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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

Not that there is any real end to the turbulence of political
clashes and the harassments of racial differences. We shall have a
pacified world when we have pacified hearts—not before. The
ancient sages who gave this simple formula to mankind are nowa-
days denounced as impractical idealists. But if the final test of a
policy is its results in material affairs, we must confess that this
peaceless world has not improved on them. The spiritual emptiness
of our epoch and the poverty of our inner resources tSxpress them-
selves clearly enough in the chaos, the distress we see everywhere
around us, and the dolorous servitude which we give to unworthy
ideals and unworthy men.

The world's development of egotism and intellect has given it
a fictitious sense of practical wisdom. But the sages who spoke to
former times spoke out of a knowledge of humanity's history pro-
founder and more accurate than any which our book-delving
historians can ever hope to have. For the paltry few thousand
years which we can record—and that with much guesswork—
represent but the tail-end of mankind's lengthy past When a man—
he never pretended to be anything more than that— like Buddha
proclaims and re-proclaims that "Hatred ceases not by hatred;
hatred ceases only by love", he is not a mere sentimental idealist
voicing his well-meaning but futile emotions. He is every whit as
practical as the business man who keeps his ears glued to the tele-
phone and his eyes to the papers on his desk. For Buddha, like all
great sages of his status, sees the pitiful tangle of wars without end
that dismayed the prehistoric epoch as it has dismayed the historic
epoch. He sees these things in the universal vision of the planet's
past which the gods hold before him, as in a mirror. And he is shown
how the threads of cause and effect in humanity's affairs are tied by
invisible hands in such a way that an inescapable justice, an equaliz-
ing readjustment, is forever at work. He sees, too, that a spiritual
Power is back of the universe whose expression in one form is a
sublime benevolence, and that this power is eternal. He knows
that hatred brings pain, both to the hated and the hater, and that
therefore both hatred and its corollary of suffering can never cease
until benevolence takes its place. And because the Power which
prompts us ultimately to practise benevolence is an eternal one, and
above all an inescapable one, he preaches the advisability of yielding
to it now and thus saving much needless suffering. Is he or the hater
unpractical?

Precisely the same vision of life is given to Jesus. In a world of
dry formalists and barren religionists, given over to the doctrine of
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, Jesus condenses and
reaffirms this truth. He, too, is shown the vision of the universe and