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THE PERSIAN RIVAYATS

Electronic edition prepared 1998-2000 by Joseph H. Peterson. Copyright © 1998-2000. All rights reserved.

In the 15th & 16th centuries, the Zoroastrians of India had lost much religious knowledge due to their isolation. Therefore, they sent messengers to Iran seeking proper guidance from the priestly authorities who had maintained the orthodox traditions.

The Persian Rivayats are a collection of epistles documenting their correspondence about a wide variety of topics, including marriage, divorce, juddins or darwands (i.e. non-Zoroastrians), ritual, and conversion.

Some of the dates can be identified as follows: around CE 1528 (Kama Bohra), CE 1594 (Kaus Kama), and CE 1570 (Shapur Bharuchi).

Spelling in this text has been normalized to facilitate searches and to conform with other texts in this series. Comments in [] by Joseph H. Peterson.




3. The names of the twenty-one Nasks (Ancient canon of the Avesta), from the Yatha-ahu-vairyo:

 

Bahman Punjyah (tr West):

(G: Gathic/religious, H: Hadha-manthric/scientific, L: Legal)

yatha the Studkar [sudgar] (G)
ahu the Varshtah-manthrah [wahishta-mansr, warsht-mansr] (G)
vairyo the Bagh [bag] (G)
atha the Damdad (H)
ratush the Nadur [nadar] (H)
ashat the Pazun [pazag] (H)
Chit the Ratushtayid [ratushtaiti] (H)
hacha the Barish (H)
vangheus the Kashsrob [kishsrub, kishkisrub] (H)
dazda the Vishtaspad [gushtaspad, wishtasp-sast] (H)
manangho the Dad [washtag] (G)
shyaothananam the Chidrasht [chihrdad] (L)
angheus the Spentah [spenta, spand] (G)
mazdai the Bayan-yasht [bagan yasn] (L)
khshathremcha the Niyadam [nigadum] (L)
ahurai the Duvasarojit [dusrujid, duwasrud] (L)
a the Husparam [husparum] (L)
yim the Sakadam [sagadum] (L)
drigubyo the Jud-dev-dad [jud-dew-dad, vendidad] (L)
dadat the Hadokht of the Dvazdah-hamaspah [hadokht] (G)
vastarem the Yasht [stud-yasn] (G)

4. The contents of the Nasks (tr. West)

Kamah Bahram:

