Noor-un-Nisa (Nora) Inayat Khan:
Memories My Past Lifetime

By E. Nora H. Amrani
No part of this article may be copied or reproduced
without my written permission.


Noor-un-Nisa (Nora) Inayat Khan was one of the four children born to Indian-born Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan and American-born Ora Ray Baker. Hazrat was a spiritual leader and writer of Sufism who brought his teachings to the West. Noor (whose name means "Light of Womanhood") was born in Moscow. She was a writer, musician and channel, trained in Sufism by her father, who volunteered for the WRAF and later joined the SOE, which infiltrated agents into Enemy Occupied Territory during WWII. She was a radio operator known as Madeleine and Roland in Paris alerting the troops through her broadcasts about Nazi movements. Almost immediately after taking this job, the poste-Madeleine became the most important one in France. Noor acted as an agent for four months for the British and French resistance organizations. She was betrayed and arrested, held at Gestapo Headquarters in Paris and then sent to Germany where she was kept in chains for most of the time and barely spoke for a year. She refused to give in to the Nazis. On September 12, 1944, she was then sent to Dachau where, on the next day, she was shot - murdered. (Interesting that her father, Inayat Khan, left India for the Western world on September 13, in 1910. In Noor's next life, my current one, my birthday is the 13th.) After her death she was awarded the George Cross, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Croix de Guerre (with Gold Star). The last thing she said before she died was 'liberte'. After her death, a Nazi who oversaw her and got to know her during her imprisonment shared his feelings about Noor: "...She was so alive I cannot believe she is no more. Because of her, I believe in immortality..." [Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan, 1952. (the year I was born into this lifetime)

People always wonder who they were in a past life and I was no exception. But, my past lifetimes began showing themselves to me since I was very young; I had flashes of these lives, remembered who I was, what I was interested in, who my family was. When I'd travel memories would bubble up. When I saw books of ancient history I'd exclaim, "I know him!" Or, "Daddy!", or, "That's me!" I have recalled quite a number of my past lifetimes and I'm still finding out about my others. The ones I have remembered I went went back into with my own meditations or with therapists and spiritual counselors (including my spiritual mentors), in order to process: to see what was left from those lifetimes I still needed to heal or understand, or what gifts from those times I could bring forth now.

My first memories of being alive during WWII appeared suddenly one night when I was pregnant in 1979. There was a violent storm outside and thunder was booming loudly. I woke up from deep sleep screaming about the bombs dropping. I ran into the closet and locked myself in. My husband chased after me asking what was wrong. I told him the Nazis were here, it was war, and the bombs were dropping and I had to take cover. I was fully awake and talking but I was in another time zone. I was back in WWII and I couldn't get my husband to understand the danger. I was terrified, crouching in the closet, while my husband kept telling me that it was a storm, not bombs. I don't know how long that went on - at least for a half hour to an hour - before I came back to the present time and thought about what just happened to me. That came as a real shock to me because previously to this, the only other hints I ever had about living during that time period was when I was on my honeymoon in northern Europe and had anxiety about using a shower. It looked like something in a concentration camp. I was so nervous about being in there that I would not close the door so fresh air would enter. When I was thirteen, my family traveled to Germany during our vacation. We went to Munich and Frankfort, and travelled the countryside. I felt like it was an out of body experience - I didn't like it, it felt so weird to me. But, even so, I didn't think I had lived during WWII in Europe. After that night of reliving the bombings, there was no denying I had. It was a total flashback.

A few years ago I was naturally drawn to Sufism and India (and they remain great loves of mine). The music and clothing were also getting to me big time. There were the same little pangs of a memory there for me to investigate. I was given the hint by spirit to check it out for myself - they didn't want to tell me much at all. They wanted to wait until I remembered some key points of a particular lifetime on my own. Feeling a little frustrated but also like just hearing those comments from spirit meant I was on the right track, I continued to explore my memories and notice to where I was being drawn by them.

