The Pahlavi Rivayat of Farnbag-Srosh
Tr. by Behramgore Tahmuras Anklesaria, 1938
This text is dated 1008 C.E.
Anklesaria summarized this work as follows: "The questions
put to Farnbag-Srosh deal with the calendar and intercalary reckoning,
appointment of a Magian, adoption, ayohe woman, and ceremonial
PART 1. Five questions asked of Fray-srosh son of Vaharam
of immortal soul; one of them could not be written.
- 1. Q: The question is this: I forthwith accepted the intercalary
reckoning of you who are of increased glory, in this auspicious
land of Awar-satr, and I commenced the yazishn [[yasna]] with
the ritual as directed. 2. One of the pious disciples says: "Until
it becomes clear to me as to how they made this very intercalary
reckoning, I am not to be steadfast to it; for, I saw Magopat
Fray-srosh, and he has written an explanation, and has raised
many points of view; I do not understand how this is done".
- 3. Then, there came up a letter from Abu Masur, may God protect
him! the Governor, the teacher of those of increased glory, from
the auspicious land of Bakdat, saying: "We have referred
to the books of the Scripture, and the leader of those of the
good religion has forthwith accepted the intercalary reckoning".
4. And this person saw the letter and read it over. 5. He says:
"The teacher Abu Masur is an imperial personage, and does
not understand the Scripture as regards the infringement of the
laws of Srosh; in his house there is no person who can himself
perform the yazishn of persons, and according to the former sequence
of reckoning". 6. And this is the question: "What happens
if one performs that ceremony according to the intercalary reckoning?
How ought we to hold this person amongst the faithful? You will
please decide according to the will of God".
- 7. A: Do you attend to the reply; and even now, with a little
direction as regards this great progress, I made many deliberations
thereon, and I have habituated myself with it; the wisdom and
conference of the minors, of those who have newly attained to
youth, of the old and the experienced Iranians, and the acute
persons of old age, of those who are the fleet Borak of Jesus
in the good religion, and possess acuteness and culture, who deliberated
with me, have held this enjoinment of the Scripture as essential;
the Dasturs have admitted us just like our fathers. 8. And he
who looks at an observable thing, which is good and approvable,
liked by the religion and the Dasturs, with faultiness, declares
it as not good, amongst the faithful, with malignant views, and
persons are thereby embarrassed, and who withholds men from the
right and approvable path, is involved in all the sins which emanate
therefrom and culpable. 9. And it is not possible to mention this
a sin, even as any sin; for I did not understand what has come
out of this intercalary reckoning. 10. And the teacher, Abu Masur,
whose protector is God, the Governor, is not helpless for the
recitation of the service of praise, on account of his alert strength
of worship. 11. And whoever speaks deception as to the impropriety
of this tenet of the good religion, whose reasonability is openly
manifest from the exposition of the Scripture, who is a limb of
the dead matter of the faithful believers, he is a wicked sinner,
owing to his estrangement from the ancient leaders of religion;
thereby is the destruction unto the soul; so that the decision
as regards those who direct him to perform yazishn is the performance
of dev-worship and absence of holding the laws of Srosh, just
as what the Scripture says: 'Of him, verily, did Ahura Mazda say,
O Spitama Zarathushtra! we sever his bones with the metallic knife,
in material life'. For, he, Ohrmazd, spoke about him, O Spitaman
Zartosht! whilst living, his bodily and vital life is to be hewed
down with the metallic knife.
- 1. Q: The question is this: if a leader of those of the good
religion assigns the chief-magianship of a city to a magian, with
the approval and consent of those of the good religion; a little
while after that, he assigns him the Ratu-ship of a frontier,
and writes a proper deed of appointment, according to religious
usage, and the faithful of the frontier accept him and abide by
him; they hold him as their Ratu and chief-magian, and become
obedient unto him; and that Ratu appointed trustworthy agents
in every city; then that leader of those of the good religion
passes away, his soul attained to the best existence; some one
says this of him: "The leader of those of the good religion
has passed away; this present Ratu is no longer Ratu or chief-magian;
until a new appointment from a new leader of those of the good
religion is not made, great sin will arise therefrom"; he
is reiterating the statement, for a full year; the question is
this: is that a statement or a wicked utterance? What are his
sin, punishment, and retribution?
- 2. A: His act is unlawful; the chief is not to be forsaken;
and if one unlawfully forsakes the chief, the sin originates with
him for all evil, harm, and calamity which proceeds through him;
he who makes that wicked statement, prevents the faithful from
the straight path, is greatly sinful, and therefore worthy of
atonement; and he who will be a joint speaker and co-associate
with him, is a co-sinner, and will be co-adjudged with him; if
he speaks intentionally, he is a very great sinner.