1. [Stud-yasn] The name of the first of these books is Stod-yasht [Yasht, Stud-yasn], and this is a book of thirty-three compilations (zurat), that is, of thirty-three subdivisions (kardah). The sending down of this book was for the description of the Lord and his angels; and he made it an indispensable duty for the whole world that they learn this book by heart, and for this purpose they form an assembly. Of this total of twenty-one Nasks it is one Nask of the Avesta, and in that mode they recite this.
2. [Sudgar] The name of the second is Studgar [Studgar, sudgar], and this is of twenty-two subdivisions, which God, the praiseworthy and exalted, sent down for prayer and virtue, authority and intercession, and giving union to kindred.
3. [Warsht-mansr] The name of the third is Vahisht-manthrah [Wahishta-mansr, Warsht-mansr], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions, which God, the praiseworthy and exalted, sent down for faith and heedfulness in religion. One is reminded, in this book, about the intention and character of Zartosht; also the goodness of the creation, and the good actions before Zartosht; and the narrative of this book extends in this manner up to the resurrection.
4. [Bag] The name of the fourth is Bagh [Bag]; this book is of twenty-one parts (parah) or subdivisions, and its explanation is about whatever is in the religion; also a declaration of God, the praiseworthy and exalted, and of whatever the Lord has made incumbent on mankind as to devotion and heedfulness, as to justice and virtue, and as to good actions, closing the path of Satan to oneself, and approaching the last abode, that is, the other world.
5. [Damdad] The name of the fifth is Dvazdah-hamast [Damdad], and the commentary of this book is for assistance. This book is of thirty-two subdivisions, which God, the praiseworthy and exalted, sent down in remembrance of the beginning of the creatures of the upper world and lower world. Also a description of the whole of them, and of whatever the Most Just, the praiseworthy and exalted, has made mention in the sky and the earth, water, plants, and fire, mankind and quadrupeds, grazing animals and birds, and whatever is created for the advantage: and equipment of them. And like this, moreover, the resurrection, that is, the raising of the dead, their path, assembling, and dispersion, and the nature and circumstances of the resurrection, as to good doers and evildoers, through the gravity of every action which they perform as good or bad.
6. [Nadar] The name of the sixth is Nadar [Nadur, Nadar], and that is of thirty-five compilations which are sent down about the stars and the aspect and life of the sky. Also a description of the constellations, which are auspicious and which inauspicious, the method of these sciences and the operation of each one; whatever they say in sublime words, and whatever remains in this. They separate this from a book whose name in Arabic is Bavaftal and is about the knowledge of the stars; and in Persian the name of that book is Favamijasan, and they have made much more mention of the meaning of that, and of instruction of this kind for the moderns.
7. [Pazag] The name of the seventh is Pajam [Pazun, Pazag], and this is a book of twenty-two subdivisions, which God, the praiseworthy and exalted, sent down about quadrupeds and how it is necessary to render them lawful, which is lawful and which unlawful, and how they slaughter them; which it is and how it is necessary to slaughter it for the sake of a season-festival [Gahambar], and whatever is about a season-festival; how it is necessary to celebrate it, and the person who takes the things; the expense of a season-festival and how much the reward is; how it is necessary to give to the priests, controllers (radan), and high-priests, and to any persons who are without doubts, who in speech, action, and intention are virtuous, and any persons who recite the season-festival liturgy. And everything wise is in this book; and this is incumbent on all people that they learn this, and it is the same for all till the days of the guardian spirits; and every one who possesses knowledge seeks for this, and causes intercession by mankind, for the sake of the worthy, such as clothing for a righteous gift, so that one obtains recompense in the end from heaven; and it is necessary to give this clothing for a righteous gift to relations and the worthy.
8. [Ratushtaiti] The name of the eighth is Ratushtayi [Ratushtayid, Ratushtaiti], and this is of fifty subdivisions, but when, after the time of Alexander, they held an inquiry, they found no more than thirteen subdivisions. And these are about the affairs of the king and obedience, judges and whatever becomes important in holding inquiries, philosophers and devotees; about the edifices of cities, constructed and made magnificent, birds and species of animals, fish and whatever is Ormazd's, the fowls of Ormazd besides the creatures of Ahriman; likewise mountains, rivers, and land, and the like of these.
9. [Barish] The name of the ninth is Barish, and this is a book of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found again no more than twelve subdivisions. And these are about descriptions of kings and judges, and an investigation of their authority and their sufficiency; also the relations of a peasant with peasants, of a king with the kingdom, of judges with a judge, and whatever remains therein. Any actions that are for every nation, how they are ordered, and the option as to their species and nature; also whatever the people know and the advantage that arises therefrom: besides the sins of people, deceit, telling lies, and whatever remains therein.
10. [Kishkisrub] The name of the tenth is Kashkasirah [Kishsrub, Kishkisrub], and this is a book of sixty subdivisions, but after the calamity of Alexander they found again no more than fifteen. Its explanation is about the distinction (fazl) of natural wisdom and knowledge from acquired knowledge, that is, the knowledge born from the mother, and the knowledge and instruction they learn; one learned in purity and truthful speaking, and anything that has brought mankind with virtue out of evil, and with purity out of defilement, and this keeps the doctrine praised and great, and whoever is in the vicinity of a king, and is a peasant, becomes greater in honor and dignity; and, in like manner, any things from which advantage arises for mankind; and, as to those who tell lies, how it occurs in the vicinity of kings and peasants.
11. [Wishtasp-sast] The eleventh is the Vishtasp-shah [Gushtaspad, Wishtasp-sast], and that is of sixty compilations, but after the calamity of Alexander they find again no more than ten subdivisions. It is about Gushtasp's acceptance of the sovereignty, and as to the religion of Zartosht -- who was skillful in reciting the religion, and maintaining it and making it current in the world -- he chose the religion of Zartosht.
12. [Washtag] The name of the twelfth is 'Hasht [Dad, Washtag], and this is of twenty-two subdivisions, which are sent down in six portions (juzu). The first is about knowing the Lord, may he be honored and glorified! and faith on account of Zartosht. The second portion is about the obedience of kings, the truth of the religion, complying with commands and resisting them, and restraining one's hand from bad actions. The third portion is about the promise to benefactors and their recompense, evildoers and punishment, and escaping hell. The fourth portion is about the mansions of the world, agriculture, trimming trees, such as the date tree, and whatever remains thereof; the trouble and power of mankind and quadrupeds therefrom, and the obedience they exercise; they are the people to whom heedfulness is attributed, and whatever remains thereof; and the high-priests perform their duty by the law of the religion. The fifth portion is about the ranks of mankind, and those are four ranks: the first is to maintain the king grandly, and, next, the judges and the learned in religion; the second rank is to keep watch over the cities, and to annihilate the enemy; of the third rank are writers and, secondarily, cultivators and the society of cities; of the fourth rank are the people of trade, artisans, market-dealers, and tax-gatherers, in war they appear excited, and it is requisite to give a tithe to the high-priests and king; they keep on foot the obeisances and good works of which we have spoken, and, when they act thus, they obtain great rewards in the end.
13. [Spand] The name of the thirteenth is Sfend [Spenta, Spand], and that is of sixty subdivisions which are sent down for the information of people who are in want of it, and for the knowledge of those persons who become covetous of virtuous actions, and act after the proceedings of the learned and people of religion, and receive advantage therefrom; also as reminders that there is advantage from the daily practice of them. And this book is our reminder about the accounts of the apostle Zartosht by religious people, and whatever is the allotment of God, the exalted; about the false speaking of the people of the world, and about the goodness of the condition of the people of the world. Also whatever becomes manifest in ten years, about the miracles of Zartosht, by the seven reports that they recite.
14. [Chihrdad] The name of the fourteenth is Jirasht [Chidrasht, Chihrdad], and this is of twenty-two subdivisions sent down for the understanding of the causes of mankind, which have made people manifest in the mother's womb, and afterwards those who come out of the womb, some of whom are apostles, some kings, and some peasants; and whatever remains therein.
15. [Bagan-yasn] The name of the fifteenth is Baghan-yasht [Bayan-yasht, Bagan-yasn], and it is of seventeen subdivisions in praise of the creations of God, the praiseworthy and exalted, and the angels admitted to him; also thanksgiving for his favors, and that which he makes expedient in the religion, augments the thanksgiving for his favor, until one obtains it back in the end; likewise the appearance of the angels, and this is noble. Praise be to the sacred being, the exalted!
16. [Nigadum] The name of the sixteenth is Niyaram [Niyadam, Nigadum], and that is of fifty-four subdivisions, about decrees as to riches, introducing inmates among outsiders, and whatever is made lawful by the exalted Lord; obtaining deliverance from hell, performing service, slavery, and the nature of wayfarers, and every one who performs service and produces remembrance for mankind; whatever is in the thoughts of mankind, and whatever is in the bodies of mankind.
17. [Husparum] The seventeenth is Asparam [Husparam, Husparum], and this is of sixty-four subdivisions which are sent down about rituals, those which are in the book of the people of the religion, and an examination of the people's expense they know of, for the safety and punishment they order in the world until they obtain deliverance in the end; and whatever they do lawfully and do unlawfully they know; also decrees as to inheritances and the limits of faith, about anything which they sow and whatever they grow, and about regulating nativity; whatever one makes incumbent on memory, and whatever one makes incumbent on memoranda prepared; also how it is necessary to produce whatever tokens there are at the time of childbirth.
18. [Duwasrud] The name of the eighteenth is Duvasaroni-jad [Dusrujid, Duwasrud], and it is of sixty-five subdivisions; robbers of human beings and quadrupeds, whatever one makes incumbent that they shall give, and an enumeration of what one makes incumbent on each one of them, owing to theft and terror, obstructing the roads, the dread of the wayfarers, and the disturbance of prisons; and whatever remains therein.
19. [Sagadum] The name of the nineteenth is Askaram [Sakadam, Sagadum], and it is of fifty-two subdivisions, about judges and philosophers, the method of examining decrees, the knowledge of definitions, and an opinion of those in other matters.
20. [Jud-dew-dad, i.e. Vendidad] The name of the twentieth is Vendidad [Jud-dew-dad], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions, for causing the abstinence of mankind from bad actions, from the devil and disgrace, foreign magicians and those who act after their proceedings and become committers of crime; and we are told of their crime among the whole of the goodness and purity, and the whole of the wickedness and defilement, and the explanation of them.
21. [Hadokht] The name of the twenty-first is Hadokht, and this is a book of thirty subdivisions, about the manner of bringing together and the abundance of miracles, also the excellence and connections of them. And the accursed devil goes far from every one who recites this book together with the Yasht, and this person is near to the rank (paigah) of a sacred being, and his sins become pure; also in this book the accursed devil becomes cursed, and God knows it.


