On the Russian Prince, My “Uncle” Amir Timur, and Mice


Amir Timur aka “Tamerlane”

“Truth is safety” – Tamerlane

***

This will be another pretty incoherent post, in which I will try to organize my thoughts, dreams, and events into a system. At any rate, please don’t take it too seriously or to heart. Thank you!

When I wrote that last but one post, “In the Greater Scheme of Things”, I was hoping to put the topic to rest. Was really looking forward to it.

And I said to myself, “heck, now that at least it’s clearer in my own mind, let me delete the post, and any discussions and public posts I made about it.”

You know, out of sight, out of mind.

But something else happened, which I will discuss in the second part of this post. Which is why I’d still like to talk a bit more about the man, the mystery guest, I brought up in “The Greater Scheme of Things.”

This time, let’s give him another code name. How about “The Russian Prince?” Or RP for short.

RP was a Russian aristocrat who was born in Saint Petersburg when it was still the capital of the Russian Empire. In 1919, he had to flee the communist regime. RP ended up spending the better half of his life in Paris, where he died at the age of 80. (I would lie to you if I said I know nothing about it.)

Now, RP’s memoirs remained unpublished until fairly recently. They’re now available in Russian on the Internet. People have different preferences. Some are fascinated by the part of his life’s account where he writes about the crime he had committed. Others are curious about his supposed bi-sexuality.

As for me, the most intriguing part of his Paris memoirs is the part that has to do with the Maharaja of Alwar. Hence…

The Russian Prince and the Indian Maharaja

When RP was living in Paris, he was a frequent guest at all sorts of public events. At one of those events, he made an acquaintance of a certain Indian Prince, the Maharaja of Alwar. Both men seemed to be mutually intrigued with one another at first sight.

The following day, the Maharaja invited RP to lunch. Our Prince arrived at the restaurant at 1 pm in the afternoon, and left it at 6 pm. During those five hours, he withstood what he referred to as “a real exam.” For some mysterious reason, the Indian royalty wanted to know, in detail, RP’s stance on politics, religion, faith, God, love, friendship, and other such affairs.

Unusual people always fascinated RP. That was one of the reasons he had gotten in trouble in Russia – over his connection to a very eccentric person. At the same time, the “French” Maharaja had a dark side, too. He loved speed and race cars. He also quite enjoyed scaring and torturing people, both mentally and physically.

Once he took RP to the top of the Eiffel Tower where he pushed our Prince and held him over the railing by force. The Maharaja knew that RP was scared of heights and could get dizzy easily. He laughed and closely watched RP’s reaction.

Enough was enough, and RP started to avoid the Maharaja. Then the former began stalking him. He was calling RP’s mother, followed him to London, then to Rome.. but RP managed to escape contact for quite some time. Then there was a long gap in their unusual friendship.

Suddenly, one day, the Indian Prince called and invited RP to visit his castle in Scotland. RP had been to Scotland only once, during his Oxford years, and the country appealed to him. Curiosity won over caution, and he decided to go.

Maharaja (almost) kidnaps RP

Here I will try to translate RP’s diary into English, so that you get a sense of what happened there.

[Upon my arrival in Scotland,] the Maharaja welcomed me with great warms and wouldn’t let go of me even for a minute. We ate in his part of the house. In the afternoon, we would go salmon-fishing. Behind the blue net, which he wrapped around his head as a veil to ward off mosquitos, the Maharaja looked equally comical and terrifying. In the evenings we had lengthy conversation by the fireplace, and he wouldn’t bring up India ever again.

Soon, however, a new face entered the scene. A monk who had just arrived from India. It was a young man, very well-educated and fluent in both English and French. I was profoundly impressed by his eyes. Piercing and overbearing, they made me feel uneasy right away.  His hands were thin, slender and well-kept like those of a woman.

He made it his habit to visit me in the evenings and spend hours talking about faith and philosophy. When he would leave – my host would come in his stead and ask me what the strange monk had been telling me. As the result, I grew insomniac and was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Finally, one night, after the monk left, Maharaja’s assistant (whom I knew well and considered a friend) broke the news to me:

-You’d better leave this God damn place as soon as you can, he said. – The Maharaja has set up a trap for you. Run for you life before it’s too late.

I wanted to say something against it, but he continued:

-If you wait just a bit longer, they’ll have it their way. You won’t even notice that you’ve submitted to their will. Then they will be able to do with you whatever they want. They want to take you to India.

-To India? But for what?

My friend-assistant did not respond.

His words made it painfully obvious that I had gotten under their influence. He was right: I didn’t control myself or my mind anymore. Maharaja’s and the monk’s eyes followed me wherever I went. And they reminded me of a similar pair of eyes from the past… I had to get out of here and break free from their hypnosis.

My friend-assistant did mention that he was risking his life warning me about it. But when he left, I wondered if he was also just that – one of Maharaja’s spies? I freaked out completely, for I realized that I was alone there and could be held powerless hostage at any moment. I thought of everyone who was dear to me: my mother, my wife, my daughter, my friends and everyone else I had left behind, so foolishly, only to get into this mousetrap. The only wish I had then was to get out of there and to see my friends and relatives. I fell to my knees and, with simple words coming straight from my heart, I asked the Almighty to come to my rescue.

