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

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



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  Page 167  

CHAPTER XV.                             167

thumb and the small finger at their widest possible
stretching, is called vitasti and also kishku.

The distance between the ends of the fourth or ring-
finger and the thumb, both being stretched out, is called

The distance between the ends of the index-finger
and of the thumb is called karabha, and is reckoned as
equal to two-thirds of a span.

The distance between the tops of the middle finger
and of the thumb is called tdla. T'he Hindus maintain
that the height of a man is eight times his tdla, whether
he be tall or small; as people say with regard to the
foot, that it is one-seventh of the height of a man.

Regarding the construction of idols, the book Samhitd
says :—

"T'he breadth of the palm has been determined as 6,
the length as 7 ; the length of the middle finger as 5,
that of the fourth finger as the same ; that of the index-
finger as the same minus ^ (i.e. 4^); that of the small
finger as the same minus ^j (i.e. 3-^); that of the thumb
as equal to two-thirds of the length of the middle finger
(i.e. 3-^-), so that the two last fingers are of equal length."

By the measurements and numbers of this passage, Page
the author means idol-fingers.

After the measure of the krosa has been fixed and The relation

.        ,              ,                     ,            between

found to be equal to our mile, the reader must learn yojana,mi\Q,
that they have a measure of distances, called yojana, "" ■'"'''"'' '
which is equal to 8 miles or to 32,000 yards. Perhaps
somebody might believe that i kroh is ^ ^ farsakh,
and maintain that the farsakhs of the Hindus are
16,000 yards long. But such is not the case. On
the contrary, I kroh = -^- yojana. In the terms of
this measure, Alfazari has determined the circumfer¬
ence of the earth in his astronomical handbook. He
calls it jun, in the plural 'ajwdn.

The elements of the calculations of the Hindus on Rf/atwn
the circumference of the circle rest on the assumption

go 8c

  Page 167