Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at


[1. On the evil-doing of Aharman and the demons it says in revelation, that the evil which the evil spirit has produced for the creation of Aûharmazd it is possible to tell by this winter 4; and his body is that of a lizard (vazagh) 5 whose place is filth (kalk). 2. He does not think, nor speak, nor act for the welfare (nadûkîh) of the creatures of Aûharmazd; and his business is unmercifulness and the destruction of this welfare, so that the creatures which Aûharmazd shall increase he will destroy; and his eyesight (kashm mîkisn) 6 does not refrain from doing the creatures harm. 3. As it says that, 'ever

p. 106

since a creature was created by, us, I, who am Aûharmazd, have not rested at ease, on account of providing protection for my own creatures; and likewise not even he, the evil spirit, on account of contriving evil for the creatures.' 4. And by their devotion to witchcraft (yâtûk-dînôîh) he seduces mankind into affection for himself and disaffection to Aûharmazd 1, so that they forsake the religion of Aûharmazd, and practise that of Aharman. 5. He casts this into the thoughts of men, that this religion of Aûharmazd is nought, and it is not necessary to be steadfast in it. 6. Whoever gives that man anything, in whose law (dâd) this saying is established, then the evil spirit is propitiated by him, that is, he has acted by his pleasure.

7. The business of Akôman 2 is this, that he gave vile thoughts and discord to the creatures. 8. The business of the demon Andar is this, that he constrains the thoughts of the creatures from deeds of virtue, just like a leader who has well-constrained (sardâr-i khûp afsârdŏ); and he casts this into the thoughts of men, that it is not necessary to have the sacred shirt and thread-girdle. 9. The business of the demon Sâvar 3, that is a leader of the demons, is this, that is, misgovernment, oppressive anarchy, and drunkenness. 10. The business of the demon Nâîkîyas 4 is this, that he gives discontent to the creatures; as it says, that should this one

p. 107

give anything to those men whose opinion (dâd) is this, that it is not necessary to have the sacred shirt and thread-girdle, then Andar, Sâvar, and Nâîkîyas are propitiated by him. 11. The demon Taprêv 1 is he who mingles poison with plants and creatures; as it says thus: 'Taprêv the frustrater, and Zâîrîk the maker of poison.' 12. All those six, it is said, are arch-fiends 2 of the demons; the rest are cooperating and confederate with them. 13. This, too, it says, that] 3 should one give [anything to] a man who says [that it is proper to have one boot], and in his law walking with one boot [is established, then] 4 the fiend Taprêv is propitiated [by him].

14. The demon Tarômat 5 [is he who] produces disobedience; the demon Mîtôkht 6 is the liar (drôgan) of the evil spirit 7; the demon Aras8 ('malice') is the spiteful fiend of the evil eye. 15. Theirs are the same 9 appliances as the demon Aeshm's 10, as it

p. 108

says that seven powers are given to Aeshm 1, that he may utterly destroy the creatures therewith; with those seven powers he will destroy seven 2 of the Kayân heroes in his own time, but one will remain. 16. There where Mîtôkht ('falsehood') arrives, Arask ('malice') becomes welcome, [and there where Arask is welcome] 3 Aeshm lays a foundation 4, and there where Aeshm has a foundation 5 many creatures perish, and he causes much non-Iranianism 6. 17. Aeshm mostly contrives all evil for the creatures of Aûharmazd, and the evil deeds of those Kayân heroes have been more complete through Aeshm, as it says, that Aeshm, the impetuous assailant, causes them most 7.

18. The demon Vîzarêsh 8 is he who struggles with the souls of men which have departed, those

p. 109

days and nights 1 when they remain in the world; he carries them on, terror-stricken, and sits at the gate of hell. 19. The demon Uda 2 is he who, when a man sits in a private place, or when he eats at meals, strikes his knee spiritually on his back 3, so that he bawls out [and looks out, that chattering he may eat, chattering] he may evacuate (rîed), and chattering he may make water (mêzêd), so that he may not attain [unto the] best existence 4 .

[20. The demon Akâtâsh 5 is the fiend of perversion (nikîrâyîh), who makes the creatures averse (nikîrâî) from proper things; as it says, that whoever has given anything to that person (tanû) whose opinion (dâd) is this, that it is not necessary to have a high-priest (dastôbar), then the demon Aeshm is propitiated by him. 21. Whoever has given anything to that person whose opinion is this, and who says, that it is not necessary to have a snake-killer (mâr-van), then Aharman, with the foregoing demons, is propitiated by him; this is said of him who, when he sees a noxious creature, does not kill it. 22. A snake-killer (mâro-gnô) 6 is a stick on the end of which a leathern thong is

p. 110

provided; and it is declared that every one of the good religion must possess one, that they may strike and kill noxious creatures and sinners more meritoriously with it.

