Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


1. And as to the many other matters to which an explicit reply is not written by me--be it the determinableness of it, be it, the flow of inward prayer 2, be it the pouring of the water, and likewise the rest which is written to me--the statements, when de-liberation and conjecture about such arrangements become needful, are not to be made unto the multitude, but unto the priestly at once 3. 2. And this much, also, which is written by me is on this account 4, that when a writing has come to you which is the purport of my re-explanation, and it has seemed that it is written after well-weighed (sakhtakŏ) observations 5, even so they would cause some of those of good desires to understand, who are thoughtful friends of the soul and observers of

p. 317

well-weighed ideas, in whose heart and mind, owing to that other writing 1, the existence of doubtfulness may fully remain; and, owing to that, this much re-explanation has, indeed, seemed to me good.

3. And then the desire 2 to sprinkle 3 in many modes is also an incorrect presentation 4, on which same subject there is this in consideration, that afterwards, peradventure, the same priestly man 5 by whom it is written may come--whose assured wisdom 6 may the angels make steadfast! and whom my approaching causing a purifier to travel for various quarters has occasioned to write it--so that while they are, therefore, awed by him, and shall provide more completely for use the full measure of water and bull's urine, the complete words of the Avesta, and other proper rites, they shall proceed more approvably. 4. And if it be even not auxiliary for the same purpose (âhanŏ) that it was written by him--except, indeed, through consideration of its details--no reason for a writing of that kind is to be assigned.

5. But if for the reason it was written by him it be manifest as an existence which is very little threatening, then I consider his opinion, which is in his decree, not so perplexing; and, till 7 now, the perplexing consideration was more particularly as

p. 318

to that, when, owing to the great learning thereof to be seen by me, this was not doubtful, that as to the great opinion of the world about the existing law of the profession of the priesthood, and the practice of all those of the good religion of the realm, they should make a decree only by the deliberation of me and other priestly men and religious observers 1. 6. For if even he retorts a further statement 2 as to the appointed observance, its origin is then also a propagation from the diverse teachings of those great high-priests of those of the primitive faith, who were they who have been formerly great.

7. On account of the depth and much intricacy of the religion they mention many opinions and well-considered decrees which were likewise formed devoid of uniformity, and the utterance of the different opinions of the priests is with the reciters of the Nasks; but even among themselves the most supremely just high-priests were of a different opinion, different judgment, different teaching, different interpretation, and different practice only in the peace, mutual friendship, and affection which they had together. 8. Just as that even which was prominent about these chief priests (magôpatânŏ magôpatŏ), whose names were Âtûrŏ-Frôbagvindâd and Âtûrŏ-bûgêd, who have been, each separately, the high-priest of the realm of the true religion and the scholar of the age.

p. 319

9. To many, when an opinion is afterwards so obtained, pertaining to the high-priests in the spiritual existence 1, it is as is said about Zaratûst the Spîtamân, that 'the first time when the arch-angels are seen by him, the Spîtamân, it is then supposed by him that they are Aîndar, Sârû, Nâkisîyyâ, Tâûîrêv, and Zâîrîk 2, who are most mighty 3.' 10. From such as those the decree and its original perversity (bûn-gâstîkŏîh) and scanty preservativeness are so written and prepared, and afterwards, also, your opinion is that way irritated by the habit of good thinking--of which there is so much manifest 4 from those of the primitive faith and the high-priests--because even its words and those written with it, and the completeness of will and religion which is written, inclined the mind away from the teaching of the high-priests.

11. But as the same decree, or that which is resembling the same decree 5, is appointed (vakhtŏ)

p. 320

and specially decided, and is not to be accepted from him, and the operation is not to be performed thereby, its position is then to be considered, by those steadfast in the practice of the pre-eminent religion, with the most advanced understanding and discernment, which are the thought of its true station in the religion of the Mazda-worshippers. 12. And other religious decrees, intelligently preservative of the soul, which are made known and declared from the teaching of truthful high-priests of the religion of the Mazda-worshippers, are to be suitably accepted and fulfilled. 13. And since this opinion (dâstakŏ) of mine is, moreover, from the writing of Afarg, even about the preservation of different interpretations and different teachings, not specially owing to unobtainable statements of this shattered 1 religion of the Mazda-worshippers, nor even to distress through simultaneous strife, but owing to the desire of true opinions which has existed, there is safety abundantly, but temporarily, from the scribbling of the opposing, partial, and injurious writing of that priestly man 2.


316:2 Reading vâg-rêgisnŏîh; but J omits the first letter, and thereby converts the word into apardazisnîh, 'want of leisure.'

316:3 J has merely 'the statements are when deliberation and conjecture become at once needful.'

316:4 Reading hanâ râî, as in J; the other MSS. have hanâ lâ.

316:5 Or, perhaps, 'strict observations' here, and 'strict observers' further on.

317:1 To which he is replying.

317:2 Reading adîn gâm, but this is doubtful.

317:3 The Huz. verb zerîkûntanŏ, 'to sprinkle,' is not found in the glossaries, but is readily traceable to Chald. ‏ו ?Zְ?Rַ?Q‎.

317:4 Reading arashnîkŏ-kŏ-dahisnîh.

317:5 Meaning his brother, Zâd-sparam.

317:6 The usual Pahlavi phrase for the Av. âsnô khratus or instinctive wisdom (see Dd. XL, 3).

317:7 Assuming that val stands for val.

318:1 Implying that the more learning there is manifest in an erroneous teaching, the more necessary it is to submit it to careful examination.

318:2 Reading frâgŏ vak patŏ-yekavîmûnêd, and assuming that the last word stands for patŏ-îstêd.

319:1 That is, such as have passed away.

319:2 These are the last five of the arch-demons who are the special opponents of the archangels, being corruptions of the Avesta names Indra, Sauru, Naunghaithya, Tauru, and Zairika (see Bd. I, 27). The name of the first arch-demon, Akôman, is omitted here, probably by the mistake of some copyist, as six names are wanted to make up the number of the archangels exclusive of Aûharmazd himself.

319:3 J continues as follows:--'"of the demons." 10. Written with the wretchedness (vakhârîh) and savageness of such as those, the oppressiveness and disaster of a decree of that description, and its original perversity,' &c. (as in the text).

319:4 In the decree, which was so written as to appear to be directly derived from the teachings of the commentators, but, at the same time, so warped their statements as to lead astray. Hence, it might be compared to the conversion of an archangel into an arch-fiend through a mental hallucination, as mentioned in § 9.

319:5 J omits these last eight words.

320:1 Reading hanâ giring, but it can also be read ân adarog, 'that undeceitful.'


Next: Chapter XI