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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

do that part which was likely to bring them public rewards. It is
more to my temperament to accomplish the fundamental basis of
this task in quiet and secrecy. Literary work is but a side issue with
me, and as for reserves, I have always the sense of divine providence
backing*me; I need no other.

The dear lady has marked the paragraph which she considers
pertinent to my case. Such a reference, coming from any other
person, might well seem offensive. But she is a friend and takes a
friendly licence. Moreover, as the elderly widow of an Army colonel
and knowing some of my most intimate and personal affairs, she
takes a maternal interest in them. I accept her reference, then,
without the slightest offence, indeed with a laugh, for I know she
has marked that paragraph out of affection, not contempt.

It is curious, nevertheless, what peculiar definitions people
place upon the word "sanitv". A few months ago I delivered an
address before a certain Indian university. Not wishing to stray
aside from the studies which had been the mainstay of the students,
yet not caring to take the long journey of 160 miles merely to tell
them something that did not engage my own deepest interest, I found
a happy medium by delivering a lecture on the theme of "The
Philosophy of Inspiration". In that way I was able to touch on the
subject of inspiration in literature, art, business, invention, life and
religion, as well as to-provide the students with one or two practical
hints on their preparation for a career.

After the newspaper reports of my address had been published,
a deputation came to see me to suggest my delivering an address in
their own State University. Although a still longer journey was
involved, and although I rarely do public speaking, rejecting by
habit almost all invitations, I replied that I would agree provided
an official invitation were sent me. But when the professors who
were friendly to me put forward their resolution at the next meeting
of the Academic Council of their University, the Head of the Council
used his influence to reject it. Accordingly, the invitation was,not
sent.

The reason for this opposition was peculiar. The man who
opposed my coming was a European, to be precise an Englishman,
but in India nowadays all whites are called Europeans by an
official order. His chief and only objection was that *'a white man
who lives among the natives and who spends his time chiefly among
Yogis in a hermitage must be mad"!

If withdrawal from city to country, from activity to retreat, for