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


1. The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'How are the sky and earth arranged? 3. How are the flow and arrangement of the water in the world? 4. Whereon do the clouds rest? 5. Where is the demon of winter more predominant? 6. And which country is the more undisturbed?'

7. The spirit of wisdom answered (8) thus: 'The sky and earth and water, and whatever else is within

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them 1 are egg-like (khâîyak-dîs), just as it were 2 like the egg of a bird. 9. The sky is arranged above the earth 3, like an egg, by the handiwork of the creator Aûharmazd; (10) and the semblance of the earth, in the midst of the sky 4, is just like as it were the yolk amid the egg; [(11) and the water within the earth and sky is such as the water within the egg.] 5

12. 'And the flow of the water of every kind which is in the world is. from the region of Arzah 6 (13) there where the sun comes up 7; and its downward surge (nîgun bâlisnŏ) 8 is towards the region of Savah (14) where 9 the sun goes down; and the

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surging on (âbâlisnŏ) of the water is into the sea Pûtîk 1, (15) and from the sea Pûtîk it goes back to the sea Varkash 2.

16. 'The abode and seat of the clouds are on Albûrz 3.

17. 'The demon of winter is more predominant in Aîrân-vêgô 4. 18. And it is declared by revelation 5, (19) that in Aîrân-vêgô there are "ten months winter and two months summer," (20) and "even those" two months of warm weather "are cold as to water, cold as to earth, and cold as to plants." 21. And their adversity 6 is the winter, (22) and the snakes therein are many, (23) while their other adversity is little.

24. 'It is declared that Aûharmazd created Aîrân-vêgô better than other places and districts 7.

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[paragraph continues] 25. And its goodness is this, that the life of the people is three hundred years 1, (26) and of the oxen and sheep one hundred and fifty years. 27. Their pain and sickness, also, are little; (28) they fabricate (drûgênd) 2 no lies, (29) they make no lamentation and weeping, (30) and the domination of the demon of greediness (A z) in their bodies is little. 31. When they eat one loaf among ten men, they are satisfied. 32. And in every forty years one child is born from one woman and one man 3. 33. Their law, also, is goodness, and their religion the primitive faith 4; (34) and when they die they are righteous 5. 35. Their spiritual chief (ratû), likewise, is Gôpaîtŏ 6, and their lord and king is Srôsh 7.'


85:1 L19 has 'within the sky.'

85:2 L19 has 'are so arranged as.' The reading of dîs, 'like,' is rather uncertain.

85:3 L19 adds 'and below the earth.'

85:4 L19 has 'and the earth within the sky.'

85:5 § 11 is taken from PB6, but is not found in any other Pâzand or Pârsî MS. consulted, nor in the Pahlavi text of K43; it is, therefore, probably an interpolation.

85:6 See Chap. XVI, 10 n.

85:7 This clause and the corresponding one in § 14 seem to be at variance with the statements of Bd. V, 8, XI, 3, that Arzah is in the west, and Savah in the east; Nêryôsang has, therefore, transferred the conjunction 'and' to the beginning of the section in both cases, so as to make the eastern waters flow towards Savah, and the western waters into the sea. If, however, we understand 'there' to mean 'in those places,' and not to refer to the region whose name it follows, we may conclude that the statement here is to the effect that in the east the water flows from Arzah (the western region), and in the west towards Savah (the eastern region), which might be true if we place the east in China or Bengal, and the west in Armenia or Mesopotamia, but it is more probably meant merely to imply that the whole of the water flows through the central region of Khvanîras.

85:8 L19 has anbârisnŏ, 'accumulation,' both here and in § 14.

85:9 L19 has 'there where;' and we must understand 'in those places where,' as in § 13.

86:1 Av. Pûitika, which Bd. XIII, 8-11 appears to identify with the Persian Gulf; but in early times, if not altogether mythic, it was probably some inlet of the Caspian or Aral.

86:2 Av. Vouru-kasha; in Pahlavi it is usually called 'the wide-formed,' and in Bd. XIII, 1, 8-10 it is identified with the ocean; but in early times it was probably a term for the Caspian and Aral, when not applied to the mythic sea of the sky.

86:3 Av. hara berezaiti, 'a lofty mountain-range,' which is said, in Chap. LVII, 13 and in the Bundahis, to surround the world and to be the origin of all mountains (see Bd. V, 3-5, XII, 1-4). In early times it appears to have been the name of mountains to the east of the first Irânian settlements, before it was transferred to the mountain range south of the Caspian (see Geiger's Ost. Kul. pp. 42-45).

86:4 Av. Airyanem vaêgô, the first settlement of the Irânians, which Geiger (Ost. Kul. pp. 30-33) places on the upper waters of the Zarafsân river, and which Bd. XXIX, 12 describes, in accordance with late tradition, as 'in the direction of Âtûr-pâtakân (Âdarbîgân).'

86:5 Vend. I, 9, 10.

86:6 Produced by the evil spirit (see Vend. I, 7, 8).

86:7 This is inferred from Vend. I, 2-4.

87:1 Compare Chap. LXII, 18.

87:2 L19 has drenzinend, 'they cause to repeat.'

87:3 Compare Chap. LXII, 17.

87:4 Av. paoiryô-dkaêsha, a term applied to the true Mazda-worshipping religion of all ages, both before and after the time of Zaratûst.

87:5 That is, they go at once to heaven, as the righteous soul does (see Chap. II, 123-157).

87:6 L19 has Gôpatshâh, 'the king of Gôpat' (as in Chap. LXII, 8, 31), which land is described in Dd. XC, 4 as 'coterminous with Aîrân-vêgô.' Aghrêrad and his son are called kings of Gôpat in Bd. XXIX, 5, XXXI, 22; and Gôk-patŏ is said to be 'in the non-Aryan countries,' in the Sûdkar Nask (see Dd. XC, 8 n).

87:7 Apparently the angel Srôsh (see Chap. II, 115).

Next: Chapter XLV