Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives
Parts 14-15

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

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

14. Zoroastrianism (cont')

After (the death of Ardashir) appeared the Mobed Adarbad the son of Mahraspand (whose lineage by the father ascended to the prophet Zartosht, and by his mother to king Vishtasp), from whom king Shahpur (the son of Ardashir) and the military having demanded a miracle in proof of the faith, the forty thousand wise men were again assembled. Adarbad, having performed his ablutions, lay down before this great assemblage, whereupon they poured nine mans of melted brass upon his bared breast, but, through the divine glory, his person received no injury. On beholding this, all those who before bad been unbelievers, embraced the faith. From the time of Adarbad the Dasturs of all succeeding kings were of his lineage.

The professors of the excellent faith and the Moslem historians agree, that in Kashmir or Kashmar, a place celebrated for female beauty, a dependency of, Naishapur, there was formerly a cypress planted by Zartosht for king Vishtasp, the like of which was never seen before or since, for beauty, height, or straightness: mention of this tree having been made at the court of Mutawakkal [10th Abbasid Khalif] when he was engaged in building the Sarman rai, or Samarah palace in the Jâafriyah, the Khalif felt a great desire to behold it: and as it was not in his power to go to Khorasan, he wrote to Abdallah Táhir Zavalimin, "possessor of happiness," to have the tree cut down, fastened on rollers, and sent to Baghdad. When intelligence of this came to the people of the district and the inhabitants of Khorasan, they assembled at the foot of the tree, imploring for mercy with tears and lamentations, and exhibiting a scene of general desolation. The professors of the excellent faith offered the governor fifty thousand dinars to spare the tree, but the offer was refused. When the cypress was felled, it caused great detriment to the buildings and water-courses of the country; the birds of different kinds which had built their nests on it issued forth in such countless myriads as to darken the air, screaming out in agony with various tones of distress: the very oxen, sheep, and other animals which reposed under its sheltering shade, commenced such piteous moans of woe that it was impossible to listen to them. The expense of conveying the trunk to Baghdad was five hundred thousand dinars; the very branches loaded one thousand and three hundred camels. When the tree had reached one station from the Jaafriyah quarter, on that same night, Mutawakkal the Abassid was cut in pieces by his own guards, so that he never beheld the tree. Some Muhammedan writers state the circumference of the trunk at twenty-seven taziaynah, each a cubit and a quarter long, and also that fourteen hundred and fifty years bad elapsed from the time of its being planted [thus 604 BC] to the year 232 of the Hejirah (846, A. D.)

The Behdinians say that Zartosht brought with him from paradise a branch which he planted at the gate of the fire temple of Kashmir, and which grew up into this tree: but some sages maintain that, according to the intelligent, this tradition signifies:1. that there is in vegetables a simple uncompounded soul; and 2. that paradise is the world of beings of that class. Some Yezdanians say that Zartosht prayed the superintending lord of cypress-trees, whom they call Azrawán, to nourish carefully the offspring of this shoot. They also relate, on the authority of a holy Hakim, "doctor," who said: "I saw the Lord of the cypress, and he declared: 'I have given orders to slay Mutawakkal for the crime of cutting down this tree.'" Muhammad Kuli Salim also says:

"No person wishes to see his own nursling enfeebled.
Water and fire are ever at enmity with chips and leaves."

The Behdinians maintain that Ahriman is the production of Time; and that the angels, heavens, and stars (always) were, and will (for ever) be: but that the three kingdoms of nature are a creation. Also that the period of the present creation is twelve thousand years, at the expiration of which comes the resurrection, when God will raise up all mankind and render this elemental world a glorious paradise, and annihilate Ahriman, his worshippers, and hell itself.


[Compare with Sad Dar.]

The Dastur Shah Zadáh says in the volume of the Sad Dar, or "the hundred gates," the excellent faith has been received from the prophet Zartosht, the son of Pourushasp, the son of Khajarasp, the son of Hujjus, the son of Spitaman; on him the Almighty graciously bestowed the Avesta and Zand, and through divine knowledge he comprehended all things from eternity to infinity. This is the hundred-gated city constructed from the world of truth, that is, the celestial volume.

"The mighty, through means of the Avesta, Zand, and Pazand,
Have constructed on its outside a hundred gates.
Behold what a system of belief Zartosht has introduced,
In which a hundred gates give admission to his city of Faith."

THE FIRST GATE is the belief and acknowledgment of Zartosht's prophetic character; for when the spirit on the fourth night (after quitting the body) comes to the bridge of Chinwad, where Mihr Yazad and Rashn Yazad take account of its actions, in the Kirfah, or "good deeds" exceed the sins by one hair's point, they bear the spirit off to paradise, but always on the condition of having professed the faith of Zartosht.

THE SECOND GATE. It is necessary to be ever vigilant, and always looking on a trifling sin as one of magnitude, to flee far from it; because, if the virtuous deeds exceed the sinful acts by even the point of one of the hairs of the eye-lashes, the spirit goes to paradise; but should the contrary be the case, it descends to hell.

THE THIRD GATE. The pursuits of a man should be of a virtuous tendency; because, whilst thus engaged, if he be overpowered by robbers or foes, he shall receive fourfold in paradise; but if he be slain in any vain pursuit, it is the retribution due to his acts, and hell is his abode.

THE FOURTH GATE. A man must not despair of God's mercy; for Zartosht says, "I beheld one whose body, with the exception of one foot, was entirely in hell; but that foot was outside. The Lord said, 'This person, who ruled over thirty-three cities, never performed good deeds, but having one day observed a sheep tied up at a distance from her food, he with his foot pushed the grass near her.'

THE FIFTH GATE. Let all men exert themselves to observe the rites of Yasht, and the Nawruz, and if they cannot themselves perform these duties, let them purchase the agency of another.

THE SIXTH GATE. Let men know that the meritorious works are six in number: 1. the observance of the Gahambars, or "six periods of creation;" 2. that of the Frawardigan, or "five supplementary days of the year," with that of Yashtan, [Baj] or praying in a low murmuring voice at meals;" 3. propitiating the spirits of thy father, mother, and other relations; 4. offering up supplications to the sun three times every day; 5. offering up prayers to the moon three times every month, that is, the beginning, middle, and last day of the moon; 6. offering up supplications in due form every year.

THE SEVENTH GATE. When sneezing comes on, repeat the entire of the forms called Yatha ahu vairyo, and the Ashem Vohu.

THE EIGHTH GATE. Be obedient to the Dasturs and give them one-tenth of thy wealth; as that is a most meritorious work, or Kirfah.

THE NINTH GATE. A person should avoid all practices not sanctioned by the laws of nature, and must look on them as accursed: let all those found guilty of such deeds be put to death. This description of criminals are equally guilty with the usurper Zohak, and Malkus, and Sarurak, and Afrasiyab, and Tur-baratur.

THE TENTH GATE. It is incumbent on every man and woman to tie on the Kusti. By Kusti is meant a woolen cincture girded round the waist, in which they make four knots: the first to signify the unity of God; the second, the certainty of the faith; the third, that Zartosht was the prophet of God; the fourth to imply, "that I will to the utmost of my power ever do what is good."

THE ELEVENTH GATE. Keep the fire burning, and let it not consume anything impure.

THE TWELFTH GATE. Let not the shroud of the deceased be new, but let it be clean and old.

