Hazrat Inayat : The Masters of our Destiny pt III

If we wish to change our destiny, Hazrat Inayat Khan now tells us, we must first believe it is possible. He gives the example of Timur (known variously as Timurlenk, Timurleng, Timurlane, and Tamburlane) who assembled an enormous central Asian empire, supposedly after being awoken to his destiny by a dervish. Hazrat Inayat calls him a Mogul emperor, but the Mogsls are considered to have begun with the rule of Bahadur Shah, one of the descendants of Timur, but more than a century after Timur’s death. The previous post in the series is here.

Is there a possibility of changing, or of improving our destiny? We in our material life become so rigid in our thinking that we cannot imagine something existing and at the same time improving and changing. We are only capable of recognizing change as far as we can see it, and the moment we cannot see that change any more we call it destruction or death. In other words what we call destruction or death is only a change. We cannot follow, we cannot see the link. It is not visible to us, we cannot fathom it, and therefore we say that it is the end. But is there anything that ends, that is destroyed, or anything that has ceased? Nothing. All these words are our own illusion, our own conception, a conception which is only true as long as we have not seen the continuity. As soon as we understand this mystery, we no longer continue to have that conception. When we see life end suddenly, we call it death. We say a word, in this case ‘death,’ and once that word is spoken it is the end of the matter for us. But the word is never silent, it continues, if not in this, then in another sphere.

So it is with thought. We have a thought and then we say, ‘I have forgotten.’ Yes, the mind has forgotten, but the thought is not dead. It is going on. It never ends. Is there anything that ends? Nothing. Such words as ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ are our conceptions, and the further we go in studying life, the higher the realization we get of those conceptions. It is this principle which is called unlearning. People are proud and satisfied with what they have learned, but the further one goes, the more one finds that learning ends in unlearning.

Then another learning begins. It is like turning life inside out. We are walking on the same earth under the same sun, but we are looking at a different world with different eyes. Life is a different life to us then, and the meaning of every word is different. Those who have realized in themselves the possibility of improving their lives, do improve them. But the one who thinks, ‘I cannot help it. I am what I am. I get angry, I cannot help it. I get annoyed, I cannot help it. I cannot understand, I cannot bear it.’ That person comes under his own suggestion and he naturally becomes weaker every day and cannot accomplish things. But the one who realizes that life begins with spirit, says, ‘What does it matter; if I fail today I will succeed tomorrow. The present limitation does not discourage me.’

It is never too late in life to improve. There is always scope for the man who wants to improve himself. But the man who is content with himself, or so discouraged that he does not want to improve, falls flat. There is no way for him to accomplish anything in life. The spirit of those who went to mountain caves or lived in the forests was a meditative one. One might think it was an undesirable life. Yes, perhaps undesirable to follow, but in relation to what they reached, the experience they gained was most desirable. There is much that could be exchanged between East and West. The West has improved and cultivated and invented many things which should go to the East. And the experience of those in the East who went to the forests and sat in meditation under the shade of trees should be taken to the West. It is this that will bring East and West closer, to the best advantage of the whole of humanity.

There is a story of Timurlenk, the great Mogul emperor, a man whom destiny had intended to be great. Yet he was not awakened to that greatness. One day, tired of the strife of daily life and overwhelmed by his worldly duties, he was lying on the ground in a forest waiting for death to come and take him. A dervish passed by and saw him asleep and recognized in him the man that destiny had intended to become a great personality. The dervish struck him with his stick and Timurlenk woke up and asked, ‘Why have you come to trouble me here? I have left the world and have come to the forest. Why do you come to trouble me?’ The dervish said, ‘What gain is there in the forest? You have the whole world before you. It is there that you will find what you have to accomplish, if only you realize the power that is within you.’ He said, ‘No, I am too disappointed, too pessimistic for any good to come to me. The world has wounded me. I am sore, my heart is broken. I will no longer stay in this world.’ The dervish said, ‘What is the use of having come to this earth if you have not accomplished something, if you have not experienced something? If you are not happy, you do not know how to live!’ Timurlenk said to the dervish, ‘Do you think that I shall ever accomplish anything?’ The dervish answered, ‘That is why I have come to awaken you. Wake up and pursue your duty with courage. You will be successful; there is no doubt about it.’ This impression awakened in Timurlenk the spirit with which he had come into the world. And with every step that he took forward, he saw that conditions changed and all the influences and forces that he needed for success came to him as if life, which before had closed its doors, now opened all to him. And he reached the stage where he became the famous Timurlenk of history.

To be continued …

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