Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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


1. The thirty-sixth subject is this, that it is strictly incumbent on mankind, on man 6 and woman, to perform the Bareshnûm ceremony 7, because mankind feed on menstruous matter in the womb of the mother. 2. For that reason it is necessary to perform the Bareshnûm once, so that one may become pure from that pollution. 3. For if one becomes fifteen years of age, and does not perform the Bareshnûm, whatever he puts a hand on, the glory and purity of that thing will diminish; and it

p. 297

is not proper that they put a hand on a sacred cake or any thing washed with ceremony.

4. In revelation it says, if any one who has not performed the Bareshnûm shall die, the demons make him 1 as though he were a corpse kept one month in the hot season. 5. And, when the soul arrives at the head of the Kinvad bridge, the archangels and angels complain of the stench of that soul, and are not able to make up its account and reckoning. 6. It remains at the Kinvad bridge and is not able to pass; it experiences much repentance and has no advantage from it.

7. If it be necessary for any one to perform the Bareshnûm of the head, and he be able to do it, but does not do it, if he performs the ceremonial ablution of the head a thousand times, it does not become pure from that pollution 2, and that is the pollution of Nasrus3, which is amid the veins and sinews, and the flesh and bones; it does not become pure through any other thing except through the liquid consecrated by the religious formula 4.

8. And as to that person, also, who performs the Bareshnûm for mankind 5, it is necessary that he be a man, a friend of the soul, a truthful speaker, and an abstainer, because through chastity and modesty (mastûrî) he becomes employed. 9. If complaint of any perfidy in him is publicly diffused 6, in that disgrace (malâmat) it is necessary that the high-priests

p. 298

should dislocate his joints one by one, and it is requisite that they give him as food to the dogs. 10. So that by this action they may make a man observe more chastely and continently, that this result (‘hâʓil) of sin may not occur.


296:6 B29 omits 'on man.'

296:7 A tedious ceremony of purification that lasts nine nights (see SBE, vol. xviii, pp. 437-453). Its name is Av. (acc.) bareshnûm, 'top' of the head, the first part of the body to be washed.

297:1 B29 has 'it makes his soul.'

297:2 Lp omits 'pollution.'

297:3 See Chap. XXXV, 2. B29 has 'that is bodily refuse (hî‘har) and pollution.'

297:4 That is, bull's urine, the liquid that is first used, in a consecrated state, for sprinkling the body in the Bareshnûm purification. Compare Chap. LXXVII, 9, 10.

297:5 That is, the purifying priest.

297:6 B29 has 'publicly comes on.'

Next: Chapter XXXVII