Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


1. The rule is this, that when one's form of worship (yast) 4 is performed, and it is not possible for him to prepare it, the practice of those of the primitive faith 5 is, when the girdle (aîpiyâûng) is twined about a sacred twig-bundle (baresôm) 6 of seven twigs (tâk), to consecrate a sacred cake (drônô) thrice, which becomes his form of worship that is performed one degree better through the sacred cake; and of the merit of a threefold consecration

p. 339

of the sacred cake the high-priests have specially taught, in the Hûspâram Nask 1, that it is as much as that of a lesser form of worship.

2. The rule is this, that he who is himself more acquainted with religion is he who considers him who is more acquainted with religion than himself as high-priest, and considers him as high-priest 2 so that he may not destroy the bridge of the soul 3; as it says in the Sakâdûm Nask 4 that no one of them, that is an inattentive (asrûshdâr) man who has no high-priest, attains to the best existence 5, not though his recitations should be so many that they have made his duty and good works as much as the verdure (sapdak) of the plants when it shoots forth in spring, the verdure which Aûharmazd has given abundantly.

3. The rule is this, that they keep a fire 6 in the house, because, from not keeping the fire properly, there arise less pregnancy of women and a weeping (âv-dîdanŏ) for the loss of strength (tanû) of men 7; and the chilled charcoal (angist) and the rest which are without advantage (bar) are to be

p. 340

carried away from the fire; and in the Spend Nask 1 it is revealed that a fire, when they shall make it quite clean from its chilled charcoal, has as much comfort as a man whose clothing they should make clean.

4. The rule is this, that when any one passes away it is proper to render useless 2 as much as the smallest mouth-veil 3, for it says, in the Vendidad 4 that 'if even those Mazdayasnians should leave on him who is dead, in parting with him, as much as that which a damsel would leave in parting with the food-bowl (padmânakŏ)—that is, a bag (anbânakŏ-hanâ) 5'—the decree is this, that it is a Tanâpûhar

p. 341

sin 1 at root, which is hell; and in the Vendidad 2 it says that the clothing of the charitable (dahisn-hômand) soul, and even the clothing which they will give it, are out of almsgivings (dâsarân) 3.

5. The rule is this, that when any one passes away after keeping fasting the three nights 4, still the presentation of holy-water (zôhar) to the fire is to be performed, which is the presenting of the holy-water to the nearest fire; for in the Dâmdâd Nask 5 it is revealed that when they sever (tebrûnd) the consciousness of men it goes out to the nearest fire, then out to the stars, then out to the

p. 342

moon, and then out to the sun 1; and it is needful that the nearest fire, which is that to which it has come out, should become stronger (zôr-hômand-tar) 2.

6. The rule is this, that they should not leave a nail-paring unprayed over (anâfsûdak), for if it be not prayed over (afsând) 3 it turns into the arms and equipments of the Mâzanân demons 4; this is explicitly shown in the Vendidad 5.

7. The rule is this, that the labour of child-birth 6 is not to be accomplished at night, except while with the light of a fire, or the stars and moon, upon it; for great opposition is connected with it, and in the twentieth of the Hûspâram Nask 7 it is shown that over the soul of him who works in the dark there is more predominance of the evil spirit.

8. The rule is this, that they should allow the egg and other food 8 for those gifts and favours of the

p. 343

sovereign moon (mâh-i khûdâî) and the other angels; if so, it is to be allowed by them thus: 'I will consecrate so much food for such an angel,' and not thus: 'One sacred cake (drônô) in so much food.' 9. And the reason of it is this, that they who shall allow thus: 'One sacred cake out of so much food,' and of which it is one thing less, even though one shall consecrate it many times, still then he has not repaid; and they who should allow thus: 'I will consecrate so much food for such an angel,' though one shall reverence him with many sacred cakes, it is proper. 10. And in the twenty-two sections of the Sakâdûm Nask 1 grievous things are shown about those who do not make offerings (aûstôfrîd) unto the angels.

