Pahlavi Texts, Part V: Marvels of Zoroastrianism (SBE47), E.W. West, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
1. About the marvellousness which is manifested after the time of Vistâsp until the collapse (hangaftanŏ) of the sovereignty of Iran.
2. There is marvellousness which is manifested after Vistâsp until the collapse of the sovereignty of Irân, apart from the blessedness of ordeal, the accomplishment of other Avestic rites, the great power over the sacred fires, and many other religious observances which were connected with the disciples of Zaratûst.
3. Even after the devastation which happened owing to Alexander, those who were rulers after him brought back much to the collection from a scattered state 1; and there are some who have ordered the keeping of it in the treasury of Shapân 2.
4. Likewise there is to be brought forward what there is concerning the names of rulers and high-priests, such as arrive for it at times and periods, which are each consecutive, as organizers of the religion and the world; also of the tyrant or apostate, who is manifest at various periods, for the disturbance of the religion and monarchy and the penance of the world, with the coming of the penitential one.
5. Such as Vohûmanô, son of Spend-ad 1, of the rulers, about whom it says even this in the Avesta, that he is Vohûmanô, the just, who is the most efficient of the assembly of Mazda-worshippers. 6. And Sênôv 2 of the high-priests, as about him it says even this: 'The religion becomes a hundred years old when Sênôv is born, and two hundred years when he passes away; he was also the first Mazda-worshipper with a life of a hundred years, and who walks forth upon this earth with a hundred disciples.'
7. Also Alexander of the devastators, as it says even this of him in revelation 3, that in those three winters, which are of like purpose (ham-ayâzakŏ), that Aeshm 4 would set up a deadly king in the impenitent world, who is the evil-destined Alexander.
8. And of the high-priests are Arezvâk 5, the interpretation of whose name is 'the pure word;' Srûtvôk-spâdâk 5, the interpretation of whose name is 'the propitious recitation;' Zrayang,hau 6, the interpretation of whose name is 'the ocean existence' and Spentô-khratvau 6, the interpretation of
whose name is 'the propitious wisdom.' 9. Because it says even this about them, namely: 'I mention thy manifestation, and also the tokens of its publicity when this religion of thy Mazda-worshippers becomes four hundred years old 1; in this law benightedness (lêlyâîh) arises, and the embodied existences see the manifestation through calculation of the planets and also the stars; and whoever, too, are mine are so for a century, through the average opinion of thirty medium winters for a man 2; and the righteous Arezvâk and those three others are they of the most righteous existences, over whom they are the most masterly and most authoritative in that time.' to. And this, too, that they who glorify the religion of the Mazda-worshippers in the fifth and sixth centuries are they; and no persons save their souls, except those who remain for the arrival of the four 3 interpretations that arise through the authority of these four individuals, Arezvâk, Srûtô-spâdhau 4, Zrayang,hau, and Spentô-khratvau who, all four of them, seek their thoughts, words, and deeds in the sacred text (mânsar).
11. Also Rashn-rêsh 5 is the apostate of that
time, as some one 1 says unto Rashn, one of the sacred beings, and about many besides this one, thus: 'All who are creatures of the beneficent spirit are distressed by their persecution, but put trust in those men, Arezvâk and those three others.'
12. And of the organizers of the period is Artakhshatar 2, son of Pâpak, as it says even this about him, namely: 'Which is that ruler who is powerful, more striving than the Kayâns, and mighty, an embodiment of the sacred commandments and awfully armed 3; in whose abode Aharîsvang 4, the virtuous and radiant, walks forth in maiden form, beneficent and very strong, well-formed, high-girded, and truthful, of illustrious race and noble? 13. Whoever it is that, on the occurrence of strife, seeks prosperity for himself with his own arm; who-ever it is that, on the occurrence of strife, encounters the enemies with his own arm.'
