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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at


1. The fourteenth question is that which you ask thus: Is the eradication of life the gnawing of dogs and birds upon the corpse? And does the sin of those who suppose it 3 a sin proceed from that origin, or not?

2. The reply is this, that the decrease of sin and increase of good works, owing to good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, arise really from the effort and disquietude which come on by means of the religion the soul practises, and through the strength in effort, steadfastness of religion, and

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protection of soul which the faithful possess. 3. That evil which occurs when doing good works, which is the one (hand,) when doing iniquity, and when one strives it is the one when he does not strive, the one when content and the one when not content, and after it is undesired, and no cause of good works is with it, it occurs just as undesired, for the sake of favour and reward, is the certain eradication of life. 4. It happens once only (aêtûm) unto the righteous and the wicked, every one who may have received the reward--that reward is living until the time of passing away--but the gnawing of dogs and birds does not happen unto every one and every body. 5. It is necessary for those to act very differently 1 whose understanding of good works is owing to proper heed of dead matter; and, on account of the rapid change (vardî-hastanŏ) of that pollution, and a desire of atonement for sin, they should carry the body of one passed away out to a mountain-spur (kôf vakhsh), or a place of that description, enjoining unanimously that the dogs and birds may gnaw it, owing to the position of the appointed place 2. 6. Therefore, as owing to that fear 3, the commands of religion, and progressive

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desire it is accepted strenuously for the wicked himself, his own recompense is therein, and it happens to him in that way for the removal (narafsisnŏ) of sin and for the gratification of his soul.


34:1 The three days and nights of final punishment, after the resurrection and before the final purification in melted metal (see Bd. XXX, 13, 16, 20), which is mentioned again in § 8.

34:2 This does not refer to the final punishment of §§ 6 and 8, but to the previous three nights' tribulation just after death, and to the fate of the soul before the resurrection (see Chaps. XXIV, XXV).

34:3 The exposure of the dead, apparently; but the construction of this question and its relation to the reply are by no means clear at first sight. From §§ 2, 5, 6 we have to infer that the exposure is a meritorious action rather than a sin; and from §§ 3, 4 we have to gather that as loss of life occurs to every one, and exposure of the corpse only to some, the former cannot be caused by the latter.

35:1 Differently from others.

35:2 The dead must be deposited upon some dry and barren spot, remote from habitations and water, and, if possible, upon the summit of a hill (see Chap. XVII, 17, and Vend. VI, 93). From the mention of dogs gnawing the corpse it would appear that the depositories for the dead were less enclosed when this work was written than they are at present; and in ancient times both enclosed and unenclosed depositories seem to have been used (see Vend. VI, 92-106). For a description of the present form of such depositories see Sls. II, 6, note.

35:3 Fear of pollution from the dead.

Next: Chapter XVI