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Full text of "A hermit in the Himalayas"

A  HERMIT   IN   THE   HIMALAYAS

shows a 23,ooo-feet snowy coronet, ,and then, last on the great white
line and blocking the vivid blue horizon, the magnificent spire of
Nanda Devi rises. It is the highest mountain actually within the
British Empire, for Everest and Kanchenjunga are in Nepalese and
Tibetan territory. It is beyond the frontier of the kingdom of Tehri
and within British Garhwal Emits. Nanda Devi's altitude is 25,600
feet.

Why do I love these mountains? Is it not partly because they
tangibly reflect something of that stillness, that beauty, which I find
in my intangible meditations?

Thus it is that to look out of niy window each morning becomes
for me a veritable act of worship. With each glance I give my
matutinal homage to Himalaya and enter into a mood of reverent
adoration. These mountains stand in symbolic relation to our face.
These snow-covered colossi, like stupendous pointing fingers, indicate
for me the lofty aspirations which must ever keep man from sinking
into the grovelling existence of the gutter, whilst their unsullied
whiteness beckon him to a purity which he has yet to attain—not
that childish asceticism which the canons of a conventional morality
have set up, but that purification from all personal taint which Jesus
enjoined upon those who could understand that the highest wisdom
is "not my will, but Thy will be done". Only those who have dwelt
awhile with such an horizon, filled with an array of shimmering
white snowpeaks jutting clear-cut against the sky, can appreciate
the intoxication that comes with early morning as one gazes upon it.

The cultivated gardens which set a pretty frame for my house
and extend from the strip of green lawn around its walls to the cliff-
edges are ablaze with giant flowers whose size and splendour con-
trast well with the midget wild flowers which I have seen so far.
Gorgeous gold and brown sunflowers vie with dainty pink and white
briar roses. Slender stems of verbena with a heavy fragrance are
comrades to little star-clusters of candytuft, with their whitish flesh-
colour petals. One pretty flower-group shows a profusion of blue bell-
shaped heads; another is a perennial bearing sprays of sweet lilac
petals. Dark-blue hyacinths and flame-like crocuses grow out of the
russet ground. Amid the beauty of these and .other varieties my
colour-loving heart may well be content.

Large funny-looking grey lizards with long rat-like tails and
suspicious winkless eyes constitute quite an appreciable population
of the crannies and crevices below the sides of the paths in this
garden, I like to play hide and seek with them, just as they like to
come out, climb on the path, and bask in the sunshine until my