Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
THE Pahlavi texts selected for translation in this volume are distinguished from all others by the peculiarity that both the name and station of their author and the time in which he lived are distinctly recorded.
His name, Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim (or Gûsndam), is mentioned in each of the headings and colophons to the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and the three Epistles attributed to him. He is styled simply aêrpat, or 'priest,' in the headings of Eps. I and II, and aêrpat khûdâî, or 'priestly lordship,' in that of Ep. III; but he is called the rad, 'pontiff, or executive high-priest,' of Pârs and Kirmân, and the farmâdâr, 'director,' of the profession of priests, in the colophons; to Dd. and Ep. II.; and we learn from Dd. XLV, 5 that the farmâdâr was also. the pesûpâî or, 'leader' of the religion, the supreme high-priest of the Mazda-worshipping faith.
Regarding his family we learn, from Ep. I, iii, 10, vii, 5, that his father, Yûdân-Yim, son of Shahpûhar, had been the .:leader of the religion before him; and his own succession to this dignity indicates that he was the eldest surviving son of his father, who, in his declining years, seems to have been assisted by his advice(Ep: I, iii, 11). We also learn, from the heading of his second epistle, that Zâd-sparam was his brother, and this is confirmed by the language used in Ep. II, vi, I, ix, 6, and by Zâd-sparam being a son of the same father (Eps. I, heading, III, 2); that he was a younger brother appears from the general tone of authority over him adopted by Mânûskîhar in his epistles. Shortly before these epistles were written, Zâd-sparam appears to have been at, Sarakhs (Ep. I, v., 3), in
the extreme north-east of Khurâsân, where he probably came in contact with the Tughazghuz (Ep. II, i, 12) and adopted some of their heretical opinions, and whence he may have travelled through Nîvshahpûhar (Ep. II, i, 2, note) and Shîrâz (Ep. II, v, 3, 4) on his way to Sîrkân to take up his appointment as high-priest of the south (Eps. I, heading, II, i, 4, v, 9, vii, 1, viii, 1, Zs. I, 0). Soon after his arrival at Sîrkân he issued a decree, regarding the ceremonies of purification, which led to complaints from the people of that place, and compelled his brother to interfere by writing epistles, threatening him with deprivation of office (Ep. I, xi, 7) and the fate of a heretic (Eps. II, viii, 2, 3, III, 17-19). That Zâd-sparam finally submitted, so far as not to be deprived of his office, appears from his still retaining his position in the south while writing his Selections (Zs. I, 0), which must have been compiled at some later period, free from the excitement of active and hazardous controversy.
The age in which Mânûskîhar lived is decided by the date attached to his third epistle, or public notification, to the Mazda-worshippers of Irân; which date is the third month of the year 250 of Yazdakard (Ep. III, 21), corresponding to the interval between the 14th June and 13th July A.D. 881; at which time, we learn, he was an old man (Ep. II, ix, 1), but not too old to travel (Eps. I, iii, 13, xi, 4, II, v, 5, vi, 4, 6, vii, 3, viii, 4, 5)
His writings, therefore, represent the state of the Zoroastrian religion a thousand years ago; and it may be presumed, from the importance and influentialness of his position, that his representations can be implicitly relied upon. To detect any differences there may be between the tenets and religious customs he describes, and those upheld by Zoroastrians of the present time, would require all the learning and experience of a Parsi priest; but, so far as a European can judge, from these writings and his own limited knowledge of existing religious customs among the Parsis, the change has been less than in any other form of religion during the same period
The manuscripts containing the writings of Mânûskîhar
are of two classes, one represented in Europe by the codex No. 35 of the collection of Avesta and Pahlavi manuscripts in the University Library at Kopenhagen, the other represented by No. 14 of the Haug Collection of similar manuscripts in the State Library at Munich, which two manuscripts are called K35 and M14, respectively, in this volume. In the former of these classes, represented by K35, the Dâdistân-î Dînîk occupies the central third of the codex; being preceded by a nearly equal extent of other miscellaneous religious writings of rather later date, resembling a Pahlavi Rivâyat; and being followed by a third series of similar writings of about the same age and extent as the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, which includes the Epistles of Mânûskîhar and the Selections of Zâd-sparam. In the latter class of manuscripts, from which M14 is descended, the text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk contains many variations from that in the former class, as if it had been revised by some one whose knowledge of Pahlavi was insufficient to decipher difficult passages, and who had freely exercised his editorial license in altering and mutilating the text to suit his own limited comprehension of it.
