Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
0. In the name of the creator Aûharmazd.
1. The Zand-âkâs ('Zand-knowing or tradition-informed 1), which is first about Aûharmazd's original creation and the antagonism of the evil spirit 2 and afterwards about the nature of the creatures from the original creation till the end, which is the future existence (tanû-i pasînŏ). 2. As revealed by the religion of the Mazdayasnians, so it is declared that Aûharmazd is supreme in omniscience and goodness,
and unrivalled 1 in splendour; the region of light is the place of Aûharmazd, which they call 'endless light,' and the omniscience and goodness of the unrivalled Aûharmazd is what they call 'revelation 2.' 3. Revelation is the explanation of both spirits together; one is he who is independent of unlimited time 3, because Aûharmazd and the region, religion, and time of Aûharmazd were and are and ever will be; while Aharman 4 in darkness, with backward understanding and desire for destruction, was in the abyss, and 'it is he who will not be; and the place of that destruction, and also of that darkness, is what they call the 'endlessly dark.' 4. And between them was empty space, that is, what they call 'air,' in which is now their meeting.
5. Both are limited and unlimited spirits, for the supreme is that which they call endless light, and the abyss that which is endlessly dark, so that between them is a void, and one is not connected with
the other; and, again, both spirits are limited as to their own selves. 6. And, secondly, on account of the omniscience of Aûharmazd, both things are in the creation of Aûharmazd, the finite and the infinite; for this they know is that which is in the covenant of both spirits. 7. And, again, the complete sovereignty of the creatures of Aûharmazd is in the future existence, and that also is unlimited for ever and everlasting; and the creatures of Aharman will perish at the time when 1 the future existence occurs, and that also is eternity.
8. Aûharmazd, through omniscience, knew that Aharman exists, and whatever he schemes he infuses with malice and greediness till the end; and because He accomplishes the end by many means, He also produced spiritually the creatures which were necessary for those means, and they remained three thousand years in a spiritual state, so that they were unthinking 2 and unmoving, with intangible bodies.
9. The evil spirit, on account of backward knowledge, was not aware of the existence of Aûharmazd; and, afterwards, he arose from the abyss, and came in unto the light which he saw. 10. Desirous of destroying, and because of his malicious nature, he
rushed in to destroy that light of Aûharmazd unassailed by fiends, and he saw its bravery and glory were greater than his own; so he fled back to the gloomy darkness, and formed many demons and fiends; and the creatures of the destroyer arose for violence.
11. Aûharmazd, by whom the creatures of the evil spirit were seen, creatures terrible, corrupt, and bad, also considered them not commendable (bûrzisnîk). 12. Afterwards, the evil spirit saw the creatures of Aûharmazd; they appeared many creatures of delight (vâyah), enquiring creatures, and they seemed to him commendable, and he commended the creatures and creation of Aûharmazd.
13. Then Aûharmazd, with a knowledge 1 of which way the end of the matter would be, went to meet the evil spirit, and proposed peace to him, and spoke thus: 'Evil spirit! bring assistance unto my creatures, and offer praise! so that, in reward for it, ye (you and your creatures) may become immortal and undecaying, hungerless and thirstless.'
14. And the evil spirit shouted thus 2: 'I will not depart, I will not provide assistance for thy creatures, I will not offer praise among thy creatures, and I am not of the same opinion with thee as to good things. I will destroy thy creatures for ever and everlasting; moreover, I will force all thy creatures into disaffection to thee and affection for myself.' 15. And the explanation thereof is this, that the evil spirit reflected in this manner, that
[paragraph continues] Aûharmazd was helpless as regarded him 1, therefore He proffers peace; and he did not agree, but bore on even into conflict with Him.
16. And Aûharmazd spoke thus: 'You are not omniscient and almighty, O evil spirit! so that it is not possible for thee to destroy me, and it is not possible for thee to force my creatures so that they will not return to my possession.'
17. Then Aûharmazd, through omniscience, knew that: If I do not grant a period of contest, then it will be possible for him to act so that he may be able to cause the seduction of my creatures to himself. As even now there are many of the intermixture of mankind who practise wrong more than right. 18. And Aûharmazd spoke to the evil spirit thus: 'Appoint a period! so that the intermingling of the conflict may be for nine thousand years.' For he knew that by, appointing this period the evil spirit would be undone.
