With lucidly-written accounts of varying length, this dictionary attempts to unfold all that anyone would want to know about Vedic / post-Vedic/ Classical India: Its religions, mythology pantheon / Legendary personages, schools of philosophy, sacred and secular texts, arts, antiquities, a sciences, geography, rituals, customs and the like and, these besides English equivalents / definitions of myriad Indic, largely Sanskrit, terms. For its sheer authenticity, the late John Garrett has drawn on a whole line-up of eminent orient lists: from Max Muller to Monier Williams, from H.H. Wilson to John Muir. No wonder, the author, himself a celebrated scholar, invested over two-decade-long effort to compile this reliable, neatly exhaustive classical dictionary.
For well over a hundred years, Garrett’s work has been recognized as a classic in its own right. Now reaching it out afresh to the present-day international scholarship, This edition has been recomposed in its entirety. And its lay-out as well has been improved in certain user-friendly ways. And introduced here, for the first time, are standard diacritical marks to help readers comprehend the transliteration of Indic sounds.
As ever, it remains an unfailing companion of researchers, scholars and general readers, involved with Ideological studies.
No Student of India Literature, whether he has studied it I its ancient classic tongue, the Sanskrit, in which its earliest and most original works are written; or has derived his acquaintance with it from the scantier range of some modern Indian vernacular, but has felt the difficulties that arise from the frequent mention of mythical personages, places, and objects whose very names are so utterly unknown to him that he often even fails to recognize that they are proper names ( Oriental characters having no capital letters to indicate this) while of the facts concerning them he has little or no means of information. Hence he has to trust to such information as he can obtain from his Munsi-information mostly very imperfect and often quite incorrect. The course of many years’s reading gives the des9ired knowledge, but it is acquired at the cost of much time, labor, research – nearly all of which might be saved did any such work exist for the Indian student, as the classical learner has long had in his ‘Lempriere’, and now has in the well-known and far superior dictionaries of Dr. William Smith.
The Universities in India have placed the Sanskrit and some of the vernacular languages, in the same position as the universities of Europe have assigned to the languages of ancient Greece and Rome. A Knowledge of ancient Hindu Literature is therefore now necessary to the attainment of university honors. At present there is no work in existence in the form of classical dictionary, designed to afford direct aid to a student in acquiring knowledge of the Mythology and Antiquities of India.
To supply in some measure these wants is the object of the present work. It contains an account of all the Hindu deities, and all the mythical personages and objects, that are likely to be met with in the study of Hindu Literature, whether Sanskrit or vernacular. The various terms of Brahman cal and Buddhist cal theology and ritual, and of the school of Indian philosophy, will be found briefly explained. Such information as can be obtained on the subject of ancient Indian Geography has been given. It may be thought that many names of comparatively obscure persons and places have been included. But the Hindus attach great importance to their genealogical lists, and the present work was intended to contain every name occurring in their ancient books, though nothing is recorded of them but the line or family of importance have been omitted; but this is only what might be expected in the first edition of a book of this nature.
The work was commenced about twenty years ago, and most of the legends were at first taken from the vernacular writings current in southern India; but when the valuable work of Dr. John Muir, came under the writer’s notice, he felt it his duty to exclude all the traditionary and imperfect accounts previously collected, and to substitute for them extracted from the authentic writings of the Hindus, which alone can furnish a reliable knowledge of their religion, mythology and historical tradition. As however the materials of the work have been picked up at intervals, and put together as opportunities occurred, it is possible that the critical reader will discover many defect; thought it is doubtless very much more trustworthy than it could have been had it been published before the appearance of Dr. Muir’s Volumes
The Writer has also been greatly indebted to professor wilson’s translation of the Vishnu Purana, as well as to the essays on Sanskrit Literature, and on the religion of the Hindus, of the same distinguished scholar. The editions of the Mahabharata and Ramayana published by Mr. Talboys wheeler, have also been laid under contribution. The Poetical translation of the Ramayana by Mr. Griffith, professor of Sanskrit at the Benares college, the Idylls from the Sanskrit, and scenes from the Ramayana by the same author, have served to enrich and enliven the volume with many passages of great beauty while Mr. Griffith own Notes, and others selected by him from Schlegel, Gorresio and other, have thrown light on several difficult point.
Professor Max Muller’s History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature, and his chips from a German Workshop, have supplied much information, and many extracts of great value have been taken from those works. The articles on Hinduism contributed by professor gold stocker to the English Cyclopaedia, and more especially to Chamber’s Encyclopaidia, and the few parts of the Sanskrit Dictionary issued by the same learned author, have given to the world the fruits of great research and the writer has availed himself of much new matter in the above publication.
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