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

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



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  Page 253  

CHAPTER XXIV.                           253

she who was wrong should become the slave of the
other, but they postponed the decision till the follow¬
ing day. In the following night the mother of the
snakes sent her black children to the horse, to wind
themselves round it and to conceal its colour. In con¬
sequence the mother of the birds became her slave for
a time.

The latter, Vinata, had two children, Anuru, the
guardian of the tower of the sun, which is drawn by
the horses, and Garuda. The latter spoke to his mother :
" Demand from the children nourished at your breast
what may restore you to liberty." This she did.
People also spoke to her of the ambrosia (amrita),
which is with the Devas. Thereupon Garuda flew to
the Devas and demanded it from them, and they ful¬
filled his wish. For Amrita is one of those things
peculiar to them, and if somebody else gets it, he lives
as long as the Devas. He humbled himself before them
in order to obtain the Amrita, for the purpose of freeing
therewith his mother, at the same time promising to
bring it back afterwards. They had pity upon him,
and gave it him. Thereupon Garuda went to the
mountain Soma, in which the Devas were living.
Garuda gave the Amrita to the Devas, aud thereby
freed his mother. Then he spoke to them: "Do not
come near the Amrita unless you have before bathed
in the river Ganges." This they did, and left the
Amrita where it was. Meanwhile Garuda brought it
back to the Devas, and obtained thereby a high rank
in sanctitj^, so that he became the king of all the birds
and the riding-bird of Vishnu.

The inhabitants of Saka-Dvipa are pious, long-lived
beings, who can dispense with the rule of kings, since
they do not know envy nor ambition. Their lifetime,
not capable of any change, is as long as a Tretayuga.
The four colours are among them, i.e. the different
castes, which do not intermarry nor mix with each other.
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