Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 433


1. The reply about the Nasks of the Avesta. The Yathâ-ahû-vairyô is of twenty-one words, and the Avesta is similarly of twenty-one Nasks.

2. The name of the first Nask is Stôd-yast, and that book is of thirty-three compilations, that is, it is of thirty-three subdivisions, and the description of the Lord and the angels is in it.

3. The name of the second Nask is Stûdgar, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its description is about prayer, virtuous authority, and intercession.

4, The third Nask is the Vahist-mânthrah, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions about faith and heedfulness; and one is reminded [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 3],

5. The fourth Nask is the Bagh, and that is of twenty-one subdivisions; its explanation is about the religion and its intention, and whatever the Lord has made incumbent on mankind as to devotion and heedfulness; also about closing the path of Satan to oneself, and approaching the last abode.

6. The name of the fifth book is Dvâzdah-hâmâst, and that is of thirty-two subdivisions in remembrance of the beginning [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 5].

7. The name of the sixth Nask is Nâdar, and that is of thirty-five compilations about the stars

p. 434

and the disposition and life of the sky. [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 6 to] Bavaftâl, and in Persian the name of that book is Favâmsa'hân, that is, instruction arises therefrom for the moderns.

8. The name of the seventh Nask is Pâgam, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its description is about quadrupeds and how they are made lawful, which is lawful [&c., as in II, 7, to] for the sake of a season-festival, and how it is necessary to perform whatever is in a season-festival; the expense of a season-festival [&c., as in II, 7, to] high-priests, and a description of the clothing for a righteous gift, so that they may obtain recompense in the end from heaven.

9. The eighth Nask is the Ratustâyî, and that is of fifty subdivisions; its purport is about the affairs of the king and obedience, cities constructed and made magnificent, birds, animals, and fish, and whatever is Ormazd's, besides the creatures of Aharman; [&c., as in II, 8].

10. The name of the ninth book is Baris, and that is of sixty subdivisions, and about descriptions of kings and judges, and an investigation of their authority; also the relations of a peasant [&c., as in II, 9, to] deceit, and telling lies.

11. The name of the tenth book is Kaskanîz, and that is of sixty subdivisions, about the advantage (faʓl) of natural wisdom and knowledge as distinguished from acquired knowledge, that is, the knowledge born from the mother, and the knowledge which they learn by instruction; doctrine about purity and truth, and anything [&c., as in II, 10, to] how it occurs.

12. The name of the eleventh Nask is Vistâsp,

p. 435

and that is of sixty compilations, but after the calamity of Alexander, when they sought them again, they found no more than eight subdivisions, and those are about Gustâsp's acceptance [&c., as in II, 11].

13. The name of the twelfth book is ‘Has t, and that is of twenty-two fargards in six portions. The first portion is about knowing the Lord, may he be honoured and glorified! and faith in the mission of Zaratust and any duties which are ordered in a book of the religion. The second portion is about the obedience of kings, the truth of the religion, and complying with commands. The third portion is about the promise to benefactors and their recompense, the punishment of evildoers, and escaping from hell. The fourth portion is about the mansions of the world, agriculture and trimming trees, the power of mankind and quadrupeds arisen therefrom, the obedience they exercise, and whatever duty they perform for the high-priests of the religion. The fifth portion [&c., as in II, 12, to] the obeisances, so that they obtain great rewards in the end.

14. The name of the thirteenth book is Sfend, and that is of sixty subdivisions, for the information of people who are in want of it, and for their knowledge; also for any persons who become covetous as to virtuous actions, and proceed after the footsteps of the learned and people of religion, and receive advantage therefrom; and as reminders of the celestial sphere that there is advantage from the daily practice of them. Also about the accounts of the evil of mankind, by the apostle Zaratust, about the false speaking [&c., as in II, 13].

15. The fourteenth Nask is the Girast, and that

p. 436

is of twenty-two subdivisions, for the understanding of the causes of mankind [&c., as in II, 14.].

16. The name of the fifteenth book is Baghân-yast, and that is of seventeen subdivisions, in praise of the Lord, the praiseworthy and exalted, and the admitted angels; also thanksgiving for the favours due to that which he makes expedient in the religion, and the thanksgiving for his favour lasts until one obtains it back in the end; likewise the appearance of the angels, and these are nobles for the praise of the sacred being.

17. The name of the sixteenth book is Niyâram, and that is of fifty-four subdivisions, about decrees as to riches, bringing abroad, and whatever is made lawful; obtaining deliverance from hell, performing service, slavery, and the nature of wayfarers; whatever is in the thoughts of mankind, and whatever is in the bodies of mankind.

18. The name of the seventeenth book is Aspâram, and that is of sixty subdivisions about rituals [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 17].

19. The name of the eighteenth Nask is Duvâsrôb, and that is of sixty-five subdivisions, about robbers (duvâyân?) of human beings [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 18].

20. The name of the nineteenth Nask is Askâram, and that is of fifty-two fargards [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 19].

21. The name of the twentieth Nask is Vîndâd, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions [&c., very nearly the same as in II, 20]. And as to this book Vîndâd, which is the twentieth book of the Nasks, out of the twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta, we and you are now using it in the ceremonial, and when,

p. 437

after the calamity of Alexander, they sought for the books again, they found a portion of each Nask, but did not find any Nask in completeness except the Vîndâd which they found complete.

22. The name of the twenty-first Nask is Hâdokht, and that is of thirty subdivisions, about the manner of bringing together and the many miracles, and their excellences and connections; and in this book the accursed devil becomes cursed and becomes annihilated.

23. At present, since the Nasks have not remained perfect in the midst of us, it is not possible to solemnize them, because Alexander the Rûman 1 carried off a rough draft, in Rûman characters, of those of the twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta which were about the stars and medicine, and repeatedly burnt the books of the Avesta, so that the soul of Alexander burns in hell; and after his calamity, every one of the high-priests, in council together, preserved something of the Avesta in his mind, and the aggregate has disclosed the books of the Yasna (yast), Vîsperad, Vendîdâd, Fravash, Khûrdah Avesta, Darûn, Âfrîngân, Kîdah Vagarkardan, and Bundahis, which they wrote correctly; as to the remainder (tatammah) which they did not write, it was on this account, that they did not preserve it correctly in their minds. And the expectation, descended from the midst of them in the court of Ormazd and the archangels, is thus, that Vargâvand, Peshôtan, and Hushêdar 2 will arrive in haste for the manifestation of the religion, and the goodness

p. 438

of the religion again assumes splendour from a new head; the good and those of the good religion become cheerful and happy, and the bad and wicked become extinct and disappearing. Amen.


433:1 This Dastûr appears to have been one of several residing at Nausârî A.D. 1614-1646; his father's name is more usually written Qavâmu-d-dîn, and his account of the Nasks closely resembles that of Kâmah Bahrah.

437:1 See Dk. Bk. IV, 24 n.

437:2 The three chief producers of the future and final triumph of the religion (see Byt. III, 13-52).

Next: From The Dîn-Vigirgard