Pahlavi Texts, Part IV (SBE37), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
In the name and for the propitiation of the creator Aûharmazd these several commentaries (zand) are published from revelation (dênô).
The names of the twenty-one Nasks.
1. One is this that is Yathâ, that is, the Stôd-yast, and the subdivisions of this Stôd-yast are thirty-three. In that Nask are the blessing and propitiation of Aûharmazd and the archangels, and they are for the utterance of praise. Aûharmazd sends this Nask into the world, which is suitable for every one, and whoever has committed this Nask to memory recites it. And to every one who, being-a high-priest, becomes a reciter of both the Avesta and Zand, and shall recite that Nask three times with correctness, the archangels will come near; as to this they know it without doubt.
2. The second Nask is that which is Ahû, the Stûdgar, and the subdivisions of that Nask are
twenty-two. In it are the giving of advice to mankind, the performance of prayer and virtue, the doing of good actions, intercession, producing union among relations, and such-like topics.
3. The third is Vairyô, the Vahist-mânsar, and the subdivisions of this Nask are twenty-two. In this is the topic of those who are becoming without doubt as to the religion of Mazda-worship, causing heedfulness, and thinking about the religion; also the production of the benediction and attributes (sifât) of the blessedness of Zaratûst, every action which was declared virtuous before Zaratûst, and all actions which have to occur after Zaratûst until the future existence; the benefit of his world, and such-like topics.
4. The fourth Nask is this which is Athâ, the Bagh, and the subdivisions of that Nask are twenty-one. In this the topic is this which is the purpose of the religion of Mazda-worship, and the ideas which Aûharmazd caused to be taught unto mankind; the exercise of reverence, heedfulness, adjudication, and justice; the performance of the proper duty of decision, doing good actions (kâr-î khvaîr), closing the way of Aharman into oneself, attaining unto the spiritual existence for oneself, and such as are like these.
5. The fifth Nask is Ratus, the Dvâzdak-hômâst, and the subdivisions of that Nask are thirty-two. In that Nask are all the topics of the spiritual existence and the heavenly state, virtue and vileness, the material existence of this worldly state, about the sky and about the earth, and everything which Aûharmazd produced and which exists in the water, fire, and plants; human beings and
quadrupeds, grazing animals and birds, and everything which is similarly produced from any (aêk) of them, and the characteristics of all things. Secondly, that which is the production of the resurrection and future existence, and the coming together and separation at the Kinvad pass; the recompense for the doers of good works and the punishment for sinners occur through the future existence, and such-like topics as these are.
6. The sixth Nask is Ashâd, the Nâdûr, and the subdivisions of that are thirty-five. In this Nask are the purposes of the stars (nugûm), the zodiac, and the planets, the goodness and evil of each constellation, and the movement of all the planets in the signs of the zodiac (bûrg) and lunar mansions (mahîgân nugûm). They have translated it into Arabic and Persian, and the name they have adopted for this book is Bûtâl, and in Persian the name which is appointed for it is Kapâmâgân.
7. The seventh is this which is Kîd, and is the Pâgam, and its subdivisions are twenty-two. In this Pâgam Nask is the topic of the slaughtering of quadrupeds and sheep, how they are to be slaughtered, of which among the quadrupeds the command is that it is allowable to eat, and of which kind the eating is not allowable; how he who slaughters shall strike at the time of the expiring of the sheep. The more expenditure (saraf) one makes upon a season-festival, so much the more is the reward; how much it is expedient to bestow upon the Dastûrs, Môbads, and Hêrbads, and upon the unwavering practisers of good works in the good religion; what merit accrues to every one
who celebrates a season-festival and consecrates clothing for a soul, and who, for that reason, is in the supreme heaven in the last times; and it is necessary to give clothing to relations and the righteous as a righteous gift, and to exercise mediation on the part of the righteous; the five greater and lesser days of the guardian spirits, and the practice of good works on these ten days is enjoined in this Nask. It is requisite for all people that they shall read this book with good and wise understanding, that all may become aware of its topics.
8. The eighth Nask is that which is Hakâ, the Ratustâîh, and the subdivisions of that Nask were fifty when the accursed Alexander had the Nasks burnt up, but after that, as they sought out this Nask, only thirteen of those subdivisions came to hand, and no more remained of those previously existing. In this Nask are the reasons of performing service, giving orders, and remaining at the command of kings and at the command of high-priests and judges; the adornment-preserving 1 purpose of cities is declared, the command of religion, and things made magnificently (agîzîhâ), grazing animals, birds, cattle, and fish; everything which is a production of Aûharmazd or Aharman; all the purposes of all the seas, mountains, and lands; and matter similar to such as are mentioned.
