A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
recall; and of Addison, who found phrases for his essays over "a
dish of tea".
I always gain an intellectual stimulation from a cup or two of
good tea such as I can gain in no other material way. It seems that
the atoms of the brain become revivified and their active functioning
greatly enhanced under the stimulating effect of tea. Anyway,
I would not dream of tackling a serious job of intellectual work
without a preliminary drink of this brain tonic. Were I mathematic-
ally minded I might calculate how many pints of tea have gone to
the making of each hundred pages of my writings!
My own quiet undistracted existence in the Himalayas enables
me to extract the utmost that there is to be had from tea-drinking.
I return from my meditations in the late twilight, to sit idly and
feel the comforting cosy warmth which the submerged leaves impart
to me, the while night's creeping shadows move over my mountain
nest. I stir the dissolving grains of brown sugar until they melt
rapidly into their Nirvana of liquid nectar, and then sip each
mouthful with full appreciation of its worth, for time does not press
upon me, work does not harry me and people do not jostle in upon
me here. It is in such leisurely manner that one can and should
receive all that tea has to offer mankind.
Let the world have its heavier drinks. For me there shall always
be but one worthy to touch my palate and to inspire my mind,
'Tis a harmless pleasure this of tea-drinking. What more refresh-
ing in the morning than a cupful? What more useful to the writing
man who likes to work at his pages during the calm hours of the
night; how else may he repel sleep so effectively?
However, at a certain stage of the spiritual aspirant's self-disci-
plinary career, he may not take any stimulant without obstructing
the way to the inner silence he seeks in meditation. During this
special period even tea will have adverse effects and he must guard
himself against them by drinking it not often and not strongly.
I think the people who know only one way of preparing tea
might usefully experiment with other ways so that they may have
the delight of variety in their daily drink. For instance, they might
try, instead of after-dinner coffee, a glass of tea in Russian style,
made weak, filled up with hot water, well sweetened and with a
slice or two of lemon. And as an after-lunch drink, tea in the
Persian manner affords an equally pleasant change. This is brewed
in the Russian style except that the liquid is scented with mint
instead of being made acid with lemon.
Still another pleasant variety is the Egyptian way of placing
perfumed rose-petals in a glass of sugared, weak milkless tea. Tea
with milk should be reserved for the afternoon tea function proper,