Shayest Na-Shayest ('Proper and Improper')
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East,
volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1880.
- The clothing of a menstruous woman which they shall take new
for her use is polluted, and that which is in use is not polluted.
2. When a bed-chamber (shad-aurvan) is overspread, and a carpet
(bup) is laid upon it and a cushion on the two, and a woman sits
upon it and menstruation occurs, when she puts a foot from the
cushion on to the carpet, and from the carpet out into the bed-chamber,
the carpet and bed-chamber are both polluted, for they are taken
newly for her use, but of the cushion there is no pollution for
this reason, because it is in use. 3. And when she sits on the
cushion so that she shall have both the carpet and cushion in
use, the bed-chamber is polluted by itself; and when all three
shall be in use there is no pollution whatever.
- Just as she knows that it is menstruation, in the place she
is in for the purpose, first the necklace, then the ear-rings,
then the head-fillet (chambar), and then the outer garments (jamak)
are to be put off by her. 5. When in the place she remains in
for the purpose, even though she may remain a very long time for
that purpose, yet then the outer garments are clean, and there
is no need of leather covering and leather shoes.
- When she knows for certain (aevar) that it is menstruation,
until the complete changing (guhari-dano) of all her garments,
and she shall have sat down in the place for menstruation, a prayer
is to be retained inwardly. 7. When worship is celebrated a prayer
is to be retained inwardly, and should menstruation occur the
prayer is to be spoken out by her. 8. When in speaking out the
prayer should menstruation occur, both afterwards, when the time
was certain (aviguman), and now she is certain. 9. When she retains
a prayer inwardly, and a call of nature arises, there is no need
for her to speak out the prayer, for the formula for the call
is to be spoken by her.
- Hands sprinkled in ceremonial ablution (padiyav), when a menstruous
woman sees them, become quite unclean (apadiyav) by her look,
and even when she looks hastily, and does not see the sacred twigs
(barsom), it is the same. 11. And on the subject of a house (khanak-I
baba), when a menstruous woman is above in it, and the sacred
twigs stand right below, if even fully fifteen steps below, even
then the sacred twigs are unclean (apadiyav); but when not right
below fifteen steps are plenty.
- Prepared food which is within three steps of a menstruous
woman is polluted by her, and food which she delivers up (bara
pardazed) from her morning meal (chasht) is not fit for the evening
meal (sham), nor that which she delivers up from her evening meal
for the morning meal; it is not fit even for the same woman; and
water which is within three steps of her, when they shall put
it into a pail (dubal) or ablution-vessel (padiyavdan), and shall
do it without handling (ayadman), is fit for the hands in ceremonial
ablution. 13. When she touches the bedding and garments of any
one, Soshyans said that so much space is to be washed with bull's
urine (gomez) and water; her bedding which touches the bedding
of any one does not make it polluted.
- A menstruous woman who becomes clean in three nights is not
to be washed till the fifth day; from the fifth day onwards to
the ninth day, when- ever she becomes clean, she is to sit down
in cleanliness one day for the sake of her depletion (tihik),
and then she is fit for washing; and after nine nights the depletion
is no matter.
- A woman who has brought forth or miscarried (nasa), during
forty days sees whenever she is polluted; but when she knows for
certain that she is free from menstruation she is, thereupon,
to be associated with meanwhile (vadas), from the forty days onward;
but when she knows for certain that there is something of it,
she is to be considered meanwhile as menstruous.
- A menstruous woman when she has sat one month as menstruous,
and becomes clean on the thirtieth day, when at the very same
time she became quite clean she also becomes again menstruous,
her depletion (tihik) is from its beginning, and till the fifth
day washing is not allowable. 17. And when she is washed from
the menstruation, and has sat three days in cleanliness, and again
becomes menstruous as from the beginning, four days are to be
watched through by her, and the fifth day is for washing. 18.
