|Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives||Contents||Prev||Part 1||Next||Glossary|
This electronic edition copyright 1998 by Joseph H. Peterson.
All rights reserved.
The copyright to the Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives is owned by Joseph H. Peterson and is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and the Universal Copyright Convention.
The materials in the Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives (including all texts, translations, images, descriptions, drawings etc.) are provided for the personal use of students, scholars, and the public. Any commercial use or publication of them without authorization is strictly prohibited. All materials are copyrighted and are not in the public domain. Copying of materials on the Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives Web pages is not permitted.
Individuals distributing illegal copies will be pursued legally along with their Internet Service Providers.
From the translation of David Shea and Anthony Troyer, 1843. Notes in square brackets  were added by JHP.
The Dabestan-e Madaheb is a seventeenth-century description of many religions and occult practices prevalent in India at that time. He describes Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and various religious sects, much of it from personal observation. It is an important text of the Azar Kayvani pseudo-Zoroastrian sect. The author is generally accepted to be Mir Du'l-feqar Ardestani (ca. 1671-70) better known as Molla Mowbad or Mowbadshah. The evidence is that the author belonged to a Persian Shi'ite family, and became a follower of the Azar Kayvani sect while still a child.
While the account of Zoroastrianism is interesting, it cannot of course be taken as entirely reliable. The first three sections describe sects which correspond closely to other Azar Kayvani texts. The next ten sections describe beliefs which correspond closely to the philosophies of the ancient Greeks, Sabeans, and Hindus. Only the last two sections describe orthodox Zoroastrianism; this is derived from the 12th century al-Melal wa'l-nehal written by Mohammad b. `Abd-al-Karim Shahrestani.
The author has interspersed Azar Kayvani teachings throughout, and the "author's proselytizing attitude is especially apparent in the section on Islam, which is filled with distortions, fabrications, unwarranted interpretations, and even outright lies." 
Azar Kayvan (ca. 1530 - ca. 1618) was a Zoroastrian high priest who emigrated from Pars to India, and founded the Zoroastrian Eshraqi ("illuminative") school. There is a "synchronism in the development of the philosophy or theosophy of the 'Light of the East' (Hekmat al-esgrâq) among the Shi'ite thinkers of Iran and these Zoroastrian spiritual leaders. This synchronism is partially explained by the strong cultural and spiritual contacts between India and Iran occasioned by the 'ecumenical' religious reform undertaken by the Mughal emperor of India, Akbar Shah..." 
One of the sources on which the Dabestan is based is the Dasatir, which has been proven to be a fabrication of the time of Akhbar, "apparently when Akhbar's search for an ecumenical religion encouraged religious invention. Its contents have no relation to Zoroastrianism as embodied in the authentic literature of that religion. It contains gross absurdities and claims, ... born of fantastic imagination"  derived from Avicennan cosmology as recast (using Persian terms) by Sohravardi .
1. Fath-Allah Mojtaba'i, Encyclopedia Iranica vol. III, p. 533.
2. H. Corbin, Encyclopedia Iranica vol. III, p. 183.
3. EIr, p. 187.
4. Op. cit. p. 186.
In the name of the bountiful and merciful God
O Thou, whole name is the beginning of the book of the children of the school,
Thy remembrance is to the adult among the Sages the torch of their nightly retirement;
Without thy name the tongue falls the palate of the barbarians,
Although they know the language of Arabia;
Having the heart in the body full of thy remembrance, the novice, as well as the adept in contemplation
Becomes a supreme king of beatitude, and the throne of the kingdom of gladness,
Whatever road I took, it joined the street which leads to Thee;
The desire to know thy being is also the life of the meditators;
He who found that there is nothing but Thee, has found the final knowledge;
The mobed is the teacher of thy truth, and the world a school
BLESSING without limit to the mighty Being, the Lord of existence,
the rider upon the sun of the celestial sphere which is the eyewitness
of His glory; to Him whose servant is Saturn, Warharan (Mars)
the messenger, Jupiter the star, the herald of good fortune, Venus
the slave; to Him who is the ornament of the throne of the empire
of the faith, and the crown of divinity of the kingdom of truth.
The being to whom the holy God said:
If not thee, I would not have created the worlds;
That primitive wisdom and that soul of the world;
That man of spirit, and that spirit of man.
Blessing be also to the Khalifs of the faithful, and to the Lords
of the Imams of the faith.
The world is a book full of knowledge and of justice,
The binder of which book is destiny, and the binding the beginning and the end;
The suture of it is the law, and the leaves are the religious persuasions;
The whole nation is formed of its disciples, and the apostle is the teacher.
In this book, called the Dabestan, is contained something of the knowledge and faith of past nations, of the speeches and actions of modern people, as it has been reported by those who know what is manifest, and see what is concealed; as well as by those who are attached to exterior forms, and by those who discern the inward meaning, without omission, and diminution, without hatred, envy and scorn, and without taking a part for the, one, or against the other side of the question.
This work is composed of several chapters.
I. treats of the religion of the Parsian [Parsis].
II. of the religion of the Hindus.
III. of the religion of the Tabitian.
IV. of the religion of the Yahud (Jews).
V. of the religion of the Tarasas (Christians).
VI. of the religion of the Muselmans [Moslems].
VII. of the religion of the Sadakiah.
VIII. of the religion of the Vahadiah (Unitarians).
IX. of the religion of the Roshenian.
X. of the religion of the Ilahiah.
XI. of the religion of the Wise (Philosophers).
XII. of the religion of the Sufiah.
This chapter is divided into fifteen sections.
SECT. I. of the religious tenets and ceremonies of the Sipasian.
SECT. II. of the distinguished men amongst the Sipasian.
SECT. III. of the ordinances contained in the book revealed to Abad.
SECT. IV. of the Jemshaspian.
SECT. V. of the Samradian.
SECT. VI. of the religion of the Khodanian.
SECT. VII. of the tenets of the Radian.
SECT. VIII. of the religion of the Shidrangian.
SECT. IX. of the belief of the Pykerian.
SECT. X. of the tenets of the Milanian.
SECT. XI. of the doctrines of the Alarian
SECT. XII. of the religious opinions of the Shidabian.
SECT. XIII. of the religion of the Akhshian.
SECT. XIV. of the belief of the Zerdushtian. [Zoroastrian]
SECT. XV. of the doctrine of the Mazdakian.
Here commences the history of the tenets and ceremonies observed by the Sipasian and Parsian.
Among the Parsian, called also the Iranian, is a sect styled the Yazadian or Yazdanian, Abadian, Sipasian, Hushian, Anushkan, Azarhoshangian, and Azarian. They believe it impossible for man, by the force of intellect, or the energy of spirit, to comprehend the exalted essence of the Almighty and Holy Lord. Entity, unity, identity, or all his divine attributes of knowledge and life, constitute the fountain of his holy essence. He is, in the most comprehensive sense, the paramount, omnipotent Lord over all things, whether considered collectively, or in the changes incident to their component parts. All his works and operations are in conformity to his exalted will: if he wills, he acts; if he wills not, he acts not; but works worthy of adoration are as inseparable from his honored essence, as his other glorious attributes of perfection. -- Urfi of Shiraz thus expresses himself:
"Thy essence is able to call into being all that is impossible,
Except to create one like thyself."
The first creation of his existence -- bestowing bounty was the precious jewel of the intellectual principle, called Yazad Vohuman; the solar ray which constitutes the excellence of his august existence is from the essence of the light of lights. From the effulgence of Vohuman, or the "First Intelligence," proceeded another, along with the spirit and body of the Pure Ether or Crystalline Sphere. In like manner, from the second Srosh or "angel" there emanated three similar rays; so that every star in the universe, whether in motion or at rest, that is, every planet and fixed star, and also every one of the heavens, has its peculiar intellect and spirit.
They also believe that the heavens exceed the compass of numbers, and that the spheres are as many in number as the stars; also that every star has its own firmament, but that the movements of their spheres are in accordance with those of the zodiacal firmament.
In like manner, each of the four elements has its separate guardian, from the Nuristan (region of light), or the world of Intellects: which angel is styled Parvardigar or Parvardigar-i-Gunah; Dara or Dara-i-Gunak; and in Arabic, "Rab-uu-naw" or "Lord of the species;" in the same manner, all their relations, or every species, has its peculiar regent from the Nuristan or 'region of light.' -- They regard the subsisting spirit of man, or the reasonable human soul, as eternal and infinite. Sáid says thus:
"No sign of man or world appeared on the tablet of existence
When the soul breathed forth pursuant to thy will in the school of love."
It is related in some of the esteemed records of this sect, that
by eternal souls are meant the spirits of the spheres:
and that human souls are a creation, but eternal; also that some
human temperaments are so constituted, that souls from the upper
world are conferred on them; while others are adapted for having
attached to them souls abstracted from matter; that such appropriation
is regulated by influence of the spheres, and is concealed from
the sight of the most profound thinkers. They also say, when this
immortal spirit attains to eminence in praiseworthy knowledge
and belief, that is, pure faith and good works, that on leaving
this lower body, it succeeds in uniting itself to the sublime
uncompounded spirits: but should it not attain to this high, emancipation-bestowing
degree, it is united to that sphere, in relation to which its
acts were upright. If the habitual language were praiseworthy
and the works performed meritorious, but it should not have attained
to the rank of union with a sphere, it being then divested of
corporeal elements, remains in the lower world with the similitude
of a bodily form, and in consequence of its praiseworthy qualities,
it enjoys in appearance the view of the nymphs, palaces, and bright
rose-bowers of paradise, and becomes a Zamini-Srosh, or
'Terrestrial Angel.' But if its words have been reprehensible,
and also accompanied with evil deeds, on deserting this material
body, it obtains not another similarly constituted, and is unable
to reach the Shidastan, or 'the region of Light.' Being
thus separated from the primitive source, it remains in the abode
of Elements, in the Hell of concupiscence and passion and the
flames of remorse; ultimately it becomes the prey of malady, but
does not obtain a higher mansion. The soul of such a description
finally becomes an Ahriman, or 'Evil Demon.' If in a spirit
destitute of praiseworthy conversation, the good actions preponderate,
but in consequence of the attachment of the heart to matter, or
through ignorance, such a spirit attains not to the dignity of
liberation; it removes from one body to another, until by the
efficacy of good words and deeds, it is finally emancipated from
body and gains a high rank. Sarabi thus says:
"The truly free, as soon as possible, disengages himself from body;
If he cannot extricate himself from skin, let him resign his doublet."
