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The Dabestan-e Madaheb, or 'School of religious doctrines' -- Part 14

From the translation of David Shea and Anthony Troyer, 1843. Notes in square brackets [] were added by JHP.


14. Zoroastrianism

The fourteenth section of this chapter of the Dabestan treats of the followers of Zartosht. Farzanah Bahram, the son of Farhad, the Yazdanian thus relates in the Sharistan: The Behdin sages relate that the Almighty, on creating the holy spirit of Zartosht, attached it to a tree, when He commenced the creation of contingent beings in the highest starry heavens: this signifies the primary intellect, which is as a tree; the leaves and fruits of which are all contingent existences; and their assertions concerning the spirit of Zartosht being attached to it, means that his intellectual soul is a ray of the primary intelligence, the perfections of Zartosht being also an effulgence proceeding from that same tree.

Influence of the cow on Zartosht's birth

The Mobed Sarush, the Yazdanian, relates: "The teachers of the Behdin faith have thus said: 'The father of Zartosht had a cow which went forth every morning to the pasture; having one day come accidentally to some trees, the fallen leaves of which had become dried up, she partook of them, and after that occurrence never fed on any other provender except the withered leaves of that grove. Zartosht's father partook of the milk supplied by this cow, and the influence of it being communicated to his wife Dukdaub, she conceived Zartosht.'" The object of the above narrative is to show, that by eating the green foliage, the vegetable spirit is afflicted; for which reason the cow fed only on dry leaves, so that no injury could result to any spirit whatever: although, in fact, the vegetable spirit is incapable of receiving either pleasure or pain, it also shows, that unless a cow be milked, she feels great pain in the udder, while, at the time of milking, no pain ensues from the operation; also, that the Almighty formed His prophet's body out of milk, which in its essence implies no injury to any living creature. This much being premised, Zartosht Bahram, a Mobed of the religion of Zartosht, says: When the world had been thrown into confusion by the wicked, and was entirely at the mercy of the demon, God willed to raise up a prophet of an exalted dignity, which the family of Faridoon was alone worthy of filling. In those days lived a man, by name Pourushasp, the son of Patirasp descended from Faridoon; and his wife's name was Dukdaub, a virtuous matron, who was also of the family of Faridoon. These two persons were selected by the Almighty as the shells for enclosing the pearl of Zartosht. When five months of Dukdaub's pregnancy had elapsed, she one night beheld in a dream her house enveloped in a dark cloud, which concealed the splendor of the sun and moon; and from this cloud were raining down the noxious and rapacious creatures of earth and air; the boldest of these animals having rent open Dukdaub's womb, took out the infant, which he held in his talons, and the other wild beasts gathered around him. Dukdaub in her alarm wished to cry out, but Zartosht prevented her, saying: "The just God befriends me; entertain no apprehensions." She consequently held her peace. That instant she beheld a shining mountain which descended from heaven and rent the black cloud asunder; on which the noxious animals began to fly away. When the mountain approached nearer there came forth from it a youth shining all over, bearing in one hand a luminous branch, and in the other the volume sent by the just God. He next hurled that volume toward the beasts, on which they all departed from the house, excepting three; a wolf, a lion, and a tiger: the youth then smote these with the luminous branch, so that they were consumed by fire; after this, taking Zartosht, he restored him to his mother's belly, and said to her: "Fear not! grieve not! for God himself is thy son's guardian: this honored child shall be the prophet of the just God!" The youth then disappeared, and Dukdaub awaking, rose up that gloomy night, and hastening to a neighboring seer who was skilled in the interpretation of dreams, related her vision. The interpreter answered: "Through this sun-resembling child, the world shall be filled with thy fame; depart, and bring hither the calculation of thy nativity for my inspection." She performed his command; and the interpreter on examining it said: "During three days keep this secret concealed from all; return hither on the fourth day, and receive the answer to thy demands." She did so; and on the fourth day came to the astrologer, who smiled on beholding her, and having carefully considered the sidereal influences, turned to the interpretation of the dream, saying: "The night on which thou beheldest that vision, the unborn child had completed five months and twenty-three days; on his issuing forth to the couch of existence his illustrious name shall be Zartosht; by him shall the enemies of the faith be destroyed; but they will previously oppose him in battle, and put in practice every hostile measure; from the evil doers thou shalt feel much affliction, such as thou didst witness from the wild beasts of the vision.

"At last victorious and rejoiced in heart thou shalt become,
And through this unborn child feel all a mother's joy."

Next thou beheldest a youth descending from the sixth heaven with the glittering branch of a tree; that was Farrah-i-Izad, 'the splendor of God,' the warder of evils from thy son; the written volume in his hand is the emblem of the prophetic office, by which he is to obtain the victory over all foes; the three wild beasts which remained behind are the type of a powerful evil-disposed enemy, who by wiles will endeavor to destroy Zartosht, but who shall be finally discomfited; and there shall be a prince to promulgate the faith: through his might shall Zartosht become sovereign of this world and the next. O Dukdaub! paradise is the recompense of obedience to Zartosht, and hell is the reward of those who avert the face from him. Would to heaven that I could live in the days of his mission, to exhibit my zeal for his eminent dignity." Dukdaub then said to the interpreter and astrologer: "How hast thou found out the circumstance of the exact period of my pregnancy?" To this he replied: "Through the power of knowledge of the stars and the perusal of ancient records, which give an account of his auspicious existence." Dukdaub, on her return home, told this event to Pourushasp that he might communicate it to Patirasp; on which both parents joined in praising the Almighty. Zartosht, on issuing forth into the abode of existence, laughed aloud at the moment of his birth, so that the women of the neighborhood who were there assembled heard the sound of his laugh, and even his father, Pourushasp,

"Said to himself, he must surely be an emanation of God,
All, with the exception of him, weep on coming into the world."

He then gave him the name of Zartosht,

"Thus the dream-interpreter's word was verified."

His miraculous infancy

All the women became jealous at the laugh of Zartosht, and this wonderful occurrence was spread abroad, until it came to the hearing of Daran Sarun, the king of that region, who gloried in the practice of magic and the worship of Ahriman. He had information of the appearance of Zartosht, and it was known from the historians and astronomers that he will reveal a better religion and destroy that of Ahriman. He therefore hastened to the pillow of Zartosht, and commanding him to be taken out of the cradle, and putting his hand to his sword, prepared to cut off the child's head; but that instant his band was dried up, so that he left the house in pain and affliction; on which all the magicians and worshipers of Ahriman (the only worship which prevailed at that time) became quite alarmed. The magicians then formed a mountain of wood, naphtha, and sulfur, and having set it on fire, threw into the midst of it Zartosht, whom they had by force taken from his father, and hastened with this intelligence to their king; but, through the aid of God,

The devouring flame became as water,
In the midst of which slumbered the pearl of Zartosht.

On learning this, Zartosht's mother hurried to the desert, and taking her honored son out of the embers, bore him secretly home. After many days, when the account of his deliverance was published abroad, the magicians, evil spirits, and demons again bore Zartosht away, and threw him into a narrow place, a thoroughfare for the passage of oxen, that he should be exposed to be bruised and trampled under foot. Through the goodness of God, a powerful cow came in front, and, standing still, took Zartosht between her fore feet, and drove off with her horns whatever cow came in that direction: when the whole had passed, she also went to join them; and Dukdaub, after great search, having discovered her honored son, took him home: when this intelligence came to Duran Sarun, he commanded them to expose Zartosht in a far narrower defile through which horses were to pass; but, owing to divine aid, a mare advanced before the others, and standing at the child's head kept a strict watch over him, and Dukdaub, after encountering great hardship, bore her fortunate offspring home. On learning this occurrence, Duran Sarun ordered persons to repair to the dens of the ravening wolves, and having slaughtered their cubs, then expose Zartosht in the same place, in order that the dams out of revenge might tear him to pieces. At night, when the troop of wolves returned to their lairs, they beheld their cubs slaughtered and weltering in blood, and at the same time finding an infant crying out, they all hurried toward him; the chief wolf and the boldest of them, having rushed on to devour Zartosht, his mouth became as sewn up: at this miracle the wolves were altogether alarmed, and seated themselves like so many nurses around the infant's head; at the same time there also came two sheep from the mountain region, which applied their teats filled with milk to the lips of Zartosht: thus the sheep and the wolf lay down in one place. With the morning dawn, his mother after anxious seeking and searching, came to that frightful place, raised up the exalted prophet, and having poured out her gratitude to God, proceeded with exultation to her home. The magicians, on hearing this miracle, became quite despondent; they assembled to devise some remedy, and formed a council for the purpose of deliberating, when a celebrated magician named Purtarush and Parantarush said to them: "Zartosht is not to be destroyed by your plans, for God befriends him, and the angel Khwarrah-i-Yazad 'the splendor of God,' is ever with him. Vohuman (who is the same as Gabriel) has borne Zartosht to the presence of the Almighty; and God having imparted to him the knowledge of all the secrets of existence, sends him forth as a prophet. A just sovereign will cooperate with him in promulgating his faith, and every vestige of enchanters and Devs shall he cut off from the earth."

