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The Story of My Mystical Life

by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan

Many of my friends have often wondered about the life I have spent in the past and have asked what made me do the work I am doing at present. It is better to pause to explain these things which interest so many, so now I tell you all my experiences from childhood up to the present time.

Having been born into a family of musicians and poets of five generations as far as is known, I naturally had a tendency to music and poetry in my spirit. It was expressed rather more intensely in me, being prominent even in childhood to a degree which sometimes amazed, sometimes amused, sometimes surprised, sometimes pleased, but also sometimes frightened my parents. Among those acquainted with my parents were two friends, who were interested in the appearance of such a tendency even in childhood. They might say nice things or they might praise my parents, who were frightened because of the belief that such manifestations arose from an "evil eye" and were dangerous.

Harmony in music was recognized and manifested in one's play, in one's movements, in arranging toys in a harmonious manner, in placing things in a harmonious arrangement, in love of instruments, in being fond of learning words and using them in the proper place at the proper time, in everything expressed in poetry and in music.

When I was sent to school, with this tendency already developed, I took much more interest in poetry than in anything else. This one sided interest depressed the teachers of the town school very much, seeing that I had no care for any other subject. They thought that with such an independent nature I would never learn anything; that there must be something wrong with me. I was nearly always at the bottom of the form and I received most of the share of punishments which was meted out to the children in the school. But it was customary to change teachers periodically around, so it happened that an intelligent teacher took my class and it was a great surprise to him to find a child at the bottom of the form, and never able to answer questions because he did not do his lessons properly, could always come out first whenever there was some question about poetry, or something deeper of that kind! He could not understand how such a dull child could understand some things, and others not at all. This teacher spoke to my father about it; he was really very sorry to see how I neglected and paid no attention to any of the other subjects, to see that I took interest in only one. He was afraid that my imagination would grow abnormally with my being so absorbed in my imaginative faculties and that I would therefore be of no use in practical life. This propensity might lead into the wilderness, or perhaps into a studio, with brush and pen, or pencil and paper, but he was aware that the culture of the imagination never received a good reward in this world, understanding by that the obtaining of comfort and money and all the things man wishes for in this life. So, they thought, if I became a poet, what benefit would that be to the family? So everything was done to hinder the development of that faculty. But, as Sadi says, "Every soul is born for a certain purpose, and the light of that purpose is the candle of that soul." So it could not have been prevented, whether my parents wished to or if even the whole world tried to prevent it. It was an awakening faculty. It was coming to the surface.

At the age of seven, I was making up verses in my own way. Perhaps they meant nothing to anybody, a word here and there might be meaningless, but every line was arranged in rhythm and was rhymed.

When I was about nine years old, I composed a poem and went with it to my grandfather Maula Bakhsh. He was the Beethoven of his land at that time; the only musician of repute and talent. He was pleased with my poem and instead of having that faculty suppressed, he encouraged me by saying "yes, that is good, but it should be better." How that encouraged me!

Besides all this, I was very fond of listening to the stories that my father told me every night when he got home from his toil. I liked especially the stories that expressed something mystical, something occult, some symbolic myth. Then I would ask questions about them: "Why was it so? Why did it happen like this? Why was this good person in the story treated so badly?" Question after question. My patient father answered them all till at length his patience would give out and he would say: "Now, it will be good if you ask no more questions just now." But perhaps tomorrow he would tell me a better story, if only I would not ask so many questions. But that did not keep me quiet. I would keep on thinking about the stories when I was in bed, and as I could not dispute with my father, I disputed with myself.

Sometimes my reason gave me the answers, and sometimes it did not, because it was not fully developed. So I would fall asleep with that appetite and hunger to know the hidden secrets of Nature. During the day I could not enjoy myself with the boys of my age, because they could not satisfy that hunger that I felt when I went to bed. All they wanted to do was to play.

