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


1. The fifteenth question is that which you ask thus: When the dogs and birds tear it (the corpse) does the soul know it, and does it occur uncomfortably for it, or how is it?

2. The reply is this, that the pain occasioned by the tearing and gnawing so galls (mâlêdŏ) the body of men that, though the soul were abiding with the body, such soul; which one knows is happy and immortal, would then depart from the body, along with the animating life, the informing (sinâyinâkŏ) consciousness, and the remaining resources of life. 3. The body is inert, unmoving, and not to be galled; and at last no pain whatever galls it, nor is it perceived; and the soul, with the life, is outside of the body, and is not unsafe as regards its gnawing, but through the spiritual perception 1 it sees and knows it.

4. That which is wicked is then again desirous of its bodily existence 2, when it sees them thus; the wonderfully-constructed body which was its

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vesture, and is dispersed, and that spiritual life (hûkŏ) which was with its heart, and is even on account of this--that is: 'Because in my bodily existence and worldly progress there was no atonement for sin and no accumulation of righteousness'--also in mourning about it thus: 'In the prosperity which this body of mine had, it would have been possible for me to atone for sin and to save the soul, but now I am separated from every one and from the joy of the world, which is great hope of spiritual life; and I have attained to the perplexing account and more serious danger.' 5. And the gnawing becomes as grievous to it, on account of that body, as a closely-shut arsenal (afzâr bêtâ-î badtûm) and a concealed innermost garment are useless among those with limbs provided with weapons and accoutrements, and are destroyed.

6. And of that, too, which is righteous and filled with the great joy that arises from being really certain of the best existence, then also the spiritual life which was with its body, on account of the great righteousness, fit for the exalted (fîrâkhtagânîk), which was ever accumulated by it with the body, is well developed (madam hû-tâshîdŏ), and the wonderfully-constructed body is destroyed in the manner of a garment, particularly when its dispersion (apâsisnŏ) occurs thereby.

7. And the consciousness of men, as it sits three nights outside of the body, in the vicinity of the body, has to remember and expect that which is truly fear and trouble (khâr) unto the demons, and reward, peace, and glad tidings (nôvîk) unto the spirits of the good; and, on account of the dispersion and injuring of the body, it utters a cry spiritually,

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thus: 'Why do the dogs and birds gnaw this organised body, when still at last the body and life unite together at the raising of the dead?' 8. And this is the reminding of the resurrection and liberation, and it becomes the happiness and hope of the spirit of the body and the other good spirits, and the fear and vexation of the demons and fiends.


36:1 Supposing that sinâsnŏ stands for sinâyisnŏ; otherwise we must read 'in the spiritual places (dîvâgânŏ).'

36:2 This section is made still more complicated in the Pahlavi text by the division of this first phrase; half of it being placed at the beginning, and the other half at the extreme end of the sentence.

Next: Chapter XVII