11. The rule is this, that when a woman becomes pregnant, as long as it is possible, a fire one cares for well is to be maintained in the house, because it is revealed 2 in the Spend Nask that to Dûkdâv 3, the mother of Zaratûst, when she was pregnant with Zaratûst, for three nights, every night a leader (shâh) 4 with a hundred and fifty demons came for the destruction of Zaratûst, and yet, owing to the existence of the fire in the dwelling, they knew no means for it.

p. 344

12. The rule is this, where a child is born, during three days, for protection from demons, wizards, and witches, a fire is to be made at night until daylight, and is to be maintained there in the day, and pure incense is to be put upon it, as is revealed in the thirtieth of the Sakâdûm Nask 1.

13. The rule is this 2, that from a toothpick the bark 3 is to be well cut off, for there are some of those of the primitive faith 4 who have said that, when 5 they shall make it for the teeth with the bark on, and they throw it away, a pregnant woman, who puts a foot upon it, is doubtful about its being dead matter.

14. The rule is this, that it is well if any one of those who have their handmaid (kakar) in cohabitation (zanîh), and offspring is born of her, shall accept all those who are male as sons; but those who are female are no advantage, because an adopted son (satôr) is requisite, and in the fourteenth of the Hûspâram Nask 6 the high-priests

p. 345

have taught thus: 'My son is suitable also as thy son, but my daughter is not suitable also as thy daughter;' and there are many who 1 do not appoint an adopted son with this idea, that: 'The child of a handmaid may be accepted by us as a son.'

15. The rule is this, that one is to persevere much in the begetting of offspring, since it is for the acquisition 2 of many good works at once; because in the Spend 3 and Nihâdûm Nasks 4 the high-priests have taught that the duty and good works which a son performs are as much the father's as though they had been done by his own hand; and in the Dâmdâd Nask 5, it is revealed thus: 'Likewise, too, the good works, in like manner, which come to the father as his own.'

18. The rule is this, that what they shall give to the worthy is as much as is proper and beyond, for eating and accumulating; because in the Nihâdûm Nask 6 the high-priests have taught thus: 'When a man gives bread to a man, even though that man has too much bread, all the good works, which he shall perform through that superabundance, become as much his who gave it as though they had been done by his own hand.'

17. The rule is this, that in the night water is

p. 346

not to be drawn 1 from a well, as in the Bâg-yasnô 2 notice is given about the uncleanness (ayosdâsarîh) of well-water at night.

18. The rule is this, that in the night anything eatable is not to be cast away to the north, because a fiend will become pregnant; and when it is cast away one Yathâ-ahû-vairyô 3 is to be uttered. 19. Those of the primitive faith 4 who used to act more orthodoxically (hû-rastakîhâtar), when food was eaten by them in the night, for the sake of preservation from sin owing to the coming of strainings and sprinklings on to the ground, directed a man to chant the Ahunavar 5 from the beginning of the feast

p. 347

[paragraph continues] (myazd) unto the end, more especially at the feast of the season-festivals; as it says in the Hâdôkht Nask 1, that of the sayings which are spoken out the Ahunavar is that which is most triumphant.

20. The rule is this, that when one sees a hedgehog he takes it back to the plain, and its own place is to be preserved free from danger; for in the Vendidad the high-priests have taught, that every day, when the hedgehog voids urine into an ant's nest, a thousand ants will die 2.

21. The rule is this, that some who are of the good religion say, where one is washing his face, one Ashem-vohû 3 is always to be uttered, and that Ashem-vohû is to be uttered before the washing; for when he utters it while washing his face, he is doubtful (var-hômand) about the water coming to his mouth.

22. The rule is this, that they select from the purifiers 4—when their business (mindavam) is as important (rabâ) as purity and impurity—him with whom the control 5 of ablution (pâdîyâvîh) 6, and non-ablution is connected; they select him especially

