It is possible that some English readers may have given so little attention to Indian subjects, that further preliminary explanations may be needed by them before commencing the perusal of the following pages. For their benefit I have written an Introduction, which I hope will clear the ground sufficiently for all.
Let me now discharge the grateful duty of tendering my respectful thanks to the Governments of India for the patronage and support they have again accorded to my labours. Let me also acknowledge the debt I owe to two eminent Sanskṛitists—Dr. John Muir of Edinburgh, and Professor E. B. Cowell of Cambridge—for their kindness in reading the proof-sheets of the present series of lectures. These scholars must not, however, be held responsible for any novel theories propounded by me. In many cases I have modified my statements in accordance with their suggestions, yet in some instances, in order to preserve the individuality of my own researches, I have preferred to take an independent line of my own. Learned Orientalists in Europe and India who are able adequately to appreciate the difficulty of the task I have attempted will look on my errors with a lenient eye. As I shall welcome their criticisms with gratitude, so I shall also hope for their encouragement; for, often as I have advanced in my investigations, and have found an apparently interminable horizon opening out before me, I have felt like a foolhardy man seeking to cross an impassable ocean in a fragile coracle, and so have applied to myself the well-known words of the great Sanskṛit poet:—
Titīrshur dustaram mohād uḍupenāsmi sāgaram.