Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
THAT the term Khvêtûk-das is applied to marriages between kinsfolk is admitted by the Parsis, but they consider that such marriages were never contracted by their ancestors within the first degree of relationship, because they are not so permitted among themselves at the present day. Any statements of Greek, or other foreign, writers, regarding the marriage of Persians with their mothers, sisters, or daughters, they believe to be simply calumnies due to ignorance, which it is discreditable to Europeans to quote 1. Such statements, they consider, may have referred to the practices of certain heretical sects, but never to those of the orthodox faith.
The Parsis are, no doubt, fully justified in receiving the statements of foreign writers, regarding the customs of their ancestors, with proper caution; a caution which is quite as necessary when the statements are agreeable as when they are disagreeable to present notions. The Greeks, especially, had such a thorough contempt for all foreign customs that differed from their own, that they must have found it quite as difficult to obtain correct information, or to form an impartial opinion, about oriental habits as the average European finds it at the present time. On the other hand, the Parsis have to consider that the ancient Greek writers, whose statements they repudiate, were neither priests nor zealots, whose accounts of religious customs
might be distorted by religious prejudices, but historians accustomed to describe facts as impartially as their information and nationality would permit. It is quite possible that these writers may have assumed that such marriages were common among the Persians, merely because they had sometimes occurred among the Persian rulers; but such an assumption would be as erroneous as supposing that the marriage practices of the Israelites were similar to those of their most famous kings, David and Solomon, forgetting that an oriental sovereign is usually considered to be above the law and not subject to it.
Rejecting all statements of foreigners, as liable to suspicion, unless confirmed by better evidence, it seems desirable to ascertain what information can be obtained, on this subject, from the religious books of the Parsis themselves. This matter has hitherto been too much neglected by those best acquainted with the original texts, and must be considered as only partially exhausted in the following pages.
The term Khvêtûk-das 1 is a Pahlavi transcription of the Avesta word hvaêtvadatha, 'a giving of, to, or by, one's own,' and is sometimes partially translated into the form Khvêtûk-das, or Khvêtûk-dad, in which the syllable dâd, 'what is given, a gift,' is merely a translation of the syllable das (Av. datha).
The Avesta word hvaêtvadatha is not found in any of the Gâthas, or sacred hymns, that are still extant and are usually considered the oldest portion
of the Avesta. But its former component, hvaêtu, occurs several times therein, with the meaning 'one's own, or kinsman,' as distinguished from 'friends' and 'slaves.'
The earliest occurrence of the complete word is probably in Yas. XIII, 28 1, where it is mentioned as follows:--'I praise . . . . the righteous Hvaêtvadatha, which is the greatest and best and most excellent of things that exist and will exist, which is Ahurian and Zarathustrian.' This merely implies that Hvaêtvadatha was a good work of much importance, which is also shown by Visp. III, 18, Gâh IV, 8, and Vistâsp Yt. 17, where the Hvaêtvadatha (meaning the man who has accomplished that good work) is associated with youths who are specially righteous for other reasons. But there is nothing in any of these passages to indicate the nature of the good work.
In Vend. VIII, 35, 36 we are told that those who carry the dead must afterwards wash their hair and bodies with the urine 'of cattle or draught oxen, not of men or women, except the two who are Hvaêtvadatha and Hvaêtvadathi,' that is, male and female performers of Hvaêtvadatha. This passage, therefore, proves that the good work might be accomplished by both men and women, but it does not absolutely imply that it had any connection with marriage.
Turning to the Pahlavi translations of these passages we find the transcription Khvêtûk-das, Khvêtûk-dat, or Khvêtûk-dasîh, with explanations which add very little to our knowledge of the nature of
the good work. Thus, Pahl. Yas. XI II, 28 merely states that it is 'declared about it that it is requisite to do it;' Pahl. Vistâsp Yt. 17 1 asserts that 'the duty of Khvêtûk-das is said to be the greatest good work in the religion, that, owing to it, Aharman, the demon of demons, is becoming hopeless, so that the dissolution of Khvêtûk-das is worthy of death;' and Pahl. Vend. VIII, 36 speaks of 'the two who are a Khvêtûk-dat man and woman 2, that is, it is done by them.'
Another reference to Khvêtûk-das in the Pahlavi translations of the Avesta occurs in Pahl. Yas. XLIV, 4, as follows:--'Thus I proclaim in the world that [which he who is Aûharmazd made his own] best [Khvêtûk-das] 3. By aid of righteousness Aûharmazd is aware, who created this one 4 [to perform
[paragraph continues] Khvêtûk-das]. And through fatherhood Vohûman 1 was cultivated by him, [that is, for the sake of the proper nurture of the creatures Khvêtûk-das was performed by him.] So she who is his daughter is acting well, [who is the fully-mindful] Spendarmad 2, [that is, she did not shrink from the act of Khvêtûk-das.] She 3 was not deceived, [that is, she did not shrink from the act of Khvêtûk-das, because she is] an observer of everything [as regards that which is] Aûharmazd's, [that is, through the religion of Aûharmazd she attains to all duty and law.]' The allusions to Khvêtûk-das in this passage are mere interpolations introduced by the Pahlavi translators, for the sake of recommending the practice; they have no existence in the Avesta text, but they show that the Pahlavi translators understood Khvêtûk-das to
refer to such relationship as that of father and daughter, as will appear more clearly from further allusions to the same circumstances in passages to be quoted hereafter 1. Regarding the age of the Pahlavi translation of the Yasna we only know for certain that it existed in its present form a thousand years ago, because a passage is quoted from it by Zâd-sparam, brother of the author of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and Epistles of Mânûskîhar, in his Selections 2, and we know that he was living in A.D. 881 3. But it was probably revised for the last time as early as the reign of Khûsrô Nôshirvân (A.D. 531-579), when the Pahlavi Vendidâd was also finally revised 4.
The Pahlavi versions of the lost Nasks must have been nearly of the same age as those of the extant Avesta, but of the contents of these versions we possess only certain statements of later writers. According to some of the modern Persian statements the Dûbâsrûged Nask contained many details about Khvêtûk-das, but this is contradicted by the long account of its contents given in the eighth book of the Dînkard, which was written more than a thousand years ago 5, and in which Khvêtûk-das is not once noticed. The practice is, however, mentioned several times in the Dînkard, as an important good work noticed in the Nasks, but no details are given, except in the following passages from the ninth book:--
First, regarding the latter part of the eighteenth fargard of the Varastmânsar Nask:--'And this, too,
that thereupon they shall excite a brother and sister with mutual desire, so that they shall perform Khvêtûk-das with unanimity, and before midday are generated a radiance which is sublime, centred in the face, and peeping glances (vênîkŏ Mils); and they make the radiance, which is openly manifest, grow up in altitude the height of three spears of a length of three reeds each 1; and after midday they have learned expulsion (rânakîh 2), and shall renounce the fiend who is before the destroyer.' This is clearly an allusion to the Khvêtûk-das of brother and sister, as it can hardly be considered as merely referring to the arrangement of marriages between their children.
