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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

mountain, an unsequestered river or a jungle. All excellent places—
for a time. Such spots provide the ideal solitude and quietness for a
man who seeks to practise meditation. Let him resort to them by all
means, if circumstances set him free to do so. But if he tarries there
too long he may get tuberculosis, as one Yogi I know got it, or
contract rheumatism, as another one has contracted it; or worse,
he may become their unconscious victim. For only in the seething
crowds of cides may he test the cloistered virtue of what he has
gained during his solitude. Only in the busy life of congregated towns,
with their innumerable trials and temptations, may he discover
whether the seeming gold of his spiritual attainment is acid-proof.
Nature is the mother of every man aspiring towards truth, peace
and happiness, .yes, and will help him, but the child which wants to
stay for ever in the safety of its mother's lap will never become a
real adult

I think a man will be a better Yogi if he uses the wild and lonely
places of Nature as temporary retreats alone, and not as permanent
habitations. Use solitude but do not abuse it. The principle of the
pneumatic mining drill, which is plunged into the.ground until it
penetrates some distance and is then withdrawn for a while, only to
be re-plunged into the earth to a still greater distance, is a good
principle for spiritually aspiring people too. Let them retire from
active life for periods of retreat, periods which can vary from one
day, one week, one month up to a few years even, but let them then
return to the w6rld which they have deserted and plunge into
active existence as the ntxt phase of their being. And they should
stay until they feel that the world is becoming too much for them
again; then spiritual retreat should be sought once again. Such a
life is a balanced one, and obeys the ordered rhythms of the universal
creation itself. The social life will then express the spiritual life, the
inner will influence the-outer and both will be better for the change.
The co-ordination of spirit and matter can hurt no one.

Those who vegetate for a lifetime in monasteries and hermitages
are doing what is perhaps best for them, or they would not continue
to stay there, but sometimes it is the worst for them. In several cases
their fancied spiritual growth would disappear like pollen blown
by the wind were they to put themselves to the test of city life. The
more intuitional and the more intellectual amongst them would be
wiser to seek an integral freedom by using the world from time t§
time as springboards on which to try their diving capacity.

We should appreciate the wonderful habitations which man has
constructed no less than the beautiful regions which Nature has
called forth out of the primal Chaos. It is not by abandoning false
environments that we make our highest progress, but by abandoning