This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the elephant-lore of Hindus. It consists primarily of a translation of the "Elephant-Sport" (Matanga-Lila) of Nilakantha, with notes, introduction, and glossary. The Matanga-Lila is without doubt the best available Sanskrit work on elephantology. It is a brief and succinct treatise in 263 stanzas, divided into twelve chapters of uneven length. Nothing is known of the Nilakantha who is mentioned as its author. According to the editor, Ganapati Sastri, the three manuscripts he used are about two hundred years old. But the work is probably very much older. For aught we know it may go back a thousand years or even to a much earlier date. This, however, is purely conjectural; all we can say is that there is no positive trace of modernity in the work. The elephant-lore of our text is based on a genuine traditional knowledge which grew up among those whose business it was to deal with elephants, and that this tradition has persisted to modern times.
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