Elephanta Raises High Its Rocky Brow,
All Overgrown With Secular Cactus, And Right Under It, At The Foot
Of The Rock, Are Hollowed Out The Chief Temple And The Two Lateral
Like the serpent of our Russian fairy tales, it seems to be
opening its fierce black mouth to swallow the daring mortal who
comes to take possession of the secret mystery of Titan.
remaining teeth, dark with time, are formed by two huge pillars
t the entrance, sustaining the palate of the monster.
How many generations of Hindus, how many races, have knelt
in the dust before the Trimurti, your threefold deity, O Elephanta?
How many centuries were spent by weak man in digging out in your
stone bosom this town of temples and carving your gigantic idols?
Who can say? Many years have elapsed since I saw you last, ancient,
mysterious temple, and still the same restless thoughts, the same
recurrent questions vex me snow as they did then, and still remain
unanswered. In a few days we shall see each other again. Once more
I shall gaze upon your stern image, upon your three huge granite faces,
and shall feel as hopeless as ever of piercing the mystery of your
being. This secret fell into safe hands three centuries before ours.
It is not in vain that the old Portuguese historian Don Diego de Cuta
boasts that "the big square stone fastened over the arch of the
pagoda with a distinct inscription, having been torn out and sent
as a present to the King Dom Juan III, disappeared mysteriously
in the course of time....," and adds, further, "Close to this big
pagoda there stood another, and farther on even a third one, the
most wonderful of all in beauty, incredible size, and richness of
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