The word ‘kismet’ means fate or destiny, and it is a topic which puzzles many people; we appear to have free will, the ability to direct ourselves in life – and yet we can also see the influence of destiny. In this series of texts, Hazrat Inayat Khan explains the real meaning of destiny.
The question is always brought, “Is there a power which rules the universe and controls all our actions? Or, are we free to do what we please, and are our situations the result of our good or bad deeds? Or are our actions and situations governed by the influence of the planets?”
In answer to this, I will say first the contradiction of each. If God makes us act, then we are not responsible. Then it is all God, and we have no responsibility. If we are quite free, then, I will say, you are your own well-wisher; no-one will be his own ill-wisher. Then, whatever you wish for, success or riches, or whatever it is, you will have it. But it seems that it is not so. If happiness and good fortune were the result of good actions, then everyone would be good, no-one would be bad. And we see that many very wicked people are very fortunate. Every day a wicked deed, and every day a good fortune. And many very good people are always unfortunate and in difficulties. Christ had so many difficulties, and all the prophets and saints have had great adversities.
If everything is the influence of the planets, then I will say that you should stay in the room when there is a planet that is unfavorable to you – you should do nothing. And when there is a planet that is favorable, you should do nothing, because the planet will bring you everything by itself.
I have told you the contradiction; now I will tell you the truth of each principle. There are four great powers that govern the world, Qadr and Qaza, Jelal and Jemal. Qaza is the power that governs the whole. The king governs the whole country, but power is given to viceroys and governors. The governor governs a whole province, but power is given to a commissioner. The commissioner governs his district, he knows more about its affairs than the governor knows, and the governor does not interfere in his district. Each human being is given a power. This is Qadr. Just as the mother allows the child to go as far as the end of the room, but no further – from here as far as the end of the room, let it destroy as much as it pleases, but no more than that.
There is a Hindustani saying: “We see a wicked person very happy and we may think, has God forgotten him?” No, but his jar is not yet full. When it is filled, it will overflow and bring destruction to himself and those about him. Sometimes a very good person is very unhappy in life. But when the jar of his good actions is full, it overflows and brings happiness to him and to those about him. We have some power, but our action is so limited, our power of seeing is so limited. We are very small.
The forces of Jelal and Jemal are the creative and the responsive force. We are sometimes creative, and sometimes we are responsive. The Jelal is creative and the Jemal is responsive. The singer is creative and the one who hears and enjoys is responsive. All our troubles are owing to our lack of the creative or the responsive power. If we are in a situation which is difficult for us, which is hard, which we dislike, this is owing to our lack of creative power to make another situation for ourselves. When the situation, the opportunity, would benefit us and help us, and we are not benefitted, it is owing to our lack of response. Everything in the world is creative or responsive. The benefactor is creative, and he who is benefitted is responsive. But I would say, however interesting, however attractive these things are, the name of God is much greater. Without the study of the name of God they are nothing. This is the only thing that is great, the only thing beautiful, the only thing of value, the only thing worthwhile.
To be continued…