Sheikh Ahsan ul Haq
He was present at the International Headquarters of the Sufi
Movement, Geneva, at the International Council-meeting and at
the Esoteric Council-meeting, held in September 1925.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes, Pir-o-Murshid
mentioned him and said: "We hear that Sheikh Ahsan ul Haq has
commenced Sufi activities in Delhi by editing a Sufi Magazine,
which gives us hope of the Message spreading throughout India."
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Miss Angela Alt
She encountered Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in London and was
initiated by him. After Murshid's first visit to Italy in 1923,
Miss Alt conducted the group of new mureeds there. Then she
was given the charge of the Movement in Italy.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes, Pir-o-Murshid
spoke about her in the following appreciative words: "The first
person who began the work in Italy was Miss Angela Alt, to whom
the credit of introducing the Message there will always be due.
The delicacy and tact with which the Italian people must be
met, were ready in her nature. She has never made them think
her an outsider ..." At the Summerschools at Suresnes, after
the interviews, Angela Alt gave a short explanation of the exercises
to mureeds to whom practices or additional exercises had been
given at those interviews. She did this on Murshid's request.
Some of the older mureeds, present at the Summerschool at Suresnes
in those days, remember her at the piano composing music for
the sayings about incense from the Gayan.
The biographical sketch about Murshida Sophia Green, also to
be found in this Biography, has been written by Angela Alt.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Mr. R. A. L. Armstrong (Khalif Mumtaz)
I was born in England in 1892 and educated at St. Paul's School
and Oxford University.
The first time I came in contact with Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
was in Switzerland in 1921, after a long study of the Persian
Sufism. I joined the Sufi Order and was initiated by Pir-o-Murshid
in 1921. That same year I was appointed Murshid's private Financial
Secretary. Then I became a member of the first Executive Committee
of the Sufi Movement and was therefore signatory of the Constitution
of the Movement when it was legalized in October 1923 at Geneva.
In that same month I was ordained a Cherag.
Then I went to South America, lectured on Sufism in Argentine
and held the first Service of Universal Worship in South America
in November 1924.
In March I was appointed by Murshid to be the Editor of the
newly founded magazine "The Sufi Quarterly" and I was made Secretary
to the Press Bureau.
In 1925 and 1926 Murshid initiated me as a Sheikh and a Khalif
and in 1925 I was made the National Representative for South
On 20th September 1926 Murshid consecrated my marriage to Lakme
van Hogendorp at Geneva.
From data sent by him to Sakina Furnee at Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Mr. George Baum (Sheikh)
The only data about him which could be found in the archives
of the Nekbakht Foundation are that in 1923 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan made him a Sheikh and ordained him a Cherag.
Bryn Beorse (Björset) (Shamcher)
In October 1923 when I was 27 years old and had traveled all
over India looking for a teacher of Yoga, which I had studied
from when eight years old, Sirkar van Stolk telephoned to me
in Oslo: Would I translate a lecture to be given at the Oslo
University by the World's greatest mystic? "We know that you
have traveled in India ..." A Theosophist friend insisted on
going to the Grand Hotel together, where Inayat Khan was staying.
I was irritated: this friend, too talkative, would ball up my
serious interview about how to proceed with the translation
– sentence by sentence or a script? Wondering how I would be
able to get in my practical questions amid the heavy spiritual
artillery fire I expected from my friend, I entered the room,
a worried man. – Inayat Khan looked up at us with laughing eyes.
"Shall we have silence?" The gentle, sincere, almost apologetic
tone of his voice contrasted the startling sense of his words.
With a graceful bow he asked us to sit down. We seated ourselves
in opposite corners of a sofa and he sat down between us and
closed his eyes. So did we... . I woke up, refreshed, when a
bell rang. The interview was over, not a word was exchanged.
Next evening Inayat Khan gave his lecture and I translated it,
after it had been given in full, without taking notes. People
said I did not miss a word. I don't know how.
I told him I liked his Message but I was already a member of
the Theosophical Society and the Order of the Star in the East,
so of course I could not join him. "No, of course not." Four
days later he came back from a trip. I said: "I think my membership
in those other organizations was a preparation for something
to come. I believe this may have come now. May I join you?"
"With great pleasure." Then he gave me practices and initiated
me in a railway compartment. The people around us seemed unaware
of what was going on.
I had played with God as a lusty playmate from early childhood,
so could never be quite as serious and awed as some other mureeds
and once, in the middle of the first Summer School in Paris,
I suggested to Inayat Khan that perhaps I was not really fit
for this life. He reassured me smilingly that I was, and protected
me against assaults by other mureeds, in very subtle ways. Murshida
Green had asked us "What does Murshid mean to you?" "Well,"
said I, "a friend, an example." "Oh you don't understand at
all. Murshid is so much more than all that." That same evening
Murshid gave a talk but before he started he looked thoughtful,
then said: "Before I start my talk I want to mention that sometimes
a teacher's best friends become his worst enemies – by lifting
him up onto a pedestal and making of him an inhuman monster
instead of what he is and wants to be: Just a friend, an example
..." Nevertheless, I want to ask forgiveness for my lack of
respect. I even once asked Inayat whether we could give up the
"Sufi" name on the Message since people misunderstood it for
some Muslim sect. He said: "It could happen. But for the time
being the name seems right to me, and if we did not put a name
on ourselves, others would put a name on us and it might be
worse." More important is that Inayat pushed into my mind worlds
of impulses that will take me eons to unravel and use.
When mureeds asked if Sufis should not be pacifists, Inayat
replied: "If people of goodwill lay down their arms today, they
will still fight: they will be forced to fight, and not in defense
of their ideals any longer, but against them." In September
1926 I saw Inayat for the last time. I said: "I look forward
to seeing you next summer." "From now on," he replied, "you
will meet me in your intuition." Then, during the first days
of February 1927 I had a strange urge to travel to Suresnes,
a three-four day trip by boat and rail from Norway. When I arrived
others had had the same urge. Early on fifth February came the
answer to why we had come. Now the Message was with us.
Inayat Khan often said "Mureeds who have never met me, never
seen me, will often be closer to me than you, who know me as
a person". I am meeting such mureeds, closer to him, every day.
Berkeley, CA. U.S.A. From Shamcher's autobiographical data.
27th July 1977.
Cecil Eric Britten Best (Sheikh Shahbaz)
Cecil Eric Britten Best was born in Leytonstone, England, in
1882, one of a family of 13, educated at Ardingley College and
trained as a banker, By the end of World War I he had had a
chequered career both in England and overseas as banker, merchant,
miner, soldier, editor and semi-professional singer.
A free thinker from early adolescence, it was while serving
as Syllabus Secretary in the Theosophical Society in 1916 that
he met both his future wife and the Sufi Master Inayat Khan.
The encounter with the latter had a profound influence on his
life. Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan gave him the name "Shahbaz",
literally meaning "royal falcon" but in his case meaning "carrier
of the Message", and for the next 30 years Shahbaz strove to
advance the Sufi Cause in Brazil, to which country he returned
as a Bank official.
His first book: "Genesis Revised", was written after eleven
years' study of Fabre D'Olivet's "The Hebraic Tongue Restored".
"The Drama of the Soul" followed. It was the crowning piece
of a life of deep thought and reflection.
Shahbaz Best returned to live in England in 1952 and died in
Southampton in his 92nd year.
These data have been sent to the Nekbakht Foundation on its
request by Sheikh Shahbaz's eldest daughter Joyce Best.
She was born on 30th April 1874 at Aarau, Switzerland. She studied
painting in Paris and München and from the age of 20 was interested
in religion. In 1911 and 1912 she traveled in the Far East,
visiting many prominent sacred places in India, China and Japan.
Then she returned to her mother at Rapperswil, wrote books and
articles about the different religions and founded several charity
Societies. She had her spiritual rebirth on 29th April 1922
and entered the Order of the Sufis in 1923.
From data sent by her at Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's request
to Sakina Furnee.
Edward Patrick Augustine Connaughton (Khalif)
I was born in 1887 at Manorhamilton in Ireland as the youngest
son of John Connaughton, District Inspector of the Royal Irish
Constabulary, and Hannah McFadden. I was educated at public
schools and in 1904 entered the Ulster Bank Ltd. in Belfast.
Four years later I resigned and associated with Messrs. Elders
& Fyffes, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. I was brought
up a Catholic but at the age of 21 became interested in psychic
research and spent some years attending seances, lectures and
reading about the subject; this lead to the study of comparative
religion. In 1912 I left Messrs. Elders & Fyffes and in that
same year married Ethel Marion Pritchard Davies and we had one
son. During the World War I I assisted in military hospitals
and worked in the British Consular Service. More and more the
need was felt for self-development and direction and early in
1915 I read about Sufism and called at the Sufi rooms in London,
but Murshid was away in the country. In September 1915 we left
for California and in 1918 I was initiated into Sufism by Murshida
Martin at San Francisco. During a visit to England in the summer
of 1919 I was initiated as Khalif by Pir-o-Murshid. My wife
died in 1921 and two years later I married Angela Theresa Sieys
in San Francisco. When Murshid came to New York in 1923, I went
there to meet him. Between 1919 and 1925 I studied landscape
painting and opened a rare bookshop in Santa Barbara, California.
A few years later I opened an art studio and entered real estate
From Khalif Connaughton's autobiographical data.