p. 348

with regard to the good disposition and truthful speaking of the man, and to the particular work; and on account of his being, in innocence he is to be considered more righteous. 23. As in the Vendidad 1 it says, about the two shares of righteousness, how one should tell that he is 'a righteous man, O Zaratûst the Spîtâmân! who is a purifier, who should be a speaker that speaks truly, an enquirer of the sacred texts—that is, he has performed his ritual (yast)—a righteous one who specially understands purification from the religion of the Mazdayasnians, that is, he understands its religious formulas (nîrang).' 24. When it is so that the control of their ablution is connected with him, so that they consider what pertains to the purifying bowl (zak-i tâstîk) as his, and ever abstain from it, though the angels hear and consider them as clean, and they select for him those who consecrate the water and bull's urine (gômêz) on account of their control, of purification (yôsdâsarkarîh), and it is to be performed very observantly by the consecrators at the place which is to be measured with a measure and very exactly (khûptar) 2. 25. And the purifier is so much the better when washed again, and when it is by some one through whose periodic (zamânîk)

p. 349

care he is thus done; for in the periodic interval many secret 1 kinds of pollution are produced. 26. Of the celebrators of the Vendidad the good are they who shall again perform the Navashâdar rite 2; for, on account of the same nicety (nâzûkîh) which is written above by me, and on account of much also that is secret, which has happened and mostly arises about it, there is no harm from performing it. 27: And any one of those who shall receive the water and bull's urine it is very important to wash beforehand (pavan pês3; because, if there be impurity about him 4, and he puts a hand to the cup (gâmak), the water, and the bull's urine, they are unclean (apâdâvŏ) 5; when it is so that there be some one, when so, it is better that they always wash his eyelids (môyak gâs), and to wash them by the clean is good.

28. The rule is this, that thou shouldst not consider even any one hopeless (anâîmêd) of heaven,

p. 350

and they should not set their minds steadfastly on hell; thereby much sinfulness for which there is a desire would be undesirable, because there is nothing which is a sin in my religion for which there is no retribution, as it says in the Gâthas 1 thus:—'Of those who are aware that thou art, O Aûharmazd! is even he who is infamous (raspakŏ); and they know the punishment of him even who is very sinful.' 29. And as to him even who is a very sinful person, through the desire 2 of good works which is entertained by him, there then comes more fully to him the joy of a soul newly worthy (nuk shâyad); as in the Spend Nask 3 it was shown to Zaratûst about one man, that all his limbs were in torment, and one foot was outside; and Zaratûst enquired of Aûharmazd about the reason of it; and Aûharmazd said that he was a man, Davâns 4 by name; he was ruler over thirty-three 5 districts, and he never practised

p. 351

any good work, except one time when fodder was conveyed by him to a sheep with that one foot.

30. The rule is this, that when a man has performed his form of worship (yast), and his wife has not performed it, it is extremely necessary to perform the suitable form of worship, or to order a Gêtô-kharîd 1, so that they may become such as are dwelling more closely together in the spiritual existence than in the world; and in the Hâdôkht Nask 2 it says that a woman (nâîrîk) who shall be reverent (tarsak) is to be considered as much as she who is suitable (zîyâk).

31. The rule is this, that these five ceremonies (yazisn), when they shall perform them, are good works 3; when one does not perform them, and the time is manifest to him, and when he shall set them aside to perform them out of the proper time, they shall go to the bridge 4 as sin; the ceremonies which go to the bridge are these, and in the Hûspâram Nask 5 it says that they are the non-celebration of the rites (lâ yastanŏ) of the season-festivals 6, the

p. 352

[paragraph continues] Rapîtvîn 1, the three nights 2 after a death, the days devoted to the guardian spirits 3, and the sun and moon 4.

32. The rule is this, that at every one of these three things, which come through hungry living, that is, sneezing, yawning, and sighing, one is to speak out a Yathâ-ahû-vairyô and one Ashem-vohû 5; and also when one hears the sneezing of any one, to speak in like manner is so considered as an action of the good 6; and in the Stûdgar Nask 7 it says thus: '"What prepares sneezing? that is, through what process (kâr) does it come?" And Aûharmazd said thus: "Hungry living, O Zaratûst! because the remedy for its existence is the Ahunavar, O Zaratûst! and righteousness 8."'


338:4 A Yast is a formula of praise in honour of the sun, moon, water, fire, or some other angel, as well as a term for prayers and worship in general.

338:5 See Chap. I, 3.

338:6 See Chap. III, 32, note.

339:1 See Chap. X, 21. The passage mentioned in the text was probably in the section called Nîrangistân.

