will become a monk, he said with decision.
Well, I can't advise you about that. But I know someone who can an
old eagle owl, the Abbot of the Himalayan Monastery. He lives far in
the north. I'll take you to him, if you like.
The next morning
they set out, flying together for a long part of the journey. After
a time, as the sun was setting, Sanyal pointed out the eagle owl's
aerie. Go on alone, he said. Tell
him I sent you.
Ajay reached the
snowy crag where the Abbot stood, a huge, awesome Presence,
feathered in gerua and brown and beautiful in grandeur. Standing
before him, Ajay felt tiny, foolish; yet the Abbot's round eyes,
both of which looked straight at him, were not merciless like the
eyes of a raptor. They sought no prey; they needed nothing to feast
on; with profound, unquestioning calm they contemplated the young
osprey who had suddenly appeared. Ajay bowed his head and touched a
black talon with his beak.
sent me, sir, he said.
The Abbot nodded. Your
dinner is waiting for you over there. Go and eat, wash, and then
Ajay did as he was
told. After eating a delicious, freshly caught mountain trout, which
had been nicely laid out for him on an overhanging rock, and then
dipping his feet and beak in an icy stream to cleanse them, he
returned to the aerie and again bowed and touched a talon.