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Pahlavi Texts, Part V: Marvels of Zoroastrianism (SBE47), E.W. West, tr. [1897], at


1. About his coming to thirty years of age it is thus declared, that on the lapse of thirty years onwards from his appearance, on the day Anêrân of the month Spendarmad 2, he had proceeded in that direction in which there occurred the so-called festival of spring (gasnŏ-î vahâr) 3, forty-five days beyond

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new-year's day, at a place become specially noted, where people went, from many quarters, out to the place of festival (gaskâr).

2. When Zaratûst, for the sake of going off to the festival place, halted on the way in walking, he chanced upon a solitary (aêvatâk) plain, and he saw, in a vision, that mankind and a much-adorned worldly existence were kept away to the north, so that all the people in the earth have become fully manifest in the north. 3. And he at the head (pavan têkh) of them wasdyômâh, son of Arâstâî 1, even as Ârâstâî was brother of Pôrûshaspô 2; Mêdyômâh was the leader of all mankind who have gone out to the presence of Zaratûst, and he became their guide, so that first Mêdyômâh and afterwards the whole material existence are attracted.

4. And about his coming out to the conference, on the lapse of those forty-five days, at the place of festival at dawn on the day Dadvô 3-pavan-Mitrô of the month Ardavahistô. 5. And Zaratûst, for the purpose of squeezing the Hôm, went forth to the bank of the water of the Dâîtîh, because it is the river 4 of the conference for the supremacy (patîh) of Zaratûst, and is the water of Âvân 5 which has consisted of four channels (bêtâ). 6. Zaratûst also

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passed on through it; and its first channel was up to the ankle 1, the second up to the knee, the third up to the parting of the two thighs, and the fourth up to the neck. 7. This was an indicator that his religion comes four times to supremacy; the manifestations of which are through Zaratûst, Aûshêdar, Aûshêdar-mâh, and Sôshâns 2.

8. When he came up from the water, and put on his clothes, he then saw the archangel Vohûmanô 3 in the form (âyûînakŏ) of a man, handsome, brilliant, and elegant, who wore his hair curve-tailed 4, because the curved tail is an indication of duality; who had put on and wore a dress like silk, than which there was no making anything superior, for it was light itself; and his height was nine times as much as that of Zaratûst.

9. He also enquired of Zaratûs5 thus: 'Who mayst thou be, and from whom of them mayst thou be? also what is mostly thy desire, and the endeavour in thy existence?' 10. And he replied thus: 'I am Zaratûst of the Spîtâmas; among the existences righteousness is more my desire, and my wish is that I may become aware of the will of the sacred beings, and may practise so much righteousness as they exhibit to me in the pure existence.'

11. And Vohûmanô directed Zaratûs6 thus: 'Do

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thou proceed to an assembly of the spirits!' 12. As much as Vohûmanô walked on in nine steps, Zaratûst did in ninety steps, and when he had gone ninety steps farther than him, he saw the assembly of the seven archangels. 13. When he came within twenty-four feet of the archangels, he then did not see his own shadow on the ground, on account of the great brilliancy of the archangels; the position of the assembly was in Iran, and in the direction of the districts on the bank of the water of the Dâîtîh. 14. Zaratûst offered homage, and spoke thus: 'Homage to Aûharmazd, and homage to the archangels!' and he went forward and sat down in the seat of the enquirers.

15. As to the asking of questions by Zaratûst, he enquired of Aûharmazd thus: 'In the embodied world which is the first of the perfect ones, which the second, and which the third?' 16. And Aûharmazd replied thus: 'The first perfection is good thoughts, the second good words, and the third good deeds.'

17: Zaratûst also enquired thus: 'Which thing is good, which is better 1, and which is the best of all habits?' 18. And Aûharmazd replied thus: 'The title 2 of the archangels is good, the sight of them is better, and carrying out their commands is the best of all habits.'

19. Afterwards he demonstrated the duality of the original evolutions (bûn gastânŏ) 3, and the divergence in each control, and spoke thus: 'Of those spirits, he who was wicked preferred the

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practice which is iniquitous (Aharman's desire was for the practice which is iniquitous), and the spirit of righteousness, the propitious (Aûharmazd) prefers righteousness 1.' 20. Specially he demonstrated the divergence in each control of the exhibitors of light, and he spoke thus: 'Neither our thoughts 2, nor desires, nor words, nor deeds, nor religion, nor spiritual faculties agree 3; he who is loving light, his place is with the luminaries; and he who is loving darkness is with the dark ones 4.'

