Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
1. The thirty-first question is that which you ask thus: When he who is wicked goes to hell, how
does he go, and in what manner does he go; also, who comes to meet him, and who leads him 1 to hell; also, does any one of the infernal ones (dûsahûîkânŏ) come to meet him, or how is it? 2. Shall they also inflict punishment upon him, for the sin which he has committed, at once, or is his punishment the same until the future existence? 3. Also, what is their food in hell, and of what description are their pain and discomfort; and is the limit of hell manifest, or how is it?
4. The reply is this, that a soul of the wicked, the fourth night after passing away 2, its account being rendered, rolls head-foremost and totters (kapînêdŏ) from the Kinvad bridge 3; and Vîzarâsh 4, the demon, conveys (nâyedŏ) 5 him cruelly bound therefrom, and leads him unto hell. 5 And with him are the spirits and demons connected with the sin of that soul, watching in many guises, resembling the very producers of doubt (vîmandâdârân-ik), the wounders, slayers, destroyers, deadly ones, monsters (dûs-gerpâno), and criminals,
those who are unseemly, those, too, who are diseased and polluted, biters and tearers, noxious creatures, windy stenches, glooms, fiery stenches, thirsty ones, those of evil habits, disturbers of sleep (khvâp-khârân), and other special causers of sin and kinds of perverting, with whom, in worldly semblance, are the spiritual causers of distress. 6. And proportional to the strength and power which have become theirs, owing to his sin, they surround him uncomfortably, and make him experience vexation, even unto the time of the renovation of the universe. 7. And through the leading of Vîzarâsh 1 he comes unwillingly unto hell, becomes a household attendant (khavag-î-mânôî-aîtŏ) of the fiend and evil one, is repentant of the delusion of a desire for fables (vardakîhâ), is a longer for getting away from hell to the world, and has a wonderful desire for good works.
8. And his food is as 'a sample of those which are among the most fetid, most putrid, most polluted, and most thoroughly unpleasant; and there is no enjoyment and completeness in his eating, but he shall devour (galâd) with a craving which keeps him hungry and thirsty, due to water which is hastily sipped 2. 9. Owing to that vicious habit there is no satisfaction therefrom, but it increases his haste and the punishment, rapidity, and tediousness of his anguish.
10. The locality 3 in hell is not limited (sâmânîaît)
before the resurrection, and until the time of the renovation of the universe he is in hell. 11. Also out of his sin is the punishment connected with it, and that punishment comes upon him, from the fiend and spirit of his own sin, in that manner and proportion with which he has harassed and vexed others 1, and has reverenced, praised, and served that which is vile.
12. And at the time of the renovation, when the fiend perishes, the souls of the wicked pass into melted metal (ayênŏ) 2 for three days; and all fiends and evil thoughts, which are owing to their sin, have anguish effectually, and are hurried away by the cutting and breaking away of the accumulation (ham-dâdakîh) of sin of the wicked souls. 13. And by that pre-eminent (avartûm) ablution in the melted metal they are thoroughly purified from guilt and infamy (dastŏ va raspakŏ), and through the perseverance (khvâparîh) 3 and mercifulness of the pre-eminent persistent ones they are pardoned, and become most saintly (môgtûm) pure ones; as it is said in metaphor that the pure are of two kinds, one which is glorious (khvârvatô), and one which is metallic (ayênavatŏ) 4.
14. And after that purification there are no demons, no punishment, and no hell as regards the wicked, and their disposal (vîrâstakŏ) also is just; they become righteous, painless, deathless, fearless, and free from harm. 15. And with them comes the spirit of the good works which were done and instigated by them in the world, and procures them pleasure and joy in the degree and proportion of those good works. 16. But the recompense of a soul of the righteous is a better formation (vêhdâdîh) and more 1.
71:1 M14 and J omit the words from 'also' to 'leads him.'
71:2 The term 'passing away' is here used with reference to the death of a wicked person, contrary to the general rule (see Chap. XX, 2).
71:3 See Chap. XX, 3.
71:4 'Then the fiend, named Vîzaresha, carries off in bonds the souls of the wicked Daêva-worshippers who live in sin' (Vend. XIX, 94, trans. D.); see also Bd. XXVIII, 18, where the name is Vîzarêsh, but it is always Vîzarâsh in Dd. Here it has been first miswritten in K35, and afterwards corrected, so that later copyists have read Vîrâsh, as in M14 and J.
71:5 Identifying the verb with Av. nayêiti of Vend. V, 25, 31; or it may be read vâyedŏ, and identified with Av. vayêiti of Vend. XV, 17, or Av. vâdhayêiti of Vend. XIX, 94, without much change of meaning.
72:1 See § 4.
72:2 Referring to the fact that a person who is both hungry and thirsty cannot quench his thirst, for more than a few minutes, by drinking water without eating.
72:3 Or, perhaps, 'his position,' if we read dîvâk-as instead of p. 73 dîvâkîh, but the former reading would be more of a modern Persian idiom than a Pahlavi one.
73:1 Or, 'the good;' the word is not expressed in the Pahlavi text.
73:2 Bd. XXX, 20 states that both the righteous and wicked are finally purified by melted metal which is a torment to the latter, but only like a bath in warm milk to the former.
73:3 See Chap. XIX, 7 n.
73:4 This is probably a misapplication of a Pahlavi phrase which contained the word âsnavatô, 'indestructible,' and was the translation of an Avesta passage containing the words hvâthravand, 'brilliant, glorious,' and âsna,' stony, indestructible, enduring' (often translated 'heavenly'), which words are sometimes used together, p. 74 as in Yas. LIX, 14. As the Pahl. âsnavatô and ayênavatŏ are written alike they are easily confounded, but that 'metal' is meant here appears from Yas. L, 9, b, Bd. XXX, 20.
74:1 M14 has 'and the position of more good works is better, the rank is greater, and the pleasure and delight more.'