Shayest Na-Shayest ('Proper and Improper')
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East,
volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1880.
PART 3. -- Appendix.
- It is revealed by a passage of the Avesta that Zartosht,
seated before Ohrmazd, always wanted information (vac) from him;
and he spoke to Ohrmazd thus: 'Thy head, hands, feet, hair, face,
and tongue are in my eyes just like those even which are my own,
and you have the clothing men have; give me a hand, so that I
may grasp thy hand.'
- Ohrmazd said thus: 'I am an intangible spirit; it is not possible
to grasp my hand.'
- Zartosht spoke thus: 'Thou art intangible, and Vohuman, Ardwahisht,
Shahrewar, Spandarmad, Hordad, and Amurdad are intangible, and
when I depart from thy presence, and do not see thee nor even
them -- since of the person whom I see and worship there is something
-- should thou and the seven archangels be worshipped by me, or
- Ohrmazd said thus: 'They should be; I tell thee, O Zartosht
the Spitaman! that each individual of us has produced his own
one creation (dayak) for the world, by means of which they may
set going in its body, in the world, that activity which they
would exercise in the spiritual existence. 5. In the world that
which is mine, who am Ohrmazd, is the righteous man, of Vohuman
are the cattle, of Ardwahisht is the fire, of Shahrewar is the
metal, of Spandarmad are the earth and virtuous woman, of Hordad
is the water, and of Amurdad is the vegetation. 6. Whoever has
learned the care of all these seven, acts and pleases well, his
soul never comes into the possession of Ahriman and the demons;
when he has exercised his care of them, he has exercised his care
of the seven archangels, and ought to teach all mankind in the
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Ohrmazd in the world, wishes
to promote the things of Ohrmazd; and whoever he be, with whom
Ohrmazd ever is in every place (gas), it is necessary that he
should propitiate the righteous man, in whatever has happened
and whatever occurs to him, and should act for his happiness,
and afford him protection from the vile. 8. Since the righteous
man is a counterpart of Ohrmazd the lord, and when the righteous
man acts it is caused by him who is Ohrmazd, whoever propitiates
the righteous man, his fame and welfare exist a long time in the
world, and the splendor of Ohrmazd and pleasure and joy become
his own in heaven (Wahisht).
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Vohuman in the world, and wishes
to act for his happiness, is he who wishes to promote the things
of Vohuman; and it is necessary for him, so that Vohuman may be
ever with him, that he should propitiate, at every place (gas)
and time, the well-yielding (hudhak) cattle, in whatever has happened
and whatever occurs, and should act for their happiness; and in
the terrible days and the hurried times (gas) which befall them,
he should afford them protection from the oppressive and idle.
10. He should not give them as a bribe to a man who is a wicked
tyrant, but should keep them in a pleasant and warm locality and
place (gas); and in summer he should provide them a store of straw
and corn, so that it be not necessary to keep them on the pastures
(charak) in winter; and he should not deliver them up for this
purpose, that is, "So that I may give them up to the vile,"
because it is necessary to give to the good; and he should not
drive them apart from their young, and should not put the young
apart from their milk. 11. Since they are counterparts of him
(Vohuman) himself in the world, the well-yielding cattle, whoever
propitiates those which are well-yielding cattle his fame subsists
in the world, and the splendor of Ohrmazd becomes his own in the
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Ardwahisht in the world is he
who wishes to promote his things; and it is necessary for him,
so that Ardwahisht may be with him at every place (gas) and time,
that he should propitiate the fire of Ohrmazd, in whatever has
happened and whatever occurs, and should act for its happiness;
he should not put upon it wood, incense, and holy-water which
are stolen and extorted, and he should not cook at it a ration
(bahar) which is violently extorted from men. 13. For it is a
counterpart of him (Ardwahisht) himself in the world, the fire
of Ohrmazd; and whoever propitiates those which are fires of Ohrmazd
his fame subsists in the world, and the splendor of Ohrmazd becomes
his own in heaven.
