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

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



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152                        ALBERUNTS INDIA.

allowed to the Sudra.    He may drink it, but dare not
sell it, as he is not allowed to sell meat.
Why the          Somc Hiudus say that in the time before Bharata it

cows was was allowed to eat the meat of cows, and that there
then existed sacrifices part of which was the killing of
cows. After that time, however, it had been forbidden
on account of the weakness of men, who were too weak
to fulfil their duties, as also the Veda, which originally
was only one, was afterwards divided into four parts,
simply for the purpose of facilitating the study of it to
men. This theory, however, is very little substantiated,
as the prohibition of the meat of cows is not an alle¬
viating and less strict measure, but, on the contrary,
one which is more severe and more restrictive than the
former law.

Other Hindus told me that the Brahmans used to
suffer from the eating of cows' meat. For their country
is hot, the inner parts of the bodies are cold, the natural
warmth becomes feeble in them, and the power of
digestion is so weak that they must strengthen it by
eating the leaves of betel after dinner, and by chewing
the betel-nut. The hot betel inflames the heat of the
body, the chalk on the betel-leaves dries up everything
wet, and the betel-nut acts as an astringent on the
teeth, the gums, and the stomach. As this is the case,
they forbade eating cows' meat, because it is essentially
thick and cold.

I, for my part, am uncertain, and hesitate in the
question of the origin of this custom between two
different views.

(Lacuna in the manuscript.)

As for the economical reason, we must keep in mind
that the cow is the animal which serves man in travel¬
ling by carrying his loads, in agriculture in the works
of ploughing and sowing, in the household by the milk
and the product made thereof. Further, man makes
use of its dung, and in winter-time even of its breath.
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