Biography, Autobiography, Journal and Anecdotes
Part I - Biography
Youth - Music
Though but a young lad, Inayat was always anxious to do all the work he could when it was such as he liked. He would go to the different teachers at the music school and say: "May I explain to your class the lesson on music I learned yesterday?" The teacher would be most glad to give Inayat some work to do and get into the open air, away from the heat he felt sitting in the class. He would go to another teacher and say: "May I finish the teaching of the song which you have begun in your class?" To the third he would say: "May I teach a song which I feel your class will like very much?" In this way, he did almost the work of all the teachers in the school, who were most pleased to let him do it. There was no assuming on his part, he only did it out of enthusiasm to serve and be useful.
At the students' gathering at the High School of Baroda, Inayat was once invited to give a program of music, and taking that occasion as a good opportunity to tell people what he thought of the present condition of Indian music, he of his own accord, offered to speak on the subject. Before the professors and students he spoke earnestly explaining the importance of musical education. Those who heard him there, invited him to speak at the temple of Narsiji. Inayat accepted the invitation most willingly and spoke to them, giving with his lecture different kinds of music and illustrating the scientific and religious aspects of the subject. When next day the lecture was printed in the Baroda newspaper, his people knew about it and it was a shock and surprise to them.
Inayat felt keenly about the lack of female education, especially amongst Muslims. There was hesitation amongst Muslims, especially at that time, to teach music to girls, for they considered gaiety of any kind a thing forbidden, not only for women, but for men also. In order to give girls an education in real music, Inayat wrote a textbook of music, Balasangitmala, in Hindustani and tried to bring it before the leaders of the Muslim community, though he was too young for his voice to be heard by the educational authorities.
The very first blow that Inayat received in his early youth, was the death of his grandfather Maula Bakhsh, under whose shelter Inayat had grown as a little plant under the shade of a large tree. A grandfather so great as Maula Bakhsh, so kind, with a magical personality, the only one in the world who had really understood the lad, who was most gentle with him in all his doings. Besides, he was an ideal for Inayat to look up to and a companion and a friend and at the same time his teacher. It seemed to Inayat as if both heaven and earth were shaken, but at the same time this great pain of separation, so to speak, opened his heart wider to the question of birth and death. Everyone saw a change come to Inayat. People began to see in a youth the expression of the mature. His parents regarded this change in him with no little anxiety and tried whether by making some change in his environment they could turn the mind of the lad from brooding over his loss.
Providence changed Inayat's environment. H.H. The Maharaja Bhim Shamsher of Nepal had called an assembly of all the eminent musicians of the land, and the invitation had reached all the well-known schools of music, which are known as "Khandan" (families). From the school of Maula Bakhsh, Rahmat Khan, Inayat's father, was proposed to attend the function and on Inayat's persistent request to accompany him, his father agreed to his doing so. Although this was the first time Inayat was to go away from his mother's tender care and from the comfort of home, nevertheless his joy in making this long journey from Baroda to Nepal was great.
He had the opportunity of staying on the way at Gwalior, where his father took him to the tomb of Tansen, to pay homage to India's most celebrated singer. According to the custom of the place, the leaves of the tree that sheltered the tomb of Tansen Inayat took as tabarruk, a sacrament. Here in Gwalior, which has been a city well-known for its great musicians, Inayat had the opportunity of hearing the successors of the eminent singers Hadu, Hasu Khan as well as Tanras Khan and was much impressed and helped by the expert execution of Khayal songs by the singers there.
When the journey was broken at Benares, the state of Inayat's spirit became inexplicable. He felt exalted and experienced a feeling as though his spirit was going through an initiation; and his visit there he felt as being for a purpose which his soul alone knew. He walked gently through the streets of Benares, he walked along the banks of the Ganges, around the sacred shrines of the Hindus with a deeply felt worshipful attitude. This visit for Inayat was not the breaking of the journey, it was to his heart the first and great pilgrimage in his life.
From Sigoli, where the train journey ends, they had six days journey through the forest. This was a new experience to a soul who wanted to breathe a breath of freedom from the crowd and to whom nature was not only appealing but uplifting. Chairs that four people carry on their shoulders were sent to them by the State to carry them through the forest, but Inayat did not at all like the idea of a person in good health being carried on the shoulders of others. Besides, a respect for human beings was inborn in this youth, who regarded these human beings who carried the chairs, with the same attitude with which he regarded everything in nature.
