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

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



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  Page 137  

CHAPTER XIII.                             137

by heart, and to prevent people in all questions of
science ever recurring to a loritten text, save in a case
of bare necessity. For they think that the mind of
man sympathises with everything in which there is
symmetry and order, and has an aversion to everything
in which there is no order. Therefore most Hindus are
passionately fond of their verses, and always desirous
of reciting them, even if they do not understand the
meaning of the words, and the audience will snap their
fingers in token of joy and applause. They do not want
prose compositions, although it is much easier to under¬
stand them.

Most of their books are composed in Sloka, in which
I am now exercising myself, being occupied in compos¬
ing for the Hindus a translation of the books of Euclid
and of the Almagest, and dictating to them a treatise on
the construction of the astrolabe, being simply guided
herein by the desire of spreading science. If the Hin¬
dus happen to get some book which does not yet exist
among them, they set at work to change it into Slokas,
which are rather unintelligible, since the metrical form
entails a constrained, affected style, which will become
apparent when we shall speak of their method of ex¬
pressing numbers. And if the verses are not sufficiently
affected, their authors meet with frowning faces, as
having committed something like mere prose, and then
they will feel extremely unhappy. God will do me jus¬
tice in what I say of them.

The first who invented this art were  Pihgala and Books on

/                                                                                                                                   metrics.

t::.-^L&- (? G L T). The books on the subject are nu¬
merous. The most famous of them is the book Gaisita
(? G —AI —S —T), so called from its author, famous to
such a degree that even the whole science of metrics
has been called by this name. Other books are that of
Mrigalanchana, that of Pihgala, and that of J^'uJjl (? U
(All) —L —Y —A —N —D). I, however, have not seen
any of these books, nor do I know much of the chapter
  Page 137