23. Zarmân 1 is the demon who makes decrepit (dûspad), whom they call old age (pirîh). 24. Kîshmak 2 is he who makes disastrous (vazandak), and also causes the whirlwind 3 which passes over for disturbance. 25. The demon Varenô 4 is he who causes illicit intercourse, as it says thus: 'Varenô the defiling (âlâî).' 26. The demon Bûshâsp 5 is she who causes slothfulness; Sêg is the fiend (drûg) who causes annihilation; and the demon Nîyâz is he who causes distress.

27. The demon Âz 6 ('greediness') is he who swallows everything, and when, through destitution, nothing has come he eats himself; he is that fiendishness which, although the whole wealth of the world be given up to it, does not fill up and is not satisfied; as it says, that the eye of the covetous is a noose (gamand), and in it the world is nought. 28. Pûs 7 is the demon who makes a hoard, and

p. 111

does not consume it, and does not give to any one; as it says, that the power of the demon Âz is owing to that person who, not content with his own wife, snatches away even those of others.

29. The demon Nas 1 is he who causes the pollution and contamination (nisrûstih), which they call nasâi ('dead matter'). 30. The demon Frîftâr ('deceiver') is he who seduces mankind. 31. The demon Spazg 2 ('slander') is he who brings and conveys discourse (milayâ), and it is nothing in appearance such as he says; and he shows that mankind fights and apologizes (avakhshînêd), individual with individual. 32. The demon Arâst 3 ('untrue') is he who speaks falsehood. 33. The demon Aîghâsh 4 is the malignant-eyed fiend who smites mankind with his eye. 24. The demon Bût 5 is he whom they worship among the Hindûs, and his growth is lodged in idols, as one worships the horse as an idol 6. 35 Astô-vîdâd 7 is the evil flyer (vâê-i sarîtar) who seizes the life; as it says that, when

p. 112

his hand strokes a man it is lethargy, when he casts it on the sick one it is fever, when he looks in his eyes he drives away the life, and they call it death. 36. The demon of the malignant eye (sûr-kashmîh) is he who will spoil anything which men see, when they do not say 'in the name of God' (yazdân).

37. With every one of them are many demons and fiends co-operating, to specify whom a second time would be tedious; demons, too, who are furies (khashmakân), are in great multitude it is said. 38. They are demons of ruin, pain, and growing old (zvârân), producers of vexation and bile, revivers of grief (nîvagîh), the progeny of gloom, and bringers of stench, decay, and vileness, who are many, very numerous, and very notorious; and a portion of all of them is mingled in the bodies of men, and their characteristics are glaring in mankind.

39. The demon Apâôsh 1 and the demon Aspengargâk 2 are those who remain in contest with the rain. 40. Of the evil spirit 3 are the law of vileness, the religion of sorcery, the weapons of fiendishness, and the perversion (khâmîh) of God's works; and

p. 113

his wish is this, that is: 'Do not ask about me, and do not understand me! for if ye ask about and understand me, ye will not come after me 1.' 41. This, too, it says, that the evil spirit remains at the distance of a cry, even at the cry of a three-year-old cock (kûlêng), even at the cry of an ass, even at the cry of a righteous man when one strikes him involuntarily and he utters a cry 2. 42. The demon Kûndak 3 is he who is, the steed (bârak) of wizards.

43. Various new demons arise from the various new sins the creatures may commit, and are produced for such purposes; who make even those planets rush on which are in the celestial sphere, and they stand very numerously in the conflict. 44. Their ringleaders (kamârîkân) are those seven planets, the head and tail of Gôkîhar, and Mûspar 4

p. 114

provided with a tail, which are ten. 45. And by them these ten worldly creations, that is, the sky, water, earth, vegetation, animals, metals, wind, light, fire, and mankind, are corrupted with all this vileness; and from them calamity, captivity, disease, death, and other evils and corruptions ever come to water, vegetation, and the other creations which exist in the world, owing to the fiendishness of those ten. 46. They whom I have enumerated are furnished with the assistance and crafty (afzar-hômand) nature of Aharman.

47. Regarding the cold, dry, stony, and dark interior of mysterious (târîk dên afrâg-pêdâk) hell it says, that the darkness is fit to grasp with the hand 1, and the stench is fit to cut with a knife; and if they inflict the punishment of a thousand men within a single span, they (the men) think in this way, that they are alone; and the loneliness is worse than its punishment 2. 48. And its connection (band) is with the seven planets, be it through much cold like Saturn 3 (Kêvân), be it through much heat like Aharman; and their food is brimstone (gandak), and of succulents the lizard (vazagh), and other evil and wretchedness (patyân).]


