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

p. 325



Copy of an epistle of the priest Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim, which was prepared by him for the priest, his brother, Zâd-sparam 1.


1. In the name of the sacred beings who shall keep exalted the pre-eminent success of your priestly lordship, accomplishing your wishes in both worlds, I am longing for the children--formerly promoting health of body--and for activity, and fully desirous, and in every mode a thanksgiver unto the sacred beings, for the well-abiding eyesight, peace, and understanding of your priestly lordship.

2. The epistle that came from you in the month Âvân 2, which Nîvshahpûhar 3 was ordered to write,

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and . . . by me from 1 . . . . and would . . . . , have been quite desirable to increase my gratitude unto the sacred beings for the health and salutation of your priestly lordship, though it had been merely to write intelligence of your own condition; for your writing of the epistle is not such as that of the distant who write in duplicate, but like that of neighbours who think that everything new should always be really mutual information. 3. As to that, too, which you ordered to write about omens and such occurrences--for which my form of words is not as is twice specified within the epistle, and from henceforth one should order to write intelligence more clearly-moreover, on account of want of leisure on many subjects, my heart is not disengaged even for the understanding of omens.

4. I apprize your priestly lordship that in this

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interval (tâhîkŏ) 1 a written statement has come unto me that the good people of Sîrkân are, indeed, so enveloped by you in distress, despondency, and trouble that its counterpart was when there was a liberation of our glorified fathers from the state of material existence. 5. For such as the insufficiency of the whole life of such was then to me, so even is the wounding and damage which comes now to my understanding and intellect. 6. The whole life of such is on the confines of the pure existence, a contest with the complete incorrectness that remains contaminating the liturgy by which the greatest intelligence of the religion of the Mazda-worshippers is aided; a little also, finally, of sagacity and observance of the apportionment of the more grievous impostures and more frightful delusions.

7. And, first of all, as to when your completely vile idea first destroyed your own enlightenment, and quite subdued your seconding of me, is inopportune (avidanâ) for me; and that ordinance 2, which though it be also right, is then even grandeur, because it is a law of the realm and an opinion of the world. 8. When even in the mansion of various thoughts, the residence of the assembly of Pârs, and many other conventions to deliberate, and the united opinions of a thousand priestly men (magavôg) of the good religion thereon, it could remain unaltered, then, also, the various good thoughts and opposing considerations that, along with me, the

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minds of other heads of the religion have promoted, and shaped or altered decisions thereon, and settled and issued orders thereon, could not have seen a grievance (seg) therein. 9. And this, too, should be observed among your requirements 1, that when the fattiness 2 of the body is in wrinkles (kîn), so that four perfect ones of the period are provided, even then the opinion of a high-priest of the religion is greater than every opinion, but the law of the realm of various kinds 3 is only through the deliberation of the same perfect ones; to make him decide then is not proper 4.

10. And it would be desirable for you to take account of that which is said thus: 'Thou shouldst not practise that, O Zaratûst! when thou and three or four companions, in the village of a thanksgiver of the assembly, shall say this: "Such is an evil notion."' 11. These words of his are then not taken into account by you; and it is firmly and with acute observation determined by you, and thought preservative for yourself, that even the sin be not privately (andarg) declared by me unto the assembly which has deliberated at Shirâz 5. 12. You order this, and

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it is known that if it were a statement of yours in the assembly of the Tughazghuz 1, you would have been still less a speaker in private.

13. I consider that you are as much under-hand (aîr) about this, as regards yourself, as Zaratûs2 the club-footed (apafrôbd) when he arranged his garments (vakhshakîhâ), and his club-foot is itself overspread thereby even to himself, so that he was then approved as good 3 by some of those of Kirmân 4 when they heard of it, and those of Râî 5 (Râzîkânŏ) wrote a reply that, if he should be appointed by you also at a distance, he would then be approved by them likewise as good. 14. This idea of yours is more heinous than that act of his, the reply from various sides is more mischievous, the disgrace among the people is more unslumberable, the load upon the soul is more consumingly heavy, and the

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severance from, and contest with, Aûharmazd and Zaratûst become more incalculably perplexing. 15. And this, too, is my summing up (khapîr) 1--when your own acquaintance with the religion and salvation of soul are in such force--by the parable (ângunî-aîtakŏ) of that physician of the body who, when they asked about destroying the toothache, thereupon gave his reply thus: 'Dig it out!' and they rejoined thus: 'He is always wanted as our physician, so that he may cure even a tooth which is diseased;' I would extract its teeth 2 more plentifully and with more suspicion than he.