THE THIRTEENTH GATE. The good man gives joy to the spirits of his father and mother, by celebrating the Dron myazd and the Afrinagan, or "funereal

repasts." The Dron is a prayer recited in praise of the Almighty and of Adar [Fire]: when they breathe out prayers in a murmuring tone over viands, they are said to be Yeshtah. Afrinagan also means one of the twenty Nasks of the Avesta.

THE FOURTEENTH GATE. Let them repeat the Ita Ahu three times over the collected nail parings, and having each time drawn a circular line around them, let earth be poured on them with the shears, or let them be taken to some mountain.

THE FIFTEENTH GATE. Whatever pleasing object meets the true believer's sight, he repeats over it the name of God.

THE SIXTEENTH GATE. In the house of a pregnant woman keep the fire in without ceasing; and when the child is born, let not the lamp be extinguished during three days and nights.

They say that, on the birth of the prophet Zartosht, there came fifty demons with the design of slaying him; but they were unable to do him any injury as there was a fire kept up in the house.

THE SEVENTEENTH GATE. On arising from sleep, bind the Kusti, without doing which enter upon no pursuit whatever.

THE EIGHTEENTH GATE. Let the toothpick, after having been used, be concealed in a wall.

THE NINETEENTH GATE. They give their son and daughter in marriage at an early period; as the person who has no son cannot pass over the bridge of Chinwad; let whoever is in that state adopts someone; if he should not find it feasible, it will then be incumbent on his relations and the Dastur to fix on a son for him.

THE TWENTIETH GATE. They esteem husbandry the best of all professions, and regard the husbandman with respect and honor.

THE TWENTY-FIRST GATE. It is meet to give good viands to the professors of the pure faith.

THE TWENTY-SECOND GATE. At the time of eating bread it is necessary to perform Baj and at the time of Myazd and Afrinagan to keep the lips closed; the true believer repeats the entire of the itha âat yazamaide three times, and then eats bread; and when he washes his mouth, he repeats Ashem vohu four times, and the Ahunwar twice. It is to be remarked, that Waj or Baj is the Barsom, which consists of small twigs of the same length, without knots, taken from the pomegranate, tamarisk, or Hom; these they cut with Barsomchin, or knife with an iron handle. Having first washed the knife carefully, they recite the appointed prayers, after which, having cut off the Barsom with the Barsomchin, they wash the Barsomdan, or Barsom-holder, into which they put these small twigs. At the time of worship, whilst reading the Zand, and during ablution or eating, they hold in their hand a few of these twigs, according to the number required in each of these actions.

THE TWENTY-THIRD GATE. The wealthy man bestows alms on the indigent Dervish; he also practices Jadongoi, which consists in this, whatever donations the Behdinians make to the fire-temples, or to deserving objects, are by that person caused to be expended in the manner desired.

THE TWENTY-FOURTH GATE. Beware of sin, particularly the day on which thou eatest flesh, as fleshmeat is the nutriment of Ahriman. If, after partaking of meat thou committest sin, whatever sins the animal has committed in this world shall be imputed to thee: for example, the kick of the horse, and the goring of the ox with his horns.

THE TWENTY-FIFTH GATE. Know that in thy faith there is no fasting, except that of avoiding sin: in which sense thou must fast the whole year, and not remain hungry from morn until night, and style that fasting. Thou must endeavor to keep thy members free from sin, and there will be then no occasion to keep the lips closed against meat and drink; but it is altogether necessary to keep them closed against uttering any evil speech.

THE TWENTY-SIXTH GATE. As soon as a child is born let them cause it to taste milk.

THE TWENTY-SEVENTH GATE. When going to bed, repeat the forms which commence with the Ita; that is, repeat to the end the Ahunwar, the Ashem Vohu, etc., etc.; repenting of thy sins of sight and hearing, known and unknown, committed or meditated, and imploring forgiveness; also, when thou turnest from one side to the other, repeat the whole of the Ashem.

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH GATE. When thou enterest into a covenant either with one of the pure faith or an unbeliever (Darwand), break it not, but maintain it inviolate.

THE TWENTY-NINTH GATE. When the believer's son attains the age of fifteen, the father appoints a Dastur for his guidance, without whose direction and counsel he does nothing; for no good work is acceptable to God, unless the Dastur be satisfied; he truly possesses such dignity in the sight of God, that he can remit one-third of any person's sins. Note, that the title of Dastur is given to a spiritual director, or one skilled in the faith of Zartosht.

THE THIRTIETH GATE. When any undertaking occurs, and thou knowest not whether engaging in it be good or sinful, desist, and defer the enterprise until thou hast consulted the Dastur.

THE THIRTY-FIRST GATE. The believer undertakes nothing on his own experience merely, without previously investigating its nature through his Dastur, his relation, and the experience of the intelligent.

THE THIRTY-SECOND GATE. Whoever studies the Avesta must learn to read it in the exact words: he must also meditate on it continually; for should it depart from his memory, he is guilty of sin. In ancient times, whoever had learned the Avesta and forgotten it, was not permitted to join the congregation, until he had again made himself master of it: nay, they threw bread before him as they would to dogs.

THE THIRTY-THIRD GATE. It behooves a man to be liberal, showing favor to the Arzan, or deserving objects, for this only is profitable.

THE THIRTY-FOURTH GATE. The religious pour not out water at night, particularly towards the Wakhtar, or "east;" but should it be indispensable, the believer, at the time of throwing it out, repeats the form of words commencing with the Ita, as far as enjoined. Neither does he draw water from the well at night; but when there is an inevitable necessity for it, he recites the formula of the Ita, as enjoined in their books. They seldom drink water at night; but if it be unavoidably necessary to drink, they fetch water from the well: moreover, they never pour out much water.

THE THIRTY-FIFTH GATE. When they eat bread, they lay by three morsels for the dogs, and never ill use these animals.

THE THIRTY-SIXTH GATE. When a cock crows out of season, they kill him not, but bring another to his aid, for the fowl having seen a Darji (demon) or some approaching calamity, gives notice of it.

THE THIRTY-SEVENTH GATE. If in any place a person who is destitute of fear should deposit a Nasu [nasa], or "carcass" under ground, expose and bring it forth.

THE THIRTY-EIGHTH GATE. It is by no means meet to slay animals in profusion, as every hair of theirs will in the other world be as a sword to the destroyer's body: but the slaughter of sheep is by far the most criminal; for they are of the Sardah, or "primary genus." This prohibition includes the goat, the kid, and the lamb; the cow and the horse; also the crowing cock, which during that time is as a drum: nay, it is equally improper to slay the cock which crows not; but should it be indispensably necessary to kill him, it will be proper to tie his head (that is, to perform the rite of Yashtan over his head).

THE THIRTY-NINTH GATE. When thou art about to wash the face, join thy lips, and recite once the formula of the Ashem Vohu as far as is prescribed; then wash thy face; and when thou shavest, recite the prayer of the Kemna Mazda as far as the appointed place.

THE FORTIETH GATE. Whoever performs Barashnom must be good in word and deed, for otherwise he is deserving of death. Whoever comes to the age of fifteen and performs not this rite, renders whatever he lays his hand on impure like himself. Note, that Barashnom signifies the purification of one's self by prayer. [Barashnom is a 9-day ceremony of purification.]

THE FORTY-FIRST GATE. On the arrival of the Frawardigan, the believer performs the Dron Yasht, Yazish, and Afrin during ten days. The Frawardigan are five damsels which spin, weave, and sew celestial garments: their names are Ahunwad, Ushtawad, Spentamad, Hukhshatar, Yahishtoisht. 4 Frawardigan is the name of the five supplementary or intercalary days of the Persian year. When the spirit quits this world it is naked; but whoever has duly performed the Frawardigan obtains from them royal robes and celestial ornaments.

