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


1. And as to that which is asked (2) thus: 'Why does not the creator Aûharmazd keep Aharman back from evil doing and evil seeking, when he is the mighty maker? 3. As I assert that no mighty maker is afterwards imperfect nor yet unresisting.'

4. The answer is this, (5) that the evil deeds of Aharman are owing to the evil nature and evil will which are always his, as a fiend. 6. The omnipotence of the creator Aûharmazd is that which is over all that is possible to be, and is limited thereby.

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7. That which is not possible to be is not stirred up by a capable or an incapable being. 8. Whoever says it is so is not within the limits of understanding the words. 9. Because, though he said that it is not possible to be, he says again that the sacred being is capable of it, and that has brought it out of the limits of what is not possible to be. 10. For then it is not the not-possible, but the possible to be.

11. As his capability is limited, so also is his will, thereby. 12. For he is sagacious, (13) and the will of a sagacious being is all for that which is possible to be, (14) and his will does not pass on to that which is not possible 1, (15) because he wills all that which is possible and fit to be.

16. If I say that the creator Aûharmazd is able to keep Aharman back from the evil which is his perpetual nature, (17) it is possible to change that nature which is demoniacal into a divine one, and that which is divine into a demoniacal one; (18) and it is possible to make the dark light, and the light dark.

19. Of the changing of a nature by its own self those not understanding nature speak, (20) who are uninformed of the nature of the result 2 in actions and propensities 3; (21) and they account the wolf and noxious creatures as a benefit.

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22. Since the harm and evil which arise from mankind and cattle are not naturally their own, but are owing to the havoc, deceit, solicitation, and deluding 1 of the fiend, (23) they are from the like vileness of other fiends who are such as the malice, wrath, and lust 2 which are mingled with mankind. 24. Just as the swallowing of bitter medicine, which is mingled with poison, is not the accomplishment of happiness, but for the removal of the pain and sickness which are owing to an extraneous nature (barâ gôhar). 25. As of a statement which is true or false—(26) though it may be that, connected with a false statement, a righteous man is preserved from much harm, and is ruined by that which is true—(27) mostly that benefit is not from the false statement, but from the removal of the destruction and evil which are mingled with the vile, (28) and that harm is not from the true statement, but from the evil which is mingled with the vile.

29. Also, as regards that which happens when opponents have appeared in order to remove each one its own competitor, (30) every one is unrestricted 3 in keeping away that which is its own opponent, (31) such as light and darkness, perfume and stench, good works and crime, erudition and ignorance. 32. That which is not unrestricted is the

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light to keep away stench, nor the perfume darkness; (33) but they have each separately appeared in order to keep away their own opponent.

34. As to that, too, which they say 1, that in the dark night a righteous man is preserved from the lion, wolves, dogs, and robbers, (35) while in the light day he becomes a captive 2 in their hands, (36) it is not proper to consider that as a benefit owing to darkness, nor yet as an evil owing to light. 37. Because light is created for the removal of darkness, not for the keeping away of the lion, wolf, and noxious creatures. And there are many other things which are of this nature. 38. On account of tediousness this is collected merely as a summary; the virtue and understanding of you triumphant ones (39) are so much, that you may obtain more from revelation.


125:1 Sans. adds 'to be,' and is followed by most of the modern MSS.

125:2 Pâz. vazîhasn, probably a misreading of Pahl. uzdahisn.

125:3 Pâz. gadasni, both here and in Chaps. IV, 56, VIII, 122, 123, 126, XII, 64, evidently means 'disposition, peculiarity.' It is probably a misreading of Pahl. guzinisn, occasioned by some writer connecting the two letters zn and so converting them into a t (d).

126:1 Nêr. reads vyâwãnî, which he understands to mean 'bewildering,' but it is doubtful if we can derive this meaning from vyâwãn, 'a waterless wilderness,' which word occurs in Chap. XIV, 30. The original Pahlavi word can be also read either nîyâzânîh, 'cause of longing, temptation,' or nihâzânîh, 'intimidation.'

126:2 Evil passions which are personified as fiends (see Mkh. XLI, 10, 11).

126:3 Reading atang, instead of the similarly-written âtûk which would be the equivalent of the Pâz. atû (Sans. sakta) used by Nêr.

127:1 For the purpose of arguing that evils are sometimes advantageous, and may, therefore, form part of the design of a beneficent spirit.

127:2 Or grôh may mean 'a hostage.'

Next: Chapter IV