He regarded nature all around him, which expressed to him from all sides the sublimity of the divine manifestation. He at the same time did not let others know his point of view in this, trying not to give the others the idea that his attitude was any better than that of those who were sitting in the chairs and enjoying the journey through the forest. He showed to all that he preferred to walk, because he enjoyed walking more than sitting. So he journeyed on foot, walking from morning till evening through woods and valleys, enjoying the beauty of nature all about him, observing the effect of the sunrise and sunset, enjoying the little showers coming now and then after the hot sun, and listening to the blowing and cooing of the wind. Certainly the path was full of dangers. They were threatened now and then by tigers, lions, elephants, bears and rhinoceroses and the wild animals of all sorts living in the forest. They stopped each evening at a grass hut, made to afford shelter to travelers.
Inayat's enjoyment was boundless. For the first time in his life there came to him the realization of the saying: "The city was made by man and the country was made by God."
The solitude of the forest, the sounds of the birds that one never feels nor hears in the crowd, the trees standing in stillness for hundreds of years, a place never occupied by man, gave him a feeling of that calm and peace that every soul longs for, consciously or unconsciously. This journey was a kind of answer to the cry of his soul. He felt in the sphere a welcome and blessing given by the long standing trees, venerable in age and appearance. He saw the hand of God blessing in every bending branch. He pictured his hands in the branches that stretched upwards, hands constantly praying and asking for blessing from above.
It happened that at that time the Maharaja Dhiraja of Nepal was hunting in the forest with a troop of five hundred elephants. This brought before him a sight of uncommon grandeur and he noticed with great interest the arrangement and the manner in which the elephants were trained to surround the tiger and bring it to bay. The intelligence and the obedience of the elephants, how they stood close to each other, side by side, brought vividly to his mind the thought that unity can stand against any power, however great. It is through lack of unity that the same elephant, when alone, with all his gigantic form and monstrous strength, becomes a prey to the tiger.
He saw there not only tiger-hunting but the way in which the wild elephants are caught. Out of the trained group of elephants one, chosen for its magnetic force, was sent into the interior of the forest. There it made friends with a wild elephant, and kept that elephant there till it had grown friendly enough to walk about with him. Then one other elephant was sent and the two got one on either side of the wild creature. Then the rest of the group was sent to surround the three. The wild elephant then wanted to get free, but was powerless to do so, as he was wedged in between the first two, who held him as in a vice. With all the enjoyment and interest that this offered to Inayat, he could not help feeling pity for the poor wild elephant. And this suggested to him how much more capable man is of getting his fellow man into his grip by means of his strength and clever ways and that it is man who deprives his fellow man of his happiness and freedom in life. Inayat as a rule had no liking for sport. He always had an aversion from a rough game, even where one could hurt another, or be proud of his conquest over another, shooting or killing apart.
From Mount Akdanta they had to take a journey. The way was so steep that it was difficult for a man who had not learned how to climb mountains. Therefore men were sent to carry the travelers on their backs in a kind of cane chair, shaped like a basket. Although the men are so accustomed to taking heavy loads on these mountains, a man's weight being as nothing, Inayat still refused to be on another person's back. Although all the other travelers were sitting on the backs of these men, he proceeded on his journey across the mountains in the same way as through the forest, though it was very difficult. In the first place he had never before seen such high mountains, and then walking on the steep paths was difficult. He had nearly finished the hard journey, when drawing near to Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, his foot slipped and he was somewhat hurt, but everyone was thankful that a greater mishap had been avoided.
Inayat's mother had never been separated from her child before and her thoughts dwelt constantly upon her beloved son, and on that night she dreamt that Inayat came to her, showing her his hurt knee. That same night, in a dream, Inayat saw his mother sympathizing with him in his pain. There could not have been a greater proof than this for Inayat to realize that space cannot separate truly attached hearts and this gave him the greatest proof of the singleness of life.
