A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
The map-makers must have had a hard job, here, methinks, amid
this heap of endless confusion, harder than amongst the level farms
and unfenced fields of the plains. The heights have been thrown
up haphazard, just anyhow. There is nothing Euclidean here, not
a sign of the straight geometrical layout of New York.
It is strange to remember suddenly that all Himalaya whirls
with this ball of ours around the sun at more than eighteen miles
Yet the rugged charm of this display makes it more attractive
than any other natural scene I know. I take Nature's gift thankfully.
The Gods who made this land must have been beauty-drunk. The
wild beauty of the scene outsteps imagination. It inspires the mind
and uplifts the soul. Were I a Shelley I would quickly become lyrical
over this region, but, alas, I am not. For the lordly Himalayas exist
within an aura of complete solitude which is ineffably peaceful and
inspiringly grand. In these Himalayan highlands there arises the
true charm of mountaineering; civilization is so remote, towns so
distant and serenity so prevalent. They carry the suggestion of
eternity, although there are hill ranges in the south which, geologi-
cally, are far older. The tremendous heights are, perhaps, chiefly
responsible for this suggestion. Here one is face to face with the
universal mystery itself, hiding behind no man-made facade of
gregariously built cities but revealing its calm challenging face
directly and assuming its wildest form. Himalaya embodies the grand
forces of Nature.
We continue climbing the narrow track. The steep paths of
Himalaya are akin to the steep paths of life itself. But I adventure up
the rugged trail with music sounding in my ears. God is luring me
on. I am riding, not merely into Himalaya, but into heaven. I
have forsaken one world only in order to find a better. No hardships
have come to me, none can come to me, for they would first have to
penetrate into the region of my heart, and they cannot do that.
The air is sweet with love that emanates from the Supreme Being.
The mountains are flushed with beauty that belongs, not to them,
but to God. The entire journey has become a glorious poetic symbol.
The quest of the Holy Grail is its divine reality.
My pony's icet move unsteadily upon the flinty stones, crumbled
rock and dislodged granite fragments which intermittently litter
the way, having fallen from the slopes above. Fitful patches of grass
occasionally survive the stony ground. Sometimes the tracksidc
proudly flaunts a few flowers even. Both mint and marigold are here.