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Pahlavi Texts, Part IV (SBE37), E.W. West, tr. [1892], at

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1. Praise for Aûharmazd, and obeisance to the Mazda-worshipping religion which is the ordinance of Aûharmazd opposed to the demons.

2. The eighth book is the present (latamman) memorandum about a summary of what is in the Nasks of the Mazda-worshipping religion, each separately. 3. That which is within the compass (shâd-aûrvân) of this book, about the account of the good religion, is a writing for the information of the many, and an announcement from the commentary (zand)—that which is in explanation of revelation (dênô)—which, for this simple (pâdram) high-priest, is in itself the writing of the voice of revelation 1.

4. But, before that, is a writing 2 of the usage about the divisions (bangisnŏ) of the reckoning of the Mazda-worshipping revelation, also the parts (bâhar) of its divisions, and the sections (burînakŏ) of the parts; and the exposition of the account—

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which, though very condensed, is in its division—is also condensed in the parts of its division, and more diffuse in the sections of the parts. 5. The divisions of the reckoning of the Mazda-worshipping revelation are three:—Gâthas which are the higher spiritual knowledge and spiritual duty; Law which is lower 1 worldly knowledge and worldly duty; and the Hadha-mãthric which are mostly information and matters about what is between these two 2.

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6. And the reason of the triple division of the reckoning of revelation is the exposition of all knowledge and duty, and the kinds of knowledge and action in the same revelation are these three that have been written. 7. Also in the Ahunavair 1, which

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is the basis of the reckoning of revelation, are three metrical lines (gâs); the first chiefly indicates the Gâthic lore, the second the Hadha-mãthric lore, and the third the Law.

8. And there have been twenty-one parts 1 of its divisions, which are called Nasks:—(9) Seven are Gâthic, because they are composed for the Gâthas,

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and their names 1 are that of the ritual of the Gâthic worship, which is the Stôd-yast, with the Sûdkar, Varstmânsar, Bakŏ, Vastag, Hâdôkht, and that which has made them Gâthic 2, the Spend. 10. And the names of the seven Hadha-mãthric are Dâmdâd, Nâdar, Pâgag, Radŏ-dâd-aîtag, Baris, Kaskîsrôbô, and Vistâsp-sâstô. 11. And seven are Legal, because they are composed for the lawyer (dâdîk), and their names are those of the legal, and those are the Nîkâdûm, Ganabâ-sar-nigad, Hûspâram, Sakâdûm, and Vendîdâd, and those which are composed for the law with separate dedications, the Kitradâd and Bakân-yast. 12. And the sequence is Sûdkar, Varst-mânsar, Bakŏ, Dâmdâd, Nâdar, Pâgag, Radŏ-dâd-aîtag, Baris, Kaskîsrôbô, Vistâsp-sâstô, Vastag, Kitradâd, Spend, Bakân-yast, Nîkâdûm, Ganabâ-sar-nigad, Hûspâram, Sakâdûm, Vendîdâd, Hâdôkht, and Stôd-yas3.

13. In all three divisions all three are found; in the Gâthic are the Hadha-mãthric and Legal, in the Hadha-mãthric are the Gâthic and Legal, and in the Legal are the Gâthic and Hadha-mãthric.

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14. In each separately that which is essentially and specially itself is included, and that which is partly another and introduced is included; and the reason of it is that in spiritual and worldly existences, and in worldly and spiritual existences, and in that which is between the two, there are both existences.

15. The occurrence of the joining of the Vastag part of the Gâthas on to the last of the Hadha-mãthric 1 is because it is written in connection with the Vistâsp-sâstô, the last of the Hadha-mãthric. 16. The reason of the Hâdôkht and Yast being in succession to the Vendîdâd, the last of the Law 2, and 'the production of the worldly creations 3' being between the Hadha-mãthric and those spiritual Gâthas, is because the spiritual existence likewise, which is spiritual life (ahvô), is the beginning; and the worldly existence is purposed and caused, and a part is preserved (nôsî-aîtŏ), important for the purpose and intended for the spiritual life, the part at the beginning. 17. And the rejoining of the end of the Law, which is about the Hôm 4, to the Gâthas, which are the beginning,

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is a symbol of the existence of the pure influence of the Gâthic lore upon the first spiritual state—that which exists likewise at last—and of the rejunction of the worldly existence to the spiritual, because it came down from the spiritual to exist at present.

18. And the reason of the twenty-one-fold partition of the three divisions of the reckoning of revelation is in the distinction which is evident from their composition; also in the three metrical lines of the Ahunavair, which is the basis of the reckoning of revelation, there are twenty-one words (mârîk). 19. As the three metrical lines of the Ahunavair, which is the basis of the reckoning of revelation, are an emblem of the triple division of the reckoning of revelation; so the twenty-one words of the three lines indicate the twenty-one-fold partition of these three divisions; as it is declared that 'He who is the omniscient creator produced a discourse from every single word.'

