Welcome to the first issue of the Shamcher Bulletin, excerpts from the archives of Shamcher Bryn Beorse.
February 5, 1927
It was in the middle of a very cold winter in Norway, and I suddenly felt that I should go to Suresnes. I said to myself, “What is this idiotic impulse? This is the middle of winter, and Suresnes is a summer school, May through August.” Nevertheless, I went, on the ship, and then on the train, questioning myself the whole way.
I was living in Norway, three days by ship and rail to Suresnes, the Sufi Summer School. This was not Summer but mid-winter, Norwegian style, big boots, heavy coats and mufflers. Yet, an untimely, unseemly urge told me to go to Suresnes. I had packed a little bag and embarked on a ship, not yet knowing why. My senses were in control, yet I did not follow them, or any reason. I just up and went. I had no premonition, not even any idea why I went or for what. I cussed myself, scolded myself, tried to restrain myself; nothing helped. On the steamer my eye hurt. I could not see. Serves you right, I thought, going to summer school in mid-winter. The ship called at Stavanger, where I saw an eye doctor who pulled out a hair.
When I got to Suresnes, I was slightly ashamed to be there for no reason, but there were many others there, though not all, not the usual crowd of the Summer School. A flock of us gathered at Fazal Manzil guided by a not yet fully developed sense. We came from Holland, France, England, and even as far away as Sweden and Norway. We all tried to weigh the issue of why we had come; we didn’t know. All of them were just as surprised as myself. None of us had any explanation for our irresponsible behavior.
At five in the morning February 5th, there was a message. Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan, then in India, had passed over to the other world. Then came the message, Oh yes, that is why we had come. Now we knew. And Hidayat was there, and Noor, and her sister and Vilayat. Now it was us. The heavy burden of the message was now on us, with us. This day was the mightiest initiation. Visalat Day.
We, chumps, who had gathered in Suresnes for no apparent reason were now in charge of the message. I felt not so much sadness as a sense of tremendous responsibility. Just at that time, all of us were responsible, and it was a very heavy responsibility.
I recalled my last meeting with Inayat Khan 26 September, 1926. I said to him, “I am looking forward to seeing you next summer.” He replied, “From now on, Shamcher, you will meet me in your intuition.”
Shamcher often told this story of travelling to Suresnes, in correspondence and interviews, each time with slight differences. This version is a combination from a few different sources. Here’s a quick map of the trip today.
Shamcher Describes Darshan with Inayat Khan
It was in the Oriental Room, which was his retreat room. He would sit in meditation and we would sit in a chair. When you came in, his eyes would open to look at you; then you would sit down. He would close his eyes and you would close yours. Nothing was ever said. Then, after a while, you would open your eyes and he would be looking at you. There was a great light coming from his eyes. You felt an intense communication, something which could not be expressed in words. We understood when we were to leave. Nothing was ever said or taught in words during any of these darshans. We left with the feeling of having been born again.
About this newsletter
Thank you for signing up for the Shamcher Bulletin! It’s here to bring you snippets from Shamcher’s archives that might help frame and context the world we live in today. Once a week from Feb. 5 onwards, I’ll take a break from whatever I’m doing to send you a quick dispatch.
Over the coming weeks, these emails to you will touch on all the areas from Shamcher’s vast explorations, from economics and energy to yoga and Sufism. They might be moving, or inspiring, or interesting. What they won’t be is commercial in any way. Always free.
I hope it will be like getting a letter from Shamcher, something just right in the moment.
The email is for you, so tell me what you’d like to read. Would you like to see more on his OTEC or other renewable energy work? Sufi teaching? Economics? Memories and stories from people who knew him? Or a little of everything? Just reply to this email and let me know.
And if you wish to contribute stories, photos, correspondence, please send it along to share. It will all find its way into the Shamcher Bulletin eventually.
I’m still sorting a few details so we don’t have comments set up easily yet. Until next week….
Shamcher Bryn Beorse holds a model of the OTEC system. A source of benign solar power from the sea, OTEC uses the temperature difference between the surface and depth of the ocean to produce electric power.