According to the Yezdanian, these five damsels signify wisdom, heroism, continence, justice, and intellect; and in other passages they call them the five senses.

THE FORTY-SECOND GATE. The true believer must beware of associating with those of a different faith; let him not drink out of the same cup with them. If an unbeliever pollute a cup made of brass, it must be washed three times: but if it be of earth, it cannot become pure.

THE FORTY-THIRD GATE. Keep up the fire in thy house, and at night light it up.

THE FORTY-FOURTH GATE. Show honor to thy instructor, father, and mother; as otherwise in this world distress shall be thy portion; and in the next, hell.

THE FORTY-FIFTH GATE. A woman, in her periodical illness, must not direct her eyes to the heaven or the stars; to running water or a Mindashu; that is, a pure or celestial man. She is to drink water out of any vessel except one of earth. When she eats bread, her hand is to be folded in. the sleeve of her dress, and she is to wear a veil on her head.

THE FORTY-SIXTH GATE. Refrain from Hamiyal, which means calumny, treachery, and adultery: for if the woman's husband forgive not the adulterer, he cannot, whatever may he his good works, behold the face of paradise.

THE FORTY-SEVENTH GATE. The believer must slay the Khrafstras, or "noxious creatures." Of these it is most meritorious to destroy water-frogs, serpents, scorpions, flies, and ants. According to the tenets professed by the true believers, that is, the Yazdanian and Abadian, it is a meritorious work to destroy any creature which is injurious to animal life or oppressive to the animal creation: but the destruction of any creature which is not injurious to animal life, is not only improper, but the unjust oppressor draws down retribution on himself. The Yezdanian maintain, that whenever in ancient records the slaughter of a harmless animal is mentioned, the expression is used in an enigmatic sense.

THE FORTY-EIGHTH GATE. It is not proper to walk barefooted.

THE FORTY-NINTH GATE. Repent without ceasing: for unless attention be paid to this, thy sin accumulates every year, and becomes more aggravated. If, which God forbid! thou commit a sin, go before the Dastur; and if thou find him not, to the Ervad (or minister attending on the sacred fire); and if thou meet him not, repair to some professor of the pure faith; and if thou find not such a one, declare thy repentance before the majesty of the great light. In like manner, at the moment of departing from this world, let a man declare his contrition, and if he be unable, let his son, relative, or those present, perform this rite of penance at that time.

THE FIFTIETH GATE. When a son or daughter attains the ago of fifteen, it becomes necessary to bind the sacred cincture [kusti] about the waist, as this forms the bond of duty.

THE FIFTY-FIRST GATE. If a child should die, from the first day of its decease during a space of seven years, "without the expression of grief, recite the Dron of its angel." On the fourth night after its decease, it is necessary to recite with Yasht, the Dron, or prayer of the angel Srosh. Note, Yasht is the name given to one of the twenty-one Nasks of the Zand, which is recited for the souls of the deceased: this they also repeat in the gahambars: Nask also signifies a part or section.

THE FIFTY-SECOND GATE. When thou placest on the fire a cauldron for dressing food, it must be of a large size, and two thirds of it without water, so that when it boils, the water may not fall over on the fire.

THE FIFTY-THIRD GATE. When they remove fire from one place to another, they lay it apart for a short time, until its place becomes cool; having taken care not to leave it heated, they bear the fire to its destined place.

THE FIFTY-FOURTH GATE. The true believers wash the face every morning with the Ab-i-zohr, or "water of power," and afterwards with pure water. After this they recite the formula of the Kem Na Mazda, and then wash the hands; this rite they call Padyab but if they wash not the hands in the Ab-i-zohr, their recitation is not accepted.

THE FIFTY-FIFTH GATE. The faithful instruct their sons in the knowledge of religion, and hold in high honor the Ervad who teaches them.

THE FIFTY-SIXTH GATE. On the return of the day of Hordad in the month of Frawardin (the 6th of March), they collect in one place a portion of all the fruits they can find. The true believers then continue to offer them up and to pray over them, repeating the praises of the Lord, in order that their condition may be improved that year; as on this day the angels give nutriment to mankind. When any one has thus prayed, the Amahraspand Hordad makes intercession for him: this prayer is synonymous with Khshnuman.

THE FIFTY-SEVENTH GATE. Whenever any one sets out on a journey, he must celebrate once the Dron Yasht. In ancient times, when they set out on an excursion of even twelve parsangs, they performed the same ceremony.

THE FIFTY-EIGHTH GATE. If anyone have not a son, let him adopt one; and let the adopted son regard him as a father.

THE FIFTY-NINTH GATE. Whoever has performed the rites of Yasht and Nawruz, cannot immediately after celebrate the Dron Yasht: he first prays mentally to Ohrmazd, and eats bread; and then performs the rites of mental prayer and the Dron.

THE SIXTIETH GATE. It is improper, whilst in an erect posture, to make water; it is therefore necessary to sit down (stoop) and force it to some distance, repeating the Avesta mentally. The religious man is then to advance three paces, and repeat once the formula of the Ahunwar and the Ashem Vohu, as far as prescribed. On coming out, he is to repeat the Ashem once; the formula of the Humatanam twice; that of the Hukhshathrotemae three times, and that of the Ahunwad, etc., four times; and to repeat to the end the formula of the Itha aât yazamaide.

THE SIXTY-FIRST GATE. Slay not the Hujjah or weasel, for it is the destroyer of serpents.

THE SIXTY-SECOND GATE. Kill not the water-dog, or otter, but if thou perceive him far out of the water, take him back to his river.

THE SIXTY-THIRD GATE. The believer performs during his life the rites which ensure his salvation: the propitiation of the Yazad Srosh is a sacred duty; it is therefore advisable that every person should perform it duly in his own life-time.

THE SIXTY-FOURTH GATE. When anyone departs from this world, the survivors during three days propitiate Srosh, light a fire for the deceased, and recite the Avesta: as the spirit of the deceased remains there three days, it is therefore necessary to offer up three Drons to Srosh Yazad. On the fourth night, recite one of them to propitiate Rashn and Ashtad (the angels of the 18th and 26th days of every month); another for that of the other heavenly beings; along with the fourth Dron produce complete dresses, the best and most splendid in thy power. These they style Ashudad, or heaven-bestowed.

THE SIXTY-FIFTH GATE. Women are not enjoined to perform any of these Niyayesh, except that they should go three times into their husband's presence, and inquire what his wishes may be. They must never, either by night or day, avert the face from their husband's command: which obedience on their part is serving God.

THE SIXTY-SIXTH GATE. The pure faith springs from this belief, that God has delivered us from affliction (in the world to come): and should circumstances occur to any believer which would necessarily lead him to apostatize from the true faith, let all exert themselves to the utmost to aid him, so that he may remain unshaken in the true religion.

THE SIXTY-SEVENTH GATE. Believers never utter falsehood, although through it they might attain to worldly eminence.

THE SIXTY-EIGHTH GATE. They make truth their profession, and remain free from the degradation of Goyastah (or Gogestah).

THE SIXTY-NINTH GATE. The believers beware of any intercourse with a courtesan or unchaste woman, also of voluntary degradation (connivance) and adultery. For when a libertine engages in improper correspondence with a woman, she becomes an abomination to her husband; and if, after proof of her misconduct, the husband resume his intimacy with such a wife, he then becomes a Ruspi, or utterly contemptible.

