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

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



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CHAPTER XXI.                             233

quence he made the lunar sphere the first heaven,
whilst he ought to have identified it with Bhilrloka.
And because by this method he had one heaven too
many, he dropped the Svarloka, the place of reward.

The same author differs besides in another point.
As the seventh heaven, Satyaloka, is in the Puranas
also called Brahmaloka, he placed the Brahmaloka
above the Satyaloka, whilst it would have been much
more reasonable to think that in this case one and the
same thing is called by two different names. He ought
to have omitted the Brahmaloka, to have identified
Pitriloka with BhUrloka, and not to have left out the

So much about the seven earths and the seven
heavens. We shall now speak of the division of the
surface of the uppermost earth and of related subjects.

Dip (dvipa) is the Indian word for island. Hence The system
the words Sangaladip (Sirnhaladvipa), which we call and seas.
Serendib, and the Dihajdt (Maledives, Laccadives). The
latter are numerous islands, which become, so to speak,
decrepit, are dissolved and flattened, and finally dis¬
appear below the water, whilst at the same time other
formations of the same kind begin to appear above the
water like a streak of sand which continually grows
and rises and extends. The inhabitants of the former
island leave their homes, settle on the new one and
colonise it.

According to the religious traditions of the Hindus,
the earth on which we live is round and surrounded by
a sea. On the sea lies an earth like a collar, and on
this earth lies again a round sea like a collar. The
number of dry collars, called islands, is seven, and
likewise that of the seas. The size of both dvipas and
seas rises in such a progression that each dvipa is the
double of the preceding dvipa, each sea the double of
the preceding sea, i.e. in the progression of the powers
of two.    If the middle earth is reckoned as one, the
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