Mr. David Craig (Sheikh)
He was an Englishman living in Rome where he was working for
"British Airways". In November 1923 he met Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan in Italy and was initiated by him. In August 1924 he came
to the Summerschool at Suresnes and was ordained a Cherag. One
year later, during the Summerschool, Murshid made him a Sheikh.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes, Pir-o-Murshid
said: "... Later on Mr. and Mrs. Craig joined forces and arranged
my visit to Rome most successfully (February 1925). They are
now carrying out admirably the work of the Message there in
Rome." From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Mrs. Marya Cushing (Sheikha Khushi)
This American mureed came to the first Summerschool held at
Suresnes in 1922 where she was initiated by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan. During Murshid's second visit to the United States from
the end of February to the beginning of June 1923 she helped
to organize his lecture-tour, specially in New York. Khushi
then took down many of Murshid's lectures in shorthand.
She was made a Sheikha and Murshid asked her to form a group
in New York. In a letter to Pir-o-Murshid of 25th June 1923,
she wrote: "I confess I have not much inspiration just now as
to how the work can be made to grow in New York, but feel certain
that as it is God's work. He will send out the call to the hearts
ready and waiting for it, and show me how to reach them. The
most important thing is that we all here, particularly myself,
shall become illuminated by the Divine Wisdom so as to be proper
channels for the Message. For this I pray every day." From the
archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Miss Jessie Eliza Dowland (Khalifa Nargis)
Khalifa Nargis Dowland was the head of the Polygon House Hotel
in Southampton, England, and seems to have been an efficient
and capable manager. In 1919 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan initiated
her and then she put this same efficiency also into the work
for the Sufi Order and Movement in England. Her help and assistance
to Pir-o-Murshid at the time when this was most needed, during
the troublesome period following World War I, were invaluable.
All sorts of difficulties were accumulating and threatened the
newly started work for the Sufi Message in England. Nargis became
National Representative of England in 1921, which function she
held until 1933.
Besides her capacity of organization and of handling practical
affairs, she developed an extraordinary sensitiveness and had
outstanding heart qualities. This enabled her to become an excellent
sound-board for the Sufi Message. She understood the inner meaning
of Murshid's words, even received Murshid's thoughts often and
wrote them down in her own language as "Murshid's inner Teachings
as received in the Silence and rendered by Nargis". (These are
words directly inspired by Pir-o-Murshid.) Her sympathy for
other mureeds was deep and touching and her desire to be helpful
to Pir-o-Murshid was boundless. In a letter to Murshid of 1st
November 1920 she wrote: "I am very well and in spite of all
the difficulties feel quite happy and peaceful, except that
I do not know how you are situated and whether you are needing
anything. Will you give me your confidence and tell me which
way I can help most... . My earnest desire is to do whatever
will help to spread the Message in the way you wish most, even
if this means that you have to be away from us. Of course I
miss you dreadfully and it is a great disappointment to miss
your classes this winter. While life lasts I shall never be
able to show my gratitude for all you have done for me and can
only hope to show it in some small measure by service. I am
afraid you are having a terrible time still, all the forces
of evil seem trying to stop the work and upon you alone the
burden falls." She wrote three books: "Between the Desert and
the Sown", "At the Gate of Discipleship" and "The lifted Veil".
In her own words these books are meant to be "some practical
teachings for aspirants to discipleship, inscribed by Nargis".
Moreover she founded the "Sufi Book Depot" at Southampton. Throughout
the Second World War she continued to live in Southampton and
once wrote to Miss Angela Alt: "The Wisemans' shop has been
demolished entirely, in fact the whole town has almost. They
are trying to get a place in Portswood near here. There was
no fire fortunately, so they have salvaged a good deal, although
everything is covered with dust and dirt. The odd thing is that
the very first things which were found are my books and later
some of Murshid's and all these are only dusty; I have them
all here now... ." In another letter to Angela Alt she wrote:
"I am sure the seeds he broadcasted are taking root. Everywhere
I can see it ... . Much more will be seen after the war has
ended and the beginning of the New Age starts. You have done
a great deal, don't feel worried if you have to stop any definite
Sufi work. The real Message Murshid brought will be given in
quite a different form from the Sufi Order as we know it, of
that I feel sure." She continued to gather around her the mureeds
until her passing away at Southampton on the 29th of December
From Miss Dowland's letters to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan and
from the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Emilien Dussaq (Khalif Talewar)
He was born in Havana (Cuba) in 1882 as the son of Maurice C.
Dussaq and Maria Luisa Fischer. In 1921 he married in Paris
and had four children. In 1921 he divorced in Vevey (Switzerland).
He became a member of the Sufi Order in 1921 and was initiated
by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. In October 1922 he was given the
charge of General Secretary of the Sufi Movement at Geneva.
From 1922 to 1924 he was Acting National Representative for
Switzerland of the Sufi Movement. In October 1923 Pir-o-Murshid
ordained him a Cherag. He also participated in other activities
of the Sufi Movement.
He married a second time in January 1924 in Geneva (Marie Isabelle
Lussy), and the religious ceremony was performed by Murshid
at the Hague two days later at the residence of Mr. H. P. Baron
van Tuyll van Serooskerken, the National Representative of the
Sufi Movement in Holland. On this same day Taiewar became a
Khalif at the hands of Pir-o-Murshid and three months later
Murshid ordained him a Siraj in Bern, Switzerland. In his speech
on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes Pir-o-Murshid said: "It is a
great consolation to feel that the General Secretary of our
Movement, Khalif Dussaq, has worked through all difficulties
and has won our confidence and trust every day more and more
in conjunction with his worthy sister Countess Pieri." From
data sent at Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's request to Sakina Furnee
and from the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Murshida Fazal Mai Egeling
I was born on 27th March 1861 in the Netherlands. (Murshida
Fazal Mai first describes her childhood and youth which were
happy – in spite of the early loss of her loving parents – and
her equally happy married life. She got a Christian orthodox
education and later on became a member of the Theosophical Lodge.)
After my husband had passed away I went to Switzerland to live
near Lausanne with friends. One day I received a letter from
a friend, telling me that he had been elected as the secretary
of Murshid Inayat Khan and that he accompanied Murshid, who
was traveling in Switzerland to give a series of lectures, and
who intended to give a lecture at Lausanne. My friend asked
me to assist and so it happened that I was among the audience
when Murshid came on the platform. Instantly the revelation
came to me: "That is the Master I have been waiting for and
whom I have hoped fervently to have the privilege to see one
day." It was this revelation that decided my further life, for
there was for me but one step to take to become a mureed and
to devote my life to the Master and his work.
When Murshid, on his next visit to Switzerland, proposed to
me to come and live with him and his family, I did not hesitate
for a single moment and answered: "Yes Murshid, I will come
and live with you." – Then I arranged everything for moving
to Suresnes, where I arrived half April 1922 and was received
by Begum and the children, Murshid and the brothers being in
Holland. We liked one another from the beginning and when Murshid
and the brothers arrived, we were instantly aware that we were
of one spirit and that we had one Ideal: to devote our life
to the great Cause of humanity. The day of my arrival at Suresnes,
Begum had given me a letter from Murshid in which he told me
that my Sufi-name would be "Fazal Mai" meaning "Blessed Mother"
and that our house would be called "Fazal Manzil", meaning "Blessed
A blessed time for me and the few mureeds who were in Suresnes
were the Summer-classes in the garden of Fazal Manzil that first
year, when we were sitting in a circle under the trees listening
to the lectures Murshid gave us. Then during the next two years
the summer-classes were given in the same way only with more
On the morning of Viladat-day (5th July) 1922 I received my
ordination as a Cheraga and on Christmas-day of the same year
Murshid made me a Siraja.
At the beginning of December 1922 I started the first Sunday-service
in Fazal Manzil, which I have officiated from that time on every
Sunday at 4.30 in the afternoon.
On Viladat-day 1923 I became a Shefayat and later on Kefayat
and started once a week a private healing-group.
These two services in their simplicity and at the same time
in their deep meaning, have become most precious to my heart.
To me as a whole they are a meditation, an upliftment, a revelation
to a greater consciousness, to a higher state of being. The
Supreme Lord, the Illuminated Souls, whose words I pass on to
the audience, are a reality to me and I know that I am cooperating
with them and that they surround me when I am officiating.
On the morning of Christmas-day 1923 Murshid made me a Murshida
and from that date on, every morning, a Blessing goes out from
Fazal Manzil to the workers and the mureeds of every country.
Beginning with the Messenger I bless with "Fazal" first those
of India and America then Belgium, Holland, England, Norway,
Sweden, Denmark, Germany Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France,
to end with Fazal Manzil, embracing them all together in one
love-chord. I look at them all as to my children, sending them
my loving thoughts, being happy when they are happy, praying
for them in their illnesses and troubles. More and more I realize
the privilege to be trusted by my Murshid with this precious
trust, working in the inner planes to help to uplift mankind,
to bring heaven nearer to earth and to bless my fellow men,
whenever I feel inclined to do so.
Last summer I had a glorious vision of Murshid as the Buddha.
I saw him as he used to sit before us in the silence. At both
sides of him there were the mureeds in the shape of long rays
of light. Around and above Murshid was a splendid colored light
crowded with beautiful beings, who were radiating just as Murshid,
and at his feet the whole humanity looking up at him. A big
light came from above and shone upon the whole in different
colors: golden, silvery and purple, at the bottom in a darker
There is not much to say about the many difficulties I have
had in my life; for when troubles have passed we look at them
in a different way; then they are only important in so far as
we know that we have gained wisdom by these very difficulties.
