HPB-Caves-5

From Teopedia library
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Letter V[1]

It is hardly 25 years since, for the first time, a white man ascended Mataran, a huge mass of various kinds of trap rock[2], for the most part crystalline in form. Though quite near to Bombay, and only a few miles from Khandala (the summer residence of the Europeans) the threatening heights of this giant were long considered inaccessible. On the north, its smooth, almost vertical face rises 2,450 feet over the valley of the river Pen, and, further on, numberless separate rocks and hillocks, covered with thick coniferous forest, and divided by valleys and precipices, rise up to the clouds. In 1854, the railway pierced one of the sides of Mataran, and now has reached the foot of the last mountain, stopping at Narel, where, not long ago, there was nothing but a precipice. From Narel to the upper plateau is but 8 miles, which you may travel on a pony, or in a closed or open palanquin, as you choose. Considering that we arrived at Narel about six in the evening, this latter choice was a bit of inconvenience: civilization has done much with inanimate nature, but, in spite of all its despotism, it has not yet been able to conquer tigers and snakes. Tigers, no doubt, are banished to the more remote jungles, but all kinds of snakes, especially cobras and coralillos, which last by preference inhabit trees, still abound in the forests of Mataran as in days of old, and wage a regular guerilla warfare[3] against the invaders. Woe betide the belated pedestrian, or even horseman, if he happens to pass under a tree which forms the ambuscade of a coralillo snake! Cobras and other kinds of ground reptiles seldom attack men, and will generally try to avoid them, unless accidentally trodden upon, but these guerilleros of the forest, the tree serpents, lie in wait for their victims. As soon as the head of a man comes under the branch which shelters this enemy of man, coiling its tail round the branch, dives down into space with all the length of is body, and strikes with its fangs at the man's forehead. This curious fact was long considered to be a mere fable, but it has now been verified, and belongs to the natural history of India. In these cases the natives see in the snake the envoy of Death, the fulfiller of the will of the bloodthirsty Kali, the spouse of Shiva.

But evening, after the scorchingly hot day, was so tempting, and held out to us from the distance such promise of delicious coolness, that we decided upon risking our fate. In the heart of this wondrous nature one longs to shake off earthly chains, and unite oneself with the boundless life, so that death itself has its attractions in India.

Besides, the full moon was about to rise at eight p.m. Three hours' ascent of the mountain, on such a moonlit, tropical night as would tax the descriptive powers of the greatest artists, was worth any sacrifice. Public opinion begins to name aloud our own V. V. Vereshtchagin[4] among the few artists who was able to fix upon canvas the subtle charm of a moonlit night in India...

Having dined hurriedly in the dak bungalow (post station) we demanded for our sedan chairs, and, drawing our roof-like topees over our eyes, we started at 8 p.m. Eight coolies, clad, as usual, in “vine-leaves” made of rag, took possession of each chair and hurried up the mountain, uttering the shrieks and yells no true Hindu can dispense with. Each chair was accompanied besides by a relay of eight more porters. So we were sixty-four, without counting the Hindus on horseback and their servants – an army sufficient to frighten any stray leopard or jungle tiger, in fact any animal, except our fearless “cousins” on the side of our great-grandfather Hanuman. As soon as we turned into a thicket at the foot of the Mountain, several dozens of these kinsmen joined our procession. Thanks to the achievements of Rama's ally, monkeys are sacred in India, almost untouchable. The Government, emulating the earlier wisdom of the East India Company, forbids everyone to molest them, not only when met with in the forests, which in all justice belong to them, but even when they invade the city gardens. Leaping from one branch to another, chattering like magpies, and making the most formidable grimaces, they followed us almost all the way, like so many midnight kikimoras[5]. Sometimes they hung on the trees in full moonlight, like rusalkas[6]; sometimes they preceded us, awaiting our arrival at the turns of the road as if showing us the way. They never left us. One monkey babe fell down on my knees. In a moment his mother, jumping without any ceremony over the coolies' shoulders, came to his rescue, hitched him to her chest, and, after making the most ungodly grimace at me... ran away at once.

“Bandras (monkeys) bring luck with their presence,” remarked one of the Hindus, as if to console me for the loss of my crumpled topee. “Besides,” he added, “seeing them here we may be sure that there is not a single tiger for ten miles [16.09 km] round...”