Second, regarding the earlier part of the fourteenth fargard of the Bakô N ask:--'And this, too, that the performance of whatever would be a causer of procreation for the doers of actions is extolled as the perfect custom of the first Khvêtûk-das; because causing the procreation of the doers of actions is the fatherhood of mankind, the proper fatherhood of mankind is through the proper production of progeny, the proper production of progeny is the cultivation of progeny in one's own with the inclinations (khîmîhâ) of a first wish 3, and the cultivation of progeny in one's own is Khvêtûk-das. And he who extols the fatherhood of mankind, when it is a causer of the procreation of the doers of actions, has also extolled Khvêtûk-das. And this, too, that the proper nurture for the creatures, by him whose wish is for
virtue, has taught him to perform Khvêtûk-das. Virtue is its virtue even for this reason, because, for the sake of maintaining a creature with propriety, he reckons upon the proper disposition of the multitude, that which is generated in the race by innumerable Khvêtûk-dases 1. And this, too, that Spendarmad is taught as being in daughterhood to Aûharmazd by him whose wisdom consists in complete mindfulness. Even on this account, because wisdom and complete mindfulness 2 are within the limits of Aûharmazd and Spendarmad; wisdom is that which is Aûharmazd's, complete mindfulness is that which is Spendarmad's, and complete mindfulness is the progeny of wisdom, just as Spendarmad is of Aûharmazd. And from this is expressly the announcement that, by him who has connected complete mindfulness with wisdom, Spendarmad is taught as being in daughterhood to Aûharmazd. And this, too, the existence of the formation of that daughterhood, is taught by him whose righteousness consists in complete mindfulness.' This quotation merely shows that Khvêtûk-das referred to connections between near relations, but whether the subsequent allusions to the daughterhood of Spendarmad had reference to the Khvêtûk-das of father and daughter is less certain than in the case of Pahl. Yas. XLIV, 4, previously quoted 3.
Third, regarding the middle of the twenty-first
fargard of the Bakô Nask:--'And this, too, that a daughter is given in marriage (nêsmanîh) to a father, even so as a woman to another man, by him who teaches the daughter and the other woman the reverence due unto father and husband.' The reference here to the marriage of father and daughter is too clear to admit of mistake, though the term Khvêtûk-das is not mentioned.
Next in age to the Pahlavi versions of the Avesta we ought perhaps to place the Book of Ardâ-Vîrâf, because we are told (AV. I, 35), regarding Vîrâf, that 'there are some who call him by the name of Nikhshahpûr,' and this may have been the celebrated commentator of that name, who was a councillor of king Khûsrô Nôshirvân 1, so that we cannot safely assume that this book was written earlier than the end of the sixth century. It gives an account of heaven and hell, which Ardâ-Vîrâf is supposed to have visited during the period of a week, while he seemed to be in a trance. In the second grade of heaven, counting upwards, he found the souls of those who had 'performed no ceremonies, chanted no sacred hymns, and practised no Khvêtûk-das,' but had come there 'through other good works;' and it may be noted that the two upper grades of heaven appear to have been reserved for good sovereigns, chieftains, high-priests, and others specially famous. In hell, also, he saw the soul of a woman suffering grievous punishment because she had 'violated Khvêtûk-das;' but this passage occurs in one MS. only. We are also told (AV. II, 1-3, 7-10) that 'Vîrâf had seven sisters, and all 2 those seven sisters
were as wives of Vîrâf; revelation, also, was easy to them, and the ritual had been performed . . . . they stood up and bowed, and spoke thus: "Do not this thing, ye Mazda-worshippers! for we are seven sisters, and he is an only brother, and we are, all seven sisters, as wives 1 of that brother."' This passage, supposing that it really refers to marriage, seems to attribute an exaggerated form of the Khvêtûk-das of brother and sister to Vîrâf, as a proof of his extraordinary sanctity; but it can hardly be considered as a literal statement of facts, any more than the supposed case of a woman having married seven brothers successively, mentioned in Mark xii. 20-22. Luke xx. 29-32.
In another Pahlavi book of about the same age, which is best known by its Pâzand name, Mainyô-i Khard 2, we find Khvêtûk-das placed second among
seven classes of good works (Mkh. IV, 4), and ninth among thirty-three classes of the same (Mkh. XXXVII, 12); and the dissolution of Khvêtûk-das is mentioned as the fourth in point of heinousness among thirty classes of sin (Mkh. XXXVI, 7).
In the Bahman Yast, which may have existed in its original Pahlavi form before the Muhammadan conquest of Persia 1, it is stated that, even in the perplexing time of foreign conquest, the righteous man 'continues the religious practice of Khvêtûk-das in his family 2.'
The third book of the Dînkard, which appears to have been compiled by the last editor 3 of that work, contains a long defence of the practice of Khvêtûk-das, forming its eighty-second 4 chapter, which may be translated as follows:--
'On a grave attack (hû-girâyisnŏ) of a Jew upon
a priest, which was owing to asking the reason of the custom (âhankŏ) as to Khvêtûk-das; and the reply of the priest to him from the exposition of the Mazda-worshipping religion.
'That is, as one complaining about wounds, damage, and distress comes on, it is lawful to dispute with him in defence begirt with legal opinion (dâdistânŏ parvand), and the consummation of the accusation of an innocent man is averted; so of the creatures, the invisible connection of their own power to fellow-creations and their own race, through the propitiousness of the protection and preserving influence of the sacred beings, is a girdle, and the consummation of the mutual assistance of men is Khvêtûk-das. The name is Khvêtûk-das, which is used when it is "a giving of one's own" (khvês-dahisnîh), and its office (gâs) is a strong connection with one's own race and fellow-creations, through the protection and preserving influence of the sacred beings, which is, according to the treatises, the union of males and females of mankind of one's own race in preparation for, and connection with, the renovation of the universe. That union, for the sake of proceeding incalculably more correctly, is, among the innumerable similar races of mankind, that with near kinsfolk (nabânazdistânŏ), and, among near kinsfolk, that with those next of kin (nazd-padvandânŏ); and the mutual connection of the three kinds of nearest of kin (nazd-padvandtar)--which are father and daughter, so and she who bore him 1, and brother and sister--is the most complete (avîrtar) that I have considered.
'On the same subject the exposition of the obscure statements of the good religion, by a wise high-priest of the religion, is this:--"I assert that God (yêdatŏ) is the being, as regards the creatures, who created any of the creatures there are which are male, and any there are which are female; and that which is male is a son, and, similarly, a daughter is that which is female. The daughter of himself, the father of all, was Spendarmad 1, the earth, a female being of the creation; and from her he created the male Gâyômard 2, which is explained as the name for him who was specially the first man, since it is Gâyômard living who is speaking and mortal, a limitation which was specially his, because of these three words--which are 'living, speaking, and mortal'--two of the limitations, which are 'living and speaking,' were through the provision of his father, the creator, and one, which is 'mortal,' was proceeding from the destroyer; the same limitation is upon all mankind, who are connected with that man's lineage, until the renovation of the universe. And now I say, if the aid of the father has produced a male from the daughter, it is named a Khvêtûk-das of father and daughter 3."
'This, too, is from the exposition of the religion, that the semen of Gâyômard--which is called seed--when he passed away, fell to Spendarmad 4, the earth, which was his own mother; and, from its being united
therewith, Mashya and Mashîyôî 1 were the son and daughter of Gâyômard and Spendarmad, and it is named the Khvêtûk-das of son and mother. And Mashya and Mashîyôî, as male and female, practised the quest of offspring, one with the other, and it is named the Khvêtûk-das of brother and sister. And many couples were begotten by them, and the couples became continually 2 wife and husband 3; and all men, who have been, are, and will be, are from origin the seed of Khvêtûk-das. And this is the reason which is essential for its fulfilment by law, that where its contemplation (andâgisnŏ) exists it is manifest from the increase of the people of all regions,
'And I assert that the demons are enemies of man, and a non-existence of desire for them consists in striving for it when Khvêtûk-das is practised; it then becomes their 4 reminder of that original practice of contemplation which is the complete gratitude of men, and has become his 5 who is inimical to them. Grievous fear, distress, and anguish also come upon them, their power diminishes, and they less understand the purpose of causing the disturbance and ruin of men. And it is certain that making the demons distressed, suffering, frightened, and weakened is thus a good work, and this way of having reward and of recompense is the property of the practisers of such good works.