14. Tanvasar 5 is also for his assistance, as it says
this, too, about them: 'Zaratûst asked again thus: "Who is he who is the most salutary for a country, which the demons have exhausted of everything virtuous, over which his authority is brought and which is wicked and teaching falsehood?" 15. Aûharmazd spoke thus: "An autocrat (sâstâr), to cure a country, who has not gone mad (that is, he does not annoy the good) and is well-directing (that is, he gives virtuous commands), who is also of noble race, and likewise a priest who is acquainted with war, of a famous province, and righteous, are most salutary for that country. 16. And I tell thee this, that the apostasy of destruction is just like the four-legged wolf which the world gives up to running astray (vardak-takhshisnîh) (that is, owing to its action they are leading it off as astray; which is so that even he who is not opulent is rendered sickly, that they (the apostates) may take away his things by the hand of the assassin (khûnyân); and they shall lead the world, the dwelling for his residence, into wandering. 17. But that wicked (avârûnŏ) strife descended upon that country, besides that wicked demon-worship, besides that wicked slander; and not even that wicked strife, nor that wicked demon-worship, nor that wicked slander, is dissipated from
that country until the time when they attach the grant of approval to him, the spiritual leader, the eloquent (pûr-gûftâr), truthful-speaking, and righteous Tanvasar. 18. And it is when they grant approval to the spiritual leader, the truthful speaker of eloquence, the righteous Tanvasar, that those of the country obtain redress (bêshâzagânîh) when they seek it, and no deviation (anâyûînakŏîh) from the religion of Zaratûst."'
19. As to the nature of the questions and statements of the organizer of the religion, Âtûrpâd 1 son of Mâraspend, about the connection of the glory with the race, it also says this, that 'though righteousness may arise from the statements and prosperity of the Tûrânians when extracted by questions, it is said that its acceptance occurs there through complete mindfulness 2; they benefit the embodied world of righteousness, and produce distress for the fiend; in like manner, they rely upon Vohûmanô, and Zaratûst is their delight through the report of the birth of Zaratûst from us who are archangels. 20. This liberality for thee is from us who are archangels, and Âtûrpâd, the very best well-destined man arose; and this, too, do thou say about him, that it is the steel age in which that man, the organizer of development and organizer of righteousness, Âtûrpâd son of Mâraspend, of the convocation, begets Avarethrabau 3.'
21. This Avarethrabau, too, is an organizer whose righteous guardian spirit we reverence, and in memory of Mânûskîhar, the well-destined, and a progenitor of Âtûrpâd 1, it says that 'only from him comes Avarethrabau;' and then also arises this one of the adversaries of the religion, the apostate of apostates, whom they have even called the Mazdag-like (Mazdagîg-ik) 2. 22. As it says this, too, about them, namely: 'This religion of mine thou dost survey with thoughts of spiritual life, thou dost very thoroughly inspect it, O Zaratûst! when many, aware of apostates, call the performance of righteousness and even the priesthood innocence, and few are frank and practising it.' 23. In the revelation of the Mazda-worshippers is this, namely: 'Thoroughly look into revelation, and seek a remedy for them and any whatever of them who have become disturbing in the embodied existence, and uncaptivated by the orthodox (âyîn-aûmônd) righteousness which is owing to the perfect existences; and so they divide the religion of the Mazda-worshippers through division of race, they speak regarding the action of their own followers, and give the endowment to their own. 24. They grant supplies of food, so that they may say the food is proportional to the hunger; they speak of procreation, and say that they say lineage is through the mothers; and they approve of wolfishness, so that they would act something like
wolves in the performance of gratifying their desires, like that of the wolf's progeny behind the mother. 25. Moreover, they form their lineage through the mothers; buying their women as sheep, they shall carry off for profit even that son or brother who is the progeny, those that we have produced for your companionship; you are not predominant, but have remained in companionship; you do not even believe them, but you do not establish an ordeal, although it is evident that you will be acquitted they lie even to their children, so that the advance of the promise-breaker is through them, and even in their own persons 1.'
