Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
1. Sin which affects accusers 3 is to be atoned for (vigârisn) among the accusers, and that relating to
the soul is to be atoned for among the high-priests (radân), and when they do whatever the high-priests of the religion command the sin will depart, and the good works which they may thenceforth do will attain completion (avaspôrik). 2. The sin of him who is worthy of death (marg-argân), is to be confessed (garzisnŏ) unto the high-priests, and he is to deliver up his body 1; except to the high-priests he is not to deliver up his body.
3. On account of the dexterity (farhâng) of horsemen it is not their business to hunt (nakhkîr kardanŏ); and it is not allowable for any one else to hunt for game, except for him whose wealth is less than three hundred stîrs 2.
4. The ceremonial worship (yazisn) of those worthy of death, which they do not perform by way of renunciation of sin 1, is the ceremonial which is demon worship; and when the officiating priest (aêrpat) does not know it the merit (kirfak) of the ceremonial goes to the store (gang) of the angels, and they give the enjoyment which arises from that merit in the spiritual existence to the soul of that person who has at once (aêvâk) become righteous in mind.
5 . When the mortal sinner (marg-argânŏ) has delivered his body and wealth at once to the high-priests, and engages mentally in renunciation as to the sin which has occurred, and the high-priests give him their decision (dastôbarîh) as to duty and good works, the duty and good works which were before performed by him come back to him; and when they inflict punishment for three nights 2, he does not enter hell. 6. And if the high-priest orders the cutting off of his head he is righteous on the spot 3, and the three nights (satûîh) ceremony is to be celebrated for him, and the account of the
three nights (satûîh) does not affect him 1. 7. And if he does not engage in renunciation he is in hell till the future existence; and in his future body they will bring him from hell, and for every mortal sin they will cut off his head once, and the last time they will make him alive again, and will inflict (numâyend) three nights severe punishment 2.
8. However a man engages in renunciation of sin the duty of his state of renunciation (patîtîh) is to be engaged therein openly and mentally in renunciation; the duty of openness is this, that the sin which he knows has assailed him 3, is to be specially confessed (barâ gôbisnŏ) by him; and the mental duty is this, that he engages in renunciation with this thought, that 'henceforth I will not commit sin.' 9. And that which occurs before the renunciation, except pious alms, it is well for him not to be overlooked 4 by him, and not to be kept 5 secret by him; for when he shall overlook 6, or shall keep secret, about sin committed, it becomes for him as
much, some say, as three Srôshô-karanâms 1; some say that when he keeps secret about a sin of three Srôshô-karanâms he is worthy of death; some say much otherwise 2. 10. Âtarô-pâd son of Zaratûst 3 had remarked (pedâkînîd) to a disciple, about this duty, thus: 'Conform to the renunciation of sin!' and one 4 time a secret was kept by him, and he ordered him thus: 'Henceforth be thou never apparent in this duty!' and after that he looked upon the supplication (avakhshîh) and much repentance of that disciple, and even then he did not become the high-priest (dastôbar) over him.
11. The rule is 5 this, that of those who would be proper for this priestly duty (dastôbarîh), that person is proper who is perfect in (narm) the commentary (zand) of the law, and the punishment of sin is easy for him, and he has controlled himself; some say thus: 'By whom a course of priestly studies (aêrpatastân) is performed.' 12. And the punishment of sin being easy for him, and his having controlled himself are proper; and when, in danger before a menstruous woman, he engages in renunciation it is proper.
13. Nêryôsang 1 said thus: 'Thou deemest it most surprising that, of the renunciation of sin with energy, whatever may be its efficacy, they have been so much of the same 2 opinion, so that whenever they perform renunciation, however they perform it, and before whomever they perform it, whenever a sin is not even mentally originating with one 3 a renunciation should be performed by him; and when very many mortal sins (marg-argân) are committed by him, and he engages mentally in renunciation of every one separately, he is not on 4 the way to hell, owing to his renunciation; and if there be one of which he is not in renunciation the way to hell 5 is not closed to him, for he does not rely upon the beneficence (sûd) of Aûharmazd, and it is allowable to appoint a priestly retribution (rad tôgisn) to fully atone for it, and when thou appointest a priestly retribution for it, and dost not fully atone, it is allowable to inflict it justly and strongly (drûbô).'
14. When his sin is committed against (dên)
accusers 1 it will be necessary to act so that the head of the family (mîrak) shall not become evil-minded 2, and shall not divorce the wife from matrimony, and they shall not bring 3 him on unto him; before his accusers he is to be engaged in renunciation, and when not, he is to be engaged in renunciation of the sin before the high-priests (radân), and it will become debts, and debt does not make a man wicked 4; its effect is this, that in the future existence they may quite forsake him, and this becomes a great shame, and they disturb (kâvênd) his enjoyment. 15. As to the sin which affects the accusers, when the female has atoned for it, its stem (pâyak) is atoned for; some say that the stem (pâyakgâhîh) has no root; some say that it is just like a tree whose leaves wither away.
