Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


1. Another subject, among the assertors of the non-existence of a sacred being, is about the existence of the sacred being and his competitor.

2. Of the knowledge approvable by wisdom and the statements of the limits of evidence, about the existence of the sacred being and his competitor, (3)

p. 140

this is a summary:—One knows it should be enjoined, that the supreme first knowledge, most suitable for the well-discerning, is comprehending the sacred being. 4. He, of whom this knowledge is not the leader of knowledge, is unaided by other knowledge. 5. Comprehending the sacred being is possible through undecayed 1 understanding, fervent intellect, and decisive wisdom.

6. Since comprehending the sacred being is not, thus far, more than that one knows that a sacred being exists, (7) because whoever is acquainted with the existence of a certain thing, and is unaware of its nature, is thinking thus, that that thing is good or bad, erudite or ignorant, antidote or poison, cold and frozen or hot and scorching, dry and withering or damp, (8) and, when unaware of its nature, his only knowledge of it is then useless—(9) for it is possible to cause the commendation and condemnation of any person or thing, not through its existence but through its nature—(10) therefore one knows this should be also enjoined, that a knowledge of 2 anything is acquired in three modes:—(11) by knowing what is inevitable, or by knowing what is analogous, or by what is possible and fit to exist.

12. Inevitable knowledge is such as once one is one, and twice two are four. 13. For within the bounds of the really inevitable it is not possible to say, (14) that there was or will be a time, or a place, where twice two are said to be five or three.

15. Knowledge by analogy is that which announces, from anything manifest, something which is not

p. 141

manifest, (16) and brings, out of anything visible, something invisible, in the likeness of a hand put up 1, for the household service of the perception of wisdom, (17) through complete similarity, resemblance, or partial resemblance.

18. Complete similarity is such as that of a man of Pârs to a man of another district. 19. Resemblance is such as that of cheese to the white of an egg. 20. And partial resemblance is such as that of cheese to chalk, (21) since this is about the limit of partial resemblance, because cheese is like unto chalk only in whiteness, (22) but to the white of an egg in whiteness and also as food.

23. And there is also that which is called more resembling than resemblance, and more partially resembling than partial resemblance. 24. That which is more than complete similarity is not spoken about, (25) because completion does not become more complete.

26. By this mode it is set forth a second time at more length. 27. To demonstrate an invisible from a visible thing is such as from a thing made and maintained, which is not domestically serving the maker and maintainer, (28) and from a thing written, whose writer is not declared, (29) are manifest a maker of that which is made, a maintainer of that which is maintained, and a writer of that which is written, who are inevitable, (30) because that which is not manifest and is invisible is demonstrated by the thing which is manifest and visible.

31. Information of that which is within the possible and fit to exist is credible, (32) such as what one

p. 142

states thus: 'I saw a man by whom a lion, or a lion by whom a man, was slain outright.' 33. And this, being that which is within the limits of the possible and fit to exist, may be a lie. 34. But when a man announces that intelligence, who is renowned for truth and tested in judgment, it is within the limits of truth and reality. 35. If a man announces it, who is disgraced by falsehood and tested in misjudgment, it is within the limits of falsehood and unreality.

36. Another mode, outside of these and within the limits of the inevitable, is by knowing what has not occurred and is not possible; (37) such as what one states thus: 'It is possible to bring the world, in secrecy, into the inside of an egg,' (38) or 'it is possible for an elephant to pass into an eye of a needle,' (39) in such a manner as though one of them really becomes no greater and no less, (40) or its substance is something which is not a rudiment.

41. A struggle which should not be limited, (42) an existing thing which is not temporary and localised, (43) or is localised and not limited, (44) the working of a vain miracle, (45) and other things of this description of speaking and imagining are faulty and false and not possible.

46. Then 1 the knowledge of the existence of him who is the exalted sacred being, apart from tangibility of nature and other evidence, is through the inevitable and analogy, (47) as much visible before the sight of wisdom as from the prosperity 2, formation, and organization which are, according to different

p. 143

statements of many kinds, the formation of the things of the world and mankind whose particles, and the appliances which are owing thereto, are such as the elements of the body and life, from which 1 they are prepared and formed, (48) which are fire, water, air, and earth, (49) that are, each separately, a stimulus so qualified and ennobled for their own operations, (50) that the operation of fire, through its own quality (kîharîh) and nobility (vâspûharakânîh), is such that the operations of water, air, and earth are not to stimulate unrestricted (atang) 2 by it. 51. Thus, also, the operation of water, through its own quality, is such that the operations of air, fire, and earth are not unrestricted by it. 52. So, also, of air, the operations of fire, water, and earth are not unrestricted by it. 53. So, also, of earth, the operations of these others are to stimulate not unrestricted by it. 54. But each separately is for its own operation, just as they are ennobled and qualified (55) by him who is, sagaciously and methodically, a qualifier, a constructor, and an ennobler. 56. And the organization is constructed, prepared, qualified, and ennobled as is suitable for those operations.