'And I assert that the goodness of appearance and growth of body, the display of wisdom, temper,
and modesty, the excellence of skill and strength, and also the other qualities of children are so much the more as they are nearer to the original race of the begetter, and they shall receive them more perfectly and more gladly. An example is seen in those who spring from a religious woman who is gentle, believing the spiritual existence, acting modestly, of scanty strength, who is a forgiver and reverential, and from a mail-clad (gapar) warrior of worldly religion, who is large-bodied and possessing strength which is stimulating (âgâr) his stout heart while he begets. They 1 are not completely for war--which is a continuance of lamentation (nâs-ravandîh)--and not for carefulness and affection for the soul; as from the dog and wolf--and not the ruin (seg) of the sheep--arises the fox, like the wolf, but not with the strength of the wolf like the dog, and it does not even possess its perfect shape, nor that of the dog. And they are like those which are born from a swift Arab horse and a native dam, and are not galloping like the Arab, and not kicking (padâyak) like the native. And they have not even the same perfect characteristics 2, just as the mule that springs from, the horse and the ass, which is not like unto either' of them, and even its seed is cut off thereby, and its lineage is not propagated forwards.
'And this is the advantage from the pure preservation of race. I assert that there are three 3 species
[paragraph continues] (vâg) and kinds of affection of sister and brother for that which shall be born of them:--one is this, where it is the offspring of brother and brother; one is this, where the offspring is that of 1 brothers 2 and their sister; and one is this, where it is the offspring of sisters 3. And as to the one of these where the offspring is that of 4 a brother, and for the same reason as applies to all three 5 species of them, the love, desire, and effort, which arise for the nurture of offspring of the three species, are in hope of benefit. And equally adapted are the offspring to the procreators; and this is the way of the increasing love of children, through the good nurture which is very hopeful.
'And so, also, are those who are born of father and daughter, or son and mother. Light flashed forth (gastŏ) or unflashed (aparvâkhtŏ) is always seen at the time when it is much exposed, and pleased is he who has a child of his child, even when it is from some one of a different race and different
country. That, too, has then become much delight (vâyag) which is expedient, that pleasure, sweet ness, and joy which are owing to a son that a man begets from a daughter of his own, who is also a brother of that same mother; and he who is born of a son and mother is also a brother of that same father; this is a way of much pleasure, which is a blessing of the joy, and no harm is therein ordained that is more than the advantage, and no vice that is more than the well-doing (khûp gâr). And if it be said that it is of evil appearance, it should be observed that when 1 a wound occurs in the sexual part of a mother, or sister, or daughter, and she flees (fravêd) from a medical man, and there is no opportunity for him to apply a seton (palîtŏ), and her father, or son, or brother is instructed in similar surgery, which is more evil in appearance, when they touch the part with the hand, and apply a seton, or when a strange man does so?
'And, when it is desirable to effect their union, which is the less remarkable (kam hû-zanâkhîktar) in evil appearance, when they are united (hamdvâdî-hênd) by them in secret, such as when the hearing of their written contract (nipistŏ) of wifehood and husbandhood 2 is accomplished in the background (dar pûstŏ), or when the sound of drums and trumpets acquaints the whole district, where
these people are renowned, that such an Arûman 1 intends to effect such a purpose with the daughter, sister, or mother of such a Pârsî man?
'On this account of less evil appearance is even the good appearance which is to be mutually practised; and after the mode is seen, even the advantageousness in the accomplishment of the daily duty of concealing disgrace, the mutual desire, the mutual advantage and harm, and the contentment which arise as to whatever has happened are also mutual assistance. Some, with a husband and faint-heartedness, have a disposition (sânŏ) of incapability, and the diligence which is in their reverence of the husband, who is ruler of the family (bûnag shah), is due even to the supremacy which he would set over them through the severity of a husband. Very many others, too, who are strange women, are not content with a custom (vag) of this description; for they demand even ornaments to cover and clothe the bold and active ones, and slaves, dyes, perfumes, extensive preparations, and many other things of house-mistresses which are according to their desire, though it is not possible they should receive them. And, if it be not possible, they would not accept retrenchment; and, if they should not accept retrenchment, it hurries on brawling, abuse, and ugly words about this, and even uninterrupted falsehood (avisistak-ik zûr) is diffused as regards it; of the secrets, moreover, which they conceal they preserve night and day a bad representation, and unobservantly. They shall take the bad wife to
the house of her father and mother, the husband is dragged to the judges, and they shall form a district assembly (shatrô angêzŏ) about it. And lest he should speak thus: "I will release her from wifehood with me 1," vice and fraud of many kinds and the misery of deformity are the faults which are also secretly attributed to him.
'A wife of those three classes 2 is to be provided, since they would not do even one of these things 3; on which account, even through advantageousness, virtuous living, precious abundance, dignity, and innocence, mutual labour is manifestly mighty and strong.
'And if it be said that, "with all this which you explain, there is also, afterwards, a depravity (darvakh) which is hideous," it should be understood in the mind that hideousness and beauteousness are specially those things which do not exist in themselves, but through some one's habit of taking up an opinion and belief. The hideous children of many are in the ideas of procreation exceedingly handsome, and the handsome forms of many are in the ideas of a housekeeper (khânŏpânŏ) exceedingly ugly. We consider him also as one of our enemies when any one walks naked in the country, which you consider hideous; but the naked skins of
the country call him handsome whose garments, which seem to them hideous, have fallen off. And we are they in whose ideas a nose level with the face is ugly, but they who account a prominent nose ugly, and say it is a walling that reaches between the two eyes, remain selecting a handsome one 1. And concerning handsomeness and ugliness in themselves, which are only through having taken up an opinion and belief, there is a change even through time and place; for any one of the ancients whose head was shaved was as it were ugly, and it was so settled by law that it was a sin worthy of death for them 2; then its habits (sânŏ) did not direct the customs of the country to shave the head of a man, but now there is a sage who has considered it as handsome and even a good work. Whoever is not clear that it is hideous is to think, about something threatening (girâî), that it is even so not in itself, but through what is taken into themselves they consider that it is hideous.
'Then for us the good work of that thing 3, of which it is cognizable that it is so ordained by the creator, has its recompense; it is the protector of the race, and the family is more perfect; its nature
is without vexation (apîzâr) and gathering affection, an advantage to the child--the lineage being exalted--gathering (avarkûn) hope, offspring, and pleasure it is sweetness to the procreator, and the joy is most complete; less is the harm and more the advantage, little the pretence and much the skill of the graceful blandishments (nâzânŏ) which are apparent, aiding and procuring assistance (bangisnŏ), averting disaster, and conducting affairs; less is the fear, through itself is itself illustrious, and the steadfast shall abandon crime (kam). And all our fathers and grandfathers, by whom the same practice was lawfully cherished, maintained it handsomely in their homes; and to think of mankind only as regards some assistance is the enlightenment of the steadfast, a reason which is exhibiting the evidence of wisdom, that no practice of it 1 is not expedient.
'And if it be said that the law 2 has afterwards commanded as regards that custom thus: "Ye shall not practise it!" every one who is cognizant of that command is to consider it current; but we are not cognizant of that command, and by an intelligent person (khapârvârakŏ) this should also be seen minutely, through correct observation, that all the knowledge of men has arisen from Khvêtûk-das. For knowledge is generated by the union of instinctive wisdom and acquired wisdom 3; instinctive wisdom is the female, and acquired wisdom the male; and on this account, since both are an achievement by the creator, they are sister and brother. And
also of everything worldly the existence, maturing, and arrangement are due to union in proportion; water, which is female, and fire, which is male 1, are accounted sister and brother in combination, and they seem as though one restrains them from Khvêtûk-das, unless, through being dissipated themselves 2, seed--which is progeny--arises therefrom; and owing to a mutual proportionableness of water and fire is the power in the brain, for if the water be more it rots it away, and if the fire be more it burns it away.'
