Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen

1. Zum Beispiel: Abū 'r-Raiḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973 - 1048) (ابوریحان بیرونی): Kitāb tarich al-Hind ("Ινδικα"), Kap. XVI.

hrsg. von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858. -- 14. Quellen auf Arabisch, Persisch und in Turksprachen. -- 1. Zum Beispiel: Abū 'r-Raiḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī (973 - 1048) (ابوریحان بیرونی): Kitāb tarich al-Hind ("Ινδικα"), Kap. XVI. -- Fassung vom 2008-05-15. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen141.htm               

Erstmals publiziert als:

Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad <973-1048>: Alberuni’s India : An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India about A.D. 1030. / an English ed., with notes and indices. By Dr. Edward C. Sachau [1845 - 1930]. -- London : Trübner, 1888. -- 2 Bde. ; 22 cm. -- Bd. 1. -- S. 170 - 186.

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-05-15


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public domain.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

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Chapter XVI.

Notes on the writing of the Hindus, on their arithmetic and related subjects, and on certain strange manners and customs of theirs.

On various kinds of writing material.

The tongue communicates the thought of the speaker to the hearer. Its action has therefore, as it were, a momentary life only, and it would have been impossible to deliver by oral tradition the accounts of the events of the past to later generations, more particularly if they are separated from them by long periods of time. This has become possible only by a new discovery of the human mind, by the art of writing, which spreads news over space as the winds spread, and over time as the spirits of the deceased spread. Praise therefore be unto Him who has arranged creation and created everything for the best!

The Hindus are not in the habit of writing on hides, like the Greeks in ancient times. Socrates1, on being asked why he did not compose books, gave this reply: "I do not transfer knowledge from the living hearts of men to the dead hides of sheep." Muslims, too, used in the early times of Islam to write on hides, e.g. the treaty between the Prophet and the Jews of Khaibar and his letter to Kisrā. The copies of the Koran were written on the hides of gazelles, as are still nowadays the copies of the Thora. There occurs this passage in the Koran (Sūra vi. 91): "They make it karāṭīs," i.e.τομαρια. The kirṭās (or charta) is made in Egypt, [S. 171] being cut out of the papyrus2 stalk. Written on this material, the orders of the Khalifs went out into all the world until shortly before our time. Papyrus has this advantage over vellum, that you can neither rub out nor change anything on it, because thereby it would be destroyed. It was in China that paper was first manufactured. Chinese prisoners introduced the fabrication of paper into Samarḳand, and thereupon it was made in various places, so as to meet the existing want.

1 Socrates.—I do not know the Greek form of this dictum. It must be observed that according to the common tradition hides of animals were first prepared for vellum at Pergamum long after Socrates. p. 314

2 On the fabrication of papyrus, cf . Wilkinson, "Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians," ii. p. 180.

Abb.: Borassus flabellifer
[Bildquelle: Wikipedia, Public domain]

The Hindus have in the south of their country a slender tree like the date and cocoa-nut palms, bearing edible fruits and leaves of the length of one yard, and as broad as three fingers one put beside the other. They call these leaves tārī (tāla or tāṛ = Borassus flabelliformis [=  Borassus flabellifer]), and write on them. They bind a book of these leaves together by a cord on which they are arranged, the cord going through all the leaves by a hole in the middle of each.

In Central and Northern India people use the bark of the tūz tree [Betula sp., Birke], one kind of which is used as a cover for bows. It is called bhūrja. They take a piece one yard long and as broad as the outstretched fingers of the hand, or somewhat less, and prepare it in various ways. They oil and polish it so as to make it hard and smooth, and then they write on it. The proper order of the single leaves is marked by numbers. The whole book is wrapped up in a piece of cloth and fastened between two tablets of the same size. Such a book is called pūthī (cf. pusta, pustaka). Their letters, and whatever else they have to write, they write on the bark of the tūz tree.

On the Hindu alphabet.

As to the writing or alphabet of the Hindus, we have already mentioned that it once had been lost and forgotten; that nobody cared for it, and that in consequence people became illiterate, unken into gross ignorance, and entirely estranged from science. But then Vyāsa, the son of Parāśara, rediscovered their [S. 172] alphabet of fifty letters by an inspiration of God. A letter is called akshara.