16. Sin relating to the soul 5 when one engages in renunciation, stays away from him; when it shall be fully atoned for it is well, and when he does not fully atone they will make him righteous by the three nights (satûîh) punishment. 17. Kûshtanŏ-bûgêd 6 said that even that which affects accusers, when one engages in renunciation, stays away from him.
18. Nôsâî Bûrz-Mitrô 1 spoke these three sayings, that is, 'Next-of-kin marriage will extirpate mortal sins (marg-argânân), and the sacred twigs when their ablution is such as renders them improper for firewood, and a man when his wife becomes pregnant by him.'
19. Whoever commits a sin against (dên) water, and kills a lizard, or other noxious water-creature, has atoned for it; also when thou atonest to (dên) fire for that against water it is proper 2, and when thou atonest to water for that against fire it is proper; some say that even a scorpion is proper to be killed. 20. And when a sin of one Tanâpûhar 3 is committed by him, and he shall consecrate a sacred cake (drôn), or shall accomplish a good work of one Tanâpûhar 4, it has atoned for it.
21. When he has committed a mortal sin (marg-argân), and engages mentally in renunciation, and the high-priest (rad) knows that, though he ought to give up his body, he will not give it up, it is allowable when he shall kill him; that is, because he relies upon the beneficence (sûd) of Aûharmazd. 22. Moreover, from the rule (mank) 'yazemna 5 kad nâ hakad' ('through being worshipped what then at
once,' &c.) it is evident, and it becomes his through ceremonial ablution of the hands; it amounts to a whole quarry (kânŏ) of good works, and the worship of God (yazisn-i yazdânŏ) is to be performed for him 1. 23. Âtarô-pâd 2 son of Mâraspend said that it is always necessary to be more diligent in performing one's worship of God at the time that many mortal sins are committed; all sins being admissible into renunciation, when thou shalt atone by complete self-sacrifice (pûr-gân-dâdîhâ), and when one engages in renunciation of the sin from its root, he becomes free from the sin in renunciation of which sin he engaged; for Aûharmazd will not leave his own creatures unto the evil spirit, unless on the path of non-renunciation.
300:3 Vinâs-i hamêmâlân, 'sin relating to adversaries.' Sins appear to be divided into two great classes, hamêmâl and rûbânîk. A hamêmâl sin seems to be any secular offence which injures some person or animal who, thereupon, becomes a hamêmâl, 'accuser' (Av. hameretha, 'opponent,' Yas. LVI, X, 10), and who must first be satisfied by atonement, before confession to the high-priest, or renunciation of sin, can be of any avail for removing the sin (compare Matthew V. 23-26). The Rivâyats assert that if a person dies without atoning for a hamêmâl sin, his soul will be stopped at the Kinvad bridge (see Bund. XII, 7) on its way to the other world, and kept in a state of torment until the arrival of the 'accuser,' and after he is satisfied the sinner's soul will be disposed of, in the usual manner, according to the balance of its good and bad actions. It is also probable that only a man of 'the good religion,' or an animal of the good creation, can be an 'accuser.' A rûbânîk sin, on the other hand, seems to be one which affects only the sinner's own soul, and for which the high-priest can prescribe a sufficient atonement. It is doubtful, however, whether the Parsis nowadays have any very clear notions of the exact distinction between these two classes of sins, although aware of their names, which are mentioned in their Patit, or renunciation of sin. The explanations given in some editions of their Khurdah Avesta, or prayer-book, are confined to mentioning certain special instances of each class of sin; thus, p. 301 murder, seduction, unnecessary slaughter of cattle, embezzlement, slander, seizing land by force, and a few other evil deeds are stated to be hamêmâl sins; while unnatural offences and intercourse with women of another race and religion are said to be rûbânîk sins. In the Pahlavi Vendidad these classes of sins are rarely mentioned, but hamêmâlân occurs in Pahl. Vend. III, 151, IV, 23, XIII, 38; hamêmâlîh in III, 119; and rûbânîk in XIII, 38; although, perhaps, not always in the sense of sin.
301:1 By committing a marg-argân or mortal sin, that is, a sin worthy of death, he has forfeited his life, and ought to place it at the disposal of the rad, or high-priest.
301:2 This section, intended to preserve game for the poor, is evidently out of place here, as it has no connection with the context. With reference to the property qualification for hunting, it appears, from a passage in the Persian MS. M5 about the proper dowry for a privileged wife, that 2000 dirhams of silver were worth 2300 rûpîs, and that 2 dirhams were 2¼ tolas; this was written in A.D. 1723, when neither the rûpî nor the tola were of uniform amount, though now the rûpî is exactly a tola weight of silver. As the stîr was four dirhams (see Chap. I, 2), three hundred stîrs would have been 1380 rûpîs or 1350 tolas of silver, according to the standards, mentioned in M5; so that hunting was intended to be confined to those whose property was less than 1350-1380 rûpîs; but how p. 301 this limitation is to be reconciled with the fact that hunting was a favourite pursuit of kings and nobles does not appear, unless it be considered as a sacerdotal protest against that practice.