This elaborate defence of Khvêtûk-das shows clearly that, at the time it was written (about a thousand years ago), that custom was understood to include actual marriages between the nearest relatives, although those between first cousins appear to be also referred to.
In the 195th 3 chapter of the third book of the Dînkard we are told that the eighth of the ten admonitions, delivered to mankind by Zaratûst, was this:--'For the sake of much terrifying of the demons, and much lodgment of the blessing of the holy 4 in one's body, Khvêtûk-das is to be practised.'
And the following chapter informs us, that 'opposed to that admonition of the righteous Zaratûst, of practising Khvêtûk-das for the sake of much terrifying
of the demons from the body of man, and the lodgment of the blessing of the holy in the body, the wicked wizard Akhtŏ 1, the enemy of the good man on account of the perplexing living which would arise from his practising Khvêtûk-das, preferred not practising Khvêtûk-das.'
The practice is also mentioned in the 287th chapter of the same book, in the following passage:--'The welfare of the aggregate of one's own limb-formations--those which exist through no labour of one's own, and have not come to the aid of those not possessing them (anafsmanân) owing to their own want of gratitude--even one of a previous formation has to eulogize suitably; and this which has come, completely establishing (spôr-nih) the Avesta, one calls equally splendid, by the most modestly comprehensive appellation of Khvêtûk-das.'
In the sixth book of the Dînkard, which professes to be a summary of the opinions of those of the primitive faith 2, we are told that, 'when the good work of Khvêtûk-das shall diminish, darkness will increase and light will diminish.'
In the seventh book of the Dînkard, which relates the marvels of the Mazda-worshipping religion, we are informed that it was 'recounted how--Gâyômard 3 having passed away--it was declared secondly, as regards worldly beings, to Masyê and Masyâôê 4, the first progeny of Gâyômard, by the word of Aûharmazd--that is, he spoke to them when they
were produced by him--thus: "You are the men I produce, you are the parents of all bodily life, and so you men shall not worship the demons, for the possession of complete mindfulness 1 has been perfectly supplied to you by me, so that you may quite full-mindfully observe duty and decrees." And the creativeness of Aûharmazd was extolled by them, and they advanced in diligence; they also performed the will of the creator, they carved (parkâvînîdŏ) advantage out of the many duties of the world, and practised Khvêtûk-das through procreation and the union and complete progress of the creations in the world, which are the best good works of mankind.'
The following passage also occurs in the same book:--'Then Zaratûst, on becoming exalted, called out unto the material world of righteousness to extol righteousness and downcast are the demons; and, "homage being the Mazda-worship of Zaratûst, the ceremonial and praise of the archangels are the best for you, I assert; and, as to deprecation (ayazisnîh) of the demons, Khvêtûk-das is even the best intimation, so that, from the information which is given as to the trustworthiness of a good work, the greatest is the most intimate of them, those of father and daughter, son and she who bore him 2, and brother and sister."It is declared that, upon those words, innumerable demon-worshipping Kîks and Karaps 3 disputed (sârisidŏ) with Zaratûst and strove for his death, just like this which revelation states:--"It is then the multitude clamoured (mar barâ vîrâd) who are in the vicinity of the seat of Tûr, the
well-afflicting 1 holder of decision; and the shame of the brother of Tûr arose, like that of a man whose shame was that they spoke of his Khvêtûk-das so that he might perform it. This Tûr was Tûr-î Aûrvâîtâ-sang 2, the little-giving, who was like a great sovereign of that quarter; and he maintained many troops and much power. And the multitude told him they would seize the great one from him who is little 3. But Tûr-î Aûrvâîtâ-sang, the little-giving and well-afflicting, spoke thus:--'Should I thereupon smite him, this great one who mingles together those propitious words for us--where we are thus without doubt as to one thing therein, such as Khvêtûk-das, that it is not necessary to perform it--it would make us ever doubtful that it might be necessary to perform it.' . . . . And Zaratûst spoke to him thus: 'I am not always that reserved speaker, by whom that I have mentioned is the most propitious thing to be obtained; and inward speaking and managing the temper are a Khvêtûk-das 4, and the high-priest who has performed it is to perform the ceremonial.'"' This passage attributes to Zaratûst himself the enforcement of next-of-kin marriage, but it is hardly necessary to point out that the Dînkard only records a tradition to that effect; which
record may be quoted as evidence of the former existence of such a tradition, but not as testimony for its truth. It is also worthy of notice that this tradition clearly shows that such marriages were distasteful to the people in general but this might naturally be inferred from the efforts made by religious writers to assert the extraordinary merit of Khvêtûk-das, because customs which are popular and universal require no such special recommendation from the priesthood.
In the Dâdistân-î Dînîk (XXXVII, 82, LXIV, 6, LXV, 2, LXXVII, 4, 5) allusions are made to the Khvêtûdâd 1 of brother and sister, formed by the progenitors of mankind. We are also told that Khvêtûdâd is to be practised till the end of the world, and that to occasion it among others is an effectual atonement for heinous sin 2 (Dd. LXXVII, 6, 7, LXXVIII, 19); but it is not certain that the term is applied in these latter passages to marriages between the nearest relatives.
For later particulars about Khvêtûk-das we have to descend to the darkest ages of Mazda-worship, those in which the Rivâyats, or records of religious legends, customs, and decisions, began to be compiled. Of the earlier Rivâyats, such as the Shâyast Lâ-shâyast and Vigirkard-î Dînîk, which were written in Pahlavi, few remain extant; but the later ones, written in Persian, are more numerous and very voluminous.
A Pahlavi Rivâyat, which precedes the Dâdistân-î Dînîk in many MSS. of that work, devotes several
pages to the subject of Khvêtûdâd, which fully confirm the statements of the defender of the practice, quoted above from the Dînkard (III, lxxxii). The age of this Pahlavi Rivâyat is quite uncertain; it is found in MSS. written in the sixteenth century, but, as it does not mention the marriage of first cousins, it was probably compiled at a much earlier period, more especially as it is written in fairly grammatical Pahlavi. The following extracts will be sufficient to show how far it confirms the statements of the Dînkard:--
'Of the good works of an infidel this is the greatest, when he comes out from the habit of infidelity into the good religion; and of one of the good religion, remaining backward (akhar-mân) at the time when his ritual is performed, this is a great good work, when he performs a Khvêtûdâd; for through that Khvêtûdâd, which is so valuable a token of Mazda-worship, is the destruction of demons. And of Aûharmazd it is declared, as regards the performance of Khvêtûdâd, that, when Zaratûst sat before Aûharmazd 1, and Vohûman, Ardavahist, Shatvaîrô, Horvadad, Amerôdad, and Spendarmad 2 sat around Aûharmazd, and Spendarmad sat by his side, she had also laid a hand on his neck, and Zaratûst asked Aûharmazd about it thus: "Who is this that sits beside thee, and thou wouldst be such a friend to her, and she also would be such a friend to thee? Thou, who art Aûharmazd, turnest not thy eyes away from her, and she turns not away
from thee; thou, who art Aûharmazd, dost not release her from thy hand, and she does not release thee from her hand 1." And Aûharmazd said: "This is Spendarmad, who is my daughter, the house-mistress of my heaven, and mother of the creatures 2." Zaratûst spoke thus: "When they say, in the world, this is a very perplexing thing, how is it proclaimed by thee--thee who art Aûharmazd--for thee thyself?" Aûharmazd spoke thus: "O Zaratûst! this should have become the best-enjoyed thing of mankind. When, since my original creation, Mâharîyâ and Mâharîyâôîh 3 had performed it, you, also, should have performed it; because although mankind have turned away from that thing 4, yet they should not have turned away. Just as Mâharîyâ and Mâharîyâôîh had performed Khvêtûdâd, mankind should have performed it, and all mankind would have known their own lineage and race, and a brother would never be deserted by the affection of his brother, nor a sister by that of her sister. For all nothingness, emptiness 5, and drought have come unto mankind from the deadly one (mar), when men have come to them from a different country, from a different town, or from a different district, and have married their women; and when they shall have carried away their women, and they have
wailed together about this, thus: 'They will always carry our daughters into perversion 1.'"
