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xii
PREFACE.

corrections than I could give the proofs; and I have, therefore, to avoid the risk of misleading, altogether refrained from the attempt.

It might be becoming were I to offer some apology for the presumption so apparent in my undertaking, and for my conscious comparative incompetence in executing it. Such apology, however in unison with my feelings, might afford an excuse for not publishing at all, but would be insufficient for publishing, if it prove so, a bad book; and I shall urge it no farther than to avail myself of the opportunity of stating, that having been accustomed to an active life, I arranged the materials of this work, during an undesired abundance of leisure, for the sake of the employment it yielded; and in the pleasing hope that my friends and the public will not be altogether disappointed. I assure my Reader, that I have done my best; and wish, more earnestly than he can, that it were in my power to offer him a book more worthy of his favourable notice.

The Frontispiece to this work is taken from a brass cast of Ganesa, the Hindu God of Prudence and Policy, generally invoked at the commencement of all undertakings, whether of a literary or other description, as is more particularly explained in page 169, and in other pages referred to in the Index. The sacred and mystical character seen encircled by a serpent over his head, is the holy monosyllable A U M, or 0' M—see page 410, and Index. Above the plate is Sri Ganesa, in Sanskrit characters, from Mr. Wilkins's masterly pen; as is also the Sanskrit in the title-page—Sri sarva Déva Sabba'—the Court of all the holy Gods.

It was my intention to have interspersed the plates among the pages, and facing those wherein the plates are more partivularly described, an arrangement adverted to in some passages:—but, on the completion of the work, I found it inconvenient; for plates are referred to from many pages, and placing them at the end was found preferable in several respects, and has been adopted.