I must have prayed myself to sleep, for the following morning I woke up by my bedside, completely dressed. I probably slept for just a few hours, but I woke up feeling strong and full of determination. At the same time, I didn’t want to leave before making the Maharaja tell me the whole truth. I really wanted to know why he needed me to go with him to India. That very evening, I confronted him with a candid question, asking him what plans he had in regards to me.

The Maharaja smiled mysteriously.

-What plans do I have, my dear? Let me begin by saying that you’re not cut out for the kind of life that you are leading. I hinted to this so many times before. You need solitude and meditation. In silence and away from people, you will be able to focus and grow spiritually. You possess gifts that you have no idea about, but I do. You are a chosen one. I’d like to introduce you to my guru. He lives in the mountains. He asked me to bring you to him, so that he can teach you for ten years and make you a yogi.

-It’s nothing like what you’re saying, I objected. – I’m not at all cut out for meditating for ten years by your guru’s side. I love life, my family and my friends. And by nature, I like to be on the move and hate it when I there’s no one to keep me company.

The Maharaja ignored everything I said and continued:

-When I was leaving for Europe in 1921, my teacher told me:”You will meet a person, who will follow you and will become my disciple, and afterwards a yogi.” He described the man to me, and you fit the description precisely. When I saw your portrait at that English woman’s place, I met you through her and recognized you immediately. For a person like you, nothing worldly should exist. You have to come with me and you will come with me.

I didn’t say anything and suddenly asked him:

-Do you believe in God?

His eyes sparkled.

-I do, he said unemotionally.

-If so, let us entrust ourselves to Lord and may His will be done.

I got up and went to see the assistant who’d been helping me, because I was determined to leave the following day.

My friend-assistant shrugged:

-You don’t know Maharaja well. He won’t let you leave.

“We’ll see,” I thought to myself.

The following morning, I packed my luggage and called a cab to go to the station. The Maharaja learned about it and cancelled my order. But I was appalled at the idea of having to flee in secret like a thief, without saying goodbye to my host. I crossed myself and went downstairs to talk to him. He was sitting in a chair, wearing a robe and reading a newspaper.

-I came to say goodbye and thank you for being my host, – said I. – And I will be very grateful to you if you drive me to the station. Otherwise I’m going to miss my train.

Without talking to me or looking at me, the Maharaja got up and rang a bell. He ordered the assistant to get the car ready for me. The young monk and my fiend-assistant standing by the door gasped as they watched me get into the car and leave for the station. I got there without any trouble, but felt completely safe only when my train started to move.

***

Well, I know, I’m turning this into a mini-book, but.. It’s been three years that thoughts about RP have been occupying my mind, stalking me in my dreams. I finally learned everything I could have possibly learned about him.

The other night, I said to the Higher Force:

“I know you want me to let go of RP and live my own life. But I still can’t but wonder.. Why me? Why I’m the one who is bumping into this information and having these dreams?”

As I fell asleep, I had this dream.

Amir Timur, my “uncle”

The world is largely divided on the subject of what to make of Tamerlane, one of the greatest military strategists of the past. Some call him a genius, others consider him a butcherer. It depends on who you talk to, I guess.

Amir Timur also known as “Tamerlane” lived in the 14th century, basically during the Dark Ages, when conquests and family killings were a normal thing. He had a soft side, though, and could be generous to scholars and people of great wisdom.

In my dream, I found myself sitting in a tall tower, by the window. I was told that the man who was sitting next to me was my “uncle”, Timur Tamerlane. And I was his favorite nephew. I was a 15-something-year-old boy.

My “uncle” was apparently unimpressed by my lack of military ambition. I was soft-spoken and, for whatever bizarre reason, very fond of mice.

On an occasion, King Timur gave me a small dagger and told me that perhaps, one day, I would need to protect my life in person. Later in the dream, the river of time flowed fast, I remember using it in a kind of incoherent battle (I wonder if painful memories get corrupt or get deleted from archives.)

But what truly surprised me was that, once, he returned from yet another conquest and brought me a bag full of living mice – because I really liked them, as I said earlier.

I don’t remember much more.

In 1395 Tamerlane reached the frontier of Ryazan in Russia and advanced towards Moscow. Great Prince Vasily I of Moscow went with an army to Kolomna and halted at the banks of the Oka River. The clergy brought the famed Theotokos of Vladimir icon from Vladimir to Moscow. Along the way people prayed kneeling: “O Mother of God, save the land of Russia!” Suddenly, Tamerlane’s armies retreated. In memory of this miraculous deliverance of the Russian Land from Tamerlane on August 26, an all-Russian celebration was established.

Long after Tamerlane’s death, Russian anthropologist Gerasimov examined his tomb. Upon starting the exhumation, they found a casket that read “Whomsoever opens my tomb shall unleash an invader more terrible than I.” It was in the year 1941, and three days later Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the largest military invasion of all time, upon the Soviet Union.

***

When I woke up, I googled “the nephew”. Tamerlane’s indeed had a nephew that gets mentioned along his name quite a few times. The name of his sister’s son was Jahan Shah Mirza.

The last name Mirza rang a dangerous bell, and the danger is that the story is far from over. Mirza was the ancestral name of RP’s family.

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