorry but if any statement is now made as has been made by Professors Oxbridge they will have to face a lawsuit or investigation. No more nonsense. We are bridging peoples together and countries together. Far from my greatest expectations I have been in a series of whirls since reaching Japan. I left the American delegations with utmost cordiality.

There are a number of ceremonies which take place around the Dargah. One has to kiss the steps, the cloth, the railing, etc. But I found a good deal about Shah Jehan and the Nizam, who, instead of being a miser has never left his left hand know what his right hand is doing. He gives far more to charity than any man in India, not counting the supreme Salar Jang museum in Hyderabad.

I saw many tombs in places of saints; I was taken up on a holy mountain – not an advertised Abu but one in which you have to get “Masonic permission” to visit. That spiritual masonry which got me “in” at Hyderabad overwhelmed. I visited the shrine of Pir Wali Bahtiari twice; he was the successor to Khwajah Sahib Moin-ed-din Chisti. The first meditation I heard all around me “What do you want? What do you want?” I answered: “Divine Guidance.” “Go, you have it.” The next time I received a supernal instruction in the love and compassion side of Islam with a stern warning for the Pakistanis who are 90% politics, 10% religion and that religion in turn is 90% smoke screen.

At the Dargah I was given a strange blessing in vision, with two types of tassels put around me, and later a robe and shirt with the instruction that I was henceforth to represent Chistian Sufism in all non-Islamic lands. This was confirmed by Syed Farooq, my Hadim-guide before I could report it verbally (another coincidence).

I also saw what I had seen in prevision, great iron pots wherewith to feed the poor. There are many beggars around–too many, in fact, but no starvation and there has been little starvation in India, only malnutrition.

This visit which was to have been the supreme goal of my trip justified itself and I left feeling wonderfully excepting too much food–and this reacted. But I have since spent some hours with my editor, Dr. Ghopal Singh, and we made preliminary arrangements for my future writing. As he is a Sikh I hope to get him and Suri together. Dr. Ghopal is slightly leftist, but very well balanced and keen.

Ajmir is on the plane but nestled among hills and has some beautiful lakes. There is need for more ingenuity, because while there are wells all over the countryside is “desert.”



New Delhi, October 25, 1956

Professor E.T. Bell California Institute of Technology Pasadena, Calif.

In re: New Opportunities for Mathematics

Dear Professor Bell:

An old student and life-long disciple of the later Prof. Cassius Keyser, I picked up your “Men of Mathematics” at Bombay. I must say that these Pelican Books are obtained in India at very low cost, but my motive was to counterbalance the emotional-metaphysics which is impressed upon a visitor to strike some sort of balance. I therefore wrote at some length to my friend Lloyd Morain and am sending a copy of both that letter and this to Mrs. Vocha Fiske who is a very close friend of mine.

I came to India for several purposes, some of which appear in the context of the Morain letter and some here, but among them the possibility of introducing General semantics into this country. But I do not agree with the metaphysical-personality-worship of some people under the G.S. banner, and do not consider every trial-and-error method or private techniques of psychologists and psychiatrists as valid science—yet. I would like to have written, and I would still like to see written, some paper on the logics of Nyaya, Jain, and Dignaga schools of India. These logics, while not necessarily perfect, are necessarily non-Aristotelian.

Nyaya Logic has five premises and unites induction and deduction, but falls before Russell’s “Theory of Types” (which Russell himself has not sustained always elsewhere). The philosophical assault is a confusion of concrete and abstract; finite, finite-but-unbounded (or transfinite) and infinite in a good deal of Indian metaphysics. The Jain and Dignaga (late Buddhist) schools partly correct this and differ from Aristotle in offering non-egocentric logics.

A number of years ago, I submitted a paper on “Perspectives in Oriental Art” calling attention to the “Rain Space of Japan,” “The Bird’s Eye Space of China,” and the “Circular Space of India.” These are not exact terms but they offer possibilities for actual non-Euclidean studies—certainly at least the Japanese space would be Cartesian. I have not followed this up, but between studies in Gorer and Spengler, I continue to consider it a fallacy for G.S. people to emphasize anti-Aristotelianism when I find the real problem anti-egotism, and in India, what is needed is anti-dialectics.

You can imagine that the Indian mind is prevalently anti-Logical Positivism and along with this, in practice, is a hidden refusal of a great many important people to acclaim their own important scientists, many of whom I have met. But, as in India I have had to specialize (if you want to call it that) on religion, I wish to discuss that subject.

There have been studies on the gnomon, etc. in Greek and Hebrew religion. One Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre in the last century made a detailed mathematical analysis of many great temples in Europe. A like work has to be done in Asia. Here we come to two situations, neither of which has been carefully investigated:

There are, in Asian Arts as a whole, different sorts of “spaces” and different sorts of curves. The onion-dome has to be considered differently from the hemi-spherical dome. This has resulted in strange engineering successes and failures through the years, even in recent times. But when we go East of India, we find that the onion-dome has been transformed into both non-circular and non-Euclidean types—I mean cycloids, wine-glass-stems and other curve types. These analyses could and might throw some light on the peoples as Spengler has suggested.

This sort of thing is comparatively simple, but needs to be followed up. It will also throw some light upon the way people think and act. Thus Neutra has shown already the relationship between the geometry of houses and the ethos of peoples, but this has not been carried beyond Grecian geometries so far as I know.

The Indian-Buddhist circular spaces have to be considered from several views too, whether the circle meant a circle, a helix, or a serpentine spiral (as at Borobudur in Java). All these “spaces” exist, some with and some without a time factor, but much more time-space approach than has been realized in the West until recently. You find plenty of relativity in certain places.

The next venture is more complex. Edison discovered multi-telegraphy; Lord Samuel has suggested two or more types of “space”; present Physics leaves room for several kinds of “space” in “space” to take care of sonal, electro-magnetic, and other energies.

Consider a “space” (akasha) and in this space there are four natural forms, comparable, let us say, to four primary colors. These are: Earth- straight line, masculine element, etc., Water-circle, feminine element, etc., Fire- triangle, (cp., Plato “Timaeus”), Air- wave motion and/or zigzag.

You can build a “universe” of one of these alone, or of two or more, or all four in the same “space.” A point, for instance, would be determined, and not determining. You then have two distinct considerations: mathematical and dynamic. The dynamic would question whether an “earth”-operation would or would not have an effect on the other operations. A simile might be, what are the electrical and heat effects of sonal experiments (not necessarily valid).

Now this elemental-geometry breaks out in several directions. The most important for us is the effect in engineering and architecture which we can see and measure, especially in Nepal and Tibet. A strictly linear or curvilinear, or sinusoidal analysis would not be effective. But in Tibet, there is no difference between Mathematics, Art, Engineering, and even Ritual and Esthetics. That is, the mathematical analysis of a good portion of Buddhist architecture would throw light on Buddhist psychology, following Spengler.

In the meanwhile, you have “silent space” or “akasha” and there is a relation between this and the above, the same as between meditation and activity. This brings up the mathematics, dynamics, and psychology of a Zero-value or series of values which is very important in the understanding of certain schools of Buddhism. Contrary, it seems to be absent in much of Hinduism where there is always some kind of activity, even in their so-called meditations.

I do not know how a Neutra-Spengler of Mathematics first in Architecture, etc. would appeal, but the possibilities are there and it helps one to understand a great deal. When I came to Nara, the guide was surprised to find I was the first tourist who understood the theory of Rock and Sand gardens. This can be studied either from a (not “the”) standpoint of mechanics or “intuition.” This “intuition” operates like an innate synthetic or integrative faculty of mind.

In turn, it has made me wonder whether we have gone deeply into the psychology of integration. In turn, this affects our understanding of the deeper side of Indian philosophy, as in the Upanishads. Unfortunately, this is usually not presented except in an arena of such extreme emotionalism that one never knows what is wisdom and what is nonsense. So it is not surprising that on the surface, all converse Indians are dead against Logical Positivism and are afraid of Tarski, and many admire Hegelian methods. They go, at the worst, into an extreme admiration of the word “truth” and dogmatic defense of Marx. But this noisy group represents less than 2% of the populace, and at least 95% that I have met—and I have met many thousands of all types—do not operate in that manner, and are quite ignorant or totally repelled.

That is to say, what I am saying is that Mathematics can be used first totally in the field of “exotic” architectures,, and this will throw light on the Psychologies and Philosophies of Religion. This ends in the discussion of infinity and cosmic consciousness. R. Rolland pointed out the possibility of there being parallels or relationships of Infinity in mathematics and “metaphysics.” If the last means speculation, no; if it means, as Rolland suggested, the actual experience of Swami Ramakrishna, following the original and later theses of Prof. C. Keyser, his rigorous thinking, his “Doctrine of Doctrines” and actual “logical” relationships of the experience of infinity (as reported) and of mathematicians, I personally find they come very, very close. I do not wish to go into that now. The suggestions above may take a long time to work out.

Finally, the Orient needs the kind of sincere, straightforward thinking you have given in your books, plus the delightful coloring of wit and humor, to carry it along. I am sure there are many ways East and West can get together, and I am sure Professor Radhakrishnan would be among the first to welcome this.

Sincerely, Samuel L. Lewis



My dear Jim:

This is my diary entry for October 25 and it contains some matters that may be of interest to you. I think my 3-months trip cost me about $600, or $200 a month. The expenses have been some air travel, and for a while, mailing, which, together with gift purchases accounts for a good $100 of this $600. Naturally, city expenses are high. In Calcutta, a hotel runs over $6 a day, this one a little over $4, but at Bombay, it costs about $3. Taxis have been high, but that is because of the need to save time, and the extreme success I have had in making contacts. At that, I do not think I shall be able to say goodbye to everybody.

A small item has been willing gifts, added by the fact that I wish to assist in some of the present flood relief. I gave 20 Rups. to my guide, 20 more to the caretaker of my Murshid’s shrine, and 50 Rups. to the Ramakrishna Mission—which amounts, with taxi fare, to over $20, and may give more before I leave. Indians are, as a whole, spiritual, without being humanitarian. I have to excuse the Ramakrishna Mission from the last. There are, no doubt, men in India who are more advanced than the Ramakrishna Vedantists, but that advancement is a one-sided one. In the Buddhist analysis, they have become Devas, or even Brahmas, but they are attached to the wheel. They have not the consciousness of the whole of humanity.

I have reached this conclusion, which may be biased, after careful observation. Ramana Maharshi, who undoubtedly attained a high state of inner perfection, left no footprints on the sands of time. He was, in a sense, a Pratyeka Buddha. I could show you others like Anandamayee. I have no particular respect for these people. The scriptures say the Sudras came from the feet of Brahm; nonetheless, they came from Brahm. They do not say that the horse, elephant, cow, monkey, etc. came from any part of the body of Brahm.

This balanced inner and outer development I have found among the Ramakrishna people. Remember God brought me to Papa. I needed an element of Bhakti for my own development. I feel personally attached to Anandashram, and believe I shall so feel till the end of my days. I do not feel any personal attachment to the Ramakrishna Mission at all. But they said I had kept my inner and outer eyes open when I gave my report today to the two Swamis Maharaj (of Calcutta and Delhi). These men have asked nothing from me. They have explained their work. I have seen a good deal of their work which they have not explained, but I have seen it. It is both humanitarian and humanistic, and so, is not a lopsided spirituality.

Propaganda is not truth and noise does not make a mantram. I told the Swamis that, en masse, the Indian people were, to me, the most spiritual people in the world, but en masse, the Brahmins, priests, pundits, sadhus, and sannyasin were even behind the spiritual leaders elsewhere. They thought that that was a very observant conclusion. It is my own. I made it. I happen to agree with them. I gave though they asked me nothing. I did not give much at Ajmir where I had the most wonderful social and spiritual experiences. Those people do not sense the suffering of flood-victims. My Sufi colleague even refused a contribution from me. He thinks even flood sufferers should work and not beg, but he permitted me to give to the Dargah-custodian referred to above and I shall give again.

Charity is a racket in India, but not like the U.S. At the top, there are many who lovingly give, and at the bottom there are many who selfishly take. Still, this must go on. I have made no pledges but I shall consider the whole subject when I return, especially after visiting Pakistan. I gave up purchases in Delhi and shall explain to Dr. Spiegelberg and others. The Vedanta Mission is doing such a colossal work without trumpets and in time of greatest need among the people. The Orthodox spend their money on gaudery and piffle decoration.

The swamis also agreed with my criticism of Indian art. The Southern ornate massive-idol buildings are not to God. They are super-expressions of the deification of man’s emotional nature and sometimes his ego. They have nothing to do with Truth or Ultimates. India has not yet discovered Ramakrishna. It may put his name side-by-side with others.



October 25, 1956

My dear Nuria, As I am preparing to leave India, I wish to make a final report, a copy of this going to Quantz Crawford, 585 16th St., Oakland. I have failed, for the most part, in getting replies from people in the S.F. Bay area, excepting my attorney, who has been very prompt, and from Leonard Austin. I can only conclude either that mail has not gone through (this I know has happened in some instances) or that my reports have not been taken seriously. In the case of my attorney, I stressed over and over that my position in the Orient was about 10 times as high as presumed, but my guess was indeed much lower than resulting events have shown.

I left Bombay on most excellent terms with the American authorities. My “legend,” which has been going on among people was, to my surprise, also circulating at the Consulate. The achievements in South India were openly received and every consideration shown. I shall now have to take up several things in Washington and there are funds available for what might be called the “Artist’s Embassy” aspect of the next trip. This is something I did not wish for myself. When people like John Stein and Althya Youngman, who are supposed to be professionals, become personal, they only shut the door in their own faces. As a result, I have written Leonard and my own dancing teacher.

On the way from Bombay to Ajmir, I received the greatest cordiality from traveling companions. With a little circumspection, it now seems possible to raise anything from $5,000 to $50,000 for an Artist’s Embassy trip. There are so many musics and dancings here not yet examined. I may see Henry Cowell in NY and also the Guggenheim people. Yet the changes in church music and other allied features here should make it easy to obtain assistance. What I heard at Ajmir, however, was way beyond anything I have been prepared for. The Sufi Khawwalis make Chaliapin and Marian Anderson look like amateurs. It is beyond belief what happens to the human voice actually in love with an actual God. (As Murshid taught.)

Ajmir was to have been my Mecca. It was the highlight of Rabia’s trip in 1924. She did not even strike the shadow of my experience. Do not ask me how it started. As soon as my luggage was in place, the room was invaded by Chistis. How they found out about me I do not know. I was literally in their hands for two days. I spent many hours at the Dargah Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti, the most celebrated Islamic shrine this side of Iraq. I was dined. I went to the shrine many times and had experiences there. I already knew the essence of sainthood. I visited the shrine of Baktiari, his successor, twice. The attendant spoke good English. I am to represent the Chistis in all non-Islamic countries.

I had an inner initiation from Moin-ud-din Chisti and an outer initiation from Syed Faruq Hussein Chisti. Similar things happened in vision and in outer form. I was regaled. I climbed to the top of a sacred mountain and saw other shrines. I saw what they were doing for the poor, which I had long foreseen in vision. I learned a little of the connection between these Chistis and the Nizami-Chistis of Delhi.

With this combined backing now, of all the official Chistis of India (five branches) and the U.S. Govt., there will be no repetition of the nonsense in San Francisco. Rom Landau will now have to put up or shut up—if he is there. The same with Alan Watts. If I run into Althya, I am going to tell her what happened—I have a sneaking hunch I will meet her in La Meri’s in New York, but it is La Meri who is going to get my backing. There is going to be some real Artist Embassy work.