When she has become free from the second menstruation she is not
in cleanliness for nine days and nights, -- these days and nights
are for watching, -- and then she is to be washed; when the nine
days and nights are completed, on the same day washing is good.
- Of leucorrhoea (chiharak), when it has quite changed color,
that which comes on before and also that which is after menstruation,
the pollution is just like that of menstruation.
- When she has become so completely clean from menstruation
that her washing may be as usual (dastobarag hae), she does not
make the sacred twigs (barsom), nor even other things, polluted
when beyond three steps.
- On account of severe cold it is allowable for her to sit out
towards the fire; and while she washes a prayer (vaj) is to be
taken inwardly by her, and the washing of her hands, except with
bull's urine (gomez), is not proper till then; and when they are
washed by her, two hundred noxious creatures are to be destroyed
by her as atonement for sin.
- A woman who goes beyond the period of menstruation, and, afterwards,
sees she is polluted, when her pregnancy is certain -- except
when her miscarriage (nasa yehevuntano) is evident -- is then
to be washed with bull's urine and water; when her pregnancy is
not certain she is to be considered as menstruous. 23. Some say,
moreover, that when miscarriage is certainly manifest she is,
meanwhile, to be considered as menstruous. 24. Some say that when
she is doubtful about the miscarriage she is to be washed with
- And for any one who comes in contact with a menstruous woman,
or with the person whom it is necessary to wash with water and
bull's urine, it is the root of a sin of sixty stirs. 26. And
for whomever knowingly has sexual intercourse with a menstruous
woman it is the root of a sin of fifteen Tanapuhrs and sixty stirs.
- Of a menstruous woman who sees a fire the sin is one Farman,
and when she goes within three steps it is one tanapuhr, and when
she puts a hand on the fire itself it is a sin of fifteen Tanapuhrs;
and in like manner as to the ashes and water goblet. 28. When
she looks at water it is a sin of one Farman; when she sits in
water it is a sin of fifteen Tanapuhrs; and when through disobedience
she walks out in the rain every single drop is a sin of fifteen
Tanapuhrs for her. 29. And the sun and other luminaries are not
to be looked at by her, and animals and plants are not to be looked
at by her, and conversation with a righteous man is not to be
held by her; for a fiend so violent is that fiend of menstruation,
that, where another fiend does not smite anything with a look
(akhsh), it smites with a look.
- As to a house in which is a menstruous woman, the fire of
that house is not to be kindled; food which is delivered up from
before a menstruous woman is not proper. for the same woman. 31.
A tray-cloth (khvano jamak) which stands before her, when it is
not in contact with her, is not polluted; a table napkin (patashkhur)
when apart from her thigh, and contact does not occur, is proper.
- When one wishes to consecrate the sacred cakes (dron), when
one holds up the sacred twigs (barsom) from the twig-stand (barsom-dan),
and menstruation occurs, and just as it came to one's knowledge
one puts down the sacred twigs and goes out, the sacred twigs
are not polluted.
- And during her menstruation she is to be so seated that, from
her body, there are fifteen steps of three feet to water, fifteen
steps to fire, fifteen steps to the sacred twigs, and three steps
to a righteous man. 34. And her food is to be carried forth in
iron or leaden vessels; and the person (valman) who shall carry
forth the food stands at three steps away from her. 35. When worship
is celebrated, every time at the dedication (shnumane) of the
consecration of sacred cakes (dron yasht) it is to be uttered
aloud by her; some say the Itha and Ashem-vohu.
- A sacred thread-girdle (kusti), should it be made of silk
(parvand), is not proper; the hair (pashm) of a hairy goat and
a hairy camel is proper, and from other hairy creatures (muyino)
it is proper among the lowly (nakhezhik). 2. The least fullness
necessary for it is exactly three finger-breadths; when it is
exactly three finger-breadths altogether from one side, and when
the rest is cut off, it is proper. 3. When one retains the prayer
inwardly [that is, begun the baj] and has tied his girdle, and
ties it anew once again, he will untie that which he has tied,
and it is not proper.