THE SEVENTIETH GATE. If any one steal property to the amount of one direm, they take from the thief two direms, cut off the lobes of his ears, inflict on him ten blows of a stick, and dismiss him after one hour's imprisonment. Should he a second time commit a similar act, and steal to the amount of a direm, they make him refund two, cut off his ears, inflict twenty blows, and detain him in prison two hours: should he after that steal three direms or two dangs, they cut off his right hand; and if he steal five hundred direms, they put him to death.

THE SEVENTY-FIRST GATE. Beware of open and secret sin abstain from bad sights and thoughts. Offer up thy grateful prayers to the Lord, the most just and pure Ohrmazd, the supreme and adorable God, who thus declared to his prophet Zartosht: "Hold it not meet to do unto others what thou wouldst not have done to, thyself: do that unto the people which, when done to thyself, proves not disagreeable to thyself."

THE SEVENTY-SECOND GATE. Direct the Ervad to sanctify for thee an oblation or Dron once every day if not he, then thyself. It is to be observed that Yazish has the sense of Yashtan; also that Dron (the first letter with Zemma) means a prayer in praise of the Lord and of fire, which being recited by the professors of the pure faith, they breathe over the viands; whatever has been thus breathed over they call Yashtah: for Yashtan signifies the reciting of a prayer.

THE SEVENTY-THIRD GATE. Let women perform the rites of oblation in the month of Aban (the 8th month), so that they may be purified from their illness and attain paradise.

THE SEVENTY-FOURTH GATE. Beware of committing adultery; for when the wife of a stranger has been four times visited by a strange man, she becomes accursed to her husband: to put such a woman to death is more meritorious than slaying beasts of prey.

THE SEVENTY-FIFTH GATE. A woman during her illness is not to look at the fire, to sit in water, behold the sun, or hold conversation with a man. Two women, during their illness, are not to sleep in the same bed, or look up to heaven. Women in this state are to drink out of leaden vessels, and not to lay their (bare) hands on bread. The drinking vessel is to be half-filled with water, and not filled up to the brim. They are to fold their hand in the sleeve of their mantle and then lay hold of the vessel: they must not sit in the sun. On the birth of a child, the infant is to undergo ablution along with the mother.

THE SEVENTY-SIXTH GATE. A fire is not to be lighted in a situation exposed to the sun's rays: also place not over the fire any thing through the interstices of which the sun may shine. But before the time of Mah Abad it was held praiseworthy to light a fire in face of the great luminary for the purpose of making fumigations.

THE SEVENTY-SEVENTH GATE. They show the Nasu [nasa] or dead body to a dog [sagdid], at the moment the person gives up the soul: and again when they convey it to the burial-place. When removing the body, the bearers fasten their hands together with a cord, so that it comes to all their hands and keeps them close to each other; they bear the body along in perfect silence; and if the deceased be a woman advanced in her pregnancy, there are then four bearers instead of two. According to the precepts of Mah Abad, if the woman be pregnant, they are to extract the fetus and bring it up: the same holds good respecting all animals. Finally, when the professors of the pure faith have conveyed the corpse to the Dad Gah, or "place for depositing the dead," the bearers wash themselves and put on fresh garments.

THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH GATE. It is necessary to beware of (contact with) the wooden frame on which the dead body has been carried or washed; also of that on which any one has been hung; or one touched by a woman during her illness.

THE SEVENTY-NINTH GATE. If, during a malady, the physician prescribe the eating of any dead animal, let the patient comply without repugnance and partake of it.

THE EIGHTIETH GATE. A dead body is not to be committed to water or fire.

THE EIGHTY-FIRST GATE. If ally one force a professor of the pure faith to partake of the flesh of a dead body, or even throw it at him, he must perform the Barashnom and recite the Patet Iran. Note: that is, he must repent, and implore pardon, and exert himself in good works, that he may escape going to hell.

THE EIGHTY-SECOND GATE. If any animal partake of a dead body, it continues unclean during a whole year.

THE EIGHTY-THIRD GATE. Nothing should be given (to the unworthy) unless through dread of the oppressor: that is, if believers apprehend not danger from the sinner, and do not entertain alarm at his power of doing them injury, they are not to give him any thing.

THE EIGHTY-FOURTH GATE. In the morning, on arising from sleep, rub thy hands with something, then thrice wash thy face, thy arms from the wrist to the elbow, and thy foot as far as the leg; reciting the Avesta at the same time. If the believer cannot find water, he is then permitted to use dust.

THE EIGHTY-FIFTH GATE. When the husbandman introduces water for the irrigation of his own fields, he carefully observes that there be not a dead body in the stream.

THE EIGHTY-SIXTH GATE. A woman after parturition must during forty days beware of using vessels of wood or earth, and is not to cross the threshold of the house. She is then to wash her head: during all this time her husband is not to approach her.

THE EIGHTY-SEVENTH GATE. If a woman be delivered of a dead child previous to four months' gestation, as it is without a soul, it is not to be regarded as a dead body; but should this occur after the term of four months, it is then to be looked on as a dead body, and to be conveyed to burial with the usual ceremonies.

THE EIGHTY-EIGHTH GATE. When a death occurs, the people of the house and the relatives of the deceased are to abstain from meat during three days.

THE EIGHTY-NINTH GATE. It is incumbent on the professors of the true faith to be liberal, generous, and munificent; for God hath declared: "Paradise is the abode of the liberal."

THE NINETIETH GATE. Reciting the Ashem Vohu is attended with countless merits it is necessary to do this at the time of eating bread, of going to sleep, at midnight, on turning from one side to the other, and at the time of rising up in the morning.

THE NINETY-FIRST GATE. You must not put off the good work of today until the morrow, for God declared thus to Zartosht: "Putting off the duties of this day until the following, brings with it cause of regret. O Zartosht! no one in the world is superior to thee in my sight. For thy sake I have oven created it; and princes earnestly desire to diffuse the true faith in thy lifetime. From the age of Gayomard to thine, three thousand years have elapsed; and from thee to the resurrection is a period of three thousand years: thus I have created thee in the middle, as that point is most worthy of admiration. Moreover I have rendered obedient to thee king Vishtasp, the wisest and most prudent sovereign of the age; whose eminence arises from science and perfect morals, not merely from high birth and lineage. I have also given thee a volume such as the Avesta, and in like manner a perspicuous commentary on it. Expect not that, after thou hast passed away, others will perform good works for thee. Know that Gokhastah or Ahriman has expressly appointed two demons, named Tardiness and Procrastination, for putting off the performance of good works to a remote and future period."

THE NINETY-SECOND GATE. Whatever is polluted by a dead body must be purified by Padyab water according to this rule: gold once; silver twice; tin and copper thrice; steel four times; stone six times; earthen and wooden vessels must be thrown away. Padyab signifies to wash with certain forms of prayer.

THE NINETY-THIRD GATE. Show vigilant attention to the fire of Adar Warharan, and to his attendant (genii); light up the fire every night and cast perfumes into it.

Note: Var (Adar) Warharan is the name of the angel, the lord of victory, and the bestower of triumph.

THE NINETY-FOURTH GATE. The Gahambars, which are six in number, must be observed, because the Almighty created the world in six periods or times, the commencement of each period having a particular name; in order to celebrate each of which commencements, they pass five days in festivity and rejoicing. According to the statement in the Zand, the righteous Ohrmazd created the whole world in the space of one year.