The final touch on the Islamic nonsense came when I visited the Egyptian Embassy for two hours. Just to show you how God works—Murshid manifested and foretold me exactly what would happen—the man I was going to see in Egypt is here in India now acting as cultural advisor. I was with him a long time and we discussed what I have never been able to talk about to or with anybody. The meeting with the Asst. Consul was even more cordial. He welcomed me as a Sufi and no nonsense.

The Pakistani Commission at Bombay thinks I am already a saint. The meeting was over my head, but the following three—American Consulate, Ajmir, and Egyptian Embassy—shall make me quite considerate.

I visited Murshid’s tomb as if for the last time. He told me he was everywhere, and as he had already manifested elsewhere, it was not necessary to my spatial obeisance. Although many begged me for financial help, I told them I was forewarned. The great floods at Delhi make it advisable for me to give what I can at the Dargah Nizam-ud-din Auliya, and I shall continue if they cease begging.

What Senator Ellender says is utter nonsense. The peoples of Asia do not have any pride about accepting money. They will accept. Many do not know what a bribe is and many do not know where America is. They would accept $10,000,000,000 or more and be glad to get it. We could attach a thousand strings; they would not mind. They don’t mind strings, attachments, and alliances. They want the money. The Indian political leaders are a combination of the finest men in the world and the finest commanders of the English language. I am not convinced by Krishna Mennon. He is so concerned with the smallest detail that he has lost sight of the issues.

The worst side of Indian politics is that when a Russian and American, or for that matter, a Czech and a German, say “Boo!” to each other, all the papers yell “World War III.” They have been predicting it and predicting it. Since peace has been made in Indo-China, I am not too sure that there have been more killings and riots in India than anywhere, even including Algeria. You get Algeria in the news but I bet you do not get Nagaland. Riots here, real riots, are not reported. Real strife is not mentioned; there is not much of it, but I have been where very little has happened until I saw it in the press, and by the time “Time” and “Newsweek” got hold of it, it was terrible. All the anti-Islamic riots here are a combination of school-boy rowdyism, gangsterism, and Pakistani pressures and amount to almost nothing. And my reports from Burma—although they are much more above board than India, indicate that the fighting there has been at least on equality with North Africa. News is where you read it, not where you find it.

I leave this Saturday for Lahore. I have failed in my astrological and Ayurvedic efforts. The former has little promise; the latter became too big, plus the fact that my hosts were compelled to change their posts without notice. These changes will be complete by November 1, and will not happen again but they did, while I have been here. The Ayurvedic investigation will be resumed later. I must come this way again.

From Lahore, I go into the Northwest. Changes now require my traveling by rail in Pakistan. This will slow the journey, yet enable me to enable me to visit places otherwise off schedule. I had expected to be in Egypt by December 1, and in the States by Christmas. Unless advised otherwise by my attorney, it will take another month to reach S.F.: Boston, New York, Washington, St. Louis, Dallas, (Houston?), Albuquerque, then a long stay around L.A. Most of these are “heavies” too. And I do not know where I shall settle. I should be studying languages and it may mean re-entering college, but I come at the wrong season for languages, so we shall see.

The importance of Yoga here has been much exaggerated. Sufism has 10 times as much to give as Indian philosophy, with the very possible exception of Vedanta. Krishnamurti is here and some people blew their trumpets for him. Indians do not understand Buddha, excepting a very few and they are “personalists” without using their critical faculties. Yet there are many great thinkers here, especially around the universities, and many great scientists whose fame is abroad but not at home. The Northerners and Punjabis seem to have the best “stuff” in them. I no longer know how to be both honest and diplomatic. If you ever run into Mrs. Gale Darling she will understand; she gave me some warnings and she was right.

I shall later write to Vilayat Inayat Khan. I like him in general, but told him I would never accept the capitalization of his father’s name—utterly uncalled for. I can assure you that the Arabs and Egyptians who are versed in Sufism would be appalled. Swami Ramdas told me Sufism is sweeping Europe, but it stems from Morocco, and I bet it is not mixed up with personalism.

This is the night of October 28. The entrance in W. Pak. bears some resemblance to that into East Pak. Faletti’s had not received my reservation although I had taken great care to place this first at Bombay and then confirm it twice at N.D. They sent me to Sunny View (interruption.) This was very awkward but it has no doubt resulted in my saving much money which is to be used otherwise. There was no room for me at Sunny View and I was telephoned by various American representatives. The wife of the consul-general had just given me a name (Mr. Wells?) when another call came in canceling a reservation. This is the way God works. The next day they said they had another room open—16 Rs. Instead of 18 Rs. where I could stay. It is better because the rooms are suites and large, but no sanitary toilets—running water otherwise, yes.

Meanwhile I had been able to contact the Ahmahiddayas and was asked to come at 8:30 next morning. This I did and they were very kind and lent me 10 Rs. I spent some time there. Owing to an executive meeting going on I was asked to look over books. I have taken one on Hadith (Bokhari) and one on the early Caliphs. They said they were going to publish all Bokhari which I think is very important. I may make a packet or package coming back to Lahore.

I saw the manager when I returned and he also had a runner buy a ticket to Rawalpindi.

I leave Tuesday night and will wire Minto. I shall check my other addresses. He said there was a bus form Pindi to Abbottabad. The Asst. Mgr’s son wants to come to the U.S. His name in Nasrullah. We had some talks and if he does come to Calif. he would be a “natural” to help me.

We went to one shrine (not Miar Mir) and then to the Shahi Mosque of Shah Jehan, where we climbed to the top of a minaret. There are four, and they are smaller than Kutb but open to public for 2 annas. There is a fine view from the top. Lahore is pleasant at this time and there are many trees including some Eucs. The mosque has not been kept up but the local govt. is doing some repair work.

We then went to the tomb of Jehangir built by Shah Jehan and Nur Mahal—we did not see her tomb but visited her brother’s (Asaf Khan). The garden is excellent, better than the Taj, but of course the tomb is not so outstanding. There is white marble above but below red stone. All the Mogul art should be carefully studied without emotion. There is a clear evolution and development but the non-Mogul element at Taj are evidently very, very small.

This garden and Shalimar are used for picnics and I mean used. The Sunday showed a clear appreciation for parks and nature much greater than among the Indians—Hyderabad which is an exception, has been under Sufi influence. I was too tried for Shalimar, and did not get my rest; I knew I would be unwell and am, slightly. For I had to visit the young men at Ahmadiyya for dinner. We had Pakistan I chicken and rice, which I had before, sweet, grapes and apples. I do not care for the sweet but the rest is OK. But the Muslims do not have enough vegetables for me and the food at this hotel is very good and balanced.

We discussed many subjects. Ahmaddiyas differ from Sunnis on:

a. Death, etc. of Jesus, having about the same views as Roerich

b. Selection of a reformer

c. Modernization of customs

d. Liberal versus rigid interpretation of Qur’an.

Yet I find rigidity here and suspicion of each other among Muslims who are divided also Sunni, Shiah (strong) and Ismaili (weak). I shall try to follow this up. I am as yet un-satisfied with the way they write their books, using whitewash instead of ink.

The food here is more or less English style but so far excellent. Not feats but meals. I am satisfied. I hope to be back around the 15th. I must buy clothes and look into several things today.



November 4, 1956


I left Lahore on October 30th. Saw the Shah-i-Masjid, the Data Baksh Dirgah, where I was blessed, and the tombs of Jehangir and Asaf Khan. I was dined by the Ahmadiyas. Bought two Pakistani sweaters for 14/8 and 18 respectively, after refusing British ones at much higher prices. Made tentative arrangements for my tour south. Had a fine meeting at the Consulate, with introductions, such as Wilson at the YMCA, who is interested in Square-Dancing. Bought cards for 8 Rupees from the Civil Military Gazette who treated me wonderfully. Bought a few books and prepared to visit Ashraf when I return.

Night train to Rawalpindi, very good. Called on Minto and we went around for a day, then left for Abbottabad in a good station wagon. Met many relatives of Abdul Khaman. Most are on good terms with Ahmadiyas. Visited a Qadian group. Next day to Monsura, where my host explained the relations between the Pathans and Jews and showed me the new Ahmaddiay (Lahore) Mosque. Also saw Rock Edict of Asoka. Want to write to Kinoshita. Fine country, with a valley emptying into the Indus and the Kashmir Mountains on the other side. Higher mountains in back.

Went to dinner on November 3rd to meet a lot of VIP’s. Spoke a few moments and when I said I would introduce Sufism to Harvard, was given an ovation, followed by questions and discussion with a few. One young man wants to introduce me to a saint.

Not feeling too well on Sunday. Met Minto’s niece who teaches in school and had two walks. There is a nice nursery here and a Forestry Exp. Station which I wish to visit.

Am a little troubled both by the news and the fact that I have no access to an English Newspaper. Do not know my plans, but will call on Consulate at Lahore. Have received notification from the Habib Bank that my money has arrived.

I have since spoken on “the Influence of the Prophet on Human Destiny,” and November 6th, at the Forestry Exp. Station on “Forests I have Dwelt in and Visited.” Well attended and I met some fine scientists. Chief, Dr. Khalil.

I wrote to Kinoshita. Khalil has just left and I gave him a list of people he might contact and also the last of my folios from U. C. I have a strong feeling something will come of it. The training school and exp. station go to Peshawar next year. I am awaiting tree lists from both the Conservationist and Director of the Forestry Exp. at this writing.



Abbottabad, November 6, 1956

My Dear Harry:

I have not written for some time and have had lots of adventures. (“Ho-hum! Here comes another book labeled as a ‘letter’–guess I might take time off and read it.”) In fact, I had to report to the U.S. Consulates and anyhow, I am fortunate that they believe in me. In an exaggerated sense, it may be said, that I have laid aside hoe and Levis’ for cloak-and-dagger. It is not that, but I did run into a nest of Commies and later met a bunch of Hruskies. Then I had a long run of hosts getting ill or being transferred during a political upheaval. I went from Bombay to Ajmir and was so feasted that I contracted dysentery. When I reached Delhi, I found that the clothes that I had purchased in Hong Kong had never been delivered and were in Delhi all along and that took a lot of time.

I wanted to go to Bahrain and found if I went to Bahrain I could not go to Iran and had to go to Egypt. Then, look what happens. If I go to Bahrain, I can’t go to Egypt and it looks as if I may have to go to Iran after all. Anyhow, I have a lot of stories, anecdotes, and information which will interest Lloyd and will go to the World Affairs Council when I can get time to write. Meanwhile, ad-went-ures.

I came to Lahore, in West Pakistan, and was treated royally by the staff of the Civil and Military Gazette, the paper Kipling once worked for. I also made friends with the Chief of Security Police–and later with the Public Prosecutor. (Boy, you’d better.) Then my geography got weak. In India I had to use a railroad, highway and airlines’ map—three of them, to get any ideas of where and how I was to go. Here I have a railway map only, and it is impartial—little villages and big cities get the same consideration. Anyhow, after a short stay at Lahore, I was told to get off at Rawalpindi and take a bus. I’m glad I did. I found Rawalpindi a large city of which I had never heard. Also, a very good San Francisco friend had just moved there so I will go back and see him. Then I came to Abbottabad, which I learned can only be reached by bus. There are fine highways here and the bus service all over is good, cheap and frequent.

Abbottabad is not on the rail map and is much larger than many places that are. It contains a cantonment, or big army post. I am somewhere between Kashmir and the Indus Valley. The hill people are Pathans, where men are men and the hunting season is all year around. (I saw the Rock Edicts of Asoka. Many centuries ago he forbade the killing of birds, so the Pathans did not kill birds, only “Mad dogs and Englishmen that went out in the noon-day sun.”) Now it is very quiet, especially the Pathans. The “civilized” Urdu-speaking people are busy doing nothing but having sit-down strikes to yell at Englishmen and favoring Egypt. Most of them do not know where England or Egypt are, much less the Suez Canal, but anything is better than working hard.

This city is in a sort of saddle, or low plateau. The scenery is much like California. The flowers are precisely identical. Zinnias grow tall, not so large as in the warm climates, more bushy and free from molds. Dahlias grow very tall, as tall as in Washington. They are not usually pinched, but Chrysanthemums are and look very fine. The nursery had Snaps, Stocks, Calendulas, Marigolds, Roses Canna, etc. Privets are the most universal hedge material. The trees are chiefly Pines (P. longifolia), Firs, Cypress, those wonderful Poplars, Pl. orientalis (which is, with P. longifolia, the most common), Thuja, C. deodar, etc.

The other day, I was taken northward about 20 miles, to a friend of my friends and he proved to be the largest landowner in this region and the most enterprising Pakistani I have yet met. He has a very diversified farm—something I have not yet seen in all Asia. He does not only grow Rice, Jute, Wheat and Sugarcane crops, but all kinds of truck and garden vegetables. These are all familiar: Radish, Cauliflower, Spinach, Onion, Potatoes, etc.

The fruit trees especially interested me because he uses the method which I always claim is natural. There are wild Apricots, Pears and Olives on his land, so he grafts onto them. He has introduced six kinds of Japanese Plum to the Apricots. P. persica, Orange, Lemon, Walnuts (native varieties, as yet no grafting.) In other words, I was in California.

He has also introduced Eucalyptus and Ash. This brings me to that controversial subject, the Euc. All over India I ran into: “They might grow them in that Province, but they will not grow here,” only to find more in the next Province. Politics and linguistic feuds result in ironic and stubborn ignorance. As soon as I reached Lahore, I found Eucs, and I find different kinds all over West Pakistan. At Mansoorah (the district referred to above) I saw a forestry nursery, but had no time to visit it. Since then, I met the Director of Forest Exp. Station and we had a good talk on Eucs. There has been an international convention in Rome on this subject and I want to take this up with both you and Sylvester Evans. I shall be glad to stand any costs to get you the literature. I told the Director about my visits to Dacca and Dehra Dun.

The brother-in-law of the land owner (Judge Khan) happens to be the Chief Forest Conservationist in this district. I have visited him and he has promised me a tree list. He also showed me the best book available and I am going to try to purchase it in Lahore. The C & M Gazette, referred to above, also prints government publications so I should easily get information.

Late in the afternoon yesterday I visited the Exp. Station and college. He (the Director) has promised to give me a list of seeds and trees available for sale and exchange. I told him a little of my Japanese experiences and gave him a brief on California in general and you in particular. (There is a job open here if you want it—instruction is all in English.) They use a mixture of International and English names for plants, not always sticking to either the common or scientific usages, but that makes it rather easy for identification. They also use local names.

There are a lot of native Acacia. A. arabica is most common and then A. catechu. They are looking for some that will withstand frost or cold. A. dealbata is the only one here that is found in Japan or the U.S. The Station was started by professors that used to be at Dehra Dun. They had to start from scratch. They have been moved four times. Judge Khan has turned over all his hills to them for tree planting. I told them a little about Mrs. Scott’s work. Seeds take easily here. They are building greenhouses and plant propagation facilities at Peshawar, where they move next year. They will affiliate with the University of Peshawar, only this is a graduate school.

The soil around here is alkaline, high pH. But the hills beyond have plenty of leaf mold, especially around the Fir Forests. There you have Rhododendrons and other acid tolerant plants. I mentioned the tall Buxus, which I referred to in my report from Dehra Dun. B. papillosa is most common and is usually a shrub. B. wallachiana does become a tree and usually grows to 30 feet, 18 years being required for 1-inch girth. The Director has seen those 50 foot trees; they are in an inaccessible region to the north. They have a girth of 9 inches, showing they must be 9x18 years old.