I was always interested in spirituality, religion, culture and poetry - Rumi's, for one. I was told by experts on Rumi and Hafiz that my poetry reminded them of those Sufi artists. It seems I also have a knack for picking the right English words for translations when I don't even know Persian now! So, I did some reading and some memories began popping up, odd little occurrences become more frequent. A number of people told me they saw me in my past lifetime and described me. Others said they remembered me! I met people whose names alone were significant for me.

When I was thirteen years old my family went to Paris. I demanded to have a photo taken of me standing in front of the the time I didn't know why I had to do that. Paris was old hat for me, too. I was having memories of concentration camps, of WWII, playing the harp, haunted by a particular male image, and I had to wear gold wings around my neck. My name was driving me crazy - I couldn't figure out how I should be spelling it anymore. I would fluctuate from Nora to Noh-Ra and yet loved being called Noor. Everything became centered around Sufism, the war and my past lifetime and more and more of that tingling feeling signaled to me that breakthrough day was coming soon.

I shared my feelings with a long-distance friend, who delicately hinted that I might be interested in reading a book on Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan. What I was telling her reminded her a lot of Noor. At that point I had no inkling who she was talking about. But the mere mention of the name struck a chord with me and I jumped at it. [Thanks, Peggy!]

I ordered the book Noor-un-nisa Inayat Khan: Madeleine (George Cross MBE, Croix de Guerre with God Star) by Jean Overton Fuller, published in the year of my birth in this lifetime (1952), and when I got it sat down and opened it up. I took one look at the pictures in the book and screamed. I knew these people. I was there, my father and mother were there - the whole family was there. The strangest thing was I had pictures from this current lifetime in the same poses as back then, including one on a horse! The houses I used to live in were in the book. Even today I have some furniture just like the kind we had back then. I started shaking and knew I had to read the book and it was going to be a MAJOR memory. It was exciting and frightening.

I was in complete shock reading excerpts in the book. A couple of parts of it were upsetting for me to relive - such as when a double agent betrayed me and the Nazis captured and tortured me before executing me. I brushed over other parts because I really didn't need to go through that again as it was really nothing special for me anymore. Some of it was so boring I wondered how anyone could be interested in reading those details!

Much of my life as Noor, from my genetic lineage to how I died, was in the book. It described a lot about me (Noor): My habits, loves, dislikes, temperament, channeling, fears, relationships, writing and music abilities were accurately described. I would drift back in my memory and feel I was watching an old family movie, looking back at the good old days for some of it. I could see each room of the houses I used to live in and visit. I remembered all those little things that touch one's heart. And as I read the book, I had my own memories that weren't in the book... only things I'd remember and not have shared with the author of that book, even though she knew me in that lifetime. Some of what I read made me blush because I never envisioned that my life would be out there for everyone to see. For days I vacillated between crying and repeatedly moaning, "Oh, my god" because there were so many exact descriptions. This was not a mere coincidence at all. There is no way I could remember the details of that lifetime so well and have the same character and traits as Noor, without having been her. And let me tell you that I tried to talk myself out of it at one point. I am a skeptic at heart and there better be lots of proof before I'm going to believe I was any other individual! But, in my heart I knew there could be no more denying that I was she.

I was awestruck by the amazing and even minute details of duplicates in names, behavior, habits, talents - well, all of it including the exact copies of numbers that keep appearing in these two lifetimes. For instance, my current address contains the same numbers, in order, of my RAF number. I communicate with a lot of the same beings, write on the same topics I did then, in almost the identical language, still love chocolate like crazy and brought a couple of habits and physical issues along with me when I reincarnated into this lifetime. I was a Capricorn then, and a Capricorn now. My name is the same and one person (who I later found out knew me when I was Noor) automatically called me my father's nickname back then - Babuly. A friend of mine had studied with the Khans and knew Hazrat's work inside and outside - he immediately identified me as being Noor and spoke about me in ways that only someone who really knew my father and I, could. The correlations are so exact in every way it's almost spooky.

