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Pahlavi Texts, Part II (SBE18), E.W. West, tr. [1882], at


1. I have also seen the spiritual life 3 in the writing which is in such statements of incompleteness 4, and owing to the same reason they should not cease from the operation 5 of washing you--whom may the angels protect!--with the Bareshnûm ceremony 6. 2. Because the ancients have said that, when it shall be discarded from use, every water, fire, plant, righteous man, and animal, and all the creatures of Aûharmazd are afflicted, diminished, and made to leap away. 3. As it is said in revelation that, as to him who stands by a dead body upon which the Nasûs 7 has rushed 8, 'anusô zî, Spitama Zarathustra!

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aêsha yâ 1 paiti-irista avad 2 hvare â-tâpayêiti 3, anusô hâu mau, anusô avê stârô 4--discontentedly, moreover, O Zaratûst the Spîtamân! does the sun shine upon him who has been by the dead, so discontentedly [does the moon] 5, thus discontentedly do the stars--khshnâvayêiti zî, Spitama Zarathustra! aêshô nâ yô yaozdâthryô, yad aêtem 6 paiti-iristem frâ-nasûm kerenaoiti--the man who is purifying propitiates them, O Zaratûst the Spîtamân! when he operates on him who has been by the dead, on whom the Nasûs is put forth, and he has become parted from the sacred twigs 7--he propitiates fire, he propitiates

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water, he propitiates animals and plants 1, he propitiates the righteous man 2, he propitiates the righteous woman, both of them,' as in the Avesta 3 of it:---khshnâvayêiti âtarem, &c.

4. When there is no purifier all the angels of the worldly existence become afflicted and dissatisfied; and religious purifiers who are intelligent are even now not to keep backward the work of purification, just as it has come to them by practice from those of the primitive faith, and are not to diminish it. 5. To change a good work properly appointed they shall not accept a law which is not right, a good work not properly appointed 4; not to do the work thereof is accounted very sagacious and perfectly wise; and through your freedom from inferiority 5 the glorifying, commendation, praise, and blessing are your own. 6. For it is said that in all the work of forming and maintaining the law (dâdistânŏ) those of the primitive faith were very greatly particular about every single thing; and as to the whole operation of that proceeding into which they have entered, those of the primitive faith have become aware of the power which resides in true authority. 7. But, otherwise 6, the routine which is brought out

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from revelation 1 and the teaching of the high-priests is then not authorisedly changed by that priestly man whose decree of the fifteen 2 washings is written in your epistle 3; because, on account of the whole and any perversion (gastakîh) of the same writing, not of similar utterance with revelation, before which the custom did not exist, I am without doubt as to that decree.

8. And in it 4, moreover, is written, declared, and contained (vangîdŏ) that once washing is mentioned 5, until a purifier comes who is acquainted with the ritual, who washes just as declared in revelation. 9. To be so washed I consider just as a thing for which he is even now as it were a purifier who is a good washer 6, that of which it is written below and clearly realised that it should not be decreed; and through the scanty deliverance written therein 7 it is manifest it would not be the statement above 8.

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10. If learned knowledge, relating both to that about inferior matters (agîrtarîhâ) and that about superior matters, be 1 true authority praised and declared by the great primitive faith, former high-priests and those newly arisen (navakgandakânŏ) would be and would have been similarly forward; then, too, it would exist not so much with the priestly men of the time as with the learned officiating priests (magôpatân) of Aûharmazd who have been before. 11. And when, moreover, all the Avesta and Zand are easy to a priest 2, pre-eminently acquainted with the liturgy and a supreme Zaratûst, he has attained unto, and should remain with, Aûharmazd and 3 the officiating priestship of Aûharmazd, and the supreme, world-managing, religion-observing (hû-dîn nikah) sovereignty as to religious treatises 4. 12. To change then their practice in the law would be entirely an outcry apart from deliberation, and a like violation of the unanimity of the spirits who are the heads and guardians 5 of the religion, and of the unanimity of the source of opinion of the good themselves, for the sake of what is not acceptable.

13. But the statement above 6 is, was, and will be that which remains a good idea well considered by them with the centre of thought, as to its well-operating

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characteristics, just contention, and complete powerfulness. 14. Also from the teaching of just high-priests, through the preservation of much evidence, and ascertained for the members of the assemblies of various provinces (shatrô shatrô), are shown the opinion and experience of most priestly men; and to make the various districts (kûstakŏ kûstakŏ) thrivingly steadfast, an unperverted one should be set up in all four quarters (pâdkôs) of the same province.

15. And a semblance of it is apparent even from that which the glorified Nîshahpûhar, the supreme officiating priest 1, and also other officiating priests of Aûharmazd have said, that one is not to change any teaching of theirs thereon after it is provided, and not to render useless the statements of other authority thereon. 16. But that which they should accept from them as a certainty is to maintain the statements of other high-priests as pre-eminent; and not to change the operation of statements of another description has appeared lawful. 17. Even so it was as that same Nîshahpûhar, in the council of the glorified (anôshakŏ rûbânô) Khûsrô 2, king of

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kings and son of Kavâd,--by preserving old things (ligânŏ)--showed that way on whose thoughts they are established, and wrote them unaltered, so that such thoughts thereon became as it were decided; and their thoughts thereon, after such decree of his, have so become unanimous. 18. Through the importance of his assured rank, and the rest which was said by him in the work of sustaining the faithful, he maintains as much as the other statements, one by one, from the deliberative teaching of those high-priests.


