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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

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of living there. He will be, within a month or two, the only Indian
Yogi living in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, except for his friend
Rahula, who resides at intervals in Lhasa. Rahula, however, is a
Buddhist monk born in the Indian province of Bihar and educated
in the temple-schools of Ceylon; he is not a Hindu Yogi.

I met the monk Rahula some years ago. I thought it curious that
he should have a Tibetan cast of countenance although wholly
Indian in ancestry* When dressed and muffled up he looks indis-
tinguishable from a Lama. He showed me a large, costly and rare
collection of ancient silk paintings, oblong in shape, which had been
taken down from monastery walls and presented to him by various
Head Lamas. The Tibetans like and trust him and he has the
privilege of residing in Lhasa's chief monastery whenever he wishes.
He brought back in triumph from one of his journeys another gift
consisting of a huge library of rare palm-leaf Buddhist Sanskrit
volumes which had totally disappeared from India for a thousand
years through destruction by anti-Buddhist invaders or fanatical
Brahmins. From these Tibetan translations he intended to prepare
copies of the missing Sanskrit originals. He needed no fewer than
twenty pack-mules to carry his gifts back to India,

Buddhism has almost disappeared from the land of its birth, and
Rahula hoped to save the low flame from total extinction.

One afternoon, whilst we sit near the bank of a valley stream,
Yogi Pranavananda begins to talk of his teacher, the Swami

"My Master belongs to a wealthy family living in Andhra, the
north-east part of Madras Presidency. At about the age of seventeen
he had a dream in which a Great Soul appeared to him and asked
him to leave his home, but this request aroused a struggle iri his soul
and he did not obey immediately. Again the Great Soul came to him
in a second dream, repeating his request, but this time the inner con-
flict was sharper than ever, between his desire to obey the Great
Soul and his devotion to his wife. Again he hesitated, lacking the
courage to break all family ties. However; the Great Soul came to
him yet again, touched him in a dream, and this time gave him the
strength to obey. Thus he left his home and, renouncing the world,
disappeared in search of truth. He travelled to the north and the
west in quest of a real teacher. Some years later, when he found his
Master, the latter simply said, 'The spiritual goal is already in your
lap,' he saw how highly advanced was the young man. And so it
proved, for soon after my revered Master entered the highest state of
spiritual trance from which he emerged a new man.

"However, he wanted to make his realization perfect, steady and
unbroken, so for that purpose he came to the Tehri State and went to