Nareman Hoshang:

1. Again, that which is in Pahlavi characters is clear in that manner, that in the Yatha-ahu-vairyo there are twenty-one vocables, that is, twenty-one words, and beneath each word there is an equivalent meaning; it is also, known to the devout that there are twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta.
2. [1. Stud-yasn] The first Nask is of thirty-three subdivisions, that is, it is of thirty-three compilations, and its name is Stod-yasht [Yasht, Stud-yasn], that is, 'producing the praise of the sacred beings;' and the words of the book have come down for the majesty of the sacred beings and angels, and they recite them in that manner; and in the presence of every high-priest of the pure ritual, who rightly understands its Avesta and Zand, as he recites them correctly on three occasions, the angels come down; of this there is no doubt.
3. [2. Sudgar] The name of the second is Istudgar [Studgar, sudgar], and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its statements are for the admonition of the people.
4. [3. Warsht-mansr] The name of the third Nask is Vahisht-manthrah [Wahishta-mansr, Warsht-mansr], and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its purport is to bring confirmation of the religion.
5. [4. Bag] The name of the fourth is Bagh [Bag], and this is of twenty-one subdivisions; its explanation is about heedfulness.
6. [5. Damdad] The name of the fifth is Dvazdah-hamast [Damdad], and it is of thirty-two subdivisions; its explanation is in remembrance of the upper world, and about the lower world.
7. [6. Nadar] The name of the sixth is Nadar [Nadur, Nadar], and that is of thirty-five compilations; its explanation is about the interpretation of the world of the stars, the planets and constellations, and understanding the arrangement of the sky.
8. [7. Pazag] The seventh is the Pajam [Pazun, Pazag]; this Nask is of twenty-two subdivisions, and its explanation is with regard to lawful and unlawful animals, whenever they slaugter them for the sake of solemnizing a season-festival; and, again, whatever is manifold reward and good work; also about the reason of the five days of the guardian spirits, which they call the select, and wherefore they are appointed.
9. [8. Ratushtaiti] The name of the eighth is Ratushtayi [Ratushtayid, Ratushtaiti], and it is of fifty subdivisions, of which, after the time of Alexander, they preserved and found no more than thirteen subdivisions; its explanation is about maintaining devotion, and of obedience to kings, high-priests, and governors.
10. [9. Barish] The name of the ninth is Barish, and this Nask was of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found no more than twelve subdivisions; its explanation is of those who are kings and high-priests, leaders and princes, judges and messengers, what is the nature of the authority of peasants and princes, and what kind of towns they possess.
11. [10. Kishkisrub] The name of the tenth is Kashsrob [Kishsrub, Kishkisrub], and this Nask has been of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found again no more than fifteen subdivisions; its explanation is about the distinction of natural wisdom and knowledge from acquired knowledge; that which makes mankind pure from defilement, and the usage that maintains the proceedings of mankind.
12. [11. Wishtasp-sast] The eleventh is the Nask of Vishtasp-shah [Gushtaspad, Wishtasp-sast], and it has been of sixty subdivisions, but after the time of Alexander they found again no more than ten subdivisions, and their statements are with regard to king Gushtasp making the religion current.
13. [12. Washtag] The name of the twelfth is Hasht [Dad, Washtag], and it is of twenty-two subdivisions; its explanation is about enquiry of wisdom, maintaining devotion in the world, and the punishment for every sin such as they supply it.
14. [13. Spand] The name of the thirteenth is Sfend [Spenta, Spand], and it is of sixty subdivisions; its explanation is of that which they demonstrate as miracles from this Nask, that every requirement comes to pass which every high-priest -- to shall recite this Nask for several days with sevenfold voice, according to that which has been written -- shall solicit for the world.
15. [14. Chihrdad] The name of the fourteenth is Jirasht [Chidrasht, Chihrdad], and this is of twenty-two subdivisions, its explanation is about the creation of the people of mankind in the day of the Eternal, until the last day of the resurrection occurs; their becoming manifest in the mother's womb, and why some die in the womb and some are born, some are kings and some are peasants.
16. [15. Bagan-yasn] The name of the fifteenth is Baghan-yasht [Bayan-yasht, Bagan-yasn], and this is of seventeen subdivisions; its explanation is about the praise of the angels admitted, and, as to the servants of the Most Glorious, at what period they each become manifest, and what duty they perform, till the resurrection.
17. [16. Nigadum] The name of the sixteenth is Niyaram [Niyadam, Nigadum], and this is of fifty-four subdivisions; its explanation is about decrees as to traders, covenants and decisions, that is, awards with regard to the creatures how they act.
18. [17. Husparum] The name of the seventeenth is Asparam [Husparam, Husparum], and this is of sixty-four subdivisions; its explanation in these is well-directed and a good thing; and whatever remains therein.
19. [18. Duwasrud] The eighteenth is the Duvasarojad [Dusrujid, Duwasrud], and it is of sixty-five subdivisions; its explanation is that which is a statement on the subject of Khedyodath, that is, forming a union with each other by relations and those next one another.
20. [19. Sagadum] The name of the nineteenth is Askaram [Sakadam, Sagadum], and it is of fifty-two subdivisions; its explanation is about the occurrence of the production of the renovation of the universe, up to the resurrection and future existence which are the converting of the dead alive, Ahriman and the demons becoming extinct, and the circumstances of those events.
21. [20. Jud-dew-dad, Vendidad] The name of the twentieth is Jud-dev-dad [Jud-dew-dad, Vendidad], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its explanation is of causing the abstinence of mankind from pollution, that is, from defilement, and the assault of evil peculiarly owing to the great; from the sight of a menstruous woman, and the like of these, whenever harm and injury happen to the creation.
22. [21. Hadokht] The name of the twenty-first is Hadokht, and this is a book of thirty subdivisions; its explanation is such that the accursed devil goes far from every one who shall recite this book together with the Yasht, and this person becomes near unto the sacred being, the praiseworthy and exalted, and in such manner as he is near the sacred being in like manner he obtains rank.
23. And the purpose of this being written is so, that it is known to these humble individuals in this manner, that these books are of those tendencies, and it has been written by those devout ones in such manner that 'among us no one is able to read the Pahlavi characters, and the interpretation of these Nasks is in Pahlavi; any one who does not know the Pahlavi characters is high-priest and is not able to demonstrate the miracles of the religion, nor that which was written with regard to the commentary of these Nasks.'

