Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at


1. This was the highest predominance of Aharman, for he came on, with all the strength which he

p. 164

had, for the disfigurement of the creatures; and he took as much as one-third of the base of the sky 1, in a downward direction, into a confined and captive state, so that it was all dark and apart from the light, for it was itself, at the coming of the adversary, his enemy among the struggles for creation. 2. And this is opposing the renovation of the universe, for the greatest of all the other means of the fiend, when he has come in, are of like origin and strength this day, in the sleep 2 of the renovation, as on that when the enemy, who is fettered on coming in, is kept back.

3. Amid all this struggling were mingled the instigations of Aharman, crying thus: 'My victory has come completely, for the sky is split and disfigured by me with gloom and darkness, and taken by me as a stronghold; water is disfigured by me, and the earth, injured by darkness, is pierced by me; vegetation is withered by me, the ox is put to death by me, Gâyômard is made ill by me, and opposed to those revolving 3 are the glooms and planets arranged by me; no one has remained for me to take and pervert in combat except Aûharmazd, and of the earth there is only one man, who is alone, what is he able to do?'

4. And he sends Astô-vîdâd 4 upon him with the thousand decrepitudes (aûzvârânŏ) and diseases

p. 165

which are his own, sicknesses of various kinds, so that they may make him ill and cause death. 5. Gâyômard was not secured by them, and the reason was because it was a decree of appointing Time (zôrvânŏ) in the beginning of the coming in of Aharman, that: 'Up to thirty winters I appoint Gâyômard unto brilliance and preservation of life.' 6. And his manifestation in the celestial sphere was through the forgiveness of criminals and instigators of confusion by his good works, and for that reason no opportunity was obtained by them during the extent of thirty years.

7. For in the beginning it was so appointed that the star Jupiter (Aûharmazd) was life towards the creatures, not through its own nature, but on account of its being within the control (band) of the luminaries 1; and Saturn (Kêvân) was death towards the creatures. 8. Both were in their supremacy (bâlîst) 2 at the beginning of the creatures,

p. 166

as Jupiter was in Cancer on rising, that which is also called Gîvân ('living") 1, for it is the place in which life is bestowed upon it; and Saturn was in Libra, in the great subterranean, so that its own venom and deadliness became more evident and more dominant thereby. 9. And it was when both shall not be supreme that Gâyômard was to complete his own life, which is the thirty years 2 Saturn came not again to supremacy, that is, to Libra. 10. And at the time when Saturn came into Libra, Jupiter was in Capricornus 3, on account of whose own lowness 4, and the victory of Saturn over Jupiter, Gâyômard suffered through those very defects which came and are to continue advancing, the continuance of that disfigurement which Aharman can bring upon the creatures of Aûharmazd.


164:1 Compare Bund. III, 11. The involved style of Zâd-sparam is particularly conspicuous in this chapter.

164:2 The word seems to be khvâpisnŏ.

164:3 Meaning probably the zodiacal signs, but the word is doubtful, being spelt vardisnânŏ instead of vardisnânŏ. A very small alteration would change it into varôîsnânŏ, 'believers,' but there were no earthly believers at the time alluded to.

164:4 See Bund. III, 21, and XXVIII, 35.

165:1 These luminaries are the fixed stars, especially the signs of the zodiac, to whose protection the good creation is committed (see Bund. II, 0-4); whereas Jupiter and all other planets are supposed to be, by nature, disturbers of the creation, being employed by Aharman for that purpose (see Mkh. VIII, 17-21, XII, 7-10, XXIV, 8, XXXIII, 5).

165:2 The most obvious meaning of bâlîst is 'greatest altitude,' and this is quite applicable to Jupiter when it attains its highest northern declination on entering Cancer, but it is not applicable to Saturn in Libra, when it has only its mean altitude. At the vernal equinox, however, which was the time of the beginning mentioned in the text, when Aharman invaded the creation (see Chap. II, 1), Libra is in opposition to the sun, and Saturn in Libra would be at its nearest approach to the earth, and would, therefore, attain its maximum brightness; while Jupiter in Cancer would be at its greatest altitude and shining with four-fifths of its maximum brightness. Both planets, therefore, were near their most conspicuous position (which would seem to be the meaning of bâlîst p. 166 here), and might each be supposed to the exercising its maximum astrological influence, so that the presumed deadly power of Saturn would be neutralised by the supposed reviving influence of Jupiter.

166:1 This reading suits the context best, but the name can also be read Snahan, and in many other ways. It may possibly be the tenth lunar mansion, whose name is read Nahn in Bund. II, 3, by Pâzand writers, and which corresponds to the latter part of Cancer.

166:2 Saturn revolves round the sun in about 29 years and 167 days, so it cannot return into opposition to the sun (or to its maximum brightness), at or near the vernal equinox, in less than thirty years.

166:3 That is, while Saturn performs one revolution round the sun, Jupiter performs two and a half, which is very nearly correct, as Jupiter revolves round the sun in about 11 years and 315 days. Therefore, when the supposed deadly influence of Saturn has returned to its maximum, the supposed reviving influence of Jupiter is at its minimum, owing to the small altitude of Capricornus, and no longer counterbalances the destructive power of Saturn.

166:4 There seems to be no other reasonable translation, but the MS. has lâ instead of râî, and niskasp instead of nisîv.

Next: Chapter V