P. excelsa is the other Pine and is highly regarded. They know nothing of Redwoods. I am going to talk to them on “Forests I have Dwelt in or Visited.” These will include the Carolinas, Connecticut, Ohio and the West Coast. I will mention (don’t tell Anderson) the “redwoods”–Taxodium, Sequoia & Co., Cryptomeria, Cunninghamia, etc. (On account of the war, I may have to go to Beirut. If so, I will inquire into the Cedars of Lebanon.)

There are also Oaks in this region, Q. incana being the most common. I shall look into this further. My first inquiries at Lahore led to a misunderstanding. They thought I was interested in theoretical botany. There are few good guide books, maps, etc.

The Forestry Department has done a lot of work on Medicinal Trees and Shrubs which is out of my line and a little, too little from my point of view, on Mycology. The above leaves a lot of room for follow-up. They have worked out an Ecological Map based on Acacias for West Pakistan. I once worked out the same thing for Oaks in South Carolina. End of official report.



Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and His Researches Into Plant Physiology 1858-1938

By professor J.C. Ghoah, D.Sc.


Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose was born on November 30, 1858, in the village of Rarikhal in Bikrampur. His early days were spent in Faridpur, where his father, Bhagawan Chandra Bose, was posted as a Deputy Collector. The latter was a man of broad sympathies and of generous impulses, who ruined himself by his attempts to establish indigenous industries. Bose was fortunate in having such a wise and sympathetic father to guide him through his youth. His school education was completed in the St. Xavier’s School; he also graduated from the same college. It was the influence of Father Lafont which aroused his interest in experimental physics. Like the latter, Bose later developed a flair for experimental demonstration which has kept many audiences in rapt attention. When it was decided to send him to England, it was his mother who sold her jewels to find money for her son’s education. Bose decided to study medicine in London. But after repeated attacks of Malarial Fever, contracted in Assam, prior to his departure for England, Bose had to give up the study of medicine and take up Natural Sciences. He joined Christ’s College, Cambridge, and later took his degree both in Cambridge and London with Physics, Chemistry, and Botany. He had for his teachers Raleigh, Livieng, Michael Foster, Francis Darwin, Dewar and Vines. They all remembered him and helped him in many ways when Bose later returned to England to demonstrate the results of his investigations.

On his return to India, and on the recommendation of Lord Ripon, he was given a professorship in Physics in the Presidency College, Calcutta, in 1885. Being an Indian, he was entitled to two-thirds’ salary. As the post was an officiating one, only half of that was offered to him. He protested against this invidious distinction, and for three years refused to accept the cheques by which he was paid his salary. He married, in 1887, the second daughter of Mr. Durga Mohan Das. The golden anniversary of their wedding was celebrated on January 27, 1937. Owing to the great financial difficulties under which the newly-married couple started their life, they had to take a house in Chandernagore, on the bank of the river. He used to cross over every day to Maihati in a rowing-boat, which was then taken back by his wife. Later, in the early nineties, he came down to Calcutta and shared a house in a large compound in Mechuabazar Street with his brother-in-law, Dr. M.M. Bose. At this period he was engaged in various scientific hobbies, including photography and sound recording. One of the earliest models of Edison’s phonograph was purchased by the college, and Bose was engaged in experiments in voice recording and production. His work in photography was taken up very seriously. On the lawn of his house, a studio was erected and equipped. He used to go out on photographic excursions during the vacations. In the midst of all these scientific recreations, he kept up his interest in Hertz’s experiments with electromagnetic waves, which had caused a great amount of interest in scientific circles while he was in England. On his 35th birthday, in November, 1893, he decided to seriously devote himself to the pursuit of new knowledge, and in the following year, he began to publish his series of investigations on the properties of electric waves.

Bose’s research falls into three main groups. In the first period he deals with the properties of electric waves. In the second period, the study of the similarity of behavior, under the action of electric waves, of a class of substances used for detecting such waves to those shown by living tissue. Thus, he was led to the investigation of the responses in the living and non-living. From such studies he was finally led to investigate the psychological properties of plant tissues, and to demonstrate the similarity of their behaviors to that of animal tissues.

In the course of his electric wave investigations, he devised an extremely compact generator of electro-magnetic waves. The radiating source was a sparking system between platinished spheres, which emitted radiation of wavelength of about 5 mm, which is about the limit of the shortest electro-magnetic waves which have, so far, been investigated.

For his detecting system he used an improved form of coherer, first used by Branly of Paris. The detailed study of the action of the coherer proved later on to be the turning point in Bose’s career. The form of coherer first used by him consisted of a number of fine wire spiral springs, adjusted with a large number of regular contacts fixed in ebonite and under the control of a spring. A weak current flows through this, to which the spirals offer appreciable resistance. On the impact of electric radiation this resistance is greatly diminished, resulting in a large deflection in a given ometer which is used in the circuit as an indicating instrument. In the early forms of the coherer, it was necessary to tap the latter in order to bring it back to its initial condition of this resistance. Bose later on devised other forms of coherer which showed the property of automatic recovery. The apparatus thus built up was not only very sensitive and regular in behavior, but also very neat and compact; it could be packed up in a small suitcase, and put on the end of a writing-table. Compared to the large wavelength of the radiation used by Hertz and Lodge, which required the use of optical apparatus of enormous dimensions, and which gave rise to uncontrollable stray radiation by diffraction effects, Bose’s small and compact apparatus at once attracted the appreciative attention of the leading European physicists, and its description appeared in textbooks by Poincare, in an Encyclopedia Britannica article by Sir J.J. Thomson, and in other textbooks. With this apparatus Bose was able to demonstrate the optical properties of reflection, refraction, selective absorption, interference, double refraction and polarization, rotation of the plane of polarization, etc. It was found that a crystal named menalite produced polarized electric waves by selective absorption in the same way as tourmaline does for visible light waves. Since the electric waves, due to the comparatively large wave-lengths, were not much absorbed by air and other media, Bose investigated the possibility of sending electric signals through long distances. In a lecture experiment, he showed the possibility of sending signals over a distance of 75 feet with three solid walls intervening. Those who visited Bose in the house in Convent Road at this time could have seen him working with his apparatus for sending and receiving signals in the shape of ringing of bells. In this apparatus flat metal discs on the top of long rods were used for facilitating the sending and receiving of signals, anticipating in some ways the use of antennae in radio-telegraphy. The possibility of practical application of this method of sending signals did not escape the attention of interested people when Bose, in 1895, went to England and demonstrated, to various learned societies, the results obtained by his apparatus. If one takes into consideration the very limited workshop facilities available in the Presidency College Laboratory in those days, one can well understand the chorus of appreciation with which distinguished physicists in Europe, like Kelvin, Rayleigh, Thomson, Lippman, Cornu, Poincare, Warburg, Quincke and others received this demonstration.

We come now to the second period of his physical researches, which led to his postulation of the similarity in the response of the living and non-living.

In the course of investigation of the suitability of different materials as coherer, he found that in a certain class of substance the incidence of electric waves leads to a diminution of contact resistance, while in another class of substances—of which potassium and arsenic are representative—an increase in electric resistance under radiation was observed. For this type of effect he introduced the term Electric Touch of Contact Sensitiveness in preference to the word then used: “Coherence.” He further noticed that this contact sensitiveness diminished with constant impact of radiation and it recovered its previous sensitiveness if the receiver was laid aside for a long time. In fact, all the characteristics of the behavior of a living tissue under stimulation were exhibited. In the course of his investigations he, about the same time with Shelford Bidwell, investigated the change of conductivity of selenium cell under the action of light. The work of these two pioneers in this field is mentioned in a report which appeared recently in Physikalische Zeitschrift of the rapidly growing and technically important subject of photo-conductivity and contact rectification in semi-conductors.

At the time of Bose’s investigation the electron had just been discovered in the phenomena of gaseous discharge, but its application to the conductivity of solids had not been discovered and Planck’s Quantum Theory of Radiation was just being formulated.

To explain the responsive variation of material bodies under different types of stimulation, Bose postulated his molecular stress and strain theory, viz., that every type of stimulus, be it electrical, mechanical, effect of radiation visible or invisible, produced a state of molecular strain in the substance. One of the most delicate methods of investigating this state is by means of electrical conductivity measurements. If left to itself, the substance returns from its strained state and behaves normally again. The electric behavior of a large class of substances under different types of stimuli was investigated and interpreted under the molecular stress and strain theory. One of the most successful applications of this was in explaining the disappearance of the latent image on an exposed photographic plate if it is not developed within a certain time. All these effects find an explanation in Pohl’s investigation of photo-conduction and light absorption by alkali and silver-halide crystals, and its interpretation in terms of Franck’s theory of photo-sensitized activity. Another interesting application of Bose’s theory was the interpretation of binocular alteration of vision. A physicist cannot help regretting that Bose should have left this promising and then unexplored region of physical investigations—in which he could have been a pioneer—for physics-physiological investigations, where his appearance was resented by the orthodox physiologists and his work was much hampered by their opposition.

In 1900, Bose attended the International Congress of Physics in Paris, and read a paper on the generality of molecular phenomena produced electrically in living and non-living matter, in which he brought together a large amount of comparative observations on the similarity of response in the two classes of substance. It is interesting to note that he used the ferro-magnetic magnetite as a specimen of non-living matter. It was shown in this and subsequent papers that many of the effects of stimulation shown by living tissue were also shown by non-living matter, thereby extending the degree of similarity of behavior in living and non-living matter. In England, Bose’s communications of his investigations had a mixed reception. Some of the physiologists, headed by the veteran Sir John Burdon Sanderson were opposed to the interpretation of the results of his experiments. As a consequence, his communication to the Royal Society was only read, but not published, and placed in the archives of the Society. It was at this juncture that some of the leading botanists who were office-bearers of the Linnaean Society, including Vines, Howes, and Horace Brown, and who had seen his experiments, offered the hospitality of the Society for the reading and publication of his paper. In the course of these investigations, Bose became more and more interested in the response of plant tissues under different kinds of stimulation, and of their similarity to that by animal tissues.

Now began the third epoch of his investigations on plant response. These were communicated in a series of papers to the Royal Society in 1903. It was proposed to publish them in the Philosophical Transactions. As he was now away from England, the opposition group was successful in holding up his papers on the grounds that his results were so unexpected and so opposed to current theories that nothing short of the plant’s automatic record would carry conviction. In the early days—when the investigations on the plants were commenced—the responses in plants were magnified by optical levers, which were first introduced by him in plant physiology, and recorded by following the movement of the spot of light on a drum with a pencil. This rebuff from the Royal Society spurred Bose to devise more and more sensitive apparatus for making the plant write its autograph. Of these, the first, completed in 1911 was the Resonant Recorder which automatically recorded the velocity of nervous impulse in Mimosa petiole and by means of which time values as short as 1/1000th part of a second could be estimated.

Then followed, in 1914, his Oscillating Recorder for recording the exceedingly feeble pulsations of the leaflets of Deamodium Gyrans.

For measuring linear growth movements in plants he devised and brought to a high degree of perfection, in 1917, his Compound Level Crescograph which conveniently shows a magnification of 5,000 times.

Not content with this magnification, he constructed his Magnetic Crescograph which easily magnified one million times. It is rather interesting to note that this apparatus was the bone of contention between Sir Jagadish and Dr. Waller, who doubted its performance. Eleven Fellows of the Royal Society jointly testified to the claims of Sir Jagadish in a communication to the London Times in 1920. At this time he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In the same year he perfected his Balancing Apparatus, which can be adjusted to balance any rate of growth, thus keeping the recorder steady, until a change in the rate of growth takes place. This apparatus compares favorably with the Heliostatic movement of astronomical telescopes. In 1919, he was the first to introduce insulated micro-electrodes for determining the electrical activity of deeper tissue cells under geotropic and other stimuli.

Then came the “Bubbler” or Photo-synthetic Recorder, first used in 1922 for certain sap movement experiments, finding its final use in measuring the rate of photosynthesis in plants.

Another apparatus designed and perfected by him in about the year 1927 is his Biometric Contraction Apparatus which can show diametric expansion and contraction in plants under the effects of heat or cold, poison or stimulants.

The main principles utilized in the above apparatus are: elimination of friction and unhampered movements of the recorders.

It is generally assumed that there are certain fundamental resemblances in the behavior of all living cells by virtue of their possessing the same ground plan of protoplasmic structure. The fundamental properties of the protoplasm are contractibility, conductivity, and rhythmicity. In animal organisms these functions are taken up by specialized tissues such as muscles, nerves and organs composed of nerves and muscles. Bode’s great problem was to discover similar functions in plant tissues.

Contractibility in plants is demonstrated by his diametral construction apparatus. He showed that plant tissues undergo change in shape under the action of electrical stimuli as animal muscles do. By means of the resonant recorder, which can measure intervals of up to one-thousandth of a second, he demonstrated that the conduction of impulses in plant tissues—the effect of the application of warmth, cold, depressant and exciting drugs, and of homeodomains electric currents producing identical effects. These experiments definitely opposed the accepted theory of the hydraulic transmission of impulses in plants.

By means of his oscillating recorder he showed that the rhythmic pulsation of the leaflets of Deamodium and other plants are of the same category as the pulsatile activity of an animal heart. He demonstrated that the source of pulsatile movements in Deamodium leaflets is light stimulus, the response being proportional to the quantity of light falling on the leaflets–light impulse of a short duration producing a single pulsation, whereas stronger light or longer exposure produced multiple responses.

Another outstanding problem of plant physiology is the movement of sap in plants. The generally accepted view at this time being that the movement is due to the action of purely physical forces such as capillarity, osmosis, transpiration and of a new type of force, root pressure. Bose, on the other hand, while not denying that these forces may be partially effective in causing sap movements, maintained that the principle factor was a vital phenomenon, probably of a pulsatile character.

He used to show a simple experiment where two wilted leaves–one dead and one living–coated with Vaseline to prevent transpiration and detached from the parent plant to prevent the action of root pressure, showed very different activities when their stems are put in tepid water, the living one becoming erect in a very short time, while the dead one did not respond at all. He devised some very ingenious experiments to explain this pulsating activity of the plant cells when transmitting sap through the tissues. Other important problems dealt with by him were the investigation of tropic movements in plants.

His main hypothesis in explaining the opposite activity of different parts of plant tissues to the action of stimulating agents such as gravity and light, was that a stimulus of the same kind produced opposite effects in a given tissue, depending upon its intensity—weak stimuli producing positive and strong stimuli negative effects.

While in the midst of these investigations, Bose’s period of service in the Presidency College was nearing its end and he had to retire in 1915, after he had completed his fifty-seventh year of age. For two years he continued his work, partly in a laboratory fitted up in his own house in Upper Circular Road and partly at Darjeeling. He felt that the time had come for establishing a research institute, where his work in biophysics could be carried on by a band of research scholars. As he was nearing the end of his period of service, it was discovered by the Government that, though by his seniority he was entitled to the highest grade in the Education Service, his claims had been overlooked. He was gazetted to the highest grade with retroactive effect. The large amount received as back pay was credited to the account of the prospective Research Institute; also, a legacy from an old, valued friend was received for this purpose. All these amounts were very carefully invested and had increased considerably by the time the Institute was started. To this were added some donations from the public and an annual subvention from the Government. A plot of land to the north of his house was purchased, and a beautiful, well-planned research institute was built and opened on November 30, 1917.

