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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A   HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

the pleasure of spiritual communion. Indeed, we must have some
kind of inward relationship, some kindred tie, unseen and intangible,
for what else could have brought them upon the weary journey
over the rugged mountain slopes into this isolated region? They
have prevented me from becoming entirely self-wrapped. Best of
all, they come with affection in their hearts. What finer gift can a
stranger or a friend bear to any man?

Prince Mussooree is about thirty-three. He possesses a good-
looking Mongolian-featured face, with flat nose, yellowish skin and
slightly elongated eyes; he is quite short, no taller than myself,
but this is a feature which we share in good company, however, for
Colonel Lawrence, of Araoia, was at first rejected for service at
the outbreak of the last war on account of his not being sufficiently
tall, whilst Napoleon's lack of inches earned him the famous tide
of "Little Corporal". Yet he has the strong powerful voice which
is typical of the mountain folk of Nepal. He is a good-natured, good-
humoured person, yet capable, when roused, of that fiery, fearless
outburst which is also typical of the people of Nepal.

He is a nephew of His Highness the Maharajah of Nepal and
possesses a patriotic devotion to that little-known land which is
almost fanatical. When, a few years ago, there was a risk of war with
Tibet over some petty frontier incident, a risk which was averted
only at the last moment, he exclaimed, "So much the better for
the Tibetans!" And he would often point proudly to the fact that
the sturdy little Gurkhas are the best fighting material in the British-
Indian Army, and that they have their own officers.

Whilst an early evening meal is being prepared we leave the
whitewashed, fir-fringed bungalow and go for a walk. I take my
visitor up the steep slope to my treasured sanctuary. He wanders
around, admiring the magnificent views of narrow precipitous
valleys and nagged, uninhabited heights. When he has seen enough,
I lead him to my meditation spot, where we sit down. The immense
natural amphitheatre which stretches out below our feet draws an
exclamation of admiring surprise from his lips.

"This is perfect for your purpose! You have chosen well!"
We chat of bygone events until, towards the end, our talk veers
round to my own subject. The Prince tells me of some of his own
experiments in Yoga during his earlier days. He too has been
educated along Western lines, but no superimposed scientific
training will drive out the beliefs in the supernatural forces of life
which dwell in the blood of every thoughtful Oriental.

"My great attraction has been Hatha Yoga, what you call the
Way of Body-Control. I had a teacher, of course, and still keep in
occasional touch with him, but I mastered a number of things by