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Pahlavi Texts, Part III (SBE24), E.W. West, tr. [1885], at

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THROUGH the name and power and assistance of the creator Aûharmazd, the archangels who are good rulers and good performers, and all the angels of the spiritual and the angels of the worldly existences, by a happy dispensation (dahisn) and well-omened we write the Opinions of the Spirit of Wisdom through the will of the sacred beings 1.


[1. In the name and for the propitiation of the all-benefiting creator Aûharmazd, (2) of all the angels of the spiritual and worldly creations, (3) and of the learning of learnings, the Mazda-worshipping

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religion, (4) forth from which this, which is such a source of wisdom, is a selector 1. 5. Through the glory and will of the creator Aûharmazdwho is promoting the prosperity of the two existences 2—(6) and of all the greatly powerful angels, (7) and through the completely calm repose of the sacred beings, the princely 3, purpose-fulfilling sages, (8) presentations of various novelties for the appropriation of wisdom, (9) through largely acquiring reasoning thought 4, are most wholesome for the body and soul in the two existences.

10. As in the pure marvel of marvels, the unquestionable and well-betokened good religion of the Mazda-worshippers, by the words of the creator, Aûharmazd, and Zaratûst the Spîtamân 5, it is in

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many places decided, (11) that he, who is the all-good creator, created these creatures through wisdom, (12) and his maintenance of the invisible revolutions 1 is through wisdom; (13) and the imperishable and undisturbed state, in that which is immortality for ever and everlasting, he reserves for himself by means of the most deliberative 2 means of wisdom. 14. For the same reason it is declared, (15) that there was a sage who said, (16) that 'if this be known, that the religion of the sacred beings (yazdân) is truth, and its law is virtue, and it is desirous of welfare and compassionate as regards the creatures, (17) wherefore are there mostly many sects, many beliefs, and many original evolutions 3 of mankind? 18. And, especially, that which is a sect, law, and belief, causing harm to the property (khêl) of the sacred beings 4, and is not good? 19, 20 5. And this, too, one has to consider, that, in order to become a chooser in this matter, trouble is to be undergone; (21) and it is necessary to become acquainted with this matter, (22) because, in the end, the body is mingled with the dust, and reliance is on the soul. 23. And every one is to undergo trouble for the soul, (24) and is to become acquainted with duty and good works; (25) because that good work which a man does unwittingly is little of a good work, (26) and that sin which a man

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commits unwittingly amounts to a sin in its origin 1. 27. And it is declared by the Avesta 2 (28) thus:] 3" Nothing was taken by him by whom the soul was not taken (29) hitherto, and he takes nothing who does not take the soul (30) henceforward likewise 4; (31) because the spiritual and worldly existences are such-like as 5 two strongholds, (32) one it is declared certain that they shall capture, and one it is not possible to capture."'

33. After being replete with those good actions of 6 which it is declared certain that it is not possible to capture, (34) and when he 7 surveyed the incitement for this, (35) he started forth (fravaftŏ), in search of wisdom, into the various countries and various districts of this world; (36) and of the many 8 religions and beliefs of those people who are superior in their wisdom he thought and enquired, and he investigated and came upon their origin 9. 37. And when he saw that they are so mutually afflicting (hanbêshin) and inimical among

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one another, (38) he then knew that these religions and beliefs and diverse customs, which are so mutually afflicting among one another in this world, are not worthy to be from the appointment of the sacred beings; (39) because the religion of the sacred beings is truth, and its law is virtue. 40. And through this he became without doubt that, as to whatever 1 is not in this pure religion, there is then doubtfulness for them in everything, (41) and. in every cause they see distraction.

42. After that he became more diligent in the enquiry and practice of religion; (43) and he enquired of the high-priests who have become wiser in 2 this religion and more acquainted with the religion, (44) thus: 'For the maintenance of the body and preservation of the soul what thing 3 is good and more perfect?'

45. And they [spoke 4], through the statement [from revelation, (46) thus: 'Of the 5 benefit which happens to men] wisdom is good; (47) because it is possible to manage the worldly existence through wisdoms, (48) and it is possible to provide also the spiritual existence for oneself through the power of wisdom 6. 49. And this, too, is declared, that Aûharmazd has produced these creatures and creation, which are in the worldly existence, through innate

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wisdom 1; (50) and the management of the worldly and spiritual existences is also through wisdom.'

51. And when, in that manner, he saw the great advantage and preciousness of wisdom, he became more thankful unto Aûharmazd, the lord, and the archangels of 2 the spirit of wisdom; (52) and he took 3 the spirit of wisdom as a protection. 53. For the spirit of wisdom one is to perform more homage and service than for the remaining archangels. 54. And this, too, he knew, that it is possible to do for oneself every duty and good work and proper action through the power of wisdom; (55) and it is necessary to be diligent for the satisfaction of the spirit of wisdom. 56. And, thenceforward, he became more diligent in performing 4 the ceremonial of the spirit of wisdom.