The results of the investigations carried out in the Institute were published in the Transactions of the Bose Institute which first appeared in 1918. From time to time he summarized the results of these investigations in monographs, the last of which, entitled “Growth of Tropic Movements in Plants,” appeared in 1929.

As a member of the Committee For Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations, he used to visit Europe every summer for five years and come in contact with the leading intellectuals of the Western world. In 1928 he visited some of the leading centers in Europe, where his lectures and demonstrations aroused a great deal of interest. Professor Molish of Vienna (who died very recently) accompanied him to work in his Institute for six months. At the time of leaving the Institute, he wrote a letter to Nature (April 13, 1930), testifying to the remarkable experimental work which was being carried out there. “I saw the plant writing down the rate of assimilation of its gaseous food. I also observed the speed of the impulse of excitation in the plant being recorded by the Resonant Recorder, which automatically records intervals of time as short as the thousandth part of a second. All these are more wonderful than fairy tales; nevertheless, those who have the opportunity of seeing the experiments become fully convinced that they are laboratory miracles revealing the hitherto invisible reactions underlying life.”

Bose’s great contributions to the study of plant physiology have been first, the incomparable set of apparatus devised by him, his bold hypothesis of the similarity of reaction and mechanism in plant and animal organisms, and his attempt to isolate these in the case of plants. Many valuable results have been established, but it cannot be said that the problems have received their final solution. Research fellowships and post-graduate scholarships are being endowed by the money left him for the study of plant physiology and allied subjects.

It is to be hoped that these bands of scholars, in cooperation with the workers of the Bose Institute, will continue, with new enthusiasm, the study of his vastly interesting subject of biophysics.

No account of Bose’s life will be complete which deals only with his scientific activities. He was a man with many-sided interests and activities. In the early nineties he used to spend his vacations armed with a full-sized camera, photographing scenic beauty and sites of ancient Indian monuments. His Bengali prose writing has been declared by competent critics to be of high literary value, and sure of a permanent place in Bengali literature.

His friendship with Rabindranath Tagore is well known, the latter being one of the first to recognize the import once of Bose’s achievements. The new school of Bengali artists found an appreciative friend and helper is Bose. Paintings of Rabindranath Tagore are to be found in his house and on the walls of the Institute Building. His early biological training and his inheritance of the pantheistic outlook of ancient Indian culture penetrated deeply into his scientific thought. He is the first Indian scientist of eminence who has tried to align his scientific investigations to the traditional pantheistic view of Nature prevalent in this country. Future historians of science may find the introduction of this standpoint an important contribution of the Indian mind to the scientific conception of Nature. In a letter, written after receiving the news of the death of Sir J. C. Bose, Sir Michael Sadler remarks that “He was a poem among biologists. Shelley, had he gone on with Science, and had he lived in the days of exact measurements, might have shared in his (Bose’s) work.”


Notes on Sir Mohammad Iqbal buy Sir Abdul Qadir.

We now pass to the discussion of another question, on which there has been a considerable difference of opinion among the admirers of Iqbal. A number of those who liked his earlier Urdu poems which breathe a spirit of Nationalism, regret that in later years he changed his outlook, and, instead of being an exponent of the aspirations of the Indian nation as a whole, he became content with a restricted patriotism, confined to the welfare of the Muslim community. I think, however, that this criticism is based on a superficial reading of Iqbal’s poetry and an inadequate comprehension of the stages through which his poetical thought passed in the course of its gradual evolution.

It is true that some of the earlier poems expressed in glowing words his love for his homeland. Poems like the Naya Shivala (The New Temple), or the National Song of Indian children, are the best instances of writings in the nationalist strain, but it should not be assumed that his love for Indian or her people had decreased when his outlook broadened and his heart began to throb in sympathy with Eastern countries outside of India and, later still, when his feelings extended to humanity as whole.

It was a nature widening of the circle. After local and provincial sympathies came a feeling for his country. With a knowledge of the conflict between the East and the West, and of the dominating influence of the latter, came a deep sympathy with the East in her desire for freedom. This was followed by a vision that was broader still, a realization of the dangers to which Western civilization was exposed and his warnings to the West, culminating in a strong belief in the destiny of man and of the great heights attainable by him.

In my opinion it could be safely said that Iqbal was not only “the Poet of Islam”—a little often used in conjunction with his name—but also “the Poet of India” and “The Poet of the East” and “of Humanity.” His frequent use of Islamic terminology and metaphors and of allusion based on Muslim literature was mainly due to the suitability of such terms to the themes about which he wrote, while the stress laid by him on certain Islamic principles was due to the fact that he honestly believe that the solution of the difficulties of modern civilization was possible by the adoption of those principles.



November 12, 1956


Rawalpindi. I have before me Great Men of India edited by L.F. Rushbrook Williams, Home Library Club, published by The Times of India, etc. The article on Aurangzeb is by one Elizabeth D’Oyley and on page 184 I found the prayer which I have searched for for years, having lost my copy:

Less wise than Akbar his great-grandfather, he could not see that no power on earth can make men think alike, and that God is to be reached by many ways.

O God (wrote Abul-Fazl, friend of Akbar) in every temple I see people that see thee, and in every language I hear spoken, people praise thee.

Polytheism and Islam feel after thee.

Each religion says, “Thou art one, without equal.”

If it be a mosque, people murmur the holy prayer; and if it be a Christian Church, people ring the bell from love of thee.

Sometimes I frequent the Christian cloister, sometimes the mosque.

But it is thou whom I seek from temple to temple.

Thy elect have no dealings with heresy or with orthodoxy; for neither of them stands behind the screen of truth.

Heresy to the heretic, and religion to the orthodox.

But the dust of the rose-petal belongs to the heart of the perfume seller.


The article on Sir Akbar Hydari is by Robert Bryan and on page 384 one reads:

“It will not be for the growth, but the death of Indian Nationalism if the Moslems of India fail to be impressed by the greatness of Asoka, Chandragupta, or filled with pride and joy at the immortal frescoes of Ajanta and the sculptured phenomena of Ellora, or fail to derive fresh inspiration from the glorious song of Jayadev and Tukaram, or find food for deep and satisfying thought in the discourses of Sri Krishna and Gautama the Buddha. It will not be for the growth, but the death of Indian Nationalism if the Hindus are not filled with pride at the architectural splendors of the Moguls and the Adil Shahis, at the political achievements of great rulers like Sher Shah and Akbar, at fine heroism of noble queens like Chand Bibi and Nur Jehan, at the literal statesmanship of devoted ministers like Mahmud Gavan and Abul Fazl, at the wide learning of scholars like Al Beruni and Faizi or at the inspiration of poets like Amir Khusrau and Galib. It will be a sad day indeed if the minds of Hindu and Moslem alike are not stirred with the high and noble aims of the Viceroys like Mayo and Ripon, of administrators like Munro and Elphinstone, of friends of India like Fawcett and Bright, of missionaries like Hare and Miller. For all these and many more, whether Hindu, Moslem or Christian, loved India and worked for her.”


I came back to ‘pindi on the 8th, by fast bus (station wagon). Cost 5 Rupees. Regular service 2/8. I was treated wonderfully by Yakub Khan and others and have several names to put in my address book. Most important is the Silviculturist, Dr. Khalil in whom I have found a man of my heart. But also one ex-army officer and others. The family is building a house for Abdul Rahman (of S.F.) And I shall be asked to stay there. Also to visit Swat and Peshawar next time, which seems very likely.

Spoke in ‘pindi on the 9th and will follow it again. Talk, “The Teaching of Islam in the West.” Today will be “Spiritual Aspects of Islam.” There are two foibles here: one is confusion caused by mullahs; the other by the public, so religion and politics have been mixed up and morality obscured. I dared not put my conclusions on paper yet.

Have been to Murree, 36 miles away. The Fair was there, two days back. It is high in the hills amid pine forests. Some trees I do not know. Experimental stations, mostly agricultural, not forestry. Ahmaddiyyas have a nice mosque which functions in summer. Many hotels, with about a 3-month season, charge about 16 Rupees a day. We had a good lunch, rice, vegetables and mutton. Tea very strong. People hospitable. Many fine views, place known for views. Best to hire horses. Mountains all around and Kashmir in the background. “Azad Kashmir” 60 miles away.

Had jolly discussions on religion in regard to fakirs; and on politics in which I attacked “Pakistan Times,” largely because in the midst of the Suez situation it vents venom on U.S. and India, more than on the culprits. Told them the Egyptians do not like this. It is true. Commended Sohrawardi’s control of emotions, and people did not like that. The merchant class seems to prefer emoting to doing. I told them they were the curse of Pakistan (exaggerated, of course,) but I am inclined to believe India will not only beat them all over, but now have complete control in the international field. Neither the Arabs nor “Reds” are going to back them in Kashmir, no matter what they do.

It took 3 hours by bus, but less than 2 to come back because the bus was full and it did not stop for anybody. Besides, we were going downhill. I liked the country up there. Saw some Kashmiris, as in Simla, and in a rough way the place resembles Simla. Only, the latter has always had government buildings, and so, more money. Besides, it is surrounded by forests.



Dear Pres:

This is written at Rawalpindi in West Pakistan on the evening of November 14, 1956 and consists of my diary notes. I am compelled to go back a little and repeat what I have written in part to Harry Nelson and others. Last week I was way up at a place called Mansehra with the Judge of the District whose name is K.B. Ghulam Rabbani Khan. He has a large farm and was planting all the fruit trees which grow in California. He found wild Pears and Olives there and grafted onto them. He turned all of his unplanted land and hills over to the Forest Exp. Station at Abbottabad where I was staying. Within a few days I was able to give the latter the literature I had been carrying all this time regarding planting of trees on arid lands, etc. I made a deep friend in Dr. Khalil, the silviculturist and hope to see him at Peshawar in 1958.

Judge Khan is an Ahmaddiyya. They believe the Pathans are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel and he claims he has his family record to prove it. When I asked him some words in Pathan, I noticed that, in general, they resembled old Persian, but the word for fire is distinctly like Hebrew.

The Rock Edicts of Asoka are on his property, and I have just been to Taxila, and there been able to follow up both the Asokan and Jewish episodes. It had been my intention to visit Taxila. At Dacca the “wise man” urged me to visit old ruins. Now, with my trip to Egypt out, I want to visit at least one of the Indus Valley sights. I shall be in Lahore shortly to pick up money and arrange my itinerary. I have tried to get December 5th as a date from Karachi.

I have concluded that the general civilization and culture of most of Taxila was a mixture of Greek and Indus Valley elements. There was very little of a purely Hindu type despite evidences of Brahmans. Their temples show clearly Greek influences and the Zoroastrian temple not far off was distinctly Ionic. Gandara culture is well-known. It gave further evidence that the great arts of India have been, for the most part, by non-Indians. This is one of my themes which Indians will not like.

I have written to Professor Eric Bell about the need for a mathematical and engineering analysis of great buildings. The chemical and petro-graphical aspects are comparatively simple. Most of this work was in situ, quite different from my ventures into Mogul architecture, as at Ajmir and Lahore (and I have been getting around). The pottery at Taxila was, to me, like Indus Valley stuff.

Now comes the excitement: We went to the museum and there we saw a big block of stone in clear Aramaic. I could read the letters, but do not know the language. How come? There were not many Sanskrit coins around and the main language appears to have been Kharaosthi which, although Indo-Germanic, had a script somewhat like Phoenician. Well, I had with me my friend, Minto, who used to live in San Francisco and is a friend of the aforesaid Judge Khan. There you had it, the Jews were there later. I saw the site. However, they have not excavated underneath. I think if they do they will also come up with stuff as interesting, or as damaging as the Jordan Valley stuff.

I took a “Jewish picture” which is enclosed (I hope). I don’t know what the Mormons are going to think. My own sardonic conclusions are often that the self-styled “experts” are wrong. They will not do rigorous thinking; they will skip over facts and artifacts that interfere with their theories, etc. I am going to Lahore to try to find an interpreter. Nobody at the museum at Taxila seemed to know much. The great statues are elsewhere and I have seen many, in many different places. But I am interested in the possibility of records concerning the Lost Tribes.

On reaching Lahore, I shall charter my trip in West Pakistan and hope to see at least one Indus Valley site. I shall follow this up and may join the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain when I get to London—if London Bridge does not fall down. Sorry, in a sense, not to be able to go to Egypt. Otherwise, my trip has been very, very successful and I am wondering whether I shall have to go back to work. My income has been greater than my expenses—one forgets when one calculates in all different coins and the Rupee has been going down. At Lahore I expect to make large book purchases, and here and there I have been buying Pakistani shoes.

Will you kindly telephone Rudolph Schaeffer after you receive this and tell him I am sending him pictures of Lahore and Taxila, but only slow letters because there has not been anything too important in the esthetic field. Later I want to arrange for a reception at his place, and maybe some talks. I am not going to spill stuff all over for free. You will, I hope, be with me at one dinner; either just the two of us or with a small group—I can’t figure out which, yet. I have to clear with Washington and some others before I come west. My whole picture in life is different and my acceptance by people in the Orient—Asians and Americans (not Europeans) is going to enable me to put in their places those Europeans and a few Americans who did not take me seriously. Fortunately, I have kept a diary, and my strongest remarks were made to people with whom I have kept in constant touch, and who can thus back my statements. Nearly all my experiences have been with others.



Notes on Sir Mohammad Iqbal by Sir Abdul Qadir


I have been very much struck recently by the large number of poems appearing in Urdu newspapers and magazines against Capitalism and in favor of Labout. They are often recited at public gatherings, not only at political meetings, as part of a political creed, but also in purely literary societies. This trend in Urdu literature may be said to owe its origin to the writings of Iqbal.

Capitalism is not the only “ism’ which has been adversely criticized by Iqbal. He is equally strong in his attacks on Imperialism. Even Democracy has not been spared by him, and he exposes some of its vulnerable points. He says, for instance, in one of his poems, that “Democracy is a system in which heads are counted by, not weighed.” In another poem his assault on Democracy is less reasoned and more satirical. He says:

“Beware of the “system of democracy

And follow the lead of a man of ripe experience,

Because the brains of two hundred donkeys

Cannot produce the understanding of one human being.”


In this connection it may be interesting to mention on occasion when these lines were quoted against the poet himself. He had been persuaded to stand for election to the Legislative Assembly of the Punjab and was being opposed by a rival candidate. The latter issued a poster, on the top of which these lines appeared in bold letters, thereby throwing on the pet the burden of explaining why he was ready to take part in a democratic body, following a system debouched by him in such sweeping terms. It is obvious, however, that this epigrammatic dictum was not meant to be take too literally. The same may be said of the lines in which he referred to the League of Nations as a body of “Stealers of Shrouds” forming an association “for a partition of the graves of dead nations.” This nickname obtained so much vogue that for a long time the League was referred to as a Society of Shroud Stealers in the Indian Press.

… On two other occasions he had a contact with politics, firstly when he was called on to preside over the annual session of the All-India Muslim League and the other when he went to England as a Member of the Second Round table Conference in 1931. Of these two occasions the Muslim League Session deserves a special mention, because it was his address there that the idea of two separate administrative areas in India, one for Hindus and one for Muslims, was offered as a solution of the unfortunate differences between the two great communities. This idea did not find favor at the time in any quarter, but it is significant that it has found many adherents since; and there is now a party of young Muslims pressing it on the attention of the Government and the Communities concerned under the little of “the Pakistan Movement.”


