A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
the laws which secretly govern the beings who dwell upon it. Not
for nothing has he disappeared into the mountains, where he sits in
the paralysed immobility of meditation. And not long after his
return he rebukes the visiontess Pharisees and heals the man with
the withered hand; he says, in impassioned and inspired words, to
the multitude which has gathered around him:
"Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despite-
fully use you. . . . Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn
not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be for-
given. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured
to you again"
But the world of surface-seeing men does not know, does not
understand, and so blunders on its blind pain-bringing way. Bitter
antagonisms will yield to wise co-operation only when this un-
written law is understood, that whatever a man does towards
another is ultimately reflected back to him from some source or
other. Universal benevolence is therefore the wisest and most
sensible policy. In this troubled age it is our immediate and intimate
Yet who wants moralizings and preachings today? They can
only earn an easy laugh against me. It is futile to preach to the
converted, for those who believe these things do not need to be told,
whilst those who lack the faith will not listen anyway. Destiny will
take charge of the nations and teach them what they need to learn.
The most practical course open to me is, therefore, to concentrate my
energies and direct my attention into a channel where they can be
most economically used.
Such a channel exists in myself. The best starting-point from
which to reform the world is undoubtedly my own self. The best way
to spread the spirit of benevolence is to begin with myself. Let me,
then, compose my thoughts and silently repeat the Buddhist formula
for world well-being, whose spirit if not whose words is:
"To the four quarters of the world, I send compassion. To the
north, south, east and west, above and below, I send compassion.
To all living creatures upon the earth, I send compassion."
My mind softly dwells upon this gentle theme; the emotion of
pity passes through me; and when the final benedictory word is
pronounced, I feel no less blessed myself.
The face of one of my bitterest critics rises suddenly before me.
I hear her speak her acidulous words as plainly as though she were
physically present, yet I am aware she is in a different continent.
Knowing what I know and keeping my secrets well, I -generally
refuse to dally words with misunderstanding in whatever garb it