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

p. 359




In the name of the sacred beings.

A copy of the notification (vishâdakŏ') of his priestly lordship Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim, regarding the grievous sinfulness of assuming the propriety of washing for fifteen times.


In the name of the sacred beings.

1. It has come unto the ears (vasammûnisnŏ) of me, Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim, pontiff (rad) of Pârs and Kirmân 1, that, in some quarters of the country of Irân, they whose chance happens to be so much 2 pollution, such as is decreed unto so much washing of the customary parts (pîsakŏ), always wash themselves fifteen times with bull's urine and once with water, consider themselves as clean 3, and go to water, fire, and ceremonial ablution, the ablution

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of the sacred twigs. 2. Such--although 1 they say that Zâd-sparam 2, son of Yûdân-Yim, has ordered, and the high-priests have appointed, washing of this kind--has appeared to my well-reflecting (hû-min) opinion, apprehension, and appreciation very marvellous and grave, and merely a rumour. 3. And it is needful for me to keep those of the good religion in all quarters of the country of Irân informed concerning the placing reliance upon their washing with the Bareshnûm ceremony 3, and to make my own opinion clear also as regards the writings collected.

4. And, first of all, about the indispensability of the Bareshnûm ceremony I write several such copies of a well-matured writing of mine 4 as may even be new light to the intelligent. 5. That my opinion of the information provided by revelation, the decisions of high-priests, and the teachings of those of the primitive faith is thus, that washing by the polluted with water is pollution for the life and spiritual life (ahvô) 5; they render the material body clean thereby, but that which is known as the handiwork 6 of the immortals, and is also professionally called the Bareshnûm, when there is the protection of a ritual of various kinds, shall make the body clean from endless worldly attacks.

6. It is in the nine ablution seats (magakŏ) 7 and the furrow 8, even with prayer, bull's urine, water,

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and other appliances, and the ritual which is such as is declared in the teaching of revelation; and even now the purifiers, who are just as written about below, keep it in use. 7. When there is a washing they wash just as in the well-teaching statements which are known as those of Mêdyôk-mâh, of Afarg, and of Sôshâns 1, or in the statement of one of those three teachings, or in the statement of one of the high-priests by whom those three teachings are declared as propriety, or has come unto me as the practice of those same three teachings by those of the primitive faith.

8. I deem this deliverance 2 one wholly approvable, and the washer in a washing of that kind, with the Bareshnûm ceremony--which is lawfully of that description--I consider as a purifier who is approvable. 9. And the polluted of every description, as above written, who have obtained, for any indispensable reason whatever, a purifier, as above written, whom even now various districts and various places have appointed and approved, are able to wash with the Bareshnûm ceremony as above written. 10. Then their washing fifteen times is no deliverance in any way, and to wash them quickly with the Bareshnûm ceremony as above written is indispensable.

11. Owing to a washing of the same kind through the Bareshnûm ceremony, as is intended, water, fire, and other things, not to provide care for which is un 3 . . . . . . . . . . authorisedly is grievously sinful.

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[paragraph continues] 12. When, on account of a cleansing through another washing, distinct from the Bareshnûm ceremony,

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they consider themselves as clean it is more grievously sinful; just as when they do not wash with the Bareshnûm, as above written, but consider themselves as clean through washing fifteen times, as above written, or on account of any washing whatever distinct from the Bareshnûm, it is more grievously sinful; because, when they do not wash with a Bareshnûm, as above written, but wash for fifteen times, as above written, or any washing whatever distinct from the Bareshnûm, as above written, they do not become clean, through the professional washing which is decreed, from that pollution which remains 1.

13. When without similar trouble and great judiciousness they go unto water and fire, the sin is grievous; and when they go to the bowl (padmânŏ) for ablution of the sacred twigs 2 it is non-ablution advisedly, and to perform the ceremonial therewith would not be authorised. 14. And, in like manner, the washing of polluted Hôm twigs 3, for any indispensable purpose, with the Bareshnûm ceremony, as above written, is not possible.

15. Therefore, so that we may obtain as it were a remedy for it, I wash with the Bareshnûm ceremony, as above written; to keep the mind steadfast and to attain to a remedy I wash with the Bareshnûm, as above written; and to bestow the indispensable, comprehensive Bareshnûm, as above written, is indeed a good work suitable for the discreet and liberated

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from bonds, and the purification of body and soul is connected with it.

16. These things those of the primitive faith, who provided for the moderns, have communicated, whose position was above us moderns who are now the law (gûn) of others, and are teachers and rulers; our station as regards them is the position (gâsîh) of disciples to spiritual masters, that of listeners and servitors to form and hold the opinion, about the same and other things, which those of the primitive faith formed; and the teaching of even one of those high-priests is greater and higher than our sayings and decisions.

17. And as to every custom there may be in the country of Irân, about casting away the Bareshnûm ceremony, as written by me, and about all the polluted, as above written--whom it is possible to wash, for any indispensable reason whatever, with the Bareshnûm as written by me, and one does not wash with the Bareshnûm as written by me, but is ordered to wash for fifteen times, as written by me, and to pronounce as clean--and which is established as a rule one is urged to practise, if Zâd-sparam or any one else has ordered, said, or decided in the name of authority that one is to do so, or has established it as a rule, or set it going, this is to give authoritatively my opinion, decision, and enactment upon it likewise. 18. That those same sayings are short-sighted (aê-vênakŏ), that same order is unlawfully given, that same decision is false teaching, that same rule is vicious, that same setting going is grievously sinful, and that same authority is not to be accepted; it is a practice, therefore, not to be performed, and whoever has performed it, is to

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engage quickly in renunciation of it. 19. And he who has decreed in the country of Irân, in the name of authority, washing of other kinds as all-remedial for the polluted, as above written, and has established a rule of that description is to be considered as a heretic (aharmôkô) deserving death.

