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AVESTA: Vendidad: FARGARD 9. The Nine Nights' Barashnum.

This digital edition copyright © 1995 by Joseph H. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898.)

On the name Barashnom, see Vd8.40, note 50.

I a (1-11). Description of the place for cleansing the unclean (the Barashnom-gah).

I b (12-36) Description of the cleansing.

II (37-44). Fees of the cleanser.

III (47-57). The false cleanser; his punishment.

§§ 45, 46 belong better to the following Fargard.

The ceremony described in this Fargard is known among the Parsis as barashnom no shaba, or 'nine nights' Barashnom,' because it lasts for nine nights (see § 35). It is the great purification, the most efficacious of all; it not only makes the defiled man clean, but it opens to him the heavens (see Vd19.33). So, although it was formerly intended only for the man defiled by the dead, it became, during the Parsi period, a pious work which might be performed without any corpse having been touched; nay, its performance was prescribed, once at least, at the time of the Nû zûdî [Navjote -JHP] (at the age of fifteen, when the young Parsi becomes a member of the community), in order to wash away the natural uncleanness that has been contracted in the maternal womb (Saddar 36). It must also be undergone by a priest who wants to appear before the Warharan fire or perform the Yasna or the Vendidad office.


FARGARD 9. The Nine Nights' Barashnum.

Ia.

Notes:
1. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: O most beneficent Spirit, Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! To whom shall they apply here below, who want to cleanse their body defiled by the dead?'
2. Ahura Mazda answered: 'To a pious man1, O Spitama Zarathushtra! who knows how to speak, who speaks truth, who has learned the Holy Word [manthra], who is pious, and knows best the rites of cleansing according to the law of Mazda. That man shall fell the trees off the surface of the ground on a space of nine Vibazus2 square; 1. A priest.

2. Nine ells (?). See Vd7.34.

3. 'in that part of the ground where there is least water and where there are fewest trees, the part which is the cleanest and driest, and the least passed through by sheep and oxen, and by the fire of Ahura Mazda, by the consecrated bundles of Baresma, and by the faithful.'

4. How far from the fire? How far from the water? How far from the consecrated bundles of Baresma? How far from the faithful?

5. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Thirty paces from the fire, thirty paces from the water, thirty paces from the consecrated bundles of Baresma, three paces from the faithful.

6. 'Then thou shalt dig a hole3, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come. 3. Those holes are intended to receive the liquid trickling from the body. In summer, the air and the earth being dry the hole may be less deep, as it is certain that it will be empty and will have room enough for that liquid.
7. 'Thou shalt dig a second hole, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter end ice have come.
'Thou shalt dig a third hole, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come.
'Thou shalt dig a fourth hole, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come.
'Thou shalt dig a fifth hole, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come.
'Thou shalt dig a sixth hole4, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come.'
4. These six holes contain gomez. 'The holes must be dug from the north to the south' (Comm.)
8. How far from one another?
'One pace.'
How much is the pace?
'As much as three feet.
9. 'Then thou shalt dig three holes more5, two fingers deep if the summer has come, four fingers deep if the winter and ice have come.'
How far from the former six?
'Three paces.'
What sort of paces?
'Such as are taken in walking.'
How much are those (three) paces?
'As much as nine feet.
5. The three holes to contain water.
10. 'Then thou shalt draw a furrow all around with a metal knife.'
How far from the holes?
'Three paces.'
What sort of paces?
'Such as are taken in walking.'
How much are those (three) paces?
'As much as nine feet.
11. 'Then thou shalt draw twelve furrows6; three of which thou shalt draw to surround and divided [from the rest] (the first) three holes; three thou shalt draw to surround and divide (the first) six holes; three thou shalt draw to surround and divide the nine holes; three thou shalt draw around the [three] inferior holes, outside the [six other] holes7. At each of the three times nine feet8, thou shalt place stones as steps to the holes; or potsherds, or stumps9, or clods, or any hard matter10.'

6. 'The furrows must be drawn during the day; they must be drawn with a knife; they must be drawn with recitation of spells. While drawing the furrows the cleanser recites three Ashem vohus ("holiness is the best of all good," &c.), the Fravarânê ("I declare myself a worshipper of Mazda, a follower or Zarathushtra, a foe of the fiend," &c.), the Khshnuman of Srosh, and the Srosh Baj; they must be drawn from the north' (Comm. ad § 32). The furrow, or kesh, plays a greater part in the Mazdean liturgy than in any other. By means of the furrow, drawn with proper spells, and according to the laws of spiritual war, man either besieges the fiend or intrenches himself against him (See Vd17.5) In the present case the Druj, being shut up inside the kesh and thus excluded from the world outside, and being driven back, step by step, by the strength of the holy water and spells, finds at last no place of refuge but hell.

