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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

false thoughts. The real place where all our troubles start is in the
mind.

Whether it be a Park Avenue apartment in New York or a
solitary tent in the wild Central Asian desert, I am ready to take
either as my temporary home, if needs be. I can enjoy both, yet
leave either of them without a qualm, for I know well where my
true home lies. It is not here. It is in the Overself.

So, Mr. Chaplin, whilst the old hermits tended to go to unneces-
sary extremes we shall do somewhat better for ourselves, preferring
comfort and convenience. We can do Yoga more efficiently with all
the latest modern comforts than with ail the oldest discomforts,
just as artists can do better work in painting and literature when
well-fed and free from financial harassments than when they have
to subsist on bread and cheese alone and be harried by creditors.
For we too are to be artists in our practice of mental quiet.

Another point on which there will be much misconception
about my call to you to become a Yogi is that of sex. They will tell
you, these Swamis, that it is essential to become absolutely chaste,
to renounce all women as being in unconscious league with the
devil. They will tell you not to marry if you are single, or to leave
your wife if you axe married, or to live with her as brother and sister
if you cannot cast her aside so lightly. That is their Yoga, the path
they have elected to follow. Let them follow it by all means, as it
evidently suits them. But do not let them impose it upon you, with
the ancient dogma that there is no other way to the kingdom of
heaven save that of strict celibacy. It is not for all of us to do violence
to Nature and ourselves. It is not necessary for everyone who aspires
to the spiritual life to become the victims of such narrow doctrines.
It is not the fiat of the Deity that all shall torture themselves by
unsuccessful efforts to drive off the besetting attentions of what is,
after all, a purely natural function. Sex is not a separate thing nor
an evil one, added as an afterthought by the creative forces in order
to ensnare us. The notion is as atrocious as it is absurd. No, it is a
part of the organic totality of the human microcosm, and it is to be
regarded with no less reverence than we give to any other part of
our being.

The obedience to ascetic moral precepts and monastic disciplines-
is essential to those who need them, but all do not need them,

But even those who have not attained this condition of open
communication with the Overself are not bound to adhere to
complete asceticism. There is more than one way to divinity, a fact

"9