57. After that the spirit of wisdom, on account of the thoughts and wishes of that sage, displayed his person unto him. 58. And he spoke to him (59) thus: 'O friend and glorifier! good from perfect righteousness! (60) seek advancement from me, the spirit of wisdom, (61) that I may become thy guide to the satisfaction of the sacred beings and

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the good 1, and to the maintenance of the body in the worldly existence and the preservation of the soul in the spiritual one.'


3:1 This heading is prefixed to the original Pahlavi text in K43, a facsimile of which was published by Andreas in 1882; as, however, the text which follows it, in that codex, begins in the middle of Chap. I, 28, this heading must have been composed by some copyist, after the first folio of the text had been lost from some previous copy. It is, therefore, doubtful whether the name he gives to the work, 'Opinions (or decisions) of the Spirit of Wisdom,' be the original title, or not; but it is, at any rate, preferable to the modern appellation, 'the Spirit of Wisdom.' In Pâzand this title is Mainyô-i Khard; but regarding the Pahlavi word maînôg, see the Introduction.

3:2 The beginning of this chapter, enclosed in brackets, as far as § 28 (being lost from the Pahlavi text of K43, and no copy of it from TD2 being available) is here taken from the Pâzand version contained in L19. The division into sections, adopted throughout, is that of the alternating Pâz.-Sans. text of Nêryôsang.

4:1 That is, this work is a selection of wisdom from the religion. The Pâz. vas is a misreading of Pahl. agas, 'from it,' which is identical in form with Pahl. afas, the correct equivalent of Pâz. vas.

4:2 This world and the next.

4:3 The angels are here compared to the vâspûharakân, the highest class of Sasanian nobles, called barbêtân, 'sons of the house,' in Huzvâris (see Nŏldeke's Gesch. Pers. Sas. pp. 71, 501). As these nobles ranked next to the royal house, so do the archangels and angels rank next to Aûharmazd. The title vâspûhar is evidently connected with the ancient Pers. equivalent of Av. vîsô puthra, 'son of the village or town,' which, as Darmesteter points out (Études Iraniennes, II, p. 140), is used in Vend. VII, 114 as the title of a person who has to pay the same medical fees as the zantu-paiti, 'tribe-ruler,' mentioned in the earlier § 108, and who must, therefore, have been a man of equal rank.

4:4 Reading vîrmat, both here and in § 13, instead of the Pâz. nîrmad, which is a misreading of the same letters.

4:5 Av. Zarathustra Spitama, the great apostle of the Mazda-worshippers, whose conversations with Ahura Mazda (Pahl. Aûharmazd) constitute a considerable portion of the Avesta, or scripture of the Mazda-worshippers.

5:1 Of the spheres, or firmaments, which are supposed to carry along the heavenly bodies.

5:2 Reading vîrmat-hômandtûm.

5:3 Reading bûn gast (see Sg. IV, 73 n).

5:4 It may be questioned whether this allusion to a heterodox religion injuring the property of the orthodox faith is sufficient to identify the former with Muhammadanism.

5:5 These two sections are improperly separated by Nêryôsang.

6:1 The original text was, no doubt, vinâs pavan bûn val yehevûnêd, which would be gunâh pa bun ô bahôd in Pâzand; but L19 has omitted the p in pa, and Nêr. has mistaken the preposition val for the pronoun valman, which blunders have misled the writers of later MSS. into a variety of inconsistent readings.

6:2 The sacred literature of the Parsis in its original language.

6:3 The extant Pahlavi text of K43 commences at this point.

6:4 By this division of §§ 28-30 Nêr. found himself compelled to add another Sanskrit clause in explanation, which would have been unnecessary if he had separated them as here pointed.

6:5 K43 omits 'as.'

6:6 L19 has 'after those good actions of a store.'

6:7 The sage mentioned in § 15.

6:8 L19 has 'every.'

6:9 L19 omits 'origin,' having merely vagôst, 'investigated,' instead of bun gûstŏ, 'investigated the origin.'

7:1 L19 has 'every one who,' having read kolâ mûn instead of kolâ maman. The meaning, however, is that all details of foreign faiths that are not found in the Mazda-worshipping religion are doubtful.

7:2 K43 has 'of,' by omitting pavan, 'in.'

7:3 L19 has 'what one thing.'

7:4 K43 omits the words in brackets, by mistake.

7:5 Sans. has 'this.'

7:6 L19 has 'through the power of wisdom.'

8:1 The âsnô khiradŏ (Av. âsnô khratus) is 'the durable or innate wisdom' supposed to be implanted in one's nature, as distinguished from the Av. gaoshô-srûtô khratus, 'the ear-heard or acquired wisdom,' obtained by experience.

8:2 That is, 'produced by' this spirit, as mentioned in § 49 regarding the world, and here extended to the archangels. L19 omits the particle î, so as to convert this spirit into the wisdom of Aûharmazd and the archangels. It is very probable, however, that we ought to read 'and the spirit of wisdom.'

8:3 L19 has 'made;' these two verbs being written alike in Huzvâris.

8:4 L19 has 'to perform,' by omitting 'in.'

9:1 Meaning, specially, the priests.

Next: Chapter II