Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 2)

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



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io8                        ALBERUNTS INDIA.

ordered that he should never appear in heaven except
at the time of an eclipse.

V. 3.—Others say that he has a head like that of a
serpent, and a tail like that of a serpent, whilst others
say that he has no other body besides the black colour
which is seen."

After having finished the relation of these absurdities,
Varahamihira continues :—

V. 4.—" If the Head had a body, it would act by
immediate contact, whilst we find that he eclipses from
a distance, when between him and the moon there is
an interval of six zodiacal signs. Besides, his motion
does not increase nor decrease, so that we cannot
imagine an eclipse to be caused by his body reaching
the spot of the lunar eclipse.

V. 5.—And if a man commits himself to such a
view, let him tell us for what purpose the cycles of the
Head's rotation have been calculated, and what is the
use of their being correct in consequence of the fact
that his rotation is a regular one. If the Head is
imagined to be a serpent with head and tail, why does
it not eclipse from a distance less or more than six
zodiacal signs ?

V. 6.—His body is there present between head and
tail; both hang together by means of the body. Still
it does not eclipse sun nor moon nor the fixed stars of
the lunar stations, there being an eclipse only if there
are two heads opposed to each other.

V. 7.—If the latter were the case, and the moon

rose, being eclipsed by one of the two, the sun would

necessarily set, being eclipsed by the other.    Likewise,

Page 255.     if the moon should set eclipsed, the  sun would rise

eclipsed.    And nothing of the kind ever occurs.

V. 8.—As has been mentioned by scholars who enjoy
the help of God, an eclipse of the moon is her enter¬
ing the shadow of the earth, and an eclipse of the sun
consists in this that the moon covers and hides the sun
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