‘Therefore—since you have asked me for it—my advice to you is: stop your breathing exercises.’
Our conversation with the dervish continued for quite a long time. Before we left I had managed to talk over with the prince what we should do next, and so, after thanking the dervish, I told him that we proposed staying another day or two in the neighbourhood, and asked whether he would allow us to converse with him once more. He consented and even said that if we wished we could come to see him the following evening after dinner.
We stayed not two days, as we intended, but a whole week, and every evening we all went to this dervish and conversed with him, and afterwards, until late each night, Sari-Ogli and I repeated to our comrades everything that had been said.
The last time we went to the dervish, to thank him and take our leave, Ekim Bey, to our great surprise, suddenly turned to him and, in a humble voice unusual for him, said in Persian:
‘Good Father! During these days I have become convinced with the whole of my being that you . . ‘
Interrupting himself at this point, he hurriedly asked Sari-Ogli and me not to hinder him from speaking for himself and to correct him only when the expressions he used had a special meaning in the local dialect which might change the sense of what he was saying. Then he continued: ‘. . . that you are the very man I have instinctively been searching for, a man to whom I could wholly entrust the guidance of my inner world, in order to regulate and neutralize the struggle which has recently arisen in me between two totally opposite strivings. On the other hand, numerous life circumstances over which I have no control do not permit me to live here, somewhere near you, so that whenever necessary I could come and reverently hear your directions and counsels as to how I should live, in order to put an end to this tormenting inner struggle and to prepare myself to acquire the being worthy of man.
‘That is why I beg you, if it is possible, not to refuse to give me now a few brief indications and guiding principles of life, appropriate to a man of my age.’