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

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



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  Page 266  

266                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

Vadaviimukha lying under the south pole. Now, it is
entirely irrelevant whether Meru is there or not, as it
is only required for the explanation of the particular
mill-like rotation, which is necessitated by the fact that
to each spot on the plane of the earth corresponds a spot
in the sky as its zenith. Also the fable of the southern
island Vadavamukha does no harm to their science,
although it is possible, nay, even likely, that each pair of
quarters of the earth forms a coherent, uninterrupted
unity, the one as a continent, the other as an ocean
(and that in reality there is no such island under the
south pole). Such a disposition of the earth is required
by the law of gravitation, for according to them the
earth is in the centre of the universe, and everything
heavy gravitates towards it. Evidently on account of
this law of gravitation they consider heaven, too, as
having a globular shape.

We shall now exhibit the opinions of the Hindu
astronomers on this subject according to our translation
of their works. In case, however, one word or other in
our translation should be used in a meaning diff'erent
from that which it generally has in our sciences, we ask
the reader to consider only the original meaning of the
word (not the technical one), for this only is meant.
Quotation PuHsa says in his Siddhdnta: "Paulisa the Greek
says somewhere that the earth has a globular shape,
whilst in another place he says that it has the shape of
a cover (i.e. of a flat plane). And in both sentences he
is right; for the plane or surface of the earth is round,
and its diameter is a straight line. That he, however,
only believed in the globular shape of the earth, may
be proved by many passages of his work. Besides, all
scholars agree on this head, as Varahamihira, Arya¬
bhata, Deva, Srishena, Vishnucandra, and Brahman,
If the earth were not round, it would not be girded
with the latitudes of the different places on earth, day
and night would not be different in winter and summer.

of Pulisa.
  Page 266