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

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



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Page 31.

Moral prin¬
ciples of




where a man dwells for punishment for a certain length
of time, which is thought to correspond to the wretched
deeds he has done. People who hold this view do not
know of another hell, but this kind of degradation
below the degree of living as a human being.

All these degrees of retribution are necessary for this
reason, that the seeking for salvation from the fetters
of matter frequently does not proceed on the straight
line which leads to absolute knowledge, but on lines
chosen by guessing or chosen because others had chosen
them. Not one action of man shall be lost, not even
the last of all; it shall be brought to his account after
his good and bad actions have been balanced against
each other. The retribution, however, is not according
to the deed, but according to the intention which a man
had in doing it; and a man will receive his reward
either in the form in which he lives on earth, or in that
form into which his soul will migrate, or in a kind of
intermediary state after he has left his shape and has
not yet entered a new one.

Here now the Hindus quit the path of philosophical
speculation and turn aside to traditional fables as re¬
gards the two places where reward or punishment is
given, e.g. that man exists there as an incorporeal being,
and that after having received the reward of his actions
he again returns to a bodily appearance and human
shape, in order to be prepared for his further destiny.
Therefore the author of the book Sdmkhya does not
consider the reward of paradise a special gain, because it
has an end and is not eternal, and because this kind of
life resembles the life of this our world; for it is not
free from ambition and envy, having in itself various
degrees and classes of existence, whilst cupidity and
desire do not cease save where there is perfect equality.

The Sufi, too, do not consider the stay in paradise a
special gain for another reason, because there the soul
delights in other things but the Truth, i.e. God, and its
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