105:3 Chaps. XXVIII, XXIX, and XXXI are omitted in M6 and all MSS. descended from it, whether Pahlavi or Pâzand; and, owing to the loss of a folio from K20 before any of its extant copies were written, the first quarter of Chap. XXVIII has hitherto been missing, but is here supplied (enclosed in brackets) from TD, a MS. belonging to Mobad Tahmuras Dinshaw (see Introduction).

105:4 Winter being one of the primary evils brought upon creation by Angra-mainyu (see Vend. I, 8-12).

105:5 See Chap. III, 9.

105:6 Referring to 'the evil eye.'

106:1 Compare Chap. I, 14.

106:2 The six arch-fiends of this paragraph are those mentioned in Chaps. I, 27, XXX, 29.

106:3 Written Sôvar in Chap. I, 27.

106:4 Written Nâkahêd in Chap. I, 27, Nâîkîyas when repeated in this sentence, and Pâz. Nâûnghas in Chap. XXX, 29.

107:1 Written Tâîrêv in Chap. I, 27.

107:2 See Chap. III, 2.

107:3 From this point the Pahlavi text is extant in K20, except some illegible words, the translation of which (supplied from TD) is here enclosed in brackets.

107:4 Anquetil, misled by the lacuna in his MS., thought that there was a change of subject here, and began a new chapter at this point. On this account the numbers of his chapters are henceforth one in excess of those in this translation.

107:5 Written Tarôkmatŏ in TD, and identified with Nâûnghas (Nâîkîyas) in Chap. XXX, 29; a personification of the Av. tarômaiti, 'disobedience,' of Yas. XXXIII, 4, LIX, 8.

107:6 A personification of the Av. mithaokhta, 'false-spoken,' of Yas. LIX, 8, Vend. XIX, 146, Visp. XXIII, 9, Zamyâd Yt. 96.

107:7 TD has drûg gûmânîkîh, 'the fiend of scepticism.'

107:8 Av. araska of Yas. IX, 18, Râm Yt. 16, personified.

107:9 The word hômanam in K20 is a false Huzvâris reading of ham, owing to the copyist reading am, 'I am;' TD has hamafzâr, 'having like means.'

107:10 Or Khashm, 'wrath;' so written in K20, but it is usually p. 108 Aêshm elsewhere; the Av. aêshma of Vend. IX, 37, X, 23, 27, &c. The Asmodeus of the Book of Tobit appears to be the Av. Aêshmô daêvô, 'demon of wrath.'

108:1 TD has 'there were seven powers of Aêshm.'

108:2 TD has 'six,' which looks like an unlucky attempt to amend a correct text. Tradition tells us that only five Kayâns reigned (see Chap. XXXIV, 7), and the Shâhnâmah also mentions Sîyâwush (Pahl. Kaî-Sîyâvakhsh), who did not reign; but eight Kayâns, besides Lôharâsp and Vistâsp, who were of collateral descent (see Chap. XXXI, 28), are mentioned in the Avesta, whence the author of the Bundahis would obtain much of his information (see Fravardîn Yt. 132, Zamyâd Yt. 71, 74).

108:3 The phrase in brackets occurs only in TD.

108:4 Reading bunak as in TD; K20 has 'sends down a root.'

108:5 So in TD; K20 has 'where Aeshm keeps on.'

108:6 That is, 'many foreign customs.'

108:7 The word vêsh, 'most,' is only in TD.

108:8 So in TD; K20 has Vigêsh. He is the Av. Vîzaresha of Vend. XIX, 94, who is said to convey the souls of the departed to the Kinvad bridge.

109:1 TD has 'those three nights,' referring to the period that the soul is said to remain hovering about the body after death (see Hâdôkht Nask, ed. Haug, II, 1-18, III, 1-17).

109:2 So in K20; TD has Aûdak (see Pahl. Vend. XVIII, 70).

109:3 TD has merely 'strikes a slipper (padîn-pôsh) spiritually,' that is, invisibly, for the purpose of startling the man.

109:4 The short phrases in brackets are taken from TD to supply words torn off from K20, which passes on to Chap. XXIX at this point, but TD supplies a continuation of Chap. XXVIII, which is added here, and enclosed in brackets.

109:5 The Av. Akatasha of Vend. X, 23 Sp., XIX, 43 W.

