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


1. As to another delusion 3 of those asserting the non-existence of a sacred being—(2) whom they call atheistical (daharî) 4—(3) that they are ordained free from religious trouble (alag) and the toil of practising good works, (4) and the unlimited twaddle (drâyisn) 5 they abundantly chatter, (5) you 6 should observe this:—6. That they account this world, with the much change and adjustment of description of its members and appliances, their antagonism to one another, and their confusion with one another, as an original evolution 7 of boundless time. 7. And this, too, that there is no reward of good works, no punishment of sin, no heaven and hell, and no stimulator of good works and crime. 8. Besides

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this, that things are only worldly, and there is no spirit.

9. As I have written and shown above 1—(10) that to be made without a maker, and decided without a decider, is as impossible as to prepare what is written without a writer, or a house without a mortar-mixer (râz2 and building (dêsâk)—(11) things made, of all kinds, cannot arise without making.

12. And this worldly existence is owing to the mingling of competing powers. 13. So its numerous possessions are so constructed, selected, and made of diverse races (kîharân), diverse colours, diverse scents, diverse characteristics, and diverse species as I have stated above 3 about the body, (14) that it is constructed and made out of many things, such as bone, fat, sinew, veins, skin, blood, breath, hair 4, fundament 5, hand, foot, head, belly, and other members, internal and external, (15) in two series 6 of things of many kinds, of which to be never made by means of the diverse nature of diverse powers, (16) or to arise without a maker, the impossibility is certain.

17. And in like manner of the other creatures, plants and trees, water and fire, earth and air, their stimulus, too, which is not themselves, is to their own duty; and they are not stimulators, (18) but there is a stimulator, a building (dêsâk), and a making for

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them. 19. And the usage (vâzâr) which is changing and urging them, from stimulus to stimulus, from statement to statement, and from time to time, is not according to the will and requirement of those made, but according to those that are stimulating and making.

20. Even so, indicative of the rotation of the years, months, days, and hours, is the revolution of the celestial sphere and stars which are settled (pasâkhtak), and of the sun and moon which are adjusted (nîvârdak), a well-horsed 1 progress and conspicuous revolution. 21. This, too, is an indication that the movements of every appearance (kîharîh) are owing to an exhibitor, by whom the movement of that appearance is exhibited.

22. Owing to other differences and different management in the worldly existence (23) it is possible to know, from the worldly existence at various times and various periods, that this worldly existence is not without a manager. 24. Or that its manager is not a sacred being 2, who is learned, acting reasonably, of unlimited power, and illumining 3 the sky, is also that which is visible when the development, decay, and death of the world are such, that the nature alike of mankind and animals, and alike of races and trees, is to come from youth to old age, and from old age to death. 25. No one whatever is seen that has come from old age back to youth, or from death back to life, and it is not

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possible to say so. 26. Nor yet is it proper to think, say, or believe this, (27) that there is no recompense of good works and punishment of crime, (28) nor even an appearance of an attainable creator of all the creatures, and of the daubing of a destroyer.

29. Moreover, as to this latter, that is precious to those who are more friends of penury than of the comfort of ill-famed vileness—(30) because they produce their happiness thereby 1, and are grateful, (31) and when they see distress they become suppliants (32) even from this destiny and dispensation which cannot become spiritual except by the spirits—(33) even so, in the appearance of every one of the hungry, (34) and in every one hurrying and straitened 2, who is imploring favours, is a manifestation of the maintenance of a hope for a supreme inspection over mankind, and, indeed, over wild animals, birds, and quadrupeds.

35. As to this, too, which they call sophistical 3. (36) that there is no assurance of even one of these things, (37) because all are jaundiced 4—(38) for whoever says that honey is bitter and honey is sweet, is right in both, (39) since it is bitter to those abounding in bile, and sweet to others; (40) also bread is pleasant and bread is unpleasant are both

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true, (41) since it is pleasant to the hungry, and unpleasant to the surfeited; (42) and many other statements of this description—(43) that which should be said in reply to their twaddle is summarily (44) such as the wise have told them (45) thus:—'Even this statement of you sophists, about the jaundiced nature of everything, is alike jaundiced, and there is no truth in it.'

46. Many other things are said among them; (47) and this that is indicated by us is the predominant information for you victors, (48) so that you may obtain more from revelation.


146:3 Pâz. vyâwãnî (see Chap. III, 22 n).

146:4 Sans. digambara refers this term to Buddhist ascetics, the nearest approach to atheists with which Nêr. was acquainted.

146:5 A contemptuous term for the speech of evil beings.

146:6 Or it may be 'one,' as the Sanskrit uses the third person.

146:7 See Chap. IV, 73 n.

147:1 Chap. V, 27-30.

147:2 Sans. has 'carpenter.'

147:3 Chap. V, 57-63.

147:4 Assuming that Pâz. vas is a misreading of Pahl. varas. Nêr. has Sans. rasa, 'liquid secretion.'

147:5 Supposing that Pâz. daryam (Sans. nishthâ) stands for Pahl. dar-î dum.

147:6 Literally 'columns.'

148:1 Alluding to the supposed horses of the sun. Sans. has 'brilliant.'

148:2 That is, the world cannot be controlled by a, sacred being alone, on account of the evil it contains.

148:3 Sans. has 'making,' another meaning of varz.

149:1 By performing the good work of charity, which is necessary for the future happiness of their own souls.

149:2 Assuming that Pâz. hvastâw u vadang is a misreading of Pahl. aûstavŏ va tang.

149:3 Pâz. suwastaî (Sans. suvastâyîka) is evidently traceable to σοφιστικός through Pers. sûfistâiyah.

149:4 Pâz. tahal (Sans. katuka) is transposed in Pers. tal‘h, 'bitter,' in which sense the word is used in §§ 38, 39, and Chap. III, 24.

Next: Chapter VII