But if the spirit be prone to error, it descends successively
from the human frame to the animal body: such are the doctrines
of their distinguished men. Some, however, of this sect, in whose
language all is metaphorical and figurative assert, that sometimes
the spirit, through excessive wickedness, becomes by insensible
degrees connected with plants and vegetables; and frequently,
by progressive gradations, becomes joined to mineral or metallic
substances. According to this class of believers, there is an
uncompounded soul in each of the three kingdoms of nature: and
they acknowledge that every thing possesses a ray of existence
emanating from Shíd Shídan, or 'Effulgence
of Light.' One of the eminent men, agreeably to this view, has
"The soul is the marrow of certainty, the body its envelope:
in the robes of spirit contemplate the form of a friend (the Creator).
Whatever object bears the impress of existence,
Regard it as the reflection of light or his very self."
They also hold that the world bears the same affinity to the Creator, as the solar light does to the body of the sun; that it has existed from all eternity and will continue to all infinity. They maintain that, whatever exists in this world, or that of formation and evanescence, depends on the influence of the stars; also that astronomers and astrologers have found out some few effects of the influence of the seven planets, but are ignorant of the natures and influences of the slow-moving or fixed stars. The possessors of Fardát and Fartáb, or those who are directed by inspiration and revelation, have laid down that every star, whether fixed or planetary, is regent during certain periods of several thousand years: one thousand years being assigned to each star, without the association of any other: on the termination of which, in the subsequent millennia, both the fixed and planetary stars are successively associated with it -- that is, in commencing the series with a fixed star, we call the fixed star which is Lord of the Cycle, the First King; on the termination of the millennium appropriated to him, another fixed star becomes partner with the First King, which partner we style First Minister: but the supremacy and dominion of the period belong exclusively to the First King: on the termination of the second millennium, the period of office assigned to the First Minister expires, and another star is associated with the First King; and so on, until the fixed stars are all gone through: on which Saturn becomes associated with the First King, and continues so during a thousand years, and so with the other planets, until the period of association with the moon arrives: then terminates the supremacy of the fixed star, named the First King, and his authority expires.
After the First King, the star associated with him in the second
millennium, and which was called the First Minister, now attains
the supremacy and becomes Lord of the Cycle, during which cycle
of sovereignty we style him the Second King, with a thousand years
appropriated to his special rule as before stated. In the following
millennium another fixed star becomes his associate, as above
mentioned, and goes through a similar course. When the period
of the moon's association arrives, the moon remains joined with
the Second King during a millennium, on the completion of which,
that fixed star, the term of whose sovereignty has passed away,
and who commenced the cycle, under the style of First King, is
associated with the Lord of the Cycle, styled the Second King;
after which, the empire of the Second King's star also terminates
and becomes transferred to another: thus all the fixed stars in
succession become kings, until they are all gone through, on which
the principality and supremacy come to Shat Kayvan, or
'the Lord Saturn,' with whom in like manner the fixed stars and
planets are associated for their respective millennia, -- when
the dominion comes to the Shat Mah, or 'Lunar Lord,' his
period is ended as before stated, the cycle completed, and one
great circle or revolution has been described. -- On the expiration
of this great period, the sovereignty reverts to the First King;
the state of the revolving world recommences; this world of formation
and evanescence is renovated; the human beings, animals, vegetable
and mineral productions which existed during the first cycle,
are restored to their former language, acts, dispositions, species,
and appearance, with the same designations and distinctions; the
successive regenerations continually proceeding on in the same
manner. The prince of physicians, Abu Ali ( whose spirit may God
sanctify!) expresses himself to this purport:
"Every form and image, which seems at present effaced,
Is securely stored up in the treasury of time -
When the same position of the heavens again recurs,
The Almighty reproduces each from behind the mysterious veil."
It is here necessary to remark, that their meaning is not, that identical spirits of Abad, Gayomard, Siyamak, and Hooshang shall be imparted to the identical material bodies long since abandoned, or that the scattered members of the body shall be reassembled and reunited: such sentiments, according to them, are absurd and extravagant: their real belief is this, that forms similar to those which have away, and bodies resembling the primitive ones, their counterpart in figure, property, and shape, shall appear, speaking and acting exactly in the same manner. How could the exalted spirits of the perfect, which are united with angels, return back? They also maintain that men do not arise from their own species without father or mother: but they affirm that, as a man and woman were left at the commencement of the past cycle, so there shall two remain in the present cycle, for the continuance of the human race. For although the heavens are the sires of the three natural kingdoms or productive principles, and the elements their mother, yet this much only has been imparted to us, that man is born of man, and is not produced after any other fashion.
The followers of the ancient faith call one revolution of the regent Saturn, a day; thirty such days, one month; twelve such months, one year; a million of such years, one fard; a million fard, one vard; a million vard, one mard; a million mard, one jad; three thousand jad, one vad; and two thousand vad, one zad. According to this mode of computation, the happiness and splendor of the Mahabadian dynasty lasted for one hundred zad of years. They believe it impossible to ascertain the commencement of human existence; and that it is not to be comprehended by human science: because there is no epoch of identical persons, so that it is absolutely impossible to form any definite ideas on the subject, which resembles an arithmetical infinite series. Such a belief also agrees with the philosophy and opinions of the Grecian sages.
From the authority of esteemed works, they account Mahabad the first of the present cycle; as in reality he and his wife were the survivors of the great period, and the bounteous Lord had bestowed on them so immense a progeny, that from their numbers, the very clefts of the mountains were filled. The author of the Amighistan relates, that they were acquainted only to a trifling degree with the viands, drinks, and clothing which through the bounty of God are now met with: besides, in that cycle there existed no organization of cities, systems of policy, conditions of supremacy, rules of authority and power, principles of Nushad or law, nor instruction in science and philosophy, until through the aid of celestial grace, joined to the manifold favors and bounties of God, the uncontrolled authority of Mahabad pervaded alike the cultivated region and the wild waste; the wide expanse of land and sea. Through divine illumination, in conjunction with his spiritual nature, the assistance of his guiding angel and the eyes of discernment; and also what he had seen and heard in the past cycle, he meditated on the creation of the world: he then clearly perceived that the nine superior divisions, and the four lower elements, the subjects of existence, are blended and associated with distinct essences and accidents, so as to combine together opposing movements with contrary dispositions and natures: and that the aggregate of this whole indispensably requires a supreme bestower of connection, a blender and creator also that whatever this bestower of relation wills, and this all perfect in wisdom does, cannot be destitute of utility and wisdom: Mahabad therefore dispatched persons to. all quarters and regions of the world, to select from land and water all productions and medicinal plants held in esteem for their various properties; these he planted in a proper site, so that by the aid of the terrene and aqueous particles, the influence of atmospheric temperature, in conjunction with the sidereal energies, their powers of vegetation, nutritious qualities, and properties might be ascertained. At the time of promulgating this excellent purpose, the sovereign of the starry host entered in glory the mansion of Aries; and the rapidly-sketching painter of destiny drew forth the faces of the brides of the gardens (blossoms and flowers): then, through the efficacy of command, experiment, and examination, Mahabad extracted from the various flowers, fruits, leaves, and fibers, the different alimentary substances, medicinal compounds, viands, and beverages. He next commanded all sorts of ores to he fetched from the mines and liquefied in the furnace, so that the different metals concealed in them became visible. Out of iron, which combines hardness and sharpness, he formed warlike weapons for the brave; jewels, gold, silver, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and chrysolithes, in which he observed smoothness and capability of polish, he assigned as decorations for kings, military chieftains, and matrons. He also ordered persons to descend into the deep waters and bring forth the shells, pearls, corals, etc. People were commanded to shear the fleece of sheep and other animals: by him also were invented the arts of spinning, weaving, cutting up, sewing, and clothing. He next organized cities, villages, and streets; erected palaces and colonnades; introduced trade and commerce; and divided mankind into four classes. The first was composed of Herbeds [Ervads], Mobeds, ascetics, and learned men, selected for maintaining the faith and enforcing the sentence of the laws: these are also called Birman and Birmun; that is, they resemble the Barinian or supreme beings, the exalted angels: they also style them Huristar. The second class consists of kings and intrepid warriors, who devote themselves to the cares of government and authority, to the promotion of equity and the curbing of oppression; those they call Chatramán, Chatraman, and Chatrí: this word Chatri means a standard or distinction; as people of high rank have a Chatra, or umbrella, to protect them with its shade, which they call Sayah dar. and Sayah ban; the people repose under the shade of the individuals of this class, who are also called Nuristar. The third class is composed of husbandmen, cultivators, artisans, skillful men, and mechanics; those are called Bás, which is synonymous with Bisyar or numerous; as this class should far exceed in number all the others. Bás also means cultivation and improvement, results which altogether depend on this order -- they are also styled Suristar. The fourth class are destined for every kind of employment and service; they are called Sudin, Sudi, and Sud: from them profit, indulgence, and ease accrue to society: they are also called Ruzistar. He instituted these four classes, the four elements of society, and the sources of organization were completed: independence and want appeared; there were produced the gradations of ruler and subject; of lord and servant; discipline and authority; justice and knowledge; kindness and severity; protection of the Zindbar or kind treatment of innocuous creatures; destruction of the Tundbar or noxious animals; the knowledge of God and the ceremonies of his worship.
God also sent Abád a code called the Desátir , in which are formed all languages and sciences. This work consisted of several volumes, containing a certain number for each dialect. In it was also tile language called Asmání, or the Celestial, not a trace of which has remained in any of the languages spoken by the inhabitants of this lower world. Abád also assigned a Language to every nation, and settled each in a suitable place: and thus were produced the Parsi, Hindi, Greek, and such like.
[1. The text of Gladwin has destânîr, the edition of Calcutta and the manuscript of Oude have Dasa'tir. The single volume published under that name at Bombay, 1818, if genuine at all, can be considered but as a very small part of the great work, said to comprehend all languages and sciences. -A T.]
According to this sect, authentic revelation is only obtained by the world of ecstasy or similitude, called Manistan; but from the time of Máhábád, all the prophets who were sent were in accordance with his faith; not one of them being opposed to his law. After Máhábád, appeared thirteen apostles who, with him, were styled the fourteen Máhábáds: they were called by the common name of Abád, and acted on every occasion in conformity to their ancestor and his Celestial Code: and whatever revelation was made to them tended to corroborate the faith of Máhábád. After them, their sons in due succession obtained sovereign power, after their fathers, and devoted themselves to justice. The followers of this sect also believe that all the prophets and kings were selected from the heads of the most distinguished families.
