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

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



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  Page 241  

CHAPTER XXII.                           241

island Langabalus there is a large star visible, known
as the fever-star. It appears in winter about morning
dawn in the east as high as a date-palm tree, having an
oblong shape, composed of the tail of the Small Bear
and his back, and of some small stars situated there;
it is called the axe of the mill. Brahmagupta mentions
it in connection with the Fish. The Hindus tell rather
ludicrous tales when speaking of the figure in which
they represent this group of stars, viz. the figure of a
four-footed aquatic animal, which they call Sctkvara and
also Sisumara. I suppose that the latter animal is the
great lizard, for in Persia it is called Susmdr, which
sounds much like the Indian Sisumara. Of this kind
of animals there is also an aquatic species, similar to
the crocodile and the skink. One of those tales is the

When Brahman wanted to create mankind, he divided The story of

1-1       1         •    1                           Dhruva.

himself into two halves, of which the right one was
called Virdj, the left one Manu. The latter one is the
being from whom the period of time called Manvantara
has received its name. Manu had two sons, Priyavrata
and Uttanapada, the bow-legged king. The latter had
a son called Dhruva, who was slighted by one of the
wives of his father. On account of this, he was pre¬
sented with the power to turn round all the stars as he
pleased. He appeared in the Manvantara of Svayam-
bhuva, the first of all Manvantaras, and he has for ever
remained in his place.

The Vduu-Purdna says : " The wind drives the stars Quotations
round the pole, which are bound to it by ties invisible to Purdnas.nd
man.    They move round like the beam in the olive-press, marma.
for its bottom is, as it were, standing still, whilst its end
is moving round.

The Vishnu-Dharma says: "Vajra, one of the children
of Balabhadra, the brother of Narayana, asked the Rishi Page 121.
Markandeya as to the pole, upon which he answered:
When God created the world, it was dark and desert.
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