- 1. Q: The question is this: is a man, who is born under adoption,
fit for the adoption of another person or not? And how is this
man who gives himself for adoption unto another person? And what
about him who accepts him? Does he properly become his accepted
son, materially as well as spiritually, or not?
- 2. A: If there is nothing in the question wherefore it would
be otherwise: one born under adoption is fit for adoption; a son
is fit for many adoptions, a daughter for one adoption.
- 1. Q: The question is this: if there is an only daughter,
who is her father's ayohe, and is desirous of having a husband;
can she so secure a proper husband as that she may give herself
in independent wifehood, that she offers herself as a soul loving
woman of good fame, out of her own substance, and in her innate
person, just like one to whom no responsibility of adoption or
ayoheih of any person has come, just like an elder sister who
delivers over her younger sister, and assigns to her the ayoheih
of her own father, and herself takes a husband as an independent
wife? Can she do it or not?
- 2. A: She is not to do so, for this reason, because the usages
of the ancients and the first leaders of religion is not with
- Fray-srosh son of Vaharam so adjudicated these points in the
Parsik year 357, twenty years after His Majesty the Emperor Yazdegird,
descendant of His Majesty the Emperor Khvasruy son of Ohrmazd.
Aerpat Spenddat Farokhvborzin had asked the Magopatan Magopat;
these four questions which are written above, in this year, embodied
from a copy of him of the immortal soul.
- 1. Q: If there is a caravansary in which the faithful and
the alien live as co-residents; betwixt them, a partition wall
is so constructed that the ground is not connected with the roof;
a man consecrates the dron inside the wall; what is your opinion?
- 2. A: If the wall is carried above the man, he is separated;
it is lawful to consecrate the dron.
- 1. Q: Is it proper to consecrate the dron in a caravan house,
in the midst of excrement of animals, or not?
- 2. A: It is lawful to consecrate so long as, besides the excrement
of animals, there is no offal of their own, like excrement.
- 1. Q: How would it be to recite 'tava athro' near the lamp
in the consecration of the dron?
- 2. A: As it has occurred to me, after much deliberation, it
seems proper to insert a chip of wood in the lamp and speak out
- 1. Q: Shall we preserve in usage the bow unto the fire or
not? Especially, what do you think of its performance so far as
possible, whilst coming to the recitation of that word?
- 2. A: It is lawful to perform the obeisance if one can do
so, or to perform it on earth at various times, to perform it
if there be a danger or destruction; and that obeisance which
one performs during the performance of the Hawan gah, at the time
of reciting the word, is lawful.
- 1. Q: Of what value is it to recite the 'yasnemcha', and to
take any particular grace, at the grace where there is no Warharan
fire, or if there is, one cannot perform the obeisance to it?
- 2. A: According to the Avesta, the recitation of 'yasnemeha'
without a look at the fire is reckoned as "no worship".
- 1. Q: The question is this: where is the propitiation of the
dron ceremony to be declared? Where is it not to be declared?
And how is it to be declared?
- 2. A: As is said: the propitiation is to be declared at the
commencement of the dron ceremony. 3. There was one who has said
that it is proper whenever the propitiation and the period of
the day are declared.
- 1. Q: About the performance of an ustofrit ceremony, a man
says: "If this event so happens, such-and-such man will perform
this ustofrit ceremony;" when he tells that man to perform
the ceremony, the man says: "Let him perform the worship,
who has been superior to me in performing the ceremony, I will
not perform the ceremony;" how is the ceremony to be performed?
- 2. A: As is said in the institutes, the ustofrit ceremony
is to be performed with the indubitable prayer; if an indubitable
man is not obtained, there was a Dastur who said: it may be performed
with a doubtful prayer; and as regards him who chattered and ate
food, the same Dastur also had said: it is not proper in any way
to perform the ceremony whilst chattering.
- 1. Q: A man procures a few eggs for a dron consecration;
and as he properly desires these eggs in a dron consecration,
he prepares a provision of a dish of fried eggs or of another
eatable; then, he lays them on in the dron consecration and performs
the ceremony; what is your view?
- 2. A: It is so stated that a man can perform the ustofrit
ceremony, in whatever way he can well provide the offering.
- 1. Q: A man is consecrating the dron in the desert; the whirlwind
settles on his hand; what is your view of the sacred twigs?
