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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at

p. 259


1. As to the ninetieth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: From what is the sky made, and with what is it prepared?

2. The reply is this, that the sky is a dome (gardûn), wide and lofty; its inside and whole width and boundaries (âkhyakîhâ), besides its material existence, are the stone of light, of all stones the hardest 1 and most beautiful; and the grandeur of its spirit and even its internal bow 2 are like those of mighty warriors arrayed. 3. And that material of the sky reached unto the place where promise-breaking words exist 3, and was without need of preparation; as it is said of places such as those--where wisdom is a witness about them--that that which is not even itself a place, and its place does not yet exist, is without need of any preparing 4.

4. The light is for existing things, and they cherish a faculty (nîyûîh) of motion also of two

p. 260

kinds, that causing motion and that of movables 1; as mobility is mentioned about thought 2 and immobility about material things. 5. Immovables are not moved, while movables are moved by their power of movement; and those movables, that way causing motion, are afterwards themselves a moving secret cause of motion, and then a cause of motion is not moving the movable, since it is not incapable of causing motion secretly by movement of itself. 6. Just as the force (kûnisnŏ) of a movement exists and does not become a force; only then it is declared by wisdom, that the causers of motion have been the causing of motion by force before movement, and, being unmoved, they are subsequently made to move by the force; later on, the causers of motion have to cause motion, by their power of causing motion, in the non-causers of motion, from which it is certain though the force of a movement exists it does not become a force; but, finally, that which is prepared with a source of activity 3, before force, becomes unmoved.

7. Natures without need of the trouble of a preparer are distinguished from such; where movement occurs through every force, the championship of a position (gâh) not made to move--except, indeed, of that whose force, when it is unmoved by other force, is its own--is unmoving and thirstless 4. 8. It 

p. 261

was restored immovably when there was an approach to the sky of that actual contender for the place, the fiend, and the sky was shaken by him; for connected with the sky were arranged so many possessors of all resources, dignified (afrankîd) by their. own all-powerful position and that well-operating, mighty, undrawn bow 1, righteous and well-discoursing (hûfravakhsh), and many good spirits, gloriously co-operating for the preparation of the sky. 9. For that which was not even itself a place 2, when it is thus henceforth really a place, is in want of preparing; and, in the preparation of that visible 3 place, with the material of the sky is mingled that triumphing, powerful spirit who made its existence a seeking for principle and seeking for intention, drawing up from below and drawing down from above, so that through that seeking for principle it becomes a concord, the resting-place of united champions, and unadmonishable through that power of seeking for intention; such as this it is if, indeed, it be the will of him, the creator of all goodness.

10. And it is said summarily that the sky was shaken in the period of disturbance and restored with trouble; and, if the guardian spirits are in freedom from disturbance through the glory of the creator, when there is not even a place for it prepared by themselves 4, and their nature and own

p. 262

strength are approving the trouble of preparation, it is not moved 1, except by the creatures of his will, a will which is subduing.


259:1 The same notion as that indicated in Genesis by the word 'firmament.'

259:2 The rainbow.

259:3 Probably meaning that the sky extends downwards, below the horizon, as far as the second grade of hell, that for 'evil words,' Dus-hûkht (see Sls. VI, 3, note).

259:4 The word dîvâk, 'place' (zîvâk in the Sasanian inscription of Naqs-i Rustam, but traditionally pronounced gînâk), seems to be here taken in the etymological sense of zîvâk, that is, 'a living-place.' The text refers to the period, in the beginning, when the sky was indefinite space unprepared for the residence of creatures and merely a region of light (see Bd. I, 2), the light mentioned in § 4. Its preparation is referred to in §§ 8, 9.

260:1 M14 has 'movables and immovables' instead of this clause.

260:2 Perhaps we should read 'the spirits,' by inserting an additional medial stroke in the Pahlavi word.

260:3 Reading tûkhshînîkîhâ, instead of the unintelligible tûkhshtîkîhâ'. The author has so nearly lost sight of his argument in the mazes of his verbiage that there is some uncertainty about the translation of this paragraph.

260:4 That is, the guardians of a place exposed to all attacks (as p. 261 the sky is supposed to be), unless it is a stronghold in itself, must be always on the alert.

261:1 The rainbow; reading atang darûn.

261:2 That is, 'a living-place' (see § 3 n).

261:3 Reading dîdŏ, 'seen;' but it may be stô for stî, 'material.'

261:4 That is, while the sky was still indefinite space, the region of light, but, no dwelling-place; although the guardian spirits had p. 261 been created as representatives of the creatures, both spiritual and material, which were to be afterwards produced (see Bd. I, 8).

262:1 That is, when afterwards prepared as a dwelling-place the sky remains unmoved by evil beings.

Next: Chapter XCII