Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Pahlavi Texts, Part I (SBE05), E.W. West, tr. [1880], at


1. The clothing of a menstruous woman which they shall take new for her use is polluted, and that which is in use is not polluted 3. 2. When a bedchamber (shâd-aûrvân) is overspread, and a carpet (bûp) is laid upon it and a cushion on the two 4, and

p. 277

a woman sits upon it and menstruation occurs, when she puts a foot from the cushion on to the carpet, and from the carpet out into the bed-chamber, the carpet and bed-chamber are both polluted, for they are taken newly for her use, but of the cushion there is no pollution for this reason, because it is in use. 3. And when she sits on the cushion so that she shall have both the carpet and cushion in use, the bed-chamber is polluted by itself; and when all three shall be in use there is no pollution whatever 1.

4. Just as she knows that it is menstruation, in the place she is in for the purpose 2, first the necklace, then the ear-rings, then the head-fillet (kambar), and then the outer garments (gâmak) are to be put off by her. 5. When in the place she remains in for the purpose, even though she may remain a very long time for that purpose, yet then the outer garments are clean, and there is no need of leather covering and leather shoes 3.

6. When she knows for certain (aêvar) that it is menstruation, until the complete changing (gûharîdanŏ) of all her garments, and she shall have sat down in the place for menstruation 4, a prayer is to

p. 278

be retained inwardly 1. 7. When worship is celebrated a prayer is to be retained 2 inwardly, and should menstruation occur the prayer is to be spoken out by her. 8. When in speaking out the prayer should menstruation occur, both afterwards, when the time was certain (avîgûmân), and now she is certain 3. 9. When she retains a prayer inwardly, and a call of nature arises, there is no need for her to speak out the prayer, for the formula for the call is to be spoken by her 4.

10. Hands sprinkled in ceremonial ablution (pâdîyâv), when a menstruous woman sees them, become quite unclean (apâdîyâv) by her look 5, and even when she looks hastily, and does not see the sacred twigs (baresôm), it is the same. 11. And on the subject of a house (khânak-1 babâ), when a menstruous woman is above in it, and the sacred twigs

p. 279

stand right below, if even fully fifteen steps below, even then the sacred twigs are unclean (apâdîyâv1; but when not right below fifteen steps are plenty.

12. Prepared food which is within three steps of a menstruous woman is polluted by her, and food which she delivers up (barâ pardazêd) from her morning meal (kâsht) is not fit for the evening meal (sâm), nor that which she delivers up from her evening meal for the morning meal; it is not fit even for the same woman 2; and water which is within three steps of her, when they shall put it into a pail (dûbal) or ablution-vessel (pâdîyâvdân), and shall do it without handling (ayadman), is fit for the hands in ceremonial ablution. 13. When she touches the bedding 3 and garments of any one, Sôshyans 4 said that so much space is to be washed with-bull's urine (gômêz) and water; her bedding which touches the bedding of any one does not make it polluted.

14. A menstruous woman who becomes clean in three nights is not to be washed till the fifth day; from the fifth day onwards to the ninth day, whenever

p. 280

she becomes clean, she is to sit down in cleanliness one day for the sake of her depletion (tihîk), and then she is fit for washing; and after nine nights the depletion is no matter 1.

15. A woman who has brought forth or miscarried (nasâî), during forty days sees whenever she is polluted; but when she knows for certain that she is free from menstruation she is, thereupon, to be associated with meanwhile (vadas), from the forty days 2, onward; but when she knows for certain that there is something of it, she is to be considered meanwhile as menstruous.

16. A menstruous woman when she has sat one month as menstruous, and becomes clean on the thirtieth day, when at the very same time she became quite clean she also becomes again menstruous, her depletion (tîhîk) is from its beginning, and till the fifth day washing is not allowable. 17. And when she is washed from the menstruation, and has sat three days in cleanliness, and again becomes. menstruous as from the beginning, four days are to be watched through by her, and the fifth day is for washing 3. 18. When she has become free

p. 281

from the second menstruation she is not in cleanliness for nine days and nights,—these days and nights are for watching,—and then she is to be washed; when the nine days and nights are completed, on the same day washing is good 1.

19. Of leucorrhœa (kîharak) 2, when it has quite changed colour, that which comes on before and also that which is after menstruation, the pollution is just like that of menstruation.