Higher and higher we ascended by the steep winding path, and the forest grew perceptibly thicker, darker, and more impenetrable... Some of the thickets were as dark as graves. Passing under hundred-year-old banyans it was impossible to distinguish one's own finger at the distance of two vershoks [8.89 cm, 3.5 in]. It seemed to me that in certain places it would not be possible to advance without feeling our way, but our coolies never made a false step, but hastened onwards. Not one of us uttered a word. It was as if we had agreed to be silent at these moments. We felt as though wrapped in the heavy veil of darkness, and no sound was heard but the short, irregular breathing of the porters, and the cadence of their quick, nervous footsteps upon the stony soil of the path... One felt sick at heart and ashamed of belonging to that human race, one part of which makes of the other mere beasts of burden. These poor wretches are paid for their work 4 annas[7] a day all the year round. Four annas, which is less then 8 kopeykas[8], for going 8 miles [12.87 km] upwards and eight miles downwards not less than twice a day; altogether 32 miles [51.5 km] up and down a mountain 1,500 feet [457.2 m] high, carrying a burden of 6 poods [98.28 kg, 216.66 pounds]!.. However, India is a country where everything is adjusted to never changing customs, and 4 annas a day is a fair wage for any kind of labor. Call a skilled day laborer-jeweler, and he will sit with his legs tucked up beneath him, without any tools other than tongs and a tiny iron stove, and will create for you, out of your gold and according to the given drawing, an ornament worthy workshop of fairies. For this, that is, for 10 hours of work, he will ask 4 annas...

Gradually open spaces and glades became more frequent and the light grew as intense as by day. Millions of grasshoppers were shrilling in the forest, filling the air with a metallic throbbing, which reminds the buzz of harmonica; owls cackled and flocks of frightened parrots rushed from tree to tree. Sometimes the thundering, prolonged roars of tigers rose from the bottom of the precipices thickly covered with all kinds of vegetation. Shikaris (hunters) assure us that, on a quiet night, the roaring of these beasts can be heard for many miles around. The panorama, lit up, as if by Bengal fires, changed at every turn. Rivers, fields, forests, and rocks, spread out at our feet over an enormous distance, moved and trembled, iridescent, in the silvery moonlight, like the tides of a mirage... The fantastic character of the pictures made us hold our breath. Our heads grew giddy if, by chance, we glanced down into the depths of 2,000 feet [609.6 m] as it seemed in the deceptive moonlight; and the precipice was fascinating us... One of our fellow travelers (American), who had begun the voyage on horseback, had to dismount, afraid of being unable to resist the temptation to dive head foremost into the abyss.

Several times we met with lonely pedestrians, men and even young women, coming down Mataran on their way home after a day's work. It often happens that some of them never reach home. The police unconcernedly report that the missing man has been carried off by a tiger, or killed by a snake. All is said, and he is soon entirely forgotten. One person, more or less, out of the 240 millions who inhabit India does not matter much! But there exists a very strange superstition amoung the Deccan nations grouped around this mysterious, and only partially explored, mountain. The natives assert that, in spite of the considerable number of victims, there has never been found a single skeleton. The corpse, whether intact or mangled by tigers, is immediately carried away by the monkeys, who, in the latter case, gather the scattered bones, and bury them skillfully in deep holes, that no traces ever remain. Englishmen laugh at this superstition, but the police do not deny the fact of the entire disappearance of the bodies. When the sides of the mountain were excavated, in the course of the construction of the railway, separate bones, with the marks of tigers' teeth upon them, broken bracelets, and other adornments, were found at an incredible depth from the surface. The fact of these things being broken showed clearly that they were not buried by men, because, neither the religion of the Hindus, nor their greed, would allow them to break and bury silver and gold... Is it possible, then, that, as amongst men one hand washes the other, so in the animal kingdom one species conceals the crimes of another?