Diary November 18: I returned to Lahore on the 15th and had the same experience as before. Only this time my reservation did not go through Sunny View and I got a room by a semi-miracle at Faletti’s. The price is 30 rupees which is high. I asked God why and soon found out.

I was challenged by a German who was a graduate of Heidelberg, Leiden, Cambridge and Columbus. He thought I was a great humorist or crazy because I told him I had been speaking in the Northwest and was asked to return. The next day I learned that the staff of the hotel thought he was crazy and I have become a kind of hero. A tonga-wallah took me to a wrong shop and there I learned that the brother of the owner was in Brooklyn seeking to start a Sufi order. I shall try to get his name. When I returned a merchant haled me and explained that I could not buy anything more as God had put a limit on my purchases. I told him my name was “murad,” meaning I was under grace and therefor different from a “mureed” who was under guidance of a spiritual teacher. A man standing there told me he was a mureed. As a result of that “chance” meeting I have been to the assemblage of Nakshibandis, witnessed their ceremonials, took part in their Zikr and was given a cap and beads. We also had a long conversation as several of them spoke good English and at least two had been to the U.S.

The Khalifa in charge is very handsome with beautiful eyes showing love and spiritual light. I am told the Murshid is tall, stout and still more wonderful. As he lives near Rawalpundi I hope to meet him some day. I have not called for my mail, so do not know whether there are any letters from the East Pakistani brethren. I have been to Ashraf and spent 160 rupees ($33) for books. I am having them all sent to Quantz and will select some of them for Harry hill, Los Angeles, and two art books for Rudolph Schaeffer. I have also included a few personal things, such as the report from Abbottabad on forestry.

I have also arranged for my trip; to leave the 22nd for Multan, staying one day, then to Rohri to see the Indus Valley ruins, to reach Karachi on the 25th. I have also written to Pan America asking for a tentative date of December 5. They had wired me for the 2nd, but that is too early. I have too many people to see including Sufi leaders, and many government officials.

I am planning this p.m. to go to dirgah Mian Mir and Shalimar Gardens. Mian Mir as Murshid of Dara Shikoh and I have purchased three copies of the life of the latter. Also Bustan and Gulistan. I wish Quantz would read these to his children. I have now learned more Zikrs though there may be endless kinds of them. I met one converted Hindu. I said that ram and Krishna were prophets like Mohammed but the Hindus do not have fana-fi-Lillah, or emergence in God-the-Ultimate. I think most Nakshibandis were pleased that I evaluated and did not criticize. I had to bless them and embraced nearly all the older men. Everybody was happy and they chanted loudly and joyfully “Allahu” as I was leaving. There is a great possibility that I shall become a recognized saint—a joke in the Western world and a very serious matter here.

I gave a brief outline of my meeting with Chistis in Dacca, Delhi, Hyderabad and Ajmir, giving more details of the last place. Some know about Pir Abdul Ghafoor of Dacca.

The weather here is lovely and there are moonlit nights. I generally walk before breakfast—for exercise; and at dusk, to the book stalls. Newspapers are hard to get. The Pakistan Times is the most bigoted paper I have ever read and as dishonest as the Communist press, although possibly subsidized by them. I say they have lost Kashmir on account of it. When the paper is not criticizing a foreign power—U.S. more than France—it is attacking the government. I have said I did not know God made so many mistakes until I came to Pakistan. Yet strange to say there are more saintly people here also. Thank God they generally do not read English. As I left Ashraf I visited a mosque, paid a few rupees and when I sat down in the tonga heard a voice singing: “You have completed payment of your Zakat” and saw scroll with all the small payments I have made from Dacca and they all added up to more than I had figured. It was a wonderful vision and I am released from doing anything more at Karachi.




November 20


My dear Gavin and Myra,

This letter will undoubtedly by-pass those sent by sea-mail. It had not been my intention to send any “rush” letter. In a way I have had an anti-climax and this is much more important to you both than my own efforts. For in very rapid succession here I completed my spiritual and horticultural missions. The manners were as dramatic as the success of my scientific mission as Abbottabad. Sunday I was suddenly in the midst of a huge gathering of non-existing Sufis.

Twice that day I had to pass examinations, the nature of which is so far beyond anything I could even suggest to uncle Louis &Co., it is deploring. It is not only deploring but after post I go to American officials to consider seriously, sanely and on an impersonal basis this whole question of the teaching of oriental subjects in the United States. I think uncle Louis would have a heart-failure to see me either with the Sufis (non-existing of course), or with the man who is in charge of the landscaping of the most famous parks in the world.

I hardly got over these things, thus completing my mission, then Munshir Bashir Ahmed, c/o Postmaster, G.P.O., the Mail, Lahore, addressed me. He claims to be a palmist, astrologer, and yunami Hakim. That is to say, a doctor of Islamic medicine, which is based on astrology. You may be very happy to know that legally this astrological medicine is sanctified and all your enemies, past, present and future will shudder at this. In fact he discussed and confirmed what you told me, about mars afflictions. I have been usually well, but have had some slight disturbances which were quite obviously not of a Saturnine nature. You told me Marx would strike me (excuse me for putting down Marx for Mars, but that guy shows up everywhere). He said the same.

Now he is either one of the greatest finds or greatest hoaxes I have come across. He claims to know Western, Indian, Islamic—and get this—Balinese astrology. He says he will and has challenged every astrologer he has met to see who is best. He has read my palm, and so far as I can sense, correctly, but my knowledge of palmistry is little. Beside, everybody is always predicting such wonderful success for me that I cannot take them at their face value and must conclude they are looking for baksheesh. This includes even the Munshi.

I am definitely and deliberately proposing to Myra the need for channeling anything he has, if he has something, both for articles and contributions, or, in an extreme case, for his coming to the U.S. I had already—and you can accept intuitive guidance or not—taken out both savings and commercial accounts here in Lahore which will facilitate any financial arrangements we may have to make. But I distinctly feel the need to present him to some of the publishers of astrology magazines who will pay him for his articles.

His spoken English is not good; he claims his written is and the samples he gave me are pretty good. I have on young man who lives near here whom I should like to introduce to him to clarify the English and also to type. The alternative would be to get some Pakistani to do this and ask for articles in clear Urdu rather than in English—this can be settled later on.

He gave me some surprising information about Balinese astrology and says it is part of folk-learning and compulsory. And get this: it is an integral part of a form of Buddhism which has been preserved here. (Know this will horrify all the book-learning Buddhists in America and Great-Britain and Germany who never took part in temple worship and discipline.)

He also did something I have never seen before, and that is, read my feet. Here again I am only putting down a notation for future record. What he told me was too optimistic to take seriously, but at the same time, it is possible it will occur. If this be so, I could hardly settle around San Francisco, but would follow any suggestions from the U.S. officials, which suggestions will soon be forthcoming and will no doubt continue at Washington.

It was only yesterday I got any news of the election, other than the Presidency. In general the senatorial election pleased me. There was a fair unanimity among Americans and among the more intelligent of the Asians for Javitz, Cooper, and Morse. We were for Bender in Ohio and against Kuchel in California. We favored the Democrat in West Virginia where we were beaten and Maryland from which we have no news. The defeat of Throten was a surprise, also of Case and of some Republicans in Kansas.

Here there is a lot of feeling on the Negro problem and here you have practical separation of groups in most invidious and artificial manners. I do not want to go into details until I get home. I am allowed to say anything by quoting Qur’an and Hadith.

I have purchase a lot of books which are being sent to Quantz Crawford in Oakland, prior to distribution. Shipping and mailing are problems. The absence of any letters from the U.S. confirms my two suspicions of stealing and failure to comprehend what I am experiencing. I can no longer care. I may be on the way to big things, into which I cannot take small people. It will be impossible.

If what the astrologer told me is true—and it does not go contrary to my intuitions or occult experiences—my next mission will be big. These experiences are all along the lines of Sufic tradition, and they can neither be invoked nor prevented. They form a definite pattern and some of them have been confirmed so soon after that one cannot lay them aside. My manner of getting money, as told by the Munshi, also was in strict accord with Sufic tradition.

I kept on repeating this. I have written a final letter to the Islamic Society of S.C. Either I am one of them or not. No fence sitting. If they want to follow Landad, God bless them; they will need it.

I have been telling the Pakistanis that the Egyptians did not want them and they would not believe me until it got out. I have a method of getting “in” with the Egyptians which Uncle Louis ought to have recognized when I practically kidnapped his hypothetical guest last year. The occult-mystical tradition behind Islam is tremendous and effective. I may do some intellectual work on it too, either in New York, or in many places, again according to advice.

Remember I expect at least one big meeting at Rudolph Schaeffer. If this Munshi thing goes over, I do not wish to make it public. I want to work on a semi—secret quiet manner with on Myra Kingsley and with on Gavin Arthur—if he can stick to it—as if God were money. This because the broadcasting of it will render it entirely ineffectual. This is either a great find, or a great hoax.

I should be in London about December 8 and if you wish to air-mail you can do so c/o pan American, or c/o Consular Section, Embassy, U.S.A. as I have previously written. Otherwise by straight mail to Samuel L. Lewis, c/o Mrs. J. Genley, 149-19 Jamaica Blvd., Jamaica, L.I. where I hope to be before Christmas.

Faithfully, S.A.M.



November 22


My dear Harry,

I ma trying to write this in the train going from Lahore to Multan. It is 1st class air-conditioned, made in france and is far superior to anything I have seen excepting Pullman stateroom cars. You also can go from car to car which is not true in India, where you have to get off at stations and wait again until the train stops before going back to your compartment. And the compartments in Pakistan are nicer and the travel very cheap. Although Pakistan cannot compare to India in many things, in communication and transport it is much better.

This is flat arid country with dust. There are water problems and more concentration on blaming India for them than in trying to see what can be done. Thus C. siliqua [Carob Tree—Ed] is grown as an ornamental and I am not sure if they know too much of its dioecious nature and the value of its fruit.

Lahore proved to me a city of such success that I am getting confident I may get hold of some foundation grant. I was, to my surprise, greatly honored at the Punjab University and last night a professor and class also came from the Islamic University and my talk went over so well I was given a dinner party. I have talked with the professors of Botany, Fine Arts and Philosophy. In the Botany class I just talked about fertilizers and Chlorella. In this land of semi-starvation you have to pay such heavy import duties that at present I see no way to help out. But I have enough “ins” to raise some racket—and Ripley, I get away with it here. I don’t think many people will realize what I have been doing and my list of adventures is going to make some peoples’ arses stand on end, especially those who thought In was a fake. Well, I have every American official pulling for me and with me. Back home, and here also, my “bêtes noires” are European professors who get degrees from super-universities and become “experts” on all sorts of subjects merely by knowing the native languages. It would be like placing your highest student in Plant Materials in charge of a garden where he should not even dig a hole.

Dale Carnegie can learn something from me. I visited the gardens around the tomb of Jahangir and then the celebrated Shalimar Gardens and found the landscape far superior to that of Taj. I was introduced by my friend Mr. Maqsud of the Civil and Military gazette (Kipling’s paper—and he uses Kipling’s room and desk) to Mr. A. A. Shah. I told Mr. Shah that I thought the landscaping was supreme, and of the best in the world. “Why, I am the man responsible for it.” (He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum.) So ain’t I the diplomat!

Shalimar Gardens were laid out by the celebrated Emperor Shah Jehan for her when she was living. He used Persian engineers who know how to raise the water level and by gravitation get the fountains to play. Now they use pumps, that being the chief change.

Most of the trees are the Rosacea fruits but there are also many Ficus, Walnut, Cinnamomum Camphora and the ubiquitous Cypress. I have been able to get you plant lists and also a book of the Forest Flora of W. Pakistan which has been mailed. As things stand I may also do a “Fairchild” and want to have a good talk with you on it. The literature and pictures on Lahore are exceedingly hard to get, yet it is one of the most beautiful cities of Asia.

The city park very much resembles G.G. [Golden Gate—Ed] It was established in a district where there had been pottery kilns. These were covered over to make mounds. The features and handling are practically the same as with the sand dunes in San Francisco. The flowers on the whole are the same. There are two flower shows each year, one about to be given on Chrysanthemums and the other for Roses and Spring Blossoms. On the whole I shall not write in detail as I have sent you the price list booklets which give the species.

I met Mr. Ghani, Hon. Sec. to West Pakistan Hort. Society, 3 Durand Road, Lahore. They are preparing for a Chrys. Show with limited funds. I must say the flowers are excellent now. I discussed Japanese methods with Mr. Shaw and will go and see the man in Oakland where I shall be living for a while, according to present plans. However, I may try to see you first, according to the developments which occur.

Roses are pruned twice a year, lightly in October and heavy in January. I did not see pests. Points are among the best flowers and they are wonderful around Christmas. There is a brisk Christmas trade in them and they are used as presents by Muslims as well as Christians.

There is not only a large nursery in the Park but a demonstration garden with beds for each specimen so they can be studied by botany students and others without walking all over. I saw Celosia, Cineraria, Canna, not so many Dahlias but lots of Geraniums and some Pelargoniums. They are quite profuse in W. Pakistan. Eucalyptus are also found and on the whole this is a great Acacia country.

I think I saw S. Terebrinthus and found I was correct. There is a mallow growing wild in many places which rather resembles Cal. Windbreak. Some palms largely as contract trees. The lawns are universally C. dactylon and there is trouble owing to changes in the water table and also to hot weather. And the lawns are too extensive to purchase other grass seed.

The weather has been glorious. Deciduous trees hold their leaves a long time and there is not much fall coloring. (The country I am passing through looks like it would be excellent for Olives.)

It is very hard to get help and to hold help, in this land of unemployment. People would rather beg! This is strange, that even though the funds are quite limited, there is a reserve due to unwillingness of people to do this kind of job.

I have seen several different kinds of hoes. Some watering is done by flooding, some by hose, and a very large part, in narrow sections, by animal skin. This last method seems to be used in most private gardens and small plots. The Botany classes are mostly for teachers and not for getting practical jobs. The forestry schools, on the other hand, stress practicality so that is where you learn Propagation, Breeding, Entomology and Pest Control.

There is a fine open air theater in the park and a zoo. I have seen swans, also in the wild country. Most of the animals I the zoo are much more like in America than in other lands I have visited.

There is an enormous erosion problem, under-production of food crops, great campaigns for “industrialization”—the same all over Asia, so nobody had enough to eat and everybody wants to build silk mills without any knowledge of machinery and any funds to buy silk! This is the way economic problems are “solved”—oh Brother! However, in the good hotels you get many vegetables and excellently balanced meals. Here the people go by taste and have no knowledge of dietetics.

I am hoping to be on my way “home” soon, but have to consult the Embassy I Karachi. They gor my number (it’s a good one).

When I reach jolly ol’ England I may try to visit Kew, also Kew in Long island. If you want me to do something at the latter, please write to me care of my cousins, Mr. and Mrs. J. Ganley, 149-19 Jamaica, L.I. New York.

I may still have a few things for you in my bags; large envelopes are hard to find and I often forget to add things to book packages. I think I have some enclosures in the packages I have sent to “myself.”

There is another side of me which I call Mr. Puck of Pukhtunistan, about which more when I return.




My dear Rudolph,

This is my diary for November 22 written at Multan on a type writer which needs oiling, my diary sheets nearly exhausted and likewise the ribbon. I should be in Karachi by the25th, visiting the Indus Valley site at Mohenjo-Daro en route.