The codex K35, which was brought from Persia by the late Professor Westergaard in 1843, is one of the most important manuscripts of the former class, and now consists of 181 folios; but it is incomplete at both ends, having lost seventy-one folios at the beginning and about thirty-five at the end. It still includes, however, the whole of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and the Epistles of Mânûskîhar; though its date has been lost with its last folios. But this date can be recovered from an old copy of this codex existing in India (here called BK) and still containing a colophon, probably copied from K35 1, which states that the manuscript was
completed by Marzapân Frêdûn Vâhrôm Rûstâm Bôndâr Malkâ-mardân Dîn-ayâr, on the day Âsmân of the month Amerôdad A.Y. 941 (19th March, 1572), in the district of the Dahîkân in the land of Kirmân. The end of this colophon is lost with the last folio of BK, which renders it possible that the last folio contained the further colophon of this copy.
That BK is descended from K35 is proved by its containing several false readings, which are clearly due to misshapen letters and accidental marks in K35. And that it was copied direct from that codex is proved by the last words of thirty-two of its pages being marked with interlined circles in K35, which circles must have been the copyist's marks for finding his place, when beginning a fresh page after turning over his folios. This copy of K35 has lost many of its folios, in various parts, but most of the missing text has been recently restored from the modern manuscript J, mentioned below; there are still, however, eleven folios of text missing, near the end of the codex, part of which can be hereafter recovered from TK, described below. The independent value of BK is that it supplies the contents of the seventy-one folios lost at the beginning of K35, and of about nineteen of the folios missing at the end of that codex.
A third manuscript of the first class, which may be even more important than K35, was brought to Bombay from Persia about fifteen years ago, and belongs to Mr. Tehmuras Dinshawji Anklesaria, of Bombay, but it has not been available for settling the texts translated in this volume. It is here called TK, and is described as still consisting of 227 folios, though seventy folios are missing at the beginning and about fourteen at the end. In its present state, therefore, it must begin very near the same place as K35, but it extends much further, so as even to supply nearly half the contents of the eleven folios missing from BK; it does not, however, include the contents of the last three folios of BK. According to a colophon appended in this manuscript to the Sayings of Zâd-sparam, son of Yûdân-Yim, about the formation of men out of body, life,
and soul' (see Zs. XI, 10, note), some copy of these 'sayings' was written by Gôpatshah Rûstôm Bândâr Malkâ-mardân in the land of Kirmân. This Gôpatshah was evidently a brother of Vâhrôm, the grandfather of the Marzapân who wrote the colophon found in BK and supposed to have been copied from K35 (see pp. xv, xvi). If, therefore, this colophon in TK has not been copied from some older MS., it would indicate that TK is two generations older than K35.
A recent copy of TK exists in the library of the high priest of the Parsis in Bombay, to whom I am indebted for the information that its text does not differ from that of K35, at the two points (Dd. XCIII, 17 and Ep. III, 11) where some omission of text may be suspected.
The manuscripts of the second class appear to be all descended from an old, undated codex brought to Bombay from Persia about sixty-five years ago 1, and recently in the library of Mr. Dhanjibhâi Frâmji Pâtel of Bombay. From what is stated, concerning the contents of this codex, it appears to commence with about three-fourths of the miscellaneous religious writings, found at the beginning of BK; and these are followed by the altered text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, as appears from the copies described below, but how the codex concludes is not stated. It may, however, be supposed that it contains as much of the third series of writings, as is found in the manuscript J, a copy of this codex which ends in Ep. II, vi, 2.
