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


1. As to the fortieth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: Of those whose decision is this, that it is not necessary to be steadfast in the religion of the Mazda-worshippers--by which decision this is asserted, that they should abandon the religion of the Mazda-worshippers--some one disparages the religion and goes over to a foreign faith (an-aîrîh), then of what nature is his sin

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owing thereto, and what does the sin owing thereto, as regards those of the same foreign religion, amount to? 2. Or order some one then to tell us clearly concerning it, how it is, and how is the disobedience due to this sin.

3. The reply is this, that an adult is worthy of death 1 on account of the good religion they 2 would abandon, on account also of the adopted law of the foreign faith he is worthy of death, in whose reliance upon the improper law is also the sin which they 3 maintain and practise by law, and through being in the same law he is equally sinful with them. 4. And also when any one is on that course, and his wish is for the same protection, of which a similitude is in the enduring words of that good law they would forsake, and he adopts that which is vile 4, even through that impropriety he is equally sinful.

5. When he dies, without renunciation 5 of that sin and impenitently, in that improperly-constituted law, the position of his soul is then in the worst

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existence 1, and his punishment is that of many sins worthy of death; from the demons also there come grievously, hand in hand, pain and suffering, gnawing and stench of many kinds, stinging, tearing, and lacerating, primary evil and discomfort. 6. And through their 2 law and faith his distress in that worst existence is thus until the last change of existence, when the renovation of the universe is produced by will among living beings.

7. But reality (aîtŏîh), as regards living, arises from renunciation of that disobedience; it makes those attract to the good law who seduced him to that evil law, that which established him improperly in the law it eradicates from his conduct (rûbâkîh), advancing sins it again restrains, and whatever has advanced it repairs again anew through the religion of the Mazda-worshippers, and he becomes thoughtful, constant, and steadfast. 8. The sin which he set going he restrains and atones for by wealth, trouble, and authorising 3 commands; even in the body he also undergoes punishment in the three nights (satûîh) 4; he then obtains forgiveness, and his soul is saved.

9. And as it is said in the persistent law of the sacred beings 5, that 'the good religion of the sacred beings, who are the Mazda-worshipping superiors,

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ordains it as retribution,' so that the sin it takes away (spayêiti) 1 may not exist in him, his retribution is declared by revelation. 10. And by the same witness it is said, that all of the primitive faith have been quite of the same opinion about this, that from the good religion except by 2 the way of renunciation of sin there is none unless to hell; but that renunciation should be during life, for it is said that 'whoever when living does not become righteous, that is, does not fully atone for sin, for him when dead there is no grant of 3 the best existence.' 11. To commit no sin is better than retribution and renunciation of sin.


137:1 That is, he commits a mortal sin, for which he could have formerly been condemned to death- by the high-priest (see Sls. VIII, 2, 5-7, 21).

137:2 The teachers of infidelity.

137:3 The foreigners.

137:4 The probable meaning is that if he conforms to the foreign faith merely from politic motives, while retaining a belief in his own religion, he is still equally sinful.

137:5 This renunciation is effected by the recitation of a particular formula called the Patit, in which every imaginable sin is mentioned with a declaration of repentance of any such sins as the reciter may have committed. But this formal renunciation must. be accompanied by atonement and true repentance; and in order to ascertain the proper atonement all serious sins must be confessed to the high-priest (see Sls. IV, 14, VIII, 1, 2, 8-10).

138:1 See Chap. XXXIII, 3.

138:2 The 'foreigners'.

138:3 Or, tûbânkâr, may mean 'lavish.' The ordering of religious ceremonies, as good works in atonement for sin, is probably in-tended; and these always imply a lavish expenditure upon the priesthood.

138:4 Referring to the three nights' punishment after the resurrection of the body, which is specially reserved for mortal sinners (see Bd. XXX, 10).

138:5 Quoting, with some alteration, from Pahl. Vend. III, 151.

139:1 The Avesta verb spayêiti, here used as a technical term, occurs frequently in Vend. III, 142.-148.

139:2 Assuming that barâ, 'indeed,' stands for pavan, 'by,' (see Chap. VII, 2 n.)

139:3 Reading bakhshisn-î, but it may be a corruption of bakhshând,' they shall grant,' as assumed in M14. This passage is quoted from Pahl. Vend. V, 173.

Next: Chapter XLII