Having spent the night in a Portuguese inn, woven like an eagle's nest out of bamboos, and clinging to the almost vertical side of a rock, we rose at daybreak, and, having visited all the points de vue[9] famed for their beauty, made our preparations to go back. By daylight the panorama was still more splendid than by night; volumes would not suffice to describe it. Had it not been that on three sides the horizon was shut out by rugged ridges of mountain, the whole of the Deccan plateau would have appeared before our eyes. Bombay was so distinct that it seemed quite near to us, and the firth that separates the town from Salsetta shone like a tiny silvery streak. It winds like a snake on its way to the port, surrounding Kanari and other islets, which look the very image of green peas scattered on the white cloth of its bright waters, and, finally, joins the blinding line of the Indian Ocean in the extreme distance. On the outer side is the northern Konkan, terminated by the Tal-Ghats, the needle-like summits of the Jano-Maoli rocks, and, lastly, the battlemented ridge of Funell, whose bold silhouette stands out in strong relief against the distant blue of the dim sky, like a giant's castle in some fairy tale. Further on looms Parbul, whose flat summit, in the days of old, was the seat of the gods, whence, according to the legends, Vishnu spoke to mortals. And there below, where the defile widens into a valley, all covered with huge separate rocks, each of which is crowded with historical and mythological legends, you may perceive the dim blue ridge of mountains, still loftier and still more strangely shaped. That is Khandala, which is overhung by a huge stone block, known by the name of the Duke's Nose. On the opposite side, under the very summit of the mountain, is situated Karli or Koorli, which, according to the opinion of archeologists, is the most ancient and best preserved of Indian cave temples.

One who has traversed the passes of the Caucasus again and again; one who, from the top of the Cross Mountain, has beheld beneath one’s feet thunderstorms and lightnings; who has visited the Alps and the Rigi; who is well acquainted with the Andes and Cordilleras, and knows every corner of the Catskills in America, may be allowed, I hope, the expression of a humble opinion. The Caucasian Mountains, I do not deny, are more majestic than Ghats of India, and their splendour cannot be dimmed by comparison with these; but their beauty is of a type, if I may use this expression. At their sight one experiences true delight, but at the same time a sensation of awe. One feels like a pigmy before these Titans of nature. But in India, the Himalayas excepted, mountains produce quite a different impression. The highest summits of the Deccan, as well as of the triangular ridge that fringes Northern Hindustan, and of the Eastern Ghats, do not exceed 3,000 feet [914.4 m]. Only in the Ghats of the Malabar coast, from Cape Comorin to the river Surat, are there heights of 7,000 feet [2133.6 m] above the surface of the sea. So that no comparison can be drawn between these and the hoary headed patriarch Elbrus, or Kazbek, which exceeds 15-16 thousands feet [4,572 – 4,876.8 m].[10] The chief and original charm of Indian mountains wonderfully consists in their capricious shapes. Sometimes these mountains, or, rather, separate volcanic peaks standing in a row, form chains; but it is more common to find them scattered, to the great perplexity of geologists, without visible cause, in places where the formation seems quite unsuitable. Spacious valleys, surrounded by high walls of rock, over the very ridge of which passes the railway, are common. Look below, and it will seem to you that you are gazing upon the studio of some whimsical Titanic sculptor, filled with half finished groups, statues, and monuments... Here is an dream-land bird, seated upon the head of a monster 600 feet [182.88 m] high, spreading its wings and widely gaping its dragon's mouth; by its side the bust of a man, surmounted by a helmet, battlemented like the walls of a feudal castle; there, again, new monsters devouring each other, statues with broken limbs, disorderly heaps of huge balls, lonely fortresses with loopholes[11], ruined towers and bridges. All this scattered and intermixed with shapes changing incessantly like the dreams of delirium... And the chief attraction is that nothing here is the result of art, everything is the pure sport of Nature, which, however, has occasionally been turned to account by ancient builders. The art of man in India is to be sought in the interior of the earth, not on its surface. Ancient Hindus seldom built their temples otherwise than in the bosom of the earth, as though they were ashamed of their efforts, or did not dare to rival the sculpture of nature. Having chosen, for instance, a pyramidal rock, or a cupola shaped hillock like Elephanta, or Karli, they scraped away inside, according to the Puranas, for centuries, planning on so grand a style that no modern architecture has been able to conceive anything to equal it. Fables (?) about the Cyclops seem even truer in India than in Egypt.

The marvellous railroad from Narel to Khandala reminds one of a similar line from Genoa up the Apenines. One may be said to travel in the air, not on land. The railway traverses a region 1,400 feet [426.72 m] above Konkan, and, in some places, while one rail is laid on the sharp edge of the rock, the other is supported on vaults of arches. The Mali Khindi viaduct is 163 feet [49.68 m] high. For two hours we flew between sky and earth, with abysses on both sides thickly covered with flowering mango trees and bananas. Truly English engineers are wonderful builders.