21. On the same day also, his omniscient wisdom appeared three times: as regards the same first questions, it pointed out the sky in great light and splendour, and in its exhibition of the prevention of darkness, at the sight of which it becomes an opposing existence as regards that darkness. 22. And it exhibited its own appearance proportionally to the sky, when it kept its head at the summit of the sky, its feet at the bottom of the sky, and its hands reached to both sides of the sky; the sky also kept it covered, in the manner of a garment.

23. The six archangels 5 were manifest by their similar stature (ham-basnîh), in such manner that it is obvious each one successively is apparently one finger's breadth shorter than the other. 24. The archangels exhibited three kinds of achievement

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[paragraph continues] (pasâkhtan) 1 for the religion; first, by means of fires, and Zaratûst walked three steps on them, with the words, 'good thoughts, good words, and good deeds,' and was not burnt; and secondly, hot metal is poured on to his chest, cooled thereby, and, grasping it with his hand, he held it for the archangels. 25. Aûharmazd spoke thus: 'After the establishment of the pure religion, when a dispute occurs in the religion, those who are thy disciples will pour it on to a spiritual lord, they will take it up with the hand, and will thoroughly believe in him who is over the whole embodied existence.' 26. The third was cutting with a knife, and the vital parts (ahvôn) becoming visible, which are inside the abdomen, with a flowing forth of blood; and, after the hands are rubbed over it, it became healed. 27. And this is pointed out, namely: 'Thy and thy coreligionists’ accepting of the pure religion is, as to the steadfast in other religions, such that, through such-like burning of fire, pouring of hot metal, and through an operation with a sharp instrument, there is no perversion from the good religion.'


154:1 T inserts 'not' here, which is clearly wrong, and must have been introduced by some copyist who did not observe that the assembly, though learned, was sinful; and that the object of the anecdote is to exhibit Zaratûst's ability to distinguish between good works and sin, when still untaught by the sacred beings.

154:2 On the last day of the twelfth Parsi month.

154:3 The Maidhyôzaremaya season-festival, held on the fifteenth day of the second Parsi month.

155:1 See Yt. XIII, 95.

155:2 So Mêdyômâh was first cousin of Zaratûst, and became his first convert; see also Chap. XXIII, 1.

155:3 The Pahlavi letters represent Av. dadhvau, 'creator'; compare the Khvârizmian name of the fifteenth day of the month in Sachau's Albîrûnî, p. 57, l. 35. The date here given is the fifteenth of the second month, as in § 1.

155:4 Assuming that rud stands for rûd.

155:5 Probably Anâhita, the female spirit of pure water, mentioned by her title Arêdvisûr in Chap. XVI, 3.

156:1 Literally 'up to the leg (zang).'

156:2 The past and future apostles of Zoroastrianism. For the last three, see Dk. VII, ix-xi.

156:3 Compare Dk. VII, iii, 51-54.

156:4 Assuming that vagdumak is a variant of the usual gagdûmak. The scorpion (vagdum) would be a sign of duality, as, being a noxious creature, it was produced by the evil spirit Aharman.

156:5 Compare Dk. VII, iii, 55-59.

156:6 Compare ibid. iii, 60-6a.

157:1 Both MSS. have 'worse' here.

157:2 This title, ameshaspenta, is 'immortal benefactor.'

157:3 The two prime movers in creation.

158:1 Quoted from Pahl. Yas. XXX, 5 ab. The words in parentheses are glosses inserted by the Pahlavi translator.

158:2 Both MSS. have 'spirits' by inserting a stroke in the middle of the Pahlavi word.

158:3 An imperfect quotation, omitting glosses, from Pahl. Yas. XLIV, 2 cde (Sp.).

158:4 A similar idea is expressed in Vd. XIX, 30, but the Pahlavi version of half of it is lost.

158:5 Apart from Aûharmazd, their president.

159:1 By way of ordeal, a relic of the old faith in incantation.

Next: Chapter XXII