isis unveiled: chapter x (outside the walls…)

“”The ruins of the ancient city of Aurungabad are not very far from these caves. It was a walled city of great repute, but is now deserted. There are not only broken walls, but crumbling palaces. They were built of immense strength, and some of the walls appear as solid as the everlasting hills.

There are a great many places in this vicinity where there are Hindu remains, consisting of deep caves and rock-cut temples. Many of these temples are surrounded by a circular enclosure, which is often adorned with statues and columns. The figure of an elephant is very common, placed before or beside the opening of a temple, as a sort of sentinel.

Hundreds and thousands of niches are beautifully cut in the solid rock, and when these temples were thronged with worshippers, each niche had a statue or image, usually in the florid style of these Oriental sculptures. It is a sad truth that almost every image here is shamefully defaced and mutilated.

It is often said that no Hindu will bow down to an imperfect image, and that the Mahometans, knowing this, purposely mutilated all these images to prevent the Hindus from worshipping them. This is regarded by the Hindus as sacrilegious and blasphemous, awakening the keenest animosities, which every Hindu inherits from his father, and which centuries have not been able to efface.

Here also are the remains of buried cities – sad ruins – generally without a single inhabitant. In the grand palaces where royalty once gathered and held festivals, wild beasts find their hiding places. In several places the track of the railway has been constructed over or through these ruins, and the material has been used for the bed of the road…Enormous stones have remained in their places for thousands of years, and probably will for thousands of years to come.

These rock-cut temples, as well as these mutilated statues, show a workmanship that no work now being done by the natives can equal. It is very evident that hundreds of years since these hills were alive with a vast multitude, where now it is all utter desolation, without cultivation or inhabitants, and given over to wild beasts.

It is good hunting ground, and, as the English are mighty hunters, they may prefer to have these mountains and ruins remain without change.”

We fervently hope they will. Enough vandalism was perpetrated in earlier ages to permit us the hope that at least in this century of exploration and learning, science, in its branches of archeology and philology, will not be deprived of these most precious records, wrought on imperishable tablets of granite and rock.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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