In the Sad-Dar we find it recorded, that the demon one day came to Jamshed's palace, and the king, as usual, sent him to the kitchen to satisfy his hunger. The demon having devoured all that was there, and also swallowed up whatever they brought him beside, was still unsatisfied. On beholding this, Jamshed cried out to the Lord, and the most righteous God sent the angel Warharan (or Gabriel) to say thus to the king: "Slaughter the red ox, on which pour vinegar, rue, and garlic; take it when boiled out of the cauldron, and serve it up, to the demon." When they had done thus, the demon having tasted one morsel of it, fled and disappeared, from which day they instituted the festival of the Gahambar.

The Abadiyan say, with respect to the creation, that the actions of God are not circumscribed by time. It must however be acknowledged that Jamshed first established this festival. In the first Gahambar, Jamshed, by the command of the Almighty, began to depict on the ceiling of his palace the representation of the heavens, which undertaking was finished in forty-five days. Secondly, on the Khur of Tir he was commanded by the Lord to introduce water into his palace, gardens, city, and cultivated grounds, which work was completed in the course of sixty days. Thirdly, on the Ashtad of Shahrewar, by order of the Almighty (whose name be glorified!) he cleared the surface of the grounds and palace, and embellished them exceedingly; he leveled the place of exercise in front of his palace, built houses, and laid out in due order the city and its streets; all which was completed in seventy-five days. Fourthly, on the Ashtad of Mihr, he began to ascertain the properties of all vegetable productions, and completed the embellishment of his garden, and terminated the entire in thirty days. He next, on the day of Mihr in the month of Dae, collected all species of animals in his garden and assigned their suitable employments to each: to the ox and the ass to carry burdens; to the horse to serve for riding, and so forth; which arrangements were completed in seventy days. Lastly, on the day of Ahunawad, he summoned mankind to appear in his presence, and assigned them their respective occupations; the details of which were finished in the course of seventy days. He then proclaimed: "The Lord has created all these things through me;" and commanded five days to be set apart for rejoicing at the beginning of each Gahambar. As to the tradition of the demon's appearing and eating up whatever he found, it is thus explained: by the demon is meant, the depraved sensual appetite, which loves to eat, sleep, shed blood, and such like, and is never satiated with such pursuits; but when the spiritual Jamshed, prayed to the Lord, the Gabriel of intellect came with this divine communication: "Slay the sensual appetite (which is typified by the ox), that is, indulge it not in the excesses it demands; next apply to the cauldron of the body the vinegar of abstinence, the garlic of reflection, and the rue of silence; then serve up a portion of this food to the Satan-like propensities, that the demon may flee away." On doing this, he was delivered from the presence of the evil one. Such was the enigma propounded to the people by Zartosht respecting the Gahambars and such the solution of it as given by the Abadian professors, who have interpreted in a similar manner the whole of Zartosht's discourses, which were couched under this enigmatic form.

THE NINETY-FIFTH GATE. When any one does good to another, the latter should not forget his benefactor's goodness.

THE NINETY-SIXTH GATE. The believers make niyayesh to the sun three times every day: they also perform the same to the moon and to fire.

THE NINETY-SEVENTH GATE. They weep not after the deceased, as the tears thus shed are collected and form a barrier before the bridge of Chinwad, or "of judgment," and prevent the deceased from passing: but, on reading the Avesta and Zand they can pass over.

THE NINETY-EIGHTH GATE. Whoever comes in to the presence of the Dasturs, Mobeds, or Ervads, listens to what they say, and rejects it not although painful to him.

THE NINETY-NINTH GATE. The professor of the true religion ought to understand thoroughly the characters of the Avesta and the Zand.

THE HUNDREDTH GATE. The Mobeds must not instruct a stranger in the Pahlavi language; for the Lord commanded Zartosht, saying: "Teach this science to thy children."


The substance of the venerable Zartosht's precepts is contained in enigmas and parables, because with the mass of society, fabulous narrations, though revolting to reason, excite stronger impressions. In the next place, if it were proposed to communicate to an ignorant person the idea of the existence of the necessarily existing God, independent of cause, he could not understand the proposition; and if we speak to him concerning the uncompoundedness of intelligences, the immateriality of souls, the excellence of the sphere and stars, he becomes overwhelmed in perplexity and amazement; being utterly unable to comprehend spiritual delights or tortures, or discover the exact truth; whilst the precepts enforced by the figurative expressions of the law come within the understanding of high and low, so that they are profited thereby, and the explanation of the law is attended with a good reputation both in this world and the next. The select few undoubtedly comprehend the nature of certainty, religious abstraction, and philosophy, although the vulgar, in general, hold these in abhorrence: it therefore becomes necessary to clothe the maxims of philosophy in the vestments of law, in order that all classes of society may derive their appropriate advantages from that source: these observations being premised, it is to be remarked, that some Yazdanian professors express themselves after this manner: The book of the Zand is of two kinds; the one perspicuous and without enigmatic forms of speech, which they call the Mah Zand, or "Great Zand;" the second; abounding in enigmatic and figurative forms of speech, is called the Kah Zand, or "Little Zand." The Mah Zand contained the precepts of the law promulgated by the venerable Mahabad, such as the volume of Azar Sassan, and the Mah Zand was lost during the domination of Strangers, particularly the Turks and Greeks the Kah Zand still remained, but much of it was also lost in other subsequent invasions.


It entitles the supreme Lord, Ohrmazd, and acknowledges the existence, immateriality, and uncompoundedness of his essence; accounting Vohuman the Great, the first-created being, who is also called Frawardin the Great, and looked upon and styled pure and uncompounded; from him was derived Ardwahisht the Great, along with the sublime soul and body of the empyrean heaven; from Ardwahisht the Great proceeded Hordad the Great; from him Tir the Great; from him Amurdad the Great; from him Shahrewar the Great; from him Mihr the Great; from him Aban the Great; from him Adar the Great; and from him Dae the Great; these are the lords of the heavens, and after Frawardin the Great, are accounted as the months as well as the heavens collectively. In all other points, speculative and practical, such as the protection of harmless creatures and the destruction of noxious animals, it agrees with the Dasatir. During the Ashkanian dynasty, the people conformed to the Kah Zand, but as Ardashir was obedient to the second Sasan, he, in compliance with the Dasatir and Mah Zand, studiously avoided the destruction of harmless animals: for the Mah Zand is a portion of the Dasatir. After him, others adopted the Kah Zand. But Noshirvan, under the guidance of the contemporary Azar Sasan, although conforming to the Dasatir and Mah Zand, was during the whole of his life innocent of the crime of slaying harmless animals; his successors however followed the precepts of the Kah Zand, until the fifth Sasan, having uttered imprecations against the people of Iran, they became the victims of privation and wretchedness.

The professors of the Abadian faith say that Ahriman was produced by Time [Zurvan]: they also say that the angels and the heavens have existed, exist;, and will continue to exist. Moreover the belief of the Azar Hushengians or Yazdanians is, that although the faith of Zartosht prevailed universally from the time of Vishtasp to that of Yazdegird, yet that the different intervening princes glossed it over and made it agree with the Azar Hushengian or Mahabadian system, so as never to sanction the destruction of animal life; and as they held the words of Zartosht to be figurative, they never put them in practice literally when they contradicted the Azar Hushengian faith, but invariably glossed them over.

