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

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



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The Great Bear is in the Indian language called Saptar- a tradition
shayas, i.e. the Seven Bishis.    They are said to have been Arundhati,
anchorites who nourished themselves only with what it vasishtha.
is allowable to eat, and with them there was a pious
woman, Al-suhd (Ursct Major, star  80 by f).    They
plucked off the stalks of the lotus from the ponds to eat
of them.    Meanwhile came The Law (Dharma.?) and
concealed her from   them.    Every one of them  felt
ashamed of the other, and they swore oaths which were
approved of by Dharma.    In order to honour them,
Dharma raised them to that place where they are now
seen (sic).

We have already mentioned that the books of the Hin- Quotation
dus are composed in metres, and therefore the authors ha^ihir^
indulge in comparisons and epitheta ornantia, such as
are admired by their countrymen. Of the same kind
is a description of the Great Bear in the Samhitd of
Varahamihira, where it occurs before the astrological
prognostics derived from this constellation. We give
the passage according to our translation : ^—

" The northern region is adorned with these stars, as
a beautiful woman is adorned with a collar of pearls
strung together, and a necklace of white lotus flowers,
a handsomely arranged one. Thus adorned, they are
like maidens who dance and revolve round the pole as
the pole orders them.    And I say, on the authority of

1 Sarhliitd, chap. xiii. v. i-6.
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