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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

Nature is indistinguishable from God. I know that when I am
revering Nature I am not soliloquizing; someone receives my
reverence. If God is the Grand Architect, then Nature is the Master
Builder of this universe, in the Freemasonic system of our world.

My Master explains the futility of separative self-effort by an
effective simile. He asks, "What would you think of a man who
entered the compartment of a railway carriage whilst carrying a
trunk on his head, and who then sat down on his seat but refused to
put the trunk down on the floor? Yet people refuse to surrender the
burdens of their existence to God, insisting on carrying them them-
selves under the delusion that no one else can carry them, just as the
man in the train was under the delusion that it was not the train but
himself who carried the trunk. So, too, God who supports this earth
supports us and our burdens and carries all along with Him."

How many of our sufferings arise, then, from our resistance?
Nature places a gentle finger upon us at first but we turn roughly
away. The call to entrust our lives to a higher Power comes in the
softest of whispers, so soft that unless we withdraw for a while and
sit still we can hardly hear it, but we stop our ears. Submission,
which would bring us peace, is farthest from our thoughts. The
personal self, with its illusive reality, deceives us, and, deceiving,
enchains us.

All of which is but the price we pay for our desertion of Nature's
way. With her, harmony; without her, discord and consequent
suffering.

I cannot adequately explain the reverence in which I hold
Nature. It is to me the universal temple, the universal church. I hear
in South India much ado and much agitation by the pariahs and the
depressed castes because the Brahmins will not admit them to their
temples. The worst forms of "untouchability" are rampant in the
South as nowhere else in India. The old caste system was a perfectly"
sensible arrangement in the old days. The scholar formed the head
of the social body, the warrior was its arms, the tradesman and
peasant its body, the labourer its feet. We cannot be all head or all
feet. But today that arrangement of castes has lost its force, has
become disorganized and oppressive, so that there are many millions
subjected to cruel and contemptuous indignities. If the Brahmins
were sensible they would turn their prohibitions of the outcaste into
social or hygienic ones, but not religious. We may understand and
accept the refusal of a duke to sit with a dustman in a public building,
but when he says that he refuses by order of God and not by that of
his sense of refinement, it is time to call a halt to nonsense. Were I
the leader of these unfortunate Hindu outcastes, I would say to
them: "Cease this degrading agitation and insufferable heartburn

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