A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
view. I make my devout morning prostration before Light, the
primal manifestation of God in the physical world, and then return.
* * *
If the clock must turn, so too must the she fs of the calendar.
Time travels on in the old way, even here in Himalaya, and the
weeks with it. The monsoon season is about due in this part of the
country. Parched India awaits this pitiless flood of water which the
heavens collect for nine months in order to let loose upon it in three.
Too protracted a monsoon may destroy crops and ruin peasants,
yet too light a one may have precisely the same effect. The failure
of one monsoon may create sheer starvation in thousands of villages.
How anxiously the watchers on the coast have awaited the massed
armies of invading black, angry-looking clouds which foreshadow
this Janus-headed, delightful and dreadful monsoon! Some parts
of India are already under its dominion, I know; the Eastern
Himalayas have received their gargantuan baptism, whilst I daily
await the dismal fate of the Central Himalayas. The first foretaste
I have had has not been too pleasant.
The coming of the monsoon will change the general tenor of my
life. The major part of my stay in these mountains will henceforth
perforce have to be spent indoors. I shall soon become the resigned
captive of tremendous rains, tempestuous winds and raging storms.
There will be some brief interludes, of course, when a shy sun will
peep through the clouds for an hour or two as though to reassure the
world of its existence and then disappear again. The rains will
recommence their torrential downpouring and virtually keep me
prisoner in my room day and night. A wall of water shall constitute
the barrier between me and freedom.
How opportune, then, is the chance which comes to me now,
through the courtesy of the Tehri-Garhwal State authorities, to
move away into the interior of the State and occupy better quarters
hi a large house near the summer Palace of Pratapnagar! How kind
of destiny to arrange better shelter for me just at the very moment
when it is needed! For if I have to spend the summer indoors as a
monsoon captive, it will be well to be comfortably housed, un-
troubled by extreme weather conditions and unworried by the
difficulties of procuring further food supplies.
There will be no change in my mode of life otherwise. I shall
continue all my meditations as before. There will be no change in
my liberty and solitude. My solitude, if anything, will be more
complete, for not a single visitor will dare to cross the mountains
to Pratapnagar during the rains merely to see me. I shall therefore
be more inaccessible than ever.