- Cloth of thick silk brocade (dipako) and figured silk (parnikano)
is not good for girdling; and cloth of hide when the hair is stripped
from it, of wool, of hair, of cotton, of dyed silk, and of wood
is proper for shirting (shapikih). 5. Four finger-breadths of
shirt is the measure of its width away from each side, from the
neck to the skirt (parik); and as to the length before and behind,
as much as is proper to cover up is good. 6. So much length and
breadth, when it is double or thickened, are not proper; when
on the separation (durmanak) of the two folds one remains clothed
on one side, both when he wears the girdle (kusti), and when he
does not wear the girdle, even then it is not undress (vishadakih).
- When a skirt of one fold is put on, and the skirt has concealed
both sides, the girdle is tied over it, and it is proper. 8. When
two shirts are put on, and they shall tie the girdle over that
which is above, then it is for him a root of the sin owing to
running about uncovered.
- By a man and woman, until fifteen years of age, there is no
committal of the sin of running about uncovered; and the sin of
unseasonable chatter arises after fifteen years of age. 10. The
sin of running about uncovered, as far as three steps, is a Farman
each step; at the fourth step is a Tanapuhr sin.
- A girdle to which there is no fringe is proper; and when they
shall tie a woman's ringlet (gurs) it is not proper.
- Walking with one boot as far as four steps is a Tanapuhr sin,
when with one movement; and after the fourth step as much as one
shall walk is a Tanapuhr; and when he sits down and walks on the
sin is the same that it would be from his starting-point (bunih);
and there were some who said it is a Tanapuhr for each league
- At night, when they lie down, the shirt and girdle are to
be worn, for they are more protecting for the body, and good for
the soul. 14. When they lie down with the shirt and girdle, before
sleep one shall utter one Ashem-vohu, and with every coming and
going of the breath (vayo) is a good work of three Srosho-charanams;
and if in that sleep decease occurs, his renunciation of sin is
- Of unseasonable chatter, that of children of five years of
age has no root; and from five years till seven years, when one
is under the tuition of his father and innocent, it has no root
in him, and when sinful it has root in the father. 2. And from
eight years till they are man and woman of fifteen years, if even
one is innocent during the performance of the ritual (yashto),
but is able to say its Itha and Ashem-vohu,
and does not say them, it is the root of unseasonable chatter
for him; and when he is able to perform his ritual by heart (narm),
and says only the Itha and Ashem-vohu, some
have said that such is as when his ritual is not performed and
there is no offering (yastofrid), and some have said that it is
not unseasonable chatter.
- Unseasonable chatter may occur at every ceremonial (yazishno);
for him who has performed the ritual it is a Tanapuhr sin; for
him who has not performed the ritual it is less, some have said
three Srosho-charanams. 4. The measure of unseasonable chatter
is a Tanapuhr sin; this is where every ceremony, or every morsel,
or every drop of urine is not completed. 5. Of the unseasonable
chatter of him who has not performed the ritual Afarg said this
degree is slighter; Medok-mah said both are alike, and he spoke
further of this, since for him who has not performed the ritual,
and does not attend to saying its Itha and Ashem-vohu,
it is more severe than for him who has performed the ritual, and
does not attend to consecrating its sacred, cake (dron). 6. Medok-mah
said that it (the ceremonial) does not become getig-kharid; Afarg
said that it amounts to an offering (yastofrid) for every one,
except for that person who knows the ritual by heart, and through
sinfulness will not perform it; and it becomes his at the time
when, during his life and by his command, it is recited with this
intention, namely: 'I wish to do it, my faith (astobanih) is in
- The deaf and dumb when it is not possible for him to say an
Ashem does not commit unseasonable chatter; and when
it is possible for him to say an Ashem he shall three
times say of it, 'Ashem, ashem, ashem;' and if it be
possible for him to say 'itha' and 'ashem-vohu'
it is well, and when it is only possible for him to say 'itha'
it matters not.
