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Pahlavi Texts, Part V: Marvels of Zoroastrianism (SBE47), E.W. West, tr. [1897], at


1. About the wonderful striving of the fiend for the destruction of Zaratûst. 2. When it became near to his birth, the Fever demon, the Pain demon, and the Wind demon of Aharman, each one with 150 demons, have come out to kill Zaratûst, and from his spirit they have gone forth to his mother. 3. And she is hurried from there by Fever, Pain, and Wind; and at the distance of one league (parasang) there was a wizard, Impudent (Storkŏ) by name, who was the most medical of wizards; in hope of practice he stood up from his seat, as she stopped in her progress.

4. A messenger of Aûharmazd uttered a cry thus: 'Do not go to a wizard! for they are not healing (bêshazinîdâr) for thee; but go back to the house, wash thy hands on the morrow with cow's butter held over the fire, also burn (tâpŏ) 1 firewood

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and incense for thy own self and thy progeny which is in thy womb.' 5. And she acted accordingly and became well 1; and the co-operators of the demon, and those of equal power, who had not obtained their remedy from her body, are again exposed 2, and spoke thus: 'On account of the existence of fire from all sides we have not succeeded; it is a help for every one who is her friend more than opponent; therefore it was not for us, because of the power within her.'

6. The same night as she gave birth, Aharman selected commanders and arrayed his champions (gûrd); there are some who are with one thousand demons, and there are some who are with two thousand demons; pursuing and attacking they have contended. 7. The opposing stand of the sacred, beings 3, especially of the glory itself at the family 4 fire, was manifest at that birth; and for its splendour and brightness (padrôkŏ), settled opposite a distant place, they have then found no remedy.

8. At last, Aharman sends Akômanô 5 on, and spoke to him thus: 'Thou canst be very spiritual, who canst be most intimate; thou canst go with deceit into the mind of Zaratûst, and make him turn

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his mind to us who are demons.' 9. And Aûharmazd sends Vohûmanô on against him; Akômanô advanced to the front, and had come forward to the door, and wished to go inside.

10. Vohûmanô schemingly (kârakŏgarîhâ) turned 1 back, and exclaimed to Akômanô thus: 'Go inside!' 11. Akômanô imagined thus: 'There is nothing to be accomplished by me of what was mentioned to me, for Vohûmanô has gone back.' 12. And Vohûmanô went inside, and mingled with the reason (vârôm) of Zaratûst, and Zaratûst laughed outright 2, for Vohûmanô is a gratifying spirit.

13. Also seven wizards 3 were seated before him, and owing to the light in the dwelling, his having laughed at birth was conveniently seen, which is opposed to the habit of the rest of mankind who cry out at birth and are quite terrified.

14. Also, at the same time of birth, he authoritatively accepted the religion from Aûharmazd, as it is stated in revelation, that he spoke at birth thus: 'As is the will of the spiritual lord (ahvô) mayst thou be who art the officiating priest (zôtŏ) (that is, mayst thou be the leader of the creatures) 4.'

15. As Zaratûst, on account of his worldly body, spoke with a worldly voice, Aûharmazd spoke in reply to him, on account of the spirits, thus: 'So

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mayst thou be the priestly authority (rad shâe), and so mayst thou be virtuous, owing to whatsoever righteousness occurs; and I confidently proclaim thee righteous (that is, I am thy controller) 1.'

16. Another day, Pôrûshaspô went and enquired of the wizards who kept in front at the place, thus: 'What is the cause when infants cry out at birth, beyond that which occurs when they laugh out-right 2?' 17. And they replied thus: 'Because those who are made to cry have seen mortality as their end, and those having laughed have seen their own righteousness.'


140:1 T has 'consume (vidâzŏ).'

141:1 Compare Dk. VII, ii, 53-55.

141:2 T has 'and all the co-operators who had entered her body, and those of equal power who had reached them, returned helpless from them.'

141:3 Thus summarized in Dk. VIII; xiv, 2:—'Also about the arrival of both spirits, the good one for developing, and the evil one for destroying; the victory of the good spirit, and the rearing of Zaratûst.' The 'rearing' is continued in Chaps. XV-XX.

141:4 Assuming that stands for dak.

141:5 The archdemon of 'evil thought' (Bd. XXVIII, 7) and special opponent of Vohûmanô, the archangel of 'good thought.'

142:1 Assuming that stŏ stands for vastŏ.

142:2 Compare Dk. VII, iii, 2; V, ii, 5. This laughing is not mentioned in Dk. IX, xxiv.

142:3 'Seven midwives' are mentioned in Dk. VII, iii, 2.

142:4 This is one form of the Pahlavi Ahunavair (see Dk. IX, xxiv, 4). At this point the text in the MSS. is interrupted by the erroneous insertion of Chap. XII, 8-16, the contents of a loose folio in some former copy, which have been restored to their original position in this translation.

143:1 Compare Dk. IX, xxiv, 4.

143:2 Compare Dk. VII, iii, 24, 25.

Next: Chapter XV