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

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



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  Page 331  

CHAPTER XXXIII.                          331

Some uneducated Hindu heard people speak of the
day of such a nychthemeron in the north, and of its
night in the south. In connection with these elements
he determined the two parts of the year by the two
halves of the zodiac, the one which ascends from the
winter solstice, called the northern, and the one which
descends from the summer solstice, called the southern.
Then he identified the day of this nychthemeron with
the ascending half, and its night with the descending
half.    All of which he has eternised in his books.

Not much better is what the author of the Vishnu-
Dharma says :—"The half beginning with Capricornus
is the day of the Asura, i.e. the Danavas, and their
night begins with the sign of Cancer." Previously he
had said: "The half beginning with Aries is the day
of the Deva." This author acted without any under¬
standing of the subject, for he simply confounds the
two poles with each other (for according to this theory
the half of the sun's revolution, beginning with Capri¬
cornus or the winter solstice, would be the day of the
beings under the north pole or the Devas, not that of
the beings under the south pole or Asuras, and the
revolution of the sun beginning with Cancer or the
summer solstice would be the day of the Asuras, not
their night). If this author had really understood the
sentence, and had known astronomy, he would have
come to other conclusions.

Next follows the Brahmdliordtra, i.e. the nychtheme- DayofBrah-
ron of Brahman, It is not derived from light and dark¬
ness (as that of the forefathers), nor from the appearing
or disappearing of a heavenly body (like that of the
Devas), but from the physical nature of created things,
in consequence of which they 7nove in the day and rest
in the night. The length of the nychthemeron of
Brahman is 8,640,000,000 of our years. During one
half of it, i.e. during the day, the tether, with all that
is  in it,  is moving, the earth is producing, and the

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