My father could not understand why I would not play with the things he brought. "Why won't he play with that kite, with those balls? We bring him Chinese hens and other birds and he won't play with them." Then he took me to watch the different wrestlers, the cockfights and various things of that kind. I would go once to see them and then go home without showing any of the gratitude and pleasure that other children of my age would show. My parents could not understand "the melancholy nature of this boy. Perhaps he will go mad."

I went on returning to the story of the day before yesterday: "Now why must that king have had to go through that sadness? Why did that queen act like this? What is the explanation of it all?" So I would go and ask someone. But many people do not want to give their brains any trouble, so they would say: "What have you to do with the king and the queen; they are long done with." Sometimes I found someone who gave me an answer and then I argued with him about it till he was disgusted too, saying "Run away and please do not come any more; this continual asking of questions and arguing about nothing, about things that do not matter."

All this time my progress in school was very slow. I failed every examination, but they promoted me all the same, because I was older. They did not like to have older boys among the young ones, so they were bound to promote me whether I passed the examinations or not!

Once I did not get home at dinner time at all and my parents were very cross, my father especially, saying "When he does come in, he will have a good whipping; he must have gone away somewhere with the boys to play, but it would be very unusual for him to go away to play!" Finally people were sent everywhere to look for me, perhaps I had been stolen; perhaps I had run away; what could have happened?

Then I got home, trembling, because I had no idea what time it was; it was so late at night. They asked me where I had been all the time and I told them that I went to hear a lecture on philosophy. My father, who was ready to whip me, was amused at this; and then he wondered if what I said could be true. My grandfather had been to that lecture, so I told my father he was there and had seen me there. This surprised my father very much, but it got me out of all my trouble.

My grandfather, Maula Bakhsh, according to the custom of renowned Eastern people, had his drawing room open to all visitors. So with all the great musicians, poets, artists, scientists, learned people and thinkers who came to visit him, the place was like a school. His drawing room was itself a school. Discussions on moral, logic, religion, music, poetry, were always going on. Nothing pleased me better than to be allowed to sit there in a corner and listen. They were all so surprised that a lad of this age should choose to sit there instead of playing with other children and their rubber balls. But my grandfather had great understanding and so he allowed me to sit there. I developed such insight that I spent most of my time every day in his drawing room listening to the discussions.

 Then one day a subject came up that pleased me most of all. A poet was talking of a rare book by Shigr Kavi, with only a few copies, called "Kavi Ratnakar", which explained human nature. The poet who wrote it received a reward of a lakh of rupees from the Mogul King of India. So I was very interested, wondering what sort of book this could be. Human nature was such an interesting subject. So when everybody had gone I spoke to my grandfather about it and asked him if I could see the book. So he said: "Yes, it is a book on human nature, but you cannot read the book until you have learned all the things you ought to learn first." So he would not let me see it now. However, I watched from where he took the book and when he had left the room and there was no one else there, I went to the place, took it from the shelf and out of the room. It was in hand-writing and very difficult for me to make out. It took such a long time even to read one line. But I was so interested that I thought: "If only I could ask someone what this means." There was only one patient man left and that was my grandfather, whose manuscript I had stolen! No one else was patient enough to tell me the meaning of a certain passage. So I had to be honest and confess what I had done. My grandfather went to the shelf to take up the book and it had gone! Who could he suspect? So I told him I was the one who took it and that I could not understand it. "How naughty of you! Why did you not ask me?" I said: "If I had asked you, you would not have given it to me." "You must never do that again," he said. So I said "Never." But in his mind he was pleased. He was such a wise and thoughtful man. He thought to himself "This is his hunger; I will give him what his soul wants." So he sent me to learn some verses from the poet called Shigr Kavi and brought other poems and verses from different poets who had written verses on religion and philosophy and God.

