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


1. Again, that which is in Pahlavi characters is clear in that manner, that in the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô there are twenty-one vocables, that is, twenty-one words, and beneath each word there is an equivalent meaning; it is also known to the devout that there are twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta.

2. The first Nask is of thirty-three subdivisions, that is, it is of thirty-three compilations, and its name is Stôd-yast, that is, 'producing the praise of the sacred beings;' and the words of the book have come down for the majesty of the sacred beings and angels, and they recite them in that manner; and in the presence of every high-priest of the pure ritual, who rightly understands its Avesta and Zand,

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as he recites them correctly on three occasions, the angels come down; of this there is no doubt.

3. The name of the second is Istûdgar, and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its statements are for the admonition of the people.

4. The name of the third Nask is Vahist-mânthrah, and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its purport is to bring confirmation of the religion.

5. The name of the fourth is Bagh, and this is of twenty-one subdivisions; its explanation is about heedfulness.

6. The name of the fifth is Dvâzdah-hâmâst, and it is of thirty-two subdivisions; its explanation is in remembrance of the upper world, and about the lower world.

7. The name of the sixth is Nâdar, and that is of thirty-five compilations; its explanation is about the interpretation of the world of the stars, the planets and constellations, and understanding the arrangement of the sky.

8. The seventh is the Pâgam; this Nask is of twenty-two subdivisions, and its explanation is with regard to lawful and unlawful animals, whenever they slaughter them for the sake of solemnizing a season-festival; and, again, whatever is manifold reward and good work; also about the reason of the five days of the guardian spirits, which they call the select, and wherefore they are appointed.

9. The name of the eighth is Ratustâyî, and it is of fifty subdivisions, of which, after the time of Alexander, they preserved and found no more than thirteen subdivisions; its explanation is about maintaining devotion, and of obedience to kings, high-priests, and governors.

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10. The name of the ninth is Baris, and this Nask was of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found no more than twelve subdivisions; its explanation is of those who are kings and high-priests, leaders and princes, judges and messengers, what is the nature of the authority of peasants and princes, and what kind of towns they possess.

11. The name of the tenth is Kassrôb, and this Nask has been of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found again no more than fifteen subdivisions; its explanation is about the distinction of natural wisdom and knowledge from acquired knowledge; that which makes mankind pure from defilement, and the usage that maintains the proceedings of mankind.

12. The eleventh is the Nask of Vistâsp-shâh, and it has been of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found again no more than ten subdivisions, and their statements are with regard to king Gustâsp making the religion current.

13. The name of the twelfth is ‘Hast, and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its explanation is about enquiry of wisdom, maintaining devotion in the world, and the punishment for every sin such as they supply it.

14. The name of the thirteenth is Sfend, and it is of sixty subdivisions; its explanation is of that which they demonstrate as miracles from this Nask, that every requirement comes to pass which every high-priest—who shall recite this Nask for several days with sevenfold voice, according to that which has been written—shall solicit for the world.

15. The name of the fourteenth is Girast, and

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this is of twenty-two subdivisions, its explanation is about the creation of the people of mankind in the day of the Eternal, until the last day of the resurrection occurs; their becoming manifest in the mother's womb, and why some die in the womb and some are born, some are kings and some are peasants.

16. The name of the fifteenth is Baghân-yast, and this is of seventeen subdivisions; its explanation is about the praise of the angels admitted, and, as to the servants of the Most Glorious, at what period they each become manifest, and what duty they perform, till the resurrection.

17. The name of the sixteenth is Niyâram, and this is of fifty-four subdivisions; its explanation is about decrees as to traders, covenants and decisions, that is, awards with regard to the creatures and how they act.

18. The name of the seventeenth is Aspâram, and this is of sixty-four subdivisions; its explanation in these is well-directed and a good thing; and whatever remains therein.

19. The eighteenth is the Duvâsarôgad, and it is of sixty-five subdivisions; its explanation is that which is a statement on the subject of Khêdyôdath, that is, forming a union with each other by relations and those next one another.

20. The name of the nineteenth is Askâram, and it is of fifty-two subdivisions; its explanation is about the occurrence of the production of the renovation of the universe, up to the resurrection and future existence which are the converting of the dead alive, Aharman and the demons becoming extinct, and the circumstances of those events.

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21. The name of the twentieth is Gud-dêv-dâd 1, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its explanation is of causing the abstinence of mankind from pollution, that is, from defilement, and the assault of evil peculiarly owing to the great; from the sight of a menstruous woman, and the like of these, whenever harm and injury happen to the creation.

22. The name of the twenty-first is Hâdokht, and this is a book of thirty subdivisions; its explanation is such that the accursed devil goes far from every one who shall recite this book together with the Yast, and this person becomes near unto the sacred being, the praiseworthy and exalted, and in such manner as he is near the sacred being in like manner he obtains rank.

23. And the purpose of this being written is so, that it is known to these humble individuals 2 in this manner, that these books are of those tendencies, and it has been written by those devout ones 3 in such manner that 'among us no one is able to read the Pahlavi characters, and the interpretation of these Nasks is in Pahlavi; any one who does not know the Pahlavi characters is high-priest and is not able to demonstrate the miracles of the religion, nor that which was written with regard to the commentary of these Nasks.'


428:1 See Dk. VIII, Chap. XLV. O225 has Hâdôkht.

428:2 The Yasna, or Stôd-yast of § 1.

428:3 Narêmân Hôshang of Bharôk returned from Persia, A.D. 1478, with letters from priests in Irân in reply to those from priests in India. His account of the Nasks is more abbreviated than the others, and appears to be derived from a Pahlavi original.

432:1 Pâz. gud is a translation of Av. vi which is merely transliterated by vîk in Vîk-dêv-dad, the original form of Vendîdâd.

432:2 The priests in Irân who supplied this information to Narêmân.

432:3 The priests in India who had applied for the information, using the words about to be quoted.

Next: IV. From the Rivâyat of Dastûr Barzû Qiyâmu-d-Dîn