Mx primary object in this volume, as in its predecessof, has been to produce a work which may assist the researches of those Hindus who desire to investigate critically the origin and history of their nation, and of their national literature, religion, and institutions; and may facilitate the operations of those European teachers whose business it is to communicate to the Hindus the results of modem inquiry on the various subjects here examined. The hook (as will at once be apparent to the Oriental scholar) is, for the most part, either a compilation, or, at the least, founded on the labours of others; but while my principal aim has been to furnish the reader with a summary of the results of preceding inquiries, my plan has, at the same time, rendered it necessary for me occasionally to institute fresh researches in different directions for the further elucidation of particular points which were touched upon in the course 1T his Preface is now reprinted with hardly any alteration, excepting such as has been rendered necessary by the difference in the numbers of the pages in which the several topics are treated, and by some additions and omissions. This peculiarity in the object of the treatise will account to the European scholar for the introduction of many details which would otherwise have been quite superfluous.
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