Every sorrow as well as every pleasure has its value as a teacher.
It is all given to find in the end our own self, to find the
Christ within our own heart.
"Soli Deo Gloria" "Fazal" to every living being.
27 March 1926 From Murshida Fazal Mai's autobiographical sketch.
Murshida Fazal Mai passed away on 27th December 1939, at Arnhem,
the Netherlands, at the age of 79.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Madame M. C. la Baronne d' Eichthal (Sheikha)
As far as we can ascertain, Madame d'Eichthal became a mureed
of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in or even before 1921. In 1923
she was made a Sheikha and in 1925 a Siraja. From 1924 to 1929
she was the National Representative for France of the Sufi Movement
and from 1926 to 1929 she was the Editor of the Magazine "Soufisme".
She passed away in April 1929. In her apartment in Paris she
gathered mureeds and friends and Murshid has often given lectures
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes Pir-o-Murshid
said the following appreciative words about her: "We are thankful
for our venerated friend and esteemed collaborator Baroness
d'Eichthal who has been the backbone of the Movement in France.
Had it not been for her unceasing efforts to hold fast and further
the Cause in France, where should we have been? She has not
only been a great help in bringing out Sufi literature in French,
but she has also generously shaped our new establishment of
the Summerschool." From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Fatha Earl Engle
Fatha Earl Engle was born in central Indiana, U.S.A. in 1888,
orphaned at the age of five years, and reared by an Indiana
farmer, a hard and thorough task-master. He received vigorous
and intensive training from the age of six years through twenty-nine
in every kind of work entailed in agricultural life. After graduating
from high school, and being of a studious nature, he continued
his education in studies of scientific farming, psychology,
philosophy and English. Due to hard work and exposure, his health
became impaired and he went to Colorado where he regained his
health, and for the first time experienced the freedom from
a life of enslavement and domination. From the age of twenty-nine
to thirty-five Fatha traveled and gained valuable experience
of human life and nature as well as some understanding of business
and industry and human relationships.
At the age of thirty-one, following a profound religious experience,
he became deeply interested in religion and philosophy, their
inner significance and their real meaning in human life. Fatha
then studied for one and a half years with Murshida Rabia Martin
and became a disciple of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan under whose
personal guidance he again spent one and a half years.
Early in 1923 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan arrived in America for
a lecture tour of the large cities. He was due to arrive in
San Francisco and Murshida Martin and her pupils were filled
with a great joy and expectancy. On his first day in San Francisco
Murshida had arranged for each of her pupils to have a private
interview with Pir-o-Murshid. Fatha's appointment at the hotel
was for 10 a.m. As he was riding – joyfully riding on the cable-car
on the way downtown, a wonderful experience of illumination
took place. It seemed to him that the streets, the houses, the
cable-car, everything was of shining gold; he seemed to be riding
on a golden car through golden streets of a golden city; and
the illumination continued right up to the hotel entrance. When
he was ushered into the presence of Murshid, Fatha was still
experiencing a most exalted state of consciousness. Afterwards,
he remembered that by a few simple questions about himself,
Murshid had gently brought him down to earth and enabled him
to get on with the interview which was a never-to-be-forgotten
event. Together with some other pupils of Murshida's, Fatha
was initiated into the Sufi Order by Pir-o-Murshid during that
month of March 1923. He attended all of Murshid's lectures,
hung on every word he spoke and had several private interviews.
Then, one day, he asked Fatha if he would like to return with
him to his home in Suresnes, France, for a year and be his pupil
there. Without a moment's hesitation the answer was "yes". The
instruction and guidance of Murshida Martin had served to orient
Fatha's mind to philosophical, religious and mystical terminology
and had made him acquainted with the fact that many persons,
in the past and in the present, had had similar experiences.
He had learned something of the significance of his own inner
experiences; and now, under the guidance of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan he was to learn the science and art of attaining the Realization
of God, how to purify and discipline the body, mind and heart
in order to reflect the inner Love, Light and Life.
On the 10th of May 1923 Fatha was to join Pir-o-Murshid in New
York City and on June 9th they sailed for Europe on the SS "Olympic",
one of the largest liners then afloat. Some mureeds and friends
thought it inexcusable that Inayat should be traveling in a
second-class cabin; but Inayat remarked to Fatha: "they do not
understand that we are dervishes and it makes no difference
to us!" Immediately on arrival at Suresnes they launched into
preparations of the Summer School which was to begin there in
a few days. Fatha was assigned many duties to be performed in
connection with the activities of the Summer School and with
Murshid's household. Within a few weeks he found his activities
to consist of the following: helping to find accommodations
for mureeds and friends visiting the Summer School and getting
them settled in their respective places on arrival. Taking care
of and driving the new automobile which Murshid had purchased
for the use of himself and his family; taking care of the walled-in
garden surrounding Murshid's home; importing the Sufi books
from England and handling the sale of them during the Summer
School; going with Inayat Khan's youngest brother, Musharaff,
to the public market on Tuesdays and Fridays to buy provisions
for the large household; going to Paris with messages for Murshid
and to do shopping errands; taking Murshid and/or other members
of the family to places when and where they wanted to go.
In connection with the inner workings of the Summer School itself,
Fatha had complete charge of all interviews that anyone was
to have with Murshid – except his secretaries and the members
of his family. It was a strict rule that, in order to see Pir-o-Murshid,
everyone must make an appointment with Fatha; that rule was
in force through the two Summer School sessions he was there.
He had also to be on hand during the hours of the interviews,
to usher the visitors in and out. It was a most interesting
and most valuable experience. It meant the forming of close
acquaintance with everyone who attended the Summer School. It
afforded Fatha the opportunity of observing how Murshid received
each visitor and how he terminated each interview. It became
a most sacred and illuminating privilege. The hours for interviews
each day were divided into five, ten, fifteen and twenty minute
periods; seldom ever did an interview last over twenty minutes.
There were seventy to eighty people attending at any one time,
their stay ranging from a day or two up to the whole three months.
The length of interviews was regulated according to suggestions
made by Murshid. It was quite a task for one person to handle
all the details of so many interviews of varied lengths each
week and keep everyone pacified, consoled or satisfied.
At that time the classes and lectures were held outside in the
garden on nice days and inside Murshid's house on rainy days;
there was a gravel walk leading from the entrance at the lower
end of the garden up to the house and it was a rule strictly
enforced that no one was to make any noise or to walk up the
gravel walk to join the circle after Murshid had begun to speak;
he spoke entirely from a high source of inspiration and did
not wish the flow of inspiration to be interrupted. Fatha never
wished to miss a word of Murshid's teaching; but one day he
was late in returning from doing some errands in Paris and the
mureeds were assembled and were already listening. He came quietly
inside the garden and laid down on a cot in a room beside the
garage, feeling a bit unhappy that he would miss hearing the
words of his Murshid that day. But as he laid there meditating,
he became aware that he was hearing every word of the talk,
then being given, distinctly in his heart; it was as if Murshid's
voice was sounding clearly, as from a radio receiver, right
there in his own heart. It was a most remarkable case of a mureed's
heart being perfectly attuned to the heart of his Murshid.
After his preparation for the Work, Fatha was assigned to New
York City where for fifteen years he conducted the center there.
In 1942 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with his family and established
a center there. Over these years he initiated hundreds of mureeds,
delivering numerous lectures and consoling, counselling, uplifting
and inspiring ... Fatha answered the Call of Return on 28th
From biographical data, received from Fatha's wife Bhakti Engle
and his daughter Jalelah Fraley.
Miss J. E. D. Furnee (Khalifa Sakina)
Kinna (as she was called in the family circle) Furnee was born
at The Hague in 1896, where she got her education at a girls'
school. Her parents had engaged an English nurse for the children,
so she learned English in an easy way. Later on she was sent
to a College at Vevey, Switzerland, to learn French fluently.
In Holland again, she went to a horticultural College and obtained
her final examinations there. She had a liking for welfare work
and was engaged for some time by a glass factory at Leerdam
to work among the laborers. Her character was rather uncommunicative
and even as a child she kept to herself. She was a good pianist,
a pupil of the well known Netherlands musician and composer
Willem Andriessen, and she practiced regularly and for hours
together. For some time she was a member of a Movement, called
"Practical Idealism". She tried to live a vegetarian life but
had to give up, as she got undernourished.
Her first contact with Sufism has been through Mrs. Fontijn
Tuinhout at Vierhouten, when asked by this lady to lay out her
In 1921 she became Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's secretary and
began to take down his lectures. Sakina's father strongly objected
to the way of life she had chosen but in later years reconciled
himself to it.
Sakina then learned shorthand and a great deal of Murshid's
lectures have been taken down and transcribed by her. Due to
her devotion to Murshid and the Sufi Message, and also to her
accuracy, many of Murshid's words have been preserved exactly
as they were pronounced. In 1922 Murshid made her Peshkar, head
of the Brotherhood activity of the Sufi Movement. She accompanied
Murshid on a journey to Vienna and to Belgium where she was
made acting National Representative in December 1923. Towards
the end of 1924 she bought the house at the Rue de la Tuilerie
nr. 34, opposite "Fazal Manzil" at Suresnes. Murshid insisted
on accompanying Sakina when she went to sign the sale's contract
and he added his signature to it.