26. Here it speaks about the organization of the religion by the glorified 2 Khûsrôî, son of Kavâd, thus: 'Upon their lingering behind, a man is produced who is righteous, the Glorified one 2, an approver (khênîdâr) of speech who is wise, whom the convocation, on hearing the words that he utters, speaks of as a high-priest; that is when he gives out penance (srôshîgîh), so that he may effect the punishment of sinners. 27. The constant out-pouring of perplexity (pêk shârîdan) by the perverters is the fear of that hero, as regards that
convocation, when he casts them forth by expulsion from the vicinity, so that he may make them extinguished very quickly; owing to that, they, whose producer is even he who is a person destroying the righteous man, become gloomy on account of the Glorified one, through his smiting the spiritual life of apostasy; just as now, when he who is gloomy, and of scattered intellect, is gloomy owing to you of the Spîtâmas.' 28. This, too, it states, namely: 'In every way, I tell thee, O Zaratûst of the Spîtâmas! that their time is mistrustful (avâvar) as to him who is an open friend, and most deceitful both to the wicked and the righteous; the Glorified one is a controller (ayûkhtâr) exalting the creatures, and whoever is possessing the creatures of the righteous ones 1, so that he remains again at work in the doings of the Glorified one, is he who is a combiner of the actions and an utterer of the true replies of that Glorified one.'
29, And about the occurrence of a symptom of the devastators of the sovereignty and religion of the country of Irân one wonder, which is associated with the religion, is even this which it mentions thus: 'Thereupon, when the first symptom of a ravager of the country occurs, O righteous Zaratûst! then the more aggressive and more unmerciful in malice becomes the tyrant of the country, and through him, too, they ravage (rêshênd) the house, through him the village, through him the community, through him the province, and through him even the whole of that manifestation in the country of any teaching whatever that occurs through the ravager of the country; and so the country should
keep a man who is observant and learned on the watch, because information is in his mind. 30. Thereupon, when the second symptom of a ravager of the country occurs, &c. 1 . . . . . . . . . . 31. Thereupon, when the third symptom of a ravager of the country occurs, the priestly people are disturbing the tradition, so that they speak nothing wisely; it is even on this account they do not accept them, and it is not when one speaks truly that the ravager of the country believes them, and through him, too, they ravage the house, through him the village, through him the community, through him the province, and through him even the whole of that manifestation in the country of any teaching whatever that occurs through the ravager of the country; and so, too, the country should keep a man who is observant and learned on the watch, because information is in his mind. 32. Thereupon, when the fourth symptom of a ravager of the country occurs, it upsets the replenishment of the fires, and upsets those men of the righteous, so that they shall not undertake the care of them; and thus they shall not convey the holy-water to him who is a priestly authority, so that they may not produce the seizing upon the stipend of the priestly authorities by him who is the ravager of the country; through him, too, they ravage the house, through him the village, through him the community, through him the province, and through him even the whole of that
manifestation in the country of any teaching whatever that occurs through the ravager of the country; and so, too, the country should keep a man who is observant and learned on the watch, because information is in his mind.'
33. About the collapse of the sovereignty of Irân, it also states this, namely: 'That very villain (mar), O Zaratûst! brings those provinces on to running astray, so that he may make-those quite dissevered which constitute the existence of that powerful sovereignty; and then he is a thorough assailant of the righteous, then he is an assailant of the righteous with eagerness. 34. That same deadly one (mar), O Zaratûst! does not continue living long afterwards; moreover his offspring disappear (that is, they perish utterly); but his soul falls to the bottom of the gloomy existence which is horrible hell, and upon their bodies every kind of unseemly unhappiness comes from themselves, owing to their own actions when they give approval to the imprisonment of a guardian of spiritual affairs who is eloquent, true-speaking, and righteous. 35. Against that deadly one he contends, O Zaratûst! for the spiritual lordship and priestly authority that I approve as good for the whole embodied existence; also against the preparation of a decree to produce evil decisions, and against the dismissal of litigants, whether heterodox or orthodox, who are of a family of serfs of a far-situated village and are making petitions.'