The father of Zartosht said one day to Partarush: "Give me some account of Zartosht's star and its rise; tell me also why he laughed at the time of his birth." Partarush replied: "Thy son Zartosht is to be a chief, as all the happy spheres afford him aid; this offspring of auspicious career will conduct the creatures of God in the true way; promulgate the Zand-Avesta; destroy the demon and enchanters, and finally king Vishtasp shall embrace his faith." This announcement gave great delight to Pourushasp.

At this time there lived an aged saint named Barzinkaroos, of profound experience and clear discernment; this sage having come to the house of Pourushasp, entreated that he might be allowed to bring up Zartosht, and acquire glory by his education. Pourushasp consented to this proposal, and entrusted the infant to the holy sage.

When Zartosht had attained his seventh year, Purtarash, the chief of the magicians, came along with Duransanun to the child's abode; and made so great a display of enchantments, terrific and fearful sights, that all the people fled out of the home; but Zartosht, through the aid of God, felt no alarm and moved not, so that the magicians went away filled with affright and disappointment. After some time Zartosht became ill, at which news all the magicians were greatly delighted; their chief Partarosh came, with enchantments and medicine mixed up with mina [semen], to Zartosht's pillow and said: "The swallowing of this medicine will render thy body tranquil and deliver thee from pain." The illuminated mind of Zartosht saw through the machination, and taking the medicine from him, poured it on the ground, and at the same time telling him about the mina mixed up with the potion, said:

"Shouldst thou in a different guise conceal thy violence,
I can again recognize thee, O thou full of deceit!
Thy description is furnished to me by that God
Through whose command the world is preserved."

The magicians consequently again returned back mortified at the results of their wicked plot. They say that in those times they accounted no system superior to that of magic, and that the demon held public intercourse with persons of that class so that they obtained it from Iblis without the intervention of enchantment:

"Mankind then praised the foul demon,
As they now do the God of purity."

Nay, Pourushasp, the father of Zartosht, followed that path; one day having invited Duransarun, Parantarush, and many more magicians to a feast, he made the suitable arrangements, and when the repast was ended, he said to Parantarush, the chief of the magicians: "Through the excellence of enchantment, whereby our hearts are gladdened and our necks exalted, thy noble person at this period is the spiritual guide of all magicians." Zartosht, being indignant at this speech, said to his father: "Abandon this erroneous way, and turn to the faith of God; hell must finally be the abode of magicians and enchanters." These words greatly incensed Purtarush, who replied: "Of what consequence art thou before thy father! The intelligent of the earth, and the great men of the habitable world dare not address such insolence to me! Art thou not afraid of me? Dost thou not know me? For this thy insolence I shall spread among mankind such calumnies and lies respecting thy creed that thou must remain in obscurity. What is thy power that, without courtesy, thou darest slight my dignity!

"May thy name be more degraded than that of all other men!
May no desire of thy heart be ever accomplished!"

Zartosht replied: "O son of earth! the lie thou utterest respecting my creed will render thyself before God and man the butt of censure; in retaliation I shall tell nothing but truth concerning thee, and overpower thee by just arguments and proofs:

"By order of the righteous God's messenger,
I shall turn thy empire upside down."

All who were present as well as the magicians, remained in astonishment at such a stripling's great intellect, so that Parantarush left the house and hastened home, covered with confusion and disgrace: that night he fell sick, and his people also being attacked by illness at the same time, were hurried along with him to the house of retribution.

When the honored age of Zartosht had reached the fifteenth year, he attached not his heart to this place of sojourn, neither did he set any value on the world or its concerns; but fleeing away from wrath and the pleasures of sense, he with pious fear labored night and day in the service of God; wherever he found anyone hungry, thirsty, naked, or helpless, he bestowed on them food, raiment, and the needful supplies; his piety and sincerity were consequently renowned among all people, although he withdrew from the public gaze.

When he had reached the age of thirty, he directed his face toward Iran, in company with several men an women and some of his own relations; in the course of this journey, they came to a large expanse of water, on which there was not a boat to be found. As it is not meet for women to expose their persons, particularly before strangers, he became anxious about the means of taking them over in the presence of their fellow travelers; he therefore poured out his distress before the God of justice, entreating from him a passage over that wide expanse of water; after which, by the order of the Almighty, he crossed over, with his companions and relations, in such guise that the soles of their feet only were moistened by the water; finally, in the end of Spandarmad, on the day of Anagran, which is the last day of every solar month, he reached the confines of Iran. At that period the people of Iran held a great festival at which were assembled both high and low, and therefore Zartosht took his course to that quarter. At night, while alone in some halting place, through his enlightened spirit he beheld in a vision a mighty army advancing from Bactria, or the West, which from hostile motives blocked up his road on every side; in the same place he beheld another army coming from Nimroz, or "midday," and when both armies came to close quarters with the sword, the Bactrian or Western troops were put to the rout. The examiner of the vision thus interpreted it: "When Zartosht, having been taken into the presence of God, should discover all the mysteries of creation, that afterward, on his return from heaven, to promulgate the Dinbahi, or 'true faith,' the Devs and magicians, having found out his intentions, would with all expedition make war against him. Mizumah, angel who attends the servants of God, on learning this, will promote the better faith, and in consequence the Avesta and Zand will be read with a loud voice, and through this the demons and magicians shall be dispersed and flee away." On the interpretation of the dream, he hastened to the festival, inspired with great delight.

When he had returned from the banqueting-place, he set out about the middle of Ardwahisht, on the Day-pa-Mihr, the fifteenth day of every solar month, and came to a deep, broad, and extensive water named Dabati, in the Astawasta; there recommending himself to the Lord, he stepped into the water, which at first rose up to the calf of his legs, then to his knees, waist, and finally to his neck; which event was thus interpreted: "The division of the water into these four portions signifies, that in nine thousand years the Dinbahi, 'the true faith,' shall be four times renewed: the first time by the agency of Zartosht, who was sent to promulgate the Bahdin; the second by Ushedar; the third by Ushedarmah; and the fourth by Saoshyant; all four descendants from Zartosht."

When the prophet had gained the opposite shore, he washed his person as pure as his soul, and putting on undefiled garments, engaged in prayer. That very day, Bahram, the mightiest of the angels (whom the Mohammedans call Gabriel) came robed in light to Zartosht, and having asked his name, said: "What dost thou most desire in this world?" Zartosht having answered, "I have no desire but that of pleasing God; my heart seeks after nothing but righteousness; and my belief is that thou wilt guide me to do what is good." Then Bahram replied: "Arise that thou mayest appear before God; entreat from His Majesty whatever thou desirest; from His bounty He will return thee a profitable answer." Zartosht then arose, and according to Bahram's order shut his eyes for an instant; on opening them he found himself in the bright empyreal, where he beheld an assemblage through whose effulgence his shadow became visible: from that assemblage to the next was a distance of twenty-four paces; and also another assemblage of beings formed of light waited on by virgins of paradise. The angels gathered around Zartosht and warmly greeted him, pointing him out to each other, until the honored son of Spitaman came before God, to whom with joyous heart and trembling body he addressed the prayers of supplication. It is necessary to observe here, that the Bahidinian, "believers of the eternal doctrine," unanimously maintain that Vohuman assumed the human figure, and that Zartosht ascended to the heavens in his elemental body; but, according to the creed of the intelligent Abadian, the matter is stated:

"By the coming of Vohuman in the human form and his speaking like a mortal, is meant that the true essence of man is uncompounded and simple, not a body nor anything material; and that under such a quality, that is, uncompoundedness, he manifested himself to Zartosht; and his saying 'close thy eyes,' is figurative, and implies the eradication of the attachments and darkness of the elemental body; when he thus became a simple uncompounded existence, he arrived at the heavens styled the 'eternal empyrean'; the first company of angels signifies the souls on high, and the second, the existence of the celestial intelligences; the interrogatories addressed to him by the angels imply, that when the soul leaves the upper world, it descends into this lower abode to encounter wanderings and calamity; but when, by the attractive influence of Bahram and through the energy of intelligence, it returns on high, the angels feel delight on the occasion. He next ascended to the world of simple, uncompounded beings, and came near God; the delight experienced by Zartosht signifies, the freedom from alarm and fear enjoyed in that pure world; and his bodily tremor is emblematic of the effulgence of the divine Majesty."

He then asked of the God of justice: "Which of thy servants on earth is superior to the rest?" God thus answered: "The righteous professor of righteousness; secondly, he who to righteousness joins generosity and liberality, walking unceasingly in the way of righteousness and withdrawing from evil; thirdly, he who is friendly to fire and water, to all living and animated beings; for man, by the knowledge and practice of this precept, delivers himself from hell and attains to union with the eternal paradise. O, Zartosht! whichever of my servants in this transitory sojourn of existence practices oppression and cruelty towards my creatures, and averts his head from obedience to my commands, repeat thou to such this warning: that unless he desist from rebellion, he shall dwell in hell to all eternity." Zartosht again asked: "0 most just God, impart to me the names of the Amahraspands, that is, of the angels the most acceptable in thy presence; gladden me by their names and sight; cause me to hear their discourse; and graciously enable me to discern the impious Ahriman, who turns not to good through his evil nature; give me power to behold the good and evil of this world, and its termination; the effect of the revolving sphere, with the successive production of modes or the reappearance of things." When he had thus laid before the Almighty the secret wishes of his heart, he received this answer: "I am the author of good; the benevolent and the beneficent; I neither do evil, nor enjoin it to be committed. I consent not to wickedness, neither do I bring calamity on my creatures: evil and wickedness belong exclusively to Ahriman. It is, however, incumbent on me to keep in hell to all eternity the troops of Ahriman in reward for their deeds: the ignorant only assert that I am the author of evil." The Almighty then made Zartosht acquainted with the celestial revolutions and the motions of the stars, and their good and evil influences he also showed him paradise filled with light, angelic nymphs, palaces, and Amahraspands; communicating to him at the same time the knowledge of all mysteries, and teaching him all sciences, so that he knew everything from the commencement of existence to the end of time; he likewise showed him Ahriman in the gloom of hell, who, on beholding Zartosht cried aloud: "Turn away from the faith of God, that thou mayest obtain all thy desires in this world."