Some people say that originally the number of their letters was less, and that it increased only by degrees. This is possible, or I should even say necessary. As for the Greek alphabet1, a certain Asīdhas2 (sic) had formed sixteen characters to perpetuate science about the time when the Israelites ruled over Egypt. Thereupon Kīmush (sic) and Agenon2 (sic) brought them to the Greeks. By adding four new signs they obtained an alphabet of twenty letters. Later on, about the time when Socrates was poisoned, Simonides added four other signs, and so the Athenians at last had a complete alphabet of twenty-four letters, which happened during the reign of Artaxerxes, the son of Darius, the son of Artaxerxes, the son of Cyrus, according to the chronographers of the West.

1 As for the Greek alphabet, &c.—The source of this tradition on the origin of the Greek alphabet seems to be certain scholia to the Ars Grammatica of Dionysius Thrax: v. Immanuel Bekker, Anecdota Græca, Berlin, 1816, vol. ii. p. 780 seq. The synchronistic notes point more to Joannes Malalas; perhaps these things were originally mentioned in the lacuna O 129.

2 Asidhas seems to be a mistake for Palamedes, Agenon for Agenor.

The great number of the letters of the Hindu alphabet is explained, firstly, by the fact that they express every letter by a separate sign if it is followed by a vowel or a diphthong or a hamza (visarga), or a small extension of the sound beyond the measure of the vowel; and, secondly, by the fact that they have consonants which are not found together in any other language, though they may be found scattered through different languages—sounds of such a nature that our tongues, not being familiar with them, can scarcely pronounce them, and that our ears are frequently not able to distinguish between many a cognate pair of them.

The Hindus write from the left to the right like the Greeks. They do not write on the basis of a line, above which the heads of the letters rise whilst their tails go down below, as in Arabic writing. On the contrary, their ground-line is above, a straight line above every single character, and from this line the letter hangs down and is written under it. Any sign above the line is nothing but a grammatical mark to [S. 173] denote the pronunciation of the character Above which it stands.

On the local alphabets of the Hindus.

The most generally known alphabet is balled Siddhamātṛikā, which is by some considered as originating from Kashmīr, for the people of Kashmīr use it. But it is also used in Varāṇasī. This town and Kashmīr are the high schools of Hindu sciences. The same writing is used in Madhyadeśa, i.e. the middle country, the country all around Kanauj, which is also called Āryāvarta.

In Mālava there is another alphabet called Nāgara, which differs from the former only in the shape of the characters.

Next comes an alphabet called Ardhanāgarī, i.e. half-nāgara, so called because it is compounded of the former two. It is used in Bhātiya and some parts of Sindh.

Other alphabets are the Malwārī, used in Malwashau5, in Southern Sind, towards the sea-coast; the Saindhava, used in Bahmanwā1 or Almaṇsūra; the Karnāṭa, used in Karnāṭadeśa, whence those troops come which in the armies are known as Kannara2; the Andhrī, used in 2Andhradeśa; the Dirwarī (Drāviḍī), used in Dirwaradeśa (Draviḍadeśa); the Lārī, used in Lāradeśa (Lāṭadeśa); the Gaurī (Gauḍī), used in Pūrvadeśa, i.e. the Eastern country; the Bhaikshukī3, used in Uduṇpūr4 in Pūrvadeśa. This last is the writing of Buddha.

1 Bahmanwā.—Read Bamhanvā. Other forms of the name are Bāmīvān and Bāīnvāh: v. Elliot, "History of India," i. 34, 189, 369, and the papers of Haig in the "Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society," 1884, p. 281, and of Bellasis in the “Journal” of the Bombay branch, vol. v., 1857, p. 413, 467.

2 For Kannara, v. note to pp. 17–19. Andhradeśa identified by Cunningham with Telingāna, v. his "Ancient Geography of India,” p. 527.

3 Bhaikshukī.—Alberuni writes Baikshuka, probably that of the bhikshu or beggar-monks, i.e. the śramaṇa or Buddhistic monks.

4 Is the Audunpūr mentioned by Alberuni, identical with the famous Buddhistic monastery Udaṇḍapuri in Magadha (?). Cf . H. Kern, Der Buddhismus und seine Geschichte in Indien, German by H. Jacobi, Leipzig, 1882, vol. ii. p. 545.

5 What Malvashau is I do not know (Malla-vishaya?).

On the word Om.

