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

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



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CHAPTER XI.                              113

that they are held only by the common uneducated
people. For those who march on the path to liberation,
or those who study philosophy and theology, and who
desire abstract truth which they call sdra, are entirely
free from worshipping anything but God alone, and
would never dream of worshipping an image manufac¬
tured to represent him. A tradition illustrative of
this is that which Saunaka told the king Pariksha in
these words:—

There was once a king called Ambarisha, who had story of
obtained an empire as large as he had wished for. But barishaand
afterwards he came to like it no longer ; he retired from
the world, and exclusively occupied himself with wor¬
shipping and praising God for a long time. Finally,
God appeared to him in the shape of Indra, the prince
of the angels, riding on an elephant. He spoke to the
king: " Demand whatever you like, and I will give it


The king answered: "I rejoice in seeing thee, and
I am thankful for the good fortune and help thou
hast given ; but I do not demand anything from thee,
but only from him who created thee."

Indra said: " The object of worship is to receive a
noble reward. Realise, therefore, your object, and accept
the reward from him from whom hitherto you have
obtained your wishes, and do not pick and choose,
saying, ' Not from thee, but from another,' "

The king answered : " The earth has fallen to my lot,
but I do not care for all that is in it. The object of
my worship is to see the Lord, and that thou canst not
give me. Why, therefore, should I demand the fulfil¬
ment of my desire from thee ? "

Indra said: "The whole world and whoever is upon
it are obedient to me. Who are you that you dare to
oppose me ? "

The king answered: "I, too, hear and obey, but I
worship hi7n from whom thou hast received this power,

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