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© Copyright 2006
by The Universal Message

A.K. Mozumdar – As I Knew Him

By Emma G. Suydam
© Copyright 1977 & 2006 by The Universal Message

[Note: Mozumdar's influence has had a far-reaching impact but that influence is largely unrecognized and seldom is he given credit. Throughout Mozumdar's career he wrote prolifically and taught unceasingly. His ideas, at one time considered advanced and perhaps difficult to comprehend, have now been silently incorporated into the basic teachings of all major metaphysical and New Thought groups. Being a modest man who avoided self-glorification, we feel this is what he wanted.

[The following personal account was written in 1977 by A.K. Mozumdar's former secretary especially for this organization's magazine (The Universal Message, which is no longer being published). A better understanding of the teacher is bound to help the teachings become a living reality within. We feel Mozumdar would insist, however, that we stress it is the teaching alone that is important. On our personal trek toward understanding and inward growth, various individuals may help along the way – but it is crucial that we listen to what they say rather than worshiping them for what they say. "It is the teaching that teaches mankind, and not the teacher," Mozumdar wrote in Spokane in 1915. "Love and devotion to a personal teacher are merely incidental, because human nature tries to express its gratitude to those through whom it receives a spiritual uplift. If a teaching has any value, the farther it is removed in years, the greater becomes the devotion and idealization of its adherents. As time rolls on, the personal peculiarities of a teacher are forgotten and the teaching takes the place of idealization." These words, written near the beginning of his ministry, were almost prophetic of what would happen after his transition. Many thanks to Emma Suydam for her sharing these memories of her teacher.]

Akhoy Kumar Mozumdar was born in India in the year 1864. He came into a family of the warrior caste which is just below the Brahmin. The name Mozumdar means "friend of the emperor." His father was an attorney and rather worldly. His mother was a very spiritual person, however, and she felt close to her child who was never very strong. Many things were wrong with him: his eyes were weak, his digestion poor, and he was rather small in stature. His father was disappointed in him. He greatly admired his only daughter who was strong and beautiful – so she inherited all the family jewels.

A.K. Mozumdar in 1945
"Your mind is the only empire in which you are the supreme ruler. That which you vision in that empire comes true," wrote A.K. Mozumdar on this late-in-life photograph.

Because Mozumdar was not strong, his mother prepared all his food herself. When she died, he was grief-stricken. He went to the public library searching answers to his questions about life and death. One day while he was standing looking out the window pondering these subjects, he felt the presence of someone behind him. Turning, he saw a gentleman who said to him: "Bachka (which means "boy") you are thinking: ‘from whence do we come and whither do we go.' "

It was the sunset hour and across the river the sun was going down. His new friend asked if he would walk with him along the river bank. He talked of the mystery of life and told Mozumdar that there was no death – life is eternal and so-called death was a beautiful experience, much more so than birth. When they parted, the gentleman said, "Bachka, we shall meet again in six month's time in the City of the Gods." This is a town high in the Himalayas known to the ascetics.

"Oh, sir; I think not," replied Mozumdar. "I have never been so far north, and I have my studies to attend to." They said good-bye and young Mozumdar returned home. But he was unhappy and soon came his decision to leave home. He used to say: "I had an altercation with my father!" He never spoke of it as a quarrel or fight; it was always an "altercation."

When he left home he took only his begging bowel and staff, and started seeking the teachers who sat under the great banyan trees and taught. He spent hours in meditation and thinking of his mother and asking for guidance.

One day he came early in the morning upon a great teacher who was in deep meditation under a tree. Mozumdar longed to get close to him, but he feared to interrupt his meditation. He started in a broad circle to go around the tree and little by little drew closer. When he was quite close to the guru (who had felt his presence for some time), the teacher said, "Bachka, what do you wish?"

Mozumdar, very startled at the unexpected question, put his small hands together and said, "Oh, Master, Master. I wish to know whether I should follow the right-hand path or the left."

The Master answered: "Bachka, when you know, you will realize there is no right nor left – there is only One. Go and meditate." Mozumdar said for some time he did not know what the Master meant, but when he told this story to me he added: "Now I know!"

The rainy season came and he knocked on a door asking for shelter. After being received most kindly, he learned these were people of his caste and they had a son about his age. These boys became good friends and did their lessons together. In fact, the family became so fond of him that the father offered to adopt him. Mozumdar realized the danger. This would mean going back to the world, and he was seeking God. When the rain stopped, he left.

Sometimes traveling alone, sometimes with groups, he finally found himself high in the Himalayas in the City of the Gods. After arriving there he felt a tap on his shoulder, and, turning, recognized the man he had met in the library. "Bachka," he said, "We meet again." This happened at various intervals for several years. They would meet and Mozumdar would learn from him. Then there would be months of separation.

