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A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
sheer instinct before I ever met him. My theory is that I had already
practised Hatha Yoga in former births. I began with physical
postures which form the basis of this system and found, to my
surprise, that these seemingly difficult contortions of the body came
easily enough to me. Even now, after being out of practice for some
years, I can do about half a dozen of them.*'
"Gould you do them here?"
"By all means."
And the Prince demonstrates a few of the Physical-Yoga attitudes
which are familiar enough to me. First he gets into Peacock posture,
socalled because the finished attitude strikingly resembles the
outline of a peacock's body. Then he adopts the Grasshopper
posture. His third posture is the Embryo posture (the child in the
womb); the fourth posture, Sarvangasana, he performs exactly
as it was performed by Brama, the Hatha Yogi whose life and
attainments I described in A Search in Secret India. The Prince's
final effort is the Bow posture.
I have to admit, that the Prince's body offers an excellent
testimonial to the efficacy of the Yoga of Body-Control, because,
although only now 33, he looks as young as a lad of nineteen. His
health is perfect; he diets himself strictly, eating no more than one
meal a day and often even doing with less than that. He strongly
believes that most people over-eat and thus wear out the bodily organs
with unnecessary work.
He mentions Basti, a curious practice of the ancient Hatha
Yogis. It is their way of cleaning the colon by flushing it with water,
after going waist-deep into a river. "It is still being done,** he tells
"I do not know of a single European who is able to perform that
hygienic habit," I reply, "although some of us have taken to imitat-
ing it by artificial methods; we call it the 'internal bathV
"My own son, who is only twelve years old, practises Basti
perfectly by the ancient way," he adds.
We return to the bungalow under a sunset sky, where blue and
cerise pale down into fainter and fainter colourings. How I love
these pauses between daytime and nightfall, when Nature takes up
her palette and tints the Himalayan world with her glorious hues!
At night I look up at the sky. The beautiful Southern Gross is
almost on the point of setting. Gemini, third of the zodiacal con-
stellations and mute symbol of the fraternal affection of Castor and
Pollux, jewels the north-western rim. Vega, a bluish-white point
of light towards the eastern horizon, seems the brightest of the stars.