109:6 See Pahlavi Vend. XVIII, 5, 6.

110:1 A personification of the Av. zaurva of Vend. XIX, 43 W., Yas. IX, 18 Sp., Gôs Yt. 10, Râm Yt. 16.

110:2 The reading of this name is uncertain.

110:3 The small whirlwinds, which usually precede a change of wind in India, are commonly known by the name of shaîTân, which indicates that such whirling columns of dust are popularly attributed to demoniacal agency.

110:4 A personification of Av. varena, 'desire,' in an evil sense.

110:5 Av. Bûshyãsta of Vend. XI, 28, 29, 36, 37, XVIII, 38, &c. The names of the three demons in this sentence are Persian words for 'sloth,' 'trouble,' and 'want.'

110:6 Av. Âzi of Vend. XVIII, 45, 50, Yas. XVII, 46, LXVII, 22, Âstâd Yt. 1.

110:7 Compare Pers. payûs, 'covetous,' and piyûs, 'avarice.' Pûs is evidently the demon of misers, and Âz that of the selfish.

111:1 Av. Nasu of Vend, V, 85-106, VI, 65, 72, 74, 79, VII, 2-27, 70, VIII, 46, 48, 132-228, IX, 49-1 7, &c.

111:2 Av. spazga of Ardabahist Yt. 8, 11, 15.

111:3 Always written like anâst.

111:4 Av. aghashi of Vend. XX, 14, 20, 24, which appears to be 'the evil eye;' but see § 36.

111:5 Av. Bûiti of Vend. XIX, 4, 6, 140, who must be identified with Pers. but, 'an idol,' Sans. bhûta, 'a goblin,' and not with Buddha.

111:6 Reading afas vakhsh pavan bûtîhâ mâhmânŏ, kîgûn bût asp parastêdŏ, which evidently admits of many variations, but the meaning is rather obscure.

111:7 Here written Astî-vîdâd (see Chap. III, 21). Vend. V, 25, 31 says, 'Astô-vîdhôtu binds him (the dying, man); Vayô (the flying demon) conveys him bound;' from which it would appear that Astî-vîdâd and 'the evil flyer' were originally considered as distinct demons.

112:1 Av. Apaosha of Tîstar Yt. 21, 22, 27, 28, Âstâd Yt. 2, 6; see also Chap. VII, 8, 10, 12.

112:2 Here written Aspengarôgâ, but see Chaps. VII, 12, XVII, 1. He is the Av. Spengaghra of Vend. XIX, 135, and, being a demon, is not to be confounded with the demon-worshipper, Spingauruska, of Gôs Yt. 31, Ashi Yt. 51.

112:3 The 'evil spirit,' Ganrâk-maînôk, seems to be here treated as a demon distinct from Aharman, which is inconsistent with what is stated in §§ 1-6, and is contrary to general opinion. This inconsistency would indicate the possibility of this continuation of Chap. XXVIII in TD, or a portion of it, having been added by an editor in later times (although it is difficult to discover any difference of style in the language), if we did not find a similar confusion of the two names in Chap. XXX, 29, 30.

113:1 Compare Mkh. XL, 24-28: 'The one wish that Hôrmezd, the lord, desires from men is this, that "ye shall understand me (Hôrmezd), since every one who shall understand me comes after me, and strives for my satisfaction." And the one wish that Aharman desires from men is this, that "ye shall not understand me (Aharman), since whoever shall understand me wicked, his actions proceed not after me, and, moreover, no advantage and friendship come to me from that man."'

113:2 The sentence is rather obscure, but it seems to imply that such cries keep the evil spirit at a distance; it is, however, just possible that it means that the cry of the evil spirit can be heard as far as such cries.

113:3 Av. Kunda of Vend. XI, 28, 36, XIX, 138.

113:4 TD has Gôk-kihar and Mûs-parîk here, but see Chap. V, 1, where these beings are included among the seven planetary leaders, and not counted in addition to them. This is another inconsistency which leads to the suspicion that this continuation of the chapter may have been written by a later hand. According to this later view, the sun and moon must be included among those malevolent orbs, the planets.

114:1 Compare Mkh. VII, 31: 'and always their darkness is suchlike as though it be possible to grasp with the hand.'

114:2 Compare Ardâ-Vîrâf-nâmak (LIV, 5-8): 'As close as the ear to the eye, and as many as the hairs on the mane of a horse, so close and many in number, the souls of the wicked stand, but they see not, and hear no sound, one from the other; every one thinks thus, "I am alone.".

114:3 Or, 'with more cold than Saturn.'

Next: Chapter XXIX