Between summer 1922 and autumn 1925 Murshid dictated many parts
of his Biography to her. Murshid created the Biographical Department
and made Sakina the keeper of it. She was set to task to gather
all Murshid's words and everything connected with Sufism and
the Sufi Message and to keep all these documents and objects
most carefully. In her own handwriting she describes this in
the following way: "... Murshid handed me several objects and
papers. Each time there was again something which Murshid liked
to add to one of these collections, Murshid handed it to me,
simply saying: 'Keep it, for the Biographical Department'. And
I kept it ...". She continued to do this work for nearly fifty
years, in a very unassuming way, living a solitary and retired
life in her little house at Suresnes, setting an inspiring example
of faithfulness to Murshid and to the Sufi Message, not only
for those who had the privilege to contact her now and then
but also for the future generations of Sufis who will be benefitted
by her patient and most valuable work.
Her Sufi name "Sakina" later on has been changed by Murshid
into "Nekbakht". In 1950 she established the foundation "Nekbakht
Stichting", intended to ensure the continuation of the work
which Murshid had entrusted to her.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation and data received
from her sister Mrs. E. D. Fuchs-Furnee and from Kismet Stam.
Miss Lucy M. Goodenough (Murshida Sharifa)
We know very little about the first period of Lucy Marian Goodenough's
life. She was born on August 25th 1876, in London, second daughter
of Colonel W. H. Goodenough (afterwards Lt. General Sir William
Goodenough K.C.B.) and of Mrs. (afterwards Lady) Goodenough,
nee Countess Kinsky.
She traveled quite a lot, "was a fearless rider", "a very delicate
child, but inclined to take the lead over her sisters". Later
on, during her Vienna period, she will be a leader in fashion
for a season or two... . At the same time she was master of
German and French and well versed in Italian. She even knew
by heart Dante's "Divine Comedy".
Her social and rather mundane life suddenly came to an end when
she came in contact with Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan in London
during the First World War (probably in 1916). From this time
onward her entire life became devoted to Pir-o-Murshid and settled
Through her deep interest in Sufism, her staunch devotion to
Murshid and her swift progress along the spiritual path, Murshid
made her Khalifa, then Murshida, and finally she became the
Silsila Sufiya of the Sufi Order, which means the link, necessary
for the transmission of initiation in the Sufi Orders. Pir-o-Murshid
had a seal made, after his own drawing, and gave this to her
as a token of this greater responsibility. Except for her work
for the Sufi Cause, she was then inclined to be remote, exclusive
The death of the Master was a very severe shock to her. No doubt
it has been so for many faithful mureeds. But on her this event
seemed to work as a devastating earthquake and it affected her
whole being. She fell seriously ill and had to live in seclusion
for months together. She emerged from this period as a different
person. Formerly she used to be shy; now by her mere presence,
one could perceive a sort of mastery over herself and over others.
She used to be exclusive; now she was ready to welcome each
and all with a patience, a meekness and kindness, at times more
than human. One would breathe in her presence that peace, that
tranquility of mind which made one feel one's truer self.
After the passing away of Baroness d'Eichthal she became the
National Representative for France and gathered around her a
group of mureeds with a lively interest in the Sufi teachings.
Some among them had known Pir-o-Murshid and had been in contact
with him, such as Mesdames Yvonne Detraux, Yvonne Guillaume
(both artists) and Marie-Madeleine Frere; and others were newcomers:
Madame Antoinette Schamhart and Miss Adriana van der Scheer
(Feizi). The former became a very close friend to Murshida,
the latter a devoted attendant at the time of Murshida's ill
health and overworking. A few other mureeds of Pir-o-Murshid,
also attracted by that mind of rare insight and the utter purity
of that soul, were Sheikh Sirkar van Stolk, the poetess Zebunnisa
(Marchesa Farinola de Tanfani), Shahnawaz van Spengler, the
philosopher Louis Hoyack and Wazir van Essen. All recognized
in Murshida Sharifa a quality that was unique and found in her
the reflection of the Master for whom they had such a great
admiration and for whom they were longing so much.
All the above mentioned persons have been valuable workers in
the Cause, each according to his talents and field of activity.
From 1930 to 1936 Murshida Sharifa gave lectures in Paris and
in Vienna and held Sufi classes at Suresnes and in Paris. Her
lectures were attended by a distinguished public and more members
joined the Movement. About two hundred of her lectures were
taken down in shorthand by Mademoiselle Jelila Guerineau and
in 1962 a first volume, "Soufisme d'Occident", was issued, including
ten lectures, giving a sample of Sufi-thoughts. More of her
lectures are to be found in the French Sufi magazine "La Pensee
Soufie". Murshida Sherifa also promoted the regular publication
of "Le Message" from 1932 to 1937, mostly at the expense of
her own meagre income.
But alas! her life and health were on the waning. And she deeply
felt the inner strains and outer splits in the Sufi Movement,
as if they were inflicted on her own body and heart. And it
must be said here that the constant trust and confidence that
the Master had shown to her during his lifetime now seemed to
arouse prejudice, jealousy and distrust from several sides,
now that he was no more there in person to keep things in balance
and to help keeping each and all in harmony. Therefore she,
the Silsila Sufiya, had to experience harshness and friends
turning their backs upon her.
And so she passed away on the 8th of March 1937. In the house
of a stranger, but on the land of Suresnes, dying in poverty,
but rich in a hope and a faith which could not be overborne.
With her pupils and friends and with all those who so immensely
admired her she left the lasting influence of a living spirit
and the true fragrance of holiness, as the memorial of a perfected
Suresnes, August 1977
By one of her pupils, Michel Guillaume
Madame E. Graeffe - van Gorckum
She helped to form a group of the Sufi Order in Brussels, Belgium,
when Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan first visited this country in
1921. She seems to have been the National Representative for
Belgium in those years.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Sophia Saintsbury-Green ( Murshida)
Sophia Saintsbury-Green came of an old family and was reared
in an atmosphere of tradition and good taste. One of her grandfathers
had been High Sheriff of Berkshire; one was a boon companion
of the Prince Regent and ran through three fortunes, which necessitated
his son, Sophia's father, entering a profession (the first in
the family to do so).
A born poet and writer of exquisite English prose, Sophia passed
through a vivid girlhood of study and mental attainment. She
was never taught her letters but at the age of three read aloud
from a page of the Times. She was always drawn towards ancient
philosophies and cultures, and at the age of five (while playing
with toys upon the floor) broke into the conversation of two
startled elders with her own original comment upon a two-thousand-year-old
heresy which they were discussing!
In May 1921 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan founded in London the
Universal Worship as an exoteric activity of the Sufi Movement.
He ordained Sophia Green the first Cheraga, an office she held
alone for fifteen months, conducting the services regularly.
On becoming a Siraja, further Cherags and Sirajs were ordained
and Universal Worship spread to other countries. In 1921 she
had been given the initiation of Khalifa (a position on the
esoteric side of the Sufi Movement) and in 1923 she was created
She continued until her death to interpret the Message, and
although never in good health valiantly declined to consider
her personal comforts, up to the last year, rising above physical
limitations to work undeterred for the welfare of others. The
deep and esoteric side of the Message was part of her very being,
but she joyed in the exoteric activity of Universal Worship;
and symbolism also, as a world language appealed to her strongly,
covering as it does in one sense yet suggesting and revealing
to those who can see, the hidden mysteries of life. In the later
years of her mission, in order to meet the requirements of listeners
who were not at home in the English language (or else unfamiliar
with esoteric lore) she altered her former methods and adopted
a more simple and direct manner when speaking or lecturing.
Perhaps in later years it was only the few who were privileged
to listen when she was untrammelled by circumstances, and could
freely rise and carry them to heights where momentarily under
her inspiration they could view something of that heaven of
wisdom which she longed to share with others.
Of her personality and temperament it is difficult to speak.
She was not understood by many. But to some of those who knew
her intimately the memory of certain characteristics shone out
vividly: exquisite sensitiveness and refinement together with
stoic courage; a habit of bearing misrepresentation and detraction
silently; lightening quickness of perception and insight into
human nature, and utter forgetfulness of self. Blessed be her
Two of her books published by the Sufi Movement, reveal something
of what the Messenger and the Message meant to Murshida Sophia.
Their titles are: Memories of Hazrat Inayat Khan (London) and
Wings of the World (London and Deventer).
Murshida Green passed away on the 2nd of March 1939.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Mrs. D. A. Gregory (Sheikha)
An American mureed from Detroit, Michigan (U.S.A.). She was
made a Sheikha in 1925 and in June 1926, just before leaving
the United States from New York, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan ordained
her a Cheraga.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Dr. O. C. Gruner (Khalif)
I was born in Altrincham in Cheshire, England, in 1877. At the
age of eleven I first thought of following the science of Medicine.
The choice of this career was determined by my guardian on the
ground of my having displayed an undue interest in microscopic
natural history and a certain facility in learning physiology
which happened to be for one term a part of the instruction
given in the private school to which I had been sent. In 18961
left the Manchester Grammar School with a Scholarship for the
"Owens College" (University), Manchester, and began my medical
studies. The study of drugs necessary for the Intermediate Examination
of Medicine led to my distinction of First Class Honors in Materia
Medica and Pharmacology in 1898. The latter part of the medical
curriculum was spent at the University College Hospital in London.
