The Ochre Robe: An Autobiography

The Ochre Robe: An Autobiography

The Ochre Robe: An Autobiography

The Ochre Robe: An Autobiography

Excerpt

Several great men have suggested that a man should write his autobiography at the age of about fifty. As it happens, I am only thirty-seven, but I propose to ignore their advice because I think I have already amassed sufficient material for an interesting autobiography. Sam?karacarya, the founder of my Order, died at the age of thirty-three, but by that time he had gone round India twice on foot, had founded an Order, and four monasteries in the four quarters of the country, which are still pre-eminent centres of that Order, had written about eighty books and dissertations, had restored the Brahmin-Hindu tradition, which had been almost submerged in popular Buddhism, and had safely established his reputation as the leading scholastic philosopher of the Indian Middle Ages. He is said, however, to have renounced the world and become a monk at the tender age of eight years--somewhere about the year A.D. 720.

I am afraid that I have not quite so much to report about myself, though I have published some so tracts so far, and I have travelled even farther than my master, but only once on foot through the length of the country, from North to South. I have not yet founded any monasteries, though I intend to. I also desire to preserve and further the Brahmin-Hindu tradition, though with the addition of other, newer, and possibly more embracing methods. Whether I shall live long enough to do all I want to do is another matter. For example, I happen to be too big and too heavy, and the life of a monk in the tropics is not always conducive to longevity.

The aim of the present work is positive and constructive as well as negative and critical. Even if I were modest and humble --incidentally, neither quality is an essential for an Indian monk--I could not honestly say that my career has been ordinary and uneventful; and as I am neither the one nor the other I shall allow myself to say that my career is by way of being unique. My main object in writing this book is to use my experiences as the basis for a way of life and a way of looking at life; perhaps even a philosophy of life, if we ignore the purely technical meanings of the term. A way of life which may well . . .

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