'This, too, is said, that Khvêtûdâd is so miraculous that it is the preservation of the most grievous sin--such as witchcraft and that worthy of death--from hell. And the want of protection (avîpâharîh) from hell of one unprotected from Aharman and the demons arises at that time when, owing to what occurs when he is begged by some one to exercise witchcraft, he is made worthy of death. And when they shall perform Khvêtûdâd, when the Khvêtûdâd is owing to him 2, the unprotected one is preserved from the prison of hell, from Aharman and the demons; so miraculous is Khvêtûdâd.
'In a passage it is declared, that Aûharmazd spoke unto Zaratûst thus: "These are the best four things: the ceremonial worship of Aûharmazd, the lord; presenting firewood, incense, and holy-water to the fire; propitiating a righteous man 3; and one who performs Khvêtûdâd with her who bore him, or a daughter, or with a sister. And of all those he is the greatest, best, and most perfect who shall perform Khvêtûdâd. . . . When Sôshâns comes 4 all mankind will perform Khvêtûdâd, and every fiend will perish through the miracle and power of Khvêtûdâd.'
It is then explained why the several merits of the
three classes of Khvêtûdâd are considered to stand in the same order as that in which the classes are mentioned in the preceding paragraph; also that the third class includes the case of half brothers and sisters, and the second that of an illegitimate daughter. After this we find the following legend:--
And Khvêtûdâd is so miraculous, that it is declared, regarding Yim 1, that, when the glory of his sovereignty had departed from him, he went out to the precincts (var) of the ocean with Yimak, his sister, in order to flee from the people, demons, and witches of the assembly of Dahâk 2. And they were sought by them in hell and not seen; and others sought them among mankind, water, earth, and cattle, among trees, in the mountains, and in the towns, but they were not seen by them. Then Aharman shouted thus: "I think thus, that Yim is travelling in the precincts of the ocean." And a demon and a witch, who stood among them, spoke thus: "We will go and seek Yim." And they rushed off and went; and when they came unto those precincts where Yim was--the precincts where the water of Tîr 3 was--Yim spoke thus: "Who are
you?" And they spoke thus: "We are those who are just like thee, who had to flee from the hands of the demons; we, too, have fled away from the demons, and we are alone. Do thou give this sister in marriage to me, while I also give this one unto thee!" And Yim, therefore, when the demons were not recognised by him from mankind, made the witch his own wife, and gave his sister unto the demon as wife. From Yim and that witch were born the bear, the ape, Gandarep 1, and Gŏsûbar 2; and from Yimak and that demon were born the tortoise (gasaf), the cat, the hawk (gaving), the frog, the weevil (dîvakŏ), and also as many more noxious creatures, until Yimak saw that that demon was evil, and it was necessary to demand a divorce (zan-takâ) from him. And one day, when Yim and that demon had become drunk with wine, she exchanged her own position and clothing with those of the witch; and when Yim came he was drunk, and unwittingly lay with Yimak, who was his sister, and they came to a decision as to the good work of Khvêtûdâd; many demons were quite crushed and died, and they rushed away at once, and fell back to hell.'
The fact, that the zealous writer felt that he had to force his opinions upon an unwilling people, is betrayed by the exaggerated language he uses in the following statements:--
'This, too, is declared by the Avesta, that Zaratûst enquired of Aûharmazd thus: "Many thoughts, many words, and many deeds are mentioned by
thee--thee who art Aûharmazd--that it is necessary to think, speak, and do; of all such thoughts, words, and deeds which is the best, when one shall think, speak, or do it?" Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Many thoughts, many words, and many deeds should be proclaimed by me, O Zaratûst! but, of those thoughts, words, and deeds which it is necessary to think, speak, and do, that which is best and most perfect one performs by Khvêtûdâd. For it is declared that, the first time when he goes near to it, a thousand demons will die, and two thousand wizards and witches; when he goes near to it twice, two thousand demons will die, and four thousand wizards and witches; when he goes near to it three times, three thousand demons will die, and six thousand wizards and witches; and when he goes near to it four times it is known that the man and woman become righteous 1."
'. . . . Owing to the performance of Khvêtûdâd there arises a destruction of demons equivalent to a stoppage of creation; and though, afterwards, some of those men and women shall become wizards, or unlawfully slaughter a thousand sheep and beasts of burden at one time, or shall present holy-water to the demons, yet, on account of that destruction and vexation of the demons, which has occurred to them owing to the Khvêtûdâd, it does not become comfortable to them while completed; and it is not believed by them that "the souls of those people will come to us."
'Whoever keeps one year in a marriage of Khvêtûdâd
becomes just as though one-third of all this world, with the water, with the trees, and with the corn, had been given by him, as a righteous gift, unto a righteous man. When he keeps two years in the marriage it is as though two-thirds of this world, with the water, trees, and corn, had been given by him unto a righteous man. When he keeps three years in the marriage it is as though all this world, with the water, with the trees, and with everything, had been given by him, as a righteous gift, unto a righteous man. And when he keeps four years in his marriage, and his ritual 1 is performed, it is known that his soul thereby goes unto the supreme heaven (garôdmân); and when the ritual is not performed, it goes thereby to the ordinary heaven (vahistŏ).
'Zaratûst enquired of Aûharmazd thus: "As to the man who practises Khvêtûdâd, and his ritual is performed, and he also offers a ceremonial (yazisnŏaê), is the good work of it such as if one without Khvêtûdâd had offered it, or which way is it?" Aûharmazd said: "It is just as though a hundred men without Khvêtûdâd had offered it."
'Zaratûst enquired this, also, of Aûharmazd, that is: "How is the benediction (âfrînô) which a man who practises Khvêtûdâd shall offer?" Aûharmazd spoke thus: "As though a hundred men without Khvêtûdâd should offer the benediction."
'And this, too, was asked by him, that is: "As to them who render assistance, and one meditates and attains to Khvêtûdâd through them, and one
performs Khvêtûdâd on account of their statements, how is their good work?" Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Like his who keeps in food and clothing, for one winter, a hundred priests--each of which priests has a hundred disciples--such is his good work."
'Zaratûst enquired this, also, of Aûharmazd, that is: "As to them who keep a man back from performing Khvêtûdâd, and owing to their statements he shall not perform Khvêtûdâd, what is their sin?" Aûharmazd spoke 1 thus: "Their place is hell."
'In a passage it is declared that, wiser than the wise, and more virtuous than the virtuous is he in whose thoughts, words, and deeds the demons are less predominant; and Aharman and the demons are less predominant in the body of him who practises Khvêtûdâd, and his ritual 2 is performed.
