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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

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author travels with a publisher's warehouse in his trunks, whilst
they are ignorant of the fact that he, too, has to pay his pennies for
every book he gives away. There is nothing free in this universe.

Yet if some mistake an author to be a publisher, others take him
to be an employment bureau!

And lastly, because one writes of subjects which have long been
the preserves of the unbalanced and the wild-eyed, and which were
therefore once ridiculed but are now beginning to receive an overdue
respect, many a crank descends upon one in the belief that he or she
has found a fellow-crank! Despite such cajoling, I refuse to budge
from my position of plain common sense and enlightened enlarged

In the evening, however, I enter into another kind of corres-
pondence. It works without pen and without machine, yet it is
infinitely more satisfying to me. For there exist a very few who have
offered devotion and loyalty without ever being asked for anything,
and whose offer has been tested and redeemed. They call themselves
my students, but I want no students. The Overself within each of us
is quite capable of giving all the teaching and all the help we need—
if we reach aright for it. No other teacher than this inward light is
really necessary, but the world of aspirants is too weak to grasp this
truth and must find someone who has gone a little farther on the
way and lean on him. Let them lean if they wish, so long as they do
not lean overlong and lose the virile capacity for spiritual self-
reliance which is both their birthright and destiny. In the last
finding the words of wise Marcus Aurelius remairi true: "A man
must stand erect, not be kept erect by others." But the universal
law which reflects back to us whatsoever we give out is more binding
on those who believe in it than on others. Should I ever acquire
a spiritual fortune, these friends shall be the richer for it too. One
cannot express formal gratitude in formal words when faced by
devotion, this rarest of all gifts. It turns the wilderness that is social
life to me, who feel alien and kindredless therein, into a blossoming

The few who have given such tried devotion must have their
rewards. I can give them neither pence nor posts but I can give my

Their faces flit before me at dusk, like a long gallery of portraits,
as I sit in the sanctuary whilst a crow overhead flaps heavily to its
roosting-place. Whatsoever I have found in these elusive realms of
spiritual being I share with them. If I enter into peace profound, it is