Shayest Na-Shayest ('Proper and Improper')

Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1880.

PART 2. -- A Supplementary Treatise.


The degrees of sin are these, such as a Farman, Srosho-charanam, Agerept, Aivirisht, Aredush, Khor, Bazai, Yat, and tanapuhr, and I will mention each of them a second time. 2. A Farman is the weight of three dirhams of four mads; a Srosho-charanam is one dirham and two mads; three Srosho-charanams are the weight of four dirhams and two mads; an Agerept is thirty-three stirs; an Aivirisht is the weight of thirty-three dirhams; an Aredush is thirty stirs; a Khor is sixty stirs; a Bazai is ninety stirs; a Yat is a hundred and eighty stirs, and a Tanapuhr is three hundred stirs.
Every one ought to be unhesitating and unanimous about this, that righteousness is the one thing, and heaven (garothman) the one place, which is good, and contentment the one thing more comfortable.
When a sheep is slaughtered and divided, its meat-offering (gavus-dak) is to be thus presented: the tongue, jaw, and left eye are the angel Haoma's own; the neck is Ardwahisht's own; the head is the angel Vae's own; the right shoulder (arm) is Aredvisur's, the left is Drvasp's; the right thigh (hakht) is for the guardian spirit of Vishtasp, and the left for the guardian spirit of Jamasp; the back is for the supreme chief; the loin is the spirits' own; the belly is Spandarmad's; the testicles are for the star Vanand; the kidneys are Haptoring's; the ventricle (naskadako) is for the guardian spirit of priests; the lungs are for the guardian spirit of warriors; the liver is for compassion and sustenance of the poor; the spleen is Mahraspand's; the fore-legs (bazai) are for the waters; the heart is for the fires; the entrail fat is Ardafrawash's; the tail-bone (dunb-gazako) is for the guardian spirit of Zartosht the Spitaman; the tail (dunbak) is for Vad the righteous; the right eye is in the share of the moon; and any that may be left over from those is for the other archangels. 5. There have been those who may have spoken about protection, and there have been those who may have done so about meat-offerings; whoever has spoken about protection is such as has spoken well, and whoever has spoken about meat-offerings has not spoken everything which is noteworthy. 6. When one shall offer up what pertains to one (khadukag) on account of another it is proper; except the tongue, jaw, and left eye, for that those are the angel Haoma's own is manifest from the passage: 'Hizvam frerenaot,' etc.