Next to this dynasty, known as the Mahabadian, comes Abád Azád, who withdrew from temporal power and walked in the path of devotion and seclusion. It is recorded, that in their time, the realm was highly cultivated; treasures were abundant; lofty palaces, ornamented with paintings and exciting admiration; colonnades attracting the heart; the Mobeds celebrated, profoundly learned, worshippers of God, undefiled, equally eminent in good words and deeds; soldiers, well-appointed and disciplined, with corresponding trains of attendants and officers; mountain-resembling elephants; chargers like fragments of Alburz, rapid in their course;; swift-paced animals for riding; numerous camels and dromedaries; well-trained cavalry and infantry, and leaders who had experience in the world; precious stuffs; vases of gold and silver thrones and crowns of great price; heart-delighting tapestries and gardens with other such objects, the like of which exists not at present, and were not recorded as being in existence in the treasures or reigns of the Gilsahaian monarchs.
However, on the mere abandonment of the crown by Abád Azád, everything went to ruin; so much blood was shed that the mills were turned by streams of gore; all that had been accomplished by the inventions and discoveries of this fortunate race was forgotten; men became like savage and ferocious beasts, and as in former times resumed their abodes in the mountain-clefts and gloomy caverns; those superior in strength overpowered and oppressed the weaker. At last some of the sages eminent for praiseworthy language and deeds, and who possessed the volume of Máhábád, assembled and went into the presence of Jai Afrám, the son of Abád, who, next his sire was the most undefiled and intelligent of men, and became one of the great apostles he passed his time in a mountain cave, far removed from intercourse with the world, and was styled Jai on account of his purity, as in the Abádí or Azárí language, a holy person is called Jai: the assembled sages with one voice implored his justice, saying: "We know of no remedy for preserving the world from ruin, excepting the intercourse of thy noble nature with mankind." They afterwards recited to him the counsels, testamentary precepts, traditions and memorials of the Abádíán princes on the great merit of this undertaking. He did not however assent, until a divine command had reached him, when through the influence of revelation and the presence of the decree-bearing angel, Gabriel, he arose and assumed the high dignity, The realm once more flourished, and the institutes of Abád resumed their former vigor. The last of the fortunate monarchs of the Jai dynasty was Jai Alád, who also retired from mankind when the dominion had remained in this family during one aspár of years. It is written in books of high authority that Jai Afrám was called the son of Abád Azád, because next to his noble ancestor no individual possessed such great perfections: but in reality many generations intervened between them: besides, Jai Afrám was descended from the sons of Abád Azád, so that there is a wide interval between Sháíi Gilív and Jai Abád: in like manner between Shái Mahbúl and Yásán, and between Yásán and Gilsháhí there must have elapsed multiplied and numerous generations.
Those who would understand the doctrines of this faith must know, the process of numeration among this profoundly-thinking sect is as follows; by tens, hundreds and thousands: one salám equal to one hundred thousand; one hundred salám, one shamár; one hundred shámar, one aspár; one hundred aspár, one rádah; one hundred rádah, one arádah; a hundred arádah, one ráz; a hundred ráz, one aráz and a hundred aráz, one biáraz.
Now that their system of computation has been explained, I shall proceed with their history. They say that when his attendants found not the auspicious monarch Jaí Alád, neither amongst his courtiers, nor in the royal apartments, or harem, nor in the house of praise, or place of prayer, the affairs of the human race fell once more into disorder: at length the sages and holy men went and represented the state of affairs to the praiseworthy apostle Sháí Gilív, son of Jáí Alád, who was then engaged in the worship of the Almighty. This prince, from his great devotion and unceasing adoration rendered to God, was called Sháí and Sháyí, that is a god and a God-worshipper: his sons were therefore styled Sháyián. When the sages had stated the case, the first Sháyián prince, Sháí Gilív, having reflected on the cruelty practiced towards the animal creation, arose, through the influence of a celestial revelation and Divine light, and sat in his illustrious father's throne. After this happy dynasty came Sháí Mahbú1, when the Sháíyán empire had lasted one shamár of years.
After these came the Yásánián, so called from Yásán, the son of Sháí Mahbúl: this prince was exceeding wise, intelligent, holy and celebrated; the apostle of the age: and being in every respect worthy of supreme power, was therefore called Yásán, or the meritorious and justly exalted. His mighty sire having withdrawn from mankind, retired into seclusion, and there giving himself entirely up to the worship of God, the affairs of the human race again relapsed into disorder. Tradition informs us, that when these auspicious prophets and their successors beheld evil to prevail amongst mankind, they invariably withdrew from among them -- as they could hot endure to behold or hear wickedness; and sin had no admission to their breasts. When the chain of worldly repose had been rent asunder, Yasán, in obedience to a Divine revelation, seated himself on the throne of sovereignty, and overthrew evil. Of this happy dynasty the last was Yásán Ajám, when this admirable family had graced the throne during ninety and nine salám of years. The author of the Amíghistán says: "The years which I have mentioned are farsáls of Saturn: one revolution of the regent Saturn, which is allowed to be thirty years, they call one, day; thirty such days, one month; and twelve such months, one year." This is the rule observed by the Yezdánián, who write down the various years of the seven planets after this manner: such is the amount of the saturnian farsál. This same system of computation is applied to the farsáls of Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the moon, a day of each being the time of their respective revolutions they at the same time retain the use of the ordinary lunar and solar months.
It is also to be observed that, according to them, the year is of two kinds; one the farsál, which is after this manner: when the planet has traversed the twelve mansions of the zodiac, they call it one day; thirty such days, one month; and twelve such months, one year; as we have before explained under Saturn. Similar years constitute the farsáls of the other planets, which they thus enumerate; the farsáls of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the sun, Venus, Mercury, and the moon: the months of the farsál they call farmáh; the days of' the farmáh, farróz. The second kind of years is, when Saturn in the period of thirty years traverses the twelve mansions, which they call a saturnine karsál; the karmáh is his remaining two years and a half in each mansion, -- Jupiter describes his period in twelve common years; this time they call the hormuzí karsál; and the hormuzí karimáh is his remaining one year in each mansion: and so with regard to the others. However, when we speak of years or months in the accounts given of the Gilsháíyán princes, solar and lunar years and months are always meant; day implies the acknowledged day; and by month is meant the residence of the Great Light in one of the zodiacal mansions; and by year, his passing through the zodiac; a lunar month is its complete revolution, and traversing all the signs, which year and month are also called Tímúr.
When Yásán Asám had abandoned this elementary body and passed away from this abode of wickedness, the state of mankind fell into utter ruin, as his son Gi1sháh, who was enlightened in spirit, intelligent in nature, adorned by good deeds, feeling no wish for sovereign power, had given himself so entirely up to the service of God, that no one knew the retreat of this holy personage. -- Men therefore, shutting up the eyes of social intercourse, extended the arm of oppression against each other; at once the lofty battlements and noble edifices were leveled to the ground; the deep fosses filled up; mankind being left destitute of a head, the bonds of society were broken; slaughter was carried to such excess, that numerous rivers flowed with currents of blood, streaming from the bodies of the slain in a short time not a trace was left of the countless treasures and the boundless stores, the amount of which defied the computations of imagination. Matters even came to such an extremity, that men threw off the institutes of humanity, and were no longer capable of distinguishing the relative values of precious stones, wares and commodities: they left not a vestige remaining of palaces and cities; but like ferocious and savage beasts, took up their dwelling in the mountain caverns. -- Besides this, they fought against each other, so that the multitudes of the human race were reduced to a scanty remnant.
On this, Gilsháh  of exalted nature, in obedience to a revelation from heaven, and to the command of the ruler of the universe, became the sovereign of mankind: he restored the institutes of justice, and reassembled the members of his family, who, during his seclusion, had totally dispersed: on this account he was styled Abú-l-Bashr, or "the Father of the human race," because with the exception of his family, the great majority of the others having fallen in their mutual contests, the survivors had adopted the pursuits and habitudes of demons and of wild beasts: Gayomard, or Gilsháh, with his sons, then proceeded to give battle to the vile race, and disabled their hands from inflicting cruelty on the harmless animals: all that we find in Histories of Gayomard, and his sons fighting against demons, refers to this circumstance, and the systems of faith which sanction the slaughter of animals were all invented by this demon-like race. In short, the only true Ruler of the world transmitted a celestial volume to Gayomard, and also selected for the prophetic office among his illustrious descendants, Siyamak, Hooshang, Tahmurasp, Jamshed, Faridoon, Minocheher, Kay-Khosraw, Zartosht, Azar Sasan the first, and Azar Sasan the fifth, enjoining them to walk in conformity with the doctrines of Mahabad and Gayomard; so that the celestial volumes which he bestowed on those happy princes, all their writings and records were in perfect accord with the code of Mahabad: with the exception of Zartosht, not one of this race uttered a single word against the book of Abad: and even Zartosht's words were, by the glosses of the Yezdanians, made to conform to the Mahabadian code they therefore style Zartosht, "Wakhshur-i Simbari," or the Parable-speaking prophet.
[1. Gil-shah, "Earth-King," also "the King formed of clay." According to the Mojmil-al-Tavarikh (see Extracts from this work by Julius Mohl, Esq. Journ. Asiat., February 1841, p. 146), he was so called, because he governed the then not inhabited earth.]
The Gilsháian monarchs constitute four races namely, the Peshdádian, Kayanian, Ashánián, and Sásanian: the last of these kings is Yezdegird, the son of Sheriar: the empire of these auspicious sovereigns lasted six thousand and twenty-four years and five months. During their existence, the world was arrayed in beauty: Gayomard, Siyamak, Hooshang, named the Peshdadian, Tahmurasp, surnamed the Enslaver of Demons, and Jamshed, through celestial revelations, Divine assistance, the instruction of Almighty God, unerring prudence, and just views, having followed in all things what we have recorded concerning Máhábád and his illustrious children, introduced the rules of Divine worship, the knowledge of God, virtuous deeds, purity of conduct, modes of diet, clothing, the rites of marriage, the observance of continence, with all kinds of science, letters, books, professions, solemn festivals, banquets, wind and stringed musical instruments, cities, gardens, palaces, ornaments, arms, gradations of office, the distinctions of the two sexes with respect to exposure and privacy, the diffusion of equity, justice, and all that was praiseworthy.
After these, the Gilsháiyán ruled, through divine inspiration and the communication of the Almighty added to their intelligence, so that the greater part of the splendor, pomp, and beauty we now behold in the world is to be attributed to this happy race: many however of the excellent institutions of this happy dynasty have fallen into disuse and a few only remain.