I was so interested in learning all these verses, but the difficulty was that I thought everybody else was interested in them too. So, taking my book with me, I would go up to a person sitting or sewing or even cooking, whatever they happened to be doing, and would say: "Listen what a nice poem this is." But they did not like it! They said: "Go off to your room and read it; why trouble us with it? " Many spoke like this. But some said: "Yes, read it out to me;" and then I would go on reading such a long time that they got tired and requested me to stop, saying: "Now that is enough. Now go off and read by yourself for a while."

All this helped me to get to know the foundation, the form of verses and this gave me the material means for expressing my own thoughts whenever they came to mind. At the same time as this poetic development was taking place, there was musical development, which my parents were sympathetic to, because my father was himself a musician. He thought that the prospects of reward for a poet were nil, while a musician had a good prospect and chance of getting on in life. He did not mind my becoming a musician and so music developed along with my poetry. So I sang and I composed my own songs, based on the rhymes and rhythms of different kinds of verses which I had previously read in some book, or had heard someone recite. I would compose another poem in the same rhythm and with the same rhyme. I did this too with songs sometimes.

This led to a very wonderful and also amusing occurrence. A certain musician came from Jaipur, who knew some of the songs which the Guru of the Maharajah had composed. He gave great praise to these songs before my grandfather and before the assembly. I was sitting there too. He said to them: "This is a new composition, a beautiful composition, which has been written by the Guru of the Maharajah." So he sang it. I heard the song once. Now the songs in India are always quite short — four or five lines — which can be said in a few seconds. Having heard it, I ran to my room and wrote another song —different words — but the same melody. Then I went back and said: "The song that you sang, I know it; yet you can say that it is a new composition." He looked at me in surprise and said: "You know it? " I said "Yes" and sang the same song with different words. He was very puzzled how it could be that the same song could be here also. "How is it possible for this boy to bring it in, in five minutes time!" The same sort of thing happened every day, for I did it to tease him. One day he said to me: "You are a robber. You are stealing all these songs." And I replied: "How can I steal them? You sang it only just now; yet I bring you my notebook with it in already!" He answered: "You are a robber. I am going to tell the Guru of Maharajah about it." This he did, but the Guru was very anxious to see me at once; he was very curious to know more about this.

Well, one day I travelled to Delhi with my relations and we came to Jaipur. There the Guru of the Maharajah wished to see me and so, when I went to him, the musician was sitting with him and said: "Sir, this is the one who has stolen your songs and now we have caught him!" The Guru laughed and said: "Is that what you are?" And I laughed too and said: "Yes, since I could not follow a mystic in the prescribed way, I could at least do so in my compositions." This pleased the Guru so much that he said: "You are welcome to take all my songs" and he listened with great pleasure to my singing all those songs.

My interest in music, poetry, philosophical and spiritual ideas kept me so close to my grandfather, that I came to see him not only as my grandfather, but as one worthy of the greatest respect, one whom I could idealize. Then, to my very great sorrow, the time came for him to pass away. From then, I felt I was lost in this world, for he was the friend I looked up to; he was the one who interested himself in me during my childhood, when everyone else disregarded me.

To help me to get over this loss, my father took me to Nepal, where he had to fulfill a certain duty to the Maharajah. Actually, it was just an excuse, for when I think about it now, the real reason was to take me to that place. It was meant that I should go to a place where the faculties, which were yet seedlings, might spring up into plants. The journey through the deserts, where there were lions and tigers and elephants, the travelling from mountain to mountain, from forest to forest, excited so great an interest in me that all the travelling through the world that I have done since has not brought an enjoyment to compare with that journey of nine days through the forests. Near to Nature, travelling from one place to another, when you cannot sleep for days because you are so tired — how very interesting it was!