20. So, when through his wilfulness that kind of injury without enlightenment (bâm) is decreed, and a rule of that description is established, as above written, and one rendered polluted is washed fifteen times with bull's urine and once with water, or in whatever other mode that is distinct from the Bareshnûm ceremony as written by me, though it is possible to wash him, for any indispensable reason whatever, with the Bareshnûm as above written, then, his renunciation of sin being accomplished, he is to be washed again at the nine ablution seats (magh) 1 with the Bareshnûm as written by me; and until washed again, as written by me, he is not to go to water and fire and the bowl for ablution.

21. And this epistle is written by me, in my own hand-writing, for the sake of all members whatever of the good religion of the country of Irân becoming aware of the opinion, apprehension, and appreciation of the commands of religion entertained by me, Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim; and several copies are finished in the month of the triumphant Horvadad of the year 250 of Yazdakard 2.

22. In trustfulness and gratitude to the sacred beings, and homage to the exalted pontiff sent from 3

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the creator Aûharmazd, the heavenly, most righteous, and glorified Zaratûst the Spîtamân. 23. For the sake of obtainments of prayers the one thing is the righteousness of the Spîtamân; great, good, and perfect is Zaratûst; one only is the way of perfect righteousness, which is the way of those of the primitive faith; all the others, appointed afresh, are no ways 1.


359:1 See Dd. XCIV, 13.

359:2 Reading hâvan; but it may be 'pollution of the spiritual life (ahvô),' though this is hardly possible in the next phrase, where the same word occurs.

359:3 By confounding the preliminary washing appointed in Vend. VIII, 279 with the final washing appointed in Vend. VIII, 299 (see App. V, and compare Ep. II, iii, 2, ix, 2).

360:1 Reading amat, instead of the very similar word hamâî, 'ever.'

360:2 See the headings to Eps. I, II.

360:3 See App. IV.

360:4 Meaning this epistle.

360:5 Because it pollutes pure water, which is considered a sin.

360:6 Reading yadman; but it may be gadman, 'glory,' which is written in precisely the same manner.

360:7 See Ep. I, ix, 7.

360:8 See Vend. IX, 21-28 (App. IV)

361:1 See Ep. I, v, 1.

361:2 From pollution.

361:3 At this point there is a blank page in K35, and also in the MS. belonging to Mr. Tehmuras Dinshawji, which is supposed to be older; and one line is left blank in BK. It is not, however, p. 362 quite certain that any text is really missing, as this section can be read continuously and translated as follows, without much difficulty:--'Apart from a washing of the same kind through the Bareshnûm ceremony, as is intended, there would be a grievous sin against water, fire, and other things, not to provide care for which would be unauthorised.'

If some folios of text are missing, as seems quite possible from the terms applied to this epistle in § 4, the question arises whether a portion of the missing text may be contained in the following fragment on the subject of the Bareshnûm, which is appended to the passage (Ep. II, vi, 2-ix, 7) interpolated in Dd. XXXVII, 33 in the MS. J:--

'As it is declared in revelation that, if a man who has chanted comes upon a corpse, whether a dog, or a fox, or a wolf, or a male, or a female, or any creature on whose corpse it is possible that he may come, that good man becomes so that a man may become defiled by him, and it is necessary to wash the polluted one, so that it may not make him a sinner. In order that they may act so to the polluted one it is necessary to wash him, it is necessary to perform that Bareshnûm ceremony of the nine nights. If the man that is spoken of has worked about carrying the dead and contact with dead matter (nôsâ hamâlih), so that they know about his defilement to whom he comes, then he who has done this work in contact with dead matter becomes afterwards disabled for that worship of the sacred beings which they perform. So, also, some one says (compare Vend. VIII, 271-299), where in a wilderness (vyâvân) are several priests (âsrûvô) and a man lies on the road, there he who carries the dead body of the man who passes away--as those others remain and stand away helpless, without offerings of inward prayer (vâgŏ vakhtagân) over that person (kerpô) according to the religious way--having washed his body, comes into the town and performs the nine nights' Bareshnûm ceremony twice; afterwards, his Gêtô-kharîd ceremonies (see Dd. LXXIX, 4) are performed, and he has acted well according to the religious way; then he comes into the ceremonial of the sacred beings. "How are those men purified, O righteous one! who shall stand up by a corpse which is very dry and dead a year?" (See Pahl. Vend. VIII, 107, 108.) The reply is this, that "those men are purified; p. 363 for it is not to the dry from that dryness--that is, it would not act from this polluted thing--that the existence of dry diffusion has arisen."'

363:1 Even after the best ordinary washing.

363:2 See Dd. XLIII, 5.

363:3 See Dd. XLVIII, 16.

365:1 See §6.

365:2 The third month of the Parsi year 250, which corresponded to the interval between the 14th June and 13th July, 88 r.

365:3 Reading min, as in Ep. II, ix, 14, instead of mûn,' who.'

366:1 Compare Dd. XCIV, 14, Ep. II, ix, 15. This epistle is followed, in K35, by the Selections of Zâd-sparam, of which the first portion is translated in the fifth volume of the Sacred Books of the East.

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