The Hindus begin their books with Om, the word of creation, as we begin them with "In the name of God." The figure of the word om is

This figure does not consist of letters; it is simply an image invented to represent this word, which people use, believing that it will bring them a blessing, and meaning thereby a confession of the unity of God. Similar to this is the manner in which the Jews write the name of God, viz. by three Hebrew yods. In the Thora the word is written YHVH [יהוה] and pronounced [S. 174] Adonai [אֲדֹנָי]; sometimes they also say Yah. The word Adonai, which they pronounce, is not expressed in writing.

On their numeral signs.

The Hindus do not use the letters of their alphabet for numerical notation, as we use the Arabic letters in the order of the Hebrew alphabet. As in different parts of India the letters have different shapes, the numeral signs, too, which are called aṅka, differ. The numeral signs which we use are derived from the finest forms of the Hindu signs. Signs and figures are of no use if people do not know what they mean, but the people of Kashmīr mark the single leaves of their books with figures which look like drawings or like the Chinese characters, the meaning of which can only be learned by a very long practice. However, they do not use them when reckoning in the sand.

In arithmetic all nations agree that all the orders of numbers (e.g. one, ten, hundred, thousand) stand in a certain relation to the ten; that each order is the tenth part of the following and the tenfold of the preceding. I have studied the names of the orders of the numbers in various languages with all kinds of people with whom I have been in contact, and have found that no nation goes beyond the thousand. The Arabs, too, stop with the thousand, which is certainly the most correct and the most natural thing to do. I have written a separate treatise on this subject.

Those, however, who go beyond the thousand in their numeral system are the Hindus, at least in their arithmetical technical terms, which have been either freely invented or derived according to certain etymologies, whilst in others both methods are blended together. They extend the names of the orders of numbers until the 18th order for religions reasons, the mathematicians being assisted by the grammarians with all kinds of etymologies.

The 18th order is called Parārdha, i.e. the half of [S. 175] heaven, or, more accurately, the half of that which is above. For if the Hindus construct periods of time out of Kalpas, the unit of this order is a day of God (i.e. a half nychthemeron). And as we do not know any body larger than heaven, half of it (parārdha), as a half of the greatest body, has been compared with a half of the greatest day. By doubling it, by uniting night to day, we get the whole of the greatest day. There can be no doubt that the name Parārdha is accounted for in this way, and that parār means the whole of heaven.

The eighteen orders of numeration.

The following are the names of the eighteen orders1 of numbers:—

  1. Ekaṃ.

  2. Daśaṃ.

  3. Śatam.

  4. Sahasraṃ.

  5. Ayuta.

  6. Laksha.

  7. Prayuta.

  8. Koṭi.

  9. Nyarbuda.

  10. Padma.

  11. Kharva.

  12. Nikharva.

  13. Mahāpadma.

  14. Śaṅku.

  15. Samudra.

  16. Madhya.

  17. Antya.

  18.  Parārdha.

1 To the orders of numbers, cf . Weber, Vedische Angaben über Zeittheilung und hohe Zahlen, in Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morg. Gesellschaft, xv. 132.

I shall now mention some of their differences of opinion relating to this system.

Variations occurring in the eighteen orders.

Some Hindus maintain that there is a 19th order beyond the Parārdha, called Bhūri, and that this is the limit of reckoning. But in reality reckoning is unlimited; it has only a technical limit, which is conventionally adopted as the last of the orders of numbers. By the word reckoning in the sentence above they seem to mean nomenclature, as if they meant to say that the language has no name for any reckoning beyond the 19th order. It is known that the unit of this order, i.e. one bhūri , is equal to one-fifth of the greatest day, but on this subject they have no tradition. In their tradition there are only traces of combinations of the greatest day, as we shall hereafter explain. Therefore this 19th order is an addition of an artificial and hyper-accurate nature. [S. 176]

According to others, the limit of reckoning is koṭi ; and starting from koṭi the succession of the orders of numbers would be koṭi, thousands, hundreds, tenths; for the number of Devas is expressed in koṭis. According to their belief there are thirty-three kotis of Devas, eleven of which belong to each of the three (sic) beings, Brahman, Narāyaṇa, and Mahādeva.

The names of the orders beyond that of the 18th have been invented by the grammarians, as we have said already (p. 174).

Further, we observe that the popular name of the 5th order is Daśa sahasra, that of the 7th order, Daśa laksha; for the two names which we have mentioned in the list above (Ayuta Prayuta) are rarely used.

