Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
PREFACE

to bring ill fortune. Then again, besides the main gods, the world according to Hindu belief, which in this respect closely resembles that of the ancient Greeks, is peopled with Asuras (demons), Devkanya (wood-nymphs), Nag-kanya (the serpent-maidens of Patâla), and Gandharwas (a kind of cherubim). The first three of these find a place in the ensuing fairy tales.

The scientific doctrine is that Shiva is the destroyer and Vishnu the preserver of life, and that Brahmadev is the creative spirit. In practice, however, Brahmadev is almost entirely disregarded, while the Hindus worship Shiva, Vishnu, Parwati, or Mahalaxmi just as as they feel inclined, or as the particular sect to which they belong requires them.

Lastly, it must be borne in mind that the Hindu year consists of twelve lunar months. In the Deccan the year begins with Chaitra, corresponding roughly with April. The months then succeed each other in the following order: Vaishak, Jesht, Ashad, Shravan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin, Kartih, Margshish, Paush,

ix