Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page xlvii  

PREFACE.                                xlvii

Considering the meagreness of his notes on this subject,
we readily believe that he never found a Buddhistic
book, and never knew a Buddhist "from whom I might
have learned their theories," i. 249. His Brahmaan pan¬
dits probably knew enough of Buddhism, but did not
choose to tell him.

Lastly, India, as known to Alberuni, was in matters
of religion Vishnuitic (vaishnava), not Sivaitic (saiva).
Vishnu, or Narayana, is the first god in the pantheon of
his Hindu informants and literary authorities, whilst
Siva is only incidentally mentioned, and that not always
in a favourable manner. This indicates a remarkable
change in the religious history of those countries. For
the predecessors of Mahmud in the rule over Kabulistan
and the Panjab, the Pala dynasty, were worshippers of
Siva (cf. Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde, 3, 895), as
we may judge from their coins, adorned with the image
of Nanda, the ox of Siva, and from the etymology of
their names. Cf. note to ii. 13, and Lassen, /. c, 3, 915.
The image of Nanda reappears a second time on the
coins of the last of the descendants of King Mahmud on
the throne of Ghazna.


It was in the summer of 1883 that I began to work at
the edition and translation of the 'IvSlko, after Imving
fulfilled the literary duties resulting from my journey
in Syria and Mesopotamia in 1879 and 1880. A copy
of the Arabic manuscript had been prepared in 1872,
and collated in Stambul in the hot summer months of

In order to test my comprehension of the book, I
translated it into German from beginning to end between
February 1883 and February 1884. In the summer of
the latter year the last hand was laid to the constitu¬
tion of the Arabic text as it was to be printed.
  Page xlvii