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How did Al Biruni overcome the inherent problems and understood the Indian social and Brahmanical practices. Identify the sources that provided him the support.

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Al-Biruni, was aware of the problems inherent in the task he had set himself. He discussed several “barriers” that he felt obstructed the understanding of the Indian society. 

  • The first amongst these was language. According to him, Sanskrit was so different from Arabic and Persian that ideas and concepts could not be easily translated from one language into another. 
  • The second barrier he identified was the difference in religious beliefs and practices. 
  • The self-absorption and consequent insularity of the local population according to him, constituted the third barrier. 
  • What is interesting is that even though he was aware of these problems, Al-Biruni depended almost exclusively on the works of Brahmanas, often citing passages from the Vedas, the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita, the works of Patanjali, the Manusmriti, etc., to provide an understanding of Indian society.