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

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



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  Page 63  

CHAPTER  VI.                                63

thoughts are diverted from the Absolute Good by things
which are not the Absolute Good.

We have already said that, according to the belief of Ou the soui
the Hindus, the soul exists in these two places without body,
a body.    But this is only the view of the educated popular"^ ^°
among them, who understand by the soul an indepen- ^^®^^®-
dent being.    However, the lower classes, and those who
cannot imagine the  existence  of the soul  without a
body, hold about this subject very different views.    One
is this, that the cause of the agony of death is the soul's
waiting for a shape which is to be prepared.    It does
not quit the body before there has originated a cognate
being of similar functions, one of those which nature
prepares either as an embryo in a mother's womb or as
a seed in the bosom of the earth.    Then the soul quits
the body in which it has been staying.

Others hold the more traditional view that the soul
does not wait for such a thing, that it quits its shape
on account of its weakness whilst another body has
been prepared for it out of the elements. This body
is called ativdhika, i.e. that 'u-hich grows inhaste, because
it does not come into existence by being born. The
soul stays in this body a complete year in the greatest
agony, no matter whether it has deserved to be rewarded
or to be punished. This is like the Barzakh of the
Persians, an intermediary stage between the periods of
acting and earning and that of receiving award. For
this reason the heir of the deceased must, according to
Hindu use, fulfil the rites of the year for the deceased,
duties which end with the end of the year, for then the
soul goes to that place which is prepared for it.

We shall now give some extracts from their litera- Quotations
ture to illustrate these ideas.    First from the Viskmc ^vi^nu

PurdTia.                                                                                       and the

" Maitreya asked Parasara about the purpose of hell schooh'^'^
and the punishment in it, whereupon he answered :  ' It
is for distinguishing the good from the bad, knowledge
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