The pass of Bhor Ghat is safely accomplished and we are in Khandala. Our bungalow here is built on the very edge of a ravine, which nature herself has carefully concealed under a cover of the most luxuriant vegetation. Everything is in blossom, and, in this unfathomed recess, a botanist might find sufficient material to occupy him for a lifetime. Palms have disappeared; for the most part they grow only near the sea. Here they are replaced by bananas, mango trees, pipals (ficus religiosa), fig trees, and thousands of other trees and shrubs, unknown to such outsiders as ourselves. The Indian flora is too often slandered and misrepresented as being full of beautiful, but scentless, flowers. At some seasons this may be true enough, but, as long as jasmines, the various balsams, white tuberoses, and golden champa[12] – the king amoung all blooming trees, because the size of the flowers – are in blossom, this statement is far from being true. The head may spin only from the smell of champa, which usually grows in mountainous areas and bloom like aloe once every hundred years; and this year hundreds of such trees were in bloom in Matheran and Khandala.

Sitting that evening on the hotel veranda over the precipice and involuntarily admiring the views around us, we were talking almost until midnight. An Englishman, an old retired captain, joined us, noticing that we did not make any difference in our treatment between him and the Hindus and do not sing him to the skies as a representative of the “higher race,” coldly bowed and left. Everything around us was asleep, and we were left alone with our companions, who spoke English no worse than any Oxford professor.

Khandala is nothing but a big village, built on the flat top of one of the mountains of the Sahyadri range, about 2,200 feet [670.56 m] above the sea level. It is surrounded by isolated peaks, as strange in shape as any we have seen. One of them, straight before us, on the opposite side of the abyss, looked exactly like a long, one-storied building, with a flat roof and a battlemented parapet. The Hindus assert that, somewhere about this hillock, there exists a secret entrance, leading into vast interior halls, in fact to a whole subterranean palace, and that there still exist people who possess the secret of this abode. A holy hermit, Yogi, and Magus, who had inhabited these caves for many centuries, imparted this secret to Shivaji[13], the celebrated leader of the Mahratta armies. Like Tannhauser, in Wagner's opera, the unconquerable Shivaji spent seven years of his youth in this mysterious abode, and therein acquired his extraordinary strength and valour.

Shivaji is kind of Ilya Muromets[14] of Deccan. He was the hero and the king of the Mahrattas in the seventeenth century, and the founder of their short-lived empire. It is to him that India owes the weakening, if not the entire destruction, of the Mussulman yoke. No taller than an ordinary woman, and with the hand of a child, he was, nevertheless, possessed of wonderful strength, which, of course, his compatriots ascribed to sorcery. His sword is still preserved in a museum, and one cannot help wondering at its size and weight, and at the hilt, through which only a ten-year-old child could put his hand. The basis of this hero's fame is the fact that he, the son of a poor officer in the service of a Mogul emperor, like another David, slew the Mussulman Goliath – Afzul Khan. It was not, however, with a sling that he killed him, he used in this combat the formidable Mahratti weapon, vaghnakh, consisting of five long steel nails, as sharp as needles, and very strong. This weapon is worn on the right hand fingers, and street fighters use it to tear each other's flesh like wild animals. The Deccan is full of legends about Shivaji, and even the English historians mention him with respect. Just as in the fable respecting Charles V, one of the local Indian traditions asserts that Shivaji is not dead, but lives secreted in one of the Sahyadri caves. When the fateful hour strikes (and according to the calculations of the astrologers the time is not far off) he will reappear, and will bring freedom to his beloved country.

The learned and artful Brahmins, those Jesuits of India, profit by the profound superstition of the masses to extort wealth from them, sometimes to the last cow, the only food giver of several families. In the following passage I give a curious example of this, which had happened just a couple of months ago. At the end of July, 1879, this mysterious document appeared in Bombay and circulated from hand to hand. I translate literally, from the Mahratti:[15]

“Shri!” (an untranslatable greeting).

“Let it be known unto every one that this epistle, traced in the original in golden letters, came down from Indra-loka (the heaven of Indra), in the presence of holy Brahmins, on the altar of the Vishveshvara temple, which is in the sacred town of Benares.

