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

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



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CHAPTER IV.                                47

from matter, is this : that matter for its part seeks for on matter
perfection, and always prefers that which is better to union with
that which is less good, viz.  proceeding from Suva/xts
into   Tvpa^Ls.    In  consequence   of   the   vainglory   and
ambition which are its pith and marrow, matter pro¬
duces and shows all  kinds of possibilities which   it
contains to its pupil, the soul,  and carries it round
through  all  classes of vegetable and animal beings.
Hindus compare the soul to a dancing-girl who is clever illustrations
in her art and knows well what effect each motion and ticuiLr^lnd
pose of hers has.    She is in the presence of a sybarite
most eager of enjoying what she has learned.    Now she
begins to produce the various kinds of her art one after
the other under the admiring gaze of the host, until her
programme is finished and the eagerness of the spectator
has been satisfied.    Then she stops suddenly, since she
could not produce anything but a repetition ; and as a
repetition is not wished for, he dismisses her, and action
ceases.    The close of this kind of relation is illustrated
by the following simile : A caravan has been attacked
in the desert by robbers, and the members of it have
fled in  all directions except a blind man and a lame
man, who remain on the spot in helplessness, despairing
of their escape.    After they meet and recognise each
other, the lame speaks to the blind :  " I cannot move,
but I can lead the way, whilst the opposite is the case
with you.    Therefore put  me on your  shoulder and
carry me, that I may show you the way and that we
may escape together  from  this  calamity."    This the
blind man did.    They obtained their purpose by helping
each other, and they left each other on coming out of
the desert.

Further, the Hindus speak in different ways of the Action of
agent, as we have already mentioned.    So the  Vishnu ingfroman
Purdna says : " Matter is the origin of the world.    Its position.
action in the world rises from an innate disposition, as
a tree sows its own seed by an innate disposition, not
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