Now Babur set his eyes on India. At that time the northern India was ruled by Ibrahim Lodi, and those who detested him, invited Babur to conquer Delhi. Here again, he faced failures. In 1524 when his army was routed by Lodi, Babur responded by burning the entire city of Lahore for two days, killing scores of innocent people and causing terrible destruction. Two years later during the first battle of Panipat, Babur, equipped with artillery and cannons that were unknown to the Indian army then, defeated Lodi. Later he also defeated Rana Sangha of Mewar, again with his artillery that had no match, and Babur now became the undisputed Lord of Northern India.
One would imagine he now had enough reasons to be happy. But ironically, now he began to drink, host wine parties and take opium and other narcotics. And he wasn’t happy. Historian Abraham Eraly reveals that even amidst this success in India he regretted that he couldn’t conquer Samarkand. His heart ached for what he failed to get elsewhere.
And is it difficult to know why he wasn’t happy? The Greek philosopher Epictetus answered it, “Happiness and personal fulfillment are the natural consequences of doing the right thing”
While Babur prided himself as a holy warrior of Islam, during this period India saw the emergence of Guru Nank, the founder of Sikh religion who taught religious harmony. In stark contrast to Babur’s Jihad, India saw Vaishnavism branch of Hinduism take roots. And the humble Vaishnava saints taught the message of peace and love of God. Babur developed excellent war strategies but wasn’t happy. He was at last doing things right, and that gave him victories, but was he doing the right things?
Babur had a chance to be a saint; he simply had to follow his calling. He could have been a messenger of peace and love, but he lost it. Babur could have, like the other saints, pursued his inner quest, yet he chose to be an agent of hate and violence. And what an irony, while he conquered India, he missed the Indian spirituality, and terribly lost his internal war. His ambition and determination led him to great external success, but at what cost? The most influential African American social reformer of the eighteenth century, Fredrick Douglas made a beautiful appeal to our conscience, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence”
We are constantly faced with distractions and temptations, and it’s not easy to follow our inner calling. Especially when the soft inner voice implores us to be an agent of positivity, but our raging mind and senses, impelled by the ego, direct us to do the wrong things. Paradoxical as it may sound, conscience is that still, small voice that is sometimes too loud for our comfort. Yet if we show courage and determination to follow the right but difficult path, we may be pleasantly surprised as we reach a beautiful destination. The right choices always give right results.
The truth is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it. While Babur died long before he was buried, we could choose to live and love.