Once they were traveling together high in the mountains going to some conclave. Mozumdar became very tired. His food had given out, and he said to his friend, "I can go no further now. I have to rest. You go on, and maybe tomorrow I can proceed." His friend said nothing but went around a bend of the road. Mozumdar was seated on a rock, resting with his eyes closed. Soon he heard his friend returning and looked up. In his hand was a great bunch of grapes. "Eat these," said his friend, "then we can be on our way." (Grapes did not grow that high in the mountains.) When he told me this story, Mozumdar said, "This (materialization) is possible, but don't try to live on such food. The vitamins are not there."

For twelve years he was an ascetic. Then he served as a secretary in one of the monasteries, being later sent as an emissary to China. It was his teacher, the man he met in the library, who told him, "You will not remain in India. You will go to America to take a great message to a great people. There you will meet comrade souls who will help you." It was after he had been to China that he came to America, stopping on the way in the Hawaiian Islands.

He loved the Hawaiians, and he stayed quite a time with them – for they looked upon him as a Kahona, a priest. There are good Kahonas and bad Kahonas; those who heal and those who use black magic. Mozumdar was good Kahona in their eyes – he healed them and taught them. They brought fruits and other food to his grass hut, and the women washed his clothes. But one day he missed some of his clothing; an undershirt was gone. Then he discovered the women had torn it up into small pieces, and they were wearing a bit of it on a string about their necks!

The day came when Mozumdar felt he must say good-bye for there was a ship in the harbor going to Seattle. He was still wearing white cotton suits and when he arrived in Seattle he was cold. He looked about for his comrade souls, but there was no one to meet him. Somehow he got into the Swedish quarter and they were kind to him. They found him an empty store which had wood benches in it, and an orange crate was put up for a pulpit.

There he taught and healed. His ability to heal brought the crowds.

After three years he moved to Spokane, Washington. He had a church and taught there for about thirteen years. It was in Spokane that he did his first writing. I remember his saying, "I wrote a book and no one understood it." This was the first edition of The Life and the Way.

Later (about 1919) he went to California and there he met more comrade souls who helped him with money and talent. It was then that he started his lecture tours across the country, and his best writing was during this period.

Among his friends were some young people who used to weekend up in the San Bernardino Mountains not far from Crestline. He liked to hike in the mountains and used to take his staff and go off alone. It was during these hikes that he discovered the site for The Lodge, overlooking the Mojave Desert. During each visit to the mountains he would go there alone and meditate. The Inner Voice told him this was the place for The Lodge, so he consulted the real estate people in Crestline. When buying property in California, one of the first considerations is water. This part of the mountain was undeveloped. The real estate salesman was delighted when he found Mozumdar was interested in acreage on the other side of the mountain. No one wished to buy there because it was reported there was no water. But Mozumdar had walked over the property and he had seen ants there. He knew that where there were ants there is water. He had tried out certain spots with his staff.

He made a deal for a parcel of land. Time and time again he returned to meditate and view the sunset over the Mojave Desert. It was a glorious sight and he knew his decision was right because the inner Voice had told him.

He was asked to lecture in San Diego. In this class was a Mr. William P. Lodge, an architect. Together they drew up plans for The Lodge. Roads had to be built and the water supply developed. Mozumdar went about the property with his staff and his keen eyes. He would say to the workmen, "Dig here," and, sure enough, there was water. In this manner he found several springs. The swimming pool was put in, much to the amazement of the real estate people.

Lodge at Camp Mozumdar
The lodge on the grounds of Camp Mozumdar.

The Lodge was constructed on the side of the mountain. It was a three story building. The first level was the garage and caretaker's apartment. The second level was a large lecture room with a huge stone fireplace, a dining room, kitchen, two bedrooms – all surrounded with porches on three sides. The third level was Mr. Mozumdar's private quarters consisting of a bedroom, bath, study and porches overlooking the desert.

Pillars of God
The camp's impressive Pillars of God amphitheater was the location for many of Mozumdar's summer lectures. (To judge its size, see the cars at the left of the photo.)

Above The Lodge was a great mass of boulders – another reason why the real estate people considered the property not too valuable. Mozumdar, in his meditations, saw "The Pillars of God" among those boulders. After the Lodge was completed, work began on The Pillars of God – an outdoor auditorium flanked by twelve stone pillars set in a semicircle. There are lights on each pillar and these became beacons for airplane pilots. The twelve pillars are symbolic of the twelve disciples.

Later, Mozumdar and Mr. Lodge designed The Temple of Christ. It was to be a place for meditation with murals depicting some of the great events in the life of the Christ.

