The Dargah of Murshid Samuel Lewis

The Murshid SAM Dargah is located at Lama Foundation, and is open to pilgrims, visitors and seekers whenever Lama is open for visitors. The word “Dargah” is a Persian for the burial shrine of a Sufi saint or master (advanced teacher). The Dargah architect, Eric Doud, synthesized the form of traditional Eastern dargahs of India and Pakistan with Southwestern architecture of the New Mexico region. He applied the principles of sacred architecture, the Fibonacci Spiral, in the overall design, fundamentally linking the shrine to nature.  The foundation stone façade design is meant to honor the first inhabitants of the land, the Ancient People. The form of the Dargah echoes the structure of the Lama Dome and the cherished “Old Kitchen” with its eight-sided structure, geometric design specific to Zome construction and centered eight-sided skylight.  

Murshid Samuel Lewis passed on January 15, 1971 and was buried at Lama Foundation by his mureeds (initiated students). Samuel Lewis was an American mystic, born in 1896 and raised in the Mission District of San Francisco.  Through a lifetime of assiduous study of all of the world’s scriptures and deep practice within a number of spiritual traditions including Sufism, Zen Buddhism, Christianity, Kabbalah-Jewish Mysticism and Hinduism, he achieved highest realizations. 

In the late 1960’s, Samuel Lewis was discovered by a number of “Flower Children” who migrated to San Francisco in search of a new way of life. He soon became known as Sufi SAM, bringing forth Sufi Dancing, now known as the Dances of Universal Peace and currently practiced in more than thirty countries throughout the world. He was the first spiritual teacher invited to Lama Foundation by the resident community. 

Upon visiting Lama, Murshid SAM recognized that the very message he was teaching his students and the world was reflected in the ideals and practices held at Lama Foundation.  Murshid felt that the community at Lama was living what he taught and for this reason, asked to be buried there. Murshid SAM (murshid, an Arabic honorific for one who shows the way) is considered to be one of the first Sufi Masters born in the Western world.

The Sufi Invocation, a prayer given by Murshid SAM’s Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan, is inscribed within and surrounds you once inside the Dargah.

Toward the One, 

the Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty, 

the Only Being, 

United with All the Illuminated Souls, 

who form the Embodiment of the Master,

 the Spirit of Guidance

Prior to his death in 1971, Murshid Samuel Lewis founded the Sufi Ruhaniat International, which is is dedicated to helping individuals unfold their highest spiritual purpose, manifest their essential inner being, and live harmoniously with others with the hope of relieving human suffering and contributing to the awakening of all of humankind. A universalist lineage tradition, the Ruhaniat embraces the mystic teachings flowing from and through all the world’s religious traditions and through the sacredness of nature.  “There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader,” Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Since ancient times, seekers have visited dargahs to bathe in the baraka (blessings) of spiritual masters. Murshid Samuel Lewis knew the value of pilgrimage, as he himself received direct guidance when visiting the shrines of saints in the Eastern world.  Before his passing he predicted that his own resting place would become a touchstone, a place where pilgrims could receive guidance and answers to life’s questions. To his disciples, he stressed the importance of creating such shrines and places of pilgrimage in America.  These sacred spaces offer infinitely more than a quiet place to meditate, they can become a portal to the Awakened Heart. 

From a spiritual perspective the Dargah, which was completed in 2019, enhances the teaching platform for one who is a master of the mysteries, inviting all visitors to bathe in a beautiful and living inspirational atmosphere. From a physical perspective, the Dargah’s architecture and structure is intentionally crafted to harmonize with nature, the ancient inhabitants of the land, the Sufi lineage and to Lama Foundation itself.

Contact Lama Foundation for more information about when and how to visit the Dargah of Murshid Samuel Lewis. Visit for more information about Murshid SAM, his teachings, the building of the Dargah, Sufism, Dances of Universal Peace and Sufi Ruhaniat International.