- 2. A: Just as is said, if nothing other than dust is made
manifest over it, there is an enactment according to which it
- 1. Q: Something happens to a man in a caravan, on the road,
wherefore he has to consecrate the dron in a dark dwelling; what
is your view, if he so consecrates?
- 2. A: One cannot, in any way, consecrate the dron in a house,
at night, without the fire.
- 1. Q: The obeisance to the sun is being performed within the
dwelling; what is your view? Even if it is done in a caravan,
on the road?
- 2. A: The obeisance to the sun is performed.
- 1. Q: A man has approached a place; he has to prepare the
sacred twigs; and the sacred twigs are obtained, but the ayibiyaygahn
is not obtained; how has he to act?
- 2. A: He cannot consecrate the dron with the sacred twigs
without the ayibiyaygahn.
- 1. Q: Is it proper for a man to consecrate the dron in a
prison which place is doubtful as to being full of dead matter,
and containing dry dead matter, or can a grace only be recited?
- 2. A: Unless the certainty of there being dead matter or any
unfit thing is manifest, it is good to consecrate the dron.
- 1. Q: There is a sick man who cannot consecrate the dron,
he has to drink a dose of medicine, therefore, in time; a person
comes too late; can he hold a grace and drink the medicine?
- 2. A: If it be not possible for a person, for if he consecrates
the dron, severe painfulness unto the body would increase, and
he is unable to drink medicine, he is to recite the grace.
- 1. Q: What is your view as to receiving grace from a blind
- 2. A: It is lawful if he has the yasht by heart, and has a
leader with him.
- 1. Q: What is your view of the sacred twigs in the course
of the fox, appearing within three paces?
- 2. A: It cannot be less than three paces by any teaching.
- 1. Q: At what distance shall they keep the sacred twigs from
the tombs of alien sovereigns?
- 2. A: Three paces' distance whilst walking and of thirty paces
whilst standing is necessary; there was one who said: three paces.
- 1. Q: The question is this: which propitiatory formula is
to be recited, whilst consecrating the dron of the month of Day
and the day Day-pa Mihr?
- 2. A: The propitiatory formula of Awan is mentioned.
- 1. Q: What is your opinion of the dron which they consecrate
at night in a house whose roof is open and the sky in sight?
- 2. A: It is not proper to consecrate the dron in a house,
in any way without the fire; and as to the house whose roof is
open in which the light of the stars, the moon, and the sun penetrates,
there was one who has said that it is lawful, but there is difference
of opinion about it.
- 1. Q: They are consecrating the dron in a house, and a cat
purrs, what is your opinion?
- 2. A: If a cat purrs, three paces away, the sacred twigs are
not defiled; and note: it is proper, if she purrs within three
paces but the whiff does not reach the sacred twigs.
- 1. Q: When the dron consecration is completed and one wishes
to return the sacred twigs in their place, the sacred twigs fall
on the ground; is it allowable or not?
- 2. A: It is said that if he has completed the dron consecration,
and the sacred twigs unintentionally become impure, it will do;
it will not do if they intentionally become full of dry dead matter,
or even if they do not become.
- 1. Q: A man has completed the dron consecration; he recites
an 'Ashem Vohu', and speaks a word; is it proper or not?
- 2. It will do if he speaks, not knowingly, in a muttering
- 1. Q: A man is consecrating the dron, and they receive the
grace from him; he tastes the votive offering before laying down
the sacred twigs in their place, and the sacred twigs become impure;
what is your opinion of the consecration?
- 2. A: If a person received grace, and the sacred twigs become
impure, the sacred twigs are to be washed and arranged; and the
invoker who tasted the votive offering has done well, and he who
has not done it, is not to do so.
- 1. Q: Is it proper or not if one offers the obeisance to the
sun in the house?
- 2. A: If owing to illness or a danger or any other defect,
wherefrom there would be trouble or an injury, it is proper.
- 1. Q: What is your opinion of bread, flesh, and even other
prepared food which they purchase from the market of the aliens?
- 2. A: It is not proper to eat the prepared food which the
aliens prepare, owing to the dry dead matter coming out therefrom,
or due to the uncooked state in which they prepare it.
- 1. Q: Is it lawful to sell the things in touch with the dead
bodies of men to the aliens, even though a faithful man has not
- 2. A: Bodily refuse, when its matter, stink, and color fade
away, six months pass over, and it so rains over it that it dries
up entirely, then it is proper.
- 1. Q: Except the sin deserving death originating with a man
who is a disciple, can any other sin originate, for which he would
be ousted from performing the ceremony of which he is a sharer?
