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

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



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I mdsha = 4 andt {eranda), i.e. the seed of a tree

called Gaura.
I andi    = 4 yava.
I yava   -- 6 kald.
I iaZ«    = 4 pdda.
I j5«(ia   = 4 mdrt (?).

Arranged differently we have—■

I suvarna =16 mdsha — 64. andt = 2^6 yavo
6400 pdda = 25,600 mdrt (?]

= 1600 Imld =

Six mdshas are called i drankshana. If you ask
them about this weight, they will tell you that 2 drank¬
shana = I mithkdl. But this is a mistake; for i
mithkdl—^i- mdsha. The relation between a draiik-
shanct and a mithkdl is as 20 to 21, and therefore i
drankshana— i-^V mithkdl. If, therefore, a man gives
the answer which we have just mentioned, he seems to
have in mind the notion of a mithkdl as a weight which
does not much differ from a drankshana; but by
doubling the amount, saying 2 drankshanas instead of
I, he entirely spoils the comparison.

Since the unit of measure is not a natural unit, Page 77.
but a conventional one assumed by general consent, it
admits of both practical and imaginary division. Its
subdivisions or fractions are different in different places
at one and the same time, and at different periods
in one and the same country. Their names, too, are
different according to places and times ; changes which
are produced either by the organic development of lan¬
guages or by accident.

A man from the neighbourhood of Somanath told me
that their mithkdl is equal to ours ; that

I raithkdl — 8 ruvu.
I ruvu = 2 pdli.
I pdli         =   16 yava, i.e. barley-corn.

Accordingly i mithkdl = 8 ruvu = 16 pdli = 256 yava.

This comparison shows that the man was   mistaken
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