The following is the sum of the Sipasian creed: from the commencement of Mahabad's empire to the end of Yezdekird's reign, the great majority, nay all the individuals of this chosen race, with the exception of Zohak, were models of equity, characterized by justice and piety, perfect in words and deeds. In this holy family, some were prophets, all were saints, righteous and God-fearing persons, with realms and armies maintained in the highest order. They also acknowledge the apostles and princes prior to Gilsháh, from Máhábád to Yásán Ajám, as so eminently pious, that in no degree whatever did wickedness enter into their conversation or actions: nor did they at any time deviate from the Paymán-i-Farhang, or "Excellent Covenant," which is the code of Máhábád, nor omit the performance of any duty; they also held that the stars are exceedingly exalted, and constitute the Kiblah of the inhabitants of this lower world.
In the time of Dáwir Háruár (the author of Darai Sekander), who was of the Kayanian race and a follower of the Yezdanian faith, some one said: "The prophets and faith are higher in dignity than the sun." Dawir relied: "Where are now the forms and bodies of that description of men?" On which that person stated the names of the cities and burial places of the prophets, Dawir rejoined: "During their whole lifetime, the form of no prophet or saint ever emitted light even the distance of one day's journey, and since they have been committed to the earth, not a single ray has been shed from their graves: and they are now so blended with the dust that not a trace of them is left!" The person then said: "the spirits of the prophets and saints are exceedingly resplendent." Dawir retorted: "Behold what amount of light is diffused by the solar globe! whereas the bodies of your saints are destitute of splendor; therefore rest assured that his spirit is more resplendent than theirs. -- Know besides, that the sun is the heart of the heavens: if he existed not, this world of formation and dissolution could not continue: he brings forth the seasons and the productive energies of nature; moreover, the prophets were not in the beginning, nor are they in existence now: but the world endures, the seasons rejoice, and the people are gladdened: this much however may be conceded, that the prophets and saints are more exalted than the remainder of the human race." -- On hearing this, that person was silenced. Lastly, it is stated in the Akhtaristán, that the Sipásián tenets were, that the stars and the heavens are the shadows of the incorporeal effulgences; on this account they erected the temples of the seven planets, and had talismans formed of metal or stone, suitable to each star: all which talismans were placed in their proper abode, under a suitable aspect: they also set apart a portion of time for their worship and handed down the mode of serving them. When they performed the rites to these holy statues, they burned before them the suitable incense at the appointed season, and held their power in high veneration. Their temples were called Paikaristan, or "image-temples," and Shidistán, or" the abodes of the forms of the luminous bodies."
It is stated in the Akhtaristán, that the image of the regent Saturn was cut out of black stone, in a human shape, with an ape-like head; his body like a man's, with a hog's tail, and a crown on his head; in the right hand a sieve; in the left a serpent. His temple was also of black stone, and his officiating ministers were Negroes, Abyssinians, and persons of black complexions: they wore blue garments, and on their fingers rings of iron: they offered up storax and such like perfumes, and generally dressed and offered up pungent viands; they administered myrobalam, also similar gums and drugs. Villagers and husbandmen who had left their abodes, nobles, doctors, anchorites, mathematicians, enchanters, soothsayers, and persons of that description lived in the vicinity of this temple, where these sciences were taught, and their maintenance allowed them: they first paid adoration in the temple and afterwards waited on the king. All persons ranked among the servants of the regent Saturn were presented to the king through the medium of the chiefs and officers of this temple, who were always selected from the greatest families in Iran. The words Shat and Timsar are appellations of honor, signifying dignity, just as Sri in Hindi, and Hazrat in Arabic.
The image of the regent Hormuzd (Jupiter) was of an earthy color, in the shape of a man, with a vulture's face: on his head a crown, on which were the faces of a cock and a dragon; in the right hand a turban; in the left a crystal ewer. The ministers of this temple were of a terrene hue, dressed in yellow and white; they wore rings of silver and signets of cornelian; the incense consisted of laurel-berries and such like; the viands prepared by them were sweet. Learned men, judges, imans, eminent viziers, distinguished men, nobles, magistrates, and scribes dwelt in the street attached to this temple, where they devoted themselves to their peculiar pursuits, but principally giving themselves up to the science of theology.
The temple of the regent Bahram (Mars) and his image were of red stone: he was represented in a human form, wearing on his head a red crown: his right hand was of the same color and hanging down; his left, yellow and raised up: in the right was a blood-stained sword, and an iron verge in the left. The ministers of this temple were dressed in red garments; his attendants were Turks with rings of copper on their hands; the fumigations made before him consisted of sandaracha and such like; the viands used here were bitter. Princes, champions, soldiers, military men, and Turks dwelt in his street. Persons of this description, through the agency of the directors of the temple, were admitted to the king's presence. The bestowers of charity dwelt in the vicinity of this temple; capital punishments were here inflicted, and the prison for criminals was also in that street.
The image of the world-enlightening solar regent was the largest of the idols; his dome was built of gold-plated bricks: the interior inlaid with rubies, diamonds, cornelian, and such like. The image of the Great Light was formed of burnished gold, in the likeness of a man with two heads, on each of which was a precious crown set with rubies; and in each diadem were seven sárún or peaks. He was seated on a powerful steed; his face resembling that of a man, but he had a dragon's tail; in the right hand a rod of gold, a collar of diamonds around his neck. The ministers of this temple were dressed in yellow robes of gold tissue, and a girdle set with rubies, diamonds, and other solar stones: the fumigations consisted of sandalwood and such like: they generally served up acid viands. in his quarter were the families of kings and emperors, chiefs, men of might, nobles, chieftains, governors, rulers of countries, and men of science: visitors of this description were introduced to the king by the chiefs of the temple.
The exterior of Nahid's (Venus) temple was of white marble and the interior of crystal: the form of the idol was that of a red man, wearing a seven-peaked crown on the head: in the right hand a flask of oil, and in the left a comb: before him was burnt saffron and such like; his ministers were clad in white, fine robes, and wore pearl-studded crowns, and diamond rings on their fingers. Men were not permitted to enter this temple at night. Matrons and their daughters performed the necessary offices and service, except on the night of the king's going there, as then no females approached, but men only had access to it. Here the ministering attendants served up rich viands. Ladies of the highest rank, practicing austerities, worshippers of God, belonging to the place or who came from a distance, goldsmiths, painters and musicians dwelt around this temple, through the chiefs and directors of which they were presented to the king: but the women and ladies of rank were introduced to the queen by the female directresses of the temple.
The dome and image of the regent Tir (Mercury) was of blue stone; his body that of a fish, with a boar's face: one arm black, the other white; on his head a crown: he had a tail like that of a fish; in his right hand a pen, and in the left an inkhorn. The substances burnt in this temple were gum mastic and the like. His ministers were clad in blue, wearing on their fingers rings of gold. At their feasts they served up acidulous viands. Viziers, philosophers, astrologers, physicians, farriers, accountants, revenue-collectors, ministers, secretaries, merchants, architects, tailors, fine writers and such like, were stationed there, and through the agency of the directors of the temple, had access to the king: the knowledge requisite for such sciences and pursuits was also communicated there.
The temple of the regent Mah (the moon) was of a green stone; his image that of a man seated on a white ox: on his head a diadem in the front of which were three peaks: on the hands were bracelets, and a collar around the neck. In his right hand an amulet of rubies, and in the left a branch of sweet basil: his ministers were clad in green and white, and wore rings of silver. The substances burnt before this image were gum arabic and such like drugs. his attendants served up salted viands. Spies, ambassadors, couriers, news-reporters, voyagers, and the generality of travelers, and such like persons resided in his street, and were presented to the king through the directors of the temple. Besides the peculiar ministers and attendants, there were attached to each temple several royal commissioners and officers, engaged in the execution of the king's orders; and in such matters as were connected with the image in that temple. In the Khurisar or "refectory of each temple," the board was spread the whole day with various kinds of viands and beverages always ready. No one was repulsed, so that whoever chose partook of them. In like manner, in the quarter adjacent to each temple, was an hospital, where the sick under the idol's protection were attended by the physician of that hospital. Thus there were also places provided for travelers, who on their arrival in the city repaired to the quarter appropriated to the temple to which they belonged. 
[1. It was from time immemorial to our days the practice of the Asiatics to refer the common affairs of life to the stars, to which they attribute a constant and powerful influence over the nether world. Thus Húmaiun the son of Baber, emperor of India (see the History of Ferishta, translated by general John Briggs, vol.11, p.74) "caused seven halls of audience to be built, in which he received persons according to their rank. The first, called the palace of the Moon, was set apart for ambassadors, messengers and travelers. in the second, called the palace of Utarid (Venus), civil officers, and persons of that description, were received; and there were five other palaces for the remaining five planets. In each of these buildings lie gave public audience, according to the planet of the day. The furniture and paintings of each, as also the dresses of the household attendants, bore some symbol emblematical of the planet. in each of these palaces he transacted business one day in the week." -A.T.]
It is to be observed, that although the planets are simple bodies
of a spherical form; yet the reason why the above-mentioned images
have been thus formed, is that the planetary spirits have appeared
in the world of imagination to certain prophets, saints, and holy
sages under such forms; and under which they are also connected
with certain influences; and as they have appeared under forms
different from these to other persons, their images have also
been made after that fashion.
When the great king, his nobles, retinue, and the other Yezdanian went to the temple of Saturn, they were arrayed in robes of blue and black hues; expressed themselves with humility, moving with a slow pace, their hands folded on the breast. In the temple of Hormuzd (Jupiter), they were dressed in his colors, as learned men and judges. In that of Bahram (Mars) they were clad in the robes peculiar to him, and expressed themselves in an arrogant manner -- but in the temple of the Sun, in language suitable to kings and holy persons; in that of Venus, they appeared cheerful and smiling; in the temple of Mercury they spoke after the manner of sages and orators; and in the moon's, like young children and inferior officers.
In every private house there were besides images of the stars, a minute description of which is given in the Akhtaristan. They had also, in every temple, the spherical or true forms of the several planets.
