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

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



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CHAPTER XL                                  115

world is really bad in the end. I do not wish for any¬
thing except what I now have. The only thing I now
wish for is to be liberated from this fetter."

The Lord spoke : " That you will obtain by keeping
aloof from the world, by being alone, by uninterrupted
meditation, and by restraining your senses to yourself."

The king spoke: " Supposing that I am able to do
so through that sanctity which the Lord has deigned
to bestow upon me, how should any other man be able
to do so ? for man wants eating and clothing, which
connects him with the world. How is he to think of
anything else ? "

The Lord spoke : " Occupy yourself with your empire
in as straightforward and prudent a way as possible:
turn your thoughts upon me when you are engaged in
civilising the world and protecting its inhabitants, in
giving alms, and in everything you do. And if you are
overpowered by human forgetfulness, make to yourself
an image like that in which you see me; offer to it
perfumes and flowers, and make it a memorial of me,
so that you may not forget me. If you are in sorrow,
think of me; if you speak, speak in my name ; if you
act, act for me."

The king spoke: "Now I know what I have to do
in general, but honour me further by instructing me
in the details."

The Lord spoke : " That I have done already. I have
inspired your judge Vasishtha with all that is required.
Therefore rely upon him in all questions,"

Then the figure disappeared from his sight. The
king returned into his residence and did as he had
been ordered.

From that time, the Hindus say, people make idols,
some with four hands like the appearance we have
described, others with two hands, as the story and
description require, and conformably to the being which
is to be represented.
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