After we reached the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, I was given a still better opportunity. Why? Because instead of being expected to go to school, I was given a very nice horse and I rode on it to the forest, the hills, the mountains; sometimes I went on foot and sat on the rocks and thought about the deep things, wherever my mind would take me, wherever my feelings might take me. Whenever they were not stopped, I gave free expression to my thoughts and feelings. The openness of Nature made a free way for me to everything; so much freedom in my soul that it could reach up to the sun, the mountains, the hills and the trees, where there is no one to talk to, no one to trouble you, as one sits quietly listening to the sounds as they fall on the ear; the sounds of the wind, the waterfalls — so that one becomes one with Nature. It was like this all the time. My father did not know what I was really doing. He only knew that I was very fond of going about. But I did not know what I was doing either! Only this, that there was something in me which was being revealed, something that was becoming free, going out of me and meeting with something which belonged to it. Sometimes I recited verses. Sometimes I wrote songs, sometimes I hummed to myself. Sometimes I was quiet, sometimes I shed tears, sometimes I smiled for no apparent reason, as if nature was saying something to me with so much sympathy. It is as if we were not two, but one. Sometimes I was looking at it, and then closed my eyes, and there came such a peace, such calmness, such stillness —a vision of wonder — I knew not what it was that came about, except that the sorrow and sadness and loneliness produced by the passing of my grandfather was forgotten. Then after a year I returned home.

Even if I had no religion or vision or knew the meaning of things before, not knowing God, I still knew there was God, though I did not know who He was. Even if I did not regard any object as sacred or worthy of reverence or worship, yet in my soul there was a tendency to revere something, to worship something. If I looked for some object to revere, then it was no other than my own mother, in whom I found pure love, unselfish love, unselfish service. So I came to think that if there was anything to worship or revere it was motherhood. The year of my absence developed that love in me, an emotional nature. The separation from my mother made me value motherhood still more; I could reflect: what is a child without a mother. There could not be anything in this world to compare with it. One can realize the love of God, God the merciful, unselfish and pure in "the mother".

This brought me closer to her and her to me and a sacred feeling, a reverence was now felt for her. This was a time during which the affections developed and the emotions were nourished. The time came to see that there were domestic responsibilities: the duties of a child toward its mother and father. So I began to think what I could do for them, to serve them, make them comfortable, to relieve them from their worries, anxieties and difficulties. However, I was still too much in a dream. While dreaming of the comfort of home, my eyes were not yet fully opened to my responsibilities. And my mother passed away in the meantime. Again I felt as if the world had become difficult again. Life became different. It was like turning a page in the book of life. There was no one in the world to look to any more. So, if one wants any comfort or sympathy you must find it in yourself. Who else is going to give it you?

In the East there is a custom to visit once a year the tombs and graves of great saints and sages. So, in order to forget my great sorrow of that time, I went to visit the grave of a great Sufi, the first real saint of the Sufi cult who visited India. His tomb is in Ajmer and is well known. Many mystics and faqirs, sages and philosophers go there in order to be helped by the sense of peace and calm which pervades the atmosphere of that place. I went there and sat a long time. After resting that night a voice came to me at dawn, the voice of a faqir passing from street to street, calling all people to come to the morning prayers. Awaking people by his song, he told people to wake up from the sleep of mortal life. "Be wide awake! look at life passing away! One after the other, the persons you have been interested in, pass on. You too are passing on; pause to reflect that everything that comes to you, you have to be parted from in the end. Awake to see the difference between the real and the unreal. Understand that you are here just for a while; understand your destiny. Awake before it is too late!"

This song touched me very deeply. I slept no more but rose and entered into a profound thought, which carried me from that place into the jungle. I went there in the early morning to see what there was to see and finally reached a place where a group of dervishes were gathered. This was a wonderful sight. These are such as follow the spiritual path rather than bodily life; they attach more importance to man's true destiny than to those who regard momentary things as all-important, the things, that is, which come and go. They interested me and I thought: "Now if there is anything worth resting my eyes on and for my mind to think about, I will surely find it here." So I sat down and waited to see what might be going on.

