Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
SOME chapters of the enquiries which Mitrô-khûrshêd, son of Âtûrŏ-mahân 1, and others of the good religion made of the glorified (anoshakŏ-rûbân) Mânûskîhar 2, son of Yûdân-Yim, and the replies given by him in explanation.
0. Through the name and power and assistance of the creator Aûharmazd and all good beings, all the heavenly and earthly angels, and every creature and creation that Aûharmazd set going for his own angels and all pertaining to the celestial spheres.
1. To those of the good religion, who are these enquirers owing to devout force of demeanour and strength of character, the type of wisdom and standard of ability--and of whom, moreover, the questions, seeking wisdom, contemplating good works, and investigating religion, are specified--the blessing and reply of Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Vim, are these:--2. That is, forasmuch as with full affection, great dignity, and grandeur you have blessed me in this enquiring epistle 1, so much as you have blessed, and just as you have blessed, with full measure and perfect profusion, may it happen fully likewise unto you, in the first place, and to your connections, separately for yourselves and dependents; may it come upon you for a long period, and may it be connected with a happy end.
3. As to that which you ordered to write about wishes for an interview and conversation with me, and the friendliness and regard for religion of yourselves and our former disciple 2 (lanmanak kâdmôn)--who is a servant of the sacred beings (yazdânŏ) 3 and a fellow-soldier in struggling with the fiend, alike persistent in reliance upon the good religion of Mazda-worship--I am equally desirous of that one path of righteousness when its extension is to a place in the best existence 4, and equally hopeful
of resurrection (âkhezisnŏ) at the renovation of the best existence 1. 4. As to the interview and important conversation of that disciple of ours (mânak), and his going, and that also which he expounded of the religion--that of him who is intimate in interview and conversation with him who is wise and righteous the stunted 2 good works are then more developing 3--and as to the degree of praise which you ordered to write concerning me, much greater than reason, and the important statements full of the observations of friendship as to kind regards, my course about these is also that which leads to gratitude.
5. That which you ordered to write about the way of knowing and understanding not being for any one else but for your servant, was owing to your affection, and for the sake of kind regard; but on account of the importance of truth it is more expressly to he regarded as being proper to write also to other spiritual 4 men, as to the learning which is more fully studied by them. 6. For even with the perplexing struggle of the fiend, and the grievous devastation and collapse (nizôrîh) which have happened to religious people, after all, through the persistence (khvâparîh) of the sacred beings even
now there are pontiffs (radânŏ), priests, high-priests, judges, and also other religious leaders of those of the religion in various quarters. 7. Moreover, the other priests and spiritual 1 men here enumerated have well considered the commentary (zand) of the text (mânsar) which is muttered, are acquainted with opinions explaining the religion, and are, in many places, the cause of preferring good works; with whom also, on account of their understanding and knowing about such opinions, the sacred beings are pleased.
8. The desires expressed, and the good wishes as to what is mine and has happened to me, which you ordered to write, are likewise marks of friendship and kind regard, and owing to them a like measure of friendship and kind regard becomes your 2 own.
9. As to that which you ordered to write in much friendship and commendation and profusely about me--as regards the administration of the realm (kêshvar dastôbarîh), of the unity without counterpart (dadîgarîh), and the singleness co-extensive with any duality--if the writing of that, too, were owing to your friendship, even then it seemed to me disquieting, owing to this being so much praise. To. If in these times and countries there be an understanding of the time and a boasting about any one, if it be graceful as regards him who is a leader of the religion (dînô pêsûpâî) of long-continued faith, I consider it not suitable for myself 3. 11. Though
the praise of a leader (sardâr), raised by agreeable voices 1, is uttered about me, yet I am not pleased when they extol my greatness more than that of their own leader; for my wish is for that praise which is due to my own rank and similar limits, and seems suitable to me;. and humility in oneself is as correct as grandeur among inferiors.
12. That which is about the lengthy writing of questions, as to your worldly circumstances (stihânîhâ) and worldly affairs, has also shown this, that I should write a reply at a time in which I have leisure. 13. That is more important on account of your well-expressed questions and boldness about ambiguous answers, and your ardent desire for the setting aside of time; for the setting aside, or not beginning, of a reply is implied. 14. But owing to the perplexing 2 struggle on account of the fiend there is little leisure for quick and searching thought, and owing to that which is undecided 3 there is little for indispensable (frêzvânîkŏ) work.