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Shahrewar in the world, and
wishes to act for his happiness, is he who wishes to promote the
things of Shahrewar; and whoever he be, it is necessary, so that
Shahrewar may be with him at every place and time, that he should
propitiate melted metal at every place and time. 15. And the propitiation
of melted metal is this, that he shall practice habits (aiyino)
of the heart so unsullied and pure that, when they shall drop
melted metal upon it, it does not burn. 16. And Adarbad Mahraspandan
even acted in this priestly fashion (dastobarih), so that the
melted metal, when they drop it upon the region (khano) of his
pure heart, becomes as pleasant to him as though they were milking
milk upon it. 17. When they drop it upon the region of the heart
of the wicked and sinners, it burns, and they die. 18. And one
should not commit sin with metal, and with its burning; and should
not give gold and silver to the vile. 19. For it is a counterpart
of Shahrewar himself in the world for him, and since he propitiates
those which are melted metals, his fame subsists in the world,
and the splendor of Ohrmazd becomes his own in heaven.
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Spandarmad in the world, wishes
to promote the things of Spandarmad; and whoever he be, it is
necessary, so that Spandarmad may be with him, that he should
propitiate, at every place and time, the earth and virtuous woman,
in whatever has happened and in whatever occurs, and should act
for their happiness. 21. For when he does not spread out (bara
la veshet) this earth, and it does not separate one piece from
another, his body also will not be always living upon it at every
place and time. 22. On account of the lodgment of Spandarmad in
the earth, when a robber, violent and worthy of death, and wives
who are disrespectful to their husbands walk about in sinfulness
in the world, and their husbands are active and virtuous, it becomes
much distressed (zanoik). 23. This, too, is declared, that, whenever
this earth becomes distressed (zanik), it is most so at the time
when sinners worthy of death are most; for it is declared, when
sinners worthy of death walk upon it, its pain and uneasiness
become as distressing (dushkhvar) to it as the dead son on her
bosom to a mother; and the lodgment of Spandarmad in the earth
is little in that place whereon sinners worthy of death walk.
24. And her happiness arises from that place when they shall perform
tillage and cultivation on it, and a virtuous son is born upon
it, and they rear cattle upon it; and it is so one's fame subsists
in the world, and the splendor of Ohrmazd becomes one's own in
- 'Whoever wishes to propitiate Hordad and Amurdad in the world,
whereas that is necessary which promotes their things, whoever
he be it is necessary that he should propitiate, at every place
and time, the water and vegetation of Hordad and Amurdad, in whatever
has happened and in whatever occurs, and should seize upon those
who consume and steal water and vegetation. 26. And he should
not act oppressively, he should not walk the world in sinfulness,
and should not bring bodily refuse (hikhar), dead matter (nasa),
or any other pollution to water; he should not destroy vegetation
unlawfully, and should not give fruit to the idle and vile. 27.
For when he commits sin against water and vegetation, even when
it is committed against merely a single twig of it, and he has
not atoned for it, when he departs from the world the spirits
of all the plants in the world stand up high in front of that
man, and do not let him go to heaven. 28. And when he has committed
sin against water, even when it is committed against a single
drop of it, and he has not atoned for it, that also stands up
as high as the plants stood, and does not let him go to heaven.
29. Since they are counterparts of Hordad and Amurdad themselves,
the water and vegetation, whoever propitiates those which be water
and vegetation, his fame subsists in the world, and a share of
the splendor of Ohrmazd becomes his in heaven.'
- Ohrmazd said this also to Zartosht, namely: 'My will and pleasure
is that the observance and propitiation of these seven archangels
shall be as I have told thee; and do thou, too, speak thus unto
men, so that they may commit no sin and may not become wicked,
and the splendor of Ohrmazd may become their own in heaven.'
- Completed in peace, pleasure, and joy.
- In the name of God (yazdan) I write a paragraph (baba) where
the sins which are as it were small are mentioned one by one.