Dastur Barzu Qiyamu-D-Din

1. The reply about the Nasks of the Avesta The Yatha-ahu-vairyo is of twenty-one words, and the Avesta is similarly of twenty-one Nasks.

2. The name of the first Nask is Stod-yasht [Yasht, Stud-yasn], and that book is of thirty-three compiIations, that is, it is of thirty-three subdivisions, and the description of the Lord and the angels is in it.

3. The name of the second Nask is Studgar [sudgar], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its description is about prayer, virtuous authority, and intercession.

4. The third Nask is the Vahisht-manthrah [Wahishta-mansr, Warsht-mansr], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions about faith and heedfulness; and one is reminded [etc., very nearly he same as in II.3]

5. The fourth Nask is the Bagh [Bag], and that is of twenty-one subdivisions; its explanation is about the religion and its intention, and whatever the Lord has made incumbent on mankind as to devotion and heedfulness; also about closing the path of Satan to oneself, and approaching the last abode.

6. The name of the fifth book is Dvazdah-hamast [Damdad], and that is of thirty-two subdivisions in remembrance of the beginning [etc., very nearly the same as in II.5].

7. The name of the sixth Nask is Nadar [Nadur, Nadar], and that is of thirty-five compilations about the stars and the disposition and life of the sky. [etc., very nearly the same as in II.6 to] ... Bavaftal, and in Persian the name of that book is Favamsa`han, that is, instruction arises therefrom for the moderns.

8. The name of the seventh Nask is Pajam [Pazun, Pazag], and that is of twenty-two subdivisions; its description is about quadrupeds and how they are made lawful, which is lawful [&c., as in II.7, to] ... for the sake of a season-festival, and how it is necessary to perform whatever is in a season-festival; the expense of a season-festival [etc., as in II.7, to] ... high-priests, and a description of the clothing for a righteous gift, so that they may obtain recompense in the end from heaven.

9. The eighth Nask is the Ratushtayi [Ratushtayid, Ratushtaiti], and that is of fifty subdivisions; its purport is about the affairs of the king and obedience, cities constructed and made magnificent, birds, animals, and fish, and whatever is Ohrmazd's, besides the creatures of Ahriman; ... [etc. as in II.8].

10. The name of the ninth book is Barish, and that is of sixty subdivisions, and about descriptions of kings and judges, and an investigation of their authority; also the relations of a peasant [etc., as in II.9, to] ... deceit, and telling lies.

11. The name of the tenth book is Kashkaniz [Kishsrub, Kishkisrub], and that is of sixty subdivisions, about the advantage (fazl) of natural wisdom and knowledge as distinguished from acquired knowledge, that is, the knowledge born from the mother, and the knowledge which they learn by instruction; doctrine about purity and truth, and anything [etc., as in II.10, to] ... how it occurs.

12. The name of the eleventh Nask is Vishtasp [Gushtaspad, Wishtasp-sast], and that is of sixty compilations, but after the calamity of Alexander, when they sought them again, they found no more than eight subdivisions, and those are about Gustasp's acceptance ... [etc., as in II.11].

13. The name of the twelfth book is `Hasht, and that is of twenty-two fargards in six portions. The first portion is about knowing the Lord, may he be honored and glorified! and faith in the mission of Zartosht and any duties which are ordered in a book of the religion. The second portion is about the obedience of kings, the truth of the religion, and complying with commands. The third portion is about the promise to benefactors and their recompense, the punishment of evildoers, and escaping from hell. The fourth portion is about the mansions of the world, agriculture and trimming trees, the power of mankind and quadrupeds arisen therefrom, the obedience they exercise, and whatever duty they perform for the high-priests of the religion. The fifth portion [etc., as in II.12, to] ... the obeisances, so that they; obtain great rewards in the end.

14. The name of the thirteenth book is Sfend, and that is of sixty subdivisions, for the information of people who are in want of it, and for their knowledge; also for any persons who become covetous as to virtuous actions, and proceed after the footsteps of the learned and people of religion, and receive advantage therefrom; and as reminders of the celestial sphere that there is advantage from the daily practice of them. Also about the accounts of the evil of mankind, by the apostle Zartosht, about the false speaking ... [etc., as in II.13].

15. The fourteenth Nask is the Jirasht, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions, for the understanding of the causes of mankind ... [etc., as in II.14].

16. The name of the fifteenth book is Baghan-yasht, and that is of seventeen subdivisions, in praise of the Lord, the praiseworthy and exalted, and the admitted angels; also thanksgiving for the favors due to that which he makes expedient in the religion, and the thanksgiving for his favor lasts until one obtains it back in the end; likewise the appearance of the angels, and these are nobles for the praise of the sacred being.

17. The name of the sixteenth book is Niyaram, and that is of fifty-four subdivisions, about decrees as to riches, bringing abroad, and whatever is made lawful; obtaining deliverance from hell, performing service, slavery, and the nature of wayfarers; whatever is in the thoughts of mankind, and whatever is in the bodies of mankind.

18. The name of the seventeenth book is Asparam, and that is of sixty subdivisions about rituals ... [etc., very nearly the same as in II.17].

19. The name of the eighteenth Nask is Duvasrob, and that is of sixty-five subdivisions, about robbers (duvayan?) of human beings ... [etc., very nearly the same as in II.18].

20. The name of the nineteenth Nask is Askaram, and that is of fifty-two fargards ... [etc., very nearly the same as in II.19].