There was a city called the royal abode or sará, facing which were seven temples. On each day of the week, in the dress appropriated to each planet, the king exhibited himself from an elevated tabsar or window, fronting the temple of the planet, whilst the people, in due order and arrangement, offered up their prayers. For example, on Sunday or Yakshambah, he showed himself clad in a yellow kabá or tunic of gold tissue, wearing a crown of the same metal, set with rubies and diamonds, covered with many ornaments of gold from the tabsar, the circumference of which was embossed with similar stones under this window, the several ranks of the military were drawn out in due gradation, until the last line took post in the kashúdzár or ample area, in which were posted soldiers of the lowest order. When the king issued forth, like the sun, from the orient of the tabsar, all the people prostrated themselves in adoration, and the monarch devoted himself to the concerns of mankind. The Tabsar is a place of observation in a lofty pavilion, which the princes of Hindustan call jahrokah or lattice window: on the other days, the king appeared with similar brilliancy from the other Tábsárs. In like manner the king, on their great festivals, went in choice garments to the temples of the several images: and on his return seated himself in the Tábsár, facing the image of the planet, or, having gone to the Rózistán or Dadistá, devoted himself to the affairs of state. This Rozistan was a place which had no tábsár, where the king seated himself on the throne, his ministers standing around in due gradation. -- The Dádistán was the hall of justice, where, when the king was seated, no one was prevented from having access to him: so that the king first came to the Tábsár, then to the rózistán, and lastly to the Dádistán. Also on whatever day a planet moved out of one celestial house to another, and on all great festival days, the king went to the temple appropriate to the occasion. Each of the planetary forms had also its peculiar Tábsár, in the same manner as we have before stated concerning the royal Tábsár; and on a happy day, or festival, they brought the image to its Tábsár. The king went first and offered up prayer, standing in the Tábsár of the image, the nobles placed around according to their gradations, whilst the people were assembled in great multitudes in the Kashúdzár, offering up prayers to the planet.
According to what is stated in the Tímsár Dasátir, that is, in the "Venerable Desatir," the Almighty Creator has so formed the celestial bodies, that from their motions there result certain effects in this lower world, and, without doubt, all events here depend on the movements of these elevated bodies; so that every star has relation to some event, and every mansion possesses its peculiar nature: nay, every degree of each sign is endued with a distinct influence: therefore the prophets of the Lord, in conformity to his orders, and by great experience, have ascertained the properties inherent in the degrees of each celestial mansion, and the influences of the stars. It is certain that whenever the agent does not agree with the passive, the result of the affair will not be fortunate; consequently, when the prophets and sages desired that the agency of the planet should he manifested advantageously in the world, they carefully noted the moment of the star's entering the degree most suitable to the desired event: and also to have at a distance from that point, whatever stars were unfavorable to the issue. When all had been thus arranged, whatever was connected with the productive cause was then completed: they then bring together whatever is connected with causation in the lower world: thus all the viands, perfumes, colors, forms, and all things relating to the star, being associated, they enter on the undertaking with firm faith and sure reliance: and whereas the spirits possess complete influence over the events which occur in the lower world, when therefore the celestial, terrestrial, corporeal, and spiritual causes are all united, the business is then accomplished. But whosoever desires to be master of these powers, must be well skilled in metaphysics; in the secrets of nature; and having his mind well stored with the knowledge of the planetary influences, and rendered intelligent by much experience. As the union of such qualifications is rarely or never found, the truth of this science is consequently hidden from men. The Abadián moreover say, that the prophets of the early faith, or the kings of Farsistán and the Yezdánián, held the stars to be the Kiblah of prayer, and always paid them adoration, especially when a star was in its own house or in its ascendant, free from evil aspects; they then collected whatever bore relation to that planet, and engaged in worship, seating themselves in a suitable place, and suffering no one to come near them: they practiced austerities; and on the completion of their undertaking, exhibited kindness to the animal creation.
In the year 1061 of the Hegira (A.D. 1651) the author, then in Sikakul of Kalang,  was attacked by a disease which no application could alleviate. An astrologer pronounced, that "the cause of this malady arises from the overpowering force of the regent Mars;" on which, several distinguished Brahmins assembled on the fourth of Zíkâdah (the 9th October) the same year, and having set out the image of Bahram and collected the suitable perfumes, with: all other things fit for the operation, employed themselves in reading prayers and reciting names; at last, their chief, taking up with great reverence the image of Mars, thus entreated: "O illustrious angel and celestial leader! moderate thy heat, and be not wrathful: but be merciful to such a one" (pointing to me). He then plunged the image into perfumed water; immediately on the immersion of the image, the pain was removed.
[1. Cicacole, a town in the northern districts of the Coromandel coast, anciently named Kalinga, the ancient capital of an extensive district of the same name, lat. 18o 21' N., long. 83o 57' E. - A.T.]
In front of each temple was a large fire-temple, so that there were seven in all: namely, the Kaiwan-ár, Hormuz-ázar, Bahram-ázar, Hár-ázar, Nahíd-ázar, Tir-ázar, and Máh-ázar, so that each fire-temple was dedicated to one of the seven planets, and in these they burnt the proper perfumes. They assert that, during the flourishing empire of the early monarchs, several sacred structures, such as those of the Kabah and the holy temple of Mecca; Jerusalem; the burial place of Muhammad; the asylum of prophecy, in Medina; the place of repose of Ali, the prince of the faithful in Najf; the sepulcher of Imam Husain in Kerbela; a the tomb of Imam Musa in Baghdad; the mausoleum of Imam Reza in Sanábád of Tus; and the sanctuary of Ali in Balkh, were all in former times idol and tire-temples. They say that Mahabad after having built a fire temple, called Haftsur or seven ramparts, in Istakhar of Persia, erected a house to which he gave the name of Abád, and which is at present called the Kâah: and which the inhabitants of that country were commanded to hold in reverence: among the images of the Kâbah was one of the moon, exceedingly beautiful, wherefore the temple was called Mágáh (Moon's place) which the Arabs generally changed into Mekka. They also say that among the images and statues left in the Kâbah by Mahabad and his renowned successors, one is the black stone, the emblem of Saturn. They also say that the prophet of Arabia worshipped the Seven planets, and he therefore left undisturbed the black stone or Saturn's emblem, which had remained since the time of the Abadian dynasty; but that he broke or carried away the other figures introduced by the Koreish, and which were not formed according to the images of the stars. In most of the ancient temples of Persia they had formed the symbol of Venus in the figure of a Mihrab, or arch, like the altar of the mosques: consequently the present Mihrab, or altar, is that identical symbol: which assertion is also proved by the respect paid to Friday or the day of Venus.
Ibrahim (Abraham), the friend of God, pursued the same conduct; that is, he rejected the idols which were not of the planetary forms: and the reverence paid by him to the black stone, according to ancient tradition, seems to prove that point. Isfendiar, the son of king Gushtasp conformed also to this practice; nay Socrates the Sage, in like manner, forbade the people to worship any other forms except those of the planets, and commanded the statues of the kings to be removed. Moreover, the holy temple of Jerusalem, or Kundizh-huhkt was erected by Zohak, and Faridoon kindled in it the holy fire. But long before Zohak's time, there were several idol and fire temples in that place. In the same manner, they say, that when Faridoon turned his attention to the overthrow of Zohak, during his journey his brethren having hurled a rock at him, this revered prince, who was skilled and mighty in all the extraordinary sciences, manifested a wondrous deed: he prayed to the Almighty that it might remain suspended in the air, so that the stone even to this day is known as Kúds Khalil. They also say that in Medina, the burial place of the prophet, there was formerly an image of the moon: the temple in which it was, they called Mahdinah, or the "Moon of Religion," as religion is the moon of truth, from which the Arabs formed Medinah. They in like manner relate, that in the most noble Najf, where now is the shrine of Ali, the prince of the faithful, there was formerly a fire-temple called Farógh pírái (the decoration of splendor), and also "Nakaf," or Na akaft (no injury), which is at present denominated Najf. Also at Karbalá, the place where the Imam Husain reposes, there was formerly a fire-temple called Mahyásur ilm and Kar bala (sublime agency), at present called Karbela.
Also in Baghdad, where the Imam Musa reposes, was a fire-temple called Shet Piráyi (decoration): and in the place where rest the remains of the great Imam Abu Hanifah, of Kufah, was a temple called Húyar (sun's friend): also in Kufah, on the site of the mosque, was a fire-temple called Roz-Azar (the day of fire) and in the region of Tús, on the site of Imam Resa's shrine, was a fire-temple called Azar Khirad (the fire of intellect) -- it was also known by many other appellations, and owes its erection to Faridoon. -- Also when Tús, the son of Názar, came to visit Azar-i-Khirad, he laid near it the foundation of a city which was called after his name. -- In Balkh, where is now the sanctuary of the Imam, formerly stood a temple called Mahin Azar (great fire), now known under the name of Nóbahár. In Ardebil, the ancient Dizh-i-Bahman (Bahman's fort), Kay Khosraw, on reducing the citadel, constructed there a fire-temple called Azari-Kaus, which now serves as the burial place of the shaikh Sufi Ud-Din, the ancestor of the Safavean [Safavid] princes: they also assert that there were fire-temples in several parts of India: as in Dwaraka, was the temple of Saturn, called Dizh-i-Kayvan (Saturn's fort), which the Hindus turned in to Dwaraka: and in Gya also was an idol temple, called Gah-i-Kayvan, or "Saturn's residence," which was turned into Gya. -- In Mahtra also was an idol temple of Saturn, the name of which was Mahetar, that is the chiefs or mahetar resorted thither; which word by degrees became Mahtra. -- In like manner several places among the Christians and other nations bore names which show them to have been idol-temples. When the Abadian come to such places, they visit them with the accustomed reverence, as, according to them holy places are never liable to abomination or pollution, as they still remain places of worship and adoration: both friends and foes regarding them as a Kiblah, and sinners, notwithstanding all their perverseness, pray in those sacred edifices. Rai Gópí Nath  thus expresses himself:
O Shaikh! behold the dignity of my idol-house;
Even when destroyed, it remains the house of God!
