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From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan   By: (1831-1891)

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By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Translated From The Russian

Translator's Preface

"You must remember," said Mme. Blavatsky, "that I never meant this for a scientific work. My letters to the Russian Messenger, under the general title: 'From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan,' were written in leisure moments, more for amusement than with any serious design.

"Broadly speaking, the facts and incidents are true; but I have freely availed myself of an author's privilege to group, colour, and dramatize them, whenever this seemed necessary to the full artistic effect; though, as I say, much of the book is exactly true, l would rather claim kindly judgment for it, as a romance of travel, than incur the critical risks that haunt an avowedly serious work."

To this caution of the author's, the translator must add another; these letters, as Mme Blavatsky says, were written in leisure moments, during 1879 and 1880, for the pages of the Russki Vyestnik, then edited by M. Katkoff. Mme. Blavatsky's manuscript was often incorrect; often obscure. The Russian compositors, though they did their best to render faithfully the Indian names and places, often produced, through their ignorance of Oriental tongues, forms which are strange, and sometimes unrecognizable. The proof sheets were never corrected by the author, who was then in India; and, in consequence, it has been impossible to restore all the local and personal names to their proper form.

A similar difficulty has arisen with reference to quotations and cited authorities, all of which have gone through a double process of refraction: first into Russian, then into English. The translator, also a Russian, and far from perfectly acquainted with English, cannot claim to possess the erudition necessary to verify and restore the many quotations to verbal accuracy; all that is hoped is that, by a careful rendering, the correct sense has been preserved.

The translator begs the indulgence of English readers for all imperfections of style and language; in the words of the Sanskrit proverb: "Who is to be blamed, if success be not reached after due effort?"

The translator's best thanks are due to Mr. John C. Staples, for valuable help in the early chapters. London, July, 1892


In Bombay On the Way to Karli In the Karli Caves Vanished Glories A City of the Dead Brahmanic Hospitalities A Witch's Den God's Warrior The Banns of Marriage The Caves of Bagh An Isle of Mystery Jubblepore


In Bombay

Late in the evening of the sixteenth of February, 1879, after a rough voyage which lasted thirty two days, joyful exclamations were heard everywhere on deck. "Have you seen the lighthouse?" "There it is at last, the Bombay lighthouse."

Cards, books, music, everything was forgotten. Everyone rushed on deck. The moon had not risen as yet, and, in spite of the starry tropical sky, it was quite dark. The stars were so bright that, at first, it seemed hardly possible to distinguish, far away amongst them, a small fiery point lit by earthly hands. The stars winked at us like so many huge eyes in the black sky, on one side of which shone the Southern Cross. At last we distinguished the lighthouse on the distant horizon. It was nothing but a tiny fiery point diving in the phosphorescent waves. The tired travellers greeted it warmly. The rejoicing was general.

What a glorious daybreak followed this dark night! The sea no longer tossed our ship. Under the skilled guidance of the pilot, who had just arrived, and whose bronze form was so sharply defined against the pale sky, our steamer, breathing heavily with its broken machinery, slipped over the quiet, transparent waters of the Indian Ocean straight to the harbour. We were only four miles from Bombay, and, to us, who had trembled with cold only a few weeks ago in the Bay of Biscay, which has been so glorified by many poets and so heartily cursed by all sailors, our surroundings simply seemed a magical dream... Continue reading book >>

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