Sacred Texts  Zoroastrianism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Pahlavi Texts, Part IV (SBE37), E.W. West, tr. [1892], at


Bakŏ Nask.

1. Propitiation for the creator Aûharmazd and all angels.

2. The first of the twenty-two fargards of the Bakŏ 1 is the Ahunavair 2 of the Bakân 3, about the production by Aûharmazd, before every creation apart from the archangel 4, and on the solicitation of

p. 304

the archangel, of the form of words (rastakŏ milayâ) which is the innermost and most comprehensive encompassment (parvand) and best-congregated embodiment (vêh-ramaktûm kerpŏ) of the intelligent omniscience of the religion 1.

3. The divisions of this germ of germs, and the origin of the other primitive sayings of the good religion, are the divisibility of the portions (bakŏ) of the Ahunavair. 4. The Ahû of the Ahû-vairyô of the Ahunavair is the first creature 2 which, as regards the first, is specially that creature which is really derived from the creator Aûharmazd, and its adaptation is owing to mankind. 5. The thought (mit) 3 that exists with the first is with the word that is Vairyô, his 'will,' which is in the second created existence (dâmîh), which, as regards the first, is specially the primitive secondary state (dadîgarîh) of those who are specially characterised by it, who exist as it were with that character, and have become, in that way, in association with the second creature. 6. The conjunction of the first creature—whose origin (yehevûnisnŏ), which is the liturgy, is a co-existence whose origin had occurred—is the source for the saying; and the distribution of the portions thereof is the whole saying of a liturgical kind; also its name is Yathâ-ahû-vairyô, the spirit through which it is set going is the lore of the religion, needful among the creatures, the creations arose through wisdom for that purpose, and they, too, were produced on the solicitation of

p. 305

the archangel 1; besides this, that archangels are wise in speaking, and through wisdom are they archangels.

7. And this, too, about the same words, that the statement is the best-worded which is spoken, or to be spoken 2; and the obscurity is not about the sound of the word-elements, but about the manifold nature of the actual meaning (kabedîh-i sang-îkŏ), which is the character of the statement, in the words of the epitome. 8. This, too, that mankind guard the soul from hell by learning, reciting, and practising it, and the body from death 3 by likewise perpetually persevering therein.

9. This, too, that, as to the first apportionment of the Ahunavair, whose name is the Bakân Ahunavair, when, thoroughly accomplishing it (avavidâr) unanxiously (asûdakîhâ), one chants it in a ceremonial, the good work is as when one chants a hundred authorities (radîh) of the Gâthas, thoroughly accomplishing them unanxiously 4; and when, accomplishing it (vidâr) anxiously, one chants it, such a ceremonial amounts to as much as ten with any other authority 5. 10. This, too, that, through the same apportionment, while one solemnizes the summing up of the first completion 6, which is the Stôd-yast, as it becomes the rite of one newly initiated (navak-nâpar) 7, on that day

p. 306

they make the soul of the solemnizer pass three times into the supreme heaven 1.

11. About the grievous sinfulness of imperfectly accomplishing (avidâr) the Bakân Ahunavair 2.

12. This, too, that it is made by him in subjection to Aûharmazd, as the first creature made, who gives the body in service to him who is the ruler, and in discipleship to him who is the high-priest of the religion 3; for this reason, because they are suitable for lordship and mastership in the worldly existence. 13. He who is the highest lord and master is the creator Aûharmazd, and, owing to the same reason, when it made their subjection that to the creator Aûharmazd, he has made it as the first creature made.

14. This, too, that it is taught by it to keep the body in the service of the king of kings 4, whose origin Aûharmazd keeps in his possession; for this reason, because, when his origin is kept in the possession of Aûharmazd, Aûharmazd is over his own if a good ruler is made; him who is thus prepared, when also the worldly existence is necessary for Aûharmazd, he maintains as ruler when the creation is instructed.

