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

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



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Narada and
the voice
from the

Page 56.

The idol of
Mu]J;an call¬
ed Aditya.

Another story of theirs is the following:—Brahman
had a son called Narada, who had no other desire but
that of seeing the Lord. It was his custom, when he
walked about, to hold a stick. If he threw it down,
it became a serpent, and he was able to do miracles
with it. He never went without it. One day being
engrossed in meditation on the object of his hopes, he
saw a fire from afar. He went towards it, and then a
voice spoke to him out of the fire : " What you demand
and wish is impossible. You cannot see me save
thus." When he looked in that direction, he saw a
fiery appearance in something like human shape.
Henceforward it has been the custom to erect idols of
certain shapes,

A famous idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated
to the sun, and therefore called Aditya. It was of wood
and covered with red Cordovan leather; in its two eyes
were two red rubies. It is said to have been made in
the last Kritayuga. Suppose that it was made in the
very end of Kritayuga, the time which has since elapsed
amounts to 216,432 years. When Muhammad Ibn
Alkasim Ibn Alinunabbih conquered Multan, he in¬
quired how the town had become so very flourishing
and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and
then he found out that this idol was the cause, for
there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. There¬
fore he thought it best to have the idol where it was,
but he hung a piece of cow's-flesh on its neck by way
of mockery. On the same place a mosque was built.
When then the Karmatians occupied Multan, Jalam
Ibn Shaiban, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces
and killed its priests. He made his mansion, which
was a castle built of brick on an elevated place, the
mosque instead of the old mosque, which he ordered to
be shut from hatred against anything that had been
done under the dynasty of the Caliphs of the house of
'Umayya.    When afterwards the blessed Prince Mah-
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