21. The name of the twentieth Nask is Vindad, and that is of twenty-two subdivisions ... [etc., very nearly the same as in II.20]. And as to this book Vindad, which is the twentieth book of the Nasks, out of the twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta, we and you are now using it in the ceremonial, and when, after the calamity of Alexander, they sought for the books again, they found a portion of each Nask, but did not find any Nask in completeness except the Vindad which they found complete.

22. The name of the twenty-first Nask is Hadokht, and that is of thirty subdivisions, about the manner of bringing together and the many miracles, and their excellences and connections; and in this book the accursed devil becomes cursed and becomes annihilated.

23. At present, since the Nasks have not remained perfect in the midst of us, it is not possible to solemnize them, because Alexander the Ruman carried off a rough draft, in Ruman characters, of those of the twenty-one Nasks of the Avesta which were about the stars and medicine, and repeatedly burnt the books of the Avesta, so that the soul of Alexander burns in hell; and after his calamity, every one of the high-priests, in council together, preserved something of the Avesta in his mind, and the aggregate has disclosed the books of the Yasna (yasht), Visperad, Vendidad, Fravash, Khurdah Avesta, Darun, Afrinagan, Chidah Vajarkardan, and Bundahish, which they wrote correctly; as to the remainder (tatammah) which they did not write, it was on this account, that they did not preserve it correctly in their minds. And the expectation, descended from the midst of them in the court of Ohrmazd and the archangels, is thus, that Varjavand, Peshotan, and Ushedar will arrive in haste for the manifestation of the religion, and the goodness of the religion again assumes splendor from a new head; the good and those of the good religion become cheerful and happy, and the bad and wicked become extinct and disappearing. Amen.




[9]

5. Division of the Nasks into three Groups.

MU. I., p. 13, ll. 3-4.

Bahman Punjya, [and Shahpur Bharuchi] — The contents of the 21 Nasks:— First, seven Nasks (pertain) to the religion; seven Nasks (pertain) to medicine; and seven Nasks (pertain) to philosophy and astrology.




[16]

9. Efficacy of the Ashem Vohu Prayer

MU. I., pp. 16-17: H.F. ff. 131-132.

From the Rivayats of Kama Bohra: Chapter 88:--

There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is of as much merit as ten Ashem Vohus recited on other occasions. There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is is of as much merit as of 100 Ashem Vohus recited on other occasions. There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is of as much merit as of 1000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions. There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is of as much merit as of 10,000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions. There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is of as much merit as of 100,000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions. There is a time when they recite one Ashem Vohu and it is of as much merit, preciousness and greatness as the value of this world and whatever is there in this world. Now, as for that one Ashem Vohu whose rank and merit is compared to ten Ashem Vohus, it is what they recite when they wish to eat bread. And as to that one Ashem Vohu which thou recitest after eating bread, it is of as much merit when thou recitest it 100 times on other occasions. And as to that one Ashem Vohu which they recite and (then) go to bed, it is of as much merit as if thou hast recited 1000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions.

As to that one Ashem Vohu which thou recitest and turnest from side to side (in bed), it is of as much merit as if thou hast recited 10,000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions. As to that one Ashem Vohu which is recited at the time when thou wishest to get up from bed, it is of as much merit as if thou recitest 100,000 Ashem Vohus on other occasions. That one Ashem Vohu whose preciousness and greatness and worth is as much as this world and whatever is in it, is that which they recite at the time of the dissolution of life; if he himself is not able to recite it (at that time), it is necessary that friends and companions who may be present give for once an Ashem Vohu into the mouth of that person whose soul departs.

[17]

For, if the Ashem Vohu is recited at that time, then if he be fit for hell, he becomes fit for Hamistagan [purgatory]; if he is fit for Hamistagan, he becomes fit for heaven, and if he be fit for heaven, he becomes fit for Garothman, and if he is fit for Garothman, he becomes fit for the Best Existence; and whatever (the grade) may be, it becomes one step higher and therefore one should be on the look-out for (the performance of) this duty and good work, so that greatness and preciousness may reach the soul, and one should endeavour with all one's might to do this duty so that one's place and rank may be better.1

1. (a) Cf. Hadokht Nask fragment, 1-17.

(b) In one of the Ha's of the Baghan Yasht, i.e. the 20th Ha of the Yasna, the commentary of the Ashem Vohu formula is given, where it is said that this whole formula is the Word of God as is the Ahunwar.

(c) Cf. Shayest Ne-Shayest, ch. 4.13
[18]

Shapur Bharuchi:

[MU. I., p. 18, ll 4-7.]

If one recites an Ashem Vohu with one's own tongue at the time of death, one obtains tthe merit of the whole world, and it reaches that person who recites it at the time of death. If that person is fit for hell, he becomes fit for Hamistagan, i.e., on the recital of one Ashem Vohu, he attains to one step forward (from his alloted place). The merit2 of (the recital of) Ashem Vohu lasts for a day, i.e., it lasts from the time one recites it to the same point of time on the next day; and if a person dies during the day when he had recited the Ashem Vohu, then let it be known that he attains to one step more towards heaven.




2. lit., the dignity.

10. A Commentary on the Ashem Vohu formula.

[MU. I., p. 19, l. 19 to p. 21, ll 1-12.]

Ashem is what men themselves do and teach (other) men to practice. What is Ashem? Ashem is righteousness.

Who utters Ashem? That man utters it who has acquired the way of Spinamino and has left off the path of Ganamino.

Now, what are the ways of Spinamino and the ways of Ganamino? The way of Spinamino is the wish1 Of Ohrmazd and it is the bright and fearless heaven and in like manner (it leads to) more fearless paths. The way of Ganamino is the wish of Ahriman and the demons and it is (full of) strength and gloom and in like manner (it leads to) more stinking (and fearful) ways. It is evident from the pure religion of the Mazdayasnians that a merit (would be acquired) by good deeds, and it is evident from the good Mazdayasnian religion that a sin (would arise) from criminality. In the religion, it is enjoined that every one ought to do what is manifest from the religion. I have said this so that you may understand it, accept it, learn it, and make it current in the world.

1. Or 'work'.

What is Vohu? Vohu is goodness.

Who utters Vohu? That person utters Vohu who is called the pious Zarathushtrotem, and the pious Zarathushtrotem is he who has the Avesta and the Zand by heart,2 and sits down in company of the good and eats with the good and keeps himself afar and preserves separation from the vile so that whatever he utters is (of the merit of) a Yasna and whatever he eats is (of the merit of) a Myazd ceremony.

