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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

danger of a slip over a ghastly precipice down to certain death, and
affected by internal sickness through changes in the working of the
kidneys, men can only dare to climb the proud peaks of Himalaya
if they are made out of heroic optimistic stuff, quite apart from
having to possess the necessary qualifications of physical soundness
and comparative youth.

There is, indeed, a spiritual value plus a spiritual significance
in these repeated challenges to Himalaya. Anyone who voluntarily
sets out to explore its face and permits no limit of height to daunt
him must surely possess qualities which belong also to the novitiate
of a diviner life. He is ready to part with his dearest property, his
right to exist, in the risk of his high enterprise. So must a spiritual
aspirant be ready to go where the inner voice bids him go, even to
torture and martyrdom, as several have gone, and let life slip
out of the flesh too. He must cut loose from all conventional land-
marks and start the fearless rlimb up unpathed slopes, creating his
own path as he climbs. So must the truth-seeking aspirant cut loose
from the conventional dogmas of religion and philosophy and
walk with eyes open, thinking out each further step for himself^
finding his own way into the truth-world which abides within
himself. And finally the mountaineer must love solitude, simplicity,
tranquillity and the scenic beauty of Nature or these unfrequent
heights would not attract him at all. So must the aspirant love the
same four things if he would one day receive the sublime gifl which
the soul of Nature keeps for him.

And what is the inner significance of these Himalayan ex-
peditions? Is it not that aspiration sings through the hearts of all
worthy men like an under-motif in music? Is it not, too, that pilgrim-
age abides in our nature and that stagnant self-satisfaction is a sin?

The sparkling pinnaces which jut up above the flat face of our
planet and glitter high in the Himalayan sky above deep clouds
must typify for us the race of superior men who shall be the crest-
wave of evolution. Nietzsche's dream of Supermen shall surely be
realized, albeit not in his crude and cruel picturing. A solitary
few even now exist. They shall be both goal and guide. In the illum-
ined Sage and the powerful Adept there is a present picture of our
future attainment.

Florentine Dante put his Earthly Paradise upon the top of a
mountain, just as the Japanese painters set the abode of their gods
high upon the lovely snow-clad peak of Fujiyama, the highest of
Japan's many towering heights and a now extinct volcano the
Mount Kailas of Japan, visited by pilgrims from every corner of the
country who return to their respective villages inspired with deep
reverence by its physical beauty and spiritual significance,
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