On arriving at Katmandu, the capital of Nepal, Inayat had what he wished. He had the opportunity of listening to all the great singers of India, who were invited to that assembly, which was a great help to the youth, who was constantly advancing in the science and art of music. Besides that it was a great study from a psychological point of view for Inayat to come into contact with all these personalities. Inayat learned not only the best execution of classical singing, but how music sweetened the personality, and how harmonious the thought, speech and action of a musician becomes, emitting the atmosphere of music. He saw that during their conversations their gestures were graceful, their words and phrases poetical, their voices sweet, the expression of their countenance pleasant. He noted their high ideals, their tender hearts, their kind attitude and their natural leaning towards God. He learned more than ever before to regard music as sacred and to respect a musician, so won was he by the beauty of their art, and by their harmonious personality. He saw also that those who were not yet deepened in music were on the contrary more inclined toward amusement and frivolity, more drawn toward the gaiety and merriment of life, uncontrolled in their affections, and inconsiderate in passion. That explained to him why the Prophet forbade music to his followers. His Message was an all-reviving force and his first followers, who founded the nucleus of the brotherhood of Islam, were naturally taught not to indulge in anything that led to frivolity and gaiety. Inayat saw that the best part of music that rises in its perfect development can surely not be "haram", forbidden.
Inayat was much impressed by the grandeur of the martial life of Nepal, but was always against the tendency of the musicians to bow and bend to their utmost before the Rajas and to make every effort in praising and flattering them in order to gain their favors. He saw that this, the degeneration of India's music, was due to this method, and that it naturally reacted upon the musicians of India, most of whom were placed in the category of entertainers or flatterers. He would often feel humiliated when among them and he saw that the diamonds are few and the pebbles many. So the really great ones are few, and the few have to fall in with the custom and conventions of the majority, and thus the sin of some involves all. He saw at the same time that the effect of their praise and flattery was detrimental to the Rajas themselves, who thought that they knew more of music than they really did, and the musicians, by pleasing them and satisfying their fancies, kept them ignorant of the real music, and by falling in with their fancies they brought their music from bad to worse. Often musicians incited and urged them on to a life of gaiety and therefore, during the reign of the Moguls, the staff of musicians was called Arbabi Nishat, the company of pleasure.
This in no way made any difference to the great ideal of music that Inayat had; he felt the sacredness of music so much; but it kept him rather aloof from the musicians, while at the same time he was full of respect and admiration for their art. Although reluctant to associate with them, he was ever eager and ready to learn music from them. The difference of Inayat's nature from that of the other musicians, and the independence of his spirit, attracted to him both the rich and the poor with whom he came in contact. Among them Prince Chandra Vikram Shah, and Bahujangi Raja became his friends.
In Katmandu lived a very old Sufi, a faqir, who was spiritual guide to the Raja Bhim Shamsher. This Sufi was from Punjab and he had a most beautiful personality. His presence was mercy and compassion itself. Inayat was greatly drawn to him and this Sufi, in return, was much attracted by Inayat. Inayat frequently visited his dwelling and conversed with him on human life. Inayat's contact with him was most helpful. Inayat observed all he did, listened to all he said and thought and pondered over his visit to this Sufi, and always felt in his soul the exaltation of the blessing he received there. This was all training toward the fulfillment of the purpose of his life.
Inayat's father was employed in teaching music at the palace of the Maharaja, and therefore Inayat's time was all his own. Much of this time he spent in singing-practice and the rest of the time he went on horseback into the Himalayan regions near by and remained there in solitude, which was what he most desired, and was a healing to his soul and a necessary preparation for his future work.
One day, while traveling over the hills and dales, he saw at a distance someone sitting in a place where scarcely anyone would ever be seen. On arriving there he found the man was a Mahatma sitting in silent meditation in that lonely spot, perhaps for ages. In the meeting of glance Inayat was filled with a feeling of exaltation, and the calm and peace and the atmosphere that the Mahatma had created there were beyond expression. It seemed as if there all the trees, even every leaf, was standing respectfully, motionless before the Mahatma. It seemed as if the ever-blowing wind was in abeyance under the reign of perfect stillness, caused by the peace of his soul. Inayat sang to that Mahatma and received in return a blessing through his inspiring glance. After that Inayat frequented the place, sometimes with his vina, and won the favor of the Mahatma. The light, strength and peace that Inayat received from him, designed the career which was destined for him.
