§ 24. Aurangzib keeps his sons at a distance.

Muhammad Azam Shah, who was governor of Gujrat, petitioned thus,—“On account of the length of my illness, which was a quartan fever for a long time—though the disease has been totally removed for more than two months, I am still so weak that I cannot utter words. I pray for a transfer from this province to the Emperor's presence, so that at all events I may, after attaining the blessing of kissing the Emperor's feet, give up my weak life.”

The Emperor wrote, “May the True Protector watch over this fruit of my heart [=son] in all conditions! To allow you to travel and come to me in this state of weakness, would not be free from cruelty. (Verse)

He considers remembrance as higher than interview,
Thank God! my eyes are not ungrateful.

This weak old man and this shrunken helpless creature [Aurangzib] is afflicted with a hundred maladies besides anxiety [lit., headache], but he has made patience his habit. (Verse)

In the opinion of those who are ready for death,
Every unseasonable trouble sent by Fate appears as a suitable favour.
I have no greed for disease, otherwise
Every disease allotted to me is a medicine from the Invisible.

While talking with my wicked and reprehensible passions, I say that with the exception of the heart, which is precious and worth protecting, the world and everything in it deserve to be left behind. Why have you bound [yourself] to the world and temporal things? Your heart is to be taken [with you to the next world], and the World and Time will have to be given up. (Verse)

Every [earthly] thing which you elevate will throw you down into the dust.
Except the flow of tears, which is capable of elevating you [to heaven].”

Text.–MS. N. 10a 5–10b 11.

Notes.–In April, 1693, Prince Azam at Cuddapah in Madras had a long and severe attack of dropsy, after which he was conveyed to the Court by order of the Emperor, arriving there on 22nd October, 1693, (M.A. 353, 361–363; Khafi Khan, ii. 434). But he was not then governor of Gujrat. Khafi Khan gives the following account of an application made by the prince in 1705 to come from Gujrat and visit his father:—

“Prince Muhammad Azam, in Gujrat, on hearing of his father's illness, applied for permission to come to Court on the plea of the air and water of that province not being congenial to him. The Emperor was displeased and sent him a letter to this effect:–‘I, too, had sent a similar petition to my father Shah Jahan during his illness [at the close of his reign], and he had replied to it by saying that the air of every place is agreeable to men except the wind of evil passions!’” (ii. 541). In the end the Emperor permitted Azam to come to Court, and he arrived there on 25th March, 1706. (M.A. 512).