292:1 J has bûrzîdakŏ, 'extolled,' instead of varzîdakŏ, 'practised.'

292:2 Reading dûkhsharmîh as in J; the other MSS. have m instead. of û.

292:3 Reading dîd ahvôîh; but it can also be read stihânŏîh, in which case the translation would be:--'And my worldly condition.'

292:4 Meaning the incomplete kind of purification which their statements complained of, or his referred to.

292:5 K35 and BK omit the r in kardakŏ.

292:6 See App. IV.

292:7 The fiend of corruption (see Dd. XVII, 7).

292:8 The three Avesta passages here quoted, with their 'Land (Pahlavi translation), are from Vend. IX, 161-163, and are freely translated (trans. D) thus:---'It grieves the sun, indeed, O Spitama p. 293 Zarathustra! to shine upon a man defiled by the dead; it grieves the moon, it grieves the stars. That man delights them, O Spitama Zarathustra! who cleanses from the Nasu those whom she has defiled; he delights the fire, he delights the water, he delights the earth, he delights the cow, he delights the trees, he delights the faithful, both men and women.' The Avesta text is given according to the standard edition of Westergaard (IX, 41, 42), and all variants of any importance, in the three MSS. here used, are mentioned in the notes. These passages are also referred to in Ep. II, iii, 5.

293:1 K35 and BK insert the last three words, anusô âvâ stârô, here.

293:2 J inserts yâ here.

293:3 J has â-tâpayaêta, but K35 and BK omit the word.

293:4 K35 and BK have khshathrô-chinanghô, 'of a desire of authority' (which occurs in Fravardîn Yt. 112 as the name of a man) instead of avê stârô, which they have inserted earlier. They also leave a blank space for the words maman akhûrsandîhâ, 'moreover, discontentedly' (which begin the Pahlavi translation), as if they were descended from a damaged original.

293:5 B All three MSS. omit the words in brackets, which are necessary to complete the Pahlavi version.

293:6 K35 and BK omit aêtem.

293:7 J has 'who has become polluted,' which separation from the sacred twigs (see Dd. XLIII, 5), or other ceremonial apparatus, implies. The phrase is omitted in Pahl. Vend. IX, 162.

294:1 J has 'he propitiates plants,' as in Pahl. Vend. IX, I63.

294:2 Literally 'male.'

294:3 The initial words of which here follow their Pahlavi translation, instead of preceding it.

294:4 J omits these six words.

294:5 Reading afrôtarîh, as in BK; K35 had originally avartarîh, 'pre-eminence,' as in J, but the copyist wrote afrô (= aparva) over the avarta, as a correction, leaving it doubtful whether he meant afrôtarîh or aparvarîh, 'want of education.'

294:6 That is, unless confirmed by the decisions of the ancients.

295:1 J has 'which is brought out with knowledge of the purifying cup (tâstîk), with preservation of faith, and with manifestation from revelation.'

295:2 All three MSS. have 'sixteen' in ciphers, but it is evident that Zâd-sparam and his erroneous teaching of the sufficiency of fifteen washings (see Ep. III, 1, 2) are here referred to.

295:3 Reading semag, a Huz. hybrid for nâmak.

295:4 The decree of Zâd-sparam, apparently.

295:5 Referring probably to Vend. VIII, 299, which provides a washing for the pointed person by himself, if he can find no one willing to purify him (see App. V).

295:6 That is, for such a purpose any ordinary washer would be sufficient.

295:7 In Pahl Vend. VIII, 299, which states that, although pure enough for ordinary purposes, he must still abstain from engaging in ceremonies for others (see App. V).

295:8 That is, it is very different from the propitiation mentioned in § 3.

296:1 J has 'because if even for that about superior matters, acquaintance with religion, and learned knowledge there be,' &c.

296:2 That is, when he knows all the scriptures and commentaries by heart.

296:3 J omits 'Aûharmazd and.'

296:4 That is, he has full authority to interpret the scriptures.

296:5 Reading saran sardârân, but in K35 the two words overlap, so that sar-sardârân, 'head guardians,' might be intended.

296:6 Probably referring to the quotation from the Vendidâd in § 3.

297:1 This môbad of môbads is mentioned in Pahl. Vend. III, 151, V, 112, VI, 71, VIII, 64, XVI, 10, 17, AV. I, 35, and twenty-four times in the Nîrangistân (see Sls. I, 4 n). His name is spelt in various ways.

297:2 King Khûsrô, son of Kavâd, who is best known by his title Nôshirvân, or Anôshirvân, 'immortal-soulled,' reigned A.D. 531-579; and the statement that Nîshahpûhar was one of his councillors (made little more than three centuries after his death, and, therefore, probably correct) is of considerable importance for fixing a limit to the age of those Pahlavi books in which he is mentioned. These books are the Pahlavi Nîrangistân, a late recension of the Pahlavi Vendidâd, and the Book of Ardâ-Vîrâf, in which last it is p. 298 stated that Vîrâf was called by the name of Nikhshâpûr by some. From the statements made in our text it seems probable that the council was employed in revising the Pahlavi Vendidâd, in which they were careful not to erase the opinions of older commentators, and thus confirmed their statements by their own authority. It is possible that this council was that mentioned in Byt. I, 7, where the name Nishâpûr also occurs, but whether it refers to a man or a city is not quite certain. This council, which seems to have been summoned for condemning the heresy of Mazdak, was held probably two or three years before Khûsrô came to the throne (see Nŏldeke: Geschichte der Perser and Araber zur Zeit der Sasaniden, p. 465).

Next: Chapter V