Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
0. May the gratification of the creator Aûharmazd, the beneficent, the developer, the splendid, and glorious, and the benediction of the archangels, which constitute the pure, good religion of the Mazdayasnians, be vigour of body, long life, and prosperous wealth for him whose writing I am 1.
1. As 2 it is declared by the Stûdgar Nask 3 that
[paragraph continues] Zaratûst asked for immortality from Aûharmazd, then Aûharmazd displayed the omniscient wisdom to Zaratûst, and through it he beheld the root of a tree, on which were four branches, one golden, one of silver, one of steel, and one was mixed up with iron. 2. Thereupon he reflected in this way, that this was seen in a dream, and when he arose from sleep Zaratûst spoke thus: 'Lord of the spirits and earthly existences! it appears that I saw the root of a tree, on which were four branches.'
3. Aûharmazd spoke to Zaratûst the Spîtâmân 1 thus: 'That root of a tree which thou sawest, and those four branches, are the four periods which will
come. 4. That of gold is when I and thou converse, and King Vistâsp shall accept the religion, and shall demolish the figures of the demons, but they themselves remain for 1. . . . concealed proceedings. 5. And that of silver is the reign of Ardakhshîr 2 the Kayân king (Kaî shah), and that of steel is the reign of the glorified (anôshak-rûbân) Khûsrô son of Kêvâd 3, and that which was mixed with iron is the evil sovereignty of the demons with dishevelled hair 4 of the race of Wrath 5, and when it is the end of the tenth hundredth winter (satô zim) of thy millennium, O Zaratûst the Spîtâmân!'
6. It is declared in the commentary (zand) 6 of the Vohûman Yast, Horvadad Yast, and Âstâd Yast
that, during this time, the accursed Mazdîk son of Bâmdâd, who is opposed to the religion, comes into notice, and is to cause disturbance among those in the religion of God (yazdân). 7. And he, the glorified one 1, summoned Khûsrô son of Mâh-dâd and Dâd-Aûharmazd of Nishâpûr, who were high priests of Âtarô-pâtakân, and Âtarô-frôbâg the undeceitful (akadbâ), Âtarô-pâd, Âtarô-Mitrô, and Bakht-âfrîd to his presence, and he demanded of them a promise 2, thus: 'Do not keep these Yasts in concealment, and do not teach the commentary except among your relations 3.' 8. And they made the promise unto Khûsrô.
191:1 Or, possibly, 'for whom I am written,' the meaning of mûn yektîbûnîhêm being not quite clear. In fact, the construction of the whole of this initial benediction is rather obscure.
191:2 It is possible that this is to be read in connection with Chap. II, 1, with the meaning that 'as it is declared by the Stûdgar Nask that Zaratûst asked for immortality from Aûharmazd, so in the Vohûman Yast commentary it is declared that he asked for it a second time.' This introductory chapter is altogether omitted in both the Pâz. MSS. which have been examined, but it is given in the Pers. version. It is also omitted in the epitome of the Bahman Yast contained in the Dabistân (see Shea's translation, vol. i. pp. 264-271).
191:3 This was the first nask or 'book' of the complete Mazdayasnian literature, according to the Dînkard, which calls it Sûdkar; but according to the Dînî-vagarkard and the Rivâyats it was the second nask, called Stûdgar or Istûdgar. For its contents, as given by the Dînî-vagarkard (which agrees with the account in the Rivâyats), see Haug's Essays, p. 126. In the Dînkard, besides a short description of this Nask, given in the eighth book, there is also a detailed account of the contents of each of its fargards, or chapters, occupying twenty-five quarto pages of twenty-two lines each, in the ninth book. From this detailed statement it appears p. 192 that the passage mentioned here, in the text, constituted the seventh fargard of the Nask, the contents of which are detailed as follows:
'The seventh fargard, Tâ-ve-ratŏ (Av. tâ ve urvâtâ, Vas. XXXI, 1), is about the exhibition to Zaratûst of the nature of the four periods in the Zaratûstian millennium (hazangrôk zim, "thousand winters"). First, the golden, that in which Aûharmazd displayed the religion to Zaratûst. Second, the silver, that in which Vistâsp received the religion from Zaratûst. Third, the steel, the period within which the organizer of righteousness, Âtarô-pâd son of Mârspend, was born. Fourth, the period mingled with iron is this, in which is much propagation of the authority of the apostate and other villains (sarîtarânŏ), along with destruction of the reign of religion, the weakening of every kind of goodness and virtue, and the departure of honour and wisdom from the countries of Iran. In the same period is a recital of the many perplexities and torments of the period for that desire (girâyîh) of the life of the good which consists in seemliness. Perfect is the excellence of righteousness (Av. ashem vohû vahistem astî, Yas. XXVII. 14, W.).'
If this be a correct account of the contents of this fargard, the writer was evidently consulting a Pahlavi version of the Nask, composed during the later Sasanian times.
192:1 Generally understood to mean 'descendant of Spitama,' who was his ancestor in the ninth generation (see Bund. XXXII, 1).
193:1 A word is lost here in K20 and does not occur in the other copies and versions, nor can it be supplied from the similar phrase in Chap. II, 16. The meaning of the sentence appears to be that Vistâsp destroyed the idols, but the demons they represented still remained, in a spiritual state, to produce evil.
193:2 See, Chap. II, 17.
193:3 Khusrô Nôshirvân son of Qubâd, in modern Persian, who reigned in A.D. 531-579. Kêvâd is usually written Kavâd.
193:4 The epithet vigârd-vars may also mean 'dressed-hair,' but the term in the text is the more probable, as the Persian version translates it by kushâdah muî, 'uncovered hair.' That it is not a name, as assumed by Spiegel, appears clearly from the further details given in Chap. II, 25.
193:5 Or, 'the progeny of Aêshm,' the demon. Wrath is not to be understood here in its abstract sense, but is personified as a demon. It is uncertain whether the remainder of this sentence belongs to this § or the next.
193:6 If there were any doubt about zand meaning the Pahlavi translation, this passage would be important, as the Avesta of the Horvadad (Khordâd) and Âstâd Yasts is still extant, but contains nothing about the heretic Mazdîk or Mazdak (see Chap. II, 21). No Avesta of the Vohûman Yast is now known.
194:1 That is, Khusrô Nôshirvân. As the names of his priests and councillors stand in K20 they can hardly be otherwise distributed than they are in the text, but the correctness of the Ms. is open to suspicion. Dâd-Aûharmazd was a commentator who is quoted in Chap. III, 16, and in the Pahl. Yas. XI, 22; Âtarô-frôbâg was another commentator mentioned in Sls. I, 3; and Âtarô-pâd and Bakht-âfrîd are names well known in Pahlavi literature, the former having been borne by more than one individual (see Sls. I, 3, 4).
194:2 The Pers. version says nothing about this promise, but states that Khûsrô sent a message to the accursed Mazdak, requiring him to reply to the questions of this priestly assembly on pain of death, to which he assented, and he was asked ten religious questions, but was unable to answer one so the king put him to death immediately.
194:3 A similar prohibition, addressed to Zaratûst, as regards the Avesta text, is actually found in the Horvadad Yt. 10.