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

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



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I70                        ALBERUNTS INDIA.

The bodies of children under three years are not

Those who fulfil these duties towards the dead after¬
wards wash themselves as well as their dresses during
two days, because they have become unclean by touch¬
ing the dead.

Those   who cannot afford to burn  their  dead  will
either throw them somewhere on the open field or into
running water.
Modes of          Now as regards the right of the body of the living,

suicide.                                _,                                      i-nfT           ■•                   •         i

the Hindus would not think of burning it save m the
case of a widow who chooses to follow her husband, or
in the case of those who are tired of their life, who are
distressed over some incurable disease of their body,
some irremovable bodily defect, or old age and infirmity.
This, however, no man of distinction does, but only
Vaisyas and Sudras, especially at those times which
are prized as the most suitable for a man to acquire in
them, for a future repetition of life, a better form and
condition than that in which he happens to have been
born and to live. Burning oneself is forbidden to
Brahmans and Kshatriyas by a special law. Therefore
these, if they want to kill themselves, do so at the time
of an eclipse in some other manner, or they hire some¬
body to drown them in the Ganges, keeping them under
water till they are dead.
The tree of At the juuctlon of the two rivers, Vamuna and
Ganges, there is a great tree called Praydga, a tree of
the species called va,tct. It is peculiar to this kind of
tree that its branches send forth two species of twigs,
some directed upward, as is the case with all other trees,
and others directed downward like roots, but without
leaves. If such a twig enters into the soil, it is like a
supporting column to the branch whence it has grown.
Nature has arranged this on purpose, since the branches
of this tree are of an enormous extent (and require to be
supported).    Here the Brahmans and Kshatriyas are in

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