After one year's stay in Nepal, Inayat's father took leave of the Maharaja and left Nepal for Baroda, his home. Inayat's mother, not having seen her son for a whole year, was very eager to see him. When she heard the most exciting news other son's arrival from Nepal after the long separation, Khadija Bibi, instead of going to the door to receive him, went first to her room, to offer thanks to God for having brought him back. And on seeing him she found an immense change in the youth. Inayat had become gentler and more patient and many of his boyish traits were subdued. This separation had taught Inayat to value his mother and motherhood more than ever before. From his early age Inayat was a most affectionate son, but now came the time that his affection was expressed by manner and action.
A time came when, owing to famine in the country, household expenses were increased, and seeing his parents in need, Inayat of his own accord offered to go and work for them. He taught music to the children of Dewan Srinivasa Raghava Ayangar, the Prime Minister of Baroda State. Besides these, he taught music to other pupils. This wise Dewan, a Brahman by caste and not only a great statesman, but a great reader of human nature, took a great liking to Inayat and told the Maharaja how promising he thought him.
At this time Inayat's uncle. Dr. Alaoddin Khan, had returned from England, where he had studied music and taken his degrees as Doctor of Music. His return was an answer to Inayat's great yearning to know about Europe. Inayat took great interest in learning all he could about European music, and in following his uncle's advice in many directions, Inayat played the violin for some time, and studied the theory of European music. He heard military band and orchestra, and on some occasions conducted himself, thereby entering into the spirit of Western music. Inayat discussed with his uncle the difference between Eastern and Western music. They had talks together about human nature in general and life in the world, sometimes touching upon philosophical and religious thoughts. They were drawn to each other, and at the same time Inayat's way was his own.
Inayat's interest in the music of the West and his neglect of Eastern music, brought dismay to the family. But Inayat's answer to all his people was that whatever he took up, he took up wholeheartedly. It was a passing phase, the music of the East was too deeply ingrained in him that he could ever give it up.
In every musical activity in Baroda State some important part was always undertaken by him, and it was invariably successfully carried out. He composed songs and wrote the words in four languages: Urdu, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. He composed a book of these songs and called it "Sayaji Garbawali", and dedicated it to the Maharaja of Baroda. They were sung at a festival, called "Navarat", at the Lakshme Vilas Palace before H.H. the Maharaja. This made known his talent not only as a singer, but as a composer and teacher of music throughout the State of Baroda.
Between Inayat and his mother understanding grew greater day by day, making their lives more wrapped up in each other; and it was a sudden blow to Inayat when his mother passed away after a very brief illness. Then once again the world appeared to him in a new light. It seemed to him as if there had been a shelter under which he had taken refuge from every hurt and harm coming from the world; and now that this shelter was removed and he found himself deprived of it, he realized by this two things: that with all love and kindness the father cannot fill the place of the mother, and that true love, unlimited, self-sacrificing and above all passion, is the mother's love, which cannot be compared with any other; and that the mother's love is a divine blessing, and if there be any sign of God's mercy and compassion, it is truly in the love of the mother.
This despair made it necessary for Inayat to go away from the environment of home, which seemed to show him every moment of his life the absence of his mother, who had been the center of his home.
He went, alone, on a visit to Madras, where the Right Hon. Mr. Anandacharlu took great interest in the youth's talent. Khan Bahadur Hadi Pasha and Khan Bahadur Walji Lalji became admirers of his talent. He won the friendship of many people during his short visit there, and they, as citizens of Madras, presented him with an address and a gold medal in token of their admiration. Becoming through this incident better known in the Southern part of India, Inayat was invited to Mysore, where his grandfather had won such great renown. He was invited by the State to the installation of the Maharaja Krishna Raja Vodyer. Once he was waiting at a junction for the next train. He was in some despair for his purse was empty. While he was fighting bravely his appetite, sitting at the junction, and perplexed what would happen when he arrived at his destination, a Brahman came near with a hot dish, of bhajia, a dish which Inayat had always liked, and offered it him. Inayat, so young and proud, said: "I do not want it, thank you." The man said: "No, you must eat, you will make me unhappy if you refuse. It is right that you do not want it, but it is true that you need it. You have a long journey before you." Inayat thankfully accepted and ate, and yet was wondering what would happen at his destination. This Brahman who waited upon Inayat all the time while he was eating, was a seer. He said: "Do not be worried, all will be well." He said: "You are going to a place where you will be received with open arms and a warm heart. You will be honored at the Court of the Maharaja, and from the moment you step on the soil of Mysore, you will be received as a royal guest." And so it happened. He was also warmly received at the Darbar where he sang and played with much success. Inayat met the great Shaishanna, Shamanna and Subanna, the well-known musicians of the Court of Mysore.
