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

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



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 139  

(    139    )



Most of the Veda treats of the sacrifices to the fire,
and describes each one of them. They are different in
extent, so that certain of them can only be performed
by the greatest of their kings. So, e.g. the asvamedha. Asvamedha.
A mare is let freely to wander about in the country
grazing, without anybody's hindering her. Soldiers
follow her, drive her, and cry out before her: " She is
the king of the world. He who does not agree, let him
come forward." The Brahmans walk behind her and
perform sacrifices to the fire where she casts dung.
When she thus has wandered about through all parts Page 272.
of the world, she becomes food for the Brahmans and
for him whose property she is.

Further, the sacrifices differ in duration, so that only
he could perform certain of them who lives a very long
life; and such long lives do no longer occur in this
our age. Therefore most of them have been abolished,
and only few of them remain and are practised now¬

According to the Hindus, the fire eats everything. Onfire-

,                                            ...     offerings in

Therefore it becomes defiled, if anything unclean is general.
mixed up with it, as, e.g. water.    Accordingly they are
very punctilious regarding fire and water if they are in
the hands of non-Hindus, because they are dehled by
being touched by them.

That which the fire eats for its share, reverts to the
Devas, because the fire comes out of their mouths.
  Page 139