19. Then the evil spirit, unobservant and through ignorance, was content with that agreement; just like two men quarrelling together, who propose a time thus: Let us appoint such-and-such a day for a fight.
20. Aûharmazd also knew this, through omniscience, that within these nine thousand years, for three thousand years everything proceeds by the will of Aûharmazd, three thousand years there is an intermingling of the wills of Aûharmazd and Aharman, and the last three thousand years the evil spirit is disabled, and they keep the adversary away 2 from the creatures.
21. Afterwards, Aûharmazd recited the Ahunavar thus: Yathâ ahû vairyô ('as a heavenly lord is to be chosen'), &c. 1 once, and uttered the twenty-one words 2; He also exhibited to the evil spirit His own triumph in the end, and the impotence of the evil spirit, the annihilation of the demons, and the resurrection and undisturbed future existence of the creatures for ever and everlasting. 22. And the evil spirit, who perceived his own impotence and the annihilation of the demons, became confounded, and fell back to the gloomy darkness; even so as is declared in revelation, that, when one of its (the Ahunavar's) three parts was uttered, the evil spirit contracted his body through fear, and when two parts of it were uttered he fell upon his knees, and when all of it was uttered he became confounded
and impotent as to the harm he caused the creatures of Aûharmazd, and he remained three thousand years in confusion 1.
23. Aûharmazd created his creatures in the confusion of Aharman; first he produced Vohûman ('good thought'), by whom the progress of the creatures of Aûharmazd was advanced.
24. The evil spirit first created 2 Mîtôkht ('falsehood'), and then Akôman ('evil thought').
25. The first of Aûharmazd's creatures of the world was the sky, and his good thought (Vohûman), by good procedure 3, produced the light of the world, along with which was the good religion of the Mazdayasnians; this was because the renovation (frashakard) 4, which happens to the creatures was known to him. 26. Afterwards arose Ardavahist,
and then Shatvaîrô, and then Spendarmad, and then Horvadad, and then Amerôdad 1.
27. From the dark world of Aharman were Akôman and Andar, and then Sôvar, and then Nâkahêd, and then Tâîrêv and Zâîrîk 2.
28. Of Aûharmazd's creatures of the world, the first was the sky; the second, water; the third, earth; the fourth, plants; the fifth, animals; the sixth, mankind.
3:1 The Pâzand and most of the modern Pahlavi manuscripts have, 'From the Zand-âkâs,' but the word min, 'from,' does not occur in the old manuscript K20, and is a modern addition to M6. From this opening sentence it would appear that the author of the work gave it the name Zand-âkâs.
3:2 The Avesta Angra-mainyu, the spirit who causes adversity or anxiety (see Darmesteter's Ormazd et Ahriman, pp. 92-95); the Pahlavi name is, most probably, merely a corrupt transliteration of the Avesta form, and may be read Ganrâk-maînôk, as the Avesta Spenta-mainyu, the spirit who causes prosperity, has become Spênâk-maînôk in Pahlavi. This latter spirit is represented by Aûharmazd himself in the Bundahis. The Pahlavi word for 'spirit,' which is read madônad by the Parsis, and has been pronounced mînavad by some scholars and mînôî by others, is probably a corruption of maînôk, as its Sasanian form was minô. If it were not for the extra medial letter in ganrâk, and for the obvious partial transliteration of spênâk, it would be preferable to read ganâk, 'smiting,' and to derive it from a supposed verb gandan, 'to smite' (Av. ghna), as proposed by most Zendists. A Parsi would probably suggest gandan, 'to stink.'
4:1 Reading aham-kaî, 'without a fellow-sovereign, peerless, unrivalled, independent.' This rare word occurs three times in §§ 2, 3, and some Pâzand writers suggest the meaning 'everlasting' (by means of the Persian gloss hamîsah), which is plausible enough, but hâmakî would be an extraordinary mode of writing the very common word hamâî, 'ever.'
4:2 The word dînô (properly dênô), Av. daêna, being traceable to a root dî, 'to see,' must originally have meant 'a vision' (see Haug's Essays on the Religion of the Parsis, 2nd ed. p. 152, note 2), whence the term has been transferred to 'religion' and all religious observances, rules, and writings; so it may be translated either by 'religion' or by 'revelation.'
4:3 This appears to be the meaning, but the construction of § 3 is altogether rather obscure, and suggestive of omissions in the text.