7. 'The three holes for water, the six holes for gomez' (Comm.)

8. The nine feet between the holes containing gomez and those containing water, the nine feet between the first holes and the furrows; and the nine feet between the last hole and the furrows.

9. Dâdara.

10. That the foot of the unclean one may not touch the earth.

Ib.

12. 'Then the man defiled shall walk to the holes; thou, O Zarathushtra! shalt stand outside by the furrow, and thou shalt recite, Nemascha ya armaitish izhacha11; and the man defiled shall repeat, Nemascha ya armaitish izhacha. 11. Yasna 49.10c.
13. 'The Druj becomes weaker and weaker at every one of those words which are a weapon to smite the fiend Angra Mainyu, to smite Aeshma of the murderous spear12, to smite the Mazainya fiends13, to smite all the fiends. 12. See Vd10.13.

13. See Vd10.16.

14. 'Then thou shalt take for the gomez a spoon of iron13b or of lead. When thou takest a stick with nine knots14, O Spitama Zarathushtra! to sprinkle (the gomez) from that spoon, thou shalt fasten the spoon to the end of the stick.

13b. Dar: brass. -JHP

14. So long that the cleanser may take gomez or water from the holes and sprinkle the unclean one, without touching him and without going inside the furrows.

15. 'They shall wash his hands first. If his hands be not washed first, he makes his whole body unclean. When he has washed his hands three times, after his hands have been washed, thou shalt sprinkle the forepart of his skull15; then the Druj Nasu rushes in front, between his brows16.

15. With gomez at the first six holes, with water at the next three.

16. See Vd8.40-71.

16. Thou shalt sprinkle him in front between the brows; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the back part of the skull.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the back part of the skull; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the jaws.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the jaws; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right ear.

17. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the right ear; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left ear.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left ear; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right shoulder.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right shoulder; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left shoulder.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left shoulder; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right arm-pit.

18. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the right arm-pit; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left arm-pit.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left arm-pit; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the chest.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the chest; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the back.

19. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the back; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right nipple.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right nipple; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left nipple.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left nipple; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right rib.

20. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the right rib; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left rib.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left rib; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right hip.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right hip; then the Druj Nasu rushes 'upon the left hip.

21. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the left hip; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the sexual parts.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the sexual parts. If the unclean one be a man, thou shalt sprinkle him first behind, then before; if the unclean one be a woman, thou shalt sprinkle her first before, then behind; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right thigh.

22. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the right thigh; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left thigh.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left thigh; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right knee.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right knee; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left knee.

23. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the left knee; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right leg.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right leg; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left leg.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left leg; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right ankle.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right ankle; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left ankle.

24. 'Thou shalt sprinkle the left ankle; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the right instep.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the right instep; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left instep.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left instep; then the Druj Nasu turns round under the sole of the foot; it looks like the wing of a fly.

25. 'He shall press his toes upon the ground and shall raise up his heels; thou shalt sprinkle his right sole; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left sole.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left sole; then the Druj Nasu turns round under the toes; it looks like the wing of a fly.

26. 'He shall press his heels upon the ground and shall raise up his toes; thou shalt sprinkle his right toe; then the Druj Nasu rushes upon the left toe.
'Thou shalt sprinkle the left toe; then the Druj Nasu flies away to the regions of the north, in the shape of a raging fly, with knees and tail sticking out, droning without end, and like unto the foulest Khrafstras.

27. 'And thou shalt say these victorious, most healing words: '"Yatha ahu vairyo: - The will of the Lord is the law of righteousness.
'"The gifts of Vohu-mano to deeds done in this world for Mazda.
'"He who relieves the poor makes Ahura king.

'"Kem-na mazda: - What protector hadst thou given unto me, O Mazda! while the hate of the wicked encompasses me? Whom, but thy Atar and Vohu-mano, through whose work I keep on the world of Righteousness? Reveal therefore to me thy Religion as thy rule!

