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

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



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  Page 330  

330                           ALBERUNPS INDIA.

The dwellings of the Devaka, i.e. the spiritual beings,
are under the two poles; therefore this kind of day
is called by their name, i.e. the nychthemeron of the

Aryabhata of Kusumapura says that the Deva see
one half of the solar year, the Danava the other; that
the Pitaras see one half of the lunar month, human
beings the other. So one revolution of the sun in the
zodiac affords day and night both to the Deva and
Danava, and their totality is a nychthemeron.

In consequence our year is identical with the nych¬
themeron of the Deva. In it, however, day and night
are not equal (as in the nychthemeron of the fore¬
fathers), because the sun moves slowly in the half of
the northern declination about its apogee, by which the
day becomes a little longer. However, this difference
is not equal to the difference between the visible horizon
and the real one, for this cannot be observed on the
globe of the sun. Besides, according to Hindu notions,
the inhabitants of those places are raised above the
surface of the earth, dwelling on Mount Meru. Who¬
ever holds this view holds regarding the height of Meru
the same opinions as those we have described in the
proper place (in chap, xxiii.). In consequence of this
height of Mount Meru, its horizon must fall a little
lower (i.e. more southward than the equator), and in
consequence the rate of the day's being longer than the
night is lessened (as then the sun does not entirely
reach his northern apogee, where he makes the longest
days). If this were anything else but simply a reli¬
gious tradition of the Hindus, besides being one regard¬
ing which even they do not agree among themselves,
we should try to find, by astronomical calculation, the
amount of this depression of the horizon of Mount
Meru below the equator, but as there is no use in this
subject (Mount Meru being simply an invention), we
drop it.
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