2. narm: lit. soft, easy.
[19]

What is Vahishtem? It is what is nobler and higher.

Who utters Vahishtem? He utters Vahishtem who possesses these three things -- humata, hukhta, hvarshta, and leaves off these three things -- dushmata, duzhukhta, duzhvarshta.

What are these humata, hukhta, hvarshta, and what are these dushmata, duzhukhta, and duzhvarshta?

Humata is good intention, that whereby they are steadfast on the religion. Hukhta is good speech and it is intercession for the pious. Hvarshta is a good deed, (e.g.) they must keep well and in proper order water and fire and observe precautions for them (so that they may not be polluted) and (should show) perfect humility towards the creatures of Ohrmazd, i.e., he is perfectly humble, who does not do to any one what he does not like to be done to himself.

(What is) dushmat? It is this: Those who are most ignorant of the religion -- who do not rely on it. Duzhukht is this: To cause affliction to those who are pious, to ridicule them, to rob them of their things and strike them. Duzhvarst is unfaithfulness, i.e., they do not take proper precautions for water and fire and do not keep them well so that the whole creation of Ohrmazd is scorned by him i.e., it is afflicted. What is arrogance (or, not submitting to authority)? Not submitting to authority is this that one does unto others what one oneself does not like.

What is Asti? It is lending one's ears to anyone.

Who utters Asti? That person utters asti, who listens to what the good say and counsels for what has his thoughts, words, and deeds set right with the good. Whatever he knows of, he says: 'I do not know it.' Whatever he does, he does well and tells everyone to practice beneficence, charity, and generosity because munificence and charity are the best of all deeds.

What is ushta? Ushta is fearlessness.

[Who utters Ushta? That person utters ushta] who has nothing to fear from his behavious in this world and from bad and wicked men and the vile, and in the other world from Ahriman and the demons and whatever resembles them. [20]

What is ahmâi? Ahmâi is union with men in this world.

Who utters ahmâi? That person utters ahmâi who is devoid of trouble. Being devoid of trouble is this that he who is an inferior contracts friendship3 with the superiors and the chiefs,4 and be contented with what God has given him as daily bread. Whatever he eats and possesses must be done with moderation; and when he disengages himself from the (required) quantity,5 that is, if there is any excess, he should give it to the good and the worthy, so that whatever he utters may be like the Yasna and whatever he eats may be like the Myazd ceremony; and (it would be like) the wealth (acquired) for one's body and for one's soul, because if one keeps away (this wealth) for the body from the body and for the soul, away from the soul, he cannot pass the Chinwad Bridge.

3. F.S.M gives 'labour for' in conformity with the Pah. text.

4. lit., old.

5. Or, moderation.

What is hyad? Hyad is sovereignty.

Who utters hyad? That person utters hyad who sustains the sovereignty of the king for the spread of the religion and acquires wealth for the assistance of the king of the world, who is beneficent in this world and who takes things from men (in the shape of taxes) as much as he wants; moreover, he does not molest his own body, and keeps away from punishment from his soul, and keeps men fearless. This much is permissible for him in the good religion.

What is ashâi? Ashâi is charity.

Who utters ashâi? That person utters ashâi who converses with the generous and radiant Ohrmazd. Generous is he whose house the good often frequent; he serves them and keeps them well as best he can and is charitable. Radiant is he who goes to the good and carries them to his house, folds his arms before them and says, "Drink the nectar with goodness, and live with joy and delight," and they return (home) again with comfort and joy.

What is vahishtâi? Vahishtâi is paradise.

Who utters vahishtâi? He utters vahishtâi who keeps his thoughts, words, and deeds set right with the good and with all the people of the world and observes the religious laws with the permission of the Dasturs. He should not be at variance6 with any and it is necessary that he should be pure and clean.

6. lit., evil minded.
[23]

On the Ashem Vohu.

[From the Rivayat of Maneck Changa]:-

Ashem vohu vahishtem i.e., Righteousness, virtue, and good things. The hoard, i.e., of duties and good works is most excellent and superior. Asti ushtâ asti ushtâ ahmâi hyad ashâi, i.e., it is virtue and virtue is this, that is, it is abstinence (from vide). It is most excellent and superior. Ashem is is that which makes one righteous. What is that which makes one righteous? That which makes one righteous is what one practises oneself and teaches men righteousness.

What is Ashem? Ashem is righteousness.

Who utters Ashem? That person utters Ashem who has acquired the way of Spenamino and has left off the path of Ganamino. Now, what are the ways of Spenamino and what are the ways of Ganamino? The path of Spenamino is the wish of Ohrmazd and it is the bright and fearless heaven and in like manner, (it leads to) more fearless paths. The path of Ganamino is he wish of Ahriman and the demons and it is stench and gloom, and in like manner (it leads to) ways more stinking. It is evident from the pure religion of the Mazdayasnians that a merit (is acquired) by meritorious deeds; and it is evident from the good Mazdayasnian religion that a sin (would accrue) from criminality. In the religion it is enjoined that everyone ought to do what is manifest from the religion. I have said this so that you may understand it, accept it, learn it, and make it current in the world.

A part of the commentary of Ashem Vohu is written (here); let it be known that the rest of it is abbreviated.




11. The Kusti or Sacred Thread Girdle.

Kamdin Shapur:

When Behdins come of age, they should tie on the kusti on the waist, for the kusti is the girdling of the waist for religion, for if they do not tie it on the waist, they will not be regarded as the slaves of Ohrmazd. Moreover, if they proceeded three steps without kusti, there is a farman sin for every step and if they proceed four steps without kusti, it is tanivir which is equivalent [24] to 1200 dirams. But if they keep the kusti on the waist and engage themselves in thinking good thoughts, speaking good words, and doing good deeds, then for every step there will be a merit of of farmân.

Q—When a child attains to 15 years, he should tie on a new kusti and wash his head with the Barashnom (ceremony).1

1. The reason for tying on the kusti is given in Dd. 39. See also Sls. 4:9-10.
[25]

Maneck Changa and Jâsâ:—It is not the way of religion that women tie the kusti (and keep it) on the waist for the least (period). When a woman or a man attains to 14 years, it is necessary for, and incumbent on them, that they should keep the kusti tied on the waist.