'It is declared by revelation that at the time when Zaratûst came out from the presence of Aûharmazd, the lord, into a worldly place where he travelled, he spoke this, that is: "Extol the religion! and you should perform Khvêtûdâd. I speak of the good and those existing in the religion; as to the negligent, the vile, and those in perplexity, this is said, that a thing so wondrous and important as that which is in our law of Khvêtûdâd could not be for performance. This is a sublime (kîrag) custom, and, as the best of all things, one asserts that it is necessary to perform it. To me, also, this is manifest when, through all faith in the law of those existing in the religion 3, that which is called by
them a very heinous sin, through faith in this law of the good, is that which is called the most perfect and best good work of Mazda-worship."
'This, too, is declared by revelation, that Aûharmazd spoke unto Zaratûst thus: "You should cause the performance of duties and good works." And Zaratûst spoke thus: "Which duty and good work shall I do first?" Aûharmazd spoke thus: "Khvêtûdâd; because that duty and good work is to be performed in the foremost place of all, for, in the end, it happens through Khvêtûdâd, when all who are in the world attain unto the religion 1."
'This, too, is declared by revelation, that Zaratûst spoke unto Aûharmazd thus: In my eyes it is an evil (vadŏ) which is performed, and it is perplexing that I should make Khvêtûdâd as it were fully current among mankind." Aûharmazd spoke thus: "In my eyes, also, it is just as in thine; but for this reason--when out of everything perfect there is some miserable evil 2 for thee--it should not seem so. Do thou be diligent in performing Khvêtûdâd, and others, also, will perform it diligently. '
The unpopularity of the practice advocated could hardly be more fully admitted than in this last paragraph, nor the objection more irrationally and dogmatically disposed of. As for the numerous quotations, which the compiler of this Pahlavi Rivâyat
professes to take from the Parsi scriptures, it is hardly necessary to remark that their authenticity must be accepted with great reserve.
Persian Rivâyats, copied in the seventeenth century, advocate the marriage of first cousins, and allude vaguely to those between nearer relatives as long extinct, though most of their remarks merely recommend the performance of Khêdyôdath 1, without explaining the meaning of the term. Thus, we are informed that a person worthy of death can perform Khêdyôdath as a good work, but it is better if followed by the Bareshnûm ceremony 2. An unclean person can do the same, but the Bareshnûm should precede the performance, so as to avoid sins arising from the uncleanness. The performance also destroys demons, wizards, and witches; and if arranged by any one, at his own expense, for another person, it is as meritorious as if performed by himself. But the following quotations are more descriptive of the practice 3:--
'Again, whereas the great wisdom of the king and of the assembly of priests fully understands that the ceremony of all the religious rites 4 is a great good work, besides that which is called Khêdyôdath, yet, in these days, both have fallen out of their hands; but they will make an endeavour, so that they may form connection with their own, and on account of
the Musulmâns the connection is a medium one 1, better than that of an infidel. And Ormazd has said that by as much as the connection is nearer it is more of a good work; and they display their endeavour and effort, and give the son of a brother and daughter of a brother to each other. And just as this is said: I establish the performer of Khêdyôdath, I establish the patrol of the country 2," even on this account they certainly display an endeavour.
'Query:--"How are the connections that relations form?" Reply:--"A brother's children with a brother's children and a sister's children, and relations with one another form connections, and it is proper for them."
Khêdyôdath is that which is a great good work, and has fallen out of their hands, owing to the reason that there is no king of the good religion; and if it be so they will make an endeavour, and will form connections with their own, and will give the son of a brother and daughter of a brother to each other, and if not it is not proper; and every such connection as is nearer is more of a good work. And the mode they will act who are at first without a king will be an infidel one, and to form connections among themselves will be very difficult now he (the king) is a Musulmân, but that which is nearer is better and more of a good work.'
These quotations indicate that a great change had crept over the meaning of Khvêtûk-das since the dark ages of the Pahlavi Rivâyat, previously quoted, although a tradition of the old meaning still lingered in the minds of the writers. The modern meaning is, however, most completely explained in a passage, appended to a Persian version of Aêshm's complaint to Aharman, regarding the difficulty of destroying the effect of the season-festivals, the sacred feast, and Khvetûk-das (Sls. XVIII). After Aharman has confessed his inability to suggest a means of destroying the merit of the last, the Persian writer adds the following particulars:--
'Therefore it is necessary to understand, that the chief Khêtvadat is that of a sister's daughter and brother's son; a medium Khêtvadat is that of a brother's son and a younger brother's daughter, or of a sister's son and a younger sister's daughter; and inferior to a medium Khêtvadat is that of a sister's son and a younger brother's daughter. It is necessary to know that any person, who performs Khêtvadat, if his soul be fit for hell, will arrive among the ever-stationary 1; if it be one of the ever-stationary it will arrive at heaven. Another particular is to be added: if any one, in departing, settles and strives for the connection of Khêtvadat of a next brother it is a good work of a thousand Tanâpûhars 2; if any one strives to break off the connection of Khêtvadat he is worthy of death.'
With this quotation, which occurs in a MS. 1 written A.D. 1723, we may conclude our examination of all passages in the Parsi scriptures referring to Khvetûk-das, the result of which may be summarized as follows:
First, the term does not occur at all in the oldest part of the Avesta, and when it is mentioned in the later portion it is noticed merely as a good work which is highly meritorious, without any allusion to its nature; only one passage (Vend. VIII, 36) indicating that both men and women can participate in it. So far, therefore, as can be ascertained from the extant fragments of the Avesta--the only internal authority regarding the ancient practices of Mazda-worship--the Parsis are perfectly justified in believing that their religion did not originally sanction marriages between those who are next of kin, provided they choose to ignore the statements of foreigners, as based upon imperfect information.
Second, when we descend to the Pahlavi translations and writings of the better class, which, in their present form, probably range from the sixth to the ninth century, we find many allusions to Khvêtûk-das between those next of kin, and only one obscure reference to the marriage of first cousins 2. Marriages between the nearest relations are defended chiefly by reference to mythical and metaphorical
statements regarding the creation, and to the practice of the progenitors of mankind; they are also advocated with all the warmth and vehemence that usually indicate much difficulty in convincing the laity, and this zealous vehemence increases as we descend to the dark ages of the Pahlavi Rivâyat 1, the compilation of which may perhaps be attributed to some writer of the thirteenth or fourteenth century. Unless, therefore, the Parsis determine to reject the evidence of such Pahlavi works as the Pahlavi Yasna, the book of Ardâ-Vîrâf, the Dînkard, and the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, or to attribute those books to heretical writers, they must admit that their priests, in the later years of the Sasanian dynasty, and for some centuries subsequently, strongly advocated such next-of-kin marriages, though, probably, with little success. That a practice now reprobated by all Parsis should have been formerly advocated by their priests, as a religious duty, need not excite the surprise of those who consider how slavery has been advocated by many Christians, on scriptural grounds, within the present generation, and how the execution of supposed witches was similarly advocated a few generations ago.
Third, as we come to the modern writings of the Persian Rivâyats, which may have commenced about the fifteenth century, we find the present form of Khvêtûk-das, the marriage of first cousins (which was only slightly mentioned in the Dînkard of the ninth century), the only form in use; though obscure allusions are made to the other forms as being long extinct.
At whatever period the practice of next-of-kin marriage may have originated there were evidently two reasons for its establishment and continuance; one was the indispensable necessity of offspring 1, unfettered by duties towards any other family, for the purpose of maintaining the necessary periodical ceremonies for the souls of those passed away; the other was the wish of preventing any risk of religious perversion consequent upon marrying into a family of strangers or infidels. Both of these reasons must have become intensified as the Mazda-worshippers diminished in numbers, hence the increasing vehemence of priestly advocacy, until the foreign conquerors probably interfered, and put a stop to the practice.