339:2 K20 omits this repetition.

339:3 That is, may not render the passage of his soul to heaven, over the Kinvad bridge (see Bund. XII, 7), impossible, owing to the sin of arrogance in this world.

339:4 See Chap. X, 25; the passage alluded to was probably at the beginning of the Nask, which treated of 'the reward of the precepts of religion, and the bridge of the destroyers of good preceptors, adapted to their destruction.'

339:5 See Chap. VI, 3.

339:6 K20 has 'that a fire is to be properly kept.'

339:7 K20 has 'and a loss of the strength and wealth of men.'

340:1 See Chap. X, 4; the passage mentioned was probably in that part of the Nask which described the protection afforded by the fire to the new-born Zaratûst.

340:2 Probably a negative is omitted, or akârînîdanŏ should be translated 'to make no use of.'

340:3 See Chap. X, 40. K20 has 'garment.'

340:4 Always written Vadîkdâd in this second part of Sls., except in Chap. XIII, 7; whereas in the first part it is written in its uncorrupted form Gavîd-dêf-dâd or Gavîd-sêdâ-dâd, 'the law opposed to the demons.' The passage here quoted is Pahl. Vend. V, 171, 172, with one or two verbal variations.

340:5 Standing for anbânak-aê, which is corrupted in the Vendidad MSS. into the unintelligible form andanakŏ-1, so that this old quotation throws a rather unexpected light upon a passage in the Vendidad which translators would be almost certain to misunderstand. The allusion is to the bags used by a menstruous woman, when eating, to prevent contamination of the food. The Persian Rivâyats state that three bags (kîsah) are made of two thicknesses of strong linen, one bag to wear on each hand, and the third, which is larger, to hold the metal food-bowl and water-goblet. After thoroughly washing her hands and face, she puts the two bags on her hands, taking care that they do not touch her food, or clothes, or any other part of her body. She then feeds herself with a metal spoon, which must not touch her nose; and when the meal p. 341 is finished the food-bowl and water-goblet are placed on the large bag, and the two smaller bags inside it, till wanted again.

341:1 See Chap. I, 1, 2.

341:2 This passage does not appear to be now extant in the Vendidad, and it is possible to read Nask Dâd instead of Vadîkdâd. The Dâdî or Dâdak Nask was the eleventh nask or 'book' of the complete Mazdayasnian literature, according to the Dînkard, which merely says that its 'Avesta and Zand are not communicated to us by the high-priest.' According to the Dînî-vagarkard, which calls it Khûstô and the Rivâyats, which call it Khast, it was the twelfth Nask, and they give its contents in more detail than usual (see Haug's Essays, pp. 130, 131).

341:3 Meaning that the dead require no clothing, as their future bodies will be clothed out of the garments they have given away in charity. The resemblance of this statement to that contained in Bund. XXX, 28, which must have been abridged from the Dâmdâd Nask (see SZS. IX, 1), renders it possible that it may have been taken from that Nask.

341:4 No fresh meat is to be cooked or eaten for the first three days after a death in the house, according to the Sad-dar Bundahis, LXXVIII (compare Chap. XVII, 1-3).

341:5 See SZS. IX, 1. The passage here quoted may perhaps be found in the complete text of the Bundahis, as given in TD (Chap. 37; see Introduction, p. xxxvii).

342:1 A righteous soul is supposed to step out first to the star station, then to the moon station, and then to the sun station, on its way to Garôdmân, the highest heaven; but if its righteousness is imperfect it has to stop at one of these three stations, which are the three lower grades of heaven (see note on pâhlûm ahvân, Chap. VI, 3).

342:2 Or 'more provided with zôr,' which may mean 'holy-water,' as the two words zôr and zôhar are occasionally confounded.

342:3 Or, perhaps, 'if they shall not pray over it.'

342:4 See Bund. III, 20, XIX, 19, 20.

342:5 Vend. XVII, 29.

342:6 Barman-zerkhûnisnîh may also mean 'begetting a son.'

342:7 See Chap. X, 21. The word 'twentieth' appears to refer to the second group of twenty sections, one of which treated of the begetting, birth, and treatment of children.

