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Pahlavi Texts, Part III (SBE24), E.W. West, tr. [1885], at

p. 42


1. The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Is poverty good, or opulence 1?'

3. The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Poverty which is through honesty is better than opulence which is from the treasure of others. 5. For it is stated (6) thus: "As to him who is the poorest and most secluded (armêsttûm) 2 person, whenever he keeps his thoughts, words, and deeds honest, and in duty to the sacred beings, for him even there is lawfully a share of all the duties and good works which mankind shall do in the world 3. 7. As to him, too, who is opulent, who is a man of much wealth, when the wealth is not produced by honesty, though he takes trouble (angînakŏ) in 4 duties and good works and righteous gifts, his good work is then not his own, (8) because the good work is his from whom the wealth is abstracted 5."

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9. 'And as to that much wealth which is collected by proper exertion, and one consumes and maintains with duties and good works and pleasure, even that is no better thereby, (to) because it is necessary to consider that as perfect. 11. But as to him who is a man of much wealth, whose wealth is collected by proper exertion, and he consumes and maintains it with duties and good works and pleasure, he is great and good and more perfect 1.

12. 'And regarding even that which is sovereignty they state (13) thus: "What is 2 good government in a village is better than what is 2 bad government in a realm. 14. Because the creator Aûharmazd produced good government for effecting the protection of the creatures, (15) and Aharman, the wicked, has produced bad government as the adversary of good government."

16. 'Good government is that which maintains and directs a province flourishing, the poor untroubled, and the law and custom true, (17) and sets aside improper laws and customs. 18. It well maintains water and fire by law 3, (19) and keeps in progress the ceremonial of the sacred beings, duties, and good works. 20. It causes friendliness

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and pleading 1 for the poor, (21) and delivers up itself, and even that which is its own life, for the sake of the good religion of the Mazda-worshippers. 22. And if there be any one who desists from the way of the sacred beings, then it orders some one to effect his restoration thereto; (23) it also makes him a prisoner, and brings him back to the way of the sacred beings; (24) it allots, out of the wealth that is his, the share of the sacred beings and the worthy, of good works and the poor; (25) and delivers up the body for the sake of the soul 2. 26. A good king, who 3 is of that kind, is called equal to the angels and archangels.

27. 'Bad government is that (28) which destroys the true and proper law and custom, (29) and brings 4 oppression, plunder, and injudiciousness into practice. 30. It dissipates the treasure of the spiritual existence, (31) and considers duty and good works a vexation, through greediness 5. 32. It keeps back a person performing good works from doing good works, (33) and he thereby becomes a doer of harm. (34) Its disbursement 6, too, of every kind is for its own self, (35) the administration of 7 the treasure

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of the worldly existence, (36) the celebrity 1 and exaltation of the vile, (37) the destruction and neglect of the good, (38) and the annihilation of the poor. 39. A bad king, who 2 is of that kind, is called equal to Aharman and the demons.'


42:1 L19 adds 'or sovereignty,' to account for §§ 12-39.

42:2 Av. armaêsta, applied to water, means 'most stationary, stagnant;' Pahl. armêst (Av. airima) is applied to the place of 'seclusion' for impure men and women, and in Sls. VI, 1 it seems to refer to 'helpless' idiots or lunatics; Nêr. explains it in Sanskrit as 'lame, crippled, immobility,' but 'secluded, immured, helpless' are terms better adapted to the context, whether the word be applied to persons, as it is here and in Chaps. XXXVII, 36, XXXIX, 40, or to learning and character, as in Chap. LI, 7.

42:3 Persons who are wholly unable to perform good works are supposed to be entitled to a share of any supererogatory good works performed by others (see Sls. VI, 1, 2), but the allotment of such imputed good works seems to be at the discretion of the angels who keep them in store (see Sls. VIII, 4).

42:4 Nêr. has 'makes expenditure on,' by reading khvazînak, as in Chap. XIII, 3.

42:5 § 8 does not occur in L19, but is found in TD2, PA10, and MH7.

43:1 That is, the proper use of wealth does not make the wealth itself any better, but only the rightful possessor of it. This is, however, probably only an emendation of Nêr., as the copy of TD2 gives merely the following, for §§ 9-11: 'But as to him who is a man of much wealth, by whose proper exertion it is collected, and he consumes and maintains it with duties, good works, and pleasure, he is no better thereby, because it is necessary to consider him as perfect.'

43:2 L19 omits 'what is' in both places.

43:3 TD2 omits 'maintains,' as it is sufficiently expressed by the same Pahl. verb 'keeps' in § 19; and. L19 omits 'by law.'

44:1 Reading dâdŏ-gôbîh, 'pronouncing the law,' or 'speaking of gifts,' instead of Pâz. gâdangôî, a misreading of Nêr. for Pahl. yêdatô-gôbîh, speaking of the sacred being.'

44:2 The usual way of treating nonconformists in all ages and all sects, when party spirit is strong. TD2 has 'delivers him up for the sake of body and soul.'

44:3 TD2 has 'good government which.'

44:4 TD2 has 'keeps;' but the two verbs are much alike in Huzvâris.

44:5 Because nearly all such works entail expenditure.

44:6 Nêr. has 'accumulation,' but this is the meaning of andôzisn, rather than of the andâzisn in the text.

44:7 So in TD2.

45:1 Reading khanîdîh as in TD2 and Chap. II, 28.

45:2 TD2 has 'bad government which.'

Next: Chapter XVI