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

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



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  Page 322  

322                           ALBERUNPS INDIA.

Brahmana   not, by the word crcatiou, understand a formation of

period of                                                „         ,  .              ^m                          i           '      j •                i

non-crea- Something out of nothing, ihey mean by creation only
the working with a piece of clay, working out various
combinations and figures in it, and making such arrange¬
ments with it as will lead to certain ends and aims
which are potentially in it. For this reason they at¬
tribute the creation to angels and demons, nay, even
to human beings, who create either because they carry
out some legal obligation which afterwards proves
beneficial for the creation, or because they intend to
allay their passions after having become envious and
ambitious. So, for instance, they relate that Visva¬
mitra, the Rishi, created the buffaloes for this purpose,
that mankind should enjoy all the good and useful
things which they afford. All this reminds one of the
words of Plato in the book Timceus: "The 6eot, i.e.
the gods, who, according to an order of their father,
carried out the creation of man, took an immortal soul
and made it the beginning; thereupon they fashioned
like a turner a mortal body upon it."

Here in this context we meet with a duration of time
which Muslim authors, following the example of the
Hindus, call the years of the world. People think that
at their beginnings and endings creation and destruc¬
tion take place as kinds of new formations. This,
however, is not the belief of the people at large. Ac¬
cording to them, this duration is a day of Brahman
and a consecutive night of Brahman ; for Brahman is
intrusted with creating. Further, the coming into
existence is a motion in that which grows out of some¬
thing different from itself, and the most apparent of
the causes of this motion are the meteoric motors, i.e.
the stars. These, however, will never exercise regular
influences on the world below them unless they move
and change their shapes in every direction (= their
aspects). Therefore the coming into existence is limited
to the day of Brahman,  because in it  only, as the
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