Hazrat Inayat Khan here continues with the image from the first part of his lecture, of the creation of a painting, which starts from an initial plan, and evolves through the execution until it reaches its final state.
It does not always happen that the picture is altogether different from what was planned, and yet it often happens. And however much different the picture may be from the plan, yet the foundation remains there as first planned. And therefore, how much different the life may be from that mark of predestination which was before, yet the life is built, the life is erected upon the same plan which has been first made. No doubt the astrologers and the fortune-tellers, the future-tellers, the prophets will not always say the thing that is really coming; they may make a mistake, and yet the predestination is there. The mistake is in their reading, not in the predestination.
And still that saying of the old, that the feet of the infant tell what he is going to be, will always prove true. It is the lack of seeing, that men cannot see, but the one who can see, can see from infancy what the child is going to be. And that old saying that the fate of the child is written on his forehead, it is the same in reality; every part and particle of the infant is expressive of what he is going to be. The one who can read the eyes and the ears and the features and the forms as letters, he can read an infant – a human being – as a letter. He need not consult with planets and mathematics; he need not know other sciences; that intuitive sense can see what the soul is going to be like.
And the eyes which are open to see this, they are also open to see the process, that middle part of life’s journey, how the person is developing, how the person is going through changes. They can see in the failure of a person a success; there can be in the success of a person a failure. And the one who is capable of doing this, also can see that how, when this picture will be complete, what sort of picture it will be. What the picture is going to be, he can see it beforehand.
And in order to support the argument of the fatalist, we do not need to go far to find examples. Everyone has examples near him. There are men most qualified and yet they fail; there are people most clever, and yet who always lose. In order to support the argument of the one who thinks free will is something, there are reasons too, because it is the active, it is the persevering, it is the courageous who attain to the success, and those who lack it can sit and wait, and wait forever. And this teaches us that it is a great mistake to divide destiny from free-will, because behind destiny there is a free-will, and behind a free-will there is destiny. What we call destiny is a kind of cover upon the free-will, it is the free-will working in the form of free-will and yet the spirit of destiny is working.
I am now coming to a question: how does a mystic look upon this question? The mystic thinks that in the being of man there are two aspects: one aspect of his being is like a machine, the other aspect of his being is like an engineer. The machine-part of his being is dependent upon climatic changes, upon what is given to it, what is put into it, upon what it depends in order to keep in working condition. And there is another machine of fine mechanism which works as the inner part of this machine, that is finer than its outer part. And that fine part feels atmosphere, feels vibrations, feels pleasures and displeasures, enjoys comforts and rejects discomforts; every kind of feeling exists there.
Then the mystic looks on life in this manner: that this machine is made for the use of the other part of one’s being, which is the engineer. But as long as that engineer is asleep, and that engineer is unaware of this machine, he does not run it, it is just left to conditions and environment; they run it. And so it means illness, with depressions, with fears, with his failures, with his helplessness, when this engineer-part of his being is asleep and the outer part of his being is subject to conditions. On the day when this engineer-part of man begins to waken, that day he begins to feel mastery over this machine; he begins to know on that day that this machine was made for him to work it to the best advantage.
To be continued…