Pieces of my how and why my reincarnation occurred the way it had fell together more and more - now my life made much more sense! I was adopted when I was a week old. My biological family in this lifetime share the same ancestry with Genghis Khan as Noor did, and they have a family name almost identical to Noor's mother's maiden name, Ora Ray Baker. Ora Ray Baker (also known as the Begum after marrying Noor's father Hazrat Inayat Khan - was a niece of Mary Baker Eddy.

My biological parents, of the Russian Orthodox faith, came to the U.S. from the Ukraine via Germany where they had been captured and imprisoned by Hitler, used and abused in work camps. My adoptive parents were from the same region, only they were Jewish, fought against Hitler, and lost many family members in the Holocaust. Before I was executed at Dachau in my last lifetime as Noor, I wanted to write Polish and Russian tales for children....that is why I incarnated into this body and ended up with my adoptive parents who had been through the Holocaust as I had, and knew the languages and culture I was interested in learning. Noor had a very close friend who was a high rabbi and she was very interested in Judaism. My adoptive father is from the high priest lineage in Judaism. My adoptive mother's father was a Tzadik (the holy man of his village and in Warsaw (his photo, name and title appear in books). Apparently, I always needed to be with a family who was spiritually aware, helpers to humanity, and who loved a strong education with the arts.


After accepting what I saw in my past lifetime, I had a rather wild and unorthodox idea. I wanted to test my memory with Noor's brothers. They would be the only ones who would know for sure. I figured it was worth a chance. I wrote to both of them via email, but only one answered - Hidayat. He was very happy to hear from me. I gradually told him some of what I remembered from my life as Noor. He wrote that he was deeply impressed and moved by what I had written to him and that I had sent him my book. We began writing back and forth for a while. Hidayat is a famous composer and musician and head of the International Sufi Order, based in the Hague.

He sent me his book and beautiful music and even asked me if I'd be interested in being an agent to sell his books, cassettes and cds, which I did for a while - I advertised them on my website without any fee, nor did I get any money for selling any through my site - don't even know if I did help sell any of them. After hearing his musical composition in honor of Noor, I wrote to him and told him exactly what his music was expressing, the exact timing and movements of Noor expressed in the music. I recounted Noor's attempted escapes from Nazi HQ in Paris that he so perfectly caught in his music. He wrote me back that what I described was exactly right. I also told him more about Noor's grief when they lost their father and how one day I wanted to write about it and how she was affected and what she learned through that experience. He confirmed a lot of what I remembered. He gave me permission to use any of his own articles from his books on my website and was most grateful for me putting them up, and he said he was moved deeply by my attunement with Noor and that he'd be most grateful and offer me full freedom to present her memory on my website. (I have the fax he sent me stating this plus copies of his emails.)

Hidayat and I were in contact for over a year until there was a real miscommunication and misunderstanding (last year) from his part and people who work with him in the Sufi Movement. I believed in being fair and including links to both brothers' websites and organizations. In his email to me, Hidayat said, "As to myself, I believe in the Unity of all these groups which have their origin in the Message of Love, Harmony and Beauty, just as that same "Message" preaches Unity of Spiritual Ideals in all Religions." However, the fact is it didn't fly for Hidayat in reality because he wanted nothing to do with his brother, Vilayat; he didn't feel that they could each have a link on my website! I had no idea that at that time they were in competition to see who would be the next big leader of the Sufi Order and they each had a different focus for how they saw the future of Sufism. So, he demanded that I remove links to his site because they conflicted with his Order. The fact was that I fully supported Hidayat's philosophies, teachings and goals up until that point. Since I felt the entire thing was so foolish, I omitted all connections related to them and Sufism. I didn't want to be part of their battle. I felt it went against all of Hazrat's teachings and against what Sufism is all about!