The rule is this, that when one's form of worship (yasht) is performed, and it is not possible for him to prepare it, the practice of those of the primitive faith is, when the girdle (aipiyaung) is twined about a sacred twig-bundle (barsom) of seven twigs (tak), to consecrate a sacred cake (dron) thrice, which becomes his form of worship that is performed one degree better through the sacred cake; and of the merit of a threefold consecration of the sacred cake the high-priests have specially taught, in the Husparum Nask, that it is as much as that of a lesser form of worship.
The rule is this, that he who is himself more acquainted with religion is he who considers him who is more acquainted with religion than himself as high-priest, and considers him as high-priest so that he may not destroy the bridge of the soul; as it says in the Sagadum Nask that no one of them, that is an inattentive (asrushdar) man who has no high-priest, attains to the best existence, not though his recitations should be so many that they have made his duty and good works as much as the verdure (sapdak) of the plants when it shoots forth in spring, the verdure which Ohrmazd has given abundantly.
The rule is this, that they keep a fire in the house, because, from not keeping the fire properly, there arise less pregnancy of women and a weeping (av-didano) for the loss of strength (tanu) of men; and the chilled charcoal (angisht) and the rest which are without advantage (bar) are to be carried away from the fire; and in the Spend Nask it is revealed that a fire, when they shall make it quite clean from its chilled charcoal, has as much comfort as a man whose clothing they should make clean.
The rule is this, that when any one passes away it is proper to render useless as much as the smallest mouth-veil, for it says in the Vendidad that 'if even those Mazdayasnians should leave on him who is dead, in parting with him, as much as that which a damsel would leave in parting with the food-bowl (padmanako) -- that is, a bag (anbanako-hana)' -- the decree is this, that it is a Tanapuhr sin at root, which is hell; and in the Vendidad it says that the clothing of the charitable (dahishn-homand) soul, and even the clothing which they will give it, are out of almsgivings (dasaran).
The rule is this, that when any one passes away, after keeping fasting the three nights, still the presentation of holy-water (zohr) to the fire is to be performed, which is the presenting of the holy-water to the nearest fire; for in the Damdad Nask it is revealed that when they sever (tebrund) the consciousness of men it goes out to the nearest fire, then out to the stars, then out to the moon, and then out to the sun; and it is needful that the nearest fire, which is that to which it has come out, should become stronger (zor-homandtar).
The rule is this, that they should not leave a nail-paring unprayed over (anafsudak), for if it be not prayed over (afsand) it turns into the arms and equipments of the Mazendaran demons; this is explicitly shown in the Vendidad.
The rule is this, that the labor of child-birth is not to be accomplished at night, except while with the light of a fire, or the stars and moon, upon it; for great opposition is connected with it, and in the twentieth of the Husparum Nask it is shown that over the soul of him who works in the dark there is more predominance of the evil spirit.
The rule is this, that they should allow the egg and other food for those gifts and favors of the sovereign moon (mah-i khudai) and the other angels; if so, it is to be allowed by them thus: 'I will consecrate so much food for such an angel,' and not thus: 'One sacred cake (dron) in so much food.' 9. And the reason of it is this, that they who shall allow thus: 'One sacred cake out of so much food,' and of which it is one thing less, even though one shall consecrate it many times, still then he has not repaid; and they who should allow thus: 'I will consecrate so much food for such an angel,' though one shall reverence him with many sacred cakes, it is proper. 10. And in the twenty-two sections of the Sagadum Nask grievous things are shown about those who do not make: offerings (austofrid) unto the angels.
The rule is this, that when a woman becomes pregnant, as long as it is possible, a fire one cares for well is to be maintained in the house, because it is revealed in the Spend Nask that to Dukdaub, the mother of Zartosht, when she was pregnant with Zartosht, for three nights, every night a leader (shah) with a hundred and fifty demons came for the destruction of Zartosht, and yet, owing to the existence of the fire in the dwelling, they knew no means for it.
The rule is this, where a child is born, during three days, for protection from demons, wizards, and witches, a fire is to be made at night until daylight, and is to be maintained there in the day, and pure incense is to be put upon it, as is revealed in the thirtieth of the Sagadum Nask.
The rule is this, that from a toothpick the bark is to be well cut off, for there are some of those of the primitive faith who have said that, when they shall make it for the teeth with the bark on, and they throw it away, a pregnant woman, who puts a foot upon it, is doubtful about its being dead matter.
The rule is this, that it is well if any one of those who have their handmaid (chakar) in cohabitation (zanih), and offspring is born of her, shall accept all those who are male as sons; but those who are female are no advantage, because an adopted son (sator) is requisite, and in the fourteenth of the Husparum Nask the high-priests have taught thus: 'My son is suitable also as thy son, but my daughter is not suitable also as thy daughter;' and there are many who do not appoint an adopted son with this idea, that: 'The child of a handmaid may be accepted by us as a son.'
The rule is this, that one is to persevere much in the begetting of offspring, since it is for the acquisition of many good works at once; because in the Spand and Nigadum Nasks the high-priests have taught that the duty and good works which a son performs are as much the father's as though they had been done by his own hand; and in the Damdad Nask it is revealed thus: 'Likewise, too, the good works, in like manner, which come to the father as his own.'
The rule is this, that what they shall give to the worthy is as much as is proper and beyond, for eating and accumulating; because in the Nigadum Nask the high-priests have taught thus: 'When a man gives bread to a man, even though that man has too much bread, all the good works, which he shall perform through that superabundance, become as much his who gave it as though they had been done by his own hand.'