I am sending a carbon of this to Willie because perhaps my Lahore stay, while the most expensive of the trip, was also the most successful. I cannot point to any one highlight and I hope you don’t mind my being verbose “for the record.” Last night I was given a dinner by the professors of Fine Arts and Islamic studies of Punjabi University which has the highest standing. Professor A.A. Siddiqui who acted as my host has visited the A.A.A.S. and I again learned the terrible news—this time as an ant-climax—that they simply will not accredit students from that place. They hold the man in charge of the Islamic Department in utter contempt and the rest of the school likewise for harboring him. On the other hand Prof. Siddiqui and his colleagues from Islamia University said that my talks were of the highest caliber and I could stay on.

I visited Lahore Museum and was amazed to find better Indian paintings than I had seen all over India, both of Rajpu and Deccan Schools. It is ironical they should have them there, while the best Gandara collections are in India. They have a large collection of Lacquer Ware from the Mogul period. Also of blue ceramics which evidently must have been derived from Persia (see below). And some good musical instruments—good from the standpoint of wood carving.

There is a special baroque Indian collection and that is a good word for it. A fair Gandara and Gupta set but I doubt the dates. They would make the Greek influence come down to about 700 AD. However the last of this school showed Mahayana tendencies. There is a very large Pottery collection from the Indus Valley and while it does not look much as if they had the wheel or could make good use of it, the firing methods must have been superior to those of later times. There were very good miniatures. The things that pleased me most were an excellent Stupa and paintings of Sufi Saints which ran all the way from similitudes of Chinese Chan Monks to very regal characters.

I was later the guest of Mohammed Nazub of the Fine Arts Department at the University and he introduced me to the Curator whose name I must have misplaced. I have so many names, papers, etc., that I cannot keep up with everything. Indeed, if I were not now at Multan with nothing to do I could hardly write.

Despite the A.A.A.S. I was inducted into the Sufi Derwish Order in Lahore and received a tremendous welcome. As I wrote somebody I think it would have killed Uncle Louis to see it. I have sent out warnings of unconditional friendship. If they don’t give me a chance they are dead ducks. This is a long and complicated story, both comforting and discomforting. I have been strongly urged to denounce non-Americans who get such authority in American institutions which are nothing but degree-mills without any scholastic validity. I studied everything I could and gained; as they would not give me credits, I also have nothing to lose.

The Fine Arts Department has embarked on modern methods. The first problem was that of obtaining paint. However the students have unusual skills plus a great freedom from tradition. When they do not try to follow Mogul technique, even when they seem to ape Westerners they do so with fresh vigor and there was a single painting only to which I found offence. I take it the artist was a nervous, inhibited type.

They are now adding music also. This section was previously for women, but is now co-educational. Most of the institution is co-educational.

I met A.A. Shah, director of Parks and gardens and found he is responsible for the splendid landscaping around the tomb of Jehangir and the Shalimar Gardens. He also told me he landscaped the Multan Fort which I saw this evening.



Multan, November 23


My dear Quantz:

This is my diary for the day. I do not know whether I shall send it airmail or not. I am out of envelopes and will not be able to get them until I reach Karachi. I am at the Aziz Hotel which charges 9 Rupees but next time I come will try the Firdez which looks better. They have not many facilities here; they do have kindness consideration.

I shall be sending along with this or in other envelopes copies of several letters and some papers for my file. As I have said before, unless I address a letter to myself there is nothing strictly private. Someone has to know what is going on. My whole trip is like a story book and at that I undoubtedly have not recorded everything. I had no time to write in Lahore.

I arrived here after 3 yesterday and was taken to the Dargahs or shinres. It surprised everybody that a stranger should be interested in those things. I met utmost cordiality. I also heard some singing of spiritual themes and gave the group 3 rupees. They met me later and thanked me. One played the harmonium, one the table and the third a king of jar which was both struck with a kind of metal disc and with the hand, both on the side and over the mouth. It was new to me and most interesting. They played with more delight when they found I was a Chisti and later the mat me on the road and gave utmost thanks.

The Dargahs show great Iranian influence, nothing Indian. Indeed the Mosques and everything here is non-Indian. I have written to Rudolph Schaeffer on my esthetic exploits and to Harry Nelson, City College on my horticultural experiences—both very full and very successful.

You will read more in the copies of letters and it is gratifying to learn I am fully accepted as a Sufi both by the actual Sufis and the professor of Sufi philosophy. I have written a strong but dignified letter to Prof. Spiegelberg at Stanford. I have also sent some carbons to Gavin Arthur as well as the letter I wrote him. I did have very good luck, as predicted by the Munshi but refused him any more handouts. He will be given every change to earn by writing to and through the proper channels in the U.S.

I have been with the chief Engineer at the town hall here and learned about the problems of flies, soil fertilization, etc. They are doing composting here and I could come here and do a big job. We shall learn more when a I get through the ropes at Karachi. But success is now beginning to tire me; I feel as if I have done enough, and more than enough. I will now go to the biggest people in the U.S. without compunction. I have learned not to be afraid of anybody.

These things were foretold and again by Murshid. But I never was successful in communicating what Murshid told me excepting to five people, four of whom, thank God, are still alive. One of them, in turn added to predictions, which have come true. Those were even beyond the others (Paul Reps). It is now done. The question will be what it means.

If I come to your house I can have little talking at first, no pressures of any kind. But if I go to the university, etc. also no secrets if you want to learn. I must go to Eastlake Park, too but may visit Harry Nelson in S.F. first. I cannot get a perspective of my accomplishments until I hear from others.

This is a land of poverty, meat-eating, dust and saints! Try to figure it out? It is easy, just read “Alice” books; very simple.

The essential differences between Lahore and Taj is that the Lahore monuments were made while Mumtaz Begum was alive. Shalimar was for her and her attendants I did not visit the palace. The gardens were carefully landscaped and the water system was so arranged that fountains were maintained by gravity. They are now operated by pumps and shut off at times. This partly for conservation. The gardens themselves are largely brickwork. The layout and the fountains show a high degree of Iranian development at that time.

People attend these gardens in crowds though there is also a park which somewhat resembles Golden Gate. Most of the plants are familiar.

It is very difficult to get material and pictures in Lahore. I have sent a few, and I think there may be a book or two in some of my book shipments. Even now I have some stuff which is held because it is hard to get suitable envelopes. There are a lot of backward things in this country.

The shrines at Multan were all on the same hill or vicinity. I have marked down Shah Rukn-i-‘Alam, Barba Darf a Sahib and Shah Kul Alam among others. The last means Emperor of the whole Universe (I knew that to the surprise of my companions. These names are mixed Persian and Arabic.)

The last was a large fine structure with some of the features of the Kutb Minar in Delhi. It is superimposed by a dome and excellent tile work with Qur’anic inscriptions. The use of blue tiles seems to be characteristic of most of the building. But inside the use floral work, etc. Whether this is a continuance of ancient Buddhist elements or a separate development I do not know. Most of the shrines have been very well done inside and out, but the crowds visiting them made it impossible for me to make any detailed study.

This brings up a controversial question in Islamic religion. There was also music going on and I saw an unusual percussion instrument: a rather large earthenware jug with fine resonance qualities played with on hand directly and with the other hand using a small disc.. It was much finer than gourd playing and seemed to require all the skills of a tympanum player. Unfortunately they also used the harmonium.

I refused point blank to make other purchases in Lahore but I did see some fine metal pieces. These included some Mogul ware and some modern inlays at what I consider reasonable prices. I do not know how much I can afford to lay out, and will take this subject up when I return. However I think Martin Rosenblatt ought to know of the opportunities here, all kinds of metal work, rugs, tapestries, Kashmiri ware of every sort. Sometimes they are heirlooms saved by refugees. There are few buyers. I would not dare go into tapestries and ivory which are out of my line.

Multan has less Indian influence than any place I have seen before. A Persian once said it is a city of dust, heat, flies and beggars. St the moment, thank God, there is little heat and few flies. But begging is the local profession and the country roads are sadly in need of repairs!

I should be in England about December 8 if I do not go to the Near East. I don’t want to stop in Europe. I have already accomplished too much and am stopping in England chiefly because of two promises I made before leaving the U.S. I won’t be the same party anymore—and I am expecting a reception or several. Beyond that I do not wish to look.



November 27, 1956


Dear Quantz,

Diary again. I have been positively successful in all my ventures, but this very success, or stream of successes has tired me. I failed to get a single letter from the S.F. Bay region, excepting one forwarded by my attorney. This shows that some mail has gone through and I am positive that many of my old friends and acquaintances simply cannot accept the achievements. They may seem fantastic and some of these will seem fantastic.

Yesterday I went to see the head of the Atomic Energy Commission. I was taken to a wrong office. All these ricksha bearers and half the taxis tell you they know where to take you, take you wrong and expect you to pay. I was taken to the wrong place. But by being taken to the wrong place I met man who gave me an introduction to Mr. Mohammed Akbar of the Karachi Water commission which operates for the Central Government and so was able to deliver my message from the University of California—i.e. Bryn. I have not heard from Bryn. I have more introductions and everything is going right from this end.

I found this office near to the Food & Agricultural Division so can go there and bring my last pamphlet, on the growing of edible cacti. All my agriculture and engineering interviews have been entirely successful. I left Multan, after visiting the holy places, with pest control and fertilizer problems, and have the key to the answers in the U.S. I am now going after big people.

Incidentally, I had tea with the wife of the head of the Atomic Energy commission who is in the U.S. and may be not back until I leave.

Both of Hasan Nizami’s sons are away. He was Murshid’s closest friend. However two of his disciples called in the evening and we had an hour long conference, found ourselves entirely in agreement in everything. If I can follow up with one of the projects I shall take it either to the Royal Asiatic Society or Harvard.

I have asked Gavin and Chris Lowejieff, 1759 Fulten St, to intercede to try to make peace with the Asian Academy on Broadway. I want either peace or war; there will be no cold war. The whole continent of Asia is now in no room for nonsense. I cannot make little people big nor can they make me little. God has ordained a place for me, it was clearly expressed in Murshid’s very early American lectures (1911-1912 period) and by his instructions. I am not rolling them out carefully. The West does not know Sufism and the West cannot stop the message of God, whether through one person or others. I have written strongly to Vilayat. I am stronger now and have many interviews coming up. I am scheduled to leave on December 8 to arrive in London at 7:30 that evening. I do not know who long I shall stay there. I have kept a fairly complete diary.

I was misdirected, did not get to Mahenjo Dara but to Sukkur where they have a marvelous barrage—dams, aqueduct, etc. combined. At this writing, unless I get some answers from somebody, I shall not want out sleep in S.F. I cannot have half-trusts. It not only will interfere with me personally, but may have some bearing on world events. I am therefore writing most seriously to Mr. Russell Smith of the Bank of America and World Affairs Council. I may send carbon, as usually, to Jack Kraftson, my friend, who has a fur shop on Geary above Leavenworth. I can give him absolute trust. The Commies are fomenting trouble in Kashmir.

At PAA yesterday I got a new ticket. I told the agent that I was near being accepted as a saint so acted very “ornery” to prevent it. I know the look on his face, so I took out my card with my Urdu name—Ahmed Murad Chisti—he apologized on the spot. I can’t make people understand these things at home; I cannot do otherwise than serve God now and here.

I have visited M. Ayub of the Pakistani Industrial Development Corporation (P.I.D.C.), and Mr. McDonald, Chief Commercial Attaché. I told Mr. McDonald that the chief difference between his point of view and mine was that he was proud of the American aid in tonnage, etc., while I was proud because I had seen its effectiveness in the field. With so much of Asia overpopulating, growing less, and industrially minded,” it is American wheat and rice that saves the world.

Mr. Ayub brings up a totally different approach, something between policies of Woodrow Wilson and a form of State Capitalism. He is heading a sort of credit corporation for new industries, in particular small ones. This is just being started. Fortunately I had both good introductions and formed a warm tie so that I wish to see this man again whenever I may happen to come to Pakistan. My pun “Industries for the Indus” could make an effective talk.

Mr. Ayub confirmed what I have been told all over, that wealthy Asians simply do not risk their money. This is nonsense because according to Islamic Law there should be a tax on savings and hoarding but not on income. In practice it works the other way around despite all verbal claims to the establishment of a “Muslim” state, brotherhood and what not. Not only is there little relation between theory and practice but practice is diametrically opposed to theory. Rich Muslims will spend huge sums on race horses but nothing on new factories.

I have been approached here and there by business men on suggesting reciprocal trade arrangements, such as bringing into the United States Baluchi carpets, brass ware, etc. on some mutual exchange. Mr. McDonald is strongly in favor of such arrangements. I am willing to do one thing—take journeys into various sections to investigate if I receive the proper promotion.

This overall picture I get at the moment is a sort of antipathy for “formula” societies. I find that “formula” societies fail to provide for great changes in water supplies—one of the most fundamental factors in Asia; for variations in weather; for chemical despoliation of the ground through careless planting or equally careless and costly fertilization methods (of which Americans are also guilty); from rapid growth in population due to new hygienic methods introduced by WHO, etc.; for the enterprise of the youth, etc.

I have been to “Shangrila,” very successful, very utopian, utterly disruptive to theories of both capitalism and communism—and you can have it. It is what Homer would call “lotus-eating.” Perhaps its success cannot be overlooked when we study social theories, but some of the practices can be quite revolting to non-conformists, or any kind of individualist.

The worst part of formula is that the press begins to act as if plans were faits-accompli (or whatever the French would say) and this befogs a great many situations. I have been very fortunate in meeting privately a number of Pakistanis who deplore over anxiety on foreign matters with a total neglect of the problems at home. This is true of India, but not quite so much. But these Pakistanis all appear to me to be intelligent, alert and pro-American.

Contacts have also led me to further introductions and thus interviews. I am evidently getting a lot of experience.

If I do not write again please convey my Christmas greetings to Mrs. Smith and your sons, and to all the workings on Sutter St.


Samuel L. Lewis



December 3. Diary


Dear James and Ruth:

If I were a reporter I should say: “This is the news.” Alas, what I see is not what reporters see and what I tell is not what reporters tell. I see with the outer I because I obverse and perceive; I also meet the people who make the news; I also have another eye which does not belong to me. This eye operates only when I am blind, when I am taken to the wrong places. Thus is an effort to find one of the head of the Atomic Energy commission whom I listed by mistake I was led to Mohammed Akbar and to M.A. I told all about the water plans of the University of California and he gave me an introduction to the Karachi Water Board which I may not have to use. This was all due to a series of mistakes. A similar series kept me from going to a wrong man to pay a bill I owe—he was always out and the right man found me in the street.

Well I did land in the office of Dr. H. Ghori. He is listed as head of the Explosive Dept., Ministry of Industries. Actually he is one of the men who rule Pakistan and you won’t see his name in the papers. He is a real big shot. I met these men in Japan and Thailand but in India and Burma the big shots are out in the open. I don’t know what chance Sam Lewis had but nobody refuses Ahmed Murad Chisti anything. I repeat that and you can tell my poor old cronies on Broadway, No One Refuses Ahmed Murad Chisti Anything!

I also met M. Ayub, head of the Pakistan Industrial Development Board, the P.I.D.C. whose office is right near the hotel. He has the profoundest respect for Sufism and was overjoyed to find a Sufi discussing water, soil and other problems. He gave me an introduction to Mr. Cheema of the Food & Agricultural Ministry. I gave Mr. C. the last of my bulletins from U. C. and we discussed crop for arid lands, erosion and my babies. One of these is a letter I have sent to secretary Bonson in regard to information on the saline tolerance of plants, which problem he himself helped solve.

