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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

perience of his life. His whole being was uplifted into a kind of
mystic ecstasy. Utter serenity seeped through his soul. There was
nothing personal in the experience, for all his desires sank into
nothingness before the wonderful impersonal peace that enveloped
him.

He came down from that hill with a memorable event engraved
on his memory for ever. Tibet had given him more than a military
conquest; it gave him spiritual illumination.

Who or what in that snow-laden land was responsible for the
gift?

But I must return to my theme. Contact in every way between
the. Occident and the Orient is inevitable. Tibet cannot close its
high passes against the inflow of Western ideas. But it has had to
wait for the twentieth century to discover and disclose this truth.
The last forbidden land cannot hold out very much longer. Its fear
of Western imperialism is baseless today, although it might have
been well-grounded fifty years ago. Of the three great Powers whose
dominions lie nearest to Tibet, England is no longer an annex-
ationist country but wisely seeks her conquests now through trade,
Russia has sufficient land to satisfy her and wants chiefly to con-
centrate internally on building up her own economic and industrial
structure, while China is an empire in a state of sad disintegration.

And if the High Lamas fear Western greed for Tibet's rich gold-
fields, it would be a better business move on their part to lease these
fields to European concerns, with expert mining engineers, up-to-
date scientific equipment and modern transportation methods at
their disposal. In that way the Government would get more profit
out of the mines and the future ownership of the latter would be
better safeguarded.

Let them also forgo short-sighted political fears and construct
a motor road up a Sikkim valley and along a river, .the best natural
trade route between India and Tibet, and thus save both men and
animals the fearful journey over the high snow-passes.

To keep men always immersed in the doctrines and doings of
the centuries before Christ is not entirely healthy. If the Tibetans
were wiser, they would let their brightest young lamas absorb what
is useful in Western knowledge, particularly scientific knowledge,
and yet insist on their holding fast to the essential truths of Buddhist
wisdom. The two can easily be made complementary, although
not by the narrow-minded orthodox spirits. And while maintaining
their strict independence and sovereign authority over their own

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