The book of Āryabhaṭa of Kusumapura gives the following names of the orders from the ten till 10 koṭi:—

Further, it is noteworthy that some people establish a kind of etymological relationship between the different names; so they call the 6th order Niyuta, according to the analogy of the 5th, which is called Ayuta. Further, they call the 8th order Arbuda, according to the analogy of the 9th, which is called Nyarbuda.

There is a similar relation between Nikharva and Kharva, the names of the 12th and 11th orders, and between Śaṅku and Mahāśaṅku, the names of the 13th and 14th orders. According to this analogy Mahāpadma ought to follow immediately after Padma, but this latter is the name of the 10th, the former the name of the 13th order.

These are differences of theirs which can be traced back to certain reasons; but besides, there are many differences without any reason, which simply arise [S. 177] from people dictating these names without observing any fixed order, or from the fact that they hate to avow their ignorance by a frank I do not know,—a word which is difficult to them in any connection whatsoever.

The Pulisa-siddhānta gives the following list of the orders of the numbers:

The following orders, from the 11th till the 18th, are the same as those of the above-mentioned list.

Numeral notation.

The Hindus use the numeral signs in arithmetic in the same way as we do. I have composed a treatise showing how far, possibly, the Hindus are ahead of us in this subject. We have already explained that the Hindus compose their books in Ślokas. If, now, they wish, in their astronomical handbooks, to express some numbers of the various orders, they express them by words used to denote certain numbers either in one order alone or at the same time in two orders (e.g. a word meaning either 20 or both 20 and 200). For each number they have appropriated quite a great quantity of words. Hence, if one word does not suit the metre, you may easily exchange it for a synonym which suits. Brahmagupta says: "If you want to write one, express it by everything which is unique, as the earth, the moon; two by everything which is double, as, e.g. black and white; three by everything which is threefold; the nought by heaven, the twelve by the names of the sun."

I have united in the following table all the expressions for the numbers which I used to hear from them; for the knowledge of these things is most essential for deciphering their astronomical handbooks.1 [S. 178] Whenever I shall come to know all the meanings of these words, I will add them, if God permits!

1 This table has already been published by F. Wöpcke, Mémoire sur la Propagation des Chiffres Indiens, p. 103 seq.; A. C. Burnell, Elements of South Indian Palaeography, ii. ed., p. 77. Compare also E. Jaquet, Mode d’Expression Symbolique des Nombres Employé par les Indiens, les Tibétains et les Javanais p. 315 (Extrait du Journal Asiatique); Brown, Sanskrit Prosody and Numerical Symbols, London, 1869, p. 49 seq.

As far as I have seen and heard of the Hindus,. they do not usually go beyond twenty-five with this kind of numerical notation.

Strange manners and customs of the Hindus.

We shall now speak of certain strange manners and customs of the Hindus. The strangeness of a thing evidently rests on the fact that it occurs but rarely, and that we seldom have the opportunity of witnessing it. If such strangeness reaches a high degree, the thing becomes a curiosity, or even something like a miracle, which is no longer in accordance with the ordinary laws of nature, and which seems chimerical as long as it has not been witnessed. Many Hindu customs differ from those of our country and of our time to such a degree as to appear to us simply monstrous. One might almost think that they had intentionally changed them into the opposite, for our customs do not resemble theirs, but are the very reverse; and if ever a custom of theirs resembles one of ours, it has certainly just the opposite meaning.

They do not cut any of the hair of the body. Originally they went naked in consequence of the heat, and by not cutting the hair of the head they intended to prevent sunstroke. [S. 180]

They divide the moustache into single plaits in order to preserve it. As regards their not cutting the hair of the genitals, they try to make people believe that the cutting of it incites to lust and increases carnal desire. Therefore such of them as feel a strong desire for cohabitation never cut the hair of the genitals.

They let the nails grow long, glorying in their idleness, since they do not use them for any business or work, but only, while living a dolce far niente life, they scratch their heads with them and examine the hair for lice.

The Hindus eat singly, one by one, on a tablecloth of dung. They do not make use of the remainder of a meal, and the plates from which they have eaten are thrown away if they are earthen.

They have red teeth in consequence of chewing areca-nuts with betel-leaves and chalk.

They drink wine before having eaten anything, then they take their meal. They sip the stall of cows, but they do not eat their meat.

They beat the cymbals with a stick.