They were sitting as an assembly, all singing. Sometimes songs of devotion, sometimes about the truth of life, sometimes about the secret of the nature of God, sometimes of God as the Beloved, with the lover appealing to Him, sometimes about the transitory nature of this life, songs with beautiful words, songs with an impressive rhythm; and by the mercy of God my mind was prepared by this time to receive the impression of their rhythms on my mind. It had become tender; I was ready to be there and listen. What a deep impression it made! A great inclination came upon me to think deeply.

Then I went back home. So I asked my father: "What is God, really? " He answered with a Persian verse, which gives a picture of the secret of God:

The bubble [drop] can say to the sea,
  "thou art no different from me
     and I am no different from thee.
Though thou art the perfect,
  while I am the imperfect being,
   yet thou art not separate from me,
      nor I from thee."

This little hint of the relation between God and man was enough. I needed no more explanation. It was as if a seed had been sown in the fertile ground of my heart and it grew from that time. Whatever I saw ever after, whatever I heard, whatever I tasted, I kept thinking of the secret of my life.

As time went on, the day came when I knew I had to go forward and work out my life. But being independent by nature, I did not wish to settle in the city in which I was living, although here my relatives had influence and could help me. But if I accepted that, I would be leaning on them, whereas I had decided I had to work out my own life. So, leaving home, I fared forth. First of all I went to Madras to display and perform my music. The people were not only interested, but they became my great friends. They recognized that in my professional life I was not just someone waiting to make money, but that I sought friendship. The public of Madras gave me decorations and honors and this encouraged me to go on with my profession, for this was its beginning.

 However, I should explain that at that time an artist's life, even in India, was not one to be envied. Coming from the comforts of home, without anxiety or responsibility and then to go forth into the world and meet hardheaded people who had no interest in music and could not understand mine! The deeper you delve into music, the fewer are the people who can appreciate it.

In India there was no musical education on the lines in which it is given in the Western world. The only place to be for a musician was in the palaces of Maharajahs or Nawabs. Nowhere else. But the Maharajahs and Nawabs, who could be interested in deep music and deep philosophy, were only interested in dollars or cricket or polo. There was very little knowledge of music in them. So it is easy to see how it was, with no place to appear before the public and no place in the palaces! Having an independent nature, it became a great difficulty for me to contend against the struggles of life. I thought that if I would make a very great effort and if I made less demands on life, I might once gain a reward from a Rajah, which would be a means of maintenance for a long time and I would not want to seek out another until that opening had finished. Then I would go to another Rajah, when I had used up my last penny. Now, I had a great desire to come before the most prominent Rajah, the Nizam of Hyderabad and be presented to him. So I went to Hyderabad and I made known that I wished to speak to the Nizam and perform my music before him. The reply was: "If you wanted to see God, we could say 'Yes, that is possible', but to see the Nizam, no, that is not possible." Some of the people to whom I mentioned it, just said: "No doubt, you are crazy. So many people talented in art and music come and stay around for years and years, till they have spent all their money; yet, they are all disappointed. It is the most difficult thing in the world to obtain a presentation before the Nizam."

So, after two or three people had all said the same thing, I did not ask any others. But my determination and the force of my desire were such, that I felt I must either succeed or die. Nothing else could please me or satisfy me. So I went home and sat down quietly to tell Him, when there was no one around to listen. I felt I could not tell anyone else about it.

So through the nights I sat down with my feelings attached to heavenly things and to God and closed my eyes. At that time I did not yet know what meditation or concentration was, so I just sat quiet and thought of Him, Who is the Creator, the Sustainer, the One who grants all desires. As Christ had said: "If you desire from your heavenly Father, pray for it. He will not give you just a stone." After a few days there came a surprise. As Sadi says: "It happened: the Helper is always busy helping; my worry about my affairs is a part of my disease. It is the disease of life not to help worrying; yet at the same time He is always the one Who is ever busy preparing for what the worshipper wants, for what I sought."

