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

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



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  Page 351  

CHAPTER XXXV.                           351

it is the first and the last, and is without a beginning in
the past and without an end in the future. The other
kinds of days, of which months and years (those of the
fathers, the angels, and Brahman) are composed, refer
to beings who stand under Purusha in the order of
beings, and whose duration is defined by certain limits
of time. The day of Purusha is simply an abstraction
of the Hindu mind to denote that which is above the
soul (dtman), for they make no distinction between
jnirusha and dt7nan except in the order* or sequence in
which they enumerate them. They speak of Purusha
in terms resembling those of the Siifis, viz. the he is not
the first, and is not something else. It is quite possible Page 178.
in imagination to extend the idea of duration from the
existing present moment towards both sides, i.e. towards
the past which no longer exists, and towards the future
which possibly will exist, and to measure duration ;
and if some part of it admits of being determined by
days, imagination also admits reduplications of it in the
guise of months and years. In all this it is the inten¬
tion of the Hindus that we should refer the years
invented by them to certain periods of life, beginning
with the coming into existence, and ending with de¬
struction and death. However, God the Creator is
sublime beyond either, and also the simple substances
(air, fire, earth, water) do not know coming into exist¬
ence nor destruction (in periodical returns). Therefore
we stop with the day of Purusha, and do not think it
necessary to use still larger periods of time.

Things which do not rest on intrinsic necessity offer a tradition
a wide field  for  difference of   opinion and  arbitrary theV^^-sof
systematising,  so  as easily  to  become  the  source of Belrand
numerous theories.    Some of them may be developed  ^®i'°®'
according to a certain order and rule, whilst others are
devoid of such.    In the latter class I reckon the follow¬
ing theory, but unfortunately I have forgotten from
what   source  it  has  come   to   me:   "33,000  human
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