Hearing the music of Karnatic so well performed, brought most vividly to his memory the happiest moments that he had spent with his grandfather. People in Mysore were glad to see Inayat, who represented to them Maula Bakhsh, whose memory was so dear to all there. Inayat was after Maula Bakhsh the first musician to go from the North to the South, and to sing before the people of the South their own music, as if to the manner born. Inayat once heard a song of Tyagaraja's and after hearing it once, he was able the next time to join with the singer in singing it, and did so without a mistake. He sang "Pallavi", which is peculiar to the people of the South alone, with the same singer, and he improvised in so masterly a manner that the assembly marvelled greatly at his talent. After a very successful visit to Mysore he returned home. Inayat brought with him that atmosphere of success to which all his family had been accustomed during the time of his grandfather. This journey proved to his people how successful Inayat was in every way, and thenceforward he acted as the foremost worker in the State Musical Department, both in art and in education, although his two uncles Murtaza Khan and Alaoddin Khan (Dr. A. M. Pathan) were the figure heads.
However, with all his enthusiasm and talent and his desire to do some good work, there was not scope enough for him in Baroda State, since the best positions in music were occupied by his two uncles. He began to feel uncomfortable at the lack of opportunity to exercise his ability, and he therefore left Baroda for Hyderabad. He visited Bombay on his way and learned through this visit to what extent the Indian music was becoming degraded. Several dramatic companies had been playing on the stage, casting aside the riches and beauty of music which the different modes and ragas give. There was a general inclination for light music, most songs there being like the ragtime in the West. To Inayat, born and brought up in the very home of music, who had heard almost all the well-known musicians, it was agony to hear in his land from all sides a fantastic music with no soul in it.
He discovered the reason for this state of things, and that was that for ages the real music had only been sung chiefly in palaces an rarely in temples, and the public was always kept ignorant of it. Especially in a crowded city like Bombay, where commercialism reigns, people cared little for any serious music, but were willing to enjoy whatever appealed to their senses at the moment. When he began his career as a singer, he used to feel the lack of response or the lack of understanding in his audience, and it used to depress him, so that he was not able to sing in a way at all equal to his powers. And therefore there was rarely an occasion when he sang wholeheartedly, and the most satisfactory time was that when he sang by himself. That was a great drawback to his progress in life, and in the life before him, where he must depend upon himself for his living. It was hard. The only way that he found was from that moment when he decided never to feel that he was singing for others, but only that he was singing to himself. With open eyes he looked only at himself in the crowded audience and from that time on he was successful.
The most painful thing for Inayat was to see the art of music in common hands. Women, whose occupation was generally entertainment, made music their profession, and besides, music was considered as nothing more than an amusement or a pastime. He saw the profession of music so much degenerated; musicians being at the mercy of the commercial people, most of whom knew nothing but how to buy and sell. These engaged musicians to play and sing for the whole night. The audience forming into groups, one group would enjoy the music at the first part of the night; this group would then retire and send another group in its place, thus treating the talent of the artist as the task of a laboring man. They enjoyed the singing and dancing of the artists, making fun all the time. Inayat found another class of people who may be called Europeanized Indians, who treated the fine art of their land as a secondary recreation, their talking, smoking and jollity – amidst the strains of music – occupying their minds the most. He found yet another set of people who rightly regarded theatrical music as trivial, but considered other music as ustadi, or best music, which was in reality not any better than the most ordinary. It was a great pain to Inayat to feel the music of India was so little understood by the well-to-do people of the country.