342:8 Referring to the egg, drôns, frasasts, and gâus hudhau or 'meat-offering' (which may be either butter or meat, see Chap. XI, 4) that are used in the drôn ceremony, or consecration of the sacred cakes (see note on drôn, Chap. III, 32). The object of p. 343 this paragraph is, evidently to reprove niggardliness in such offerings, and to prevent their being mere pretexts for feasting.

343:1 See Chap. X, 25., The passage alluded to here was probably in that section, of the last twenty-two, which treated of the spirits of the earthly existences, one portion of which was 'about preparing offerings (aûstôfrîtô) to the angels.'

343:2 M6 has 'the fire of Aûharmazd is to be fully maintained, and it is revealed,' &c. This section is a repetition of Chap. X, 4, with a few variations.

343:3 Here written Dûdkâv.

343:4 Or it may be read sêdâ, 'a demon', meaning, an 'arch-fiend.'

344:1 That is, in the first thirty sections of the Nask (see Chap. X, 25); the passage alluded to must have been, in that portion which treated of new-born infants and their proper treatment.

344:2 §§ 13-16 are a repetition of Chap. X, 20-23, with a few variations.

344:3 The word appears to be tôpŏ or tûfŏ, which would rather mean 'scum' or 'gum' (see Bund. XXVII, 19), unless it be considered a miswriting of tôgŏ or tôzŏ, which would mean 'thin bark' or 'bast.' It can also be read tûpar, 'a leather bag,' and the sentence can be so translated as to imply that a toothpick should be cut out of a leather bag, an alternative similar to that suggested by the text of Chap. X, 20.

344:4 See Chap. I, 3.

344:5 Reading amat, 'when,' instead of mûn, 'who' (see Bund. I, 7, note).

344:6 See Chap. X, 21.

345:1 The writer of M6 evidently found his original illegible at this place, as he wrote . . . maman instead of mûn denman.

345:2 M6 has 'performance,' which is probably a misreading, due to the original of that MS. being partially illegible.

345:3 See Chap. X, 4. This Nask is not mentioned in Chap. X, 22, and the passage here alluded to is not to be traced in any of the short accounts of its contents.

345:4 See Chap. X, 3, 22.

345:5 See SZS. IX, 1, and Chap. X, 22.

345:6 See Chap. X, 3, 23.

346:1 K20 has 'that water is not to be drawn on foot.'

346:2 Probably the Bakân-yastô is meant, which was the fourteenth nask or 'book' of the complete Mazdayasnian literature, according to the Dînkard; but according to the Dînî-vagarkard and the Rivâyats it was the fifteenth nask, called Baghân-yast. For its contents, as given by the Dînî-vagarkard, see Haug's Essays, p. 132. The following is the account of it given in the eighth book of the Dînkard:—

'The Bakân-yastô is a treatise, first, on the worship (yastô) of Aûharmazd, the most pre-eminent of divinities (bakân avartûm), and, secondly, the worship of the angels of the other invisible and visible worldly existences, out of whom are even the names of the days, and the glory, power, triumph, and miraculousness of their life also is extreme; the angels who are invoked by name in their worship, and the attention and salutation due to them; the worthiness and dispensation of favour for worshippers, and the business of their many separate recitations unto the angels; the business of unlimited acquaintance with knowledge about the promoters of the treasures of the period, unto whom the creator Aûharmazd is to intrust them, and they remain to cause industry. Perfect is the excellence of righteousness.'

346:3 See Bund. I, 21. This section is a repetition of Chap. X, 7, with a few variations.

346:4 See Chap. I, 3.

346:5 That is, the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô (see Bund. I, 21).

347:1 See B. Yt. III, 25. The passage here quoted must have been in the first division of the Nask.

347:2 This section is a repetition of Chap. X, 31.

347:3 See Bund. XX, 2.

347:4 The yôsdâsarân, 'purifiers' (Av. yaozdâthrya), are those priests who retain so much of the purifying effect of the Bareshnûm ceremony (see Chap. II, 6) as to be able to assist in purifying others by means of the same ceremony. When that effect has passed away a priest can no longer perform the sacred rites, until he has again undergone the nine nights’ purification of the Bareshnûm.