So one day I went to visit a friend and he said: "Will you come into my carriage?" and I answered: "Yes." So he took me along as he went to visit some courtier who was with the Nizam at that time. I was introduced, but I was afraid to mention the desire in my heart. I had spoken to God and I would not speak to anyone else.

This man looked at me and asked me: "How long have you been here? " I replied: "For six months." So he said: "You have been here six months and we knew nothing about it? You should have had an introduction to our king." So I said: "You are very kind, but I am not worthy." However, he went to visit the Prime Minister at his house and a meeting was arranged at once. Now the Nizam had been very displeased with the Prime Minister over a certain matter and so it appeared that he might regain favor if I could speak to the king about music and poetry. For three years, the Nizam had kept aloof. Now they think in the East, that if a stranger comes to a house, he may be a bringer of luck, so when the Prime Minister saw me, he thought: "Perhaps he may be the bringer of luck; he must not go away, but he should sit with me in the palace." So the same evening I was introduced to the Nizam and he was so pleased with my performance that he gave me a post.

I never met a more modest man. He was a mystic, a poet and a musician himself. He took off his precious emerald ring, placing it on my finger, bowing his head to express by this gesture that he considered himself unworthy. Such a reward would be a matter for very great pride. He named me "Tansen", which is a term expressive of "chief singer". Great as this was, there was still more in store. The honor itself was nothing; it gave no satisfaction, because everything seems great only before we attain it. Once we receive it, its greatness goes away! It is only when we have not got an honor that we seek and desire it. So it was nothing to me to receive this honor, because I had discovered what my silence had achieved. I had discovered what God can do; I had discovered the source working without our knowledge, always ready to help us.

So I gained more faith; and I devoted myself more and more to my concentration. The reward I had received did not satisfy me, but it made me more and more inclined to go further in the pursuit of God. After some days I had an experience, a feeling that I heard a word in the midst of the night, saying: "God is great" and I arose and engaged myself in meditation.

I spoke of this to a friend, saying: "What is the meaning of this? I cannot understand it." The answer was: "The meaning of this experience is that you are meant to go further along this line." I replied: "Tell me what I should do." He said: "You can go further by the help of some teacher. Direct communion with God is a good thing, but if that had been the only thing necessary, Christ would not have come on earth. No prophet or teacher would ever have come to waken mankind. Therefore, when you are inclined to have communion with God, you need to have someone to guide you on this path." So I thought to myself: "If it is necessary to be guided, then I should like to be guided."

Now in the course of my meditations I had seen a face which attracted me very much. It was always the same face that I saw. It was one I had never seen in actual life, a face gleaming with beauty, so august a presence, with so much attraction. But I felt very reticent, I could not tell anyone the things I had experienced. Though I hesitated to tell anyone else, yet I did tell this friend, who said: "I told you, you ought to become a pupil of someone, who will direct you into all those mysteries." But whose pupil I should become, how could I know? However, I went to visit saints and sages and faqirs and dervishes and people who were on this path. Never could I decide whose pupil I should become, till one day I visited a friend in Hyderabad and explained my condition to him. While in his house, it so happened that a friend walked in who had the very same face I saw in my vision! He had such a great calm and was so quiet of demeanor with great magnetism and psychic power around him. He came in and sat down and I was introduced to him. I was sure it was the same face that I had seen!

He asked his friend: "Who is this young man?" and was told: "He is a musician; a young man very anxious to walk along the spiritual path." At once the sage said: "I will be very glad to initiate him" and he did so there and then. His teaching, his glance of kindness, his mere contact gave me a reward incomparable with all the rewards and decorations that I had ever had from Rajahs and Maharajahs. It was like lead turning into gold. My heart was turned from its darkness and ignorance into light. Of course, he had to have great patience with me, as also a pupil in the East has always to have. For a long time I just went to him and sat in his presence and felt his atmosphere and was blessed by it. He gave me no teaching or any practices; no exercises, no theories, no doctrines. Nothing. All I did was to go to him every day and sit there before him. I gave up this mind of mine, that was always eager to dispute and discuss things intelligently, with logic and reason. My mind became quieter. I sat spellbound in the presence of this great teacher. I went to him with childlike simplicity. In his presence I unlearned all I had learned before. I became perfectly passive and was prepared to be taught whatever he chose to teach me.