- 2. A: This would happen in case of non-absolution of sin;
he who is absolved from sin, is indeed absolved even- if he is
ousted. 3. As one says in the Nigadum Nask: "On the fourth
aredush sin which he has renounced, that is, he has expiated,
a man is unabsolved, that is he becomes penitent again attains
to those who are dissociated from amongst the Mazdayasnians, that
is, he is ousted from the ceremony which is his by share".
- 1. Q: Since it is evident from the third chapter of the Vendidad
that one ought not to remove a dead body alone; defilement rushes
over him who will remove and him who has removed it; then, why
can one remove it alone from the water? Why is he not contaminated
who removes the dead body alone from the water?
- 2. A: For this reason, because one says in the sixth chapter:
(Av.) 'He shall advance forward, he shall remove the dead out
of the water, O Zarathushtra!' Forth shall he advance towards
the dead, up shall he lift from out the water, O Zartosht! 3.
And from the words 'frayoit' and 'uzbaroit', it is so manifest,
as if he has spoken of one individual; for, as the dead body must
have been one, the words "he shall advance, he shall drag"
are in the singular: so long as he shall have according to the
enjoinment of religion, he has no contamination.
- 1. Q: Is it very appropriate and very reasonable not to do
that act, for the complete performance of which act singly the
Avesta has made the enjoinment of a sin deserving death, or are
we to do it in a case of doubtfulness, for the love of religion?
For we have heard that it is manifest in some places in the Avesta
that thou art not to do that thing of which thou dost not know
whether it is a good deed or sin.
- 2. A: If there is nothing in the question, wherefore the decision
would be otherwise: I so feel that a pious act is to be conducted
to the extent of our capacity, and for this reason that if a meritorious
work is not completely conducted, a sin arises; and we shall not
excuse ourselves from a meritorious work; for, if any meritorious
work is not completely conducted, is will either be of little
meritoriosness, or even a sin; just as even in the case of the
worship of God, if they perform it unlawfully, there is the danger
of its becoming a dev-worship; for it is so enjoined, as that
which is said: "If there be not the Yazads who would accept
the worship, there are the devs to accept it." They are to
be certain of this adage itself: "Acts and deeds all are
either meritorious works or sins"; even for this reason,
we are to be much diligent for meritorious works, and are to perform
them the most with propriety and efficacy.
- 3. The aphorism which is spoken in the Scripture: "You
are not to do if you do not know whether it is a meritorious work
or sin", is true of the extent of intermediation of human
understanding; nor is it said as regards that: "You are not
to do a work until you obtain an intermediary in material life;"
but there is the limit of belief in the human understanding.
- 4. Those great Dasturs who be, are enlightened about this
by manifestation from the Scripture; and the limit of knowledge
of the Dasturs of the time is such as is connected with these
superior Dasturs, owing to just leadership; and the limit of knowledge
of the faithful is such as the enjoinment came to them through
meritoriousness from the just Dasturs of the time.
- 5. I feel that you have heard: "If he, who does not know
the ritual of the Mazdayasnian religion, performs the ceremony
of purification, the demon of defilement becomes very violent,
and properness, curative power, and even the growth of corn decrease;
and that man is to be killed".
- 6. You will please understand this, that, that person did
not know the ritual; and if you will please think of those who
do not understand any of that ritual of religion, and are performing
an undutiful act, it is the more reasonable than if you think
of those who have so preserved in knowledge and practice, to the
extent of their capacity, several rites and practices of the ancients
in our time; for, in any case, if one performs that which he is
capable of, he has release for that which he is incapable of.
- This is the question: the consecration of the dron of the
new year [[Nawruz]] and of the month Frawardin and day Hordad.
- 1. First, we are to consecrate the dron with the propitiatory
formula thus; we are to insert in the name of the day, the day,
the year, and the month, according to the method as I write: (Av.)
'Of the days, and of the day periods, and of the month divisions,
and of the year divisions and of the years;' and one shall recite
this with the word: (Av.) 'We worship'. (Av.) 'We worship the
days, with Ratu-gratification, of the chief of the holy order;
we worship, with Ratu-gratification, the day periods of the chief
of the holy order; we worship, with Ratu-gratification, the divisions
of the month of the chief of the holy order; we worship, with
Ratu-gratification, the seasons of the year of the chief of the
holy order; we worship with Ratu-gratification, the years of the
chief of the holy order'; we are to recite the day and the period
of the day 'ayaranamcha' upto 'vispaesham'.
May it be auspicious and of good omen!