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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

CHAPTER EIGHT

A Correspondent Decries My Retreat from the World—The Virtues of Idleness
and Solitude—My Religion—The New Testament—Jesus and His Critics.

THREE and a half weeks have silently slipped by since I penned in
my journal the last of these paragraphs, which come so disjointedly
from my pen. For after all, I did not come here to these primeval
forests and snow-covered summits to write but to rest. If I am to
remain faithful to the charge which has been laid upon me, to be
still must remain my principal aim. Whether I take up the trans-
parent barrel of pen on some days, or tap the glistening glazed keys
of my typewriter on others, or ignore both writing instruments for
weeks on end, that need not be a matter to trouble me here, as it
might have troubled me in the old days in Europe. The solemn
pettiness of worldly existence has disappeared under these trees.

I perceive that labour is an excellent thing and, indeed, a
necessity if one is to justify one's existence, but I perceive also that a
time must come when to learn how to be is no less excellent, no less
necessary if one is to obey the supreme law of life.

For I have had a sight of the far-off goal. I have seen the wonder-
ful way which stretches to the summit before all men, the way which
leads to the kingdom of heaven about which Jesus spoke and to the
peace of Nirvana which Buddha described. We may resist its
oncoming for a hundred thousand years, if we will, because amid
all the tribulations and exaltations of daily living we prefer the
delights of material sense-existence. We may resent the intrusion
of those prophets who voice its gospel, because they throw the icy
water of doubt upon our comfortable orthodoxies which feed us
with illusions.

But the truth remains that Nature holds us in her grasp: there
is no ultimate escape. On some fated day we shall all be called, with
an imperiousness that will brook no dispute, to our true home.

Let me, then, not waste all my days in insensate devotion to
labour without end. I have earned the right to call a brief halt to
this existence of constant toil and up-piling studies. I have burned
more midnight oil than most men, and have awakened many a
time to greet the cold grey dawn with my bald editorial head lying
upon the table amid a mass of papers. It was once my boast that I

could toil like a galley-slave and eat up work as ravenously as a
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