The Cathedral doors opened and the young God-King stepped slowly out, supported to the right and left by two abbots. The people bowed in awe. According to strict ceremonial they should prostrate themselves but today there was no room. As he approached they bowed, as a field of corn bends before the wind. No one dared to look up. With measured steps the Dalai Lama began his solemn circuit of the Barkhor. From time to time he stopped before the figures of butter and gazed at them. He was followed by a brilliant retinue of all the high dignitaries and nobles. After them followed the officials in order of precedence. In the procession we recognised our friend Tsarong, who followed close behind the Dalai Lama. Like all the nobles, he carried in his hand a smouldering stick of incense.
The awed crowd kept silent. Only the music of the monks could be heard - the oboes, tubas and kettledrums. It was like a vision of another world, a strangely unreal happening. In the yellow light of the flickering lamps the great figures of moulded butter seemed to come to life. We fancied we saw strange flowers tossing their heads in the breeze and heard the rustling of the robes of gods. The faces of these portentous figures were distorted in a demonic grimace. Then the God raised his hand in blessing.
Now the Living Buddha was approaching. He passed quite close to our window. The women stiffened in a deep obeisance and hardly dared to breathe. The crowd was frozen. The crowd was frozen. Deeply moved we hid ourselves behind the women as if to protect ourselves from being drawn into the magic circle of this Power.
We kept saying to ourselves, It is only a child. A child, indeed, but the heart of the concentrated faith of thousands, the essence of their prayers, longings, hopes. Whether it is Lhasa or Rome - all are united by one wish: to find God and to serve Him. I closed my eyes and hearkened to the murmured prayers and the solemn music and sweet incense rising to the evening sky.
Din Seven Years in Tibet de Heinrich Harrer. Scrisa intr-un stil simplu si lipsit de orice pretentii, cartea este o insiruire a notitelor luate de austriac intr-o tabara de prizonieri de razboi din India, in corturile din par de iac ale nomazilor tibetani in care facea uneori popas pe drumul spre Lhasa si in casa gazdelor sale din sus-numitul oras. Harrer e suficient de modest incat sa nu mentioneze decat in treacat ca a mers sute de kilometri pe jos, de multe ori cu picioarele degerate si infometat, si ca a escaladat trecatorile inghetate din muntii Himalayei. De asemenea, expediaza cu naturalete detalii impresionante, de exemplu faptul ca intr-o singura noapte de mers prin jungla indiana si-a uzat si rupt talpile unor ghete noi; ca a fost cat pe-aci sa fie omorat, impreuna cu tovarasul sau, de banditii de pe platourile tibetane; ca supravietuia mancand carne cruda de oaie si dormea, in plina iarna, sub cerul liber si pe pamantul gol. Ajuns si acceptat in orasul interzis, penduleaza intre admiratia fata de caracterul copilaresc si religiozitatea sincera a tibetanilor - si micile intepaturi cu iz european la adresa unui popor care se impotrivea din rasputeri oricarei forme de progres. In punctul in care am ajuns eu cu lectura, inca nu-l cunoscuse personal pe baietelul Dalai Lama...
Ca nota de subsol, mi-am facut o lista cu locurile pe care mi-ar placea sa le vad, odata. Lista ramane deschisa si, din fericire, nu are limita de timp:
Japonia (in special Kyoto si Osaka)
Valea Loirei si Provence
Vulcanii din Islanda
Alpi (oriunde... doar sa fie vara)
Pesterile glaciare din Slovacia
Loch-urile din Scotia