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

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



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246                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

latitudes (66° and 23°) Meru is under the horizon, it
is also under the horizon for all places of less latitude.
If you compare Meru with a luminous body like the sun,
you know that the sun sets and disappears under the
earth. Indeed Meru may be compared with the earth.
Page 123. It is not invisible to us because of its being far away
in the cold zone, but because it lies below the horizon,
because the earth is a globe, and everything heavy is
attracted towards its centre.

Aryabhata further tries to prove that Mount Meru
has only a moderate height by the fact that the Tropic
of Cancer is visible in places the latitude of which is
equal to the complement of the greatest declination.
We must remark that this argument is not valid, for we
know the conditions of the lines of latitude and other
lines in those countries only through ratiocination, not
from eyesight nor from tradition, because they are unin¬
habited and their roads are impassable.

If a man has come from those parts to Aryabhata and
told him that the Tropic of Cancer is visible in that lati¬
tude, we may meet this by stating that a man has also
come to us from the same region telling us that one
part of it is there invisible. The only thing which
covers the Tropic of Cancer is this mountain Meru. If
Meru did not exist, the whole tropic would be visible.
Who, now, has been able to make out which of the
two reports deserves most credit ?

In the book of Aryabhata of Kusumapura we read
that the mountain Meru is in Himavant, the cold zone,
not higher than a yojctna. In the translation, however,
it has been rendered so as to express that it is not higher
than Himavant by more than a yojana.

This author is not identical with the elder Arya¬
bhata, but he belongs to his followers, for he quotes
him and follows his example. I do not know which of
these two namesakes is meant by Balabhadra.

In general, what we know of the conditions of the
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