16. And if, also, those of the good religion in the country of Irân be, therefore, always in want of the learning and acquaintance with religion of his priestly lordship, so that he disperses the profession and the preparation and management of the remedy 3 of many diseases, then he throws it away as a profession, and there is not much of a necessity for the wisdom and learning of his priestly lordship. 17. For there are some of the present time would never vouchsafe approval of a presiding fire 4, which is in many modes an advance of foreign habits; and of many things which are in writing, of a nature easier and more comfortable in a worldly sense, they offer and

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always give more than he who is a priest; and, at last, no one ever accepts any except him who is astute in evil and wicked 1.


325:1 See the heading to Ep. I.

325:2 The eighth month of the Parsi year, which must have been A.Y. 249 (see Ep. I, xi, 12, note). This month corresponded to the interval between the 11th November and the 10th December, 880; but it is evident from Chaps. VII, 2, VIII, 1 that this reply was written about the same time as Ep. III, that is, in the interval between the 14th June and 13th July, 881.

325:3 This appears to have been the original form of the name Nîkhshahpûhar or Nîshahpûhar, applied both to a man (see Ep. I, iv, 15, 17) and to a city in Khurâsân, and in this place it is not quite p. 326 certain whether a man or a city is alluded to. The text, as it stands in the MSS., is as follows:--'Nâmakŏ zîtanŏ dên bidanâ Âvânŏ mûn Nîvshahpûhar nipistanŏ farmûdŏ va madŏ.' This can be translated as in our text, if the word va be omitted; but, if this word be retained and mûn be changed into min, the translation would be as follows:--'The epistle which some one was ordered by you to write in the month Âvân from Nîvshahpûhar, and which came.' Now it is evident from Ep. I that Zâd-sparam must have been in Sîrkân for some time previous to the date of that epistle, 15th March 881, and, therefore, probably in the previous November; but, at the same time, it must be noticed that there are allusions in this second epistle (see Chaps. I, 12, V, 3) to his having been formerly at Sarakhs and among the Tughazghuz, that is, in the extreme east of Khurâsân; it is, therefore, just possible that he may have been at Nîvshahpûhar, on his way to Sîrkân in the south, in November.

326:1 J and BK attempt to fill up the blank with the words kêshvar arg, the value of the realm;' but the original text probably stood thus:--'and was received by me from so and so,' the names having been torn off in some intermediate MS.

327:1 Since he heard from his correspondent. The word cannot be tîsgakŏ, 'nine days,' as that would not tally with the dates of Eps. I and III.

327:2 Referring probably to the Bareshnûm ceremony which Zâd-sparam wished to dispense with in many cases.

328:1 J omits this phrase.

328:2 Reading mêsakh or miskha; but it may be masagîh, 'squeezing.

328:3 J has merely the words, 'even then the opinion of the high-priest for the realm,' which gives a reverse meaning to the text.

328:4 It appears from this, that when a supreme high-priest became very old, his worldly duties were put in commission, by being intrusted to a committee of four of the most learned priests; but the opinion of the superannuated high-priest was still supreme in spiritual matters, though not to be trusted in worldly affairs.

328:5 Whither Mânûskîhar had specially gone to hold this assembly before writing Ep. I (see Ep. I, iii, 13).

329:1 The MSS. have Tughzghuz in Pâzand. Mas’âudî states (A.D. 943) that the Taghazghaz were a powerful Turkish tribe who dwelt between Khurâsân and China, in and around the town of Kûsân, and not very far from the supposed sources of the Ganges. They had become Manicheans, having been converted from idolatry to the heretical form of Mazda-worship taught by Mazdak (see Mas’âudî, ed. Barbier de Meynard, vol. i, pp. 214, 288, 299, quoted at length in a note to Sls. VI, 7). It would seem from the allusion in our text that Zâd-sparam had recently been among these Taghazghaz, and might have imbibed some of their heretical opinions, so as to lead to this controversy with his brother and the orthodox people of Sîrkân. That he had recently been in the extreme north-east of Khurâsân is further shown by the allusion to Sarakhs in Chap. V, 3.

329:2 Evidently some recent pretender to the supreme high-priesthood, who had endeavoured to conceal the deformity that disqualified him for that office.

329:3 That is, fit for the dignity he aspired to.

329:4 Here written Gîrmân (see Dd. XCIV, 13).

329:5 Near Teherân.

330:1 J converts the phrase into 'very heinous to me,' by reading avîr and adding girân.

330:2 That is, he would drive the morbid ideas from his brother's mind.

330:3 Meaning the practice of the Bareshnûm ceremony, for which the priests were specially required.

330:4 Probably because they saw no necessity for the presence of the fire at the sacred ceremonies. He is warning his brother that his heretical teachings would soon make the people imagine that they could dispense with the priesthood altogether.

331:1 That is, some priest who teaches such heresies. These terms are those applied to the demons themselves in Pahl. Vend. XIX, 140, 141, 147.

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