20. When she has become so completely clean from menstruation that her washing may be as usual (dastôbarag hâe), she does not make the sacred twigs (baresôm), nor even other things, polluted when beyond three steps.

21. On account of severe cold it is allowable for her to sit out towards 3 the fire; and while she washes a prayer (vâg) is to be taken inwardly by her 4, and the washing of her hands, except with bull's urine (gômêz), is not proper till then; and when they are washed by her, two hundred noxious creatures are to be destroyed by her as atonement for sin.

22. A woman who goes beyond the period of menstruation 5, and, afterwards, sees she is polluted, when her pregnancy is certain—except when her

p. 282

miscarriage (nasâî yehevûntanŏ) is evident—is then to be washed with bull's urine and water; when her pregnancy is not certain she is to be considered as menstruous. 23. Some say 1, moreover, that when miscarriage is certainly manifest she is, meanwhile, to be considered as menstruous. 24. Some say that when she is doubtful about the miscarriage she is to be washed with ceremony 2.

25. And for any one 3 who comes in contact with a menstruous woman, or with the person whom it is necessary to wash with water and bull's urine, it is the root of a sin of sixty stîrs 4. 26. And for whomever knowingly has sexual intercourse with a menstruous woman it is the root of a sin of fifteen Tanâpûhars and sixty stîrs 5.

27. Of a menstruous woman who sees a fire the sin is one Farmân 6, and when she goes within three steps it is one Tanâpûhar, and when she puts a hand on the fire itself 7 it is a sin of fifteen Tanâpûhars; and in like manner as to the ashes 8 and water goblet 9. 28. When she looks at water it is a

p. 283

sin of one Farmân; when she sits in water it is a sin of fifteen Tanâpûhars; and when through disobedience she walks out in the rain every single drop is a sin of fifteen Tanâpûhars for her. 29. And the sun and other luminaries are not to be looked at by her, and animals and plants are not to be looked at by her, and conversation with a righteous man is not to be held by her; for a fiend so violent is that fiend of menstruation 1, that, where another fiend does not smite anything with a look (akhsh), it smites with a look.

30. As to a house 2 in which is a menstruous woman, the fire of that house is not to be kindled; food which is delivered up from before a menstruous woman is not proper for the same woman 3. 31. A tray-cloth (khvânŏ gâmak) which stands before her, when it is not in contact with her, is not polluted; a table-napkin (pataskhûr) when apart from her thigh, and contact does not occur, is proper 4.

32. When one 5, wishes to consecrate the sacred cakes (drôn) 6, when one holds up the sacred twigs

p. 284

[paragraph continues] (baresôm) 1 from the twig-stand (baresôm-dân), and menstruation occurs, and just as it came to one's knowledge one puts down the sacred twigs and goes out, the sacred twigs are not polluted.

p. 285

33. And during her menstruation she is to be so seated that, from her body, there are fifteen steps of three feet to water, fifteen steps to fire, fifteen steps to the sacred twigs, and three steps to a righteous man 1. 34. And her food is to be carried forth in iron or leaden vessels; and the person (valman) who shall carry forth the food stands at three steps away from her 2. 35. When worship is celebrated, every time at the dedication (shnûmanê) 3 of the consecration of sacred cakes (drôn yast) it is to be uttered aloud by her; some say the Ithâ and Ashem-vohû 4.


276:3 Pahl. Vend. XVI, 5 says, 'when in the place she remains in for the purpose, she does not make the clothing she wears on her body polluted, it remains for use within the place.' The meaning is, probably, that clothing already set apart for the purpose docs not become further polluted, so as to be unfit for her use. It appears also (Pahl. Vend. XVI, 5) that on the spot where menstruation first appears, not even the twigs uplifted in the sacred ceremony are polluted, unless the circumstances are abnormal.

276:4 This phrase, about the carpet and cushion, is omitted in K20 by mistake.

277:1 §§ 2, 3 are merely corollaries from § 1.

277:2 Or, possibly, 'on the spot she is in on the occasion;' although it would appear from § 5 that the place referred to is the dashtânistân, or place of retirement for the unclean.