- The least sin is a Farman; and a Farman is three coins of
five annas, some say three coins. 2. An Agerept is, as regards
whatever weapon (snesh) men strike with in the world, whenever
the weapon is taken in hand; and taken up by any one four finger-breaths
from the ground it is the root of an Agerept for him; and the
retribution and punishment for an Agerept should be fifty-three
dirhams (jugan). 3. When the weapon turns downwards it is the
root of an Avoirisht for him, and his sentence (dina) is to be
changed; his retribution and punishment should be seventy-three
dirhams, which is when anything further occurs. 4. When he shall
lay the weapon on any one it is the root of an Aredush for him,
and his retribution and punishment are thirty stirs; if the wound
thereby made by him be one-fifth of a span (disht) it is no root
of an Aredush for him, and his retribution and punishment are
the same thirty stirs.
- I write the degrees of sin: A Srosho-charanam is three coins
and a half, a Farman is a Srosho-charanam, an Agerept is sixteen
stirs, an Avoirisht is twenty-five stirs, an Aredush is thirty,
a Khor is sixty, a Bazai is ninety, a Yat is a hundred, and eighty,
and a Tanapuhr is three hundred.
- The good works which are in the ceremonial worship of the
sacred beings (yazishn-i yazdan): Consecrating a sacred cake (dron)
is a good work of one Tanapuhr; a form of worship (yasht) is a
hundred Tanapuhrs; a Visparad is a thousand Tanapuhrs; a Do-homast
is ten thousand; a Dvazdah-homast is a hundred thousand, and the
merit (kirfak) of every one which is performed with holy-water
is said to be a hundred to one; a Hadokht is two thousand Tanapuhrs,
and with holy-water it becomes a hundred to one.
- This, too, Zartosht asked of Ohrmazd, that is: 'Which is the
time when one must not eat meat?'
- Ohrmazd gave a reply thus: 'In a house when a person shall
die, until three nights are completed, nothing whatever of meat
is to be placed on a sacred cake (dron) therein and in its vicinity;
but these, such as milk, cheese, fruit, eggs, and preserves, are
to be placed; and nothing whatever of meat is to be eaten by his
relations. 3. In all the three days it is necessary to perform
the ceremonial (yazishn) of Srosh for this reason, because Srosh
will be able to save his soul from the hands of the demons for
the three days; and when one constantly performs a ceremonial
at every period (gas) in the three days it is as good as though
they should celebrate the whole religious ritual (hamak dino)
at one time. 4. And after the third night, at dawn, one is to
consecrate three sacred cakes (dron), one for Rashn and Ashtad,
the second for Vae the good, and the third for the righteous guardian
spirit (ardafrawash) and clothing is to be placed upon the sacred
cake of the righteous guardian spirit. 5. For the fourth day it
is allowable to slaughter a sheep, and the fourth day the ceremonial
(yazishn) of the righteous guardian spirit is to be performed;
and afterwards are the tenth-day, the monthly, and, then, the
annual ceremonies; and the first monthly is exactly on the thirtieth
day, and the annual on the particular day. 6. When he shall die
at a place distant from that where the information arrives, when
the three days' ceremonies (satuih) are celebrated at that place
where he shall die it is well, when not, their celebration is
to be at this place, and from the time when the information arrives,
until three nights are completed, it is necessary to perform the
ceremonial of Srosh, and after three days and nights it is necessary
to perform the ceremonial of the righteous guardian spirit.'
- In one place it is declared that of him whose begetting is
owing to the demons, of him who commits sodomy, and of him who
performs the religious rites (dino) of apostasy, of none of the
three do they restore the dead [i.e. there is no resurrection
for them], for this reason, because he whose begetting is owing
to the demons is himself a demon, and the soul of him who commits
sodomy will become a demon, and the soul of him who performs the
religious rites of apostasy will become a darting snake.
- This, too, is revealed by the Avesta, that Ohrmazd
spoke thus: 'Give ye up the persons of all men, with the submissiveness
of worshippers, to that man to whom the whole Avesta and Zand
is easy, so that he may make you acquainted with duties and good
works; because men go to hell for this reason, when they do not
submit their persons to priestly control (aerpatistan), and do
not become acquainted with duties and good works.'
- Query: There is an action which, according to the Avesta,
is not good for a person to do, and the sentence of 'worthy of
death' is set upon it; for one's better preservation is one not
to do that action, or to accomplish and urge it on, for the advance
of religion in a state of uncertainty (var-homandih)? 10. The
answer is this, that when they act well for their better preservation
there is no fear, on account of acting well, but one is not to
forsake that, too, though it be not goodness; a forsaken duty
is very bad, for a contempt of it enters into one.