This manuscript J belongs to the library of Dastûr Jâmâspji Minochiharji in Bombay; it commenced originally at the same point as the codex just described, and, so far as it has been examined, it contains the same altered text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk. There is, therefore little doubt that it was originally copied from that codex, but a considerable
portion of the additional matter at the beginning of BK has been prefixed to it at a later date. The oldest portion of this copy, extending to Ep. I, vii, 4, bears a date corresponding to 21st December 1818; the date of a further portion, extending to Ep. II, vi, 2, corresponds to 12th February 1841; and a third portion copied from BK, at the beginning of the manuscript, is still more recent.
Another copy of this codex, or of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk contained in it, exists in the library of the high-priest of the Parsis in Bombay; and from this copy the text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk contained in M14 was transcribed.
This latter manuscript consists of two volumes, written in 1865 and 1868, respectively; the first volume containing Chaps. I, 1-XXXVII, 9, and the second volume Chaps. XXXVI, 1-XCIV, 15 of the altered text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk.
Other copies of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, which have not been examined, are to be found in India, but, unless descended from other manuscripts than K35 and the above-mentioned codex recently belonging to Mr. Dhanjibhâi Frâmji, they would be of no further use for settling the text.
Of the manuscripts above described the following have been available for the translations in this volume:--K35 for the whole of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and the Epistles; M14 for the whole of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk alone; BK for Dd. I, 1-VI, 3 1, X, 2-XIV, 3 2, LXXXVIII, 9-XCIV, 15, the whole of the Epistles, the legend about the soul of Keresâsp (see pp. 373-381), and the extracts from the Pahlavi Rivâyat in these codices relating to Khvêtûk-das (see pp. 415-423); and J for Dd. I, 1-XXXIX, 10 3; LXXXVIII, 9-LXXXIX, 1 4, XCI, 7-XCIV, 15, Ep. I, i, 1-II, ix, 7 5, the
legend about Keresâsp, and the extracts relating to Khvêtûk-das. Other manuscripts, used for the remaining extracts translated in the Appendix, will be mentioned in § 4 of this introduction.
The existence of two versions of the text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk would have been a source of much perplexity to the translator, had it not been soon apparent that the version represented by M14 was merely a revision of that in K35, attempted by some editor who had found much difficulty in understanding the involved phraseology of Mânûskîhar. There are, undoubtedly, some corrupt words and passages in K35, where the revised version may be followed with advantage, but nine-tenths of the alterations, introduced by the reviser, are wholly unnecessary, and in many cases they are quite inconsistent with the context.
Under these circumstances it has been the duty of the translator to follow the text given in K35, wherever it is not wholly unintelligible after prolonged study, to note all deviations of the translation from that text (which are usually small), and merely to mention the variations of the revised text, so far as they are intelligible, in the notes.
The writings of Mânûskîhar are certainly difficult to translate, not only from the involved and obscure style he affects, but also from the numerous compound epithets he uses, which are not easy either to understand with certainty, or to express clearly in English. The only other Pahlavi writings that approach them in difficulty are those of his brother, Zâd-sparam, and those of the author of the third book of the Dînkard, who seems to have also been a con-temporary writer. To a certain extent, therefore, an involved style of writing may have been a failing of the age in which he lived; and his works, being of an epistolary and hortatory character, would naturally be more abstruse and idiomatic than simple narrative; but much of the obscurity of his style must still be attributed to his own want of clear arrangement of thought and inadequate, though wordy, expression of ideas, the usual sources of all obscure and rambling writing.
When to the difficulty of tracing the thread of an argument
through the involved obscurity of the text is added the perplexity occasioned by the ambiguity of many Pahlavi words, it can be readily understood that no translation is likely to be even approximately accurate, unless it be as literal as possible. The translator has to avoid enough pitfals, in the shape of false constructions and incorrect readings, without risking the innumerable sources of error offered by the alluring by-paths of free translation. If, therefore, the reader should sometimes meet with strange idioms, or uncouth phrases, he must attribute them to a straining after correctness of translation, however little that correctness may be really attained.
For the purpose of more effectually keeping a curb upon the imagination of the translator, and indicating where he has been compelled to introduce his own ideas, all words not expressed or fully understood in the original text are italicised in the translation. Occasionally, also, the original word is appended to its translation, where either the reading or meaning adopted, is unusual, or where a scholar might wish to know the particular Pahlavi word translated.
