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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

"The last stage of my journey brought me to Mount Kailas,
famous throughout Asia. My first view of it was of a white-wrapped
dome standing between two other peaks that almost touched its
sides. The ice which covered it shone like polished silver. That is
why we Hindus call it 'The Silver Mountain*. Our Pur anas (sacred
books) say that the god Shiva lives in meditation posture upon its
white summit, while the Tibetans believe Buddha to be there. Of
course, I do not believe that he is there in his physical body, but I do
believe that his spiritual presence is there. The vibrations are unique
and surround the mountain with an invisible field of enrapturing
divinity as a magnet is surrounded by an invisible field of magnetism.
And it is because the atmosphere causes one to become involuntarily
meditative that it is superior to any other atmosphere I know. That
is why I am now going to spend a year in one of the Buddhist
monasteries of that region.

"I made the traditional thirty-mile walk around Kailas and the
fifty-mile walk around Manasrowar, pacing slowly and with my
mind intent on holy things. My pilgrimage was at an end. I will not
weary you with the details of my return journey to Kashmir. I
returned safely and, seven years later, repeated my visit to Kailas but
took the much shorter route from Almora, which I intend to take
again,"

The Yogi's story is finished.

We return home through the forest in silence, and move with slow
deliberate steps.

During the few days of his visit he gives sundry little glimpses of
Tibetan life. In Ladakh he had encountered the same superstition
which Sir Francis Younghusband had found on his military expedi-
tion to Lhasa. The Ladakhi people told him that their country had
been annexed to Kashmir after the Maharajah had sent General
Zoravah Singh to invade Tibet in 1848. They asserted that the
leader of the Kashmiri troops possessed supernatural powers so that
no ordinary leaden bullet could penetrate his body. His forces crossed
Western Tibet to a point not far from Lake Manasrowar. The
Chinese Emperor sent a large army to help the Tibetans and it
victoriously defeated the Kashmiris by sheer weight of numbers, but
the only way they could kill Zoravah Singh was to shoot him with a
golden bullet instead of a lead one! He was afterwards hacked to pieces.

Possibly due to his commanding presence and his absolute
sincerity and spirituality, the Tibetans regard Pranavananda with
much respect. They now believe him to be the best of Hindu Yogis
to have visited their country and so have accorded him this privilege

105