15. As to a reply at a period of leisure time, the occurrence of the time appointed is manifested in everything, apart even from the kind regards of friendship, and the collection of information whereby, owing to my little leisure, it is declared unto you. 16. And I have, too, this confidence, that your questions are written with religious faith and desiring religious decision; and in the reply the statement of reasons from revelation (dînô) is manifold, for
guidance which is not destitute of wisdom and which is without risk from every kind of importunity 1.
17. And this same epistle 2 came in the month Tîr 3, at such season as, owing to entreaties for three years from the country-folk (dêsîkânŏ), and the burden of troubles of the offspring (sarakŏ) of those of the good religion, the much importunity for arranging what was undecided among them--which, inasmuch as I had no power about investigating that trouble and suffering, was the more indispensable--the arrangements for the preservation and education of disciples 4, and many private matters which had accumulated, I obtained no opportunity for properly looking over these same questions till the month Shatvaîrô 5, when I came to Shirâz 6 and had at various times a little leisure.
18. And I looked over these same questions; and when I saw the compact writing (ham-dâdakîhâ-yektîbûnisnîh) it then seemed to me more important to make each chapter of the questions separate and more explanatory. 19. And I gave the questions to a writer, in the same copy which you ordered to write, and instructed him to write the various chapters, every single question in one chapter; and the several opinions, both due to my acquaintance with the religion and my remembrance in perfection,
both of the decisions (dastôbarîh) of the ancients and as regards wisdom, are the replies I intend to write below the questions.
20. When there is nothing in such as you ask, concerning which I consider such otherwise, as I write, than what is like that which was one advisedly our different opinion from those high-priests of the ancients who were better and wiser, and have become our lord (ahvô), master (radŏ), and high-priest, I have written that 1, even though the usual decision on the same subject is such as our high-priests, who are of our family, have maintained in particular. 21. Afterwards, moreover, about the sayings of that high-priest whose custom is otherwise there is no difference of opinion expressed 2; and if there be any one for whose opinion I have acquired perfect reverence, a priestly man acquainted with the religion, who understands and who manages intelligently, by holding in reverence the ancient treatises and truth, and the sayings of the high-priests, whatever of his is to the purpose, as regards the reply, this also is written as successful illustration.
22. If owing to such cause it be not fully perceived, or regarding the decision it be not clear, it is chiefly not owing to the incompleteness of the decision of revelation in clearness of demonstration and correctness of meaning, but owing to our incomplete attainment to understanding the authoritative decrees (nikêzak fragûftŏ) 3 of the religion. 23. From the
imperfection (avêhîh) of that also which is asked of us the hasty thinking, notably therein, owing to the grievousness of the times, is even till now devoid of a distinct knowledge, interpreting the texts about the compassion of the good spirits, and regarding a clearer demonstration of the exposition of revelation which is thereby 1 more fully declared, as regards religious practice, from two sources, one is from the treatises which are an exposition of the rules and wisdom of the leader of the religion, and one--which is more descriptively expressed (mâdîgânŏtar hankhetûntô)--is the writings (vutakŏ) of various glorified ancients, those who were the great leaders of those of the primitive faith 2. 24. Owing to that 3, as their writings (nipîkân) about the demonstration of reasons, on account of depth and minute wording, are not well known, even to minute observers and penetrative (vêhramakŏ) understandings, and through the little diffusion (frâgŏ-padîkhûîh), likewise, of difficult words, there may be doubts among the less intelligent, so, about the purport of these same questions, if there be anything which is wanted by you more clear and more plain in meaning, or a nearer way to a true interpretation, not without clearness, of any decision of a learned leader of the religion, I will give a reply, whenever you ask and I am able, so far as my knowledge and want of power permit.
25. When one has to observe the nature of the attributes (gôhârânŏ) of the sacred beings the
investigator's great advantage is the perfection, peace, equipment with righteousness, and fiend-destroying power of his own people; and since you are made aware of the result of wishes and actions, and are directed by me, many new blessings also arise from you.
