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

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



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  Page 252  

252                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

being ill. They never commit a sin, and do not know
envy. Their food is a juice which they express from
the dates of the palm trees, called madya (?). The
second kind are the Haripurusha, having the colour
of silver. They live ii,ooo years, are beardless, and
their food is sugar-cane." Since they are described as
beardless and silver-coloured, one might be inclined to
take them for Turks ; but the fact of their eating dates
and sugar-cane compels us to see in them a more south¬
ern nation. But where do we find people of the colour
of gold or silver ? We know only of the colour of burnt
silver, which occurs, e.g. among the Zanj, who lead a
life without sorrow and envy, as they do not possess
anything which gives birth to these passions. They
live no doubt longer than we, but only a little longer,
and by no means twice as long. The Zanj are so un¬
civilised that they have no notion of a natural death.
If a man dies a natural death, they think he was
poisoned. Every death is suspicious with them, if a
man has not been killed by a weapon. Likewise it is
regarded with suspicion by them, if a man is touched
by the breath of a consumptive person.

2. ^aka-           We shall now describe Sdka-Dvipa.   It has, according

^^'^ ' to the Matsya-Purdna, seven great rivers, one of which
equals the Ganges in purity. In the first ocean there
are seven mountains adorned with jewels, some of which
are inhabited by Devas, others by demons. One of them
is a golden, lofty mountain, whence the clouds rise
which  bring us   the rain.    Another contains  all the

Page 126. medicines. Indra, the ruler, takes from it the rain.
Another one is called Soma. Regarding this mountain
they relate the following story :—

The story of       Kasyapa had two wives, Kadru, the mother of the

vhia™.'^"     snakes, and Vinata, the mother of the birds.    Both

Garuda libe-   t       -i   •               i   •          i             j_i                                          i                    tt

rates his livcd IU a plain where there was a grey horse. How-
means of t\e ever, the mother of the snakes maintained that the
Amrita.       ^orsc was browu.    Now they made the covenant that
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