After qualification in 1901 an appointment was at once obtained
as house-physician at the Leeds General Infirmary. A year later
I graduated at the London University and returned to Leeds,
with residential appointments at the General Infirmary and Dispensary.
In 19041 became Pathologist at the Infirmary and Demonstrator
of Pathology at the University. In 1908 I obtained the degree
of M.D. at the University of London, being awarded the Gold
Medal in Pathology. Then followed in 1919 the appointment of
Ass. Professor in Pathology at McGill University, Montreal,
Canada. In 1913 my first work entitled "The Biology of the Blood
Cells" was published and well-received by the late Professor
Pappenheim of Berlin, who invited me to be included in his staff
of collaborators for "Referate" to "Folia Haematologica" which
I accepted. During the First World War I found myself back in
England, in military service till 1919- Then I resumed clinical
work for a time – again at Leeds – and was in charge of the
Tropical Diseases and Nephritis sections of the East Leeds War
Hospital till the closure of the hospital. From 1920-1924 private
practice in pathology was undertaken, in Leeds.
During this period the privilege of meeting with Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan led to a re-casting of my outlook. He introduced
me to the Canon of Medicine (Qanun) of Avicenna, the study of
which has occupied my attention from then till now, in the light
of the interpretations which he suggested to me. The first impression
of that study was published in the "Annals of Medical History"
(New York) in a paper entitled "The Interpretation of Avicenna".
In 1924, partly to come into closer touch with clinical medicine
of a form which would help the study of Avicenna, I started
general practice in a country place in Kent, not far from London.
Since 1926 I entered into a semi-retirement, for the purpose
of obtaining sufficient leisure to develop an adequate interpreted
translation of the work in question, and acquire some knowledge
of those Eastern languages which are necessary before the original
texts can be appreciated. Residence in London itself thus became
At that time I was received into the Catholic Church and followed
with my wife and children the practices of that religion. I
completed the translation of Avicenna's Canon of Medicine, Vol.
I and Messrs. Luzac & Co. published it. My eldest son having
married in Montreal, Canada and the other having died after
an accident in Australia, we took the advice of the elder one
and went to Canada, settling near Montreal in 1931. The following
year I was appointed to take up Cancer Research at McGill University,
Montreal and in 1933 I attended the 1st International Cancer
Congress in Madrid and gave a brief communication. As my degrees
from London were not recognized in Canada, it became necessary
to enter for medical examinations for the second time. After
having obtained the Licence for Canada, the Cancer Research
Fund was renewed and I was persuaded to resume the work on a
larger scale. The results were published in a Medical Exhibition
in 193 8 and were awarded a Gold Medal. I continued this work
together with the Chief Surgeon of the Royal Victoria Hospital
in Montreal, Dr. E. W. Archibald, and a staff of eleven, till
my retirement in 1945- By that time I had reached a conclusion
about the nature and cause of cancer, but it was not accepted
by the various "authorities". I continued working as research
worker in cancer at the St. Mary Hospital in Montreal. After
this my work attracted the attention of a doctor who founded
the "Hett Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation" under Government
auspices. While working with him I prepared a "Guidebook for
the Diagnosis of Cancer by Microscopical Study", an expansion
of the monograph published in 1942 by the Archibald Cancer Research
Fund, and based on several thousand cases. In 1950 I attended
the International Congress on Cancer in Paris and spoke of my
"test" with remarkable effects with the Hett-serum. Since 1955,
however, I have almost completely retired from professional
work, because utilization of any of my suggestions for cancer-treatment
apart from X-rays and radium, was refused and the use of the
blood-test for cancer was not considered of any real value.
So I submitted resignation.
One day I met the head of the Jinnah Hospital in Pakistan, Dr.
Shah. He had been trying to "modernize" Avicenna and had prepared
a translation from the Urdu. He wanted me to go through his
manuscript as his English was not too good. Months later a doctor
who had spent years in Bahrein, asked me to write an article
on Avicenna. Dr. Shah's request "woke up" all my Sufi thought
which had filled me all the time I was doing my "Treatise".
But subconscious development gave me the urge to develop the
teaching even further. So I accepted the new offer and the article
was published at the beginning of 1957. I then took out from
the Osler Library at McGill University my very full notes on
Avicenna's book Vol. II, about the medicines, deposited there
with all my manuscripts in 1940, and re-wrote the opening section,
as far as where the medicines are described in detail, and put
the revised version back in the Library.
These experiences certainly revived the time of the days when
Murshid inspired me to start all that work, and to bring his
teaching again to the forefront in my daily round. For some
months I have returned to the art of weaving, which I left in
1932 because of the scientific work to be done. It provides
a means of meditation more intensively with a Sufi background.
July 1927, July 1957 and October 1965, Montreal.
From Dr. O. C. Gruner's autobiographical data.
In England after the First World War Dr. Gruner was in close
contact with Murshid, by correspondence and by meeting Murshid
regularly at Leeds or sometimes in London. He started the Leeds
Lodge of the Sufi Order, took down in shorthand numerous lectures
of Murshid, then transcribed them and published them in bookform
under the name "In an Eastern Rosegarden" (London 1921). From
Dr. Gruner's letters to Murshid appears how great was the influence
of the Sufi teachings which he underwent and of his deep pondering
upon them. This worked on in his whole scientific career, as
seen from the following quotation from his letter dated New
Year's Day 1919: "The reflection upon the emotional cause of
a particular piece of music gave me the proof that certain vibration-characters
underlie both music and biology." From Dr. Gruner's letters
to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.
In addition to his professional interests Dr. Gruner was
an accomplished musician, artist and linguist. He passed away
in Montreal at the age of 95.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
He was born in 1871 and reared by his widowed mother with her
two unmarried sisters. He sought and found the religious discipline
in the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Jesuits, at
the age of sixteen and was interested in literature, poetry,
history, geography and politics.
When over forty years of age, he thought his life to be finished
especially after the death of his mother. A good friend, however,
brought back his interest in life by drawing Colonel Guillon's
attention to the book "Le Traitement Mental" by Caillet, which
was a revelation to him. In one of his letters to Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan he wrote: "I gave up my narrow conception of God,
and understood that God is not a personality as I believed till
then, but the everywhere pervading spirit. I became an adept
of Indian philosophy, believing in God the All-mighty and All-pervading
Spirit, without attachments to any Church and independent of
my narrow observances." Then he discovered the books containing
Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's lectures and writes: "The Sufism
is a super religion, above all sects. I found in it what I had
missed hitherto – the feeling of perfect Love." He became a
mureed and later on was appointed by Pir-o-Murshid to be the
president of the Sufi Order in France.
From Colonel Guillon's letters to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.
Mrs. Laura Hoeber (Sheikha)
She visited Suresnes in 1923 and was ordained a Cheraga at the
end of the Summerschool. In October 1924 Pir-o-Murshid put her
in charge of the Sufi center at Munich, Germany, where she was
the Esoteric Leader, Leader of Healing and of the Church of
All and also Brotherhood Representative for a period of three
months. In 1925 Murshid made her a Sheikha.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes, Pir-o-Murshid
said the following about her: "Mrs. Hoeber was the first volunteer
in rendering some help in establishing a branch of the Movement
in Munich, and the way in which she stood through all difficulties
there, winning in the end the admiration of some thoughtful
mureeds, is most splendid." From the archives of the Nekbakht
Mir Pyarumiyan Maheboob Khan (Khalif)
During his early years Maheboob Khan (Baroda 1887 - The Hague
1948) was sent to Bombay for a musical test and examination
by a visiting European expert. The German professor not only
found him to have absolute hearing for both tone and rhythm,
he moreover noted with astonishment that this boy from Baroda
possessed the most extraordinary musical sense and talent he
had ever been able to observe.
However, giving expression to whatever was intensely alive within
himself, be it music or mysticism, to Maheboob Khan always was
something of a sacrifice. Rich talent and conscientiousness
in him were matched by a shyness that in growing up matured
into utter unpretentious modesty and self-abnegation on the
one hand and a deep sense of dignity, honor and style on the
other. These in turn concealed an immense sensitivity and subtlety
of perception and insight.
For years Maheboob Khan had delighted his elder brother with
his compositions, adapting Indian songs to Western harmony.
Yet his humility prevented him from presenting – in 1925 – to
his deeply revered brother his first own composition to one
of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's English texts written that same
year: "Thy Wish". The one such song composed during Pir-o-Murshid's
lifetime (being followed by the majestic "Before you judge"
in 1927) thus remained unheard by him.
Yet again, alongside these qualities of extreme consideration
and self-effacement Maheboob very fully shared his brother's
"dancing soul", his intense warmth of feeling, combined with
that particular brightness and radiance of spirit and alertness,
and with the resultant ability to evoke, attune and inspire.
For those lucky enough to belong to the circle of his intimates,
he was the brilliant representative and commentator of the person
and teachings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, his "ocean of wisdom"
that wholly absorbed him.
After having received the initiation of Khalif, Maheboob Khan
was additionally made a Sheikh during the Suresnes years and
after the passing away of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan he succeeded
as Sheikh-ul-Mashaikh to the leadership of the Sufi Movement.