He had an amusing experience one day when he was invited by a Parsi family in Colombo, and was requested to sing. First he was introduced to some people there, who were said to be not only very fond of music, but connoisseurs of the art. Inayat was glad to know that, and therefore he chose some really good songs to sing. But as he began, the connoisseur said that it was very good but not what he had expected to hear. Inayat asked: "What would you like me to sing?" He said: "Something still more 'ustadi'," meaning superior. Inayat sang a song of still greater weight, but he seemed not to like it at all. So Inayat thought, perhaps the man is pretending to be a connoisseur, and he chose a lighter song, and as soon as he began, the face of the so-called connoisseur became most cheerful. It seemed his whole body responded to its rhythm. Inayat, seeing this, began to sing a still lighter song of a more popular kind and the delight of the pretended connoisseur and of all who sat there was boundless. Inayat was very much amused at this, especially at hearing from him that this was the "ustadi". Though it amused him, still he went home with a heavy heart, pondering upon the condition of his people and the state in which the art of music was.
Among those who knew something about music he found many tyrants, whose every wish was to prove their little knowledge of ragas as the touchstone of music. They, instead of allowing the musician to show his best, and enjoying his talent, tried to examine him, whether he knew this or that raga. They themselves often knew no more than the name of a raga. The one who was the most headstrong and the boldest, generally seemed victor to the spectators, who hardly knew the real merit. Another cruelty Inayat saw on the part of the music lovers, was that they took delight in setting a match going between two musicians, and instead of enjoying the beauty of music, they enjoyed the competition between them. Few perhaps knew who really won, but the pleasure of seeing the victory of one over another was the only aim, which seemed altogether void of harmony to Inayat. Mr. Bhatkhande, a student of music, asked Inayat according to what shastra (science) he proved his ragas true. Inayat said: "According to my shastra; it is man who has made shastra, it is not shastra that has made man."
At seeing this degenerated condition of India and its music, he broke down and invoked the name of the deity and prayed for the protection of the sacred art of India, and he said: "Lord, if our people had lost only its wealth and power, it would not have been so grievous to bear, since these temporal things are ever changing hands in the mazes of maya. But the inheritance of our race, the Music of the Divine, is also leaving us through our own negligence, and that is a loss my heart cannot sustain!"
From Bombay Inayat went to Hyderabad, where he knew no one. On his arrival there he made some acquaintances, to whom he made known the reason of his visiting Hyderabad, which was to render his music before H.H. Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, the Nizam of Hyderabad. So difficult was it for anyone to approach H.H. that every friend was astounded at such a request being made, and each one was certain he would be disappointed. To Inayat, however, there seemed no difficulty; the only thing that did surprise him was the pessimistic view. From that day on he never spoke of his intentions to anyone. Six months passed by, during which time he practiced music and wrote a book on music in Hindustani, called "Minqar-i Musiqar". By this time he had made acquaintances who later became his great friends, and he was surrounded by the most loving of friends. A friend Raja Din Dayal, one day took Inayat for a drive to the Mount of Maula, where the Nizam and his chief of the Staff were camping, celebrating some festival. The Raj happened to visit Luqman ud Dawlah, the Court physician, who was a Sufi, and who was engaged at that time in writing a commentary on the works of Rumi. At first sight he was impressed by Inayat, and felt drawn to him, and he suggested unasked that it would be a good thing if this young musician could be introduced to the Maharaja. He immediately sent word to H.E. Maharaja Kishan Pershad, who was also Prime Minister of the State, and was camping near by. On receiving the message the Maharaja immediately sent for Inayat.