When the Lord had thus instructed Zartosht, he beheld a mountain of flaming fire, which at the command of God he traversed without any injury to his person; they next poured molten brass on his guileless, silver-like bosom, and not a single hair of his body was touched; they next opened his stomach, and taking out all the intestines again replaced them, on which the wound immediately closed without leaving a vestige of the incision behind. The just God then said to Zartosht: "Thou hast passed over the mountain of fire, and hadst thy stomach rent open; therefore tell mankind whoever turns away from the Dinbahi, 'pure faith,' and passes over to Ahriman, in the same manner shall the blood of his body be poured out; he shall dwell in the fire, and never attain to the joys of paradise. Again, the molten brass, which on contact with thy breast became congealed like ice, causing thee no injury, is a sign that the nation, at the suggestion of Ahriman, will turn away from the faith; and also that when the Dinbahi shall be promulgated in the world, the high Mobed shall gird his loins to give them battle.

"The heart or mankind was harassed with doubt,
However thou knowest this brass was but a sign;
It is therefore meet that Adarbad, the son of Mahraspand,
Should impart to each individual counsel of every kind;
This molten brass he should pour on his breast,
From which no injury shall result to him.

So that, on beholding this miracle, all mankind with heart and soul will follow the right true road."

After this, Zartosht asked of the God of justice: "In what manner shall thy worshippers celebrate thy praise and what is to be their Kiblah?" The Lord answered: "Tell all mankind that every bright and luminous object is the effulgence of my light; at the time of worshipping me, let them turn to that side, in order that Ahriman may flee from them; in the world there is no existence superior to light, out of which I have created paradise, the angelic nymphs, and all that is pleasant, whilst hell was produced out of darkness.

wherever thou art, and in whichever of the two abodes,
Dost thou not perceive that either place is formed out of my light?"

Having thus taught Zartosht the Avesta and the Zand, he said to him: "Recite this celebrated volume to king Vishtasp, that through it he may obtain wisdom; tell him also to attain a perfect knowledge of me; no one should ever call me the worker of injustice; command the Mobeds and all mankind to separate themselves from demons and magicians."

Zartosht then enlarged on the praises of the Almighty Lord."

When the prophet's desires and purpose had been thus completely attained, he was met on his return by the Amahraspand Vohuman, the protector and chief of the sheep, who said to him: "To thee I deliver the sheep and all herds; tell the Mobeds, sages, and all men to guard them well; prohibit them from putting to death calf, lamb, young sheep, or any other quadruped, as men derive great benefits from them:

We must never be guilty of excess in slaughter.

I received these flocks from the Almighty, and now accept them from me; account not my words as unimportant, but inculcate obedience to them on young and old:" on which Zartosht accepted the trust.

The Mobed Sarush used to say: "The Yezdanians maintain that, when Vohuman forbade the killing of young quadrupeds, he well knew it to be equally wrong to slay the old; first, because in their youth, although they rendered many services, they received no wages for their labor; and secondly, in old age they produce young animals; consequently, where Zartosht in some passages holds it lawful to slay animals, but without committing excess; by the precept is meant, the expulsion of animal qualities from our existence; and by avoiding excess is meant, that we should gradually banish all vile propensities from ourselves, such as eating to excess, which is an animal quality, but which cannot be discontinued at once; it therefore becomes necessary to lessen the quantity of food gradually, as stated by us under the head of the Sahi Keshan."

After Vohuman, the Amahraspand Ardwahisht coming forward, said to Zartosht: "O accepted of God! hear from me this message to king Vishtasp, and say to him: 'To thee have I delivered whatever relates to fire. Let there be suitable places of great splendor in every city for the general worship; appoint stated times and Ervads, or 'ministers' for the purpose of adoration; because that light is an emanation of the divine effulgence. Dost thou not perceive how everything stands in need of fire, which requires only wood from the human race?

"Its body apprehends not death nor the decrepitude of age,
When thou layest wood within the influence of its sphere.

Such is its property to indicate the truth, that if you burn perfumes it diffuses fragrance among the assembled people: from unpleasant odors a correspondent effect ensues; it also banishes the affliction of cold. As fully as God hath delivered it to me, do I now give it in charge to thee! Whoever turns away from my counsel and advice becomes the captive of hell, and incurs the displeasure of God."

When Zartosht had departed from Vohuman, the Amahraspand Shahrewar came forward and said to him: "On thy arrival from the upper to the lower world, tell men to furbish and polish up their arms, and always to keep them in good order and readiness; in the day of battle let them not quit their posts, but display heroic exertion and not resign their post to any other."

Spandarmad then coming forward, after many benedictions said to Zartosht: "This is the command of the Almighty to mankind, let them keep the earth pure, and remove blood, pollution, and dead bodies to some uncultivated place.

Among princes, that sovereign is by far the best
who exerts himself to improve the face of the earth."

When Zartosht had departed thence, Hordad advanced, and with benedictions thus addressed him: "To thy charge I assign all waters of running streams, rivers, water-courses, rivulets, wells, and all besides; say thou to mankind

Through water is the body of every creature maintained in life;
Through it the face of every tract and region is kept in bloom.

Let them keep dead bodies far removed from it, and let them not defile it with blood or any dead carcass, as the food dressed with such water furnishes an unwholesome repast.

Amurdad next came forward and said to Zartosht: "Let not men heedlessly destroy the vegetable productions of the earth or pluck them from their place:

"As these form the delight of both man and beast.

Also, O prophet of God! send Mobeds around the whole country, and appoint a wise person in every city to communicate these tidings to all men: let them understand the Avesta, and bind around their waist the zone [kusti], which is a sign of the pure faith and constancy in it, and let them endeavor to keep the four substances (elements) undefiled:

Out of the four elements has the body of every animal
Been composed by the supreme and just Lord:
It is therefore necessary to keep them undefiled,
Accounting them among the choice blessings of God."

It is to be remembered that the conference of all these angels with Zartosht was a revelation and message from God; but there was a more transcendent dignity in this fact, that the Almighty himself addressed Zartosht without the intervention of angels, and imparted to him the mysteries of all that exists.'

Demons and Miracles

Zartosht having obtained from God the accurate knowledge of all mysteries, drew near this elemental world, while the magicians and demons, with a dreadful host, blocked up his road; after which the chief enchanter and the head of the demons and his host thus addressed Zartosht: "Keep the Avesta and Zand concealed; thy incantation, fraud, and artifice make no impression on us: if thou knowest us, thou wilt turn away from such practices." On hearing this, Zartosht recited aloud one chapter of the Avesta and Zand; when these sounds reached the demons, they hid themselves under the ground, and the magicians trembled; a part of the enchanters died on the spot, and the remainder implored for mercy.

The Mobed Surush, the Yezdanian, has been heard to say: "It is recorded in the treatise of Mihin Farush that, according to the doctors of the pure faith, when Zartosht had thus obtained the victory over the demons, and was proceeding to an interview with the great king Vishtasp, there happened to be two oppressive and infidel kings in his road; these Zartosht invited to adopt the pure faith and turn away from their evil practices; but they heeded not his words; he therefore prayed to God, and there began to blow a mighty wind, which lifted up these two kings on high and kept them suspended in the air; the people who came around were astonished on beholding this sight; the birds also from every quarter of the sky flocked around the two kings, and with beaks and talons tore off the flesh until their bones fell to the ground."

Zartosht the son of Bahram, says, that when Zartosht, after his victory, arrived at the court of the great king Vishtasp, he called on the name God, and then sought access to the sovereign. He beheld the first rank, composed of the grandees and champions of Iran and other regions, standing around; and above these two, ranks of sages, philosophers, and learned men, who took precedence of each other in proportion to their knowledge, for this great king was exceedingly attached to men of science; he next beheld the monarch of the world seated on a lofty throne, and his brows encircled with a costly crown, on which Zartosht in eloquent language recited the praises of the king.

Farzanah Bahram, the son of Farhad, of the Yazdanian sect, relates thus in the Sharistan: "The doctors of the pure faith say that when Zartosht entered into King Vishtasp's assembly, he held in his hand a blazing fire which caused him no injury; he then transferred that fire to the king's hands, which in like manner remained unhurt; he afterward gave it into the bands of others and still no trace of burning appeared; he next lay down, and ordered molten brass to be poured on his bosom four different times: although the molten metal came on his breast, no bodily injury resulted from it."