The rule is this, that in the night water is not to be drawn from a well, as in the Bagan-yasn notice is given about the uncleanness (ayoshdasarih) of well-water at night.
The rule is this, that in the night anything eatable is not to be cast away to the north, because a fiend will become pregnant; and when it is cast away one Yatha-ahu-vairyo is to be uttered. 19. Those of the primitive faith who used to act more orthodoxically (hu-rastakihatar), when food was eaten by them in the night, for the sake of preservation from sin owing to the coming of strainings and sprinklings on to the ground, directed a man to chant the Ahunwar from the beginning of the feast (myazd) unto the end, more especially at the feast of the season-festivals [Gahambars]; as it says in the Hadokht Nask, that of the sayings which are spoken out the Ahunwar is that which is most triumphant.
The rule is this, that when one sees a hedgehog he takes it back to the plain, and its own place is to be preserved free from danger; for in the Vendidad the high-priests have taught, that every day, when the hedgehog voids urine into an ant's nest, a thousand ants will die.
The rule is this, that some who are of the good religion say, where one is washing his face, one Ashem-vohu is always to be uttered, and that Ashem-vohu is to be uttered before the washing; for when he utters it while washing his face, he is doubtful (var-homand) about the water coming to his mouth.
The rule is this, that they select from the purifiers -- when their business (mindavam) is as important (raba) as purity and impurity -- him with whom the control of ablution (padiyavih) and non-ablution is connected; they select him especially with regard to the good disposition and truthful speaking of the man, and to the particular work; and on account of his being in innocence he is to be considered more righteous. 23. As in the Vendidad it says, about the two shares of righteousness, how one should tell that he is 'a righteous man, O Zartosht the Spitaman! who is a purifier, who should be a speaker that speaks truly, an inquirer of the sacred texts -- that is, he has performed his ritual (yasht) -- a righteous one who specially understands purification from the religion of the Mazdayasnians, that is, he understands its religious formulas (nirang).' 24. When it is so that the control of their ablution is connected with him, so that they consider what pertains to the purifying bowl (zak-i tashtik) as his, and ever abstain from it, though the angels hear and consider them as clean, and they select for him those who consecrate the water and bull's urine (gomez) on account of their control of purification (yoshdasarkarih), and it is to be performed very observantly by the consecrators at the place which is to be measured with a measure and very exactly (khuptar). 25. And the purifier is so much the better when washed again, and when it is by some one through whose periodic (zamanik) care he is thus done; for in the periodic interval many secret kinds of pollution are produced. 26. Of the celebrators of the Vendidad the good are they who shall again perform the Navashadar rite [i.e. barashnom]; for, on account of the same nicety (nazukih) which is written above by me, and on account of much also that is secret, which has happened and mostly arises about it, there is no harm from performing it. 27. And any one of those who shall receive the water and bull's urine it is very important to wash beforehand (pavan pesh); because, if there be impurity about him, and he puts a hand to the cup (jamak), the water, and the bull's urine, they are unclean (apadavo); when it is so that there be some one, when so, it is better that they always wash his eyelids (moyak gas), and to wash them by the clean is good.
The rule is this, that thou shouldst not consider even any one hopeless (anaimed) of heaven, and they should not set their minds steadfastly on hell; thereby much sinfulness for which there is a desire would be undesirable, because there is nothing which is a sin in my religion for which there is no retribution, as it says in the Gathas thus: 'Of those who are aware that thou art, 'O Ohrmazd! is even he who is infamous (raspako); and they know the punishment of him even who is very sinful.' 29. And as to him even who is a very sinful person, through the desire of good works which is entertained by him, there then comes more fully to him the joy of a soul newly worthy (nuk shayad); as in the Spend Nask was shown to Zartosht about one man, that all his limbs were in torment, and one foot was outside; and Zartosht inquired of Ohrmazd about the reason of it; and Ohrmazd said that he was a man, Davans by name; he was ruler over thirty-three districts, and he never practiced any good work, except one time when fodder was conveyed by him to a sheep with that one foot.
The rule is this, that when a man has performed his form of worship (yasht), and his wife has not performed it, it is extremely necessary to perform the suitable form of worship, or to order a Geto-kharid, so that they may become such as are dwelling more closely together in the spiritual existence than in the world; and in the Hadokht Nask it says that a woman (nairik) who shall be reverent (tarsak) is to be considered as much as she who is suitable (ziyak).
The rule is this, that these five ceremonies (yazishn), when they shall perform them, are good works; when one does not perform them, and the time is manifest to him, and when he shall set them aside to perform them out of the proper time, they shall go to the bridge as sin; the ceremonies which go to the bridge are these, and in the Husparum Nask it says that they are the non-celebration of the rites (la yashtano) of the season-festivals [Gahambars], the Rapithwin, the three nights after a death, the days devoted to the guardian spirits, and the sun and moon.
The rule is this, that at every one of these three things, which come through hungry living, that is, sneezing, yawning, and sighing, one is to speak out a Yatha-ahu-vairyo and one Ashem-vohu; and also when one hears the sneezing of any one, to speak in like manner is so considered as an action of the good; and in the Sudgar Nask it says thus: '"What prepares sneezing? that is, through what process (kar) does it come?" And Ohrmazd said thus: "Hungry living, O Zartosht! because the remedy for its existence is the Ahunwar, O Zartosht! and righteousness [i.e. Ashem Vohu]"'

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