347:5 Reading band, but it may he bôd, 'vitality, essence.'

347:6 See Chap. II, 52.

348:1 The passage here quoted is from Pahl. Vend. IX, 4-6.

348:2 Referring to the Bareshnûm-gah, or place prepared for the Bareshnûm ceremony of purification with bull's urine and water, which are handed to the person undergoing purification by an officiating priest (see Chap. II, 6). The place is marked out with furrows in the ground, and furnished with stones (magh) to squat upon during the ablutions (see B. Yt. II. 36). The construction of this paragraph is very obscure in many places, and its proper division into sentences is, therefore, uncertain.

349:1 Reading nihân, but we might perhaps read 'causes (vahân) of pollution of many kinds.' The meaning of the section is, that it is necessary for the purifying priest to maintain his own purity by frequently undergoing the Bareshnûm ceremony himself.

349:2 Yast-i Navashâdar in all MSS., but the latter word is most probably a corruption of Av. navakhshapara, 'a period of nine nights,' for which length of time the Bareshnûm ceremony must be continued (see Vend. IX, 144, XIX, 80). The 'Navashâdar rite' is, therefore, 'the ceremony of the nine nights,' which should be frequently undergone by the priests who celebrate the Vendidad ceremonial.

349:3 M6 has pavan pîsak, 'with ceremony.'

349:4 M6 has 'them.'

349:5 M6 has 'one knows it is unto the cup and bull's urine;' but as M6 was evidently copied from a MS. already nearly illegible in some places, it is generally safer to follow K20, except when M6 supplies words omitted by the more careless writer of K20.

350:1 The passage here quoted from the Gâthas will be found in Pahl. Yas. XXXII, 7.

350:2 M6 has merely 'through the good works which are practised by him;' but K20 has '1 hamak' inserted at this point, which seems to indicate the existence of the nearly identical Pahlavi letters kâmak, 'desire,' in the original from which it was copied.

350:3 See Chap. X, 4. The passage here quoted was no doubt contained in that part of the Nask which treated of the exhibition of heaven and hell to Zaratûst, which must have been very similar to the Ardâ-Vîrâf-nâmak, in which most of the details of this story about Davâns are given (see AV. XXXII).

350:4 This is, no doubt, the Av. davãs of Yas. XXXI, 10, which may be translated 'hypocrite.' The Pahlavi translation of the line in which the word occurs is thus rendered in Haug's Essays (p. 351): 'Aûharmazd does not allot to him who is an idler, the infidel who is any hypocrite (davãs) in the sacred recitations. In the good religion it is asserted that even as much reward as they give to the hypocrite they, do not give to the infidel.'

350:5 K20 has 'thirty-four.'

351:1 Here written gêtôk-kharîd, but see Chap. V, 6, and Bund. XXX, 28.

351:2 See B. Yt. III, 25; but the passage here quoted is not clearly indicated in the accounts we have of the contents of this Nask.

351:3 The distinction between these ceremonies and those whose values as good works are given in Chap. XVI, 6, appears to be that any omission in performing these five at their proper times amounts; to an absolute sin, whereas the others are not so indispensable.

351:4 That is, they will be taken into account at the judgment on the soul's actions at the Kinvad bridge (see Bund. XII, 7).

351:5 See Chap. X, 21. The passage here quoted was probably in the section called Nîrangistân.

351:6 The Gâsânbârs or Gâhanbârs (see Bund. XXV, 1-6).

352:1 The midday period (see Bund. II, 8; 9, XXV, 9-14).

352:2 See Chap. VIII, 6.

352:3 See Chap. X, 2.

352:4 See Chap. VII, 1-5.

352:5 See Bund. I, 21, XX, 2.

352:6 That is, it is commendable, though not obligatory. The practice of uttering a blessing on hearing a sneeze is still common in many parts of Europe.

352:7 See B. Yt. I, 1. The passage here quoted is not to be traced in any of the accounts of this Nask.

352:8 'The Ahunavar and praise of righteousness' would be a Pahlavi equivalent for 'the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô and Ashem-vohû.'

Next: Chapter XIII