Madar ul Maham, the Prime Minister, was sitting greatly depressed. Those about him said he was not well. When Inayat saw him he found that he was on the verge of collapse. The Maharaja felt that there was some hidden meaning in Inayat being sent to him. As they conversed the countenance of the Maharaja began to change every moment, and a kind of joy beamed forth, which was a pleasant surprise to those around him. To see the Maharaja smile again after so long was a great relief and delight to them. Speaking of music Inayat said: "Sirkar, there was a time when music in the land of India was held most sacred, and the great teachers of ancient times, such as Nardar and Tumbara, were great musicians. Although at the present time music is so cast aside in India, still it is the same precious cordial. My work in music on the soil of India is to raise music to its pristine glory, that it may intoxicate those souls whose destiny it is to be exalted by the power of music. Among the Sufis of the Chishti Order music is still the source of elevation, by which means they attain to that ecstasy which culminates in the revelation of truth." That which made the greatest impression on the Maharaja was what Inayat said further: "Sirkar Ali, there are four intoxications: the intoxication that comes from physical power, the intoxication which wealth gives, the intoxication of rule, and the intoxication which comes from knowledge. But there is one intoxication superior to these afore-said intoxications, which is that produced by music." The sincerity with which Inayat spoke and the effect of what he said, working not only upon himself but upon all who heard him, greatly raised him in their estimation. He felt that there was in Inayat's conversation something sacred hidden in the realm of art, and he felt greatly drawn to him.
In the midst of that talk, which was taking place between the Maharaja and Inayat, word came from the Nizam that H.H. would visit the camp of the Maharaja that night. This was an excellent news for the Maharaja, who had been for some time out of favor with the Nizam, and in his mind he at once associated Inayat's visit with the coming of his august master. He requested Inayat to stay in his camp that evening, and Inayat most gladly accepted.
A most joyful atmosphere was spread in the Maharaja's camp, each one saying to the other with great enthusiasm: "Huzur bar amad" (H.H. is coming). Every kind of preparation was made and message after message came at intervals about each movement of the Nizam, until the arrival. This created still greater enthusiasm in the camp and one could feel the very atmosphere anticipating the royal visit. At last midnight passed and now the people began to be uneasy and upon the sun of hope the clouds of fear began to hover. Still the hope was there. And at about two o'clock in the morning definite news came that H.H. had already left the camp and might be expected any moment. At last he appeared amidst the sound of bugles and the beat of drums, dispersing the gloom which had fallen on the camp. The Nizam was seated on an elephant, while Arabs sang and sword-danced around him and the whole procession moved in the light of thousands of torches. The elephant walked gently, raising its head as though proudly conscious of his master's dignity. It was a picture that one's eyes could scarcely believe real, that time of early morn making it seem a vision. The elephant, covered with yellow plush trappings, arrived at the Maharaja's gate. There were also the mounted courtiers surrounding the elephant, Afsar-ul-Mulk, the most in favor Aide-de-Camp, leading the elephant.
The Maharaja received and welcomed H.H. who entered the room, followed by his courtiers and the presentation of nazar, the old custom of Hyderabad, began. The Maharaja then spoke of Inayat with great enthusiasm, which aroused the Nizam's interest so that he at once expressed a desire to see him and hear him sing. When Inayat arrived in the Nizam's presence, the first meeting of glance created an understanding between them. The harmonious influence of Inayat was brought to bear on the Nizam, who continued to stand, while permitting Inayat to sit, for three hours, and he did not know whether he was sitting or standing, so absorbed was he in listening to Inayat sing and to all that Inayat had to say. The Nizam was often moved by the high ideal of music Inayat had and by the songs of devotion he sang, of symbolical philosophy. The Nizam, himself a poet and a musician, felt the call that came through Inayat in the realm of music. Inayat at the same time was impressed by the simplicity and kindness and by the unique understanding of human nature that the Nizam had. The Nizam sensed that the musical talent shown by Inayat was but an outer garb, covering some wonderful secret which he sought to fathom.
He asked Inayat to tell him the secret of the magical effect of his music. "Huzur," said Inayat, "as sound is the highest source of manifestation it is mysterious in itself. And whosoever has the knowledge of sound, he indeed knows the secret of the universe. My music is my thought and my thought is my emotion. The deeper I dive into the ocean of feeling, the more beautiful are the pearls I bring forth in the form of melodies. Thus my music creates feeling within me even before others feel it. My music is my religion, therefore worldly success can never be a fit price for it and my sole object in music is to achieve perfection."