Zartosht the son of Bahram, adds: The sovereign of Iran having thus ascertained the dignity of the prophet of the human race, addressed him with terms of earnest affection, and ordering a chair to be brought, placed him in front of the royal throne, above the two ranks of the philosophers. Zartosht, agreeably to the king's command, having taken this seat manifested to all the assembly the precious diamonds of his intellectual stores. The sages and eminent men of the exterior circles on his right and left entered on the path of controversy, but were finally refuted, one after another. They say that on this day thirty of the sages seated on his right, being unable to withstand the arguments of Zartosht, bore testimony to his knowledge and truth; and in like manner thirty of the wise men on his left were overpowered and convinced. When such sages, who had not their equals in the seven climates, had been thus confuted, the illustrious prince called the prophet of the Lord into his presence, and for further conviction questioned him on various sciences and the traditions of old; and having received conclusive answers on all these points he was struck with amazement. The great king therefore assigned to the prophet of the just Lord a dwelling adjacent to his own palace, and the philosophers departed home with afflicted hearts. During the whole night they read over books with each other, and concerted with each other how they might, the following morning, conduct the argument and controversy with Zartosht; while the prophet of the Lord on coming to his house, according to his custom, desisted not until morning from acts of worship and praise. The following day, when Zartosht and the philosophers assembled around the king, whatever the sages advanced which was not strictly conformable to truth, Zartosht produced a hundred arguments, both theoretical and practical, to invalidate the assertion; and if they demanded a proof of whatever he himself advanced, he adduced a hundred convincing demonstrations. Vishtasp accordingly increased the dignity of the Lord's prophet, and inquired his name, lineage, and native city; to which questions Zartosht returned the meet answer and said: "O great king, tomorrow is the day of Ohrmazd, or the first of the month; command the chiefs of the military to assemble and all the philosophers to appear, that I may reduce all to silence, as I have done this assembly, and give answers which will dumbfound them; after which I shall execute the commission with which I am entrusted."

Vishtasp issued the requisite order, and they all returned home with this agreement. Zartosht, from inclination and habit, continued in supplication to the Lord; and the wise men said to each other: "This stranger has twice degraded us wise men, taken away our reputation, and obtained favor with the king." They therefore conferred with each other how they could most effectually oppose Zartosht and refute his arguments.

"With this understanding each retired to his own abode,
And through anxiety not one of them slept all that night."

On the third day, the nobles, doctors, and wise men assembled around the king, and Zartosht also advanced into the company: although the sages and learned men had mutually combined to confound him by argument, they were all finally refuted. When the philosophers were no longer able to utter a word, the superior personages gave place to Zartosht, on which the prophet of the Lord loosed his tongue and said to Vishtasp: "I am the envoy of the Lord the Creator of the heavens, earth, and stars; the disinterested bestower of daily food to his servant: he who has brought thee from non-existence into being and made kings thy servants has sent me to thee." Then taking the Avesta and Zand out of a case, he added: "This volume God has given to me, and sent me forth to the human race with the commandments named Astawazand, which require implicit obedience; if thou wilt conform to the commands of God, in like manner as he has made thee sovereign of the world, he will also make thee eternally happy in futurity and paradise; but if thou avert the head from his command, thou incurrest the displeasure of the just God; the foundation of thy greatness shall be rent, and thou shalt finally become a denizen of hell.

Adopt no line of conduct through the suggestion of a Dev.
From this time forward listen to my commands."

The great king replied: "What proof dost thou adduce, and what miracle dost thou perform? exhibit them, that I may instantly diffuse thy faith over all the world." Zartosht said: "One of my decisive proofs and miraculous works is this volume, on once listening to which thou shalt never more behold demon or magician: this volume contains the mysteries of both worlds, and clearly expounds the revolutions of the stars: there is no being in existence an account of which is not found in this book." The king then commanded: "Read me a section of this heavenly volume." Zartosht having read one chapter, Vishtasp not feeling a full conviction, said to him: "Thou hast urged a bold suit; but precipitancy in such an affair is by no means proper; I shall devote some days to exploring the nature of the Zand-Avesta: but in the meantime come thou hither as usual." Zartosht then

"Returned to the house assigned him by the king."

The enraged philosophers also came out and took counsel with each other about slaying Zartosht. The following morning, when Zartosht left the house to go to the king's palace, he delivered the key of his apartment to the king's porter; but the philosophers so deluded this man, that he gave up the key secretly to them; on which they opened the door of the prophet's apartment, and having put into bags unclean things which they had collected, such as blood, hair, a cat's head, a dog's head, dead men's bones and the like, placed them under his pillow, and having locked the door, gave the key back to the porter, previously obliging him to swear to keep the matter altogether secret; after this they went to the palace, where they beheld Zartosht seated near the king, who was engaged in reading the Zand-Avesta,

"Lost in amazement at the characters and words."

The philosophers said: "The Zand-Avesta is altogether magic, and this man is a wizard, who by force of spells has produced an impression on thy heart, in order to bring evil and confusion all over the world; but be not thou the wizard's ally." On hearing this, Vishtasp ordered persons to repair to Zartosht's house and make a careful examination; they went and immediately brought before the king whatever they found in the house, whether eatables, carpets, dresses, clothes-bags, etc., all which they opened in the king's presence; on this, the talons, hair, and such like impurities, which had been hidden there by the philosophers, were exposed to view. The king was greatly enraged, and said to Zartosht: "This is thy magic practice." The prophet of the Lord being quite astonished, replied: "I have no knowledge of these things; let his majesty inquire the particulars from the porter." The porter on being summoned, said: "Zartosht closed his door, and not even wind had access to it." The king became quite indignant and said to Zartosht: "They have not brought these sacks from heaven and hid them under the pillow." In his rage he threw away the Avesta-Zand, and sent Zartosht in chains to prison: there was also a porter appointed to give him a fixed allowance and keep strict watch. Zartosht remained in chains both day and night, the porter bringing him daily a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water; and one whole week passed in that manner.

They relate that Vishtasp had a royal steed called the "Black Charger," which the great king mounted on the day of battle:-

"When, mounted on this charger's back, he advanced to the fight,
The result of the combat terminated in victory."

One morning at dawn, the master of the horse beheld the Black Charger without fore or hind feet, which he saw were drawn up into his belly; in great haste he announced this event to the sovereign of the world. Vishtasp in great affliction hurried to the stable, summoning thither the veterinary surgeons, physicians, and learned men, all of whom exerted themselves in remedies and applications without any benefit resulting from their exertions. Through grief the king partook not of food that day, and the military were sorely afflicted. Zartosht, who in consequence of the general mourning had not received his allowance before evening, became hungry; when the evening had passed, the porter came and brought the provisions, stating at the same time what had befallen the Black Charger; on this the prophet of the Lord said to him: "Tomorrow tell the king that I can set this affair to rights." The next morning the porter conveyed the prophet's message to the king, on which orders were given to bring Zartosht into the royal presence. This favorable intelligence having been communicated to Zartosht, the prophet entered into a warm bath, and, after ablution, on appearing before the king he uttered benedictions on the sovereign of the world. Vishtasp then assigned him a place near himself, and having explained the state of the horse, added:

"If thou be truly a prophet sent from the Lord,
Thou canst easily restore this horse to perfect health."

Zartosht replied: "It thou wilt, O king, engage to perform four things, thou shalt again behold the charger's fore and hind legs." The king said: I accept the conditions: what is the first?" Zartosht replied: Let us all repair to the Black Charger's bed." On arriving there he said to the king: "Make thy heart and tongue of one accord: utter with thy tongue and repeat with thy heart, that without doubt, suspicion, or equivocation, I am a prophet and apostle sent from God." The king having agreed to this, the prophet of the Lord addressed his petitions to the God of justice, and then rubbing with his hand the horse's right forefoot, it straightway came out, on which the king and the soldiery loudly applauded the holy man.

After this, he said to the king: "Command the heroic Isfendiar to enter into a covenant with me that he will gird up his loins to promulgate the faith of the Lord." The prince was not averse, and entered into a solemn engagement; on which the apostle prayed to the Lord until the right hind leg came out.

He then said to the great king: "Send an Ustawar and an Amin along with me to the great queen Kitabun, in order that she may enter into the true faith." The king having assented, Zartosht on coming into the king's golden apartment thus addressed queen Kitabun: "Mighty princess! the Lord has expressly selected thee to share the couch of Vishtasp and to be the mother of Isfendiar. I am the Lord's prophet sent by him to the king: therefore adopt the pure faith." On this the great queen with heart and soul attached herself in sincerity to the prophet: after which Zartosht prayed, so that the other hind leg came out.

He then said to the king: "Now send for the porter; it is proper to inquire of him who it was that conveyed this stuff of magical preparation to my house." The king summoned the chamberlain and questioned him in a threatening tone, saying: "If thou wilt confess the truth, thou savest thy life; but otherwise, thou shalt have thy head under thy feet." The treacherous chamberlain implored pardon, and related all the particulars of the bribery and delusion practiced by the philosophers' friends. Vishtasp was exceedingly indignant, and ordered the four philosophers to be hanged. Zartosht then recited the prayers taught him by the Almighty, so that the other forefoot came out, and the swift charger stood on his legs. The sovereign of Iran kissed the prophet's head and face, and leading him to the throne, seated him near himself; he also requested pardon for his sin and gave back the prophet's goods.

