A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
articles belonging to the dead Abbot placed before him by the
Council. They were well mixed with other objects purposely added.
Without hesitation he recognized and picked out correctly all those
things which belonged to the departed, and rejected the others.
"He sat absolutely motionless before us, with his right foot placed
upon the left thigh, and the left foot placed upon his right thigh. One
hand was placed upon the right knee, but the other lay flat in his lap
with palms upturned and the thumb raised.
"I was highly impressed by his looks. He had an intelligent and
serene face, a light ivory-coloured complexion, and a mild com-
passionate expression. Really, he looked like a young living Buddha.
I quickly feel the spiritual atmosphere around any person. In his
presence I experienced such a sense of reverence that I felt con-
strained to prostrate myself before him in profound respect—an act
I had not hitherto done in Tibet because among the hosts of monks
and Lamas, I had not met one who deserved the veneration which I
give only to my own personal teacher. The Head Lama acknow-
ledged the devotion shown him by making his first movement and
stretching out his right hand to touch my bowed head in blessing
After that he took a richly engraved brass plate from his side and
gave me a handful of dried apricots—a gesture which carried the
same sacred significance as in India. I left feeling greatly exalted,
for he was the most spiritually powerful, the most Buddha-like of all
the Lamas I met in Tibet.
"At last, after all our sufferings from unbelievable^ cold and
adventures in a strange country, weak, hungry and benumbed, we
reached Lake Manasrowar. My shoes had been worn out on the
rocky trails, and I walked with blistered feet along the snowy paths.
My long-felt yearnings for a sight of the holy hill-bordered lake were
satisfied. It was evening when we arrived and we put up in a very
small gompa or monastic hermitage situated on a pyramidal hill. At
ten o'clock at night I opened the window next to my bed and looked
out. I was fortunate, for a full moon lit up the whole lake. A cold
wind was blowing and the surface of the dark-blue waters was broken
up into high waves. The moonbeams glittered upon the waves, but
the middle of the lake was calm, reflecting both the stars and the
moon. Red-beaked, white swans glided over the surface. The water
dashed against the white, treeless sandy shore, producing pleasant
and melodious sounds at rhythmic intervals. Then a cluster of thick
black clouds appeared and threw shadows over Manasrowar. Such
was the spiritual vibration in the atmosphere that my heart leapt
with joy. The mind unconsciously shook off all other thoughts and
slowly but steadily attained one-pointcdness. My consciousness
plunged into a mystic lake of bliss. My happiness was indescribable.