It seems it's the right time to start sharing Noor's truth of her life and this short article is only the beginning...getting warmed up to writing the rest of it, and for me it's a big step because it's taken a long time to feel comfortable enough to publicly admit this. It is also a challenge to relive a lot of memories that along with the love and joy were fears, horrifying events and deeply felt sadness while retaining a strong commitment to love, truth, freedom and equality. Noor's story is not only about one woman but about all women, and I feel what she learned from her life can help others.

People may ask, "Why do you want to dredge all of that up again? Why not just forget it and live for now?" My response to those kinds of questions are the following: First, it is about living now. We are a composite of all of our lifetimes and experiences. My focus is multidimensionality, self-healing and empowerment which comes from knowing ourselves. Not to dwell in the past, but if we feel we have a block, can't move ahead, and want to know why sometimes we have to go way back to where the block began in order to understand why it was created, and then remove it. When we are able to heal that block and process it we can then move forward with a clean slate and be even more fully in the present. We can also find the gems from those lifetimes - such as remembering our own beauty and creativity and tapping into those for use in the present. It's not about the rare famous life when you say, "Oh, look who I was!" which might just satisfy the negative ego. More likely than not, one taps into lifetimes of being an ordinary person, no titles, no big hoohaas at all.

I didn't go searching for Noor. I went searching for more about myself and Noor appeared, more and more signs led me to investigating her life, and I remembered. I didn't know anything about the book about her reputation until AFTER I remembered portions from that lifetime. Believe me, if I wanted to fantasize about being anybody why would I choose her when there are so many more glorious lifetimes I could have picked? This is no fantasy. Noor's life (following her childhood) was no picnic. The greatest tragedy was that her life was fraught with sadness, martyrdom, victimhood, loneliness, and self-betrayal, attempts to measure up to the men in her life and follow in their footsteps rather than those of her higher self's; creating more according to her passions and being independent. She didn't HAVE to be part of the RAF and sacrifice her life in that way. But, in her heart, she was dedicated to freedom and hated prejudice and violence against anyone. Noor felt a kinship with the Jewish people, and what the Nazis were doing to them was despicable.

She was already partially dead after her father died, and in some ways it made little difference to her if she lived or died. While she fought for freedom and against the Nazis (and that did take a certain amount of bravery), she didn't have to do it the way she did it and die in the process. She was mostly terrified of life and what she was doing in the War, but she put up a brave front (as much as she could muster up), and she did fight back as much as she could while being a prisoner. It's so ironic that today she is called a "princess" and great heroine. She would never see herself that way. She wouldn't put herself above anyone else.

For me, it's was primarily all about understanding my Self. And through recalling my life as Noor, I have learned a lot. I learned what I denied myself and what I'm here to do in this lifetime: how NOT to fall into the same pattern, but to liberate and trust myself, and have more courage.

But, the most exciting part of it all is knowing that we can and do reincarnate and that we are free to remember our other lifetimes. We can heal the hurt, or remember the best things. We can learn from our past or future and create our lives with a new understanding of who we are, how and why we chose our experiences, and where we want to go from here as more integrated, powerful, multidimensional beings and then share that knowledge with others who seek it.

The majority of us were once not as we see ourselves today. Even though we don't HAVE to look into the past for this, our past lifetimes can bring us more compassion when we recall that once we were a man, a woman, Native American, or Custer, someone from India, an African, a Swede, a Brazilian, an Arab, a Jew, a Catholic, a Muslim, or worshipped Buddha, a beggar, a noble person, an abuser or a victim, mother, father, teacher, healer, queen, carpenter, or slave, or whoever we were. Most of us have already been there and done that, but we have forgotten and allowed learned fears and prejudices to overpower us. When we recall our past (or future) lifetimes, we remember that we are all people - people who want and need love, acceptance, freedom, food and shelter. We can remember our humanity and allow that to return to us now.

© Copyright 2000, and 2002, Estelle Nora Harwit Amrani