The doctors of the pure faith also record that king Lohrasp and Zerir, brother to Vishtasp having fallen into so violent a malady, that the physicians in despair desisted from all attendance on them, but having been restored to health through the prayers of Zartosht, they adopted the pure faith.

Zartosht, the son of Bahram, relates: One day Zartosht, having come into the king's presence, he thus addressed the prophet of the Lord: "I desire to obtain four things from God; it is therefore meet that the prophet should request them: first, that I should behold my own state in the next world; secondly, that in the time of conflict no blow should make any impression on me, so that I may be able to diffuse the true faith; thirdly, that I may know thoroughly the mysteries of good and evil in this world; fourthly, that until the day of judgment my spirit may remain united to my body." Zartosht replied: "I will entreat the Lord to grant these four wishes: -

"But it is necessary that out of these four wishes
Thou shouldst implore one only for thyself:
Choose three wishes for three different persons:
That I may entreat them from the righteous Creator;
He will not confer on any one person these four gifts,
Because that person might say: 'I am the supreme Creator.'"

The king having agreed to this, Zartosht at the time of evening prayer went to his house, repeated the praises of the Almighty, entreating from him the accomplishment of the king's desires, and lay down in the act of adoration: in this state God showed him in a vision that the king's petition was granted. At dawn of day the king was seated on his throne; Zartosht appeared in the royal presence and came to his place; in a moment after, the king's chamberlain entering in great trepidation, said: "There are four terror-striking, awe-inspiring horsemen at the door:

Never before have I beheld horsemen of such a kind."

The king asked of Zartosht: "Who are these persons?" but he had scarcely done speaking before all the four horsemen dressed in green, completely armed, of majestic port, drew near the throne; them four cavaliers were of the number of those angels who are nearest the just God, and are of the great Amahraspands, namely, Vohuman, Ardwahisht, Azarkhurdad, and Azargushtasp, who thus addressed the king: "We are angels and the envoys of God. The Dispenser of justice thus declares: 'Zartosht is my prophet, whom I have sent to all the inhabitants of the earth; attend well to him; if thou devote thyself to his way, thou art delivered from hell. Never inflict pain on him; and when thou obtainest thy desires, avert not thy head from his commands.'"

King Vishtasp, although in magnanimity immovable as mount Alburz, yet through the majesty of the angels and their awful presence, fell senseless from his throne: on recovering himself he thus addressed the righteous Lord:

"I am the lowest of all thy servants
And have girt up my loins to execute thy orders."

When the Amahraspands heard this answer, they departed; and the military, on learning this wonderful occurrence, were all assembled: the king also, trembling all over, apologized to Zartosht:

"Thy command sits upon my soul;
My spirit is like the son of the Lord;
My body, soul, and wealth are all devoted,
By order of the just and glorious Creator."

The prophet of the Lord replied: "May good tidings ever attend thee! I have entreated from the Almighty the completion of thy desires, and my prayer has been granted." Zartosht then ordered that for the purpose of the Yashtan-i-darun, that is, "the recitation and breathing out of prayer," they should make ready in an inner apartment wine, sweet perfumes, milk, and a pomegranate; and over these he performed Yasht, or "the recitation of prayers," in a low voice, out of the Avesta and Zand; after this ceremony they gave Vishtasp some of the hallowed wine, on the mere tasting of which he became insensible and rose not up for three days: in that interval his spirit ascended to heaven, and there beheld the celestial nymphs, their palaces, progeny, and attendants; the blessings of paradise; the different gradations of rank among the virtuous, and the grade reserved for himself.

The prophet next presented to Bishutan some of that hallowed milk, on drinking of which he was delivered from the pangs of death and obtained eternal life. Some of the Yezdanian doctors hold, that by eternal life is implied the knowledge of one's own essence and soul, which never admit of decay; milk is also mentioned, as it constitutes the food of children and science is the food of spirit; on which account they have likened science to consecrated milk. He next gave Jamasp some of the hallowed perfume, through the efficacy of which universal science shed its luster on his heart; so that, from that very day of his existence, whatever was to come to pass until the day of judgment was clearly comprehended by him in all its details. He then gave one grain of the hallowed pomegranate to Isfendiar, who on eating it instantly became brazen-bodied, and his frame grew so hard that no bow could make an impression on it.

When the great king awoke from his vision, he broke out into praise and adoration; after which he called for Zartosht, to whom he related what he had witnessed, and commanded all men to receive the pure faith; then, being seated on his throne, he ordered the prophet of the Lord to recite some sections of the Zand in his presence. On hearing the Avesta, the demons fled and concealed themselves under the earth. The great king next commanded that in every city the Mobeds should attend to the observance of fire, erecting domes over it, and keeping stated festivals and time.

Account of the precepts given by Zartosht to the king and to all mankind

The prophet Zartosht, having read to the king some sections concerning the greatness and majesty of the Almighty, said to him: "As thou hast adopted the ways of God, the joy of paradise is to be thy portion but he who abandons that way is hurried off to hell by Ahriman, who feels delighted, and on making the capture says to his victim: 'Because thou hast abandoned the ways of God, therefore art thou fallen into hell.' But the just God is liberal to his servants, and has sent me to them, saying: 'Communicate my covenant to all created beings, that they may abandon their perverse ways.' I am his prophet sent to thee that thou mayst guide mankind to the right road; as the final result of persevering in the way of God is the attainment of paradise; and the retribution of devotedness to Ahriman is hell. He moreover commanded me: 'Say thou to mankind, if ye adopt the pure faith, then shall paradise be your place; but if ye receive it not, you follow the institutes of Ahriman, and hell shall be your abode.' The several demonstrations of Zartosht and his wondrous works are to you an abundant proof of the truth of his faith. Know also that at first he sought the world; but finally regarded wife, children, and relations as strangers to himself; he has moreover attained to such perfect faith, that the king and the mendicant are the same in his sight. He has enjoined me nothing more than this: neither has he given me permission to be your intercessor or to entreat from him remission of your sins: for protection extended to the evil doer is itself criminal, and the chastisement of evil deeds is true religion: he enjoined me also to entertain hope of his favor from my words and deeds."

Look to your acts and words, for they produce their sure effect,
The same seed that people sow, such the harvest they shall reap.

It is also expressly stated in the glorious Koran to the same purport: "On the very day when the spirit (Gabriel) and the angels shall be ranged in their order, nobody shall speak except him to whom the Merciful will permit it, and who will say nothing but what is just." In another place it is declared: "Truly thou canst not direct whomsoever thou lovest; but God will direct whomsoever he pleases." It is also recorded in the traditions, that the asylum of prophecy (on whom be blessings!) said to the beautiful Fatima: "O Fatima! fear nothing, for thou art the prophet's daughter; perform good works! again I say, perform good works!" He also proposed this additional proof! "Not one of the eminent, eloquent, learned, or wise men of the world can produce a composition which in the least resembles the volume I have sent down; if they are able let them declare it; but as they are unable, let them confess that this is the voice of God: a similar statement has also been made in the divine words of the Koran: 'produce ye a chapter resembling it.' Again of the many prophets who appeared on earth, all were ignorant of future events except Zartosht, who in the Zand-Avesta, clearly expounded whatever was to come to pass until the day of judgment, whether good or evil.

"Concerning kings inspired by truth, religion, and justice,
There are minute details if thou wilt call them to mind:
The names of all he has consigned to lasting fame,
Their every act and deed, whether just or unjust alike."

Moreover no prophet, save Zartosht, bestowed in the presence of God benedictions on the military class whose hearts were rightly affected toward him.

To the follower of his faith he said, if to the true believers
Thou doest good, then good shall result to thee.

But above all he has said: "God has commanded me: 'Say thou to mankind they are not to abide in hell forever; when their sins are expiated, they are delivered out of it.'"

It is generally reported that Zartosht was of Azarbadgan [Azarbaijan] or Tabruz; but those who are not Behdinians, or "true believers," assert, and the writer of this work has also heard from the Mobed Torru of Busawari, in Gujarat, that the birthplace and distinguished ancestors of the prophet belong to the city of Rai.

[Synopsis of the Zand-i Vohuman Yasht]

A Mobed has transcribed as follows from the Avesta and Zand: when the Amahraspand Vohuman, pursuant to God's command, had borne the prophet Zartosht to heaven, he thus entreated of the Almighty: "Close the door of death against me. Let that be my miracle." But the righteous Lord replied: "If I close the gates of death against thee, thou wilt not be satisfied; nay, thou wouldst entreat death from me." He then gave Zartosht something like honey, on tasting of which he became insensible; like one in a profound sleep has visions, he became acquainted with the mysteries of existence, clearly perceiving the good and evil of whatever is in being; nay, he knew the number of hairs on the sheep, and the sum of the leaves on a tree. When his senses were restored, the Almighty asked him: "What hast thou seen?" He answered: "O supreme Ruler! I beheld in hell, along with Ahriman, many wealthy persons who had been ungrateful in this world; and I found in the supreme paradise many persons, rich in gold and silver, who had worshipped the Lord and been grateful to him. I moreover saw in hell many who were eminent for wealth, but who were childless; and many an indigent Dervish, the father of many children, in the enjoyment of paradise. I saw moreover a tree with seven branches, the shadow of which extended far and wide; one branch of gold, the second of silver, the third of copper, the fourth of brass, the fifth of tin (or lead), the sixth of steel, the seventh of mixed iron."