- The deaf and dumb and helpless (armesht), though of unblemished
conduct and proper disposition, is incapable of doing good works,
and from the time when he is born till the time when he shall
die, all the duty and good works which they may perform in the
world become his property (nafshman) as much as his even by whom
they are performed; some say that it is thus: as much as they
belong to Zartosht. 2. Though he does not do the good works not
really originating with (ahambunich) him, and does not commit
the sin not really originating with him, it is better than though
he were able to do the good works not really originating with
him, and should not do them; but should commit the sin not really
originating with him; when, afterwards, he passes away, and then
also comes to his account as to sin and good works, when the good
works not really originating with him are more he is in heaven
(vahisht), when the sin not really originating with him is more
he is in hell, and when both are equal he is among the ever-stationary
(hamistagan). 3. When the good works are three Srosho-charanams
more than the sins he is in heaven (vahisht), when the good works
are one Tanapuhr more he attains to the best existence (pahlum
ahvan), when his ceremony (yasht) is performed. 4. Soshyans said
that to come into that best existence it is not necessary to perform
the ceremony, for when his good works are one Tanapuhr more than
the sin he attains to the best existence, and no account is taken
of performing his ceremony; because in the heavenly existence
(garodmanikih) it is not necessary to perform a ceremony, for
an excess of good works must attain garothman. 5. As Soshyans
said, in heaven (vahisht) he who is below is elevated to him who
is above; and it says thus: 'Happy indeed art thou, O man! who
art in any way near unto that imperishable existence.'
- Kushtano-bujed said that an infidel (akdino) [that is, one
of another religion; not an apostate, nor an atheist], when his
good works are one Tanapuhr more than his sin, is saved from hell.
- Of a pure law (dad) are we of the good religion, and we are
of the primitive faith; of a mixed law are those of the Sinik
congregation; of a vile law are the Zandik, the Christian (Tarsak),
the Jew (Yahud), and others of this sort (sano).
- The morning sun it is necessary to reverence (yashtano) till
midday, and that of midday it is necessary to reverence till the
afternoon time, and that of the afternoon time it is necessary
to reverence till night; whenever one is quite prepared for activity
(khveshkarih), and shall then do reverence, it is proper. 2. And
when anything of that happens which indicates when it is not proper
to wash the hands, and about this he considers that when he does
not reverence the sun it will stop, at the time previous to that
in which it occurs the sun is to be fully reverenced by him, and,
afterwards, when his hands are washed, it is to be reverenced
again; and when he does not reverence it, except when innocent
through not reverencing it, then it becomes irreverence (la yasht)
of the sun for him.
- As to the sun it is better when one reverences it every time
at the proper period (pavan gas-i nafshman); when he does not
reverence it for once it is a sin of thirty stirs. 4. Reverencing
the sun is every time a good work of one Tanapuhr; and so of the
moon and fire in like manner. 5. When on account of cloudiness
the sun is not visible (pedak), and one shall reverence it, it
- And while one does not reverence the sun, the good works which
they do that day are not their own; some say that of the good
works which they do within the law (dad) of the good religion
he has no share. 7. While they do not wash dirty hands any good
work which they do is not their own, for while one does not utterly
destroy corruption (nasa) there is no coming of the angels to
his body, and when there is no coming of the angels to his body
he has no steadfastness in the religion, and when he has no steadfastness
in the religion no good work whatever reaches unto him.
- When one wishes to perform the propitiation (shnuman) of fire,
it is allowable to perform one 'athro' by itself, and,
when two and the 'mat vispaeibyo aterebyo,' these three
are thus the propitiation everywhere; some say that it would be
proper to perform it while allowable, except that of the heterodox.
- Whoever shall extinguish a fire, by him ten fires are to be
gathered together, by him ten punishments are to be endured, by
him ten ants are to be destroyed, and by him holy-water (zohr)
is to be presented to the sacred fire (Atash-i Warharan).
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