Pre-war mureeds continued to remember with emotion his Summer-school
readings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's lectures, which seemed
inimitably to revive them, personal affinity and profound meditation
on them reproducing something of the freshness of their first
impact. Such preparatory secluded absorption in the Master's
words was in addition to Sheikh-ul-Mashaikh's regular and lifelong
three periods of spiritual exercise and meditation, commencing
daily at ten a.m. and four-thirty and nine p.m. But apart from
and despite all spiritual expansion and transmission, this was
the hardest of successions, calling for the greatest endurance,
tact and vision not only at the outset and during the first
phase of consolidation but throughout. Pir-o-Murshid's spiritual
heritage was accompanied by an inheritance of principles of
communal, organizational and administrative leadership, laid
down and strongly reconfirmed by him in 1925. Their implementation
called for entire dedication and this whole Sufi commitment
involved further personal sacrifice.
In 1910 the alternatives open to Maheboob Khan had been eventually
to become the senior Maula Bakhsh heir of his generation as
successor to Dr. Pathan, with all the independence, honor and
security that would entail; or to abandon secular primacy and
henceforth continue in a secondary capacity to Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan. The choice was made unhesitatingly, even though
further involving a separation, become permanent by her death
from grief, of his newly-wed wife Sabirabiy, who well deserved
her name of "the patient one" (in God), as the projected few
years' tour lengthened into permanency. In 1924, Pir-o-Murshid
gave his benediction to Maheboob Khan's second marriage in Holland
to Miss Shadbiy Van Goens, who became the mother of his daughter
In the course of time Sheikh-ul-Mashaikh was obliged to a large
extent to sacrifice what both he himself and the Sufis generally
felt, would be his most essential and abiding personal contribution
to the future of the Sufi Message: his composition of music
to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's Gayan, Vadan, Nirtan poetry,
in addition to Indian songs preserving the Maulabakhshi and
Gayanshala repertoires. Nevertheless, some twenty-five songs
remain in the former category alone, expressions of a creative
process both musical and meditative. By well-qualified rendering
in appropriate "sama"-conditions, these compositions may add
a further dimension to Sufi experience, as Murshid All Khan's
wonderful singing of them so often proved. For they evoke within
the compass of one song the ultimate perspective of all mysticism.
From biographical data, rendered by his son Mahmood.
Susanna Kjösterud (Sheikha)
I am born in Drammen, Norway, in 1864, as the eldest of seven
children. My father was a physically strong, clever businessman
but did not have a strong character. My mother, who died when
I was only nine-and-a-half years old, was a very fine, religious
person. So, already as a young child I had the responsibility
for my six younger sisters and brothers. We were brought up
by different housekeepers and in often unstable and hard circumstances.
When I was seventeen years old my father married my mother's
housekeeper and I left home becoming a governess and after that
taking up several other jobs. At twenty-five I left for America
where I stayed two-and-a-half years. Then I went back to Norway
where my father made me start a business in spring 1893 which,
although I found it rather hard as I had always been longing
for spiritual work, I continued for thirty-three years.
During my long life I have traveled a great deal, seen many
countries, come in contact with all kinds of people and have
a lot of friends all over the world.
In 1919 my youngest sister died; I then adopted her two children,
a girl and a boy, as my own; they are at present both in America.
Being now the oldest of the whole family, I know that my relations
are looking to me as kind of a mother for them all. It is very
nice but at the same time it takes a great deal of my precious
time. My health has never been good neither as a child nor later,
until I was sixty years old. I have gone through many sicknesses
and suffered a great deal in every way.
I think I may say that I always had a religious longing. I have
been seeking and have tried different things without finding
satisfaction, until at sixty I met my destiny. In November 1924
Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan came to Norway. Only by seeing his
picture I had the feeling that through him I would find what
I had been seeking for years. I was then made a mureed and also
National Representative for the Sufi Movement in Norway. Since
then my whole life seems to have changed. I am another being,
always healthy, happy and busy all day long, trying to do my
beloved Master's work as far as I am able.
In the Summer of 1925 I went to the Summerschool at Suresnes,
where I stayed from the first to the last day. Murshid made
me a Siraja in June and Sheikha a few weeks later, blessings
beyond my comprehension! I sincerely hope and pray that I never
may feel differently toward this blessed work, which I so unworthy
have been chosen to lead for my country, that I may be growing
in strength and faith from day to day knowing God will accomplish
the rest, because the work is His.
Oslo, April 26th 1926.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan said: "I found in my tour through Scandinavia a
precious soul like Aladdin found his lantern: Miss Susanna Kjösterud,
a soul who belonged to us. I only had to go to find her. Her
devotion to the Cause gives us a hope that one day our Movement
will be established in Norway." From her autobiographical sketch
and from the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Kefayat LLoyd (Sheikha)
Mrs. Gladys I. LLoyd was born in England from a Christian aristocratic
family. After her husband's death in 1921 she dedicated her
life to the work of the Sufi Message and offered her service
to Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, "whether it be for healing or
anything else". She offered her house – 35 Tregunter Road –
London S.W.10 – to Murshid for his interviews and lectures.
Murshida Green also lived in her house for some time. In this
same house was held the very first Service of the "Church of
all", in the upper room, in May 1921.
From 1921 on she was conducting a healing group in her house
after having been initiated by Murshid as Shefayat. In her Murshid
found the person with whom he could discuss the possibility
of creating Spiritual Healing as one of the activities of the
Sufi Movement and later on Murshid made her the head of the
Spiritual Healing. Murshid told her that healing of sickness
of the soul would be more her work: comforting and helping those
who are sad and perplexed and lost. She felt also much drawn
to that branch of the work but at the same time welcomed whoever
came to her.
She always kept a room in the house (the "Prophet's Chamber")
ready for Murshid to stay there whenever he would come to London.
She reported Murshid's lecture "The Message" (1921 in London)
and Murshid told Miss Green that he was pleased with the way
she took it down. Kefayat felt that there could be no greater
honor than to be the reporter of inspired words. It was at the
Summerschool at Suresnes in 1923 that among others also Kefayat
LLoyd was allowed to write the lectures down while Murshid was
speaking in the garden of "Fazal Manzil". In the evening Mrs.
LLoyd, Miss Green and Mr. van Tuyll compared their notes and
it always showed that Mrs. LLoyd was the only one who had hardly
missed a word. At the Summerschool of 1924, besides Murshid's
secretaries, only Mrs. LLoyd was authorized to take down the
lectures. From these lectures she selected sentences which were
so beautiful that the idea came to her to make a collection
of sayings. She showed those selections every week to Murshid
and Murshid was very pleased. This encouraged her and she used
to say that the mureeds in England sometimes called her "the
stringer of beads" as she often restringed their rosaries when
broken, and she added: "now I am the stringer of beads for Murshid,
as I am stringing together his precious savings like beads on
a thread." Later on those selections from Murshid's lectures,
made by Kefayat, were published by Mr. Armstrong in "The Sufi
Quarterly" (December 1927 to June 1920) and were called "Aphorisms".
Made up from data found in the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation
and from recollections of Kefayat LLoyd by Gawery Voūte.
Mrs. A. Martin (Murshida Rabia)
Jan. 2 - 14,
Blessed Murshid: This
represents a short biography of my life.
My parents were born in Russia - and came to California in 1850
- and were pioneers. They married in San Francisco - and I was
born here in 1871. I was reared and educated here - and graduated
from the public schools.
I was always (as a child) deeply fond of older people - and
wanted ever to converse with them. My folks had a difficult
time of it I guess - because when I played with children - I
wanted to lead them and they had to follow - or there
was no play for me. My sense of Justice in my world of
play was so marked - they did not understand me - and
consequently my family felt I was too positive and all sorts
of advice was unheeded. Of course you know - I could not accept
less than the ideals of my childish heart - and somehow as I
grew older I felt quite alone within the family circle.
I married at nineteen - my dear daughter was born a year later;
this was real happiness, to train her in the principles of morality,
justice and patience, and then the blessed music.
In my 28th year a deep grief came to me - and for four yrs.
I suffered much - and the problem compelled me to search deeper
for the questions I asked of God - for the reasons demanded
an explanation and in this storm and tumult of a problem too
sad for words - I was led into spiritual teachings and freed
myself from pain and heart sorrow - and tested these principles
and universal laws - and stayed here in this form. After certain
realizations came in the secret place of my own heart - I gave
all to Allah and studied, served, prayed ever - to realize His
laws - love - mercy and justice. This period of my life I call
the reconciliation and spiritual regeneration, all praises to
I was not satisfied with the Western teachings, so made an independent
study of comparative religions - and prayed Allah to lead me
to the source - as thus far it was only drinking from a brook
instead of the Ocean of Reality. Lecturers, teachers and advanced
students here, I met always - but none touched my heart's longing
- they all represented more or less the circumference. I longed
for the center. Then Allah sent my blessed Murshid, spiritually
- and later in form. These mystical and blessed experiences
I cannot give to the world - to me they are too sacred - this
may be selfishness - I cannot share them. My blessed Murshid's
Murshid too - may Allah glorify you both - came to me - and
it can never be told in words - realizations which belong only
to the Rabia not of this world - and so all I care for in this
life is to worship Allah - love and serve Him - and Murshid
and all Murshids in chain. May Allah keep my heart pure and
my spirit humble (Amen).
Humbly - (w.s.:) Rabia.