When Mozumdar was in residence at The Lodge on week-ends, he spent most of his time up in his private quarters. No one went up there except Michel, a protege who served him in different ways. At this point I might say that Mr. Mozumdar aided and educated eighteen different young people. These he called his children and when I knew him, Michel was at Headquarters and was studying to become a commercial pilot. This he did and later flew into the Indian ports and over the country where Mozumdar had traveled by foot as an ascetic.

At the Lodge Michel always took Mozumdar's breakfast and lunch to him. This he had on the upper porch. He always came downstairs for dinner and presided as host at the end of the long table which was lined with those working with him and often special weekend guests. It was here, at the close of the meal, that we often received deep instruction.

Sundays during the summer he spoke in the large living room. Folding chairs were placed to accommodate the crowd. People came for miles around. It was here, too, that classes were held for those who came and remained for a week of special work. These people had to be housed and fed, and this was part of my job.

Camp Mozumdar's swimming pool.
The swimming pool at Camp Mozumdar was enjoyed by students.

Weekends at The Lodge during the summer were always busy. I remember one when quite a number of people were there although no class was in session. Some were students who drove up from Los Angeles, others were invited guests, and others had dropped in from the near-by cottages. Some were down around the pool, but there was quite a group gathered on the front veranda in the rocking chairs. I was writing letters in the living room.

On the veranda the subject of reincarnation came up, and there was some rather wild talk going on. I realized Mozumdar was walking on his upstairs veranda because I could hear the flap of his slippers. One girl said, "You know, sometimes I think I must have been a queen in some life in the past."

Then a male voice said, "I can understand that, because there are times when I feel I might have been Napoleon." Just then I heard the slippers flapping down the stairs. Mozumdar was in his house robe instead of a coat and he walked over to the veranda and passed behind the whole line of chairs. "You never are less than you were: You NEVER are less than you were!" he said. Then he turned and walked back up the stairs. This is an example of how he taught with one sentence, a method I am told is often used by the gurus in India. They give one sentence to a student and say: "Go and meditate!"

Several years before The Lodge was under construction, Mr. Mozumdar was on one of his lecture tours across the country. After returning, his friends in California announced they had found just the right house for both Headquarters and his residence. It was a beautiful house on Hillside Avenue in Hollywood. There was a large living room with a dining room opening off of it – large enough for his lectures. He approved of it so the home was purchased and beautifully furnished. Since it was located on the hillside, the garage and basement were above ground. There was plenty of space for his books as they came from the printer

Mozumdar's consciousness of supply was high. His clothes were made by the finest tailors. His room at Headquarters was the master bedroom over the living room. It was spacious so that he could walk the length of it. He often walked up and down talking to his Superconscious; It was his constant companion. As he walked the streets on his way home he talked to It.

One evening when he was returning home the Voice said, "Do not go your usual route; take the next turn to the right." He never disobeyed the Voice.

The next morning he read in the newspaper that a man was held up on the street he avoided.

Another time the Voice changed his route and he found a kitten some boys had hung from a tree. He cut it down and took it home, opening a can of salmon. The kitten and food were left on the back porch. When he opened the door the next morning, there were six cats there!

But Mozumdar's great passion was for dogs. He always had a dog, and when I was working with him the dog was Valiant – a Dalmatian. Valiant was brought to him as a puppy because he needed special care. Being the runt of the litter, he was practically blind. His teeth were not forming properly, and Mozumdar used to sit with him in his lap while he was reading. He was knowing the Truth about him, and gave him the wonderful name of Valiant. Of course, the puppy responded. He became a handsome, affectionate pet. As soon as Mozumdar entered the house, there was Valiant to greet him. Up the stairs he ran to be with his master. Mozumdar always went to his room upon entering the house, to remove his coat and replace it with one of the many silk robes in his closet. These were beautiful robes, gifts from friends. Each year he had to buy another New Testament (a red-lettered Testament with the words of Christ in red). He studied this so constantly it was worn out by the end of the year. In his room there was but one picture, that of his Master, the Christ.

It has been said, "When the student is ready the Master appears." This was certainly true in my case. A friend gave me a copy of Mozumdar's book The Conquering Man. I had been seeking and reading for several years, but when I read this book I knew the New Messianic Message was for me. I read and reread it, also reading The Mystery of the Kingdom. Then one Saturday night I opened the New York Times to scan the religious announcements. There, at the very bottom of the page, were three simple words: "Mozumdar is Coming!" Nothing else.

