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BODEN PROFESSOR OF SANSKRIT IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.

LONDON:

Wm. H. ALLEN & CO., 13, WATERLOO PLACE, S.W.

Publishers to the India Oflice.

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PREFACE.

THE present volume attempts to supply a want, the

existence of which has been impressed upon my mind by an inquiry often addressed to me as Boden Professor: Is it possible to obtain from any one book a good general idea of the character and contents of Sanskrit literature ?

Its pages are also intended to subserve a further object. They aim at imparting to educated Englishmen, by means of translations and explanations of portions of the sacred and philosophical literature of India, an insight into the mind, habits of thought, and customs of the Hindūs, as well as a correct knowledge of a system of belief and practice which has constantly prevailed for at least three thousand years, and still continues

1 The volume is founded on my official lectures.

Mr. Hurrychund Chintamon (sic for Haricandra Cintāmani), who came from India to be present at the Congress of Orientalists held in London last September, writing to the Times (December 21), in support of Miss Carpenter's efforts to create warmer personal sympathy with the natives of India, says, “ The great difficulty in the way

of an increase of sympathy between Great Britain and India is the want of means of an increase of knowledge—the want of means of a dissipation of mistake. India is not so represented here as to enable Englishmen, however desirous, to form an impartial view. Condemnatory expressions are received with the inherent disposition of humanity to take the bad for granted, without examination. In my own experience among Englishmen I have found no general indifference to India, but rather an eager desire for information ; but I have found a Cimmerian darkness about the manners and habits of my countrymien, an almost poetical description of our customs, and a conception no less wild and startling than the vagaries of Mandeville or Marco Polo concerning our religion.'

161758

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