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


1. A sacred thread-girdle (kûstîk), should it be made of silk (parvand), is not proper; the hair (pashm) of a hairy goat and a hairy camel is

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proper, and from other hairy creatures (mûyînŏ) it is proper among the lowly (nakhêzîk). 2. The least fulness 1 necessary for it is exactly three finger-breadths; when it is exactly three finger-breadths altogether 2 from one side, and when the rest is cut off, it is proper. 3. When one retains the prayer inwardly 3 and has tied his girdle, and ties it anew once again, he will untie that which he has tied, and it is not proper 4.

4. Cloth of thick silk brocade (dîpâkŏ) and figured silk (parnîkânŏ) is not good for girdling 5 and cloth of hide when the hair is stripped from it of wool, of hair, of cotton, of dyed silk, and of wood 6 is proper for shirting (sapîkîh). 5. Four finger-breadths of shirt 7 is the measure of its width away

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from each side, from the neck to the skirt (parîk); and as to the length before and behind, as much as is proper to cover up is good. 6. So much length and breadth, when it is double or thickened 1, are not proper; when on the separation (dûrmânak) of the two folds one remains clothed on one side, both when he wears the girdle (kûstîk), and when he does not wear the girdle, even then it is not undress (vishâdakîh) 2.

7. When a shirt of one fold is put on, and the skirt has concealed both sides, the girdle is tied over it, and it is proper. 8. When two shirts are put on, and they shall tie the girdle over that which is above, then it is for him a root of the sin owing to 3 running about uncovered 4.

9. By a man and woman, until fifteen years of age, there is no committal of the sin of running about uncovered 5; and the sin of unseasonable

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chatter 1 arises after fifteen years of age 2. 10. The sin of running about uncovered, as far as three steps; is a Farmân each step; at the fourth step it is a Tanâpûhar 3 sin.

11. A girdle to which there is no fringe is proper; and when they shall tie a woman's ringlet (gurs) 4 it is not proper.

12. Walking with one boot 5 as far as four steps is

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a Tanâpûhar sin, when with one 1 movement; and after the fourth step as much as one shall walk is a Tanâpûhar; and when he sits down and walks on the sin is the same that it would be from his starting-point (bûnîh); and there were some who said it is a Tanâpûhar for each league (parasang).

13. At night, when they lie down, the shirt and girdle are to be worn, for they are more protecting for the body, and good for the soul. 14. When they lie down with the shirt and girdle, before sleep one shall utter one Ashem-vohû 2, and with every coming and going of the breath (vayô) is a good work of three Srôshô-karanâms 3; and if in that

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sleep decease occurs, his renunciation of sin is accomplished 1.


286:1 Literally, 'width;' that is, extra width, or slackness round the waist, as the girdle sits very loosely over a loose shirt; or, as the text implies, the slackness ought to admit three fingers together, projecting edgeways from the waist. After tying it so loosely, any unnecessary length of string may be cut off, when the girdle is put on for the first time. The necessary looseness is again mentioned in Chap. X, 1.

286:2 Literally, 'extreme to extreme;' rôêsman-â-rôêsman being Huzvâris for sarâsar.

286:3 That is, has begun the prayer formula (requisite while tying on the girdle) with a bâz or muttered prayer (see Chap. III, 6, note).

286:4 The meaning appears to be that he must not tie the girdle a second time without recommencing the prayer formula.

286:5 This word, ayîbyâêghânîh, is chiefly a transcript from the Avesta name of the kûstîk or girdle, aiwyaunghana. Probably garments in general are meant.

286:6 Perhaps dârîn may mean cloth of bark, hemp, or flax here.

286:7 The sacred shirt, worn by Parsis of both sexes (young children excepted) in India, is a very loose tunic of white muslin, with very short loose sleeves covering part of the upper arm. It is called sadaro (Pers. sudarah) in Gugarâti, and shapîk (Pers. shabî) in Pahlavi.

287:1 Assuming that aîtabarîd stands for astabarîd; the Huz. aît being substituted for the Pâz. ast. The text appears to refer to lined or stuffed shirts, such as would be very suitable for the cold winters of Persia, like the clothing padded with cotton wool used by natives of the cooler parts of India in the cold season.

287:2 That is, the degree of nakedness which is sinful (see §§ 8-10).

287:3 K20 has lâ, 'not,' instead of râî, 'owing to;' this would reverse the meaning of the sentence, but it is not the usual place for the negative particle.

287:4 This sin is called vishâd-dûbârisnîh; it is mentioned in Pahl. Vend. V, 167, VII, 48, but not described there. The usual definition of the sin is 'walking about without the sacred thread-girdle;' and it is generally classed with the two other Parsi sins of 'walking with one boot' and 'making water on foot' (see AV. XXV, 5, 6); sometimes a fourth Parsi sin, 'unseasonable chatter,' is associated with them, as in the text, but this is supposed to be punished in a different manner in hell (see AV. XXIII).

