Glimpses: O King of kings!

Hazrat Inayat Khan told the following anecdote from his days in India.

While walking in a district where dervishes lived in solitude, I found ten or twelve dervishes together sitting under the shade of a tree in their ragged clothes, talking to one another. As I was curious to hear and see people of different thoughts and ideas, I stood there watching this assembly to see what was going on.

These dervishes, sitting on the ground without a carpet, at first gave an impression of poverty and helplessness, sitting there in disappointment, probably entirely without possessions. But as they began to speak to each other that impression did not remain, for when they addressed one another, they said, “O King of kings; O Emperor of emperors.”

At first I was taken aback on hearing these words, but after giving some thought to it, I asked myself, “What is an emperor? What is a king? Is the real king and emperor within or without?” For he who is the emperor of the outer empire depends on all that is without. The moment he is separated from that environment he is no longer an emperor. But these dervishes sitting on the bare ground were real emperors. No one could take away their empire, for their empire, their kingdom, was not an illusion; theirs was a real kingdom. An emperor may have a bottle of wine in front of hm, but these men had drunk that wine and had become real emperors.

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