They use turbans for trousers. Those who want little dress are content to dress in a rag of two fingers’ breadth, which they bind over their loins with two cords; but those who like much dress, wear trousers lined with so much cotton as would suffice to make a number of counterpanes and saddle-rugs. These trousers have no (visible) openings, and they are so huge that the feet are not visible. The string by which the trousers are fastened is at the back.

Their ṣidār (a piece of dress covering the head and the upper part of breast and neck) is similar to the trousers, being also fastened at the back by buttons.

The lappets of the ḳurṭaḳas (short shirts from the shoulders to the middle of the body with sleeves, a [S. 181] female dress) have slashes both on the right and left sides.

They keep the shoes tight till they begin to put them on. They are turned down from the calf before walking (?).

In washing they begin with the feet, and then wash the face. They wash themselves before cohabiting with their wives.

Coeunt stantes velut palus vitis, dum mulieres ab imo sursum moventur velut occupatæ in arando, maritus vero plane otiosus manet. [Beim Sex stehen sie wie ein Weinpfahl. Die Frauen bewegen sich von unten her als ob sie pflügten, der Gatte aber bleibt ganz unbewegt.]

On festive days they besmear their bodies with dung instead of perfumes.

The men wear articles of female dress; they use cosmetics, wear earrings, arm-rinks, golden seal-rings on the ring-finger as well as on the toes of the feet.

Miseret eos catamiti et viri qui rebus venereis frui non potest pushaṇḍila1 dicti, qui penem bucca devorans semen elicit sorbendum. [Sie haben Mitleid mit dem Lustknaben und dem Mannes, der zu Sex unfähig ist und puṣāṇḍila genannt wird], der den Penis in den Mund nimmt, um den Samen zum Erguss zu bringen und herunterzuschlucken.]

1 Pushaṇḍhila.—The eunuch is called shaṇḍha. This seems to be a diminutive form compounded with the word puṃs (G. Bühler).

In cacando faciem vertunt versus murum, retegentes pudenda ut videantur a prætereuntibus. [Beim Scheißen wenden sie sich gegen eine Mauer und entblössen dabei ihre Schamteile, sodass die Vorbeigenden sie sehen können.]

Sacra faciunt virilibus liṅga dictis, quæ est imago veretri Mahadevæ. [Sie machen heilige Bilder aus männlichen Gliedern, die sie Liṅga nennen, das ein Bild des Penis Mahādevas ist.]

They ride without a saddle, but if they put on a saddle, they mount the horse from its right side. In travelling they like to have somebody riding behind them.

They fasten the kuṭhāra, i.e. the dagger, at the waist on the right side.

They wear a girdle called yajñopavīta, passing from the left shoulder to the right side of the waist.

In all consultations and emergencies they take the advice of the women.

When a child is born people show particular attention to the man, not to the woman.

Of two children they give the preference to the younger, particularly in the eastern parts of the country; [S. 182] for they maintain that the elder owes his birth to predominant lust, whilst the younger owes his origin to mature reflection and a calm proceeding.

In shaking hands they grasp the hand of a man from the convex side.

They do not ask permission to enter a house, but when they leave it they ask permission to do so.

In their meetings they sit cross-legged.

They spit out and blow their noses without any respect for the older ones present, and they crack their lice before them. They consider the crepitus ventris [Bauchknurren] as a good omen, sneezing as a bad omen.

They consider as unclean the weaver, but as clean the cupper and the flayer, who kills dying animals for money either by drowning or by burning.

They use black tablets for the children in the schools, and write upon them along the long side, not the broad side, writing with a white material from the left to the right. One would think that the author of the following verses had meant the Hindus:—

"How many a writer uses paper as black as charcoal,
Whilst his pen writes on it with white colour.
By writing he places a bright day in a dark night,
Weaving like a weaver, but without adding a woof."

They write the title of a book at the end of it, not at the beginning.

They magnify the nouns of their language by giving them the feminine gender, as the Arabs magnify them by the diminutive form.1

1 They magnify the nouns of their language, &c.—This somewhat enigmatic sentence seems to have the following meaning:—An Arabic word, e.g. ḳarsh (a sea-animal), is magnified, i.e. receives a larger form, by being changed into the diminutive form, i.e. ḳuraish, (a small sea-animal, as a proper noun, the name of the tribe to which Muḥammad belonged). The diminutive form serves the purpose of magnifying the form of the word: [...]. If the Hindus magnify their nouns by giving them the feminine gender, this must be referred to some of the pleonastic suffixes, e.g. ā, ī, which are added to Indian nouns without altering their meaning. In appearance they are the terminations of the feminine gender, in reality euphonic changes of the more ancient suffixes aka and ikā, e.g. paṭā, board, by the side of paṭ. Cf . Hörnle, Comparative Grammar of the Gauḍian Languages, § 194 seq.

