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

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



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Birth of

kinds of
with Tibe¬
tans and

Page 53.

his wives in his place. Pandu sent him one, but she
was afraid of him when he cohabited with her, and
trembled, in consequence of which she conceived a
sickly child of yellow hue. Then the king sent him a
second woman ; she, too, felt much reverence for him,
and wrapped herself up in her veil, and in consequence
she gave birth to Dhritarashtra, who was blind and
unhealthy. Lastly, he sent him a third woman, whom
he enjoined to put aside all fear and reverence with
regard to the saint. Laughing and in high spirits, she
went in to him, and conceived from him a child of
moon-like beauty, who excelled all men in boldness and

The four sons of Pandu had one wife in common,
who stayed one month with each of them alternately.
In the books of the Hindus it is told that Parasara, the
hermit, one day travelled in a boat in which there was
also a daughter of the boatman. He fell in love with
her, tried to seduce her, and finally she yielded; but
there was nothing on the bank of the river to hide
them from the looks of the people. However, instan¬
taneously there grew a tamarisk-tree to facilitate their
purpose. Now he cohabited with her behind the tama¬
risk, and made her conceive, whereupon she became
pregnant with this his excellent son Vyasa.

All these customs have now been abolished and ab¬
rogated, and therefore we may infer from their tradi¬
tion that in principle the cohrogation of a laiv is cdlowahle.

As regards unnatural kinds of marriage, we must
state that such exist still in our time, as they also
existed in the times of Arab heathendom; for the
people inhabiting the mountains stretching from the
region of Panchir into the neighbourhood of Kashmir
live under the rule that several brothers have one wife
in common. Among the heathen Arabs, too, marriage
was of different kinds :—

I. An Arab ordered his wife to be sent to a certain
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