A deep impression was made on the Nizam which nothing among his royal environment could remove; all night it remained with him and he could not rest for six hours till he sent for Inayat. He felt that a message had come to him in the realm of music and he wished to receive that message in private, away from his usual environment, dressed in simple garments, and sitting on the ground without either courtiers nor Aide-de-Camp in attendance. First Inayat performed his music and when he sang his own song, the meaning of which was that behind all this play of the universe, continually going on, there is one single power, perfect in its wisdom, which every moment is working through all, this moved the mystical soul of the Nizam to great ecstasy and he heaved a deep sigh on hearing it. Then he asked if he might know Inayat's object in life and whether there was any particular motive in his leaving his country to come there. Inayat replied: "Huzur, all outward motives which manifest through various people have behind them inward motives, and if one would think of all causation, one would find that there is one principle cause behind it all; and therefore it would not be wrong if I only said in answer to your question: I am sent here by God. What I have brought to you is not only music merely to entertain, but the appeal of harmony which unites souls in God." Some in the Court of the Nizam wondered and asked if some mansub (service) might not be given to Inayat. With unconcealed surprise the Nizam said: "Service, to whom? To Inayat?" As if to say: "What are you saying?" There seemed no apparent justification for that deep regard with which the Nizam treated young Inayat, except that inner recognition he had of him. After that he always spoke of Inayat to his courtiers in terms of great esteem and appreciation. The Nizam named Inayat "Tansen", after the eminent Tansen, one of the nine jewels of the great Akbar's Court; at the same time placing a magnificent emerald ring upon his finger. Inayat was further rewarded with a purse full of ashrafis and from that time he had access to the Nizam's Court.
This incident made Inayat known throughout the whole of India, as the Court of the Nizam was the foremost in the land. The nobility, the Rajas and Nawabs of Hyderabad State then began to invite Inayat to come to their houses, but his loyalty to the Nizam did not allow him to accept any invitation and so he sang to the Nizam solely.
This interview of the Nizam gave Inayat such a heart revealing idea of the act of God, something about which he could not talk to his friends during his stay in Hyderabad and he spoke of it to no one but to God; thus to see his desire granted in a brief time, without a single effort on his part, could give belief in God to the greatest unbeliever.
Pondering on this thought, he remembered a thought that he had given to the idea of meeting Nizam, once when nine years old he was looking at a map of India at school, and when he saw Hyderabad on the map, asked about the place and about its ruler of his friend who was sitting next to him; and one moment he had a vision after his speaking then to his friend, of being one day at the Court of the Nizam and in this interview he saw that fulfilled exactly, which he had then seen for one moment.
While here he made many acquaintances. He was the friend of Maulawi Abdul Qadir, the Subedar of Gulbarga and of Maulawi Yusuf Ali Subedar, who was his Murshid's friend. He made acquaintance with Raja Shivaraj Bahadur and his brother Raja Morsi Manoher; he became acquainted with Maulawi Sayyed Hassan Bilgrami, Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk, Nawab Maheboob Yar Jung, Nawab Wazir Jung, Nawab Sultan-ul-Mulk, Maulawi Habibuddin, Mr. Hydari and many others of the Hyderabad nobility. Maulana Hashimi was his great friend and ustad, who taught him the Persian and Arabic literature of the ancient Sufis and being a great mystic, recognized in Inayat what other friends of his: Ramyar and Hafiz Khan, though his great friends and admirers, were at a loss to understand. But Hashimi knew that something was being prepared in Inayat for the years that were in store for him, which was beyond words or imagination. Through his friendship with Ramyar he came in touch with many Parsis of Secunderabad, of whom many became his pupils in music. He saw Sirdar Dastur Hoshang, the high priest of the Parsis, the most saintly man of the most ancient religion of the Zoroastrians. Dastur was most impressed by what he heard from young Inayat and was most enchanted, not only by the music he brought to him but by the idea that Inayat, who was not of their own religion, rendered their sacred chants into ragas with the same enthusiasm and reverence as he would have his own.
His stay in Hyderabad made Inayat see and appreciate all the good to be found in the Muslim people, especially in manner and personality, also in their dignity and hospitality which is an outcome of the high teachings of the Prophet of Islam.
During his travels throughout India, it often happened that Inayat either saw in a dream or vision, or he felt, that his father was ill or unhappy and he went back home without any sign having been made from there and found his impression true.