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

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



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 122  

122                           ALBERUNPS INDIA.

Quotations        Our obioct iu mentioning all this mad raving- was to

from Gitd                               •>                                           O                                                 &

showing      teach the reader the accurate description of an idol, if

tiiat God IS                                                                                                 1                                        '

not to be     he happens to see one, and to illustrate what we have


with the      said bcfore, that such idols are erected only for unedu-

idols.                                                                                 ,                                          •'

cated low-class people of little understanding ; that the
Hindus never made an idol of any supernatural being,
much less of God; and, lastly, to show how the crowd
is kept in thraldom by all kinds of priestly tricks and
deceits. Therefore the book Gitd says : " Many people
try to approach me in their aspirations through some¬
thing which is different from me ; they try to insinuate
themselves into my favour by giving alms, praise, and
prayer to something besides me. I, however, confirm
and help them in all these doings of theirs, and make
them attain the object of their wishes, because I am
able to dispense with them."

In the same book Vasudeva speaks to Arjuna : " Do
you not see that most of those who wish for something
address themselves in offering and worshipping to the
several classes of spiritual beings, and to the sun, moon,
and other celestial bodies ? If now God does not dis¬
appoint their hopes, though he in no way stands in
need of their worship, if he even gives them more than
they asked for, and if he gives them their wishes in
such a way as though they were receiving them from
that to which they had addressed their prayers—viz.
the idol—they will proceed to worship those whom
they address, because they have not learned to know
him, whilst he, by admitting this kind of intermedia¬
tion, carries their affairs to the desired end. But that
which is obtained by desires and intermediation is not
lasting, since it is only as much as is deserved for any
particular merit. Only that is lasting wbich is obtained
from God alone, when people are disgusted with old
age, death, and birth (and desire to be delivered there¬
from by Mokska)."

This is what Vasudeva says. When the ignorant crowd
  Page 122