If one of them hands over a thing to another, he expects that it should be thrown to him as we throw a thing to the dogs.

If two men play at Nard (backgammon), a third one throws the dice between them.

They like the juice which flows over the cheeks of [S. 183] the rutting elephant, which in reality has the most horrid smell.

On the Indian chess.

In playing chess1 they move the elephant straight on, not to the other sides, one square at a time, like the pawn, and to the four corners also one square at a time, like the queen (firzān). They say that these five squares (i.e. the one straight forward and the others at the corners) are the places occupied by the trunk and the four feet of the elephant.

1 An explanation of the Indian chess has been published by A. Van der Linde, Geschichte und Litteratur des Schachspiels.

They play chess—four persons at a time—with a pair of dice. Their arrangement of the figures on the chess-board is the following:—

[S. 184] As this kind of chess is not known among us, I shall here explain what I know of it.

The four persons playing together sit so as to form a square round a chess-board, and throw the two dice alternately. Of the numbers of the dice the five and six are blank (i.e. do not count as such). In that case, if the dice show five or six, the player takes one instead of the five, and four instead of the six, because the figures of these two numerals are drawn in the following manner:

so as to exhibit a certain likeness of form to 4 and 1, viz. in the Indian signs.

The name Shāh or king applies here to the queen (firzān).

Each number of the dice causes a move of one of the figures.

The 1 moves either the pawn or the king. Their moves are the same as in the common chess. The king may be taken, but is not required to leave his place.

The 2 moves the tower (rukh). It moves to the third square in the direction of the diagonal, as the elephant moves in our chess.

The 3 moves the horse. Its move is the generally known one to the third square in oblique direction.

The 4 moves the elephant. It moves in a straight line, as the tower does in our chess, unless it be prevented from moving on. If this is the case, as sometimes happens, one of the dice removes the obstacle, and enables it to move on. Its smallest move is one square, the greatest fifteen squares, because the dice sometimes show two 4, or two 6, or a 4 and a 6. In consequence of one of these numbers, the elephant moves along the whole side of the margin on the chessboard; in consequence of the other number, it moves [S. 185] along the other side  on the other margin of the board, in case there is no impediment in its way. In consequence of these two numbers, the elephant, in the course of his moves, occupies the two ends of the diagonal.

The pieces have certain values, according to which the player gets his share of the stake, for the pieces are taken and pass into the hands of the player. The value of the king is 5, that of the elephant 4, of the horse 3, of the tower 2, and of the pawn 1. He who takes a king gets 5. For two kings he gets 10, for three kings 15, if the winner is no longer in possession of his own king. But if he has still his own king, and takes all three kings, he gets 54, a number which represents a progression based on general consent, not on an algebraic principle.

The innate perversity of the Hindu character.

If the Hindus claim to differ from us, and to be something better than we, as we on our side, of course, do vice versa, we might settle the question by an experiment to be made with their boys. I never knew a Hindu boy who had only recently come into Muhammadan territory who was not thoroughly versed in the manners and customs of the people, but at the same time he would place the shoes before his master in a wrong order, the right one to the left foot, and vice versa; he would, in folding, turn his master’s garments inside out, and spread the carpets so that the under part is uppermost, and more of the kind. All of which is a consequence of the innate perversity of the Hindu nature.

Customs of the heathen Arabs.

However, I must not reproach the Hindus only with their heathen practices, for the heathen Arabs too committed crimes and obscenities. They cohabited with menstruating and pregnant women; several men agreed to cohabit with the same woman in the same period of menstruation; they adopted the children of others, of their guests, of the lover of their daughter, not to mention [S. 186] that in some kinds of their worship they whistled on their fingers and clapped with their hands, and that they ate unclean and dead animals. Islam has abolished all those things among the Arabs, as it has also abolished them in those parts of India the people of which have become Muhammadans. Thanks be unto God! [S. 187]

Zu: 2. Zum Beispiel: Kūfī, ʻAlī ibn Ḥāmid <13. Jhdt. A.D:>:  The Chachnamah <Auszug>