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

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



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CHAPTER II.                                31

" Others say that the union of action and the agent is
effected by nature, and that such is the usual process
in everything that increases and decreases.

" Others say the agent is the soul, because in the
Veda it is said, ' Every being comes from Purusha.'
According to others, the agent is time, for the world is
tied to time as a sheep is tied to a strong cord, so that
its motion depends upon whether the cord is drawn
tight or slackened. Still others say that action is
nothing but a recompense for something which has
been done before.

" All these opinions are wrong. The truth is, that
action entirely belongs to matter, for matter binds the
soul, causes it to wander about in different shapes,
and then sets it free. Therefore matter is the agent,
all that belongs to matter helps it to accomplish
action. But the soul is not an agent, because it is
devoid of the different faculties."

This is what   educated people believe   about God, Phiiosophi-
They call him isvara, i.e. self-sufficing, beneficent, who glrlaotions
gives without receiving.    They consider the unity of nature of
God as absolute, but that everything beside God which
may appear as a unity is really a plurality of things.
The existence of God they consider as a real existence,
because everything that exists exists through him.    It
is not impossible to think that the existing beings are
not and that he is, but it is impossible to think that he
is oiot and that they are.

If we now pass from the ideas of the educated people
among the Hindus to those of the common people, we
must first state that they present a great variety. Some
of them are simply abominable, but similar errors also
occur in other religions. Nay, even in Islam we must de¬
cidedly disapprove, e.g. of the anthropomorphic doctrines,
the teachings of the Jabriyya sect, the prohibition of
the discussion of religious topics, and such like. Every
religious sentence destined for the people at large must
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