A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
and constitute his soul too. God is not external to His creation;
the stars are not marionettes which He pulls upon a string; and
man is not a mere puppet to be worked with detachment from a
Meanwhile our clocks tick away to the motion of our planets and
our own earth circles unfailingly around its Lord.
I look from one part of the sky to another. There in the north is
the Dragon which shines near the Pole with a brilliance unseen
by the low-dwelling people of the plains. Adopted by the Chinese
as their national emblem thousands of years ago, fit pictograph for
the world's oldest existing civilization, it is the most picturesque of
the northern constellations. Sprawling across the north-western
rim of the heavens is the Great Bear. In the centre of the whole sky is
Arcturus, "the Watcher of the Bear"—a flush of orange colouring.
Low in the south-west lies the constellation of the Centaur, the half-
man and half-horse. And like a tautened bow, the Milky Way
swefeps along the eastern horizon until it terminates in the Southern
Triangle, equally aglow with a light which the dwellers under
clouded northern skies never know.
The clearly defined Scorpio group, like an elongated letter S,
is hi the south, with the gleaming radiance of a companion, the
planet Jupiter, in contrast on its right. In its midst I detect a
smallish-looking red star, whose apparent size, however, is deceptive,
for Antares must be one of the biggest in the entire firmament;
just the same are we deceived by the sun's magnitude in contrast to
several stars which are really larger but appear smaller.
And then there arises out of the depths of memory the words of
an old astrologer, who has now vanished from our own star, and
his charts, calculations and ephemerides with him. "Antares sits
in your horoscope in close conjunction with the planet Saturn,"
he said slowly, "and that means early blindness."
His statement was true and its verification came long before
I met him. One morning the lids of my eyes became fast shut, the
world vanished from my gaze. I became blind and remained so for
months. Sun, stars and streets no longer existed for me. I might
have been a spirit for all the use this earth was to me. But what I
lost then became balanced by what I found—an inner world where
ghosts became realities. Little did I guess that two books I would
write later would one day be printed in Braille-embossed type for
the benefit of the blind poor!
Do I then believe in the truth of astrology? Perhaps I do, but
I do not believe in astrologers. For they possess only a bazaar-
jumble of half-facts, revealed verities, sheer superstitions, sound
principles and insound interpolations. There is enough in astrology