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A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
Certainly a billion miles would likewise be an under-estimate.
Nor can I count the infinite galaxy of nebulae, worlds, suns, moons,
satellites, asteroids and planets which fill this complex universe*
Certainly, again, one billion would be an under-estimate.
"Who can gaze thoughtfully at this amazing creation throned in
unfathomable space without experiencing at least the beginnings
of awe and, at most, the humility of knee-bent veneration? My spirit
slips away, loses itself in the recondite mystery of it all.. ..
It seems so remote, so etheral, so austere. How puny, how
insignificant, the troubles of a man when confronted by those
multitudes of aloof impersonal lustrous eyes!
The clock must turn and once again I must resume my vigil.
I watch the sentinel lights fade gently out of the sky, as once I
watched them fade over the head of Egypt's Sphinx. Soon dawn
arrives with its hues or pearly greys succeeded by steely blues,
grows apace and admits the sun to our darkened world. The atmo-
sphere is clear and brightens rapidly, so I turn my head to view
Himalaya's pride, with its snow and silence, amid the red aurora.
The early sun has tipped the white snows with fiery plumes of
burnished gold. The fretted line of frozen summits shines resplend-
ently against the changing background of the turquoise sky. The
pinnacles of unmelting ice keep once more their daily tryst with the
flaming bringer of light. The rays of quivering colour steal through
the valleys and among the high peaks, staining them all to a rich
rose. Powdered snow streams to the sky from these peak-tops.
My final reflections desert the vanished stars and turn to the
oncoming sun. In almost every early religion it appears as a divine
symbol, the sign of God in the heavens for all men to witness. Its
diurnal appearance and disappearance typified to the ancients
the univeise's own death and reincarnation, too. Both sun and
Nature were really undying, they knew. And with the sun they
often coupled the lotus. Both Indian and Egyptian, Aztec and
Atlantean, took this as their sacred flower. This lovely flower shuts
its petals at eve and opens them again in the morning; once again
symbolizing the death and rebirth of the life-force. The ancients
never tired of picturing it upon their temple walls and papyrus
The parallel between sun and lotus runs even deeper. The sun
shines impartially into the foulest dirtiest places; so too does the
lotus oft rear its beautiful head out of slimy pools and rank mud.
We may read in this precisely what the ancients read: that the
divine Overself in man exists unstained while he descends into the
most abysmal depths of Matter.
And now the whole Himalayan region is alight and fully on