MU I, p. 23, ll 3-4 and ll 8-9.

Nariman Hoshang:Q.—A woman keeps the kusti (tied on the waist) at the time of her marriage and after the marriage (ceremony is over), she unties it. (What is the decision about it?)

A.—Keeping it tied on is best; untying it is not proper.2

MU I, p. 23, l. 6.

2. This question throws some light on the Parsee women of some towns of Gujarat. When, as revealed in the question, some women did away with the kusti, and did not know the merit of wearing it—a custom handed down from times immemorial—then about other matters pertaining to religion, their knowledge must have been at the lowest ebb, which can be better imagined than described.
///




31. On Swearing and Perjury.

Kama Bohr:

Q. If a person takes a false oath and wishes that the sin thereof may be uprooted, by what meritorious deed done by him will that sin vanish?

A: If one takes a false oath, the sin thereof will not be uprooted by the doing of any meritorious deed; but if at the time of taking a false oath he has vowed1 that a meritorious act (in compensation for that sin) will be done by him, then that meritorious deed must be necessarily done by him. If he does not do it, he will be liable for (incurring) another sin2; Moreover he should repent of it and ask for an ashô-dâd (i.e., a righteous gift) of it3; from him who is his accuser; then (he should wait and see) what commandement Ohrmazd, the good and propitious, issues (for this sin, in the other world).

1. lit. accepted, i.e., vowed.

2. lit., another sin will sit on him.

3. i.e., he should beseech his accuser to forgive him: as this a Hamimâl sit, it can be only uprooted by the accuser pardoning his fault.

Kama Bohra and Kaus Kama:

Q. If a person takes a false oath with the intention that he may do duties and good works in compensation for that crime or will send money therefore to the Fire-places [Fire-temples] or lay aside money in the bag of righteousness,4 and if he repents of that crime, is the sin uprooted by him or not?

4. (Kissa-i-Kerfa) lit., the bag of righteousness; by this term, the Gireban, i.e., collar with a small bag on the sudre or the sacred shirt is known. It is so called because all the meritorious deeds done in one's lifetime accumulate in this bag and will be of use to one when one's final account is made up in the balance of Rashnu. Cf. Dr. Modi's Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees, p. 183.
[39]

A. If a person takes a false oath with such intention, or takes a false oath without such intention, and thereafter he does many duties and good works, then even that sin will not be removed from his neck5 and those duties and good works will not at all reach his soul. If he has first vowed to do good works on account of his taking a false oath, he should do them so that the sinfulness may not remain on his neck,5 but if he does (these good works), they will not reach his soul. Moreover, when (such) a sin arises, he should perform Patet (i.e. repent of the sin), and if he does not do that sinful act a second time, the Spirit of Patet will dry up that sin so that it may not be on the increase again.

5. So literally, i.e., he is responsible for the sin.

Shapur Bharuchi:

Q. If a person has taken a false oath, what meritorious deed should be done by him so that the sin may be removed by such good deed?

A. It is better that he should repent of it; but it is necessary that he should go to his accuser6 and show repentance and ask his forgiveness and it may be accepted by the will of God.




6. lit., adversary. All Hamimal sins, i.e., sins affecting the accusers (i.e., the injured persons) will be atoned if and when the accusers are satisfied and condone the fault.

62. The Miracle of the fire Adar Burzin Mihr.

Shapur Bharuchi:-- It is so evident that the fire with the censer which Zartosht Spitaman had brought from the court of Ohrmazd is called Adar Burzin Mihr. At the time when the vile and filthy Arjasp killed Lohrasp and intended (to extinguish) the fire, that Adar Burzin Mihr disappeared suddenly by its own power and settled at a place called Sasht-i Vishtaspan. That place is called Dasht-i Vishtaspan and also Dasht-i-Kai Pusht-i Vishtaspan. The body of Sam Kershasp also lies there.1.

1. Cf. Bundahishn, ch 17.





63. Atash Warharan of Navsari.

Nariman Hoshang:-- It is very disquieting that your writing had made it manifest that the Atash Warharan of Navsari had been extinguished. Perhaps, this at least points to the end of the millennium of Ahriman. Again, it is not known whence they have brought this Atash Warharan, or how it has been enthroned. Please condescend to inform us.

64. Out of one Atash Warharan, two cannot be made.

Kamdin Shapur and Bahman Punjya.-- The Fire Warharan cannot be divided into two parts, because it is1 a Margarzan sin.2.

1. HF in one place adds 'according to Religion.'

2. It is not enjoined to make two Atash Warharans from one and establish each separately in separate places.





65. Who can see the sacred Atash Warharan fire?

Bahman Punjya.-- It is said that every person sees Atash Warharan with his own eyes. This is not proper. It is necessary that Dasturs or Ervads who [73] have been initiated Navazud1 should put on the Penom2 and see it with their eyes.3 No other person can see it, because it is not enjoined in the religion.4

1. i.e. who have undergone the Nawar and Martab ceremonies and have thereby been declared full-fledged priests.

2. The mouth veil.

3. i.e. the qualified priests only are allowed to look at the Sanctorum Sanctorum.

4. Nowhere in the Pahlavi writings do we meet with this injunction. In fact even no indirect evidence there anent is forthcoming. Such a decision was given by some Persian [Iranian] priests on the consideration that the consecrated fire -- the quintessence of purity and the son of Ahura Mazda -- was too sacred to be seen with the naked eyes of the sinning creatures of Ahura Mazda. Indeed, this decision from Iran was put into practice and was observed with all solemnity by the Kadmi Atash Warharans here upto a few years ago; but reason prevailing over mere sentiment has now dispensed with this custom unauthorized by religion.





91. The Alburz Mount, Farakh-kart sea, and the three-legged ass.

Shapur Bharuchi:-- Again, Mount Alburz encircles the whole world, and in the same manner also, the sea encircles the whole world. The sea which has been made manifest has been created by the good and propitious Ohrmazd from the side of Mount Alburz and He has made the waters running. From Mount Alburz upto several Farsangs, this water resembles quicksilver and the water flowing through the mountain falls first into hell. This warm water falls into hell for this reason that pollution and impurity are washed off hell by the warm water. Now when the water flows out of hell, it falls into every sea. When the water flows out of hell (it falls into the sea Vourukasha), where the good and propitious Ohrmazd has created a three-legged ass, which is called by the name of Khar-i-talâtâ. [Talâtâ in Pahlavi language is used for three]. And when the water flows out of hell (into the sea Vourukasha) the gaze of the three-legged ass falls on it, and on account of this gaze of his, the waters which have become impure in hell become purer and cooler. The Creator Ohrmazd has given so much purity and magnificence to this ass that if dead matter or impurities of menstruation or bodily refuse or any (other) impurity fall into the sea, all this is seen by the ass and all these impure things become pure through the sight of this Ass.