302:1 That is, in those cases when they do not have the yazisn performed as an atonement for sin, by order of the high-priest after confession.
302:2 This appears to refer to temporal punishment, inflicted by order of the high-priest, for the purpose of saving him from the 'punishment of the three nights' in the other world, mentioned in Bund. XXX, 16.
302:3 Reading pavan gînâk; but M6 marks the phrase as pavan dînâk (for dînâ), 'through the decree,' which is probably an error.
303:1 That is, the usual ceremonies after death are not to be withheld in this world, and his soul is able to pass through the usual investigation, as to his sins and good works, on its way to the other world, without delay. This period of three nights (satûîh, 'the triplet'), which Pâzand writers miscall sedôs or sadis, is the time during which the soul is supposed to hover about the body, before finally departing for the other world (see Mkh. II, 114, 158-160, AV. IV, 9-14, XVII, 2-9).
303:2 The same statement is made in nearly the same words in Pahl. Vend. VII, 136. This is the future three nights punishment for impenitent sinners, mentioned in Bund. XXX, 16.
303:3 Literally, 'which he knows thus: "It assailed me."'
303:4 Reading avênisnŏ, but the word can also be read khunînisnŏ, 'to be made celebrated, to be boasted of.'
303:5 Literally, 'carried on, home away.'
303:6 Reading avênêd, but it may be khunînêd, 'boast of.'
304:1 Probably the same as a Farmân sin (see Chaps. I, 1, 2, IV, 14).
304:2 Or 'many other things.'
304:3 This Âtarô-pâd-i Zaratûstân is mentioned in a manuscript about 500, years old, belonging to Dastûr Jâmâspji, in Bombay, as having lived for 160 years, and having been supreme high-priest for ninety years: he is also mentioned in the sixth book of the Dînkard. He may, possibly, have been the Âtarô-pâd mentioned in B. Yt. I, 7, but it is hazardous to identify an individual by a single name so common as Âtarô-pâd used to be.
304:4 Reading aê, 'one,' instead of hanâ, 'this' (see p. 218, note 3).
304:5 Assuming that the word âînak has been omitted at the beginning of this section (see Chap. X, x).
305:1 This cannot be the learned Parsi translator of several Pahlavi texts into Sanskrit, who bore the same name, and is supposed to have lived in the fifteenth century. Being quoted in the Pahlavi Vendidad (see Chap. I, 4, note) he must have been one of the old commentators.
305:2 K20 has hômanam, 'I am,' instead of ham, 'the same;' a mistake arising from reading am, 'I am,' for ham.
305:3 This applies to all cases of merely imputed sin, such as those committed by children, which are imputed to the father, and for which he is spiritually, as well as temporally, responsible.
305:4 Reading pavan, 'on,' instead of barâ, 'out of,' (see p. 176, note 5).
305:5 Most of this clause is omitted in K20 by mistake.
306:1 Hamêmâlân (see § 1); the particular instance of hamêmâl sin here referred to is seduction.
306:2 Reading dûsmînân instead of the unmeaning dûsmîyân of the MSS.
306:3 Reading yâîtyûnã 5, instead of the unmeaning yâîtam of the MSS; ã being often written very much like m in Pahlavi.
306:4 This clause about the hamêmâl sin becoming a debt, to be settled with the 'accuser,' either here or hereafter, is taken from Pahl. Vend. III, 151.
306:5 That is, rûbânîk-sin (see § 1, note).
306:6 See Chap. I, 4, note.
307:1 See Chap. I, 4, note.
307:2 A blank space is left for this verb in M6, indicating that that MS. was, copied from an original already old and not very legible.
307:3 See Chap. I, 1, 2.
307:4 Consecrating a sacred cake is a Tanâpûhar good work (see Chap. XVI, 6). The theory of counterbalancing sins by good works of the same weight is here clearly enunciated.
307:5 Written izimn in the MSS. This quotation appears to be, from some part of the Avesta, no longer extant, and being only the first words of the passage its exact meaning is very uncertain. The section, generally, seems to refer to the beneficence of Aûharmazd.
308:1 It seems that the execution of the sinner after repentance is here considered as furnishing him with a store of good works, so that it is allowable to perform such ceremonies for him, after death, as are usually performed for righteous men; the reason being given in § 23. The end of this section and beginning of the next are omitted in K20.
308:2 Whether the prime minister of Shâpûr II, or the last editor of the Dînkard (see Bund. XXXIII, 3, 11), is not clear.