277:3 Reading mask va salmîhâ, but both reading and meaning are doubtful. The first word may be muskŏ, 'musk,' and the other can be read sharmgâh, but, if so, the construction of the sentence is defective, as it stands in the MSS.

277:4 The dashtânistân, a comfortless room or cell provided in every Parsi house for unclean persons to retire to, where they can see neither sun, moon, stars, fire, water, sacred vessels, nor righteous men; it ought to be fifteen steps (39½ feet) from fire, p. 278 water, and the sacred twigs, and three steps (8 feet) from righteous men (see § 33 and Vend. XVI, 1-10).

278:1 This kind of prayer (Av. vâk, 'a word or phrase,' Pahl. vâg, Pers. bâz) is a short formula, the beginning of which is to be muttered in a kind of whisper, or (according to the Pahlavi idiom) it 'is to be taken' and 'retained' inwardly (as a protection while eating, praying, or performing other necessary acts) by strictly abstaining from all conversation, until the completion of the act, when the prayer or vâg 'is to be spoken out,' that is, the conclusion of the formula is to be uttered aloud, and the person is then free to speak as he likes. Different formulas are used on different occasions.

278:2 K20 has, 'she retains a prayer.' See Pahl. Vend, XVI, 5.

278:3 The meaning is, however, uncertain.

278:4 The Pahlavi text is as follows: Amat vâg yakhsenunêd, pêsînkâr (Pers. pêsyâr) barâ yatûnêd, asg gûftanŏ kâr lôît mamanas nask-i pavan kamisn yemalelunisnŏ. Compare Pahl. Vend. XVI, 5.

278:5 See Pahl. Vend. XVI, 10.

279:1 Pahl. Vend. XVI, 10 says, 'everything, when at the right distance, is proper, except only that one case, when uncleanness is above and cleanness also right below; although it be even much below, yet it is not proper.' In such a case the prescribed distance of fifteen steps is not sufficient; therefore, the dashtânistân should be on the ground floor, not over an underground water-tank, nor within fifteen steps of the water in such a tank.

279:2 Or, possibly, ham nêsman may mean 'a companion woman,' when two or more are secluded at the same time. Pahl. Vend. XVI, 17 says, 'food delivered up by a menstruous woman is of no use whatever, it is not proper; in parts free from pollution (gavîdvasnŏ), in those likewise it is not proper;' the reading gavîdvasnŏ (proposed by Dastûr Hoshangji) is, however, doubtful.

279:3 Or 'clothing,' vistarg.

279:4 See Chap. I, 3.

280:1 See Pahl. Vend. XVI, 22. The Hebrew law (Lev. xv. 19) prescribes a fixed period of seven days, except in abnormal cases.

280:2 The same period of seclusion as appointed by the Hebrew law, after the birth of a man child (see Lev. xii. 2-4). The Avesta law (Vend. V, 135-159) prescribes only twelve nights’ seclusion, divided into two periods of three and nine nights respectively, as the Hebrew woman's seclusion is divided into periods of seven and thirty-three days.

280:3 The substance of §§ 16, 17 is given in Pahl, Vend. XVI, 22, but in language even more obscure than here. The washing mentioned here is merely for the first menstruation; that for the second one being prescribed in § 18.

281:1 In such abnormal cases the Hebrew law (Lev. xv. 25-28) prescribes seven days’ seclusion after recovery.

281:2 Av. kithra, see explanation of kîharak-hômand (Av. kithravand) in Pahl. Vend. XVI, 1, 34.

281:3 Dastûr Jâmâspji reads val bavan-i âtâsh, 'to the part of the fire.' From what follows it would seem doubtful whether this distant approach to the fire is allowable until she is ready for washing.

281:4 See § 6, note.

281:5 Or, 'goes up from the place of menstruation.'

282:1 Literally, 'there is one who says thus.'

282:2 See Chap. II, 65.

282:3 Reading aîs instead of adînas, 'then for him.'

282:4 That is, the sin is a Khôr (see Chap. I, 2).

282:5 According to the Avesta (Vend. XV, 23, 24) he becomes a peshôtanu (Pahl. tanâpûhar). The Hebrew law (Lev. xv. 24) makes him unclean for seven days.

282:6 See Chap. I, 2. That it was sinful for her to look at fire, even in Avesta times, appears from Vend. XVI, 8.

