"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
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
On the Way to Karli
In the Karli Caves
A City of the Dead
A Witch's Den
The Banns of Marriage
The Caves of Bagh
An Isle of Mystery
FROM THE CAVES AND JUNGLES OF HINDOSTAN
By Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
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.