The other babies were given me at Multan, the fly problem and the soil fertility problem. I know what to do for flies but I wish myself to call on the proper American corporation to get their backing. The fertilizer thing is down my alley and it may help me later on, to no end.

I have to get to the right men at the embassy. When I get to the Americans, as in U.S.I.S., there is nothing to it. But I have not gotten to the men at the Embassy and Asia Foundation because of the endless string of Pakistani underlings. Monday I go and wave the name of my big-shot friends in the U.S. and it is going to be an interview or else.

I next have coming up an interview with the Auditor General of Pakistan. I went to the Egyptian Embassy the other day and my mission to that country was completed even without visiting it. You can see how fed up I am concerning that nonsense there are no Sufis! Why my interviewer understood me better in 10 minutes than some people have in ten years. And this morning I was closeted with my newspaper vendor who belongs to the Kadiri order of Dervishes. I have been assiduously studying, and practicing, some of their methods and I saw quickly how far ahead of the vendor I am (God is my witness). But these things are hush-hush either by people in the States who have gotten a hold of the Sufic organizations, or by college professor who know no more about Sufism than I do of the languages in which the original literature was written.

Anyone who lectures on Sufism is a liar, a thief and an idolater. This is one of the basis premises of Sufism! One talks of God, about God, how to find God, how God helps man and the knowledge and at tribute and wisdom of God, etc. That is the only Sufism.

You may add to that, if you will, the methods used by Sufis to attain to spiritual understanding. But a description of those methods feeds you like a cookbook or menu writer feeds you. You can even be lead astray.

In the Northwest I told the people the Egyptians did not want them. I have an interview with an editor Monday. Once I get started, these editors want to see me, or else they are connivers, and there are many. Pakistan is a young nation. Instead of tending to its problems—which are vaster than those of any nation I have visited, the whole concentration is on improving the rest of the world. The Egyptians don’t like to see others translate their works into English. Instead of translating Urdu literature, of which there is plenty, they do poor jobs turning Persian and Arabic into English and then giving the most God-awful interpretations of it as if a wise man were one who could only write in such a way nobody could understand.

College super-graduates to the contrary, even Moineddin Ibn l’Arabi can be understood by one who has performed Sufic practices and attained to grades and stations in accordance to these practices. In life we use soap without knowing its chemical formula, though I doubt if we could make good soap today without knowing organic chemistry.

There is the moral side of Sufis and the esoteric side. The one you learn by following precepts and practices of others; the second, though you are given the directions, you must perform yourself. The moral emphasis is much greater than in Hinduism; the esoteric certainly less than Tantra. But Sufis never give long discourses on the wonders of wisdom. Discourses on the wonders of wisdom are only veils over the truth. They often do not even awaken the intuitive qualities in us.

I am satisfied today with what I have accomplished. The immediate result is a bigger outlook before me. Sometimes I shudder at it. All the people I have seen for so long take me seriously, listen and talk so I get along wonderfully. Let those who talkie-talk about God continue to pate. Let those who deny God or say that a religion which they have never practices only talkie-talked denies God, go ahead. The stirring events within men’s lives or men’s minds do not tell of the phenomena on the surface of the earth, outside their minds. America will find its own when it no longer goes to metaphysicians who represent neither the U.S. nor the nation whose teachings they confusedly present.

It is also time for those who think they can explain samsara to take a calm, dispassionate view of all the drama on earth. And for those who give superfluous lectures on “lila” to stop emoting when the newspapers clamor. This is not only the history of the earth; it is the super-history of samsara. Fortunately there is another force on earth above, beyond and inside all this noise which is Providence. God. Allah. It is beyond the understanding of those who use the phrase “beyond understanding” and keep on talking. It may be quite within the comprehension of those who never say that—children and Ramdases, and real sages.



Dear Joe and Margaret:


It is December 3 and I am winding up, I hope, my Asiatic tour. It has been somewhat more successful than may brightest hopes. The only disturbing factor is that either my mail has not gone through or I have failed utterly to convince my S.F. pals of what is being accomplished. That some mail has gone through is assured because I seem to get necessary letters from John Rockwell and from my uncle in San Fernando and fairly well from other spots. But that mail has been stopped is also evident because invariably my reservations do not go through and I have to air mail or even wire extra now for my London and New York stops.

I thought of Margaret with respect of my Egyptian contacts. In Delhi I had applied to go to Bahrain. I was told I must not go to Iran and I must go to Egypt. How strange international politics changed it—within 3 days. I am most fortunate in finding in Delhi the very man who could help me most with my Egyptian studies and who also wishes to receive the epic poem which I expect to complete after I return. It is curious also that I completed all my Egyptian business in Karachi so for the while I do not lose by these affairs.

What I did gain was substantial support to my contention that the Egyptians and maybe all the Arabs do not like the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis want to establish a state based on religion. The Arabs abhor that because it philosophically supports the Israeli contention. The Pakistanis hate the Israeli because they did harm to Muslims. Slaughtering human binges is not an evil; they must not be Muslims. Right now the leaders are haranguing those starving, door-trodden exploited masses into a hate campaign against India. They are yelling: “Free Suez and Kashmir” and you know what they mean. The Egyptians loath such tactics which weakens their efforts. The Pakistanis cannot understand why the Egyptians and Indians are so close.

The essential point, Joe, is that I have entirely changed my point of view. I have converted myself to my own philosophy. This was one of integration, having an all-over view. It is very hard to understand but once understood it goes over. Man is one. This knocks out at a blow all the delicate views of those Pakistanis and Israelis and the Chinese regime and the Muscovites. What is class? The Negroes consent these is only one race, the human race. If “race” which is biological is untrue, how much more untrue is the artificial class.

In practice, in S.E. Asia, if you are a great landlord or capitalist and pay lip-service to Marx and tribute to Mao, you are a “worker” and if you are a peasant and do not like forced collectives you are a fascist enemy of the “working classes.” Now just take the stories of Alice by Lewis Carroll, treat them as realities and objectify the last chapter of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee at King Authur’s Court and you get some idea of Asia.

I Am Not Fooling in the Least.

In my relatively short journey I have met either the cabinet ministers or the real rulers of every country. I have been at the tops socially but what is more, I have been with the top leaders of the “religious” world who wield for more power than the pope. It is hard to understand this. Sam Lewis is hardly a small frog in a small pond at home but No One Refuses Anything to Ahmed Murad Chisti, who is yours truly. That is a long, long story which I do not wish to tell now.

For example I maybe haggling to get an engagement on the radio or to speak at luncheon clubs. I have been and I have seen. I have been in sacred places where others do not go, I have been in villages and out of the way places, I have spoken to scientist and engineers and bankers and all classes.

I was not only honored by the Punjab University which has the highest scholastic standing, I learned there they execrate the men who stood in my way in the U.S. As some of these are non-Americans I am liable to raise a stink when I get home. I have reported to every official in the U.S. Government.

When I was in South India I found myself in a nest of Commies. I reported at once. In Bombay the Consul was insistent I expose every non-American in any university in the U.S. who stood in my way on Asian subjects and he said further the U.S. intelligent service would back me. Personally I prefer some constructive methods especially in the international exchange of musicians and folk dancers. I am going to Washington to try to get active help and am sending a carbon of this to Charles and Ruth Reindollar.

Running into more Hruskies in Delhi and noting what they are preparing I held to the point, we’d better get there first. The Lahore consul and the Y.M.C.A. backed me up. I already have a big scheme to get the whole Catholic Church behind it.

The other scheme was to flood Asia with American farm journals. The USIS is for it but the consuls say I should not stop there but report to the U.S. C. of C. and the N.A.M. The universities and bankers here in Pakistan are all for it. So I have my work cut out.

I can tell you a lot about the high-spirituality (it is real) in the Orient and the high stupidity (it is just as real). While everybody is concentrating on Suez and Kashmir, I see great areas of eroded lands, areas of devitalized soil, areas of saline infiltration, coming floods ignored by the government too concerned over Suez and Kashmir. The cottage industries are being ignored, and as for Karachi. The politicians live in palaces which make your wealthiest homes in Marin look like slums; and hundreds of thousands live in abodes which make your poorest henhouses look like palaces! I am not talking nonsense. If I had cameras and was a sociologist I could turn every country in the world against Pakistan.

But why loose opportunities? I have written to Secretary Benson concerning erosion and saline problems. I want to cultivate Sind and Baluchistan and bring in drought tolerant crops. I am an integrationist, not a destructivist.

Look at this tripe. I quote from an article praising the educational films of Russia:

“In a popular and simple form films like “Automation and Telemechanics,” “Water Works,” “Hydraulic Press,” “Internal Combustion Engines,” “Excavation machines,” “Coal,” “self-propelled Combine,” “Tractor,” “Iron Ore,” “Electric Oscillations,” “…”

Jesus said: “What manner of men among you when he ask for bread will you give a stone,” but the Czecho-Slovak magazines have very serious articles in excellent English and “Cyclotrons for the Working Classes.” I am not foiling. I only wish I were. These poor people are just reaching the pick-and-shovel stage. The Asia Foundation is partly responsible for it. The leaders feast and I mean feast and the masses starve and I mean starve.

It is not a question of America versus Russia; it is a case of America versus anarchy and total destruction. I visited the great dam at Sukkur, a monument to engineering. They have not enough skilled hands to keep it in repair. And what is the press, largely commie controlled saying: Get rid of the foreign experts and invade Kashmir.” This to a starving, exploited nation.

But the U.S. is not perfect. My double cousin in New York married a member of the German Family which manufactures the Mercedes. When I visited G.M. in Detroit I asked them some fundamental questions about motor cars. They Threw Me Out …. Now the Germans are putting on the market a giant bus, to be followed by trucks and tractors, using a hydraulic principle which has been found far more efficient than the diesel and cheaper even that the standard gas-buggies.

In this age of invention our super, capitalistic organizations find it very difficult to retool. The State Capitalistic System Cannot Do It At All. With the destruction of their factories the West Germans can afford to re-tool at the highest level. This hotel (Taj) is filled with German experts. They are way ahead of everybody.

When I was in Simla a lady was praising the Chinese and said they were industrializing at great rate. She asked me what I thought. I said, “I have never agreed with Senator Knowland who is utterly blinded against the Chinese government. But you have even more effective arguments than he has. All Asia is starving and all Asia is building monstrous silk factories to turn out garments for which there is no market, let alone the raw material.

The Chinese no longer have to grow crops, they send their unemployed to factories and Dupont is making the now cloth and textile materials which will sweep the world. What is China going to do next?”

Well China has not set up standards which others want to copy. If there were not American surplus wheat Asia would be finished. At least that is my point of view. I told our trade commissioner, McDonald, “You are very proud of the huge tonnages that have been landed (he smiled) and I am very proud of the hundreds of thousands of starving that we have saved. I have seen it.” (Gee, am I warmed up.)

I have the fly problem in my lap and I am communicating this in person to Dupont. I have the pest control and shall see Dow. I have a big fertilizer problem I may handle in person. I want to see my friend Mickey McGown, for I may be landing something big. I am getting it to the right people here to go ahead with the next steps and I am continuing to go along with the tide and hope I can swim to the right shore. But I can speak and shall be open for engagements anywhere, anytime, just fix the date.

And I am all set for my return home. I have gotten hold of more than I can chew but I won’t let go the lion’s tale. And Sam Lewis is a small fry, but Ahmed Murad Chisti! You would not believe how I got in with the Pakistani and Indian governments. It has nothing to do with anything believed in U.S. You don’t have to know languages, you have to know the national pass-words and I have them all from Japan to Egypt, both inclusive.

But as I seem to have super-cephalitis I think I will close. I may send this sea-mail (I have over 30 letters now) and am returning by a different route, don’t know myself. Will probably air-mail John some blurbs before you get this. And I may even stage some stunts in England. I do have a meeting coming up with Prof. Gilbert Brookes and that will interest the University women. And so on. And Gay, I’m the one how has the gay times.


Sufi Ahmed Murad



Karachi, December 5, 1956

Brigadier Raja Ghulam John Khan,

EPR, Dacca


My dear Brigadier,

It is with some difficulty that I pen my closing words on leaving Pakistan and the continent of Asia. The recent events of my life and the future plans, such as hey have been made, seem to stem from the instructions and advice of Pir-o-Murshid Ghafoor. The events that led me to the brethren in Dacca and the subsequent events seem all part of a sort of drama, an act which is closing.

I visited the great shrines of Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Calcutta and Ajmir and was, in a sense, the guest of the Nizami Chisti of Hyderabad. I rather floundered into Lahore and then went into the Northwest.I wrote Captain Saadik at that time. I do not know whether he ever got my letter. I am ashamed to say, and I think you also may be ashamed, that you must have some very dishonest postal clerks. Not that their number is large, but the number of my letters which did not go through is very great. Not a single hotel reservation has been received, which not only caused some confusion within Pakistan but I know that my London and New York arrangements have to be made all over again.

I have been to ‘pindi, Taxila, Abbottabad, Mansehra and Murree. Abbottabad was my immediate goal where I have friends and whither I should go again. But the forestry station, which I did not know about before, is being transferred to Peshawar, so on my next trip I must go there also, and perhaps Mardan. It was like a miracle to meet the forestry people to whom I gave tree and crop lists I have been carrying for thousands of miles.

My three missions to West Pakistan were all completed dramatically. A sudden meeting with Dr. Khalil at Abbottabad, a strange meeting with a young Naqshibandi at Lahore bringing me into their midst, and finally meeting Dr. Gheri of the Ministry of Industries here in Karachi. However I was given other problems both at Abbottabad and Multan which should be the subject of my next visit. And I am certain enough of a return that I have opened two bank accounts at Lahore. I purchased a large number of books at Ashf and will probably continue to purchase more.

The problem put to me at Multan was in regard to soils and their fertilization. A saw M.M.A. Cheema of the Food & Agricultural Ministry and told him I would gladly get some fertilizer for him but the high customs duty, the red tape of officials and the greed of quarantine employees made it very difficult to bring things in. In fact I told him of my awkward position: it is my intention to bring to Pakistan many things that it needs. But I will not pay duties, and if customs gets funny with me as they did in Chittagong I shall be compelled to offer these things to India.

This raises a strange point. As a man, and as an American, I have my personal ideas as to India and Pakistan. But as a servant of God and one who may be on the path of Ansar and Abdal and even Wali, I am supposed to help Pakistan. I am therefor going to ask you, if it is necessary, to consign certain things to your Quartermaster or Commissary Department, or otherwise, some things that would properly go to the Food & Agricultural ministry, to get your help.

For instance, Captain Saadik has asked me to be his guest and I assented on condition I could do garden work for him. Now it takes on a new and important aspect that such garden work would involve some fertilizer tests and experiments that might be of benefit to all Pakistan. I do not know, of course, when he will be transferred “home” or when you will be back from ‘pindi.



December 12, 1956, London


E.A. Srinivasan,

Public Relations Dept.,

Ministry of External Affairs,

New Delhi


My dear friend:

Pariahstan is a most interesting country. When I say this I am prejudiced because God sent me to the Pariahs to tame them. The Pariahs think I love them and I found the most wonderful creatures among them, perhaps the most wonderful creatures in the world. Yet they lived in the world of Pariahs.

Now in these days the King of the Cats visited the Emperor of the Shepherds and the Pariahs were dismayed. “How can this be? We canines are of one brotherhood” “and look at this Emperor!” Now it is true that the Shepherd-hounds and Pariahs have and same theoretical traditions only the Shepherd-hounds believe: “There is no God but Allah an Mecca shereef is the Chief hound-master” and the Pariahs believe: “There is no God but Allah and cats are His enemies.”