9. The ninth Nask is this which is Vangheus, and is the Baris; the subdivisions of that Nask were first sixty, but after the accursed Alexander only twelve remained. As to the information in this Nask, just as there is the sovereignty for those
who are kings, so there is the usage which it is necessary for them to practise, and the command of the sentence of judges of the religion such as is necessary to be executed; the custody and protection for the world, and making each new city flourishing; also the reasons of people, who are false-speaking, sinners, and such-like, are mentioned in this Nask.
10. The tenth Nask is that which is Dazdâ, the Kassrôb, and the subdivisions of that Nask were formerly sixty, but after the accursed Alexander only fifteen subdivisions remained. In that Nask the topic is that which is wisdom and knowledge, the reason of its being brought forth from the mother, and the teaching of wisdom by demonstration, the performance of purification and the speaking of truth; bringing people from vileness unto virtue, and bringing them from defilement and pollution unto purity; greatness and good progeny arise for people near kings, and how the habit of people telling lies, to others and to kings, arises; and such-like as these.
11. The eleventh Nask was Mananghô, the Vîstâspâd, and the subdivisions of that Nask were sixty, but after the accursed Alexander only ten remained. In this Nask is the topic of the sovereignty of Gûstâsp, and Zaratûst the Spîtâmân, having brought the religion from Aûharmazd, king Gustâsp accepted it, and made it current in the world; and such-like as these.
12. The twelfth is Shyaothananãm, the Khûst, and the subdivisions of that Nask were first twenty-two, but after the accursed Alexander only six remained. Among those six, which are the first
portions (zizp = Ar. gizb), the topics in one portion are the attributes (sifât) of the creator Aûharmazd, and the understanding of them; also being without doubt about the religion of Zaratûst, the Spîtâmân, all the duty and good works which are prescribed in the religion, and such-like. In the second portion is the reason of service for kings, the truth of the religion, submission to all its commands, and withholding one's hand from evil actions, so that it has become far from mischief. In the third portion is that which is the debt for performers of virtuous position, the advantage of good works, the final release from hell, and such-like. The fourth is the reason of the creation of the world, the practice of agriculture, the cultivation of trees, the date-tree and every fruit-tree; whence arises most strength for people and animals; being under the command of the practisers of good works and the virtuous, and being under the command of the high-priests, and such-like as they are. In the fifth portion all the specimens of mankind are mentioned: they who are of great knowledge, who are kings, judges, and the sages of the religion; in the second specimen are they that have to keep watch over all the cities, and to make the enemy confounded; in the third specimen are these whose object one mentions in the term 'husbandmen;' the fourth specimen which one mentions are these who are the greatly-skilled and sitters in the market, grandiloquent to repel loss, giving one-tenth to the high-priest and king, and offering praise on hardened knees, the last reward of which is that one obtains in the spiritual existence.
13. The thirteenth Nask is that which is Angheus,
the Spend; its subdivisions are sixty which are precious unto people of pedigrees (mâyagân) and those who possess much avidity for virtuous actions and have to proceed in the footsteps (pâî-rapîh) of the great and religious; also accounts of Zaratûst, who is born from the womb of Dûghdâvŏ, till ten years of age. Every Dastûr and Môbad shall recite this Nask in purity, and with ease and the proper words, for several days, and shall obtain every desire of his own, or any wish which he claims on account of (barâ râî-î) others.
14. The fourteenth Nask is that which is Mazdâi; the name Zirast is appointed for it, and the subdivisions of that Nask are twenty-two. In like manner this Nask is sent by Aûharmazd, which is to make manifest to the people what is the purpose of that science through which mankind are born from the womb of a mother, how many individuals among them will die away from the womb, and how many individuals will live; how many persons and people among them become kings, and how many, meanwhile (fîmâ), exercise apostleship, that is, the high-priesthood; how many are the grandest of people, and how many are the meanest of mankind, and in what mode this occurs; from first to last, the time people are born and all those topics are in this Nask.
