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

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



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CHAPTER XL.                              365

because on that day all beings would rise from death.
However, he did not attain his object, as it was only
conceded to him to live till the day of the well-known
time, of which it has been said that it is the last of the
days of trouble.

The king had a son called Prahlada, whom he in¬
trusted to a teacher when he grew up. One day the
king ordered him into his presence to learn what he
was studying. Now the boy recited to him a poem,
the meaning of which was that only Vishnu exists,
whilst everything else is illusion. This went much
against the opinions of his father, who hated Vishnu,
and therefore he ordered the boy to be intrusted to
another master, and that he should learn to distii:-
guish a friend from an enemy. Thereupon he waited
a certain time, and then examined him again, when the
boy answered, " I have learned what you have ordered,
but I do not want it, for I am in friendship alike with
everything, not in enmity with anything," Now his
father became angry and ordered him to be poisoned.
The boy took the poison in the name of God and thought
of Vishnu, and lo ! it did not hurt him. His father
said, "Do you know witchcraft and incantations ? " The
boy answered, " No, but the God who has created me
and given me to thee watches over me." Now the
wrath of the king increased, and he gave orders to
throw him into the deep sea. But the sea threw him
out again, and he returned to his place. Then he was
thrown before the king into a huge blazing fire, but it
did not hurt him. Standing in the flame, he began to
converse with his father on God and his power. When
the boy by chance said that Vishnu is in every place,
his father said, "Is he also in this column of the por¬
tico ? " The boy said, " Yes." Then his father jumped
against the column and beat it, whereupon Narasirhha
came forth from it, a human figure with a lion's head,
therefore neither a human being, nor an angel, nor a
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