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

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



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CHAPTER LIX.                             iii

hamihira, Srishena, Aryabhata, and Vishnucandra main¬
tain that the eclipse is not caused by the Head, but
by the moon and the shadow of the earth, in direct
opposition to all (to the generality of men), and from
enmity against the just-mentioned dogma. For if the
Head does not cause the eclipse, all the usages of the
Brahmans which they practise at the moment of an
eclipse, viz. their rubbing themselves with warm oil,
and other works of prescribed worship, would be illu¬
sory and not be rewarded by heavenly bliss. If a man
declares these things to be illusory, he stands outside
of the generally acknowledged dogma, and that is not
allowed. Manu says in the Sinriti : ' When the Head
keeps the sun or moon in eclipse, all waters on earth
become pure, and in purity like the water of the Ganges.'
The Veda says : ' The Head is the son of a woman of the
daughters of the Daityas, called Sainakd' (? Siihhika ?).
Therefore people practise the well-known works of piety,
and therefore those authors must cease to oppose the
generality, for everything which is in the Veda, Smriti,
and Samhitd is true."

If Brahmagupta, in this respect, is one of those of
whom God says (Koran, Sura xxvii. 14), " They have
denied our signs, although their hearts knew them clectrly,
from wickedness ctnd, hctughtiness," we shall not argue
with him, but only whisper into his ear: If people
must under circumstances give up opposing the reli¬
gious codes (as seems to be your case), why then do you
order people to be pious if you forget to be so your¬
self? Why do you, after having spoken such words,
then begin to calculate the diameter of the moon in
order to explain her eclipsing the sun, and the dia¬
meter of the shadow of the earth in order to explain its
eclipsing the moon ? Why do you compute both eclipses
in agreement with the theory of those heretics, and not
according to the views of those with whom you think
it proper to agree ?    If the Brahmans are ordered to
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