This statement proves that Ardashir Babegan and the other Sasanian princes showed great reverence to the Azur Sasanian family and paid them implicit obedience, as being truly the ministers and worshippers of the Lord; they besides accounted them as the legitimate sovereigns, regarding themselves merely as their lieutenants: in short, when the Azar Sasanians ceased to reign, they exercised the government in their stead. However the Azar Sasanians followed no faith except that of Mahabad, receiving no other without; the requisite glosses, and attaching no esteem whatever to the external import of Zartosht's precepts: that is, regarding his words as true, but holding their external import as figurative. The Behdinians also maintain that such was the system adopted by the kings of old, particularly by Dara, Darab, Bahman, Isfendiar, and Lohrasp.

The present seems the proper time for stating some of the enigmatic sayings ascribed to the Magians or followers of Zartosht, as philosophy is guarded by such expressions from falling in to the hands of the ignorant, whilst the sages thereby attain their object.

It is well known that according to their system the world had two creators, Yazdan (the Lord), and Ahriman: but the Lord having entertained this evil thought, "Perhaps an antagonist may rise up to oppose me," Ahriman was produced from that thought. In some places it is mentioned that God was alone, and gloom having come over him, he entertained an evil suspicion, on which Ahriman was produced. They say that Ahriman, who was outside the world, on looking through a small aperture, and beholding the Lord surrounded with glory and majesty, bore him envy and raised up wickedness and corruption. God then created the angels to be his host, and with them fought against Ahriman; but being unable to destroy him, they made peace with each other on this condition that Ahriman should remain in the world during a definite period; and on his departure it should become the abode of unalloyed good.

Jamasp, the venerable sage, says thus: "It is to be remarked that 'world' is a metaphorical expression for body; and 'God,' for the aspiration of the spirit; 'Ahriman,' for the physical temperament; 'the evil thought,' the habitual bias of the soul to material objects; by 'the wickedness and corruption of Ahriman, and his war,' are implied the domination of the sensual passions over spirit; and what they said of 'the terrestrial world,' means the same; by 'the creation of angels,' the existence of praiseworthy qualities and perseverance in pure morals, with the subjugation of the senses by means of religious austerities, for the senses constitute the gratuitous foes of the heart; by 'peace,' is signified the impossibility of expelling by one effort the evil propensities which are the armies of Iblis; that is, excess and extravagance are to be avoided, and the path of moderation followed; the circumstance of 'Ahriman's remaining in the world for a definite period,' means the ascendancy and supremacy of the bodily passions, particularly in early years, and before arriving at mature reflection, and even during other periods of this mortal life, in certain constitutions; 'the departure of Ahriman from the world' implies voluntary death, or religious austerities, or compulsory death, which is the natural decease; when the soul has by such means been emancipated, it finds itself adorned with perfections and attains to its particular sphere or bliss without alloy."

They have said: "Darkness besieged tight and imprisoned it; on which event the angels having come to the assistance of light, Darkness demanded help from Ahriman, its source; but the angels having overcome the prince of Darkness, gave him a respite until the appointed hour and the predestined death." As to darkness having arisen from the evil thought of Light, the venerable sage Jamasp says: "The interpretation of this tradition is the same as that of the preceding; as thus: The soul is a precious substance, formed from light; its darkness, the bodily passions; its confinement and imprisonment, the dominion of the passions over that luminous essence, which drag down the souls of the wicked to the desolation of the lower world; the assistance of angels, is the obtaining of grace and power through elevation of mind, proceeding from illumination from on high, and the ascent of the spirit to the world of intellect; delay or respite implies the continuance of the passions until the period of natural death; and the corrupt thought the bias of the soul to materia1 objects."

Dawar Haryar, the author of the Darai Sekandur, having once questioned the author concerning the enigmatic meanings attached to the words God and Ahriman, received this answer: "Light is the same as existence, and darkness signifies non-existence; God is therefore light or existence, and Ahriman is darkness or non-existence. When it is said that Ahriman is opposed to God, the meaning is, that God is existence, the opposite to which is non-existence.

They say that the creation and production of diseases, serpents, scorpions, and such like is an abominable act, originating with Ahriman which Jamasp thus explains: "It is evident that diseases, such as ignorance, folly, pride, negligence, noxious creatures, (such as) anger, lust;, strong passions, concupiscence, calumny, envy, malignity, covetousness, treachery, fraud, and the like, arise not from spirit, but from the elemental constitution."

They have also said: "An angel is the agent of good, and Ahriman the agent of evil; and that God is exempt from both these acts; which the celebrated sage Jamasp thus explains: -- By angel is implied spirit and the agent of good which, if it overcome the senses, engages man in virtuous words and acts, which are styled 'good.' Ahriman or Satan, in this place means the desires inherent in the constitution of the senses, which, on obtaining the victory over spirit, attract it towards the pleasures of sense, thus making it forget its original abode; which is denominated 'evil:' and as the Almighty has given his creatures free will, neither are their good or evil deeds to be imputed to him." This saying: That the soul of him who has done evil, having determined on flight through fear of divine wrath, plunges downwards, is thus explained by the sage Jamasp: "By 'sinner' is understood one whose essence is defective; by 'descent,' turning away from the superior to corporeal attachments; by 'resolving on flight,' the strong desires of passion, through the suggestion of body, until the entire departure of divine grace."

Thus far extend the illustrations of the sage Jamasp. But that the scope of Zartosht is couched under allegories agrees with the declaration made by the great; Bahman, the son of Isfendiar, the son of king Vishtasp, who says: "Zartosht once said to me: 'My father and mother delivered me to nurses, who dwelt in a place far remote from the city of my birth; with these I remained many a long year, until I quite forgot my father, mother, and native town. Suddenly this thought came over my mind -- Who are my parents, and where the place of my birth? -- I struggled hard until I returned naked and bare the way by which I had come; and having gained my house and beheld my father and mother, I returned again to the place where my nurses dwelt. As the dress worn by the people of this country was on my person, I shall therefore remain here until this dress is worn out, and then depart, in order that it may not be said -- He was unable to perform his office and has run away, leaving our despised garments.'"

Bahman, the son of Isfendiar, thus says "All that Zartosht; uttered was enigmatic: the 'city and native place' are the angelic world; by 'father,' Is meant the primary intelligence; and by 'mother,' the universal soul; 'the nurses,' this lower world and junction with body; 'forgetting the original abode,' attachment to the elements of body; 'recalling it to memory,' implies the struggle towards that direction; 'the arriving there,' means religious austerities; 'the state of nakedness,' the divesting one's self of bodily attachments; 'the returning back to the nurses,' means resuming the body; 'that it may not be said that he was alarmed at the performance of duty, and ran off, leaving his clothes behind; I shall not therefore depart from hence, until these clothes be worn out; -- the performance of duty,' signifies the amassing of the capital of knowledge, true faith, and good works; by 'the clothes being worn out,' is implied the separation of the bodily members; that is, I will remain here as long as the body lasts, and after its dissolution return to my native place."