1. This is an entirely Indian name: Gopinath, "the lord of the cow-herd's wives," a name of Krishna. -A.T.
There is not on record a single word repugnant to reason from the time of Mahabad to that of Yasan Ajam; and if they have recourse to allegory, they then express its figurative nature. From these princes to the Gilshaiyan there are many figurative expressions, all of which they interpret. For example, they say that the tradition of Siyamak being slain by the hand of a demon implies, that in successive battles, through ignorance of himself and God, he unwittingly destroyed this elementary body; thus, wherever, in the language of this sect, mention is made of a demon, they always understand a man of that description, as has been explained in the Paiman-i ferhang, or "Excellent Code." They also maintain that, in some passages, the rendering the demons obedient, and slaying them, is a figurative mode of expressing a victory gained over the pleasures of sense, and the extirpation of evil propensities: in like manner, whatever is related about the appearance of angels to virtuous and holy persons, is the revelation and vision of good spirits, whilst in a state of sleep, transport, recovery from excess, or abstraction from the body; which states are truly explained in this work. They say that Zohak's two serpents, do-mar, and ten fires (vices) or deh ak; imply irascibility and sensuality: the devil, his carnal soul, and in some places his disposition -- the two pieces of flesh which broke out on Zohak's shoulders in consequence of his evil deeds, appeared to the human race like serpents, the pain caused by which could only be alleviated by the application of human brains. They also say that the celebrated Simurgh (griffin) was a sage, who had retired from the world and taken up his peaceful abode in the mountains: he was therefore called by this name, and was the instructor of Dastan, the son of Sám; so that Zal, through his instruction, attained the knowledge of the occult sciences. As to the current tradition about Kay-Kaus attempting to ascend to Heaven, and his downfall, this occurred, according to them, during his sleep, and not when he was awake. Kay Nishin, his brother, who had retired from all intercourse with mankind, thus interprets the adventure of Kaus: "The four eagles are the four elements; the throne, the predominating passions; the lance, their energy and impetuosity in the desire of sensual gratifications; the thighs of flesh, their various pursuits of anger, passion, lust, and envy; their ascent implies that they may be subdued by religious austerities, and by the aid of their energy be made the means of ascending to the world on high and the supreme Heaven; their fall, instead of reaching Heaven's eternal mansions, intimates that if, even for a short period, we become careless about repressing evil propensities, and desist from the practice of mortification, the passions will return back to their nature, or wander from the eternal paradise, the natural abode of souls:" the hemistich, "during one moment I was heedless, and he was removed from me a journey of a hundred years," is applicable to such a state.
Rustam's bringing back Kay Kaus to his throne from the forest into which he had fallen, means, his bringing back intelligence into the king's soul, and turning him back from the desert (lit. meadow), of natural infirmity: Kay Kaus therefore, by direction of Kay Nishin, his younger brother, but his elder in purity of faith and good works, remained forty days in retirement, until in the state of sleep, through the awakening of his heart, he beheld this heavenly vision. They also assert, whatever modern writers have declared, relative to Khizr and Iskander, having penetrated unto the regions of darkness, where the former discovered the fountain of life immortal, means, that the Iskander, or the intellectual soul, through the energy of the Khizr, or reason, discovered, whilst in the state of human darkness, the water of life, or the knowledge of the rational sciences, or the science which forms the proper object of intellect -- as to what they say about Iskander's returning back empty-handed, by that is meant, that to expect eternal duration in this evanescent abode being altogether absurd, he consequently could hot attain that object, and therefore departed to the next world. What they record about Khizr's drinking of that water, means, that the perfection of intellect exists not through the medium of body, and that reason has no need of body, or any thing corporeal, either as essence or attribute.
In some passages they interpret the tradition after this manner; by Khizr is meant the intellectual soul, or rational faculty, and by Iskander the animal soul, or natural instinct; the Khizr of the intellectual soul, associated with the Iskander of the animal soul, and the host (of perceptions) arrived at the fountain-head of understanding, and obtained immortality, whilst the Iskander of the animal soul returned back empty-handed. It must be remarked, that this sect explain after this manner, whatever transgresses the rules of probability, or cannot be weighed in the balance of comprehension; in short, all that is contrary to reason. They also say purification is of two kinds; the amighhi or true, and the ashkari or apparent: the first consists in not defiling the heart with anything; in not attaching it to the concerns of this treacherous world, emancipating it from all ties and prejudice, maintaining no connection with any object whatever, and washing away all bias from the soul. The Ashkari, or apparent, consists in removing to a distance whatever appears unclean; consequently this purification is effected with water which has undergone no change of color, smell, or taste that is, which is free from bad color, smell, or taste; if otherwise, rose-water and such like are more to be commended. Ablution requires a kur, or a measure of lustral water; that is, according to them, the measure for a man, is that quantity into which he can immerse his head; for an elephant, a quantity proportioned to his bulk; and for a gnat, a single drop of water. They reckon it meritorious to recite the prayers and texts of the Shat Desatir, relative to the unity of the self-existent Creator, the great dignity of intelligence and souls, with the pains of the superior and inferior bodies; after which they repeat the benedictions of the seven planets, particularly on their days, and offer up the appropriate incense. The worshipper after this recites the praises of the guardian of the month, and those of the days of the month; for example, if it be the month of Frawardin, the believer repeats benedictions on that angel, and then on each of the regents of the days of that month: particularly the regent of that day called by the same name as the month: which day is also regarded as a festival. For instance, in the month of Frawardin, he utters benedictions on the angel Frawardin, who is one of the cherubim on whom that month is dependent; if it be the first day of the month, called the day of Ohrmazd (the angel who superintends the first day of the month), the believers address their benedictions to Ohrmazd and act in a similar manner on the other months and their respective days. According to them, the names of the months are called after the names of their lords; and the appellations of the days are according to the names of their respective regents: consequently, as we have said, the believer adores the lord of the month, and on festivals, pays adoration to the angel who is the lord of the month and the day. According to the Abadian, although in a month, the name of the month and of the day be the same, this coincidence makes not that day dependent on the month, but on the regent who bears the same name with him, consequently it is necessary to celebrate a festival. In the same manner, on the other days of every month, salutations are paid every morning to the regent of the day: also during the Sudbar, or the intercalary days, they offer up praises to their angels. They also regard the angels of the days as the ministers to the angels of the months, all of whom are subject to the majesty of the Great Light -- in like manner the other stars (planets) have also angels dependent on them: they also believe that the angels dependent on each star (planet) are beyond all number: and finally, that the angelic host belonging to the solar majesty are reckoned the highest order. Besides, on the period at which any of the seven planets passes from one zodiacal mansion to another, they make an entertainment on the first day, which they regard as a festival, and call it Shadbar, or "replete with joy." Every month also, on the completion of the lunar revolution, on ascertaining its reappearance from astronomical calculation, they make great rejoicings on the first day: there is in like manner a great festival when any star has completed its revolution, which day they call Dádram , or "banquet decking." Thus, although there is a festival every day of the week in some idol-temple or other, as has been before stated, relative to the day of Nahid, or Friday, in the temple of this idol yet on the day of the Sun, or Yakshambah (the first day of the week), there was a solemn festival at which all the people assembled. In like manner they made a feast whenever a star returned to its mansion or was in its zenith.
[1. The text of Gladwin has Orám. The name is properly Uráman, a peculiar manner of chanting or reading Pahlavi poetry, which derives its name from a village in the dependencies of Kushgun, where its inventor lived. -D. S.]
They believe it wrong to hold any faith or religious system in abhorrence; as according to them, we may draw near to God in every faith: also that no faith has been abolished by divine authority -- they hold that, on this account, there have been so many prophets, in order to show the various ways which lead to God. Those who carefully investigate well know, that the ways which lead to heaven are many; nay more than come within the compass of numbers. It is well understood, that access to a great sovereign is more easily attained through the aid of his numerous ministers; although one of the prince's commanders be on bad terms with his confidential advisers, or even should all the chiefs not cooperate with each other; yet they can promote the interest of their inferiors: therefore it is not proper to say that we call get to the God of all existence by one road only. But the insurmountable barrier in the road of approaching God is the slaughter of the Zindibar, that is, those animals which inflict no injury on any person, and slay not other living creatures, such as the cow, the sheep, the camel, and the horse there is assuredly no salvation to the author of cruelty towards such, nor can he obtain final deliverance by austerities or devotions of any description. Should we even behold many miraculous works performed by the slayer of harmless animals, we are not even then to regard him as one redeemed; the works witnessed in him are only the reward of his devotions, and the result of his perseverance in the practice of religious austerities in this world: and as he commits evil, he cannot be perfect in his devout exercises, so that nothing but suffering can await him in another generation (when born again): such an instance of an ascetic endued with miraculous powers is likened in the Shat Desatir to a vase externally covered with choice perfumes, but filled internally with impurities. They also maintain that in no system of faith is cruelty to innocuous animals sanctioned: and all human sanction for such acts proceeds from their attending to the apparent import of words, without having recourse to profound or earnest consideration -- for example, by putting a horse or cow to death is meant, the removal or banishing from one's self animal propensities, and not the slaughtering or devouring of innocuous creatures. They state the later historians to have recorded without due discrimination that Rustam, the son of Dastan (who was one of the perfect saints), used to slay such animals: whereas tradition informs us, that the mighty champion pursued in the chase noxious animals only: what they write about his hunting the wild ass, implies that the elephant-bodied hero called the lion a wild ass; or "that a lion is no more than a wild ass when compared to my force." In the several passages where he is recorded to have slaughtered harmless wild asses and oppressed innocuous creatures, and where similar actions are ascribed to some of the Gilshaiyan princes, there is only implied the banishment of animal propensities and passions: thus the illustrious Shaikh Farideddin ât'ár declares,
"In the heart of each are found a hundred swine;
You must slay the hog or bind on the Zanar." 
[1. Zanar is called in India the brahminical, or in general, a religious thread; here is meant the mark of any unbeliever. -A. T.]
They hold that, from the commencement to the very end, the chiefs of the Persian Sipasian, far from slaughtering these harmless creatures, regarded as an incumbent duty to avoid and shun, by every precaution, the practice of oppression or destruction towards them: nay, they inflicted punishment on the perpetrators of such deeds. Although they esteem the Gilshaiyan prophets, pontiffs, and princes, exceedingly holy personages, yet in their opinion, they come not up in perfect wisdom and works to the preceding apostles and sovereigns, who appeared from the Yassanian to the end of the Mahabadian race.
They assert that some innocuous animals suffer oppression in this generation by way of retribution: for instance, an ox or a horse, which in times long past had, through heedlessness, wantonness, or without necessity, destroyed a man: as these creatures understand nothing but how to eat and drink, consequently when they obtain a new birth, they carry burdens, which is by no means to be regarded as an act of oppression, but as a retribution or retaliation for their previous misconduct. They are not put to death, as they are not naturally destructive and sanguinary: their harmless nature proves that they cannot be reckoned among the destroyers of animal life: so that putting them to death is the same as destroying an ignorant harmless man: therefore their slayer, though he may not receive in this world the merited punishment from the actual ruler or governor, appears in the next generation under the form of a ferocious beast, and meets his deserts. A great man says on this subject:
"In every evil deed committed by thee, think not that it
Is passed over in Heaven or neglected in the revolutions of time;
Thy evil deeds are a debt, ever in the presence of fortune,
which must be repaid, in whatever age she makes the demand."