“Listen and remember, O tribes of Hindustan, Rajasthan, Punjab, etc., etc. On Saturday, the second day of the first half of the month Magha[16], the year 1809 of Shalivahan's era (1887 A.D.), exactly eight years later, during the Ashwini Nakshatra[17], when the sun enters the sign Capricorn, and the time of the day will be near the constellation Pisces, that is to say, exactly one hour and 36 minutes after sunrise, the hour of the end of the Kali Yuga will strike, and the much desired Satya Yuga will commence.[18] This time Satya Yuga will last 1,100 years. During all this time a man's lifetime will be 128 years. The days will become longer and will consist of 20 hours and 48 minutes, and the nights of 13 hours and 12 minutes, that is to say, instead of twenty-four hours we shall have exactly 34 hours and 1 minute. The first day of Satya Yuga will be very important for us, because it is then that will appear to us our new King with white face and golden hair, who will come from the far North. He will become the autonomous Lord of India. The maya (illusion) of human unbelief, with all the heresies over which it presides, will be thrown down to Patala[19], and the maya of the righteous and pious will abide with them, and will help them to enjoy life in Mretin Loka[20]. Let it also be known to all and everyone that, for the dissemination of this divine document, every separate copy of it will be rewarded by the forgiveness of as many sins as are generally forgiven when a pious man sacrifices to a Brahman one hundred cows. As for the disbelievers and the indifferent, they will be sent to Naraka (hell).

“Copied out and given, by the slave of Vishnu, Malau Shriram, in Vishveshvara temple in Benares, on Saturday, the 7th day of the first half of Shravan[21], year of 1801, of Shalivalian's era...” (that is, 26th of July, 1879).

The further career of this ignorant and cunning epistle is not known to me. Did the police put a stop to its distribution or not – this only concerns the wise governors. But it splendidly illustrates, from one side, the credulity of the populace, drowned in superstition, and from the other the unscrupulousness of the Brahmins, abusing their congregation.

Concerning the word Patala, which literally means the opposite side, a recent discovery of Swami Dayananda Saraswati (whom I have already mentioned in the second letter) is interesting, especially if this discovery can be accepted by philologists[22], as the facts seem to promise. Dayananda shows that the ancient Aryans knew, and even visited America, which in ancient scriptures is called Patala, and out of which popular fancy constructed, in the course of time, something like the Greek ἀϊδής [Hades]. He supports his theory by many quotations from the oldest scriptures, especially from the legends about Krishna and his favourite disciple Arjuna. In the history of the latter it is mentioned that Arjuna, one of the five Pandavas, descendants of the moon dynasty, visited Patala on his travels, and there married the widowed daughter of King Nagual, called Illupl. Comparing the names of father and daughter we reach the following considerations, which speak strongly in favour of Swami Dayananda's supposition.

(1) Nagual is the name by which the sorcerers of Mexico, Indians and aborigines of America, are still designated. Like the Assyrian and Chaldean Nargals, chiefs of the Magi, the Mexican Nagual unites in his person the functions of priest and of sorcerer, being served in the latter capacity by a demon in the shape of some animal, generally a snake or a crocodile. These Naguals are thought to be the descendants of Nagua, the king of the snakes. Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg devotes a considerable amount of space to them in his book about Mexico, and says that the Naguals are servants of the evil one, who, in his turn, renders them but a temporary service. In Sanskrit, likewise, snake is naga (pada), and the “King of the Nagas” plays an important part in the history of Buddha; and in the Puranas. There exists a tradition that it was Arjuna who introduced snake worship into Patala. The coincidence, and the identity of the names are so striking (especially when we find them in the two opposite parts of the world) that our scientists really ought to pay some attention to them.

(2) The Name of Arjuna's wife Illupl is purely old Mexican, and if we reject the hypothesis of Swami Dayananda it will be perfectly impossible to explain the actual existence of this name in Sanskrit manuscripts long before the Christian era. Of all ancient dialects and languages it is only in those of the American aborigines that you constantly meet with such combinations of consonants as pl, tl, etc. They are abundant especially in the language of the Toltecs, or Nahuatl, whereas, neither in Sanskrit nor in ancient Greek are they ever found at the end of a word. Even the words Atlas and Atlantis seem to be foreign to the etymology of the European languages. Wherever Plato may have found them, it was not he who invented them. In the Toltec language we find the root a, atl, which means water and war, and directly after America was discovered Columbus found a town called Atlan[23], at the entrance of the Bay of Uraga. Only in America does one find such names as Itzcoatl[24], Zempoaltecatl, and Popocatepetl[25]. To attempt to explain such coincidences by the theory of blind chance would be too much, consequently, as long as science does not seek to deny Swami Dayananda's hypothesis, which, as yet, it is unable to do, we think it reasonable to adopt it, be it only in order to follow out the axiom “one hypothesis is equal to another.” Among other things Dayananda points out that the route that led Arjuna to America 5,000 years ago was by Siberia and Behring's Straits.