(Ada Martin) Please Note: We have an artist - and also a Rabbi
Priest - in our family. Also I have almost a passion for the
study of philosophy and in New York I found there were others
(men) of my family branch who likewise gave a lifetime to this
Murshida Martin passed away in San Francisco in 1947.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Mrs. Hilda Meyer-van Reutercrona (Sheikha Sarferaz)
I am born in Sweden in 1863 at a place very high in the North
and called literally translated "The Valley of Light". One of
nine children I learned early to take care of myself and of
the younger ones. We all got a good education and were sent
to excellent schools. Studies interested me very much, and my
facility to learn by heart has been a precious gift which became
most useful in a later period of my life. So I remember a great
many quotations from the Holy Bible, learned in my early youth,
especially by the help and religious teaching of our clergyman.
When I was 18 years old I gave lessons to children and young
girls to help my father with his big family. At 28 I left for
South America and there married a widower. He had been married
to a cousin of mine and had four children to whom I tried to
be a good mother. I got one daughter of my own and this child
gave me much satisfaction and filled my life. After 13 years
we left Buenos Aires and went to live in Brussels. It was Spring
1904. My health was delicate and I had to undergo a dangerous
operation. Catholic sisters nursed me and became my friends.
All religious and philosophical subjects interested me and I
always felt that somewhere there was the Truth to be found but
did not succeed in finding it. So I clung to the dogmas and
rites of the Lutherian Religion in which I had been brought
up. At the time of the First World War, however, all my religious
constructions tumbled down. My husband could not understand
my inner life – he never cared for unseen things – my daughter
married and went to Manila, so I became very lonely. During
the war (1914-1918) we stayed in our country-house in Switzerland
and we are still living there now. In these years my seeking
after God had become more intensive, I sought in many and different
religious Movements but was not satisfied. I always came to
a wall and then could not advance any further. Then the cry
of my heart became desperate: Where art Thou, O God?
The answer came: I met Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. It was in
the winter of 1922/1923 in Brussels. My health was not good,
life had little interest for me. In the house of friends I saw
a picture of Pir-o-Murshid and his glance brought about a change
in me. I then went to listen to a lecture he gave in the little
hall of "Le Cinquantenaire" in Brussels. The first impression
was not determinant for my life; it was the second time that
I heard Pir-o-Murshid, two days later in a private house. I
can still see and hear him there, standing near a grand piano
and holding a silence with us before lecturing. And out of this
silence came his voice, singing the Prayer of Invocation ...
. My soul was caught by this music, which seemed to me coming
from another sphere. I don't remember the lecture. I only heard
Coming back to Switzerland I heard that Pir-o-Murshid was lecturing
there and I went to see him. He came to my home where I always
feel his presence after that. He helped me to recover physically
and spiritually. I was his pupil for ever.
In Bern 1923 Pir-o-Murshid entrusted me with the representation
of the Sufi Movement for the whole of Switzerland. He initiated
me as a Sheikha in the Sufi Order in 1924 and in that same year
he made me a Siraja.
He has been my helper, my Savior. He is for me the Messenger
who brought me the Divine Message for which my soul was longing.
My only wish now is to be a humble worker in the Sufi Movement,
to help in spreading the Message and to show the Path to God
to other seekers.
Rebecca C. Hepburn-Miller (Khalifa Mushtari)
Our beloved Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan has often told his mureeds
that they are pioneers in the great work of spreading his Message
of Love, Harmony and Beauty.
That Khalifa Mushtari Rebecca C. Hepburn-Miller should be a
pioneer in some field is but natural as her great-grandfather,
William Hepburn, came from Scotland to America in 1760 when
this land was largely unexplored wilderness. He settled in Pennsylvania,
becoming a farmer and magistrate and founding the City of Williamsburg.
Also her grandfather and father in their turn braved the dangers
and hardships of the unexplored and the unknown, meeting their
share of both good and ill fortune.
Rebecca was born in California in 1865, educated in the public
schools and she grew to womanhood in a home atmosphere of liberal
thought and high moral and spiritual ideals. Then followed marriage,
motherhood and widowhood and in 1912 through Murshida Rabia
A. Martin, she came to know the teachings of Sufism. In that
same year Murshida Martin gave Mrs. Miller the blessing of Bayat
(initiation) and in April 1923 blessed Murshid Inayat Khan himself
bestowed upon her the yellow robe of Khalifa after having been
ordained Cheraga by Murshid and in March 1926 she received from
him her Sufi name of Mushtari. In February 192-7 she was initiated
as Leader of the Healing Service by Kefayat G. I. LLoyd, who
then was traveling through the United States of America.
Being the first mureed of Murshida Martin, Khalifa Miller has
been through the tests and trials of helping to introduce a
new point of view on life and to spread the Message of Sufism
as expounded by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.
From her autobiographical sketch.
Comtesse M. L. Pieri nee Dussaq (Shadman)
She was born in Havana (Cuba) in 1979, daughter of Maurice C.
Dussaq and Maria Luisa Fischer. On the 3rd of July 1901 she
was married in New York to Count Pompeo Luciano Pieri.
In 1921 she became a member of the Sufi Order and received Bayat
at the hands of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan. She was ordained
a Cheraga by Pir-o-Murshid in 1923 and participated in various
other functions of the Sufi Movement. After having assisted
the General Secretary of the Sufi Movement in Geneva in October
1922 she was given the charge of General Treasurer one year
From data sent at Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan's request to Sakina
Dr. Arthur Bodley Scott (Sheikh)
Born in 1885. He joined the Sufi Movement in 1921. He was made
a Khalif in the esoteric side of the Order by Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan in August 1923 during the Summerschool at Suresnes.
In 1926 he was made a Cherag of the Universal Worship. Author
of "The Soul of the Universe", published in London by Rider
& Co. In writing this book Dr. Scott feels, as he says in the
Preface, that it fulfills a profound trust placed in him by
Inayat Khan, a trust (to use, largely, his own words) to interpret
and explain his Message after the manner of thought and in the
more scientific language of the Western world; that thus, in
a meeting of the mentalities of the East and West, his Message
might have that certain setting and reach that would cause,
in time, much that lay hidden in its depths to stand revealed
This book contains many quotations from the Gayan and other
sayings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes Pir-o-Murshid
remembered him and said: "Khalif Dr. Scott has splendidly worked
for the Cause in Bournemouth (England)." From data sent at Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan's request to Sakina Furnee by Dr. Scott himself
and from the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Mr. E. Shaughnessy (Sheikh)
An American mureed, mentioned twice by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan in his Biography.
He met Murshid in the United States in 1923 and in 1925/1926.
He was made a Sheikh and worked in New York as a Siraj.
From the archives of the Nekbakht Foundation.
Father being an officer in the Dutch Marine, I was born in Indonesia,
in Batavia which is now called Djakarta, in October 1893. Mother
was a Furnee, born in The Hague. And my parents decided to settle
there, so that the greatest part of my youth was spent in that
town. I first went to the Girls' College and later became a
student at the University of Leiden, where I received my degree
as a teacher in Dutch Colleges, in the French language. This
has been very precious later on, as I have been able to translate
Murshid's lectures into French, standing beside Him on the platforms
before Murshid's always crowded audiences.
I met Murshid in The Hague in the spring of 1923. Murshid then
asked me to come to the Summer School in Suresnes. I was initiated
there, that summer. My first year Murshid asked me to live in
Geneva. I learned shorthand and typewriting at the School of
Aime Paris, and I took violin-lessons with Joseph Szigeti. Every
evening there was a silence-class at International Headquarters
on the Quai des Eaux Vives (now Quai Gustave Ador) under the
leadership of Talewar Dussaq, the General Secretary. My second
year Murshid asked me to stay with Baronne d'Eichthal at her
summerhouse in Sevres-Ville d'Avray, and to help her with the
Sufi work at the Avenue Emmanuel III in Paris. Also Murshid
asked me to print Gathekas. So I bought a Gestedner-machine,
and I printed Gathekas, sending them to all the Sufi centers
During a lecture-tour Murshid made in Holland, I acted as a
reporter for different Dutch newspapers. And my task has been,
later on, to send articles to newspapers of all the principal
cities of Europe and America. In the spring of 1925 Murshid
made me prepare lecture-tours, first in Nice (France), and then
in München (Germany).
While in Suresnes I prepared with Murshid's help the first edition
of "Vadan"; and later on "Nirtan".
After the Summer School of 1925 I accompanied Murshid, as his
secretary, on the steamship "Volendam", from Cherbourg to New
York. Sirkar van Stolk joined Murshid there, but did not accompany
Him on His lecture-tour throughout America. In New York and
surroundings the car of Mrs. Shaokat Frey was at Murshid's disposal.
In California the car of Salaodin Reps took Murshid from San
Francisco via Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to La Jolla and
San Diego. Murshid and I were invited to fly in an open aeroplane
over the Bay of Mexico. One could smell the perfumes of the
flowers from the earth, while flying. On the trip back to New
York via Colorado Springs, Kansas City and Denver, we visited
the Grand Canyon, where photos were taken on "ablack" horses,
the American-Indian horses, white, black and brown.
Throughout Murshid's travels it has been my task to help Murshid
with the correspondence, and to explain the exercises Murshid
gave to all those who have become mureeds in the different countries
where Murshid lectured.
On 28th September 1926 I accompanied Murshid on His last journey
to India. Murshid took an Italian boat which started in Venice,
and arrived in India at Karachi. It made a stop of some days
in Massawa (Erithrea), where Murshid said what I mentioned in
the book "Rays": "Even the rocks have been burnt black here."