26. That which is written to you yourselves and unto all, in the beginning and even the end, is completely adapted to your own several wants; may it have an exalted end, with one courier (aê-barîdŏ) and continuously from beginning to end, and also perpetually!
27. A fair copy (bûrzisnîkŏ pakînŏ) of the questions, as well as the replies, is this; so that, when there is nothing in it which owing to that cause 1 is different, I am of opinion as is here written.
3:1 The name Âtûr-mâhân occurs in a Pahlavi inscription, dated A.Y. 378 (A. n. 1009), in one of the Kanheri caves, near Bombay (see Indian Antiquary, vol. ix, pp. 266, 267), and Adharmâh is mentioned in Hoffmann's Auszüge aus syrischen Akten persischer Märtyrer (Leipzig, 1880), p. 203; so that this name must have been commonly used by Parsis in former times, though unknown now.
3:2 He calls himself pontiff and director of the priests of Pârs and Kirmân in A.Y. 250 = A.D. 881, and was, therefore, the leader of the religion (see Chaps. XLV, 5, XCIV, 13, and Ep. III, 21). Besides these titles of pêsûpâî, 'leader,' farmâdâr, 'director,' and rad, 'pontiff or executive high-priest,' he is also called aêrpat khûdâî, 'priestly lordship,' in the heading to Ep. III, and has the general title aêrpat, 'priest,' in those of Ep. I and II. The reading of the name of his father, Yûdân-Yim (Pers. Guvân-Gam, 'the youthful Gamshêd'), is merely a guess; the Parsis read either Gôshna-gam or Gôdân-dam; and, perhaps, Gûshna-dam, 'breathing virility,' is a likely alternative reading.
4:1 Regarding this epistle, nothing further is known that can be gathered from the text of this reply to it, which gives the substance of the questions it contained.
4:2 This disciple appears to have been previously sent by Mânûskîhar to the community he is addressing, most probably to serve as their high-priest.
4:3 The word is plural, like Elohim in the book of Genesis, but it means 'God' in Persian.
4:4 Another name for Garôdmân, the highest heaven, or dwelling of Aûharmazd (see Sls. VI, 3, 4),
5:1 That is, when this transitory world is purified and made permanent, so as to form a part of heaven, which is expected to take place at the resurrection.
5:2 Pahl. kazd, which may be compared with Pers. kaz, 'distorted,' or may be a miswriting of Pahl. kaz, 'small.'
5:3 The modern MSS., M14 and J, add 'and those which are great are more attainable.'
5:4 The word is maînôk (mînavad), but the omission of one stroke would make it magôg, 'priestly,' which was probably the original reading.
6:1 See p. 5, note 4.
6:2 All MSS. have 'thy.'
6:3 Although he was himself the 'director of the profession of priests' of Pârs (see Chap. XCIV, 13), an office which was then equivalent to that of 'leader of the religion' (see Chap. XLV, 5).
7:1 This translation of mânŏ-advâzîkŏ-âkhezakŏ is somewhat doubtful.
7:2 Or 'prodigious.'
7:3 That is, awaiting the high-priest's judicial and ecclesiastical decision.
8:1 Or 'over-persuasion.'
8:2 See § 2.
8:3 The fourth month of the Parsi year, which corresponded to July-August in the time of Mânûskîhar.
8:4 That is, candidates for the priesthood and young priests.
8:5 The sixth month of the Parsi year, which then corresponded to September-October.
8:6 From this it would appear that the Dâdistân-î Dînîk was written at Shîrâz which, being the principal city of Pârs, was probably the high-priest's usual residence.
9:1 That is, his own different opinion apparently, but the writer's sentences are often so involved as to confuse the reader.
9:2 Meaning, apparently, that he does not propose to mention the opinions of others unless he approves of them.
9:3 The MSS. have fragûtŏ, possibly Pers. fargûd, 'miracle.'
10:1 That is, revelation is declared by the exposition.
10:2 The true Mazda-worshipping religion in all ages, both before and after the time of Zaratûst (see Sls. I, 3).
10:3 Want of knowledge referred to in § 23.
11:1 Owing to the copying. The sentence is equivalent to the modern phrase, 'errors excepted.'