15. The fifteenth is Khshathremkâ, and the name of that Nask is Baghân-yast, and its subdivisions are seventeen. In it are the topics of Aûharmazd the lord and the archangels, the knowledge of their attributes, and the service and sublimity of Aûharmazd; at what time every Gâh occurs until the future existence, and what duty is
performed; offering praise for every benefit from Aûharmazd, and obtaining benefit from him; the appearance of the archangels, and knowing what is such-and-such an appearance of such-and-such an archangel in the future existence. This Nask used in the service of Aûharmazd and the archangels is very excellent.
16. The sixteenth is Ahurâi, and they have appointed it the name Niyârâm; the subdivisions of that Nask are fifty-four, about the reason of preserving wealth and placing it out, agreement and measure by the cubit and handful; everything the creator Aûharmazd has ordained as uncontaminated, release from hell, and how to walk in the path of reverence and worship; what is in the mind of man, and what is everything in the body of man; and such-like as these that are mentioned.
17. The seventeenth Nask is that which is Â, and the name they have appointed for it is Aspârûm; one mentions sixty-five subdivisions of it, and in this Nask is every religious topic which all persons well understand, and the punishment suffered by sinners, which they receive in their last career; everything which is uncontaminated is allowable, and what is not uncontaminated is not allowable; the stars preside over the destiny of mankind; and such-like as these.
18. The eighteenth Nask is that which is Yim, that has the name Duvâsarôzad appointed for it, and the subdivisions of it are likewise sixty-five. In this Nask are the reasons of next-of-kin marriage, forming connections among relations, and such-like as these.
19. The nineteenth Nask is Drigubyô, the name
of which is Askâram, and is of fifty-two stanzas (vêkastihâ), about the giving of orders, exercise of authority, and practising wisdom in everything; producing the resurrection, by which every person passed away is made living again, and the malformations of Aharman and the demons are withered away; and such-like.
20. The twentieth Nask is that which is Dadad, that they call by its name of Vendîdâd, where the meaning of this is 'the law against the demons,' which is of twenty-two fargards. The topic of it is what preserves mankind from evil and pollution, and will restrain them from the menstruous, dead matter, pestilence, and running sores. Of all the twenty-one Nasks the Nask of 'the law against the demons' has alone remained entire; while several remain scattered by the wickedness (sûmîh) of the accursed Alexander, this Nask of the Vendîdâd remained in hand, and owing to its elucidation the religion of Mazda-worship exists now.
21. The twenty-first Nask is Vâstârem, whose name one calls Hâdôkht, and its fargards are said to be thirty. In it are much excellence and many miracles, and the vile Aharman becomes far from every one who recites this Hâdôkht, and it makes him extinct, and the reciter comes near unto Aûharmazd and becomes purified from sin.
22. Now, alas! if all these Nasks do not remain, so that one is not able to solemnize them, that is for this reason, that the accursed Alexander, the Arûman, took several transcriptsin the Arûman language and characters (hurûfŏ)of any among those twenty-one Nasks which were about the stars and medicine, and burnt up the other Nasks; and
the soul of the accursed Alexander, the Rûman, will remain wretched and burnt in gloomy hell till the resurrection, owing to his own vileness which injured the religion of Zaratûst.
23. After the villany of Alexander, an assemblage of several high-priests, who were sages of the religion, brought the Avesta of all of them from various places, and made a collection of so much Avesta and Zand as the sacred (yastô) Yasna, Vîsperad, Vendîdâd, Ardâ-fravard, and other scraps of the Avesta, the Darûn, Afrîngân, and the Commands of the religion; all these were written, and the Bûndahis book was correctly written; and all such, among them, as were not written, which did not come into the thoughts of the sages, departed, on that account, from the midst of the many topics of revelation.
24. Just as it is said that there were twenty-one Nasks, there are first, in seven Nasks, the topics of the religion of Mazda-worship, in the second seven Nasks are the topics of medical practice, and in the third seven Nasks the topics and capabilities of the stars are mentioned.
438:1 A Rivâyat in Pahlavi writing, but its language is more Persian than Pahlavi; it commences with this account of the Nasks, combining most of the information contained in the four preceding extracts from the Persian Rivâyats. For this text the translator is indebted to a MS. written A.D. 1813 and belonging to Dastûr Hôshangji Jâmâspji of Poona; a previous translation, in Haug's Essays, was from a transliteration of the same text prepared by Haug some 25 years ago.
441:1 Assuming that frêvvânîk, which might mean 'important,' stands for pardazânîk.