20. As to the sections of the parts, such as the Hâs and Fargard1 in the Nasks, it is known there were one thousand 2, from the testimony and knowledge of the religion owing to the teaching of Zaratûst—whose guardian spirit is reverenced—in the country of Irân. 21. And after the devastation occurred, owing to the evil-destined and raging villain Alexander, there was not so much of them

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recovered as would be possible for a high-priest to preserve 1. 22. And that which the saintly (hûfravardŏ) Âtûr-pâd 2, son of Mâraspend, achieved through their composition and preservation, is known so far as the decrees (kakŏ) in the treatises (mâdîgân) of the country of Irân are preserved as teaching and admonition (pandânŏ).

23. After writing of each separate Nask, that is, as to what it speaks about more particularly 3, each Nask is accounted for separately, and what is in its various Hâs and Fargards comes to be realized 4; for in these particulars (mâdîgân) any ruggedness of the auspicious 5 and desirable collection is explained. 24. But, first, the class of writing of the various Nasks—that is, about what they speak—is here written; the extent of attainment not being adapted to their peculiarity of wonderfulness.


3:1 The author means that he derives his information about the contents of the Nasks entirely from their Pahlavi versions which, so far as he is concerned, are of equal authority with the Avesta text.

3:2 This introductory chapter.

4:1 Or 'mostly,' if we read avîrtar, instead of azîrtar, as is done in the next clause of this sentence.

4:2 The three Pahlavi terms are gâsânŏ, dâd, and hâdak-mânsarîk. Of these dâd evidently means 'law,' because the Dâdîk Nasks are chiefly devoted to legal matters (see Chaps. XVI-XLIV); and gâsânŏ appears to mean 'gâthas' rather than 'verses,' because the first Gâsânîk Nask contained the Gâtha texts (see Chap. XLVI), the next three were commentaries upon the Gâthas (see Chaps. II-IV and Bk. IX, Chaps. II-LXVIII), and the remaining three, so far as we are informed, were devoted to religious matters, but we have no reason to suppose that any of them were metrical, except the Gâthas themselves. The exact meaning of hâdak-mânsarîk is less clear; it is derived from Av. hadha-mãthra, 'provided with spells, or inspired words,' a term applied to Zaratûst in Vîsp. XIII, 1 and also to the Mãthra-spenta, or liturgy, in a phrase (see Westerg. Z. A., p. 485) which is appointed to be used in certain parts of the liturgy whenever the Vistâsp Yast (a remnant of the last Hadha-mãthric Nask) is recited; just as another phrase, referring to the Law, is appointed to be used in the same places whenever the Vendîdâd (one of the Dâdîk Nasks) is recited. In what sense the Hadha-mãthric Nasks can be said to be 'provided with spells' is not clear from the details given in Chaps. V-XI, but, practically, the meaning of the term must be something like 'semi-religious,' being applied to philosophy and science which are neither strictly religious nor strictly secular.

The same three terms were applied to the three classes of mankind, probably the priests, philosophers, and laity; a classification analogous to that of the three professions, the priests, warriors, and husbandmen, but not quite identical with it, as may be gathered from a passage in the sixth book of the Dinkard This book is p. 5 'about an epitome, composed and preserved by those of the primitive faith, concerning the statements of the religion of Mazda-worship;' and its statements are introduced by the following words:—'Those of the primitive faith, who were the sages of the ancients, considered thus, &c.' Near the middle of the book the following passage occurs:—'And this, too, was considered by them thus, that these are the three species of mankind:—One is the Gâthic, one the Hadha-mãthric, and one the Dâdîk. The association (hamîh) of him who is Gâthic is with the sacred beings, and his severance (vîgî-aîtagîh) from the demons and fiends; the extent of his wealth is due to members of the community and religious feasts (dâhm va-sûr), and the punishment for the sin which he may commit is shame and is invisible. The association of him who is Hadha-mãthric is with the righteous, and his severance from the wicked; also the extent of his wealth is that which may be produced virtuously, and the punishment for the sin he shall commit is the goad, or scourge (see Chap. XLIV, 65 n); also. noxious creatures for the body, and compensating the destitute. And the association of him who is Dâdîk is with Irânians, and his severance from foreigners; also the extent of his wealth is due to affairs that it is possible to accomplish lawfully, and the punishment for the sin which he shall commit is for the lifetime of a fowl (kûk), the day of a demon.'

