Page 305. " swathed in a sari "

Women in saris
Public DomainWomen in saris - Credit: Oct11988duh
A sari is a garment worn by women in India and other Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  It consists of a strip of cloth usually between four and nine metres long, which can be draped over the body in a number of different styles.  In the past saris were commonly woven from silk or cotton - today they can also be made from a variety of artifical materials. 

Page 306. " you and I have not yet freed ourselves from the cycle of re-birth "

The immortal soul is re-born on Earth
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe immortal soul is re-born on Earth - Credit: Anantashakti

Juli is referring to the Hindu belief in reincarnation.  According to Hinduism we have an immortal soul which reincarnates on earth over and over again until it attains perfection. This is stated in the Bhagavad Gita

HinduWebsite.com

 

 

Page 307. " a peacock called mournfully into the silence "

The male Indian Peafowl is called a peacock whereas the female is a peahen.  The peacock, with its spectacular tail, is the national bird of India.

Page 312. " the tale of the sacrifice of Purusha "

Purusha is described in the Rig-Veda as a primeval man from whose body all of the Hindu castes were created.  The Brahmins came from his mouth, the Ksatriya from his arms, the Vaisyas from his thighs and the Sudras from his feet. 

Page 314. " to say, like Lovelace "

Richard Lovelace
Public DomainRichard Lovelace - Credit: Adam sk
Richard Lovelace was a 17th century English poet, born in 1618.  He wrote almost 200 poems, including To Lucasta, Going to the Warres, from which the following line is quoted in The Far Pavilions:

"I could not love thee, dear, so much, lov'd I not honour more"

Read Richard Lovelace poems online:

http://www.netpoets.com/classic/041000.htm

Page 316. " like Mr Micawber "

 

Mr Micawber
Public DomainMr Micawber - Credit: Samboha

Mr Wilkins Micawber is a character from the Charles Dickens novel David Copperfield.  He is known for his optimism and for frequently saying that "something will turn up".