They also hold the eternal paradise to be the Heavens; and regard the solar majesty as lord of the empyrean; and the other stars, fixed or planetary, as his ministers; thus a person who, through religious mortifications and purity of life, attains righteousness in words and deeds, is united with the sun and becomes an empyreal sovereign: but if the proportion of his good works bear a closer affinity to any other star, he becomes lord of the place assigned to that star whilst others are joined to the firmament on high: the perfect man passes on still farther, arriving at the ethereal sphere, or the region of pure spirits; such men attain the beatific vision of the light of lights and the cherubic hosts of the Supreme Lord. Should he be a prince during whose reign no harmless animals were slaughtered in his realms; and who, if any were guilty of these acts, inflicted punishment on the perpetrators of the crimes, so that no such characters departed this world without due retribution; he is esteemed a wise, beneficent, and virtuous king: and immediately on being separated from the elements of body, he is united with the sun: his spirit is identified with that of the majesty of the great light and he becomes an ethereal sovereign. Prince Siyamak, the son of Gayomard declares: "I beheld from first to last all the Abadian, Jyanian, Shaiyan, and Yassanian monarchs: some were cherubim in the presence of the Supreme Lord; others absorbed in the contemplation of the Light of Lights: but I found none lower than the sphere of the sun, the vicegerent of God." On my asking them concerning the means of attaining these high degrees, they said: "The great means of acquiring this dignity consist in the protection of harmless animals, and inflicting punishment on evil doers."
According to this sect, laboring under insanity, suffering distress on account of one's children, being assailed by diseases, the visitations of providence, these calamities are the retribution of actions in a former state of existence. If a person should fall down or stumble when running, even this is regarded as the retribution of past deeds: as are also the maladies of newborn babes. But whatever happens to a just man which is evidently unmerited, this is not to be looked on as retribution, but as proceeding from the oppression of the temporal ruler, from whom, in a future generation, the Supreme Ruler will demand an account.
According to their tenets, the drinking of wine or strong liquors to excess, or partaking of things which impair the understanding, is by no means to be tolerated: which may be proved by this reflection, that the perfection of man is understanding, and that intoxicating beverages reduce human nature, whilst in that state, to a level with the brute creation. If a person drink strong liquors to excess, he is brought before the judge to receive due castigation; and should he, during that state, do injury to another, he is held accountable for it, and is punished also as a malefactor.
Among this sect it is permitted to kill those animals which oppress others, such as lions, fowls, and hawks, which prey on living creatures: but whatever animals, whether noxious or innocuous, suffer violence from the noxious, duly receive it by way of retribution: when they slay the former, or noxious animals, that is regarded as a retribution, because in a former existence they were oppressive and sanguinary creatures: and in this generation the Almighty has given them over to other more sanguinary animals, that they might shed the blood of the sanguinary bloodshedder: so that when noxious creatures are slain, it is by way of retribution for having shed blood: the very act of shedding their blood proves them to have been formerly shedders of blood: it is not however allowed to put them to death until they become hurtful: for example, a young sparrow cannot, whilst in that state, commit an injury; but, when able to fly, it injures the insects of the earth; and, although this happens to the insects by way of retributive justice, yet their slayers become also deserving of being slain, as in a former generation they have been shedders of blood. For instance, a person has unwittingly slain another, for which crime he has been thrown into prison; on which they summons one of the other prisoners to behead the murderer: after which the judge commands one of his officers to put the executioner to death, as, previous to this act, he had before shed blood unjustly. But if a man slay a noxious animal, he is not to be put to death, because that person taking into consideration the noxious animal's oppression, has inflicted retribution on it: but if a brave champion or any other be slain in fighting with a noxious creature; this was his merited retribution; and it is the same if an innocuous animal be slain in fighting with a noxious creature: for example, in a past generation the ox was a man endued with many brutal propensities, who with violence and insolence forced people into his service and imposed heavy burdens on them, until he deprived some of them of life: therefore in this generation, on account of his ruling propensities, he comes in the form of an ox, that he may receive the retribution due to his former deeds, and in return for his having shed blood, should be himself slain by a lion or some such creature. But mankind are not permitted to kill the harmless animals, and these are not shedders of blood: and if such an act should be inadvertently perpetrated by any individuals, destructive animals are then appointed to retaliate on them, as we have explained under the head of the ox.
The best mode to be adopted by merciful men for putting to death destructive creatures, such as fowls, sparrows, and the like, is the following: let them open a vein, so that it may die from the effusion of blood: there are many precepts of this kind recorded in the Jashen Sudah of the Mobed Hoshyar: but philosophers; eminent doctors, and dervishes who abandon the world, never commit such acts: it is however indispensably necessary that a king, in the course of government, should inflict on the evil-doer the retaliation due to his conduct. The Mobed Hoshyar relates, in the Sarud-i-Mastán, that in the time of Gayomard and Siyamak, no animal of any kind was slain, as they were all obedient to the commands of these princes. So that one of the Farjud, or miraculous powers possessed by the Yezdanian chiefs of Iran, from Gayomard to Jamshed, was their appointing a certain class of officers to watch over the animal creation, so that they should not attack each other. For instance, a lion was not permitted to destroy any animal, and if he killed one in the chase, he met with due punishment; consequently no creature was slain or destroyed, and carnage fell into such disuse among noxious animals, that they were all reckoned among the innocuous. However, the skins of animals which had died a natural death were taken off, and in the beginning used as clothing by Gayomard and his subjects: but they were latterly satisfied with the leaves of trees. Those who embrace the tenets of this holy race attribute this result to the miraculous powers of these monarchs, and some profound thinkers regard it as effected by a talisman; whilst many skilled in interpretation hold it to be an enigmatic mode of expression: thus, the animal creation submitting to government implies, the justice of the sovereigns; their vigilance in extirpating corruption and evil, and producing good. In short, when in the course of succession the Gilshaiyan crown came to Hooshang, he enjoined the people to eat the superabundant eggs of ducks, domestic fowls, and such like, but not to such a degree that, through their partaking of such food, the race of these creatures should become extinct. When the throne of sovereignty was adorned by the presence of Tahmurasp, he said, "It is lawful for carnivorous and noxious creatures to eat dead bodies:" that is, if a lion find a lifeless stag, or a sparrow a dead worm, they may partake of them. In the same manner, when Jamshed assumed the crown, he enacted: "If men of low caste eat the flesh of animals which die a natural death, they commit no sin." The reason why people do not at present eat of animals which died in the course of nature, is, that their flesh engenders disease, as the animal died of some distemper: otherwise there is no sin attached to the eating of it. When Jamshed departed to the mansions of eternity, Deh Ak, [Zohak] the Arab, slew and partook of all animals indifferently, whether destructive or harmless, so that the detestable practice became general. When Faridoon had purged the earth from the pollution of Zohak's tyranny, he saw that some creatures, hawks, lions, wolves, and others of the destructive kind, gave themselves up to the chase in violation of the original covenant: he therefore enjoined the slaughter of these classes. After this, Iraj permitted men of low caste, that is the mass of the people, to partake of destructive creatures, such as domestic fowls (which prey upon worms), also sparrows and such like, in killing which no sin is incurred: but the holy Yezdanians never polluted their mouths with flesh, or killed savage animals for themselves, although they slew them for others of the same class. For example, the hawk, lion, and other rapacious animals of prey were kept in the houses of the great, for the purpose of inflicting punishment on other destructive animals, and not that men should partake of them: for eating flesh is not an innate quality in men, as whenever they slay animals for food, ferocity settles in their nature, and that aliment introduces habits of rapacity: whereas the true meaning of putting destructive animals to death, is the extirpation of wickedness. The Yezdanians also have certain viands, which people at present confound with animals and flesh: for instance, they give the name of barah, "lamb," to a dish composed of the zinqú, or egg-mushroom; gaur, or "onager" is a dish made out of cheese: with many others of the same kind. Although they kill destructive animals in the chase, they never eat of them; and if in their houses they kill one destructive animal for the food of another, such as a sparrow for a hawk, it is done by a man styled Dazhkíim, or executioner, who is lower than a Milar, called in Hindi, Juharah or "sweeper," and in modern language Hallál Khúr, or one to whom all food is lawful. But the dynasty preceding Gilshah, from whom the Yezdanians derive their tenets, afforded no protection whatever to destructive animals, as they esteemed the protection of the oppressor most reprehensible. In the time of the Gilshaiyan princes, they nourished hawks and such like, for the purpose of retaliating on destructive animals; for example, they let loose the hawk on the sparrow, which is the emblem of Ahriman; and when the hawk grew old, they cut off his head and killed him for his former evil deeds. The first race never kept any destructive creatures, as they esteemed it criminal to afford them protection; and even their destruction never took place in the abodes of righteous and holy persons.