I watched each edition and, finally, there appeared an announcement that A.K. Mozumdar would give an open lecture at a certain hotel. This was in November, 1937. I attended all his lectures and signed up for his class. Before and after class I talked with his secretary; I saw pictures of Headquarters and The Lodge. There was snow on the streets of New York; it was a cold winter and Mozumdar longed to be back in California. When the class closed, I realized I had to go too. I was teaching French at the time, but I knew a way for a leave of absence would be made. I had been given the teaching position because I had had training in France, and this was a demand of that school. Not only did I have to request a leave of absence, but I had to procure a substitute with foreign training. I never doubted. I knew firmly that I would go to California to continue my studies under Mozumdar. The substitute was found, right in the neighboring town!

When I arrived in Los Angeles, I called Headquarters to inquire if Mozumdar was lecturing. The answer came, "Mr. Mozumdar is in Kentucky; would you like us to ring him?"

"No," I replied, and went on planning where I would live. I had been in California and knew the Santa Monica area, so I looked there. I found a delightful place in a private home, located on the cliff facing the ocean. I knew this place was selected for me because I had meditated and asked for guidance.

Mozumdar's Hollywood home
A.K. Mozumdar lived for many years in this Hollywood, Calif., home located on Hillside Avenue.

When Mozumdar returned and resumed his lectures, I went to Hollywood on the red street cars. I spent each morning in study and meditation. In the afternoons, I walked the length of the cliffs. After two months, I was invited to share an apartment in Hollywood with one of Mozumdar's teachers, Ada Thompson of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She had also come to California for more instruction. At this time the Reading Room was being opened at "The Cross Roads of the World," and help was needed to keep it open. Ada and I did this five days a week. We then took off for The Lodge on Friday afternoons, returning Monday morning.

Entrance to Mozumdar's Hollywood home

Eventually, Mozumdar asked me to move into Headquarters when Ada returned to Tulsa. At that time, Joy Lodge (daughter of William P. Lodge, the architect), Michel and Valiant were also living there.

The morning after I moved into Headquarters I was having breakfast with Mozumdar. "This evening I have been invited to attend a concert," I said. "Perhaps I should take a key with me."

"A key?" he said. "A key? There are no keys; the door is always open. No one comes in that is not welcome." So it was in the midst of Hollywood.

Truly it was the house without a key. Day and night the doors were unlocked. This, of course, was Mozumdar's consciousness. I do not advocate this for the average person.

I am reminded of the story of the old ascetic and the young ascetic which Mozumdar told one Saturday evening at The Lodge to a group of guests about the supper table. We had just finished dessert.

The young ascetic had studied at the feet of his Master for some months when he said, "Master, do you think now I am capable of doing the things you do?"

The Master replied, "Well, Bachka, come and we shall see." He picked up his staff and went out to the trail. They walked but a short distance when they met a beautiful maiden. The old ascetic said, "Hail, sister!" and walked on. When he had walked some distance he turned around, but there was no sign of the young ascetic. He thought, "I'll just sit down on this rock and meditate until he comes." Finally, the young ascetic came running down the trail. The old ascetic picked up his staff and continued on the way.

Soon they came to a blacksmith who was making horseshoes. They stopped to watch him hammer the red hot steel into form. When the first shoe was finished the blacksmith reached for his tongs, picked it up and tossed it into a tub of water. When the second one was finished, the old ascetic reached out, picked up the red hot shoe with his fingers and tossed it into the water. Then the blacksmith began the third shoe, and all I the time he was hammering it into shape the young ascetic kept thinking, "I must do as my Master has done." So, when the shoe was finished, he reached out for it – dropping it in the dust with the exclamation of "Ouch!" So they bid the blacksmith good-bye and went on their way.

After awhile the old ascetic left the trail, going up the hillside to a cave. He crawled in, followed by his student. There they found a beautiful lioness with her two cubs. The Master spoke to her and with his hand, began petting her. Then he reached down and picked up one of the cubs, which he fondled and finally returned to its mother. The young ascetic thought, "I must try to do as my Master has done," and he reached out to caress the lioness. But she let out a growl, and he stepped back.

They left the cave and the old ascetic was again on the trail. They walked for some time until they came to a place where a rushing mountain stream crossed the trail. The Master levitated himself and was soon on the other side. The young ascetic hesitated, then tried to emulate his Master. But, like Peter, he started to sink. And, so, Mozumdar ended the lesson by saying, "Never go beyond the level of your consciousness!"

I remained at Headquarters for two years, until I was called home by the illness of my father. How fortunate can one be? I was greatly blessed.

—Emma G. Suydam

[NOTE: After A.K. Mozumdar's death in 1953, Camp Mozumdar referred to above was transferred to the YMCA and in the 1970s that organization sold it to the Unification Church (the followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon). The Universal Message has absolutely no connection, organizationally or philosophically, with the current owners of the camp that still carries Mozumdar's name.]