282:7 Literally, 'on the body of the fire.'

282:8 That libûsyâ means 'ashes' appears from Pahl. Vend. V, 150; literally it is Huzvâris for 'clothing or covering,' and is so used in Pahl. Vend. VI, 106, VII, 122. Metaphorically, ashes are the clothing of the fire.

282:9 Reading dûbalak; but the word is doubtful. Possibly it p. 283 should be read gôbarak for gâv-bar, 'bull's produce,' referring to the bull's urine which, with ashes, is prescribed (Vend. V, 149) as the first food for a woman after miscarriage.

283:1 The demoness Gêh (see Bund. III, 3-9).

283:2 By khânak, 'house, abode,' must here be understood merely the woman's place of seclusion. K20 inserts âtâs dên after mûn, which renders it possible (by assuming another preposition) to translate as follows: 'As to a house in which is a fire, the fire in that house is not to be kindled by a menstruous woman.'

283:3 See § 12.

283:4 Fit to use again.

283:5 Perhaps we should read 'she' throughout this section, as a woman can perform. these rites among women (see Chap. X, 35).

283:6 The drôn (Av. draona, corrupted into drûn, or darûn by p. 284 Pâz. writers) is a small round pancake or wafer of unleavened bread, about the size of the palm of the hand. It is made of wheaten flour and water, with a little clarified butter, and is flexible. A drôn is converted into a frasast by marking it on one side, before frying, with nine superficial cuts (in three rows of three each) made with a finger-nail while thrice repeating the words humat hûkht huvarst, 'well-thought, well-said, well-done,' one word to each of the nine cuts. Any drôn or frasast that is torn must not be used in any ceremony. In the drôn ceremony two drôns are placed separately by the priest upon a very low table before him, on its left side, the nearer one having a small piece of butter (gâus hudhau) upon it; two frasasts are similarly placed upon its right-hand side, the farther one having a pomegranate twig (urvarãm) upon it; and between this and the farther drôn an egg is placed. The sacred twig (baresôm) must also be present on their stand to the left of the priest, and a fire or lamp must stand opposite him, on the other side of the table. The priest recites a certain formula of consecration (chiefly Yas. III, 1-VIII, 9), during which he uplifts the sacred twigs, and mentions the name of the angel, or of the guardian spirit of a deceased person, in whose honour the ceremony is performed. After consecration, pieces are broken off the drôns by the officiating priest, and are eaten by himself and those present, beginning with the priests (see Haug's Essays, pp. 396, 407, 408, AV. p. 147).

284:1 The baresôm (Av. baresma) consists of a number of slender rods or tâî (Pahl. tâk), formerly twigs of some particular trees, but now thin metal wires are generally used. The number of these twigs varies according to the nature of the ceremony, but is usually from five to thirty-three. These twigs are laid upon the crescent shaped tops of two adjacent metal stands, each called a mâh-rû, 'moon-face,' and both together forming the baresôm-dân or 'twig-stand.' The baresôm is prepared for the sacred rites by the recital of certain prayers by the officiating priest, during which he washes the twigs with water, and ties them together with a kûstîk or girdle formed of six thread-like ribbons split out of a leaflet of the date-palm and twisted together; this girdle, being p. 285 passed twice round the twigs, is secured with a right-handed and left-handed knot on one side, and is then passed round a third time and secured with a similar double knot on the other side, exactly as the kûstîk or sacred thread-girdle is secured round the waist of a Parsi man or woman (see Haug's Essays, pp. 396-399).

285:1 See Vend. XVI, 9, 10. All the ceremonial apparatus must be kept as far removed as the sacred twigs.

285:2 See Vend. XVI, 11-14, which states that the food is to be carried forth on iron, lead, or the basest metal.

285:3 This is the time when the name of the angel or spirit is mentioned, in whose honour the cakes are consecrated (see § 32, note on drôn, and Chap. VII, 8).

285:4 The Ithâ is Yas. V (so called from its first word), which forms a part of the drôn yast or formula of consecration (see § 32, note on drôn). The Ashem-vohû is probably that in Yas. VIII, 9, which concludes the consecration. The same details are given in Pahl. Vend. XVI, 17. These prayers also form a portion of all ceremonial worship, including the Yazisn.

Next: Chapter IV