'"Ke verethrem-ja: - Who is the victorious who will protect thy teaching? Make it clear that I am the guide for both worlds. May Sraosha come with Vohu-mano and help whomsoever thou pleasest, O Mazda!

'"Keep us from our hater, O Mazda and Armaiti Spenta! Perish, O fiendish Druj! Perish, O brood of the fiend! Perish, O world of the fiend! Perish away, O Druj! Rush away, O Druj! Perish away, O Druj! Perish away to the regions of the north, never more to give unto death the living world of Righteousness17"

17. See Vd8.19-21.
28. 'At the first hole the man becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo." &c.18

'At the second hole he becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo," &c.

'At the third hole he becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo," &c.

'At the fourth hole he becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo," &c.

'At the fifth hole he becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo," &c.

'At the sixth hole he becomes freer from the Nasu; then thou shalt say those victorious, most healing words: - "Yatha ahu vairyo," &c.

18. As in preceding clause.
29. 'Afterwards the man defiled shall sit down, inside the furrows19, outside the furrows of the six holes, four fingers from those furrows. There he shall cleanse his body with thick handfuls of dust. 19. Between the furrows of the six holes containing gomez and the furrows of the holes containing water.
30. 'Fifteen times shall they take up dust from the ground for him to rub his body, and they shall wait there until he is dry even to the last hair on his head.

31. 'When his body is dry with dust, then he shall step over the holes (containing water). At the first hole he shall wash his body once with water; at the second hole he shall wash his body twice with water; at the third hole he shall wash his body thrice with water.

32. 'Then he shall perfume (his body) with Urvasna, or Vohu-gaona, or Vohu-kereti, or Hadha-naepata, or any other sweet-smelling plant; then he shall put on his clothes, and shall go back to his house.

33. 'He shall sit down there in the place of infirmity20, inside the house, apart from the other worshippers of Mazda. He shall not go near the fire, nor near the water, nor near the earth, nor near the cow, nor near the trees, nor near the faithful, either man or woman. Thus shall he continue until three nights have passed. When three nights have passed, he shall wash his body, he shall wash his clothes with gomez and water to make them clean. 20. The Armêsht-gah (see Vd5.59, note 70).
34. 'Then he shall sit down again in the place of infirmity, inside the house, apart from the other worshippers of Mazda. He shall not go near the fire, nor near the water, nor near the earth, nor near the cow, nor near the trees, nor near the faithful, either man or woman. Thus shall he continue until six nights have passed. When six nights have passed, he shall wash his body, he shall wash his clothes with gomez and water to make them clean.

35. 'Then he shall sit down again in the place of infirmity, inside the house, apart from the other worshippers of Mazda. He shall not go near the fire, nor near the water, nor near the earth, nor near the cow, nor near the trees, nor near the faithful, either man or woman. Thus shall he continue, until nine nights have passed. When nine nights have passed, he shall wash his body, he shall wash his clothes with gomez and water to make them clean.

36. 'He may thenceforth go near the fire, near the water, near the earth, near the cow, near the trees, and near the faithful, either man or woman.

II21

37. 'Thou shalt cleanse a priest for a blessing of the just22.

'Thou shalt cleanse the lord of a province for the value of a camel of high value.

'Thou shalt cleanse the lord of a town for the value of a stallion of high value.

'Thou shalt cleanse the lord of a borough for the value of a bull of high value.

'Thou shalt cleanse the master of a house for the value of a cow three years old.

21. Cf. the tariff for the fees or physicians, Vd7.41-43.

22. See Vd7.41, note 43.

38. 'Thou shalt cleanse the wife of the master of a house for the value of a ploughing23 cow.

'Thou shalt cleanse a menial for the value of a draught cow.

'Thou shalt cleanse a young child for the value of a lamb.

23. Doubtful.
39. 'These are the heads of cattle -- flocks or herds -- that the worshippers of Mazda shall give to the man who has cleansed them, if they can afford it; if they cannot afford it, they shall give him any other value that may make him leave their houses well pleased with them, and free from anger.

40. 'For if the man who has cleansed them leave their houses displeased with them, and full of anger, then the Druj Nasu enters them from the nose [of the dead], from the eyes, from the tongue, from the jaws, from the sexual organs, from the hinder parts.

41. 'And the Druj Nasu rushes upon them even to the end of the nails, and they are unclean thenceforth for ever and ever.
'It grieves the sun indeed, O Spitama Zarathushtra! to shine upon a man defiled by the dead; it grieves the moon, it grieves the stars.

