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

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



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  Page 352  

352                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

years are one year of the Great Bear; 36,000 human
years are one year of Brahman, and 99,000 human
years are one year of the pole." However, as regards
the year of Brahman, we remember that Vasudeva
speaks to Arjuna on the battlefield between the two
ranks : "The day of Brahman is two kalpas;" and in
the Brahmasiddhdnta there is a tradition from Vyasa, the
son of Parasara, and from the book Smriti, that kalpct
is a day of Devaka, i.e. Brahman, and also a night of
his. In consequence the there-mentioned theory is
evidently wrong (one year of Brahman being infinitely
longer than 36,000 years). Further, 36,000 years are
the period of one revolution of the fixed stars in the
ecliptic, since they pass one degree in 100 years, and
the Great Bear belongs to them. However, in their
traditional literature the Hindus separate the Great
Bear from the fixed stars, and attribute to it a distance
from the earth which dift'ers from the real distance,
and therefore they describe it by qualities and con¬
ditions which in reality do not belong to it. If the
author of that theory meant by the year of the Great
Bear one revolution of it, we do not see why it should
revolve so much more rapidly than the other fixed
stars (for, in that case, the diameter of its course would
be much larger than that of the others), nor why
it should form an exception to the laws of nature
(according to which all fixed stars revolve at the same
distance from the earth and in the same time); and
the pole has no revolution which might be considered
as a year of it. From all this I conclude that the
author of the theory was a man entirely devoid of
scientific education, and one of the foremost in the
series of fools who simply invented those years for the
benefit of people who worship the Great Bear and the
pole. He had to invent a vast number of years, for
the more outrageous it was, the more impression it
would make.
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