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

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



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  Page 286  

286                           ALBERUNPS INDIA.

by his mention of the mountain Lokaloka and his re¬
mark that the rays of the sun fall on it, on its human
or north side, not on its wild or south side.

Further, the sun is not hidden during the night on
account of his great distance, but because he is covered
by something—-by the earth according to us, by Mount
Meru according to the author of the Matsya-Purdna.
He imagines that the sun marches round Meru, whilst
we are on one of its sides. In consequence we are in
a varying distance from the sun's path. That this is
originally his opinion is confirmed by the later follow¬
ing remarks. That the sun is invisible during the night
has nothing whatever to do with his distance from us.

The numbers which the author of the Mcttsy ct-Purdna
mentions I hold to be corrupt, as they are not borne
out by any calculation. He represents the path of the
sun in the north as threefold that in the south, and
makes this the cause of the difference of the length of
the day. Whilst in reality the sum of day and night is
always identical, and day aud night in north and south
stand in a constant relation to each other, it seems
necessary that we should refer his remarks to a latitude
where the summer-day is 45 ghatikd, the winter-day
15 ghatikd long.

Further, his remark that the sun hastens in the north
(marches there more rapidly than in the south), re¬
quires to be proved. The places of northern latitude
have meridians not very distant from each other, be¬
cause of their being near to the pole, whilst the
meridians become more distant from each other the
nearer they are to the equator. If, now, the sun hastens
in traversing a smaller distance, he wants less time
than for traversing the greater distance, more especially
if on this greater distance his march is slackening.
In reality the opposite is the case.

By his phrase when the sun revolves above Pushkara-
dvipa (p, 284) is meant the line of the winter solstice.
  Page 286