Again, the water of the sea which every day flows and ebbs twice, falls into hell and purifies the impurities of hell.1

1. Cf. Bundahishn, Ch 19.1-10, and 13.4-10.
[98]

92. The Saokant Mountain.

Bahman, Punjya:-- From the Commentary of Doâ (i.e., Nam-Setayasne). The Creator Ohrmazd the high and exalted has created a mountain called Saokant-gar and in the midst of that mountain He has made a golden channel (reaching) from the earth to the sky and from the orifice of that golden channel, the water goes up to the sky and the wind blows over that water which comes down to the whole earth. This water is called dew.1.

1. See MU. Vol. I: "Commentary of Nam Setayashne:" p. 415, l. 10 (The commentary on the word 'bâd' i.e. wind.)





93. The Hom Tree, the Water of Life, and the Kara Fish.

Shapur Bharuchi:-- The Omniscient Ohrmazd has created the tree Hom for this reason that at the time of resurrection He may give, to all men, the Water of Life with the leaves of Hom, so that all men may become immortal by eating it. It is for this reason that the Water of Life and the Tree of Hom are created.1

1. MU. omits this Rivayat.

Shapur Bharuchi:-- The Creator Ohrmazd has created the Hom tree2 in the midst of the ocean Zareh Varkash and created the Khar fish3 for protecting that tree. This khar-fish is so great as no other fish is greater than it. This fish is like an ass and hence it is called khar mâhi4 (lit., ass-like fish). This fish revolves round the Hom-tree. The filthy Ahriman has produced several thousand noxious creatures5 for the destruction of that Hom-tree, but the noxious creatures cannot pass before that tree on account of the fear for that khar-fish.

2. Called Gaokard-tree in Bd.

3. Bd. = kar-fish.

4. The author here confounds the account given in Pahlavi Bundahishn about kar-fish and the khar or ass which is three-legged.

5. The lizard (vazag), according to Bd.

Secondly, when that khar-fish utters a cry, every Ohrmazdian fish which hears the cry becomes pregnant6 and the other fish which are Ahrimanian and are noxious creatures cast their young on account of the utterance of that cry of the khar-fish. The Creator Ohrmazd has given such magnificance to that fish.7

6. In the Bd., this effect is produced by the khar-i-talâtâ, or the three-legged ass, and not by the kara-fish.

7. Cf. Bd18:1-5 and Bd19.9.





[99]

95. The Birds Amrosh and Chamrosh.

From the Commentary of Doa (i.e. Nam-Setayashne):--

The Creator Ohrmazd has produced on the shores of the sea Vourukasha a tree and two birds who are immortal and without death. Every year a thousand new branches spring up from that tree and all kinds of seeds hang on those branches and all those seeds become ripe. A bird called Amrosh comes and sits on one of the branches and shakes it and scatters down to the ground all the seeds. Another bird called Chamrosh comes and strikes all the seeds with its wings and sides and throws them into the sea. All those seeds go inside1 a cloud full of rain and that cloud rains on the ground and all the seeds appear on the earth.2

1. lit., go into the mouth of.

2. This commentary is given under the word (Satar-i vas) tokhma of Doa Nam-Setayashne. See MU. I, p. 415, ll. 5-9. Cf. also MX62.37-42 and Bd19.15.





96. The Sea-ox Sarsaok.

Shapur Bharuchi:-- The Creator Ohrmazd has, with His power, created a bull in the sea, and a fire is ever burning and blazing on the back of the bull, and every calamity produced by the accursed Ahriman in the sea is removed through the glory of that fire.1

1. MU. omits this Rivayat. This is the ox called Sarsaok in Bd17.4 and Bd19.13 and Sruvo in Zadspram 11.10.





[100]

97. On the sin of walking bare-footed.

Kamdin Shapur:—About walking bare-footed, they should know that when they put their bare feet on the ground, there is a farman sin for every three steps for every one of those steps, and when they take the fourth step, it is a tanapuhr sin. If they walk with one boot on in one leg and with the other foot bare, it is a sin of a like nature. Both man and woman have the same merit and sin in connection therewith. If any member of the body of a menstruous woman touches the ground, it is a greater sin, and Spandarmad Amshaspand trembles.1

MU. I, p. 95, ll 7-9; H.F., f. 263.

1. See Saddar Nasr, Ch. 44, Sls. ch. 4:10 and 12, and Sls. Ch. 10:12.

Bahman Punjya:—If a woman puts her bare feet on the ground, it is a tanapuhr sin withing three steps.

Jasa:—It is not proper for a man or a woman to walk with bare feet and place them on the ground, especially it is a great sin for a menstruous woman.

MU. I, p. 95, ll 15-18 [=MU II, p. 468.]

Shapur Bharuchi:—Walking bare-footed is called Aimûk-davârashni (lit., walking without boots. such a sin is incurred thereby as is a Yasna is offered to the [101] Daevas Tairich and Zairich. A person who gives food to him (i.e., to one walking bare-footed) incurs the same sin.

Again, if a person walks bare-footed, then for one step, the milk of 200 cows, sheep, and camels decreases, and for the second step, the milk of 200 animals decreases, and for the third step, the milk of 300 cows and sheep decreases, and at the fourth step, the milk of all the cows, sheep, and animals on the seven regions of the earth decreases.

Dastur Barzuji:—The reply about walking bare-footed: In any case, it is not allowed to walk bare footed, because it is a great sin. If a herbad performs the Yasna with bare feet, then it is proper that a carpet or a piece of cotton-cloth or a leathern piece is placed (on the ground). It not, it is not allowed.2

MU I, p. 96, ll 1-2 [=MU II, p. 436.]

2. See Vd. 18:40 and 43, Vd. 18:43-44 commentary.







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