Page:Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists.djvu/13

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PREFACE SISTER NIVEDITA, to whom the present work was first entrusted, needs no introduction to Western or to Indian readers. A most sincere disciple of Swami Vivekananda, who was himself a follower of the great Ramakrishna, she brought to the study of Indian life and literature a sound knowledge of Western educational and social science, and an unsurpassed enthusiasm of devotion to the peoples and the ideals of her adopted country. Her chief works are The Web of Indian Life, almost the only fair account of Hindu society written in English, and Kali the Mother, where also for the first time the profound tender ness and terror of the Indian Mother-cult are presented to Western readers in such a manner as to reveal its true reli gious and social significance. Through these books Nivedita became not merely an interpreter of India to Europe, but even more, the inspiration of a new race of Indian students, no longer anxious to be Anglicized, but convinced that all real progress, as distinct from mere political controversy, must be based on national ideals, upon intentions already clearly expressed in religion and art. Sister Nivedita s untimely death in 1911 has made it necessary that the present work should be completed by another hand. The following parts of the text as here printed are due to Sister Nivedita : Mythology of the Indo-Aryan races (pp. 1-5) ; pp. 14-22 of the Introduction to the Ramayana ; the whole of the Mahabharata (except pp. 186-190) ; part of the section on Shiva (pp. 291-295) ; the comment on Kacha and Devayam (pp. 339-342) ; v