15. This, too, that the reward of Vohûman is appropriated (khvêsinîdŏ) by him who indicates anything which is virtuous, who also utters virtuous recitation, and who likewise teaches perfect abstinence from sin to mankind 5. 16. For this reason, because the indication of anything virtuous, the utterance of recitation wisely, and abstinence from

p. 307

sin are, as it were, a lodgment materially in good people owing spiritually to the archangels, Vohûman being more particularly the instigator therein; and, owing to the same reason, he in whom there is a like proficiency is of like good works with Vohûman, and adapted to the good works arises the like reward.

17. This, too, that the dominion is given to Aûharmazd by him who may perform those works, is manifest from the phrase Tad mazdâ tavâ khshathrem, &c. and its meaning, which is this: 'That, O Aûharmazd! is this dominion of thine, by which benefits (vehagânŏ) are given to him who is justly living and poor 1.' 18. Which is a deliverance for this reason, because Aûharmazd created no dominion for the more particular preservation of the poor and the creatures of the worldly existence from the destroyer; but, for the purpose of control over the dominion of him whose strength of rule is the cause of preservation for the poor—which is continually the wish of Aûharmazd—the dominion is given to Aûharmazd.

19. And this, too, that, through preservation from the adversary, he has assisted his poor who have preserved friendship for the Spîtâmân 2; the adversity of the creatures is the advancement of religion, by supporting the religion; and a friend of the Spîtâmân becomes an assistant of the supporters of religion. 20. About the entrance (dên yâtûndakîh) of the destroyer of the creatures from without 3, and the helplessness of the beneficent spirit owing thereto.

p. 308

21. About the girding on of this saying of the religion of Aûharmazd by the three degrees (padmân), which are good thoughts, good words, and good deeds; by the four classes, which are priesthood, warriorship, husbandry, and artisanship; and by the five chieftainships, which are house-rule, village-rule, tribe-rule, province-rule, and the supreme Zaratûstship; and the one summing up (hangerdîkîh) which is the liberality of the good ruler 1.

22. Righteousness is perfect excellence.


303:1 The third of the Nasks and fourth of the Gâthic division (see Bk. VIII, Chap. I, 9, 12). It is an analytical commentary upon the Gâthas and the texts associated with them in the two preceding Nasks, devoting a separate fargard to each hâ, and selecting very short phrases, or portions (Av. bagha), for explanation and comment; so short that it is usually difficult to identify them in their Pahlavi disguise. The first three fargards are still extant in Yas. XIX-XXI, and a translation of their Pahlavi versions will be found in the Nask Fragments at the end of this volume; but whether the Pahlavi versions, consulted by the writer of the Dinkard, were identical with those in the present Yasna is uncertain.

303:2 The name of the Yathâ-ahû-vairyô formula (see Bk. VIII, Chap. I, 7). This fargard is still extant in Yas. XIX.

303:3 That is, 'of the apportionments,' or 'of those analyzed.'

303:4 Possibly the archangel Vohûman, the first of the creatures, may be meant; although the Bundahis places his creation after the recitation of the Ahunavair (see Bd. I, 21-23). That it was p. 304 recited before the other creations is clearly stated in Pahl. Yas. XIX, 2-5, 17-20.

304:1 See Pahl. Yas. XIX, 24-27.

304:2 Ibid. 29.

304:3 Ibid. Pâz. mit = Av. maiti = manas.

305:1 See Pahl. Yas. XIX, 20.

305:2 Ibid. 24.

305:3 Ibid. 25, 26.

305:4 Ibid. 6, 7. The MS. has instead of '100,' by mistake.

305:5 Ibid. 8. The MS. has 'unanxiously' by mistake.

305:6 Possibly Yas. LIX, 32-34.

305:7 Commonly called Nônâbar (see Sls. X, 2, XIII, 2; Dd. LXXIX, 4, 11, 12).

306:1 See Pahl. Yas. XIX, 9-11.

306:2 Ibid. 32-15.

306:3 Ibid. 28, 29.

306:4 Ibid. 30.

306:5 Ibid. 31, 32.

307:1 See Pahl. Yas. XIX, 35, Yas. LIII, 9 d, and Chap. XLV, 10.

307:2 Ibid. 36.

307:3 Ibid. 39.

308:1 See Pahl. Yas. XIX, 44-55.

Next: Chapter XLVIII