That such marriages were not unusual among other races, in ancient times, we learn from many tales in Greek and Roman mythology, from the usual practice of the Greek dynasty of the Ptolemies in Egypt, and even from the laws prohibiting such connections in Lev. xviii. 6-16, which, as laws are not made to prohibit practices that do not exist, would hardly have been written unless the children of Israel had at one time adopted the custom to some slight extent. That Parsis now deny the existence of such marriages among their ancestors proves that they no longer approve the custom, but does not affect the historical evidence of its former
existence. Christians no longer approve the persecution and execution of women for the imaginary crime of witchcraft, but it would be both childish and useless for them to deny that their ancestors committed hundreds of such judicial murders less than two centuries ago.
389:1 See Dastûr Peshotanji's translation of the Dînkard, D. 96, note.
390:1 Occasionally written Khvêtûk-dat, as in Pahl. Vend. VIII, 36 (see p. 392).
391:1 See p. 387, note 3.
392:1 The age of this Pahlavi version of the Vistâsp Vast is doubtful, and it is even possible that it may have been composed in India. The only MS. of it that I have seen belongs to Dastûr Jâmâspji Minochiharji, who kindly gave me a copy of it, but seemed doubtful about-the age of the translation. He was aware that his MS. was written some forty years ago, but he did not know from what MS. it was copied. This version is, however, mentioned in the list of Pahlavi works given in the introduction to Dastûr Peshotanji's Pahlavi Grammar, pp. 18, 31, so that another MS. of the Pahlavi text probably exists in the library of the high-priest of the Parsis in Bombay.
392:2 Or, perhaps, 'man and wife;' as gabrâ, 'man,' is occasionally used for 'husband,' though shûî is the usual word, and nêsman means both 'woman' and 'wife.'
392:3 Written Khvêtvadas or Khvêtûdas in the very old MS. of Dastûr Jâmâspji Minochiharji, the text of which is followed in this translation. The phrases in brackets have no equivalents in the original Avesta text, and, therefore, merely represent the opinions of the Pahlavi translators.
392:4 Spendarmad apparently, as indicated by the sequel.
393:1 The Pahlavi translator seems here to understand Vohûman not as the archangel (see Dd. III, 3), but as a title ('good-minded') of the primeval man, Gâyômard, who is supposed to have been produced by Aûharmazd out of the earth (compare Gen. ii. 7), represented by the female archangel Spendarmad. The term vohû-manô is used in Vend. XIX, 69, 76-84 for both a well-intentioned man and his clothing.
393:2 The female archangel, a personification of the Avesta phrase spenta ârmaiti, 'bountiful devotion;' she has special charge of the earth and virtuous women (see Bd. I, 26, Sls. XV, 20-24). She is called the daughter of Aûharmazd, even as the fire and Vohûman are called his sons, because devotion (representing the earth), fire, and good thought are considered to be his most important creations. And, as the earth is also, metaphorically, the mother of man, and the creator Aûharmazd is figuratively his father, this unfortunate combination of anthropomorphisms has induced later superstition to take these statements literally, and to quote them as a justification of marriage between father and daughter.
393:3 This seems the most probable nominative to the verbs in this sentence, but it is by no means certain.
394:1 See pp. 396, 401, 416.
394:2 See Zs. V, 4.
394:3 See Ep. III, 2, 17, 21.
394:4 See Ep. I, iv, 17, note.
394:5 This is proved by the long quotation from Dk. VI contained in Dd. XCIV, 1-11.
395:1 A height of about 42 English feet (see Dd. XLIII, 5).
395:2 That is, the capability of expelling the, fiends that try to take possession of man.
395:3 Reading gâm (= kâm), but it may be dâm, 'creature:
396:1 That is, the useful peculiarities of a particular breed of domestic animals are maintained and intensified by keeping up the purity of the race.
396:2 'Complete mindfulness' is the usual Pahlavi explanation of Av. ârmaiti, 'devotion,' the latter component of the name Spendarmad.
396:3 See pp. 392, 393.
397:1 See Ep. I, iv, 17.
397:2 The word translated 'all' is the ordinary Huz. kolâ, equivalent p. 398 to Pers. har, but a Parsi critic has suggested that it ought to be read kanîk, 'virgin,' so as to get rid of the idea that the sisters were married to Vîrâf. This suggestion is ingenious, because the difference between kolâ and kanîk is very slight, when written in Pahlavi characters; but it is not very ingenuous, because the substitution of kanîk for kola, both here and in the similar phrase at the end of the passage quoted in our text, would render the sentences quite ungrammatical, as would be easily seen by any well-educated Parsi who would translate the phrases literally into modern Persian words, which would give him the following text: ân har haft ‘hvâharân Vîrâf kûn zan bûd and for the first phrase, and har haft ‘hvâhar ân birâdar zanî êm for the second. To substitute any Persian word for 'virgin' in place of the pronoun har, in these two phrases, would evidently produce nonsense. The really doubtful point in these phrases is whether zan and zanî are to be understood as 'wife' and 'wifehood,' or merely as 'woman' and 'womankind;' but it would be unusual to use such terms for the unmarried female members of a family.
398:1 Or 'the womankind.'
398:2 From a facsimile of the only known MS. of the original Pahlavi p. 399 text of this work, recently published by Dr. Andreas, it appears that its Pahlavi name was Dînâ-î Mînavad-î Khard (or Maînôg-î Khird), 'the opinions of the spirit of wisdom.'
399:1 See Sacred Books of the East, vol. v, pp. liii-lvi.
399:2 See Byt. II, 57, 61.
399:3 The name of this editor was Âtûr-pad, son of Hêmîa, as appears from the last chapter (chap. 413) of the same book. He was a contemporary of the author of the Dâdistan-î Dînîk (see Bd. XXXIII, 11).
399:4 Chap. 80 in the recent edition of Dastûr Peshotanji Behramji, because his numbers do not commence at the beginning of the book. His translation of this chapter (see pp. 90-102 of the English translation of his edition) differs considerably from that given in our text. This difference may be partly owing to its being translated from the Gugarâti translation, and not direct from the original Pahlavi; but it is chiefly due to the inevitable result of attempting a free translation of difficult Pahlavi, without preparing a literal version in the first place. The translation here given is as literal as possible, but the Pahlavi text is too obscure to be yet understood with absolute certainty in some places.
400:1 Literally 'bearer' (bûrdâr), which is not the usual word for 'mother,' but equivalent to the Av. baretar that is used in that sense.
401:1 See p. 393, note 2.
401:2 See Dd. II, 10, XXXVII, 82, LXIV, 5.
401:3 It is uncertain whether the high-priest's statement continues beyond this point, or not.
401:4 See Bd. XV, 1, 2, Dd. LXIV, 6.
402:1 See Dd. XXXVII, 82, LXIV, 2, LXV, 2, LXXVII, 4, where these names are spelt differently.
402:2 Literally 'have become and have become.'
402:3 See Bd. XV, 22, 24-26.
402:4 The demons’.
403:1 The offspring of such a match, which the apologist evidently considers an ill-assorted one, as tending to deteriorate the warlike qualities of the warrior's descendants, although he himself is no advocate for war.
403:2 As their parents.
403:3 Dastûr Peshotanji has 'four,' because the Pahlavi text seems p. 404 to speak of four species in the next sentence; here it seems to have 'six' in ciphers, but the first cipher can also be read aê, the conditional suffix to the verb which immediately precedes the ciphers in the Pahlavi text, and the second cipher is merely 'three,' which corresponds to the three possible kinds of first cousins that are about to be detailed in the text.