36. 'And as to the land, too, over which he wanders, the evil spirit utterly devastates their country through pestilence and other misery; and, moreover, strife which is tormenting falls upon that
country, besides demon-worship which is iniquitous, and besides slander which is iniquitous. 37. And the strife which is iniquitous is not to be dissipated (apâsî-aîtanŏ) from that country, nor the demon-worshippers who are iniquitous, nor the slander which is iniquitous, before the time when they give approval to him, to the priest who is a guardian of spiritual affairs, who is eloquent, true-speaking, and righteous; and it is when they give him approval, that they obtain healthfulness for their country when they pray for it, and not irregularly from him, O Zaratûst! '
38. And this which is recounted is a statement that is execrated (nafrîg-aîtŏ) by many, details from the Avesta as to occurrences that will arise after Vistâsp until the dispersion (angâvisnŏ) of the sovereignty of Irân from the country of Irân; it is also declared that this which is written happened to the knowledge of those of the world. 39. This, too, is about the evidence of the above:—'And if this which is declared from the Avesta, as to what happens after Kaî-Vistâsp until the end of the sovereignty of Irân, should not have happened, and it being the pre-eminence of the Avesta which really became this present treasure, it thereby ensues, owing to its position in that former 1, and the manifest absence of the destruction of those rulers and high-priests from Vistâsp onwards in this latter 2, that it could not be connected with us 3.'
82:1 Referring to king Valkhas the Askânian (probably Vologeses I, see S.B.E., vol. xxxvii, p. 413); possibly also to Ardashîr Pâpakân.
82:2 So here, but usually written Shapîgân, and sometimes Shaspîgân. It was no doubt a royal treasury, and Dk. V, iii, 4, calls it so, but uses the words gangŏ-î khûdâyân, in which Gâmâsp is said to have deposited the Avesta and Zand written in gold upon ox-hides. If Shapîgân be a corruption of shâyagân, 'royal,' it is singular that some copyist has not corrected the spelling.
83:1 Av. Spentô-dâta of Yt. XIII, 103, a son of Vistâsp, with whom Avesta dynastic history ends. He was the Persian Isfendiyâr, and his son Vohûmanô is unknown to the Avesta. The Kitradâd Nask (Dk. VIII, xiii, 18) mentions a 'Namûn, son of Spend-shêd,' which probably stands for 'Vohûmanô, son of Spend-dâd.' but this appears to have been in a Pahlavi supplement compiled in Sasanian times. He is also mentioned in Bd. XXXIV, 8, a chapter 'about the computation of years by the Arabs,' according to the Irânian Bundahis.
83:2 Av. Saêna of Yt. XIII, 97, where the last clause of the passage here translated from the Avesta occurs. Compare Zs. XXIII, 11.
83:3 Not in the extant Avesta.
83:4 The demon of Wrath.
83:5 Av. gen. Erezvau and Srûtô-spâdau in Yt. XIII, 115.
83:6 These two names are written in their Av. gen. forms, as they occur in Yt. XIII, 115.
84:1 If the chronology in Bd. XXXIV, 7, 8 were correct, the interval between the first revelation of the religion and the death of Alexander would be 272 years, and this would make the 400th year of the religion coincide with B.C. 195.
84:2 That is, for a generation. The meaning appears to be, that these four successive high-priests insure the continuance of orthodox religion for more than a century, or well into the sixth century of the religion, as mentioned in § 10.
84:3 The MS. has the cipher for 'three,' by mistake.
84:4 Here written in Avesta characters.
84:5 In Dk. III, cxcviii, 2, this apostate is said to have been an p. 85 associate (ham-pâîgar) of the Christian ecclesiastic Akvân, and yells out ten admonitions contradicting those of the righteous Sênôv who is mentioned in § 6 (see Peshotan's edition, vol. v, pp. 239, 311). It does not follow that he was a contemporary of Sênôv, and here he seems to be placed fully two centuries later.