287:5 Indicating that it is not absolutely necessary to wear the sacred thread-girdle till one is fifteen years old (see Chap. X, 13).

288:1 This sin is called drâyân-gûyisnîh, literally, 'eagerness for chattering,' and consists in talking while eating, praying, or at any other time when a prayer (vâg) has been taken inwardly and is not yet spoken out; many details regarding it are given in the next chapter. The sin consists in breaking the spell, or destroying the effect, of the vâg.

288:2 This is modified by Chap. V, 1, 2.

288:3 See Chap. I, 1, 2. These particulars are deduced by the Pahlavi commentator from Vend. XVIII, 115, which refers, however, to a special case of going without girdle and shirt. He says (Pahl. Vend. XVIII, 116), 'so that as far as the fourth step it is not more than (aî) a Srôshô-karanâm, and at the fourth step it amounts to the root of a Tanâpûhar within him; some say that he is within what is allowed him in going three steps. When he walks on very many steps it is also not more than a Tanâpûhar, and when he stops again it is counted from the starting-point' (compare § 112).

288:4 Probably referring to the possibility of tying the girdle over a woman's hair, when hanging loose down to her waist. The present custom among Parsi women in India is to cover up the whole of their hair with a white handkerchief tied closely over the head; but whether this is an ancient custom is uncertain.

288:5 This sin, which is mentioned in Bund. XXVIII, 13, is called aê-mûk-dûbârisnîh or khadû-mûk-dûbârisnîh, literally, 'running in one boot,' and is usually so understood, but how there can be any risk of the committal of so inconvenient an offence is not explained. Dastûr Hoshangji thinks that aê-mûk, 'one boot,' was, formerly written avî-mûk, 'without boots;' and no doubt avî is sometimes written exactly like khadû, 'one,' (indicating, possibly, a phonetic change of avî into agvi). Perhaps, however, the word alludes to the Persian practice of wearing an outer boot p. 289 (mûk) over an inner one of thinner leather, when walking out of doors; so that the sin of 'running in one pair of boots' would be something equivalent to walking out in one's stockings; and this seems all the more probable from the separate account of-walking 'without boots or stockings,' avîmûgak, given in Chap. X, 12. But whatever may have been the original meaning of the word, Parsis nowadays understand that it forbids their walking without shoes; this should be recollected by any European official in India who fancies that Parsis ought to take of their shoes in his presence, as by insisting on such a practice he is compelling them to commit what they believe to be a serious sin.

289:1 Assuming that hanâ, 'this,' stands for aê, 'one' (see p. 218, note 3). The amount of sinfulness in walking improperly shod appears to be deduced from that 'incurred by walking improperly dressed (see § 10).

289:2 See Bund. XX, 2. The same details are given in Chap. X, 24.

289:3 The Av. sraoshô-karana appears to have been a scourge with which offenders were lashed by the assistant priests (see Vend. III, 125, 129, IV, 38, &c.), and a Srôshô-karanâm was, therefore, originally one lash with a scourge. As the gravity of an offence was measured by the number of lashes administered, when this term was transferred from the temporal to the spiritual gravity of sin, it was considered as the unit of weight by which sins were estimated; and, by a further process of reasoning, the good works p. 290 necessary for counterbalancing sins were estimated by the same unit of weight. Regarding the amount of a Srôshô-karanâm there is much uncertainty; according to Chap. XVI, 5 and Pahl. Vend. VI, 15 it is the same as a Farmân, and this appears to be the case also from a comparison of § 10 with Pahl. Vend. XVIII, 116 (see note on § 10); but according to Chap. XI, 2 it is half a Farmân, and the Farmân is also probably the degree meant by the frequent mention of three Srôshô-karanâms as the least weight of sin or good works that will turn the scale in which the soul's actions are weighed after death (see Chap. VI, 3). This uncertainty may perhaps have arisen from aê, 'one,' and the cipher 3 being often written alike in Pahlavi. But, besides this uncertainty, there is some discordance between the various accounts of the actual weight of a Srôshô-karanâm, as may be seen in Chaps. X, 24, XI, 2, XVI, 5. As a weight the Srôshô-karanâm is not often mentioned in the Pahlavi Vendidad, for wherever it translates the Av. sraoshô-karana it means 'lashes with a scourge;' but the weight of one Srôshô-karanâm is mentioned in Pahl. Vend. VI, 15, three Srôshô-karanâms in IV, 142, VII, 136, XVII, 11, XVIII, 55, 116, and five Srôshô-karanâms in XVI, 8.

290:1 Patîtîkîh, 'the dropping' or renunciation of sin, is effected by confessing serious offences to a high-priest, and also by the recitation of a particular formula called the Patit, in which every imaginable sin is mentioned with a declaration of repentance of any such sins as the reciter may have committed. The priest ordains such atonement as he thinks necessary, but the remission of the sins depends upon the after performance of the atonement and the effectual determination to avoid such sins in future (see Chap. VIII, 1, 2, 8).

Next: Chapter V