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

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



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  Page 127  

CHAPTER XII.                             127

that they did not care much for virtue, nor even for

There are certain passages in the Veda which, as they
maintain, must not be recited within dwellings, since
they fear that they would cause an abortion both to
women and the cattle. Therefore they step out into the
open field to recite them there. There is hardly a single
verse free from such and similar minatory injunctions.

As we have already mentioned, the books of the
Hindus are metrical compositions like the Rajaz poems
of the Arabs. Most of them are composed in a metre
called sloka. The reason of this has already been
explained. Galenus also prefers metrical composi¬
tion, and says in his book Kara yivr]: " The single
signs which denote the weights of medicines become
corrupt by being copied; they are also corrupted by the
wanton mischief of some envious person. Therefore it
is quite right that the books of Damocrates on medi¬
cines should be preferred to others, and that they should
gain fame and praise, since they are written in a Greek
metre. If all books were written in this way it would
be the best; " the fact being that a prose text is much
more exposed to corruption than a metrical one.

The Veda, however, is not composed in this common
metre, sloka, but in another. Some Hindus say that
no one could compose anything in the same metre.
However, their scholars maintain that this is possible
indeed, but that they refrain from trying it merely from
veneration for the Veda.

According to their tradition, Vyasa divided it into Tiie four
four parts : Rigveda, Yajurveda, Sdmaveda, and Athar- vyasaand

.,           '                                                                                              the four

vanaveda.                                                                                vedas.

Vyasa had four sishya, i.e. pupils. He taught a sepa¬
rate Veda to each of them, and made him carry it in
his memory. They are enumerated in the same order
as the four parts of the Veda: Paila, Vaisam2odyana,
Jaimini, Sumantu.
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