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

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



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  Page 95  

CHAPTER  VIII.                              95

hereafter in the course of our explanation. You must
not wonder if the Hindus, in their stories about the
class of the Deva, whom we have explained as angels,
allow them all sorts of things, unreasonable in them¬
selves, some perhaps not objectionable, others decidedly
objectionable, both of which the theologians of Islam
would declare to be incompatible with the dignity and
nature of angels.

If you compare these traditions with those of the Greek parai-
G reeks regarding their own religion, you will cease to aboiat zeus.
find the Hindu system strange. We have already men¬
tioned that they called the angels gods (p. 36). Now
consider their stories about Zeus, and you will under¬
stand the truth of our remark. As for anthropomor¬
phisms and traits of animal life which they attribute to
him, we give the following tradition: "When he was
born, his father wanted to devour him ; but his mother
took a stone, wrapped rags round it, and gave him the
stone to swallow, whereupon he went away." Pliis is
also mentioned by Galenus in his Book of Speeches,
where he relates that Philo had in an enigmatical way
described the preparation of the (jiLXwveLov cjidpiiaKov in
a poem of his by the following words :—■

" TaJce red hair, diffusing sweet odour, the offering to the gods.
And of man's blood weigh iveights of the number of the mental

The poet mesins five pounds of saffron, because the senses
are five. The weights of the other ingredients of the
mixture he describes in similar enigmatic terms, of
which Galenus gives a commentary. In the same
poem occurs the following verse :—

" A7id of the pseudonymous root vjhich has groion in the district
in which Zeus was born."

To which Galenus adds : " This is Andropogon Nardus,
which hears a false name, because it is called an ear of
corn, although it is not an ear, but a root.    The poet
  Page 95