The Lord then said to his prophet: "The tree with seven branches is the series of events in the world, in which agitation arises from seven sources through the revolution of the spheres; the first or golden branch typifies the way and attraction by which thou hast come to My presence and attained the prophet's office; the second or silver branch signifies that the great sovereign of the age shall receive thy system of faith, and that the demons shall hide themselves in dismay; the third or copper branch is the period of the Ashkanian kings.

"He who in not a true believer
Holds in abhorrence the pure in faith.
The great stock of fortune shall at this time
Be torn piecemeal and scattered all over the world."

The fourth, or the branch of brass, typifies the reign of Ardashir, the son of Sassan, who shall adorn the universe with the true faith and re-establish the pure institutes; the people will embrace the faith through the force of demonstration: they will pour molten copper and brass on the breast of Arzabad [Adarbad], and his person shall receive no injury. The fifth, or leaden branch, is the reign of Bahram Gor, during which mankind will enjoy repose.

"When mankind are in the enjoyment of happiness,
Ahriman is grieved beforehand at this prosperous state."

The sixth branch, or that of steel, is the reign of Nushirwan, through whose equity the aged world shall be restored to youth; and although Mazdak of corrupt heart shall pursue his designs, yet will he be unable to do any injury to the pure faith. The seventh branch, or that of mixed iron, in emblematic of the time when the period of a thousand years verges to its end, and the royal dignity falls to Mazdakin, and no respect remains to the pure faith; then a people clothed in black, oppressors of the poor, without title, reputation, or merit, friends to tumult and wickedness, fraudulent, hypocritical, and deceitful, bitter of heart like aloes, with honeyed tongue, traitors to bread and salt, ungrateful, speakers of falsehood, alike building the most magnificent mansions and fond of ruined caravansaries, seeking the ways of hell, having conspired together will destroy the fire-temples, and turn to themselves the spirit of the inhabitants of Iran. The sons and daughters of the nobles shall fall into their hands, and the children of the virtuous and mighty become their attendants; nay, this race shall make a covenant-breaker king over them:

"That person among them obtains both power and rank,
Whose career is directed to the production of misery."

When this millennium comes to a termination, the clouds shall mostly appear unattended by rain; the rains not fall in their season; heats predominate; the water of rivers be lessened; few cows or sheep be left remaining; and men despicable in figure, small of stature, weak in form, shall then be met with.

"The speed of the horse and the rider shall suffer diminution,
And no productive energy remain in the bosom of the sown field."

Men shall gird the sacred zone in secrecy, and drag on a dishonored existence, forgetting altogether the Nawruz and the festival of Frawardin.

"The mouth of Spandarmad shall he opened wide,
And the hidden treasures cast forth and exposed to view."

An evil-disposed rapacious host of Turks shall come to Iran, and force away the crown and throne from its chieftains. O Zartosht! communicate these tiding. to the Mobeds, that they may impart them to the people." Zartosht replied: "How shall the professors of the true faith be able to perform their worship?" to which this answer was given: "When the second millennium commences, mankind shall behold more calamity than was witnessed in the times of Zohak and Afrasiyab; and when that period is terminated, there will not be found any one of the least merit among the professors of the true faith.

"From every quarter they shall prepare to assail Iran,
With their chargers' hoofs they shall lay it waste."

Zartosht said: "O righteous Ohrmazd! after so much toil, abridgment of life and long-protracted suffering, shall not the professors of the true faith find some intercessor; and how can discomfiture overtake those clothed in black vestments?" The Almighty answered thus: "Pain is not to last forever; when the black ensign is displayed, a host arrayed in red vestments and helmets shall come forth from the formidable room; and the land of Khorasan be desolate by flood and vapor; the earth shall tremble and the cultivated fields be laid waste; Turk, Rumite, and Arab encounter each other; and the borders of Turan be made a wilderness by Turks, Persians, and Hindus; the sacred fire be borne to Dush-khargar, or 'the mountainous region'; and, through invasions, Iran become one scene of desolation." The prophet then said: "O Lord however short the duration of this people may be, they will surely destroy life; how then shall these wicked be exterminated?" To which he received this answer: "The standard of an army arises out of Khorasan, and then Ushedar is separated from his mother; when he arrives at the age of thirty, he will follow the ancient mode of faith, and become sovereign of Hindustan and China; he shall have a son of the Kayanian race, named Bahram and entitled Hamawand, but whom his nation will call Shapur: on the birth of that illustrious child, the stars shall drop down from heaven; and his father pass away from this world in the month of Aban and the day of Wad [or Gowad].

When this son has attained twenty-one years of age, he shall march in every direction with a numerous host, and proceeding with his troops to Balkh and Bokhara, advance into Iran with the armies of India and China. A man professing the good faith in the mountain region will then exert himself, and bringing up an army from Khorasan and Sistan, come to the aid of Iran:

"From Kishti Duwal, Roome, and Firingstan,
From demons clothed in black, like piebald wolves.

Three mighty battles shall then ensue, which will render Persia the land of mourning, after which will arise an exalted avenging prince who shall obtain the victory. In those days a thousand women shall not be able to find one man; and if they should perchance behold one, they shall he filled with astonishment. When those times are come to an end, I shall send Srosh toward Jerusalem and summon Bishutan, who will issue forth with a company of one hundred and fifty virtuous men, and duly perform Yasht, or 'prayer', on which Ahriman will engage in battle with them; but, on hearing the sound of the Hadokht and the Ashtawazand, the partizans of Ahriman shall flee out of Iran. A prince, Bahram by name, shall then ascend the throne, bring back the sacred fire, and restore the institutions of ancient times, and the seed of the wicked shall then be exterminated; finally, when Bishutan beholds every thing duly arranged, he will return with royal pomp to his own palace."

THE NASKS OF THE AVESTA

[Compare the following account with list in the Rivayats]

The Mobed Azar Khirad relates in his book that the Zand contains twenty-one Nasks, or "parts," every Nask having a particular name in Zand and Parsi according to the following list: Yatha, Ita, Ahu, Wiria, Alartush, Nadar, which they call in Arabic Bufastal, and in Parsi Favaímasíhan. This Nask treats of the stars, constellations, order of the heavens, the aspects, the good and evil influences of the heavenly bodies, and such like topics. The other Nasks are: the Ashad, Chid, Hashú, Wankawish, Wazda, Mankahú, Sitanú, Nan, Ankahísh, Marzái, Khashar, Machá, Ahrá, Ayám, Darkúbiú, and Astarám: all the sciences are contained in the Zand, but some are mentioned enigmatically and by way of allusion. At present there are fourteen complete Nasks possessed by the Dasturs of Kerman, the other seven being incomplete, as though the wars and dissensions which prevailed in Iran some of the Nasks have disappeared, so that, notwithstanding the greatest researches, the Nasks have come into their hands in a defective state.

Zaratusht Bahram, the son of Pazhdú relates that, at the time of the promulgation of the pure faith in Iran, there lived in India a sage of profound learning, names Jangrangachah [Sankara acharya] whose pupil Jamasp had been during many years, a circumstance which procured him great distinction. On being informed of Vishtasp's conversion, he wrote an epistle to the great king to dissuade him from the profession of the pure faith. By the king's command; this sage came to Iran to hold a disputation with Zartosht, who said to him: "Listen to one Nask of this Avesta which I have received from God, and attend to its interpretation." Upon this, at the illustrious prophet's command, one of his disciples read a Nask in which God said thus to Zartosht: "On the promulgation of the pure faith, there shall come from Hindustan a wise man, named Jangranghachah, who will ask thee questions, after such and such guise, the answers to which are after this manner, thus answering all his questions:

"By this same Nask his condition was improved,
And the answer to each question was correctly given."

When he heard the solutions of his questions he fell from his chair, and on recovering his senses adopted the pure faith. The prophet Sasan the Fifth, in his select commentary on the Dasatir and the interpretation of the code of Zartosht, relates, that when Isfendiar had promulgated the pure faith, the eminent sages of Greece dispatched a learned man, named Niyatus, to interrogate the prophet of the Lord concerning the exact nature of his tenets. Vishtasp, having assigned him an audience on a most auspicious day. this distinguished Greek, on beholding the face of Zartosht, said: "From this face, knowledge, sagacity, and science are manifest as the properties of a mind so formed; and this is not the physiognomy of one who utters falsehoods." He then asked him concerning the moment, day, month, and year of his birth, which being communicated by Zartosht, Niyatus observed: "Under such a horoscope, a person of weak intellects cannot be born." He next questioned him concerning his food, sleep, and mode of life, which being also explained, Niyatus added: "From this rule of life he cannot be an impostor." The prophet of the Lord then said to him: "Keep in thy heart whatever thou desirest to inquire about, and utter it not with thy tongue; as the Almighty has acquainted me with it, and for my sake has sent me his word in this chapter relative, to these matters." On this, one of the prophet's disciples read to Niyatus, out of a single chapter, all that was laid up in the noble envoy's breast, and whatever he was commissioned to inquire about, at the desire of the eminent men of Greece.

