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

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



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Greek par¬
allel : Ascle¬

Water the
first ele¬
ment of
Tlie egg of
broken in
two halves.

tains instead of rains, the matter would be somewhat
more plausible. According to others, God spoke to
Brahman : "I create an egg, which I make for thy
dwelling in it." He had created it of the above men¬
tioned foam of the water, but when the water sank and
was absorbed, the egg broke into two halves.

Similar opinions were held by the ancient Greeks
regarding Asclepius, the inventor of the medical art;
for, according to Galenus, they represent him as holding
an egg in his hand, whereby they mean to indicate that
the world is round, the egg an image of the universe,
and that the whole world needs the medical art. Ascle¬
pius does not hold a lower position in the belief of the
Greeks than Brahman in the belief of the Hindus, for
they say that he is a divine power, and that his name
is derived from his action, i.e. protecting against dryness,
which means death, because death occurs when dryness
and cold are prevalent. As for his natural origin, they
call him the son of Apollo, the son of Phlegyas (?), and
the son of Kronos, i.e. the planet Saturn. By this
system of affiliation they mean to attribute to him the
force of a threefold god.

The theory of the Hindus, that the water existed
before all creation, rests on this, that it is the cause of
the cohesion of the atoms of everything, the cause of
the growing of everything, and of the duration of life in
every animated being. Thus the water is an instrument
in the hand of the Creator when he wants to create
something out of matter. A similar idea is propounded
by the Koran xi. 9 : " And his (God's) throne was on the
lucder." Whether you explain it in an external way
as an individual body called by this name, and which
God orders us to venerate, or whether you give it the
intrinsic meaning of realm, i.e. God's realm, or the
like, in any case the meaning is this, that at that
time beside God there was nothing but the water and
his throne.    If this our book  were not restricted to
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