42. 'That man delights them, O Spitama Zarathushtra! who cleanses from the Nasu the man defiled by the dead; he delights the fire, he delights the water, he delights the earth, he delights the cow, he delights the trees, he delights the faithful, both men and women.'

43. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What shall be his reward, after his soul has parted from his body, who has cleansed from the Nasu the man defiled by the dead?'

44. Ahura Mazda answered: 'The welfare24 of Paradise thou canst promise to that man, for his reward in the other world.' 24. Literally, 'the grease.'
4525. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! How shall I fight against that Druj who from the dead rushes upon the living? How shall I fight against that Nasu who from the dead defiles the living?' 25. This clause and the following one as far as 'and the Druj shall fly away' are further developed in the following Fargard.
46. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Say aloud those words in the Gathas that are to be said twice26.

'Say aloud those words in the Gathas that are to be said thrice26.

'Say aloud those words in the Gathas that are to be said four times26.

'And the Druj shall fly away like the well-darted arrow, like the felt of last year27, like the annual garment28 of the earth.'

26. The Bish-âmrûta formulas, the Thrish-âmrûta formulas, and the Chathrush-âmrûta formulas respectively. These are enumerated in the following Fargard.

27. The felt of an oba made for a season (?). See Vd8.1.

28. The grass.

III.

47. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man who does not know the rites of cleansing according to the law of Mazda, offers to cleanse the unclean, how shall I then fight against that Druj who from the dead rushes upon the living? How shall I fight against that Druj who from the dead defiles the living?

48. Ahura Mazda answered : 'Then, O Spitama Zarathushtra! the Druj Nasu appears to wax stronger than she was before. Stronger then are sickness and death and the working of the fiend than they were before29.' 29. The plague and contagion are stronger than ever.
49. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered: 'The worshippers of Mazda shall bind him; they shall bind his hands first; then they shall strip him of his clothes, they shall cut the head off his neck, and they shall give over his corpse unto the greediest of the corpse-eating creatures made by the beneficent Spirit, unto the vultures, with these words30: -

'"The man here has repented of all his evil thoughts, words, and deeds.

30. 'The cleanser who has not performed the cleansing according to the rites, shall he taken to a desert place; there they shall nail him with four nails, they shall take off the skin from his body, and cut off his head. If he has performed Patet for his sin, he shall be holy (that is, he shall go to Paradise); if he has not performed Patet, he shall stay in hell till the day of resurrection' (Fraser Ravâet, p. 398). See Vd3.20-21 and note 29.
50. '"If he has committed any other evil deed, it is remitted by his repentance; if he has committed no other evil deed, he is absolved by his repentance for ever and ever31."' 31. See Vd3.20 seq.
51. Who is he, O Ahura Mazda! who threatens to take away fullness and increase from the world, and to bring in sickness and death?
52. Ahura Mazda answered: 'It is the ungodly Ashemaogha32, O Spitama Zarathushtra! who in this material world cleanses the unclean without knowing the rites of cleansing according to the law of Mazda. 32. [Ashmogh. -JHP] See Vd5.35.
53. 'For until then, O Spitama Zarathushtra! sweetness and fatness would flow out from that land and from those fields, with health and healing, with fullness and increase and growth, and a growing of corn and grass33.' 33. See Vd13.52 seq. The false cleanser is punished as would be a man who would introduce an epidemic. He undergoes the same penalty as the êvak-bar, but with none of the mitigation allowed in the case of the latter, on account of the sacrilegious character of his usurpation.
54. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! When are sweetness and fatness to come back again to that land and to those fields, with health and healing, with fullness and increase and growth, and a growing of corn and grass?
55, 56. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Sweetness and fatness will never come back again to that land and to those fields, with health and healing, with fullness and increase and growth, and a growing of corn and grass, until that ungodly Ashemaogha has been smitten to death on the spot, and the holy Sraosha of that place has been offered up a sacrifice34, for three days and three nights, with fire blazing, with Baresma tied up, and with Haoma prepared. 34. The sadis sacrifice, that is to say, the sacrifice that is offered up to Sraosha for three days and three nights after the death of a man for the salvation of his soul.
57. 'Then sweetness and fatness will come back again to that land and to those fields, with health and healing, with fullness and increase and growth, and a growing of corn and grass.'


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