It was long past midnight, but we still sat listening to this legend and others of a similar kind. At length the innkeeper sent a servant to warn us of the dangers that threatened us if we lingered too long on the verandah on a moonlit night. The programme of these dangers was divided into three sections: (1) snakes, (2) beasts of prey, and (3) dacoits. Besides the cobra and the “rock-snake,” the surrounding mountains are full of a kind of very small mountain snake, called furzena, the most dangerous of all. Their poison kills human with the swiftness of lightning. The moonlight attracts them, and whole parties of these uninvited guests crawl up to the verandahs of houses, in order to “warm” themselves; in any case here it is warmer for them than on the ground. The verdant and perfumed abyss below our verandah happened, too, to be the favorite resort of tigers and leopards, who come thither to “quench their thirst” at the broad brook which runs along the bottom, and then wander until daybreak under the windows of the bungalow. Lastly, there were the mad dacoits, whose dens are scattered in mountains inaccessible to the police, who often shoot Europeans simply to afford themselves the pleasure of sending to one’s forebears one of the hateful bellatis (foreigners). Three days before our arrival the wife of a Brahmin disappeared, carried off by a tiger, and two favorite dogs of the commandant were killed by snakes. We declined to wait for further explanations, but hurried to our rooms. At daybreak we were to start for Karli, 6 miles [9.66 km] from this place.

Raddha-Bai


Footnotes


  1. Moscow News, № 319, 15.12.1879, p. 4; Russian Herald, January 1883, Supplement, vol 163, pp. 50-62.
  2. Trap rock – A form of igneous rock that tends to form polygonal vertical fractures. – Ed.
  3. Guerilla warfare (from Spanish guerillas – home guard) – hidden or partizan war. – Ed.
  4. Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin (1842-1904) – one of the most famous Russian war artists, who has lived several years in India. – Ed.
  5. Kikimora (Rus. кикимора) – a female house spirit in Slavic mythology, who spins at night, being mainly evil. – Ed.
  6. Rusalka (Rus. русалка) – a female human-like nature spirit in Slavic mythology with wide variaty of meanings, being mainly the keeper and watcher upon fields, forests and rivers. Since 20th century used as a translation of Western mermaid, applying the same image. – Ed.
  7. Anna – a currency unit formerly used in British India, equal to 1⁄16 of a rupee. – Ed.
  8. Kopeyka (Rus. копейка) – 1/100 of a Ruble in Russian currency. – Ed.
  9. Points of interest, sights (Fr.). – Ed.
  10. Elbrus is 5642 m (18,510.5 feet) and Kazbek is 5033 m (16,512.47 feet), according to modern data. – Ed.
  11. Loopholes – openings or slits in wall through which archers may defend the castle. – Ed.
  12. Champa or champak – Indian name for plumeria or frangipani tree. – Ed.
  13. Shivaji (1630-1680) – a national hero of India, who after centuries Muslim domination in the west of the Deccan raised a rebellion against Muslim rulers and by 1674 formed the Maratha Empire on the territory of Maharashtra state and the surrounding lands. – Ed.
  14. Ilya Muromets – one of the bogatyrs (epic knights) in Russian folklore. – Ed.
  15. The original having been translated into all the dialects of Hindustan (of which there are 273!!).
  16. Magha – the eleventh month in Shalivahan's era calculation.
  17. Ashwini Nakshatra – the first of the 27 constellations on the moon's path.
  18. That is to say, the end of the Maha Yuga will come, the great cycle that embraces all four yugas.
  19. Patala is signifying at once hell and the antipodes.
  20. Mreta – our earth; Mretin Loka – the place of our earth.
  21. Shravan – the fifth month of the Hindu year.
  22. Philologist – student of linguistics and literature. – Ed.
  23. It is now a poor fishing village called Aclo. See also Le Mexique by Brasseur de Bourbourg and Prehistoric Nations by Baldwin, p. 179.
  24. Itzcoatl (1380-1440) – the fourth king of Tenochtitlan, and first Emperor of the Aztec empire. – Ed.
  25. Popocatépetl (from popoca – smoky and tepetl – hill) – an active volcano in central Mexico. – Ed.