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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

FOREWORD

"horribly egotistical", and felt inclined to consign them to burial tinder the
mountains where they were written. But I assured him that egotism is an
essential part of every memoir, and that these memoirs of his life in the
Himalayas cannot escape from a quality which gives added interest and
attraction to literature, even though it may be repulsive in society.

During the sojourn which is the subject of this book, Paul Brunton was, 1
believe, the only white man living in the little-known State of Tehri. Certainly
few Europeans would care to go and isolate themselves amid wild and rugged
mountains far from the haunts of civilized society, as he has done. Nevertheless
I feel sure that l\e gained his reward,, for even during the short period when I
was his companion I must say that the days seemed marvellous: one was
wafted away from all the awful realities of humdrum life to a world of
dreams, peace and spirituality.

On this last theme it seems to me that his ideas in general, as expressed
here and in other books, are specially Jitted for the guidance of Western people
and of those increasingly numerous Orientals who have taken to their mode of
living and thinking. 1 personally f.nd it easier to understand many intricate
subtleties of our own Asiatic philosophies and spiritual techniques, including
Yoga, when explained by Brunton in his scientific, rational, modern and
unsectarian manner than when expounded in the ancient ways, which are so
remote from twentieth century understanding.

One comes across many passages in the scriptures of most religions where
mention is made of the Spirit speaking in different ways, through different
tongues and different mt n. I am convinced that Brunton is one of the chosen
instruments to re-interpret the half-lost wisdom of the East to those caught up
in the mechanical life of the West, and thus serve His cause.

A book like this is intended for those who have either sympathy or yearning
for the inner life of the Spirit. I can gauge the profound ignorance of the
reviewer who, in a certain European-managed newspaper of Calcutta,
denounced the authors earlier work "A Search in Secret India" as false,
denied the existence of any spirituality in India, and finally ridiculed the
author's competency to conduct these researches. All the best Indian journals
and leaders of opinion have, nevertheless, given the highest praise to that book,
thereby bringing out in contrast the lack of understanding and experience
betrayed by the Western-born reviewer of the country in whose midst he lived.
His opinion was as much worth accepting as that of an uneducated
pugilist on a priceless Chinese vase of the Ming dynasty.

I can personally testify that there are not only the Togis in India as
described in Bruntoris book, that is, men of supernormal attainments,
marvellous powers and lofty spirituality, but others equally unusual whom he
has not mentioned. Tet the average European and Western-educated Indian
look with indifference, scorn and contempt upon his statements—thus proving
that they have not been initiated into the world's most valuable knowledge and
Asia's most treasured secret tradition.
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