4:4 The usual name of the evil spirit; it is probably an older corruption of Angra-mainyu than Ganrâk-maînôk, and a less technical term. Its Sasanian form was Aharmanî.
5:1 Substituting amat, 'when,' for mûn, 'which,' two Huzvâris forms which are frequently confounded by Pahlavi copyists because their Pâzand equivalents, ka and ke, are nearly alike.
5:2 Reading aminîdâr in accordance with M6, which has amînîdâr in Chap. XXXIV, 1, where the same phrase occurs. Windischmann and Justi read amûîtâr, 'uninjured, invulnerable,' in both places. This sentence appears to refer to a preparatory creation of embryonic and immaterial existences, the prototypes, fravashis, spiritual counterparts, or guardian angels of the spiritual and material creatures afterwards produced.
6:1 The Huz. khavîtûnast stands for the Pâz. dânist with the meaning, here, of 'what is known, knowledge,' as in Persian.
6:2 Literally, 'And it was shouted by him, the evil spirit, thus:' the usual idiom when the nominative follows the verb.
7:1 The words dên val stand for dên valman.
7:2 That is, 'the adversary is kept away.' In Pahlavi the third p. 8 person plural is the indefinite person, as in English. These 9000 years are in addition to the 3000 mentioned in § 8, as appears more clearly in Chap. XXXIV, 1.
8:1 This is the most sacred formula of the Parsis, which they have to recite frequently, not only during the performance of their ceremonies, but also in connection with most of their ordinary duties and habits. It is neither a prayer, nor a creed, but a declaratory formula in metre, consisting of one stanza of three lines, containing twenty-one Avesta words, as follows:
[paragraph continues] And it may be translated in the following manner: 'As a heavenly lord is to be chosen, so is an earthly master (spiritual guide), for the sake of righteousness, to be a giver of the good thoughts of the actions of life towards Mazda; and the dominion is for the lord (Ahura) whom he (Mazda) has given as a protector for the poor' (see Haug's Essays on the Religion of the Parsis, 2nd ed. pp. 125, 141).
8:2 The word mârik must mean 'word' here, but in some other places it seems to mean 'syllable' or 'accented syllable.'
9:1 This is the first third of the 9000 years appointed in §§ 18, 20, and the second 3000 years mentioned in Chap. XXXIV, 1.
9:2 It is usual to consider dâdan (Huz. yehabûntan), when traceable to Av. dâ = Sans. dhâ, as meaning 'to create,' but it can hardly be proved that it means to create out of nothing, any more than any other of the Avesta verbs which it is sometimes convenient to translate by 'create.' Before basing any argument upon the use of this word it will, therefore, be safer to substitute the word 'produce' in all cases.
9:3 Or it may be translated, 'and from it Vohûman, by good procedure,' &c. The position here ascribed to Vohûman, or the good thought of Aûharmazd, bears some resemblance to that of the Word in John i. 1-5, but with this essential difference, that Vohûman is merely a creature of Aûharmazd, not identified with him; for the latter idea would be considered, by a Parsi, as rather inconsistent with strict monotheism. The 'light of the world' now created must be distinguished from the 'endless light' already existing with Aûharmazd in § 2.
9:4 The word frashakard, 'what is made durable, perpetuation,' is applied to the renovation of the universe which is to take place about the time of the resurrection, as a preparation for eternity.
10:1 These five, with Vohûman and Aûharmazd in his angelic capacity, constitute the seven Ameshaspends, 'undying causers of prosperity, immortal benefactors,' or archangels, who have, charge of the whole material creation, They are personifications of old Avesta phrases, such as Vohû-manô, 'good thought;' Asha-vahista, 'perfect rectitude;' Khshathra-vairya, 'desirable dominion;' Spenta-ârmaiti, 'bountiful devotion;' Haurvatâd, 'completeness or health;' and Ameretâd, 'immortality.'
10:2 These six demons are the opponents of the six archangels respectively (see Chap. XXX, 29); their names in the Avesta are, Akem-manô, 'evil thought;' Indra, Sauru, Naunghaithya, Tauru, Zairika (see Vendîdâd X, 17, 18 Sp., and XIX, 43 W.), which have been compared with the Vedic god Indra, Sarva (a name of Siva), the Nâsatyas, and Sans. tura, 'diseased,' and garas, 'decay,' respectively. For further details regarding them, see Chap. XXVIII, 7-13.