The Emperor of the Shepherds said: “These bitches have no ancestry. Just for that I shall give you an introduction to the Ruler of the Deer-Hounds.” So the King of the Cats visited the Ruler of the Deer-Hounds and together they visited the leader of the Dalmatians and it looked as if there would be peace in the world.

But the Jackal was now on friendly terms with the Deer-Hounds and attacked them, and as soon as this happened the Lion and the Fox joined the Jackal. When this happened there was dismay all over the world and especially was there dismay in Pariahstan. For if there is anything the Pariahs like it is dismay. They will give up home and fortune and comfort for dismay.

Then some of the Pariahs got up and said: “We canines must stand together. Everybody must sacrifice.” So they all gave, even the poorest of Pariahs gave and wont on subsistence living, and many slept in the street. And suddenly in another part of Pariahstan new and magnificent kennels went up and nobody know where the money came from. But there it was and fine kennels they are.

And others said: “We hounds are enemies to all Felines—Lions and Gate alive. Now let us go and help the Deer-Hounds and kill all the Lions and Cats. But as there are no Lions here and we don’t know what al Lion is, let us attack the Cats.”

When the Deer-Hound head this, being himself attacked by the Lion and being himself aided by the King of the Cats in time of trouble, he immediately sent out a notice: “A Pariah is neither a hound nor a dog, he is Pariah and we do not permit Pariahs.” This astounded the Pariahs who although they love dismay they love dismay with a pedigree—they haven’t pedigrees themselves but they always demand it of others. Thereupon the Pariahs made most vicious aspersions on the Deer-Hound and called him all kinds of names. For next to being dismayed there is nothing a Pariah likes more than finding fault with others. In fact these two things dismay and fault-finding are the national pastimes.

But there some things, alas, you don’t find fault with. Thus in your country, the viciousness is that you are kind to kine and not so kind to humans. The Pariahs recognize it and indulge in their loving-game fault-finding. Instead they are kind: to flies, “Allah made flies and to Him we submit.” So you submit and let the flies be. You also let poverty be and tenements and river-floods and poor crops and all things one must accept because this is resignation to Allah. At the same time there are some very fine kennels here, and the leaders have many, many servants, all over the place. And the third form of pleasure is to be able to command and yell at servants. It takes the places of cinema, theatre, dancing and music all of which are “sinful” but browbeating is not sinful.

Another national pastime is to become Tory-apes. It is true a Pariah is not and Ape but he dresses like a Tory-ape. Dinners, conventions, everything is formalized and anybody who does not dress like a Tory-ape is a nobody. And this is called surrender to Allah. You see God has given man many religions. In the Jewish tradition he came as a Horticulturist and in the Christian tradition as a Jewish merchant and in the Islamic tradition as a Gardener and in the Hindu tradition as a jack-of-all-trades. But to the pariah he is Master Tailor and the clothes must be just so-so or you are not a good citizen.

At the same time the Pariahs have abolished caste and substituted instead grades. They also love plebiscites but forbid voting. They also say that it is a sin and crime for the denizens of the Northeast not to be permitted to express themselves—that that is the greatest crime conceivable. But nearly as great a crime is to suggest that the denizens of the Northeast be permitted to express themselves. That is unthinkable—to a Pariah.

But why go on? Because the Lord has appointed me Master of the Hounds for Pariahstan. When I am humble anything can happen, and does. But when I come as master and yell, they cringe. No matter how big or important, they cringe. You would hardly believe it, but it is so and all my missions were successful. Only under the surface it is the most wonderful land in the world—under the surface. The scum is where scum usually goes.

This is very confidential, though if not understandable please to my permanent address,

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

1011 C Street

San Rafael, Calif.




December 13


Diary to Gavin.

I have been way behind. The last days in Karachi were very successful. I met Dr. Ghori of the Ministry of Industries and he said he is the man to whom Bryn should address himself. I met Mr. A. Cheema of the Food and Agr. Ministry and completed my work. I spoke before a large crowd of Ahmaddiyas on the spreading of Islam. I have learned a great deal from them of the inner operations of the government and the type of society which exists in Pakistan. All of this confirms what I sent to Jack Kraftson. I did not sleep well and had many small errands – like the police exit, the reduplication of letters which still goes on and the usual thing taken to wrong places, although I learned not to pay the taxiwallas for this.

I left again on a Saturday, my bête noire which always means one cannot get cash readily. I had to buy more rupees than I wanted, and being treated to tea so many times I forewent dinner. Result extra rupees–I was able to sell these at a loss in London but got enough to splurge. Have eaten lunch at L’ecu de France, a gourmet restaurant, very expensive and very nice. Then to a Hindu restaurant, 99 Regent St.

Trip very long. In theory we flew from 2:00AM to 7:00PM but they picked me up at 12 midnight and we got stranded in Vienna. This meant not 17 hours flying time, but 12 to 11:30 when I reached this hotel, which meant 23½ hours plus 7 more lost going west or a period of 30 ½ hours in transit, no sleep for two whole nights and tired to begin with. Fortunately I have slept marvelously in London.

On top of that I met two of my hosts immediately and had tea with Prof. Gilbert Brookes (S.G.B.) who taught English and Literature at Peshawar. He lives in the home of Michael Faraday. He says Faraday wired the house himself and many things have not been changed. Then met Jack Austin and we had a Chinese dinner which cost a little over $3 for two, which he considered expensive—but they had a chicken liver curry which was excellent. They do not serve tea as they do elsewhere and it was not good tea. Just now I am having morning tea and it is good.

I chased around to the embassy and PAA but no mail again and more work at the typewriter instead of sight-seeing. Have tickets for “The Gondoliers” and Sadler’s Wells Ballet. Have done a lot of walking, always interesting and more time in Green and Hyde Parks, but have also gone to Downing St. and spent some time trying to locate my old friend Joe Wood at the foreign office. It took two hours to locate him and then to learn he has a roving job (just as he always had). I later talked to his Father-in-law. If we meet we can do a lot about the world problems. This seems braggadocio and will to those who nothing of operative Sufism.

Spent some time locating the Royal Asiatic Society which I have joined. It was my original intention to take out a membership for the Academy—with me roving all the time. We soon found out I am an “expert”—when you cut out academic nonsense. I immediately plunged into research and will no doubt come this way again.

I failed to find the Society for the promotion of the Study of Religions, whose letter I have carried—conscience fund. But when Jack Austin asked me to go to Younghusband’s house I met miss Sharples with whom I used to correspond years ago. When I announced I owed them money, everybody was happy. I was embraced after the meeting by a lady, the Princess Poon of England, who is a daughter of the late Lord Curzon. Do I get in and how? I don’t know myself. I shall see the secretary Monday. Have to go to Kew today. Met the Asst. Supt. Yesterday and when he learned I was actually interested in his actual research—the grasses of India—had a lovely time.

Think my report from Kew to Japan will be very important.




December 14


My dear Harry:

I am writing in my most jovial mood. The other night I went to a meeting in a friend’s place. I had been carrying a letter for 18 years sent to me by one Miss Sharples, a friend of Sir Francis
Younghusband and there I was in Younghusband’s house and there was Miss Sharples, long past 70 and I made my most celebrated speech: “I think I owe you some money.” The Egyptians stopped glowering at the British, the Muslims and Hindus outstripped each other, everybody shook hands with me and the chairman, Baroness Ravensdale hugged me. It is not often one gets hugged by a Baroness, a rich one at that and daughter to the late Lord Curzon. I am in.

On top of that I have re-located my best friend here and we have spoken over the phone and expect to have a reunion shortly after many years. And I am doing some research too for the Royal Asiatic Society.

Well, Harry for two days you hexed me by day and haunted me by night and kept on repeating: “I wish I were in your shoes! I wish I were in your shoes!” Even though I walked for miles and miles and got tired at night, no use, it kept on coming, “I wish I were in your shoes.” And all I was doing was going from cue to Kew to queue. That may be some pun, but it is and was very, very true.

I once wrote to you about grass problems in Hyderabad. Well for “light” reading I picked up in Karachi a book by one Hubbard on “The grasses of England.” When I called at Kew I met the Asst. Supt., who is writing on “The Grasses of India,” and we had a fine meeting. Then I saw Hubbard and he is a wonderful, open-hearted man. Then I met the chief Herbologist who turned me over to Mr. Hesse, the chief Economic Botanist. We discussed the various problems about which I have written and about which I plan to do some things when I return. Mr. Hesse gave me a little booklet, “Trees; Journal of the Men of the Trees.” If I have any time before I leave I shall go there. But with these “reunions” and the need for reports I may spend some time typing, and have been going to the theatre or to supper with friends at night, so am very busy.

Today I wandered into a bookstore and bought books on pruning, grafting, and gardening, which I am sending to you. I forgot to put the words “gift package” so if you have to pay duty, please make a record. I am now making a record on my customs sheet as the U.S. Govt. will have to reimburse. The package contains four books purchased, and one magazine which I bought in the street and did not read, “Amateur Gardening,” and some extracts of things carried over from Pakistan and more advertising material, etc.

I purchased two copies of the guide book for Kew and two sets of postals. If both were put in the package, I may wish to give the extra set to the Ross Art and Garden people, but don’t remember if I put in one or two sets. I am holding “Trees” which I have not read and will also take the matter up with “Tex” Evans. At least one cannot say that I have not been on the job and I know I can get the proper papers now from the State Dept. if all else goes wrong and I want to get back on the job. As I have not received mail I have been flying with uncertainty—I know the Pakistanis steal stamps and re-seal them and I now know for certainty my mail has been intercepted. In your case I have every thing in my diary, and this goes for Evans and Echullon (who is supposed to get carbons).

I am near Green and Hyde Parks. These are chiefly lawns with London Planes. The leaves are raked and burned. They tell me they do not make good compost. There are hedges around which are both pinched and pruned. As I have walked there mostly at dawn or dusk no careful observations.

Kew is over 300 acres and even now is not bad. I was not impressed with the greenhouse collections. The houses themselves are being re-modeled, with trouble. They are making them with corrugated plastic. The last experiment was the use of Aluminum instead of iron or steel and the coefficients of expansion of the Al. and glass were so different that there have been drafts in winter and inability to open the vents in the summer. Some of the houses are very old, and despite what I have read in books and magazines on mechanized farming I should say the frames and houses are behind the times. There are far less pipes than I have seen in the U.S. or Japan, and there is not great heat although I did not visit the orchid houses nor ferneries. And where I did go there were few or no attendants—evidently when it is not too cold or rainy they work outside.

The Australian house was most interesting to me. There were, of course, Melaleuca and
Callistemons but I saw no Eugenias and only the “short” Eucs. Grevilleas are much more interesting. Their flowers are attractive. A. drummondi looks almost like a Cytisus with light foliage, etc. The
Pittosporums were not doing good at all.

Outside there are many “brooms” of all kinds and Mahonias everywhere, far, far more than Berberis. The heathers are mostly low bedding types, and there are Pansies out in bloom, thousands. They are planted after bulbs are put in. There are many tulip beds, of course. Chrysanthemums all over. They are imported in Pakistan too, as I have reported. Here the colors are more like in Oakland but the blooms not quite so large. I guess those boys at Eastlake know more about feeding.

Boxwood grows higher here than in California but I did see high Boxwood after all in Pakistan. After I had given up I saw rather high shrubs of it, even growing like small trees.

Kew contains huge collections of Oaks, Prunus, Malus, etc. The Triloba and Japanese-flowering types seem most evident. There are Wisterias and also shrubs and vines. Many kinds of Ilex, of course, but not too many berries. Some on Cotoneaster but could not see many varieties of those either. Several Cedrus mauritania, but overall not too many Cyclospermum.

Lots of birds in trees and ponds and lake but I have not kept up my knowledge. Only they keep one from feeling lonely. Lots of acorns around, too. Did not take notes as I have mailed guide-books. Next time I come may do some research in libraries. The books written are individual undertakings but the seed and plant exchange is official. I have to presume you got material from them but I certainly am going to check up.

I have heard from Mr. Kinoshita and will also write now to his colleagues in New York. This should also be helpful for more introductions. I was very successful at Karachi in everything, but on account of the mail have to spend a lot of time duplicating correspondence so will not say more. I have been a man of few words, few meaning “thousands,” but my celebrated speech: “I think I owe you some money” has had such a reaction that I think I’ll write old Carnegie and give him some advice.

The books are being sent to the Green house.

Harry, I mean Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Harry is a good combination of Merry and Happy—you ought to learn that from your genetics.



London, December 17

My dear Robert:

Well, old dear, my trip nears its end and it has been most successful and enlightening. I do not know whether other you have written to me or not. I do know I do not receive mail and I also know my mail is not received. I am going to have a long conference with the Pakistani Consul-General in N.Y. For so long as there is internal corruption and dishonesty—which includes removal of stamps, there is no use crying for tourists, for that is what they really mean.

Whatever the changes of the Wheel were they seem to continue regardless of geography. I did meet Jack because I sent a cable and he sent me to the world Congress of Faiths, a group which I used to belong to and we lost all track of each other. I am rejoining them and also the Royal Asiatic society.

Well I mentioned some of my researches, the usual British answer: “Oh, but all the research has been done on that by experts.” So I asked for a certain book. “Never heard of it.” Well they had it and when it was opened, the usual flourish of apologies. Good old British reactions (Alan Watts not yet heard from, but it will be the same).

Between these two and Jack I am now quite satisfied. Jack spoke last night. I pity him. Try to explain Zen to a mixed audience of Thereva-Dins and Tories and make Zen clear to each in their very different outlooks. His talk was clear enough, his manner OK and his answers excellent. But whether they reached the cortices of his hearers I do not know. Anyhow I am going to try to link him with some others in the States and I certainly want to give him at least limited cooperation. For my part he does give a presentation of Zen which ought to impress Western people who want to be impressed and even more wish to practice.

There is nothing objectionable in his combination of Zen and Yellow Hat any more than there is in any combination of Zen and Pure Land. I don’t mind in the least. But in these days of science and Toynbee Thereva-Din is nothing but sectarianisms and is certainly not Buddhism.

All my other affairs in London have turned out excellently. The scientists are not metaphysicians. Well, you can talk to them in their own language they don’t ask you for genealogies. I expect more from this line later on, for it requires correspondence at long ranges between New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and London, with me out of it. If this can be done “I” succeed; if “I” get into it I (without the marks) fail. This line of objective action is demonstration enough of an-atta which our Theravadic and Wattsian friends can never understand.

I also have re-contacted my best friend here. It is another of those fairy book experiences. What I told him years ago still holds and now we are both in positions to do something about world affairs, not just talkie-talky.

Despite “Joy to the world,” despite “Nirvana,” despite “Islam” there is almost universal gloom here and I am running around calling myself ”Puck of Pukhtunistan” and laughing. Jon says I took younger than 12 years ago which may be true. I am Alice at the finish of the two books, finding all those great characters to be mere pound or words.

I learned a little about “Australian Buddhism,” I am still unable to distinguish in practice Australian Buddhism, Pakistani Islam and French Politics: “Whenever two or three are gathered together…,“ a new faction is formed.

No more sanga, just sans gaga. I’ll stick to what they told me at Sojiji which anybody not named Humphrey’s or Watts might conceivably understand.

I do not know where this will reach you or find you, nor do I know where I shall be when. So if you get this please write to me at my “permanent” address,

1011 C St., San Rafael. Calif.

Now I am going to work on my customs declamations.