- This, too, is declared, that Zartosht inquired of Ohrmazd
thus: 'From what place do these people rise again? from that place
where they first went into their mothers, or from that place where
the mothers have given them birth, or from that place where their
bodies happen to be (aufted)?' 12. Ohrmazd gave a reply thus:
'Not from that place where they have gone into their mothers,
nor from that place where they have been born from their mothers,
nor from that place where their bodies and flesh happen to be,
for they rise from that place where the life went out from their
bodies.' 13. And this, too, he asked, that is: 'Whence do they
raise him again who is suspended from anything, and shall die
in the air?' 14. The reply was: 'From that place where his bones
and flesh first fall to the ground; hence, except when he shall
die on a divan (gas) or a bed (vistarg), before they carry him
away, whatever it is, a fragment is to be taken and to be laid
across his limbs; for when the usage is not so, they raise him
again from that place where his body arrives at the ground.'
- Completed in peace, pleasure, and joy.
- It is said in revelation that Eshm rushed into the presence
of Ahriman, and exclaimed thus: 'I will not go into the world,
because Ohrmazd, the lord, has produced three things in the world,
to which it is not possible for me to do anything whatever.'
- Ahriman exclaimed thus: 'Say which are those three things.'
- Eshm exclaimed thus: 'The season-festival (Gahambar), the
sacred feast (myazd), and next-of-kin marriage (khwetodas).'
- Ahriman exclaimed thus: 'Enter into the season-festival if
one of those present shall steal a single thing the season-festival
is violated, and the affair is in accordance with thy wish; enter
into the sacred feast! if only one of those present shall chatter
the sacred feast is violated, and the affair is in accordance
with thy wish; but avoid next-of-kin marriage! because I do not
know a remedy for it; for whoever has gone four times near to
it will not become parted from the possession of Ohrmazd and the
- The Yatha-ahu-vairyo formulas that are necessary in each place,
and how they are to be spoken in performing anything.
- One by him who goes forth to an assembly, or before grandees
and chieftains, or on any business; or when he goes to ask for
what he wants (val khvahishno); also when he quits any business;
in each of these situations he is to say only one formula, so
that his business may proceed more promptly.
- That a blessing (afrin) may be more benedictory, for this
reason one utters two formulas; for there are two kinds of blessing,
one is that which is in the thoughts, and one is that which is
- Four are for coming out more thankfully when at a season-festival.
- Five by him who goes to atone for sin, in order to expel the
fiend; because it is necessary to undergo punishment by the decision
(dastobarih) of these five persons, the house-ruler, the village-ruler,
the tribe-ruler, the province-ruler, and the supreme Zartosht;
and five Ashem-vohus are to be uttered by him at the end.
- Six by him who goes to seek power, and to battle, so that
he may be more successful.
- Seven by him who goes to perform the worship of God (yazdan),
so that the archangels may come more forward at the worship.
- Eight by him who goes to perform the ceremonial of the righteous
- Nine by him who goes to sow corn; these he utters for this
reason, because the corn will ripen (rased) in nine months, and
so that the corn may come forward he will make the mischief of
the noxious creatures less.
- Ten by him who goes to seek a wife, so that the presents may
be favorable for the purpose.
- Ten by him who wishes to allow the male access to beasts of
burden and cattle, so that it may be more procreative.
- Eleven by him who goes to the lofty mountains, so that the
glory of mountains and hills may bless him and be friendly.
- Twelve by him who goes to the low districts, so that the glory
of that country and district may bless him and be friendly.
- Thirteen by him who shall become pathless; at that same place
he shall utter them; or by him who shall pass over a bridge and
a river, so that the spirit of that water may bless him; because
the Yatha-ahu-vairyo is greater and more successful than everything
in the Avesta as to all rivers, all wholesomeness, and all protection.
- Religion is as connected with the Yatha-ahu-vairyo as the
hair is more connected with the glory of the face; any one, indeed,
would dread (samat) to separate hairiness and the glory of the
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