Alberuni's India

Alberuni's India

Product ID: 9358

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Author: Edward C Sachau
Publisher: Rupa
Year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 820
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8171676405


To Alberuni, the Hindus were excellent philosophers, good mathematicians and astronomers, though he naively believed himself to be superior to them. This book is nothing but a simple historic record of facts.

This book is an account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India about 1030.

It was in 1017 AD, at the behest of Sultan Muhmud of Persia, Alberuni, aka Al-Biruni, traveled to India to learn about the Hindus, and to discuss with them questions of religion, science and literature, and the very basis of their civilization. He remained in India for thirteen years, studying and exploring. Alberuni’s scholarly work has not been given the due recognition it deserves. Not for nearly eight hundred years would any other writer match Alberuni profound understanding of almost all aspects of Indian life.


Preface I


On the Hindus in general, as an introduction to our Account of them.

On the belief of the Hindus in God.

On the Hindu belief as to created things, both "Intelligibilia" and "Sensibilia".

From what cause action originates, and how the soul is connected with matter.

On the state of the souls, and their migrations through the world in the metempsychosis.

On the different worlds, and on the places of retribution in paradise and hell.

On the nature of liberation from the world, and on the path leading thereto.

On the Different classes of created beings, and on their names.

On the castes, called "Colors" (Varn), and on the classes below them.

On the sources of their religious and civil law, on prophets, and on the question whether single laws can be abrogated or not.

About the beginning of Idol-Worship, and a Description of the Individual Idols.

On the Veda, the Puranas and other kinds of their National Literature.

Their Grammatical and Metrical Literature.

Hindu Literature in the other Science-Astronomy, Astrology, Etc.

Notes on Hindu Metrology, Intended to facilitate the understanding of all kinds of measurements which occur in this book.

Notes on the writing of the Hindus, on their Arithmetic and Related Subjects and on certain strange manners and customs of theirs.

On Hindu Sciences Which Prey on the Ignorance of People.

Various Notes on their country, their rivers, and their ocean --- Itinerabies of the distances between their Several Kingdoms and between the Boundaries of their Country.

On the names of the Planets, the signs of the Zodiac, the Lunar Stations, and related subjects.

On the Brahmanda.

Description on Earth and heaven according to the religious view of the Hindus, based upon their traditional literature.

Traditions relating to the pole.

On mount meru according to the belief of the authors of the Puranas and others.

Traditions of the Puranas regarding each of the seven Dvipas.

On the rivers of India, their sources and courses.

On the shape of heaven and earth according to the Hindu Astronomers.

On the first two motions of the universe (That from East to West according to ancient Astronomers, and the precession of the equinoxes) both according to the Hindu Astronomers and the authors of the Puranas.

On the Definition of the Ten Directions.

Definition of the Inhabitable earth according to the Hindus.

On Lanka, or the cupola of the Earth.

On that Difference of various places which we call the difference of longitude.

On the Notions of duration and time in general, and on the creation of the world and its destruction.

On the various kinds of the day or nychthemeron, and on day and night in particular.

On the division of the nychthemeron into minor particles of time.

On the different kinds of Months and Years.

On the four measures of time called mana.

On the parts of the month and the years.

On the various measures of time composed of days, the life of Brahman included.

On measures of time which are larger than the life of Brahman.

On the Samdhi, the interval between two periods of time, forming the connecting link between them.

Definition of the terms "Kalpa" and "Chaturyuga", and an explication of the one by the other.

On the division of the Chaturyuga into Yugas, and the different opinions regarding the later.

On the division of the Four Yugas, and of all that is expected to take place at the end of the Fourth Yuga.

On the Manvantaras.

On the constellation of the Great Bear.

On Narayana, his appearance at different times, and his names.

On Vasudeva and the wars of the bharata.

An explanation of the measure of an akshauhini.

A Summary Description of the eras.

How many Star-Cycles there are both in a "Kalpa" and in a "Chaturyuga".

An explanation of the terms "Adhimasa", "Unaratra", and the "Aharganas", as representing different sums of days.

On the calculation of "Ahargana" in general, that is the resolution of years and months into days, and Vice Versa, the composition of years and months out of days.

On the Ahargana, or the Resolution of years into months, according to special rules which are adopted in the Calendars for certain dates or moments of time.

On the computations of the mean places of the planets.

On the order of the planets, their distances and sizes.

On the stations of the Moon.

On the heliacal risings of the stars, and on the ceremonies and rites which the Hindus practice at such a moment.

How Ebb and flow follow each other in the ocean.

On the solar and lunar eclipse.

On the Parvan.

On the Dominants of the different measures of time in both religious and astronomical relations, and on connected subjects.

On the sixty years-Samvatsara, also called "Shashtyabda".

On that which especially concerns the brahmans, and what they are obliged to do during their whole life.

On the rites and customs which the other Castes, besides the Brahmans, practice during their lifetime.

On the sacrifices.

On Pilgrimage and the Visiting of sacred places.

On alms and how a man must spend what the earns.

On what is allowed and forbidden in eating and drinking.

On the matrimony, the menstrual courses, embryos, and childbed.

On lawsuits.

On Punishments and Expiations.

On inheritance, and what claim the deceased person has on it.

About what is due to the bodies of the dead and of the living (that is, about burying and suicide).

On fasting, and the various kinds of it.

On the determination of the Fast-Days.

On the Festivals and Festive Days.

On Days which are held in special veneration, on lucky and unlucky times, and on such times as are particularly favorable for acquiring in them bliss in heaven.

On the Karanas.

On the Yogas.

On the introductory principles of Hindu Astrology, with a short description of their methods of astrological calculations.