In all my life I had never seen such simplicity, reality, goodness or greatness as this teacher had; there was none to whom I could compare him. So my devotion became greater and greater day by day that I spent in his presence. I found around him an atmosphere which I now breathed; there was something I took from him which raised me up and made me feel a king! The world itself began to look so different from what it had ever seemed before, until, when I looked at beauty, I could say: "you cannot tempt me"; when I looked at wealth I could say: "no, you are not very much to me"; and when I looked on great property I could say: "no". When I looked upon a poor person I could think: "you are no less than I"; when I looked on the weak, the feeble, the humble, I could think: "I feel you are no less than I," and so when before a rich person, a prince, some great personage, I could still think: "I am no less than you are." Within my heart there was produced that kind of pride, that kind of humility. The ambition for making a name for myself, a desire to make money, a desire to bow before some eminent man, nothing remained! The rich man does not differ from anyone else, so I did not bow my head before any proud head, it will only bow before the feeble, the poor, the venerable spiritual beings, never to wealth or prosperity anymore.

From that time this sage made me a king. The light and life I received from him was greater than any teachings. Then one day he began to teach me and explain some doctrines to me. When I took out my pencil and notebook, he stopped, and would not say a single word more. He knew by what I did that I was going to him only as a student. To do that the proper place is an academy! What one can receive from the silent presence of the teacher, from his kind glance, is not study. His heart was touched by my humility, my humbleness, the respect I paid him, my devotion towards him. As I look back, I can see that all the bliss I have today comes from that time. Later, when he had passed away, his physical form had disappeared, but his spirit can never disappear. The murshid and the mureed, the teacher and pupil, become one when there is devotion and understanding. There is no love, there is no true understanding, until it comes when the two have become one. When there is no understanding, we are still two, however near we may be related or closely associated. But between us there was that understanding, we were made one; so today I still realize that I am not far from my teacher, that my teacher is not very far from me.

After this time my life underwent a still greater test. I was then leading a life of asceticism. I could not continue to appear before the Rajah of the palace nor could I appear before the public as an ascetic. I therefore adopted the guise of a musician, keeping up the external life of my profession, while in my inner life, my life at home, I followed the life of an ascetic. The great contrast between the two lives — outwardly the one, inwardly the other — was much more difficult to carry through, than if I lived the outward life of an ascetic. This was because in such a case I would receive everything I needed — food, comforts, home. In the East they give an ascetic everything he needs.

When one is not living the outward life of an ascetic, one has to accept worldly responsibilities, just like any ordinary person. At the same time one must sleep on the ground on the skin of a deer and spend the nights in concentration and meditation. I continued all this without considering for one moment whether there would be any profit to me in it all; what would it profit me? What would I gain from it? Sometimes Satan would come to me, for instance, to tempt me to take some sleep and fulfill the desire of self. He would come during the night and say: "why do you keep awake? Do you not see that the world is asleep? Why spend your time on something no one else does? What will it profit you? Have you got all that the world is in need of? You are having to make the struggle for existence the same as other people have." But my answer was always: "you are a Satan — the ego. It is you who keeps all these people asleep. No, I will not sleep. I will fight against you. If I gain nothing for myself, at least I will have conquered you."

Years of this were my preparation for the inner injunction from God, as a fulfillment of the years of devotion, when I left home —my native land — to give the Message of Truth to the Western world.

God bless you.

Leeds, 10th June 1919
Reported by Dr. O.C. Gruner

checked 18-Jan-2016