The Fifth Sásán, in like manner, relates that when the report of Jangrangháchah's having adopted the faith was published abroad, a sage, by name Byásá [Vyasa], came from India to Iran; and the sages of every country being assembled, pursuant to the great king's command, Biyása thus addressed the prophet of the Lord in the presence of all: "O Zartosht! in consequence of thy answers and unfolding of mysteries to the wise Jangranghachah, thou art accounted a true prophet. I have besides heard of innumerable miracles performed by thee. Know that I also, in my own country, am reckoned as one who is unequaled both in the theoretical and practical sciences. I now hope that thou wilt disclose the secrets which I have kept pent up in my bosom, and have never in any manner transferred from the page of my heart to the lip: some people tell us that the genie impart knowledge of this kind to the worshippers of Ahriman: however if thou canst unfold all these secrets, I shall turn to thy faith." The prophet of the Lord said: "Long before thy arrival, the God of purity made all known to me." He then recited a Simnad, "chapter," which the Lord had sent down on those subjects; in which was specified whatever was in Byása's heart, with the answer attached to it; after which Byása listened to the word of God, and having made profession of the pure faith, returned to Hindustan. It is to be remarked that the two Simnad which contain the answers to the eminent envoy of the Greeks and the sage Byasa do not form a part of the Astawazand [Avesta wa Zand], but constitute a portion of the Dasatir, or of the celestial volume, in the language of which a chapter is styled a Simnad.

VIRAF'S EXCURSION THROUGH HEAVEN AND HELL

[Compare with the Pahlavi text Arda Viraf.]

Moreover, Zartosht Bahram thus relates concerning the account of heaven and hell given by Arda Viraf. It is recorded that, when the power of Ardeshir Babagan was firmly established, he assembled around him forty thousand virtuous Mobeds and Dasturs, out of which number he selected four thousand; of those thus selected he set apart four hundred, who knew by heart the greater part of the Avesta; of these four hundred he again chose out forty learned doctors; and from these he selected seven unblemished sages, equally free from mortal and venial sins, whom he thus addressed: "Let whichever of you is able divest himself of body, and bring us intelligence concerning heaven and hell." These righteous men made answer: "For such a purpose there is required a man who from the age of seven upward has not committed sin." After which these sages selected from among them one, named Arda Viraf, whom they knew to be possessed of this excellence, and, accompanied by the great king, they all repaired to Adar Khurdad, which was a fire-temple; having there prepared a golden throne for Arda Viraf, the forty thousand professors of the faith performed Yasna, that is, recited prayers according to the prescribed mode. Arda Viraf, having drunk a cup of hallowed wine which he received from the Dastur, lay down on his couch and did not arise before the expiration of a week; his spirit, through the efficacy of the divine word, having been separated from the body, those six Dasturs all the while standing around his pillow. On the eighth day Arda, arising from sleep, ordered a scribe to be brought, who should commit to writing all his words; and he thus spoke: "When I fell asleep, Srosh, who is called also Srosh Ashyu, or Ashu simply, or 'the Angel of paradise,' came near. Having made my salam, I explained the motives of my coming to the other world. He took my hand and said: 'Ascend three steps.' I obeyed, and arrived at the Chinwad Pul, or 'the straight bridge of judgment' (the sarat of the Muhummedans). The accompanying Angel pointed me out the road. when I beheld a bridge finer than a hair and sharper than a razor, and strong, and its length was seven-and-thirty rasans, or cords. I beheld a spirit just parted from the body in a state of tranquillity; on its arrival at the bridge of judgment, a fragrant gale came from midday or the east, out of which issued forth a beautiful nymph-like form, the like of which I never before beheld. The spirit asked her: 'Who art thou of such surpassing beauty?' She replied: 'I am the personification of thy good deeds.'"

'I then saw Mihr Yazad, at whose side were standing Rashn Rast and Srosh Yazad holding a balance in his hand, and angels assembled around them. Now Mihr Yazad is the angel whose province it is to number and estimate people in regard to rewards and punishments. Rashn is his minister of justice and the lord of equity; and Srosh is the lord of messages and the master of announcements. To these I made my salam which they returned, and I passed over the bridge. Several spirits then appeared who addressed me affectionately; Vohuman next appeared and said to me: 'Come on, that I may show thee the Gah-i-zarin' (or golden place, which is the same as the celestial throne). I proceeded with him to a beautiful throne, where I beheld the spirit before mentioned, whose deeds were personified by a beauteous form, with the Ashawan, or 'pure spirits,' and the inhabitants of paradise around him, with the spirits of his relations rejoicing as on the arrival of a long-absent traveler from his abode; then Vohuman took his hand and brought him to a place worthy of him. When I had proceeded a little onward, I beheld a lofty portico, where by order of Srosh I addressed my prayers toward the place of God, and my sight became darkened through the effulgence of light. Srosh again brought me back to the bridge of judgment, around which I beheld a number of persons standing with folded hands. I asked: 'Who are those persons?' Srosh answered: 'These are the weak in faith, who remain in this state until the day of judgment; if they possessed an additional particle of virtue, equal in weight to one of the hairs of the eyelash, they would be relieved from this calamity.) I then beheld another assemblage like unto shining stars. Srosh said: 'This is the Satra Payah [Printed copy reads 'tir payah'] (or the sphere of the fixed stars); in these are a people who with all their wealth observed not the Geti Kharid (the purchase of the other world) [ceremony] and the Nawruz (or the festival of the new year.)' He next brought me to the Mah Payah (or lunar sphere), where I beheld spirits resplendent as the moon. The angel said: 'This Mah Payah is also one of the spheres of paradise, in which are those who have performed every kind of meritorious act and deed, except observing the Nawruz.' He then conducted me to the Khwarshed Payah (or solar sphere) where I beheld spirits exceedingly bright, radiant as the sun. The angel said: 'In the solar sphere are the persons who have observed the Geti Kharid and the Nawruz.' At his command, I then addressed my prayers to the Warakt and Khurah-i Yazdan, or (light of the Almighty': perception and intellect, through the effects of terror and overpowering awe, began to flee from me; a voice, however, from which I obtained renovated energy, came to my hearing: there was then some oil given me to drink out of a golden cup: I partook of it and found it of an incomparable taste: they told me that it was the food of the people of paradise. I next beheld Ardwahisht, to whom I made my salam. He said to me: 'Place on the sacred fire wood free from moisture.' Srosh then bore me off to Garothman, or 'paradise,' in the light of which I became bewildered in astonishment: I knew none of the precious stones of which it was composed. The angels, by the command of the Almighty, took me round every part of it.

I next came to a place where I beheld an illustrious assemblage enveloped in Khwarrah, that is, 'radiance and pomp.' Srosh Ashyu said: 'These are the spirits of the munificent and noble-minded.' After this I saw a great multitude in all magnificence. Srosh explained to me: 'These are the spirits of all who have observed the Nawruz.' Next them I beheld an assemblage in the enjoyment of all magnificence and happiness. Srosh observed: 'These are the spirits of just princes.' After this I beheld blessed spirits in boundless joy and power. Srosh explained: 'These are the Dasturs and Mobeds; my duty is to convey that class to this honor.' I next beheld a company of women rejoicing in the midst of great pomp. Srosh Ashyu and Ardwahisht observed: 'These are the spirits of women who were obedient to their husbands.' I then beheld a multitude of majestic and beautiful persons, seated along with angels. Srosh said: 'This class consists of Ervads and Mobeds, the attendants on fire-temples, and the observers of the Yasht and Yazisht of the Amahraspands.' After these I saw an armed assemblage in a state of the highest joy. Srosh informed me: 'These are the spirits of the champions who fought in the ways of God, maintaining their country and the husbandmen in a state of prosperity and tranquillity.' I next beheld a great assemblage in the enjoyment of all delight and gladness. Srosh observed: 'These are the spirits of the slayers of the Khrafstras (or noxious animals).' After this, I witnessed a people given up to sporting and happiness. Srosh observed: 'These are the spirits of the husbandmen, over whom Spandarmad is set; he consequently presides over this class, as they have propitiated him by their acts.' I next beheld a great company surrounded by all the appliances of enjoyment. Srosh said: 'These are the spirits of shepherds.' After this, I beheld great numbers in a state of repose and joy, and the elemental principles of paradise standing before them. Srosh observed: 'These are the heads of families, friends to building, who have improved the world by gardens and water-courses and held the elements in reverence.' I next came to another class, endowed with prophet-like radiance, of whom Srosh remarked: 'These are the spirits of Jadongois.' By Jadongois is meant one who solicits money from the wealthy to promote the way of the Lord, and who expends it on noble foundations and holy indigent persons.

"What can I say concerning the black-eyed nymphs -- the palaces, offspring, and attendants -- the drinks and viands? -- any thing like which I know not of in this elemental world.

