It is not true that destiny does not change; as we change our plans so the
Creator changes His plans also.
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
There is an Arabic saying, ‘If you wish to know God, you must know yourself’.
How little man knows while he is in the intoxication of individualism! He
thinks, ‘I am a separate being; you are another; there is no connection between
you and me, and we all have our own joys and free will’. Did man but know it,
his life is dependent not only on the objects and things that keep the body
alive, but also on the activity of a thousand minds in a day. Every time a man
laughs it is the reflection of his mind, controlled by the power of another
person’s mind. Why does he feel sometimes sad, sometimes glad, sometimes
cheerful, sometimes enthusiastic, sometimes tired without reason, sometimes
depressed and exhausted? We meet so many minds throughout the day and night
which are reflected in our own mind; and so the thoughts are changed, seemingly
without reason, yet the whole activity of life depends on these thoughts and is
changed according to them.
It is very interesting to find that if a man has formed an opinion about a
certain thing or person and after a time there has been everything to disprove
that opinion, he will still hold on to his impression and will not like to
change his opinion, because of these lines deeply impressed on his mind. How
true is what the mystic says, that the true ego of man is his mind! And it is
still more amusing to find that after spending his life under the influence of
the deep impressions on his mind man still boasts of what he calls his free
In spite of all his limitation, a wonderful power is hidden in man’s soul.
What makes man helpless is ignorance of his free will. Free will is the mighty
power, the God-power, hidden in man. And it is ignorance which keeps man from
his divine heritage.
The whole secret of esotericism lies in controlling the mind, and in working
with it as an artist would work on a canvas producing whatever he likes. When we
are able to produce on the canvas of our heart all that we wish, and to erase
all we wish, then we arrive at that mastery for which our soul craves. We
fulfill the purpose for which we are here. Then we become the masters of our
destiny. It is difficult, but that is the object that we pursue in life.
One can help others to understand, but one cannot make them understand. If
someone thinks he is a chair or a table, he will remain such, but if he thinks
he is a living being, he will feel that action is the object of life, that
everything adjusts itself to that, and that every part is made for a purpose, as
for instance the parts of a table or a chair. If we think of life and the whole
world and see into it deeply, we shall find that we live and move and have our
being for a certain purpose. A person may say it is the idea of a fatalist that
everything must go through to its destiny. It is not the idea of a fatalist; it
is the idea of a seer and of a mystic. The fatalist makes human beings out as
chairs and tables; the mystic makes even chairs and tables living beings.
If God gave man free will and so refused to make his decisions for him, no
other individual has a right to butt in and attempt to force a man’s decisions.
So you can only help a person within the scope of his own power. I mean that
your capacity to help is limited by his ability to help himself. And that must
be the tragedy of God.