57. So, also, as to mankind and the other creatures, who are the germinating of these elements, (58) whose organization of bone, fat, sinew, veins, and skin, each separately (59) without sympathy, one for the other, is visible altogether. 60. Thus, too, are the nobility and qualification of the internal organs, (61) such as the liver, heart 3, lungs, kidneys, gall-bladder, and

p. 144

other appliances, for every one of which a function of its own is manifest. 62. They are qualified and ennobled for their defence by those functions which are their own.

63. So, also, is the qualification of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, mouth, teeth, hand, foot, and other external appliances, whose own functions are each separate. 64. And it is visibly manifest therein; inasmuch as, when one of these organs is disabled, any one of the rest is not suitable for the work of that other one, for which it is not qualified. 65. And when only the construction of one of the organs of the body is examined into—that is, how it is—it is wonderfully sagaciously constructed 1.

66. Such as the eye, which is of many natures of different names and different purposes, (67) as the eyelash, the eyelid, the white, the eyeball (khâyak), the iris (sâyak), and the pupil (têdak), (68) in such way that the white is fat 2, (69) the iris is water which has so stood in the prison 3 of fat that the turning of the eye, from side to side, occurs through it, (70) and the pupil, itself the sight, is like a view into the water. 71. The iris stands in the prison of white, like the standing of water in a prison of fat; (72) and the pupil is within the iris, like the view of a thing within clear water, (73) or the form of a column in

p. 145

a shining mirror. 74. And the arrangement of the white in the orbit is for the reason that the dust whirling from the atmosphere, when it arrives at the eye, shall not be concealed in it, (75) but shall turn to the lid (gumb) of the eye, (76) and shall not injure the sight of the eye. 77. Just as the construction of the tube (rag) of the ear is undilated (afâhal), for the reason (78) that whirls of dust and winged noxious creatures shall not rightly enter therein. 79. And the moisture of oneself, the secretion of the ear, and the venom of noxious creatures are manifestly as useful 1.

80. When the appliances of life and soul are observed—(81) such as the smell, hearing; sight, taste, and touch which are causing the intelligence of living beings, (82) as also the wisdom of every pontiff (rad), which is pronounced decisive, (83) the knowledge which is acquiring, (84) the intellect which is a seeker and transmitter, (85) the understanding which is a treasurer and defender, (86) the consciousness which is itself the sight of the soul, (87) the guardian spirit (fravash) which is itself the nature that is a maintainer of the body, (88) the spiritual life (ahû) which is pure, (89) and the other spiritual existences that are maintaining the body, which are each separately qualified, in that manner 2, for their operation and duty—(90) they are perfect in their own operation, as to duty such as they are ennobled and qualified for. 91. As to that for which they are not qualified, they are not suitable.

92. The two arguments which are each separate

p. 146

in the Dînkard manuscript, as the supremely learned one 1 has explained them out of his knowledge of the religion, are here set forth at length. 93. He whose wish is to fully understand the wonderfulness of the Mazda-worshipping religion and the statements of the primitive faith, (94) examines into it in a manuscript of that character, (95) and shall understand more fully the wonderfulness and truth of the religion 2.


140:1 Assuming that Pâz. agunast (Sans. anâvila) stands for Pahl. agôndîd; but it may stand for Pahl. agûngîd, 'unsilenced.'

140:2 Sans. inserts 'the nature of.'

141:1 As a finger-post.

142:1 Reading adînas, 'then of him,' for Pâz. ainâ, as in Chap. IV, 81. Having explained the modes of arguing, in §§ 12-45, the author now returns to the argument itself.

142:2 So in Sans., but bâhar-hômandîh also means 'divisibility.'

143:1 Reading mûn azas for Pâz. ke vas.

143:2 See Chap. III, 30 n.

143:3 Assuming that Pâz. dawur is a misreading of Pahl. dîl.

144:1 So in Sans., but the Pahl. text may be translated 'how wonderful it is, it is sagaciously constructed.'

144:2 Assuming that Pâz. pegh, as well as pih in § 69 and peh in § 71, stands for Pahl. pîk (Pers. pî), 'fat' It might also be connected with Pers. pikah, 'a veil,' as Nêr. seems to have understood it here; but 'fat' suits the whole context better.

144:3 Reading lag, instead of rag, 'a vein,' which latter is adopted by Nêr. both here and in § 71.

145:1 As means of defence.

145:2 By the assistance of the senses mentioned in § 81.

146:1 Âtûr-frôbag (see Chap. IV, 107).

146:2 Nearly all the Pahlavi manuscripts of this work terminate here.

Next: Chapter VI