After Murshid's passing away, I lived for ten years in the house
of my cousin Nekbakht Furnee in Suresnes. I worked out all the
shorthand-notes of Murshid's American lecture-tour 1926. And
I wrote three Sufi-books: "Fragrance from a Sufi's Garden",
"Sufi Lore and Lyrics", and "Musings from a Sufi", which received
their English copyright through Luzac & Co. in London.
Everything that has occurred in the long life that has been
vouchsafed to me after Murshid's passing away, has been based
on what Murshid has taught me and has endowed me with. I shall
remember this for ever, with unutterable gratitude.
(w.s.:) Kismet Dorothea Stam Palma de Mallorca, May 1977.
Dr. Steindamm (Sheikh)
I was born in Berlin, in 1880. First I studied Protestant Theology,
then Political Science, Technology and Public Finance and Administration.
I am working in Berlin as a syndic for Economic Affairs. My
literary interest has mostly been for economics and politics,
and my main activity has been in the field of Department Stores
and Publicity. In several Universities I gave lectures and Courses
From a letter to Sakina Furnee, dated: Berlin, 28th April 1926.
In the autumn of 1924 Dr. Steindamm met Pir-o-Murshid Inayat
Khan in Berlin and became his mureed. In 1925 Murshid made him
a Sheikh and he accompanied Murshid on his tour through Germany
that year and helped to organize the lectures to be held in
different cities. Murshid appointed him National Representative
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes, Murshid said:
"The great zeal for the Cause shown by Dr. Steindamm we value
and appreciate very much." From the archives of the Nekbakht
Sirkar van Stolk (Sheikh)
Apjar van Stolk (Sirkar) was born the 27th March 1894 as the
eldest son of a well-to-do grain merchant in Rotterdam in the
Netherlands. His father was a big businessman with a keen interest
in art and education. The family possessed a country house at
Wassenaar where Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan and his family stayed
several times. Already in his youth Sirkar was introduced to
the great Indian sacred Scriptures by his teacher in English,
Mrs. Esser, who also gave him his first meditation practices.
In his early twenties Sirkar passed some time in the United
States working in the family business, but then developed tuberculosis
and returned to Europe, where he had to stay three and a half
years in a Swiss sanatorium. During this period in the Swiss
mountains Sirkar read many Theosophical and mystical books.
His health, however, did not improve.
In 1922 a Dutch friend wrote to him about an Indian mystic,
philosopher and musician, named Inayat Khan, who at that time
was lecturing in different countries of Europe. Sirkar read
a number of these lectures, published in the book "In an Eastern
Rosegarden", and was deeply impressed by them. When in December
1922 Sirkar met Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan for the first time,
the latter offered to accept him as his mureed. Sirkar told
Murshid that he had to go to London for medical treatment first
and then would contact Murshid again. In spring 1923 Sirkar
met Murshid in London and received initiation. From that moment
Murshid became the inspiration in his life. Murshid healed him
from his illness by giving him daily treatments and since that
time Sirkar helped Murshid with the work for the Sufi Movement.
In 1923 and 1924 Sirkar attended the Summer School at Suresnes
and was made a Sheikh by Murshid. In spring 192^ Murshid asked
him to take upon him the organization of the Summer School,
which he did for many years in a most effective way. It was
also with Sirkar's help that the mureeds house (behind "Fazal
Manzil" at Suresnes) and the Sufi land were purchased. From
September 1924 till September 1926 Sirkar was Murshid's constant
assistant and accompanied Murshid on many journeys through Europe
and the United States.
After Murshid's passing away Sirkar became the leader of a Sufi
center at The Hague in 1930. and performed other functions in
the Sufi Movement until 1951. In South Africa, to which country
Sirkar emigrated in 1951, he founded several Sufi centers, together
with Wazir van Essen, his able and devoted co-worker in Holland
and Suresnes during the years 1925 to 1950. In 1960 he started
writing his "Memories of a Sufi Sage", which was completed by
his secretary Mrs. Daphne Dunlop and was published in 1967.
This book has been translated in various languages.
Sirkar van Stolk passed away in Cape Town in 1963. He has initiated
many mureeds, given numerous public lectures and by his charming
personality has attracted many people to the Sufi Message.
By one of his pupils, Ameen Carp.
Hubertus Paulus Baron van Tuyll van Serooskerken (Sheikh
Sirdar van Tuyll was born on 26th September 1883. When Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan visited the Netherlands for the first time in January
1921, accommodation in Arnhem had been found for him with Sirdar
van Tuyll, who was waiting for him to arrive one evening at
dusk at the railway station. Among the many people Sirdar's
eyes were searching for an Eastern and all of a sudden a voice
came to him, saying: "How are you?" Murshid had found Sirdar
by himself! The impression which this first contact made upon
Sirdar was such that he said to have completely refound in one
moment's time the faith in God which he had as a child. A few
months later, on 13th April 1921, Sirdar was initiated in England.
He was present at the first Universal Worship held in London
on 7th May 1921.
In that same year the first Summerschool was held in France,
in a small village south of Paris, called Wissous. Just before
the Summer-school Sirdar accompanied Murshid as his secretary
on a trip through Switzerland. After a second visit to Holland
in September/October 1921, Murshid went to Germany for the first
time and Sirdar went with him as his secretary.
On 2nd February 1922 Sirdar married Hendrika Willebeek Le Mair
(Saida). In May 1922 Sirdar and Saida settled down at Katwijk
in a spacious villa at the sea-side, in which was held the Summerschool
in September 1922. Murshid had appointed Sirdar as the National
Representative for the Netherlands.
On 26th September 1922 Sirdar became a Cherag, the first Cherag
in Holland. The ultimately accepted rituals for the various
Services and ceremonials were dictated by Murshid to Sirdar
in 1922 at Katwijk aan Zee and in 1924 at The Hague.
About 1923 Sirdar and Saida went to live at The Hague, where
they had the old tramway station building transformed into a
house (besides the Peace-Palace). This house, Anna Paulownastraat
78, became a Sufi center and there, in 1928/1920 Sirdar had
the Sufi Church built from his own funds, annex to his house.
On 18th January 1929 took place the consecration of the Church.
Till his last illness Sirdar gave a sermon in the Universal
Worship in this Church every Sunday. These talks have been recorded,
first on wire and later on tape, and gradually from these texts
books were made and published: "Groter Christendom I" is about
the Old Testament, "Groter Christendom II" about the New Testament;
after that came out "Het Heilige Boek der Natuur" (The Holy
Book of Nature) and "De Karavaan naar de Eeuwigheid" (The Caravan
towards Eternity). Another book "Gebed, Meditatie en Stilte"
(Prayer, Meditation and Silence) has now been published. At
The Hague as well as in many other cities Sirdar gave numerous
lectures on the unity of religions, brotherhood and mysticism.
Also in Berlin (Germany), Sweden, Denmark, Norway and in India
he has spread the ideals of the Sufi Message by giving sermons
and lectures and by making contacts.
Besides his Sufi activities Sirdar was one of the pillars of
horse-racing and thoroughbred-breeding in the Netherlands. For
many years he possessed a large racing-stable and a stud of
his own. His love and knowledge of the thoroughbred are worth
On 16th August 1958 Sirdar passed away at The Hague. Every year
during his life-time his birthday was celebrated by his mureeds
and is still commemorated today as it was Murshid's wish that
it should be for the first Cherag, the pioneer of the Message
in his country.
From data received by the Nekbakht Foundation from Sirdar van
Tuyll's former secretary and devoted pupil Miss An C. Spirlet.
Enrique de Cruzat Zanetti (Sheikh Birbal)
He was born at Matanzas, Cuba, in 1875 as the son of Domingo
S. Zanetti and Irene de Cruzat. When ten years old he was taken
to Portland, Maine, where he frequented the public Grammar School.
At the age of fourteen he went to Boston (Mass.) residing with
the family of the Rev. Eduard Everett Hale, a distinguished
divine and man of letters. There he frequented the Roxbury Latin
School from which he graduated in 1893. In that same year he
entered Harvard College in Cambridge (Mass.) where he studied
principally Literature and History and graduated with the degree
of Baccalaurei in Artibus in 1897. During 1897-1898 he studied
International Law and Sociology at the University of Geneva,
Switzerland and then entered the Harvard Law School where he
graduated in 1901. In that year he joined the Law Offices of
Page & Conant in New York City, having been admitted to practice
at the Bar of the State of New York, specializing in Corporation
and International Law. He was married in 1904 to Esperanza Conill
of Havana, Cuba, where was born his only son Enrique Carlos
Zanetti. He was divorced in 1912 and from then on has traveled
extensively in the pursuit of study, mainly of the art of painting.
During 1917 - 1918 he was unofficially in the service of the
American Embassy at Madrid. In 1923 he joined the Sufi Movement
which he has served principally as Executive Supervisor and
for this purpose in 1925 he took residence in Geneva.
In his speech on Viladat Day 1925 at Suresnes Pir-o-Murshid
Inayat Khan mentioned him with the following words: "The coming
of Mr. Zanetti into the Sufi Movement has released me from many
responsibilities connected with the working of the administrative
part of the Movement, for which I am most thankful." From his
autobiographical sketch and data from the archives of the Nekbakht