404:1 Reading zak-î instead of zîs (which might be read zakîh if there were such a word).
404:2 Literally 'brother.'
404:3 Literally 'sister:
404:4 Reading zak-î instead of zîs, as before. This is Dastûr Peshotanji's fourth species of cousinship, which he understands as meaning second cousins.
404:5 Reading 13, by dividing the Pahlavi cipher for 'four' into two parts, both here and near the end of the sentence. This paragraph can hardly be understood otherwise than referring to the present form of Khvêtûk-das, the marriage of first cousins.
405:1 Reading amat instead of mûn, 'who,' (see Dd. LXII, 4 n.)
405:2 Showing that the practice advocated was understood to be a regular marriage (performed in private probably on account of the authorities being of a foreign faith) and not any kind of irregular intercourse. It is here approvingly contrasted with the noisy celebration of a marriage with a person of foreign faith, in accordance with foreign customs.
406:1 A native of Asia Minor, or any other part of the eastern empire of the Romans.
407:1 That is, lest he should pronounce her divorce.
407:2 The three nearest degrees of relationship must be meant, as the sequel admits the possibility of the union being considered objectionable; otherwise, the three kinds of first cousins might be understood.
407:3 As a special pleader for marriage between near relations the apologist feels himself bound to argue that all bad wives must have been strangers to the family before marriage.
408:1 That is, those who admire flat noses select their beauties accordingly. Beauty being merely a matter of taste, which varies with the whim of the individual and the fashion of the period.
408:2 This law was evidently becoming obsolete at the time the apologist was writing, and is now wholly forgotten. All Parsi laymen have their heads shaved at the present time, although the priests merely have their hair closely cut. This change of custom, in a matter settled by religious law, should warn the Parsis not to deny the possibility of other complete alterations having taken place in their religious customs.
409:2 Perhaps the law of the foreign conquerors is meant.
409:3 See Dd. XXXVII, 35, XL, 3.
410:1 See Dd. XCIII, 13 n.
410:2 Into the forms of moisture and warmth in the body. Water and fire in their ordinary state being incapable of combination.
410:3 This will be the 193rd chapter in Dastûr Peshotanji's edition, because his numbers do not commence at the beginning of the book. A similar difference will be found in the numbering of all other chapters of the third book of the Dînkard.
410:4 The technical name of Yas.
411:1 Av. Akhtya of Âbân Yt. 82, who propounded ninety-nine enigmas to Yôistô of the Fryâns (see Dd. XC, 3).
411:2 See Dd. XCIV, 1 n.
411:3 The sole-created man (see Dd. II, 10, XXXVII, 82).
411:4 See p. 402, note 1.
412:1 See 396, note 2.
412:2 See 400, note 1.
412:3 See 384, note 1.
413:1 The word hû-nôsakŏ is the Pahlavi equivalent of Av. hunustâ (Yas. L, 10, b), but the meaning of both words is uncertain. This Tar seems to have been more friendly to Zaratûst than the Tûrânians were in general, but he appears not to be mentioned in the extant Avesta.
413:2 As this epithet has not been found in the extant Avesta, the reading is uncertain.
413:3 Meaning that they demanded possession of Zaratûst in an insolent manner.
413:4 In a figurative sense.
414:1 Another form of the word Khvetûk-das (see p. 390).
414:2 This is also stated in Sls. VII, 18.
415:1 As he is said to have done in heaven, when receiving instruction in the religion.
415:2 The archangels (see Dd. XLVIII, i n), of whom Spendarmad is said to be a female (see p. 393, note 2).
416:1 This legend is an instance of the close proximity of superstition to profanity, among uneducated and imaginative people.
416:2 She being a representative of the earth.
416:3 See p. 402, note 1.
416:4 That is, from marriage of the nearest relations, which is admitted, throughout these extracts, to be distasteful to the people; hence the vehemence with which it is advocated.
416:5 Literally 'air-stuffing' (vâê-âkînîh).
417:1 This fear of perversion to another faith was, no doubt, the real cause of the vehement advocacy of family marriages by the priesthood.
417:2 That is, when he has arranged the next-of-kin marriage of others, before his death.
417:3 That is, a priest.
417:4 Shortly before the resurrection (see Dd. II, 10).
418:1 The third sovereign of the world, after Gâyômard (see Dd. II, 10). This legend is also mentioned in Bd. XXIII, 1, as explaining the origin of the ape and bear.
418:2 The foreign king, or dynasty, that conquered Vim (see Dd. XXXVII, 97 n).
418:3 Evidently intended for Tîstar, a personification of the star Sirius, who is supposed to bring the rain from the ocean (see Dd. XCIII, 1-17). Strictly speaking Tîr is the planet Mercury, the opponent of Tîstar, whose name is given to the fourth month, and thirteenth day of the month, in the Parsi year (see Bd. V, 1, VII, 2, XXVII, 24); but the confusion between the two names is not uncommon in the later books (comp. Sls. XXII, 13 with XXIII, 2).
419:1 See p. 371, note 3.
419:2 Not identified, and the reading is, therefore, uncertain.
420:1 Or, as stated in the Appendix to the Shâyast Lâ-shâyast (Sls. XVIII, 4), they 'will not become parted from the possession of Aûharmazd and the archangels.'
421:1 The proper ceremonies after his death, or for his living soul during his lifetime (see Dd. XXVIII, LXXXI).
422:1 The Pahlavi text is imperfect.
422:2 See p. 421, note 1.
422:3 That is, the general law of Mazda-worship, as distinguished from what he is advocating as a peculiarly religious law sanctioned p. 432 by the priests ('the good'). This is evidently an admission that the practice advocated was contrary to the ordinary laws of Mazda-worship itself.
423:1 As Pahlavi writers expect them to do before the resurrection.
423:2 Reading vadŏ-î vêsht; but it may be 'something is difficult and hard' (tang va sakht).
424:1 The Persian form of the word Khvetûk-das. It is also written Khetyôdath in some passages, and Khêtvadat in others.
424:2 The great ceremony of purification (see App. IV).
424:3 The Persian Rivâyat from which all this information has been extracted is M10 (fol. 50 a).
424:4 See Dd. XLIV, 2 II.
425:1 This seems to be an allusion to some interference of the Muhammadan government with marriages of those next of kin. A similar allusion occurs in the next paragraph but one, which, with most of this paragraph, is also found in M7, fols. 229 b, 230 a.
425:2 This Avesta quotation, from Visp. III, 18, 19, is as follows 'hvaêtvadathem âstâya, daNhâurvaêsem âstâya;' and the meaning of the last term is uncertain.
426:1 See Dd. XX, 3.
426:2 See Dd. LXXVIII, 13. Geldner in his Studien zum Avesta, I, pp. 3-12, suggests that the original meaning of Av. tanuperetha and peshôtanu was outcast;' but, although these words are translated by Pahl. tanâpûhar, it is doubtful whether this last p. 427 word be a mere transcript of tanuperetha (which ought to have been tanûpûhar), or whether it expresses the different idea of tan-apûhar, 'a person without a bridge to heaven,' which might have been that adopted by the Pahlavi translators of the Vendidâd; an outcast in this world being very liable to be considered as an outcast from the next.
427:1 M5, fols. 54, 55.
427:2 In Dk. III, lxxxii (see p. 404).
428:1 See pp. 415-423.
429:1 The oriental feeling of such a necessity, for the mere purpose of perpetuating the family, is abundantly manifested in the story of Lot's daughters (Gen. xix. 30-38), which is related without reproval by its writer. Also by the exceptional law requiring a man to marry his brother's wife, when the brother has died childless (Deut. xxv. 5-10).