The Summit Within: Class 8th NCERT English

The Summit Within



This story is experiences of Major H.P.S. Ahluwalia, a member of the first successful Indian expedition to Mount Everest. Ahluwalia was full of humility when he stood on the summit of Everest. He thanked God for his physical success. It was the highest of the goals for him. While getting down from the Summit he asked himself why he climbed Everest and what made him to do so.

The people climb mountains because they present great difficulties. Man takes delight in overcoming obstacles. A climb to a summit means the demonstration of climber’s endurance, Persistence and will power. Since childhood, the narrator has been attracted by mountains. For him mountains are nature at its best. They have a challenging beauty and majesty. They are a means of communion with God. Everest is the highest and the mightiest and has defied many previous attempts. On climbing its summit, one has the sense of victory and of happiness. Its view brings a spiritual change in his mind. It poses a challenge before him which was difficult to resist. One feels connected with the supernatural element on reaching the Summit. One becomes conscious of his own smallness in this large Universe. It provides physical, emotional and spiritual fulfillment.

Climbing a mountain is a highly risky job and needs others’ help also. The fellow climbers prove to be a source of inspiration. They remember their Gods to feel confident. It is far more difficult to climb the summit within oneself than to climb the summit of a mountain. One can get a fuller knowledge of oneself merely by climbing one’s personal and internal mountain peak. It is fearful and unscalable like the climb to the summit of a mountain. Both the climbs teach one much about the world and about oneself. The internal summits are much Higher than Everest. The climber gets the inspiration to face life’s ordeals with determination.


Q1. Standing on Everest, the writer was

(i) Overjoyed.

(ii) Very sad.

(iii) Jubilant and sad.

Choose the right item.

Ans. (iii) He was jubilant because of reaching the highest peak in the world and was sad because he had had to go down to reach the real world.


Q2. The emotion that gripped him was one of

(i) Victory over hurdles.

(ii) Humility and a sense of smallness.

(iii) Greatness and self importance.

(iv) Joy of discovery.

Choose the right item.

Ans. (ii) Anybody can get overawed by the sheer scale of nature’s creation and feels so small in front of it.


Q3. “The summit of the mind” refers to

(i) Great intellectual achievements.

(ii) The process of maturing mentally and spiritually.

(iii) Overcoming personal ambition for common welfare.

(iv) Living in the world of thought and imagination.

(v) The triumph of mind over worldly pleasures for a noble cause.

(vi) A fuller knowledge of oneself.

Mark the item(s) not relevant.

Ans. (i), (iii), (iv) and (v) are not relevant.


Q4. What are the three qualities that played a major role in the author’s climb?

 Ans. Endurance, persistence and will power are the three qualities that played a major role in the author’s climb.


Q5.  Why is adventure, which is risky, also pleasurable?

 Ans. Adventure is risky, but pleasurable. Though it presents great difficulties, man takes delight in overcoming such hurdles. Everest is the highest, the mightiest, and many attempts have been made to climb it. According to the author, when the summit is climbed, there is the feeling of “exhilaration, the joy of having done something, the sense of a battle fought and won”. There is a feeling of victory and of happiness. The physical conquest of a mountain is only one part of the achievement. It is followed by a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. The experience is not merely physical, but it is emotional and spiritual also.


Q6. What was it about Mount Everest that the author found irresistible?

 Ans. Everest is one of the highest and mightiest mountains drew him towards itself by its beauty, aloofness, ruggedness and the difficulties encountered on the way. Climbing it, would take the last ounce of one’s energy as it is a brutal struggle with rock and ice. Once taken up, it cannot be given up half way even when one’s life is at stake. The passage back is as difficult as the passage onwards. Once the summit is climbed however there are a feeling of exhilaration, the joy of having done something, the sense of a battle fought and won, a feeling of victory and of happiness. All these were reasons why he found it irresistible.


Q7. One does not do it (climb a high peak) for fame alone. What does one do it for, really?

 Ans. Climbing a peak means endurance, persistence and will power. The demonstration of these physical qualities is exhilarating for a climber. The experience, apart from being merely physical, is also emotional and spiritual. It surely presents great difficulties. However, man takes delight in overcoming obstacles. Therefore, it is not for fame alone that one climbs a mountain. It is actually for the joy of having done something, the sense of a battle fought and won, a feeling of victory and of happiness. There is a sense of fulfillment, the satisfaction of a deep urge to rise above ones surroundings, the eternal love for adventure in man.


Q8. “He becomes conscious in a special manner of his own smallness in this large universe.” This awareness defines an emotion mentioned in the first paragraph. Which is the emotion?

 Ans. “He becomes conscious in a special manner of his own smallness in this large universe.” This awareness defines the emotion of humility.


Q9. What were the “symbols of reverence” left by members of the team on Everest?

 Ans. On Everest, a picture of Guru Nanak was left by the author; a picture of Goddess Durga was left by Rawat; a relic of the Buddha was left by Phu Dorji. Apart from these ‘symbols of reverence’ there was also the cross that had been buried by Edmund Hillary.


Q10. What, according to the writer, did his experience as an Everester teach him?

 Ans. According to the writer, his experience as an Everester provided him with the inspiration to face life’s ordeals determinedly. It taught him that the conquest of the internal summit is as worthwhile as climbing the mountain. He also concluded that perhaps the internal summits are higher than Everest.


  1. Write a sentence against each of the following statements. Your sentence should explain the statement. You can pick out sentences from the text and rewrite them. The first one has been done for you.


(i) The experience changes you completely.

 One who has been to the mountains is never the same again.

 Ans. (ii) Man takes delight in overcoming obstacles.

 The demonstration of endurance, persistence and will power in overcoming great difficulties is delightful.


(iii) Mountains are nature at its best.

 The beauty and majesty of the mountains pose a great challenge for a climber and they are a means of communion with God.


(iv) The going was difficult but the after-effects were satisfying.

 Climbing the mountains was difficult, but reaching the summit gives one a feeling of satisfaction and deep fulfillment.


(v) The physical conquest of a mountain is really a spiritual experience.

 The physical act of climbing to the summit of a mountain is similar to the act of climbing the mountain within yourselves which is a spiritual and deeply satisfying experience and either climb will certainly change you giving you a sense of being in communion with God. 


Working with Language


Fill in the blanks in the following dialogues choosing suitable phrases from those given in the box.


at hand   at once   at all   at a low ebb   at first sight


Ans. (i) Teacher: You were away from school without permission. Go to the principal at once and submit your explanation.

Pupil: Yes, Madam. But would you help me write it first?


(ii) Arun: Are you unwell?

Ila: No, not at all. Why do you ask?

Arun: If you were unwell, I would send you to my uncle. He is a doctor.


(iii) Mary: Almost every Indian film has an episode of love at first sight.

David: Is that what makes them so popular in foreign countries?


(iv) Asif: You look depressed. Why are your spirits at such a low ebb today? (Use such in the phrase)

Ashok: I have to write ten sentences using words that I never heard before.


(v) Shieba: Your big moment is close at hand.

Jyoti: How should I welcome it?

Shieba: Get up and receive the trophy.

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