5:1 This information seems to be taken from the first fargard of the Sûdkar Nask (see Bk. IX, Chap. II, 19). The Ahunavair (Av. ahuna vairya) is the name of the most sacred formula of the Parsis, derived from its second and third words; it is also called the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô, from its first phrase, and is a declaratory statement in metre, consisting of one stanza of three lines, containing twenty-one Avesta words, as follows:—

Yathâ ahû vairyô, athâ ratus ashâd-kîd hakâ,
Vangheus dazdâ mananghô shyaothananãm angheus mazdâi,
Khshathremkâ ahurâi â, yim drigubyô dadad vâstârem.

The usual Pahlavi version of this formula explains it as follows:—p. 6 'As is the will of the spiritual lord (as is the will of Aûharmazd) so should be the priestly master (so virtuous should he be) owing to whatsoever are the duties and good works of righteousness (the duties and good works should be as virtuous as the will of Aûharmazd). Whose is the gift of good thought (that is, the reward and recompense that good thought gives, it gives also unto him) which, among spiritual lords, is the work of Aûharmazd (that is, he would do that which Aûharmazd requires): [there are some who would say thus: Whose gift is for good thought (that is, the reward and recompense which they give for good thought, they give also unto him); and there are some who would say thus: Whose gift is through good thought (that is, the reward and recompense which they give up through good thought, they would also give even him); Âtûrd, son of Zaratûst, said thus: Owing to the gift of good thought, among spiritual lords, they recognise a doer of deeds. The dominion for Aûharmazd is his (that is, his dominion exists through the advantage that Aûharmazd has maintained) who gives allotments (vâyagânŏ) to the poor (that is, he would make intercession for them).'

The Avesta text may be translated, according to Haug, as follows:—'As a spiritual lord is desirable, so is a priestly master, for the sake of every righteousness, to be a giver of good thoughts as to the actions of life towards Mazda; and the dominion is for the lord whom he (Mazda) has given as a protector for the poor.'

According to Geldner the first two lines refer to Zaratûst, and, if we assume that yim is a contraction of yô îm, the Avesta text may be translated somewhat as follows:—'As he is the desirable spiritual lord, so is he the priestly master with every right, the producer of the actions of the good thoughts of life towards Mazda. The dominion, however, is for Ahura who has given him as a protector for the poor.'

6:1 See §§ 18, 19.

7:1 For variants of these names, in the order stated in § 12, see the notes to the first sections of Chaps. II-XVI, XXI, XXVIII, XXXVIII, XLIV-XLVI, which begin the summary description of each of the twenty-one Nasks.

7:2 Referring probably to 'the bestowal of the other Nasks' mentioned in Chap. XIV, 5.

7:3 This is the order in which the twenty-one words of the Ahunavair are applied to the twenty-one Nasks, as hinted in § 19; and, therefore, the order in which they ought to be enumerated. Representing the three divisions of the Nasks by G, H, L, respectively, and the seven Nasks in each division by the ciphers 1-7, the order of enumeration is as follows:—G 2-4; H 1-7; G5; L6; G7; L 7, 1-5; G 6, 1. More or less fanciful reasons for this dislocation of the divisions are given in §§ 15-17.

8:1 That is, the placing of G 5 after H 7.

8:2 That is, the placing of G 6, 1 after L 5. The Vendîdâd appears to be the last of the truly legal Masks, as the contents of the Kitradâd (see Chap. XIII) appear to have been chiefly historical, and those of the Bakân-yast (see Chap. XV) chiefly religious. These two Nasks are also placed in a sub-class in § 11.

8:3 This Dahisnŏ-î-stih-dâdŏ is evidently another name for the Dâmdâd, or 'the creatures produced,' which is placed between G 2-4 and H 2-7.

8:4 Written Hîm in Pâzand, for Hûm; and referring to the white Hôm, mentioned in Pahl. Vend. XX, 17, 21, and its healing properties. It is not absolutely necessary to understand from the text that the twentieth fargard was literally the end of the Vendîdâd in Sasanian times, because Chap. XLIV, 81 is quite as descriptive of the twenty-second as of the twentieth fargard.

9:1 The term Hâ (hâd, Av. hâiti) is applied to the chapters of the Yasna, and the term Fargard (Av. fra + kereta) to the chapters of the Vendîdâd and most of the other Masks.

9:2 Combining the information given in the Persian Rivâyats with that in the Dinkard we find only 905 chapters enumerated, of which 180 are said to have been lost, from the philosophical Nasks, during the Greek rule.

10:1 Probably meaning not more than a high-priest could retain in his memory.

10:2 A supreme high-priest who was prime minister of king Shahpûhar II (A.D. 309-379).

10:3 In this eighth book of the Dinkard.

10:4 In the more detailed statements in the ninth book.

10:5 Reading hûsukûngûn, but it may be khûskûnînŏ, 'beneficent,' or anasikôn-gûn, 'unconfusing.'

Next: Chapter II