Prince Isfendiar, the son of king Vishtasp, also tells us: "Zartosht once said to me: 'A number of persons once left their native place for the purpose of acquiring wealth, that on their return they might pass their time in pleasure and enjoyment. On arriving at the city of their destination, some of them amassed wealth; some devoted themselves to wandering about; the place and contemplating the beauties with which it abounded; whilst others remained altogether inactive. When the time of packing up came, the king of that people said -- Depart from hence, that another set may arrive, and obtain their portion, as you have done. -- On which all these people went out, some provided with stores for the journey; some without any provision; a few on horseback; a multitude on foot; a wide desert lay before, and a toilsome road, through rocks and prickly thorns, devoid of cultivation, destitute of water and shade. Those who were on horseback and furnished with provisions passed over, and having reached their native city, gave themselves up to joy and gladness; those who were on foot, and had provided stores for the journey, after experiencing many ups and downs, at last, with extreme difficulty, reached their halting place, where they passed their time in a state of happiness proportioned to their gains, although, on instituting a comparison between themselves and those inhabitants and dignified persons who had acquired opulence by commercial pursuits, they feel pangs of regret; but those who came out of the city without any kind of conveyance or stores, and thinking that without supplies they could reach their native place, when they had gone some little distance, became wearied and unable to proceed through weakness, and fatigue from walking, want of provisions, the difficulties of the road, distress, the sun's overpowering heat, and the gloom of night; they were forced by necessity to turn back to the city, where they had been; but other merchants had in the meantime taken possession of the houses, dwellings, shops, and apartments which they formerly occupied: they were thus reduced to a state of destitution, and had no resource left but that of working for hire or turning mendicants, pursuits which they adopted.'"

Isfendiar says: "'The city from which they departed for the purposes of commerce' is the angelic world; that to which they came with the design of accumulating wealth' is the lower world; 'the houses, shops, etc.,' signify the human body; 'the people of the city' are the animals, vegetables, and minerals; 'the king,' the elemental nature; 'what the merchants have amassed' are their words and deeds; what others have collected' is devotion without knowledge; 'the inactive' are those whose only pursuits were sleep, sensual gratification, etc.; 'the exclamation of the king' is Death, who expels them from the mansions of body; 'the deserts and mountains,' the extremes of heat and cold; 'the equestrians' are those who unite the speculative and practical; 'the pedestrians, who were furnished with some provisions' are those who adore God, but neither knew themselves nor the Lord; 'they who are without provisions or conveyance' are those destitute of knowledge and good works, who being unable to reach the angelic world, return in despair to the elemental world, forfeiting the rank they once possessed."

The sage Shah Nasir Khusran says on this head:

"When any one travels this road for that important purpose,
He takes at least a loaf of bread under his arm;
How then canst thou, who hast no store, proceed up the mount,
From the center of darkness to the zenith of Saturn?"

In some other parables of Zartosht, which are here noticed, he speaks thus: "When the travelers, in consequence of the want of stores and fatigue of walking, return back to the king's city, not finding their former beautiful mansions, they settle themselves in caverns or lanes, hiring themselves as laborers or subsisting on alms."

Isfendiar says: "By this is understood, that when they quit this mortal frame, they cannot reach the world on high, owing to their want of knowledge and good works; being thus rejected, on their return to the elemental world, they cannot obtain human bodies, but are invested with the forms of the brute creation." As this parable nearly resembles what has been heretofore mentioned, it is unnecessary to describe it more in detail.

"When thou departest from the inn of the body, there is no other storehouse
Why dost thou not therefore procure supplies for the road in this place of sojourn?"

Isfendiar also records: "Zartosht once said: 'Two persons of one house were partners, and were both possessed of great capital; they said: '-- We have gained a sufficient stock of wealth in the world, and live and dress in a manner suitable to our great riches; we now only want some beloved object, that our existence may be more blissful: therefore, to attain our desire, it will be necessary to undertake a journey. They directed their course to a city, the inhabitants of which were famed for beauty and gracefulness; on arriving there with the caravan, one of the partners gave himself up to traversing the gardens, and was so absorbed in admiring the beauties of the city, that he attended to no business whatever, whilst the other partner obtained a mistress of exquisite beauty. All of a sudden the garden-door was closed.'"

Isfendiar says "Zaid and Amru [1] may serve as an example of the two friends; 'the capital and stock,' the original world; 'the city of beauteous persons,' this world; 'the desirable beloved object,' good works; 'the rapacious animals, reptiles, and beasts' are anger, lust, excessive desire, hatred, envy, concupiscence, malignity, and avarice; 'the herbage and gardens' are sloth and pride; 'the garden door, the dakhma (or sepulchral vault [tower]); 'the urn,' the grave, or the place of burying the dead; 'shutting the garden-door' the moment of death."

Zaid and Amru are two names which grammarians use in giving an example for any two individuals, such as may be said A. and B. -A.T.]

His reasons for enumerating the urn, dakhma, and grave are, that according to the faith of Azur Hooshang, or Mahabad, they sometimes put the body of the deceased into a jar of aqua-fortis, as among them the body is deposited indifferently either in the dakhma or the jar: but the sepulcher is in use among the people of Room, and the funeral pile among those of Hindustan.

King Vishtasp also relates the following parable of Zartosht: "A certain man delivered his son to a preceptor, saying: 'Within such a time teach this boy the accomplishments necessary for a courtier.' The boy, however, through a fondness for pleasure, sport, and amusements, was unwilling to give himself any trouble, and was slow in learning any thing; he however every day secretly brought from home sweetmeats and agreeable objects, as his tutor had a great inclination for such enjoyments. When the preceptor's time had passed in this manner, and his pupil had become habituated to reveling, sensual pleasures, and enjoyments, the tutor at last felt dangerously indisposed through these excesses, and laid himself down on the bed of death. his pupil well knew he had no other place left, and that he must return to his parents; so that when his master fell sick, he became sensible of his own state. Through dread of his father, shame of his mother, the disgrace of ignorance, and a sense of contrition, he went not near them, but pined in melancholy and wandered about in obscurity."

This parable has been thus explained by Vishtasp: "'The preceptor' signifies the five senses; 'the son,' the immortal spirit; 'the father,' the universal intelligence; 'the mother,' the universal soul; 'the sweetmeats and mistresses,' worldly enjoyments 'the indispensable necessity of the immortal spirit,' that it should, through the senses and the common reflection which is their instructor, attain the objects of intellect and amass provisions for its return, so that it may become the associate of the only true king. If this purpose be not effected, it of course feels terror at the death of the body. When it has become thus biased to sensual pleasures and devoid of all goodness, on being separated from the body, although still possessed of sufficient energy for mounting on high, yet through shame and confusion, it feels no desire of arriving there and beholding its parents, soul and intellect."

The venerable Huryar once said to the author: "I have seen the following narrative in the Ramazastan of Zartosht: 'The prime minister to the sovereign of the world had so many sons, that their number surpassed all computation; these he first sent to a place of education, where, along with the children of Rayas (cultivators), they might attain knowledge. If the minister's sons became intelligent, the Dastur summoned them to his presence, and enrolled them among the king's confidential servants; but if they remained without science, they were not regarded as the Vizir's sons, but classed among the Rayas; were not permitted to come into his presence; and were cut off from all share in their father's inheritance."

The author replied: "It occurs to me that, by 'the king of the world,' is meant the supreme God without equal; by 'vizir,' the primary intelligence; and by 'the sons of the vizir,' the souls endowed with reason; by 'school,' the elemental world, and the bodies formed of the elements; and by 'the children of the common people' the corporeal senses and passions."

When the immortal spirits have acquired knowledge in this place of education, their father, "Universal Intelligence," brings them near himself, and advances them to the rank of holding intercourse with the Lord of Eternity: but the souls which do not acquire knowledge in this school are not allowed access to the world of uncompounded beings, the abode of the Universal Intelligence, and remain banished from the presence of the Creator of the world; so that they make no advance from the material bodies of this abode of the elements, which hold the rank of Rayas, but are excluded from all share in the inheritance of the primary intelligence or the acquisition of knowledge.