"After this Srosh and Ardwahisht, taking me out of paradise, bore me off to behold the punishments inflicted on those in hell. First of all, I beheld a black and gloomy river of fetid water, with weeping multitudes falling in and drowning. Srosh said: 'This water is collected from the tears shed by relatives on the death of a person; and those who are drowning are they whose relatives, after their death, break out into mourning, weeping, and tears.' I next proceeded toward the bridge of judgment, where I beheld a spirit rent from the body, and mourning for its separation: there arose a fetid gale, out of which issued a gloomy figure, with red eye-balls, hooked nose, hideous lips, teeth like columns, a head like the kettle of a minaret, long talons, spear-like fangs, snaky locks, and vomiting out smoke. The alarmed spirit having asked, 'Who art thou?' he answered, 'I am the personification of thy acts and deeds.' On saying this, he threw his hands around the spirit's neck, so that his lamentations came to the bridge of judgment, which is sharper than a razor: on this the spirit having gone a little way with great difficulty, at last fell into the infernal regions. I then followed him, accompanied by Srosh and Ardwahisht: our road lay through snow, ice, storms, intense cold, mephitic exhalations, and obscurity, along a region full of pits: into these I looked, and there beheld countless myriads of spirits suffering tortures. They all wailed bitterly, and the darkness was so thick that one was unable to perceive the other, or to distinguish his lamentation: three days such punishment is equal to nine thousand years. and the same calculation applies to the other pits, in all of which were serpents, scorpions, stinging and noxious creatures: whatever spirit falls into them

"Was stung by one and torn by another,
Was bit by this, and pierced by that.

"Srosh having taken me below, I there beheld a spirit with a human head and serpent-like body, surrounded by many demons who were applying the torture to his feet, and smiting him in every direction with hatchets, daggers, and maces, while noxious creatures were biting him on all sides. Srosh observed: 'This was a man of vile passions.' I next saw a woman who held in her hand a cup filled with blood and corrupted matter; demons kept striking her with clubs and spears until she swallowed the nauseous draught, on which they instantly replaced a similar bowl in her hands. Srosh remarked: 'This woman, while laboring under periodical illness, approached the elements of fire and water.' I then beheld a man wailing piteously, whom they were scalping with a poniard: Srosh said: 'This was a shedder of innocent blood.' I next saw a man who was forced to swallow blood and corrupted matter, with which they were continually supplying him. The demons in the meantime tortured him, and placed a heavy mountain on his breast: Srosh stated this to be 'The spirit of a dissolute man, who seduced the wives of other men.' After this, I beheld a spirit weeping through hunger and thirst; so intense was his craving, that he drank his own blood and devoured his own flesh. Srosh stated: 'This is the spirit of one who observed not the Baj when partaking of food, (Baj is a rite practiced by orthodox Parsis before meat, as has been explained under the head of banquet) and who on the day of Aban partook of water, fruit, and bread, so that the angels Hordad and Amurdad were displeased with him.' I next beheld a woman suspended by her breasts and noxious creatures falling on her. Srosh said: 'This is a woman who deserted her husband and went after another man.'

I then saw a great multitude of spirits, furiously assailed by rapacious animals and noxious creatures. Srosh stated thus: 'These are persons who adopted not the kusti f or sacred cincture as worn by professors of the excellent faith.' I next beheld a woman hung up, with her tongue protruding from the hind part of the neck. Srosh observed: 'This is a woman who obeyed not her husband, and replied to him with harsh answers and opposition.' I then saw a man eating with a ladle the most noxious things, of which if he took too small a portion, demons smote him with wooden clubs. Srosh observed: 'This is the spirit of one who betrayed his trust.' I after this beheld a man hung up, surrounded by seventy demons, who were lashing him with serpents instead of scourges; and meanwhile the serpents kept gnawing his flesh with their fangs. Srosh Ashyu said: 'This is a king who extorted money from his subjects by torture.' I next beheld a man with wide-opened mouth and protruding tongue,

"With serpents and scorpions covered all over,
The one lacerating with fangs, the others lashing with their tails.

Srosh said: 'This was a tale-bearer, who by his lies caused dissension and strife among mankind.' After this I saw a man, every ligature and joint of whose body they were tearing asunder. Srosh said: 'This person has slain many four-footed animals.' I next beheld a man exposed to body-rending torture, concerning whom Srosh said: 'This was a wealthy, avaricious man, who employed not his riches for the useful purposes of either world.' I then saw a person to whom was offered all sorts of noxious creatures, while one foot was free from all kind of suffering. Srosh said concerning him: 'This is the spirit of a negligent person, who did not in the least attend to the concerns of the world or the world to come. As he once passed along the road, he observed a goat tied up in such a manner that it was unable to get at its food: with that foot he tossed the forage toward the animal, in recompense of which good act that foot is exempt from suffering.' I next beheld a person whose tongue was laid on a stone, and demons kept beating it with another. Concerning him Srosh observed: 'This person was an habitual slanderer and liar, through whose words people fell into mischief.' I then saw a woman whose breasts the demons were grinding under a millstone. About her Srosh observed: 'This woman produced abortion by means of drugs.' I next beheld a man in whose seven members worms had fixed themselves. Concerning him Srosh said: 'This person gave false witness for money, and derived his support from that resource.' After this I saw a man devouring the flesh of a corpse and drinking human gore. Srosh observed: 'This is the spirit of one who amassed wealth by unlawful means.' I afterward beheld a great multitude with pallid faces, fetid bodies, and limbs covered with worms. About these Srosh Ashyu observed: 'These are hypocrites of satanic qualities, whose hearts were not in accordance with their words, and who led astray the professors of the excellent faith, divesting themselves of all respect for religion and morality.' I next saw a man the members of whose body hell-hounds were rending asunder. Concerning him Srosh said: 'This man was in the habit of slaughtering water and land dogs.' I next beheld a woman hurled into snow and smitten by the guardians of fire. About her Srosh said: 'When this woman combed herself, her hairs fell into the fire.' After this I beheld another woman tearing off with a poniard the flesh of her own body and devouring it. Srosh said: 'This is an enchantress who used to fascinate men.' Next to her I saw a man whom the demons forced by blows to swallow blood, corrupted matter, and human flesh. Concerning him Srosh said: 'This man was in the habit of casting dead bodies, corrupted matter, finger nails, and hair into fire and water.' I afterward beheld a person devouring the flesh and skin of a dead body. Srosh said: 'This person defrauded the laborers of their hire.' I next beheld a man with a mountain on his back, whom with his load they forced through terror into the midst of snows and ice. Srosh observed: 'This was an adulterer, who took the wife from her husband.' I afterward saw a number of ill-fated person up to their necks in ice and snow, before each of whom was a cup filled with gore, and hair, and impurities, which through terror of blows and clubs, they were obliged to swallow. Srosh observed: 'These are persons who used warm bathing along with the Batardeen (or the enemies of the faith) washing their bodies and heads in such unclean and polluted baths.' I then beheld a person groaning under the weight of a mountain. Concerning him Srosh said: 'This man laid heavy taxes on the people, established evil ordinances, and oppressed mankind.' Next him I beheld one digging up a mountain with his fingers and nails, while the superintendent kept smiting him with a viper. Srosh said: 'This is a man who by violence seized on the lands of others:'

"As long as this earth and place continue to exist,
So long, by way of retribution, shall this spirit be thus employed.

I afterward saw a man the flesh of whose shoulders and body they were scraping off with a comb of iron. Concerning him Srosh said: 'This man was an egregious violator of promises and breaker of engagements.' I then beheld a great multitude whose hands and feet they were smiting with bludgeons, iron maces, and such like. Concerning these Srosh observed: 'This class is composed of promise-breakers and the violators of covenants, who maintained friendship with Darwands, or those hostile to the faith.'

"Srosh Ashyu, and Ardwahisht then led me from that abode of misery to Garothman, 'the seat of supreme bliss,' or 'paradise on high,' which is called 'the heaven of heavens.' On beholding the light and splendor of the righteous Lord, I became entranced, and this spirit-reviving voice reached my cars: 'Through thy virtuous words and actions, which have been conformable to the excellent faith, joined to the cooperation and energy of intellect, thou hast resisted all the demons which infest the body, and hast therefore attained to this rank.' Srosh then taking me by the hand, said: 'Communicate to mankind all thou hast heard.' He next took me down to paradise, where several spirits received me and said: 'Reveal these mysteries to our relations, that they may beware of sin.' I next came to the lunar mansion, where they addressed me in the same manner. I afterward reached the starry mansion with the same two companions, and here also the spirits advanced to receive me, saying: 'Counsel our relations to make Yasht and Yazisht (to pray in a low murmuring tone at meal-time) and to cleave firmly to the festival of the Nawruz, and the girding of the cincture [kusti]; had we observed these rites, we should not have remained in this mansion, but gone on to Paradise.' It appears to follow from what has been stated, that the starry mansion or zodiacal sphere is below that of the moon; the Yezdanians however say, that the starry mansion signifies the mansion of the spirits who below the lunar sphere are not exempted from sufferings, but are attached to the bodies of the virtuous by means of the zodiacal signs.

"I next came to Chinwad Pul (the bridge of judgment) where many spirits thus addressed me: 'Tell men to leave sons behind them in the world, or otherwise they must, like us, remain here.'

"We behold paradise in distant perspectives,
But are far removed from its enjoyment.

Another company of spirits said: 'Let not men look at the wife or mate of another; and let them hold up none to suspicion: otherwise they must remain here like us, until our injured enemy comes hither from the world: if he be propitiated, we may be delivered.'

"Srosh and Ardwahisht then brought me to the lower world and bade me adieu."

When the scribe had written down all the words of Arda Viraf, he read them over to the great king, who thereupon duly promulgated the excellent faith, and sent Mobeds to all the borders of Iran.


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