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MINOR AVATARS, AND THE MYTHOLOGICAL AND RELIGIOUS TERMS, &c. &c.

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L ON DO N :
PARBURY, ALLEN, AND CO., LEADENHALL STREET.

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IN presenting the following pages to the Public, I have to acknowledge my obligations to the distinguished and intelligent writers on oriental subjects, from whose works I have derived very extensive and valuable assistance in the first part of this book, and have compiled the larger portion of the second.

It has been frequently observed by those who have been acquainted with India, that although almost the whole of the wide extent of country from the southern coasts of Ceylon to the snowy range of the Himalaya mountains, and from the confines of China to the shores of Guzerat has, within the last century, come under the dominion of Great Britain, there is scarcely a spot in the civilized world so incorrectly known to the British community in general as India. Tales of romance have beguiled the ardent imaginations of youth, and tales no less fictitious and delusive have misled the more ripened and sober judgment of manhood: for, with the general or local his– tories of the nations and tribes of Hindustan; the positions of the several states in regard to each other; the varieties in the people: or with their religion, their customs, or their manners, even the

well-informed parts of European society have been almost as little

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