Zartosht has also said: "In the upper regions there exists a mighty ocean, from the vapors of "which a great mirage appears in this lower world: so that nothing save that illusion subsists here; exactly as nothing besides that ocean exists in the world on high."

The revered ruler of Huryar, having asked the author the meaning of this parable, received this answer: "'The mighty ocean' means the absolute essence and pure existence of God; 'the mirage' implies contingent existences, which in truth exist not, but appear to do so, through the inherent property of God's absolute existence; according to this view, he has said: 'From the vapors of that ocean has arisen the mirage."

It is recorded in the books composed by Zartosht's followers, and also in the ancient histories of Iran, that at the period of Arjasp's second invasion of Balkh, king Vishtasp was partaking of the hospitality of Zal, in Sistan, and Isfendiar was a prisoner in Dazh Gambadan; and that Lohrasp, notwithstanding the religious austerities he performed through divine favor, laid aside the robes of mortality in battle, after which the Turks took the city. A Turk named Turbaratur, or Turbaraturhash, having entered Zartosht's oratory, the prophet received martyrdom by his sword: Zartosht, however, having thrown at him the rosary (Shumar Afin; or Yád Afráz) which he held in his hand, there proceeded from it such effulgent splendor, that its fire fell on Turburatur and consumed him.


Mazdak was a holy and learned man, contemporary with king Kobad his religion was extensively diffused, but he was at last put to death by the illustrious Noshirvan; his tenets were as follows: from the commencement without beginning, the world had two creators; the agent of good, Yazdan, "God," or "light;" and the agent of evil, Ahriman, or, "darkness." The supreme God is the author of good, and from him proceeds nothing but good; consequently, intelligences, souls, heavens, and stars are his creation, in all which Ahriman has no share whatever; the elements and their combinations are, in like manner, the productions of the Lord; the influence of fire imparts warmth to those stricken with cold; the breathing of the winds gives coolness and ease to those consumed by heat; the water satisfies those parched with thirst; the earth is the place of ambulation. In like manner, their combinations, such as gold and silver among minerals; the fruit-bearing trees among vegetables; the ox, horse, sheep, and camel, of animals; the pious and beneficent among mankind, are his creation: but the consuming of animals by fire; the destruction of living creatures by the sultry simoom (wind); the foundering of ships in floods; the cutting bodies asunder by iron, or their being pricked by thorns rapacious and noxious animals, such as lions, tigers, scorpions, serpents, and the like, are all the works of Ahriman; and as he has no share in the empyreal heaven, they style it Behisht ; but as he possesses a joint authority in the elemental world, opposition has consequently arisen, and no form subsisting in it is possessed of permanent duration. For example the Almighty bestows life, and Ahriman puts to death; life is the creation of God, death that of Ahriman; God produced health, Ahriman, pain and disease; the Bestower of blessings created paradise, Ahriman, hell; the worship of the Lord is therefore most meet, as his kingdom is immense; and Ahriman has no power, except in the elemental world; in the next place, the spirit of every one devoted to God ascends on high, but that of Ahriman's servants abides in hell. Wisdom therefore requires the man of intelligence to separate himself from the Ahrimans; for although the author of evil may afflict such a person, yet on being delivered from the body, his soul ascends to heaven, whither Ahriman has not the power of coming.

In some parts of the Desnad, [the volume which contains the doctrines of Mazdak] Mazdak says: "Existence arises from two principles or sources, Shid and Tar," i.e.: 'light' and 'darkness,' which he afterwards interprets to mean God and Ahriman. He afterwards says: "The works of light result from choice, but those of darkness from accident; light is endued with knowledge and sensation, darkness is ignorant; the mixture of light and darkness is accidental, and the disengagement of light from darkness is also accidental, and not the result of choice; whatever is good in this world is an advantage emanating from light, whilst evil and corruption arise from darkness; when the parts of light are separated from darkness, the compound becomes dissolved, which means resurrection." Again, he says in the same volume: "There are three roots, or principles: water, fire, and earth; when these are blended together, the tendency to good or evil arising from their mixture is also accidental; whatever results from their purest parts tends to good, and whatever is derived from their grosser parts tends to evil." He says in the same volume: "God is seated on a throne in the world, the source of all things, just as kings are on the throne of sovereignty in the lower world. In his presence are the four energies, namely, Bazkusha, or 'power of discrimination;' Yáddah, or 'power of memory,' Dáná, or 'faculty of comprehension;' and Surá, or 'gladness;' in like manner as the affairs of royalty turn on four persons: "the Supreme Pontiff; the principal Ervad, the commander in chief of the forces, and the master of the revels. And these four persons conduct the affairs of the world through the agency of seven others, inferior to them in rank, namely, chieftain, administrator, Banur [?], Dairvan (head of a monastery), agent, Dastur, and slave; which seven characters comprehend under them the twelve Rawani, or 'orbits' of spirits, namely: the speaker, giver, taker, bearer, eater, runner, grazer, slayer, smiter, comer, goer, and abider. Whatever man unites in himself the four energies, the seven agents, and the twelve qualities, becomes in this lower world like a creator or protector, and is delivered from all kinds of embarrassment."

It is also stated in the same volume: "Whatever is not according with the light and agrees with darkness, becomes wrath, destruction, and discord. And whereas almost all contentions among mankind have been caused by riches and women, it is therefore necessary to emancipate the female sex and have wealth in common: he therefore made all men partners in riches and women; just as they are of fire, water, and grass," In the same volume we find: "It is a great injustice that one man's wife should be altogether beautiful, whilst another's is quite the contrary; it therefore becomes imperative, on the score of justice and true religion, for a good man to resign his lovely wife for a short time to his neighbor, who has one both evil and ugly; and also take to himself for a short time his neighbor's deformed consort."

Mazdak has also said: "It is altogether reprehensible and improper that one man should hold a distinguished rank, and another remain poor and destitute of resources: it is therefore incumbent on the believer to divide his wealth with his coreligionist; and so taught the religion of Zartosht, that he should even send his wife to visit him, that he may not be deprived of female society. But if his coreligionist should prove unable to acquire wealth, or show proofs of extravagance, infatuation, or insanity, he is to be confined to the house, and measures adopted to provide him with food, clothing, and all things requisite: whoever assents not to these arrangements is consequently a follower of Ahriman's, and they get contributions from him by compulsion.

Farhád, Shíráb, and Ayin Hoshpúryár adopted this creed; besides these, Muhammad Kúlí the Kurd, Ismail Bég, the Georgian, and Ahmadai of Tiran (a village near Isfahan) possessed this faith. From them it has been ascertained, that the followers of Mazdak do not at present assume the dress of Gebers, but practice their religion secretly among the Muhammedans. They also showed the author the volume of Mazdak, called the Desnad, written in old Persian, which Ayin Shakib, the grandfather of Ayin Hosh, translated into popular Persian. Farhod was a man of great intelligence, and assumed the name of Muhammad Said Beg among the Muhammedans: Shirab went under the name of Shir Muhammad, and Ayin Hosh under that of Muhammad Akil; and as they were eminent in their peculiar science, they possessed the volume called the Desnad. Such is the detailed account of the Parsi systems, agreeably to the promise made in the beginning of this work, into which not a single one has been admitted which has not either been taken from their own books, or heard from the followers of the respective creeds, as their enemies have, from hostile motives, falsely ascribed to them various erroneous doctrines.


Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives
Part 4