A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS queer kind of work, the queerest which I have yet undertaken ever since my ship weighed anchor and turned its bow from the British shore; it is certainly not the kind for which anyone will care to pay me a single rupee in remuneration. Yet that is the absolute truth, the sole purpose of my cutting adrift from the generality of men and settling for a while in this unfrequented Himalayan kingdom. I expect no excitements, no hair-raising situations, no perils, in this new adventure of mine. A mixture of different feelings passes through me. At one and the same time I am exhilarated, awed and reassured. Exhilarated, because I believe that some part of me "belonged" here, has indeed dwelt happily here in some former earth-life. Awed, because I remember that there are more than sixty peaks in the grand chain of the Himalayas over 25,000 feet high, that the tremendous roll of staccato thunderstorms and the restless flickering of bluish light- ning constantly disturb these snow-capped gods standing in icy detachment from the human world. Reassured, because although Nature is notoriously inhospitable to man in these regions, a sense of divine protection imperiously sweeps away every fear as it arises. It will be hard, amid these eternal mountains, to appreciate the value of time and consequently to let the mind rush restlessly about, "Be still and know that I am God!" That is the phrase from the Hebrew Bible. It bids me go to the Himalayas, not as an explorer nor as researcher, but simply to cease my external activities and to tranquillize my mind to the point of utter placidity. I am not even to continue my ancient labours of self-conscious meditation, it counsels, but just to be still! I am to seek no outer adventures, nor even any inner ones, I am to take Nature as my tutor, to merge my spirit into the absolute silence of her surroundings, and to let every thought lapse away into mere nothingness. I am to become a living paradox, seeking attain- ment of a higher order of being by the curious method of making no effort! In short, the Psalmist's saying, which I am obeying like an injunction, is to be taken in its literal fullness. So, in my hunger for the divine presence, I set out on my journey northwards, hardly knowing where my feet will come to rest. For the great range of the Himalaya mountains must be close on fifteen hundred miles in length from end to end. Where, in that strange world, can I find a spot solitary enough yet suitable enough to permit me to merge my inner being into its surroundings? From time immemorial the best of India's Yogis, sages, and saints have resorted to the forest-clad ridges or icicle-studded caves of Himalaya, to meditate and dwell amid harmonious scenes. It is therefore in line with a good tradition that I imitate their example.