85:1 Probably Aûharmazd.
85:2 The founder of the Sâsânian dynasty, who reigned as king of the kings of Persia, AD. 226-241.
85:3 Most of these qualities are applied to the angel Srôsh, the personification of obedience (see Yas. LVII, 1); also to Kavi Vistâspa and Karsna, son of Zbaurvant, in Yt. XIII, 99, 106.
85:4 Av. Ashis vanguhi, 'good rectitude,' personified as a female angel; her description is given in Yt. XIII, 107, and is similar to that of Anâhita in Yt. V, 64.
85:5 So spelt here and in §§ 17, 18, thrice in all; it is also thrice spelt Tansar, in Dk. III, last chapter, 7; IV, 25, 25, and this mis-spelling has led to the mis-pronunciation Tôsar. It appears, however, that Tanvasar is a transposition of Tanvars, 'hairy-bodied,' p. 86 because we are told that Tansar, or Tanvasar, was so called on account of all his limbs being covered with hair (vars). his statement occurs in the introduction to Tanvasar's letter to Gushnaspshâh (Ar. Gasnasf-shâh), king of Padashkhvârgar (Ar. Farshvâdgar) and Tabaristân; and is made on the authority of an old Pahlavi copyist, Bahrâm Khûrzâd, whose Pahlavi was translated into Arabic by Ibn al-Muqaffa in the middle of the eighth century, and that into Persian early in the thirteenth century (see Darmesteter's edition in Journal Asiatique for 1894, pp. 185-250, 502-555).
87:1 A high-priest who was prime minister of king Shahpûhar II (AD. 309-379). He is often mentioned in Pahlavi writings, but in the Avesta he is only alluded to, apparently, by the title Râstare-vaghent in Yt. XIII, 106.
87:2 A translation of Av. spenta-ârmaiti, the archangel Spendârmad.
87:3 So written, all three times in Pâzand. He is the Avarethra-bangh, p. 88 son of Râstare-vaghent of Yt. XIII, 106, better known as Zaratûst, son of Âtûrpâd in his old age, for whom the Andar’z-î Âtûrpâd-î Mâraspendân was written.
88:1 Whose pedigree is traced back to Mânûskîhar in Bd. XXXIII, 3.
88:2 Probably some disciple of Mânih, the heretic who had been put to death AD. 276-7. Mazdag was put to death AD. 528. See S.B.E., vol. xxxvii, pp. 257 n, 278 n.
89:1 This quotation, from a Pahlavi version of an Avesta text, would probably be very applicable to the state of the Persian people at many periods in the fourth and fifth centuries, when heresy was prevalent and orthodox Zoroastrianism was by no means universal. Some of the evils mentioned are inseparable from slavery at all times.
89:2 Literally 'immortal-soulled,' Anôshak-rûbân, the usual title of king Khusrô I, who reigned A. D. 531-578. Before he became king, A. D. 528 or 529, he had summoned an assembly of priests to condemn the heretic Mazdag, when the last important revision of the Pahlavi versions of the Avesta probably took place (see Byt. I, 6-8, and Nöldeke's Gesch. der Sas. pp. 463-466).
90:1 Of the good spirits.
91:1 The whole of this section is omitted in the old MS., evidently by mistake. Perhaps the second symptom of devastation was connected with the evil deeds of the warrior class, but this is very uncertain. Passages of four or five words are also omitted by the MS. in §§ 31, 32.
93:1 The above declaration from the Avesta.
93:2 The present Avesta itself.
93:3 Meaning perhaps that, for some good reason, it could not be communicated to us in the extant Avesta. If § 39 be not a later addition to this chapter, it implies that the prophetical quotations from the Avesta, regarding the history of the religion after the time p. 94 of Vistâsp, were no more extant in the Avesta, when the Dînkard was compiled, than they are now.