Some endeavour has likewise been made to introduce greater precision than has hitherto been attempted, in the transliteration of Pahlavi words and names, by taking advantage of the italic system, adopted for this series of Sacred Books of the East, not only for distinguishing variations of sound (as in the use of g, k, and s for the sounds of j, soft ch, and sh, respectively, in English), but also to indicate the use of particular Pahlavi letters, when there are more than one of nearly the same sound. Thus, d is used where its sound is represented by t; l and r where they are represented by n, v, û, or by Av. o; v and z where they are represented by k; and zd where those letters are represented by . â. If, in addition to these particulars, the Pahlavi scholar will remember that the uncircumflexed vowels are not expressed in Pahlavi characters, and the vowel ŏ is expressed, he will find no particular difficulty in restoring any of the transliterated words to their original character, by merely following the
ordinary rules of Pahlavi writing. Without some such mode 1 of distinguishing the different Pahlavi letters used for the same sound, it would be practically impossible to restore the transliteration of any word, new to the reader, to its original Pahlavi form. And even the system here adopted requires the addition of a and â to represent the vowel a, â when one of its turns is omitted in writing (as in ap, âv, used for ap, af; adîn used for adîn, &c.), and of j or .j to represent y when it has the sound of g or English j, in order to distinguish it from k, g.
The general reader should, however, observe that these niceties of transliteration are merely matters of writing, as the exact pronunciation of Pahlavi cannot now be fully ascertained in all its details. There is every reason to suppose that the Semitic portion of the Pahlavi was never pronounced by the Persians as it was written (unless, indeed, in the earliest times); but to transliterate these Semitic words by their Persian equivalents, as the Persians certainly pronounced them, would produce a Pâzand text, instead of a Pahlavi one. If, therefore, we really want the transliteration to represent the Pahlavi text correctly, we must transliterate the Semitic words as they are written, without reference to the mode in which we suppose that the Persians used to, read them. With regard to the Persian words, if we call to mind the fact that Pahlavi was the immediate parent of modern Persian, we shall naturally accept the modern Persian pronunciation (stripped of its Arabic corruptions) as a guide, so far as Pahlavi orthography permits, in preference to tracing the sounds of these words downwards from their remote ancestors' in ancient Persian or the Avesta. But the pronunciation of words evidently derived directly from the Avesta, as is the case with many religious terms, must clearly depend upon the
[paragraph continues] Avesta orthography, so far as the alteration in spelling permits. These are the general rules here adopted, but many uncertainties arise in their practical application, which have to be settled in a somewhat arbitrary manner.
xv:1 One reason for supposing that this colophon was so copied is that K35 does not seem older than the date mentioned in it. Another reason is that the loss of the end of this colophon in BK allows us to assume that it was followed by another colophon, as is often the case in. copies of old MSS. A colophon that extends to the end of the last folio of a manuscript can never be safely assumed to belong to that manuscript, because it may have been followed by others on further folios.
xvii:1 There is some doubt about this period. Dastûr Peshotanji mentions thirty or forty years. but in the MS. J, which appears to have been copied chiefly from this codex in Bombay, the date noted by the copyist of the older part of that MS. is 'the day Rashn of the month Khûrdâd, A. Y. 1188' (21st December 1818, according to the calendar of the Indian Parsis), showing that the codex must have been at least sixty-four years in Bombay.
xviii:1 The text of Chaps. VI, X, 2 has been lost, and recently supplied from J.
xviii:2 No copy of the intermediate chapters obtained by the present translator, and several of the original folios have been lost.
xviii:3 No copy of the intermediate chapters taken by the present translator.
xviii:4 Chaps. LXXXIX, I-XCI, 7 omitted.
xviii:5 Ep. vi, 2-ix, 7 being copied from BK and wrongly inserted in Dd. XXXVII, 33 (see p. 89, note 5).
xxi:1 Dotted letters might be used, if available, instead of italics; but they are liable to the objection that, independent of the usual blunders due to the ordinary fallibility of human eyesight, it has been found by the translator that a dot, which was invisible on the proofs, will sometimes appear under a wrong letter in the course of printing.