Among the Sipasiyan sect were many exemplary and pious personages, the performers of praiseworthy discipline: with them, however, voluntary austerity implies "religious practices" or Saluk, and consists not in extreme suffering, which they hold to be an evil, and a retribution inflicted for previous wicked deeds. According to this sect, the modes of walking in the paths of God are manifold: such as seeking God; the society of the wise; retirement and seclusion from the world; purity of conduct; universal kindness; benevolence; reliance on God; patience; endurance; contentedness; resignation; and many such like qualities -- as thus recorded in the Sarúd-i-Mustán of the Mobed Hushyar. The Mobed Khodá Jáí, in the "Cup of Kay Khosraw," a commentary on the text of the poem of the venerable Azar Kayvan, thus relates: "He who devotes himself to walking in the path of God, must be well skilled in the medical sciences, so that he may rectify whatever predominates or exceeds. in the bodily humours: in the next place, he must banish from his mind all articles of faith, systems, opinions, ceremonials, and be at peace with all: he is to seat himself in a small and dark cell, and gradually diminish the quantity of his food." The rules for the diminution of food are thus laid down in the Sharistan of the holy doctor Ferzanah Bahram, the son of Farhad: "From his usual food, the pious recluse is every day to subtract three direms, until he reduces it to ten direms weight: he is to sit in perfect solitude, and give himself up to meditation." Many of this sect have brought themselves to one direm weight of food: their principal devotional practice turning on these five points: namely, fasting, silence, waking, solitude, and meditation on God. Their modes of invoking God are manifold, but the one most generally adopted by them is that of the Múk Zhúp: now in the Azanan or Pahlavi, Múk signifies "four," and Zhúp "a blow;" this state of meditation is also called Char Sang "the four weights," and Char Kúb, "the four blows." The next in importance is the siyá zhúp, "the three weights" or "three blows." The sitting postures among these devotees are numerous; but the more approved and choice are limited to eighty-four; out of these they have selected fourteen; from the fourteen they have taken five; and out of the five two are chosen by way of eminence: with respect to these positions many have been described by the Mobed Sarúsh in the Zerdusht Afshár: of these two, the choice position is the following: The devotee sits on his hams, cross-legged, passing the outside of the right foot over the left thigh, and that of the left foot over the right thigh; he then passes his hands behind his back, and holds in his left hand the great toe of tile right foot, and in the right hand the great toe of the left foot, fixing his eyes intently on the point of the nose: this position they call Farnishin, "the splendid seat," but by the Hindu Yogis it is named the Padma ásan, or "Lotus seat." If he then repeat the Zekr-i-Mukzhub, he either lays hold of the great toes with his hands, or if he prefer, removes his feet off the thighs, seating himself in the ordinary position, which is quite sufficient -- then, with closed eyes, the hands placed on the thighs, the armpits open, the back erect, the head thrown forward, and fetching up from the navel with all his force the word Nist, he raises his head up: next, in reciting the word Hésti, he inclines the head towards the right breast; on reciting the word Magar, he holds the head erect; after which he utters Yezdan, bowing the head to the left breast, the seat of the heart. The devotee makes no pause between the words thus recited; nay, if possible, he utters several formularies in one breath, gradually increasing their number. The words of the formulary (Nist hesti magar yezdan, "there is no existence save God") are thus set forth: "Nothing exists but God; or, "There is no God, but God;" or, "There is no adoration except for what is adorable;" or this, "He to whom worship is due is pure and necessarily existent;" or, "He who is without equal, form, color, or model." It is permitted to use this formulary publicly, but the inward meditation is most generally adopted by priests and holy persons; as the senses become disturbed by exclamations and clamors, and the object of retirement is to keep them collected. In the inward meditation, the worshipper regards three objects as present: "God, the heart, and the spirit of his Teacher;" whilst he revolves in his heart the purport of this formulary: "There is nothing in existence but God." But if he proceeds to the suppression of breath, which is called the "knowledge of Dam and Súmrad," or the science of breath and imagination, he closes not the eyes, but directs them to the tip of the nose, as we have before explained under the first mode of sitting: this institute has also been recorded in the Surud-i-Mastan, but the present does not include all the minute details.
It is thus recorded in the Zerdusht Afshár; the worshipper having closed the right nostril, enumerates the names of God from once to sixteen times, and whilst counting draws his breath upwards; after which he repeats it twenty-two times, and lets the breath escape out of the right nostril, and whilst counting propels the breath aloft; thus passing from the six Kháns or stages to the seventh; until from the intensity of imagination he arrives to a state in which he thinks that his soul and breath bound like the jet of a fountain to the crown of the head: they enumerate the seven stages, or the seven degrees, in this order: 1st, the position of sitting; 2nd, the hips; 3rd, the navel; 4th, the pine-heart; 5th, the windpipe; 6th, the space between the eyebrows; and 7th, the crown of the head. As causing the breath to mount to the crown of the head is a power peculiar to the most eminent persons; so, whoever can convey his breath and soul together to that part, becomes the vicegerent of God. According to another institute, the worshipper withdraws from all senseless pursuits, sits down in retirement, giving up his heart to his original world on high, and without moving the tongue, repeats in his heart Yezdan! Yezdan! or God! God! which address to the Lord may be made in any language, as Hindi, Arabic, etc. Another rule is, the idea of the Instructor: the worshipper imagines him to be present and is never separated from that thought, until he attains to such a degree, that the image of his spiritual guide is never absent from the mind's eye, and he then turns to contemplate his heart: or lie has a mirror before his sight, and beholds his own form, until, from long practice, it is never more separated from the heart, to which he then directs himself: or he sits down to contemplate his heart, and reflects on it as being in continual movement. In all these cases he regards the practices of the suppression of the breath as profitable for the abstraction of thought: an object which may also be effected without having recourse to it.
Another rule is, what they call ázád áwá, or the "free voice;" in Hindi Anahid; and in Arabic Sáut Mutluk, or "the absolute sound." Some of the followers of Mohammed relate, that it is recorded in the traditions, that a revelation came to the venerable prophet of Arabia resembling "the tones of a bell," which means the "Sáut Mutluk:" which Hafiz of Shiraz expresses thus:
"No person knows where my beloved dwells;
This much only is known, that the sound of the bell approaches."
The mode of hearing it is after this manner: the devotees direct the hearing and understanding to the brain, and whether in the gloom of night, in the house, or in the desert, hear this voice, which they esteem as their Zikker, or "address to God." Azizi  thus expresses himself:
"I recognize that playful sportiveness,
And well know that amount of blandishment:
The sound of footsteps comes to my ear at night;
"It was thyself; I recognize the hallowed voice I"
[1. Azizi is supposed, by Mr. Tholuck (Sufismus, sive Theosophia Persarum Pantheistica) to be the name, or the so long unknown author of Gulshen-raz, "the rose-bower of mystery." Silvastre de Sacy (see Journal des Savants, décembre 1821, p. 719, 720), without absolutely rejecting, this supposition, explains the word âzizí by "homme vertueux" in the verse upon which Mr. Tholuck founded his opinion. The true author of Gulshen-raz is now known to be Mahmud Shabisteri. See the Persian text with a German metrical translation of this poem, published in 1838 by the baron Hammer-Purgstall. -- A. T.]
Then having opened the eyes and looking between the eyebrows, a form appears. Some of those who walk in the path of religious poverty among the followers of Mohammed (on whom be benedictions!) assert that the expression Kab Kausain, "I was near two bows' length," alludes to this vision. Finally, if they prefer it, having closed the eyes for some time, they reflect on the form which appeared to them on looking between the eyebrows; after which they meditate on the heart ; or without contemplating the form, they commence by looking into the heart; and closing both eyes and ears, give themselves up entirely to meditation on the heart, abandoning the external for the internal: whoever can thus contemplate obtains all that he wants; but
"The anguish of my friend strikes at the portal of the heart;
Command them, O, Sháni! to purify the dwelling of the heart."
Finally the searcher after the Being who is without equal or form, without color or pattern, whom they know and comprehend in the Parsi, under the name of "Izad," in Arabic by the blessed name of "Allah," and in Hindi as "Para Brahma Náráyana," contemplates him without the intervention of Arabic, Persian, Hindi, or any other language, keeping the heart in his presence, until he, being rescued from the shadows of doubt, is identified with God. The venerable Maulaví Jami says on this head:
"Thou art but an atom, He, the great whole; but if for a few days
Thou meditate with care on the whole, thou becomest one with it."
They hold that reunion with the first principle, which the Sufis interpret by evanescence and permanence, means not, according to the distinguished Ishrakian or Platonists of Persia, that the beings of accident or creation are blended with him whose existence is necessary, or that created beings cease to exist; but that when the sun of the first cause manifests himself, then apparently all created beings, like the stars in the sun's light, are absorbed in his divine effulgence; and if the searcher after God should continue in this state, he will comprehend how they become shrouded through the sun's overpowering splendor, or like the ecstatic Sufis he will regard them as annihilated: but the number of Sufis who attain to this state is exceedingly small, and the individuals themselves are but little known to fame. This volume would not be sufficient to enumerate the amount of those lights (precepts) which direct the pilgrim on his course, but the venerable Azar Kayván has treated at large on this head in the Jám-i-Kai Khosraw.
It is, however, necessary to mention that there are four states of vision; the first, Núníar, or that which is seen during sleep: by sleep is meant that state when the subtle fumes arising from the food taken into the stomach mounting up to the brain, overpower external perceptions at the time of repose: whatever is then beheld is called in Persian Tínáb, in Arabic Rúyá, and in Hindi Svapna. The state beyond this dignity is Susvapna, in Arabic Ghaib or "mysterious," and in the popular language of the Hindus Sukhásváda ["enjoyment"] or Samádhi ["deep and devout meditation"] (suspending the connection between soul and body), which is as follows: when divine grace is communicated from the worlds on high, and the transport arising from that grace locks up external perceptions, whatever is beheld during that state is called Binab or "revelation:" but that state into which the senses enter, or Hóshwázhen," "a trance," which is expressed in Arabic by Sahú or "recovering from ebriety," and in Hindi by Jagrat, "awaking," and Pratyaya "evidence," means that state in which divine grace being communicated, without the senses being overpowered, it transports the person for the time being to the world of reality: whatever he beholds in this state is called Bínáb or Mâinah "reality." The state higher than this is the power of the soul to quit the body and to return to it, which is called in Persian Nívah-i-chaminah, in Arabic Melkát Khalâ-baden, and in Hindu prapura paroksha ["absent from the former body"].
They affirm that the bodies occupied by some souls resemble a loose garment, which may be put off at pleasure; so that they can ascend to the world of light, and on their return become reunited with the material elements. The difference between Sahú and Khalâ is this: Sahú means, being absorbed in meditation on the communication of divine grace, so that, without a relaxation of the senses, the person may, for the time being, actually abide in the invisible world: whereas Khalâ means that the individual, whenever he pleases, separates himself from the body and returns to it when he thinks fitting. The spiritual Maulavi thus says:
Shout aloud, my friends! for one person has separated himself from the body;
Out of a hundred thousand bodies, one person has become identified with God."
According to this sect there are seven worlds: the first is absolute existence and pure being, which they call Arang  or "divinity;" the second is the world of intelligences, which they call Birang or "the empyreal;" the third is that of souls, called Alrang or the angelic; the fourth that of the superior bodies, or Nirang; the fifth, the elementary or Rang; the sixth the compounds of the four elements, or Rang-a-Rang: but according to the Sufis all bodies, whether superior or inferior, are named Málk or region; the seventh is Sarang, which is that of man or of human beings: but in some Parsi treatises they term these seven regions the seven true realities: however, if the author were to describe minutely the articles and ceremonies of this sect, their details would require so many volumes, that contenting himself with what has been stated, he now proceeds to describe some of their most distinguished followers of later times.
[1. The text of Gladwin has "za'reng;" the edition of Calcutta and the manuscript of Oude "Arang"; in the Dasatir we find Lareng for the name of a divinity. - A. T.]
|Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives||Contents||Prev||Part 1||Next||Glossary|