Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives Contents Prev vd18sbe Next Avestan Glossary

AVESTA: VENDIDAD (English): Fargard 18.

This digital edition copyright © 1995 by Joseph H. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Translated by James Darmesteter, from Sacred Books of the East, American edition, volume 3, New York, 1898.

I (1-13). On the unworthy priest and enticers to heresy.

II (14-29). The holiness of the cock, the bird of Sraosha, who awakes the world for prayer and for the protection of Atar.

III (30-59). On the four sins, that make the Druj pregnant with a brood of fiends.

IV (60-65). On the evil caused by the Jahi (the prostitute).

V (66-76). How intercourse with a Dashtân woman is to be atoned for.


FARGARD 18.

I.

Notes:
1. 'There is many a one, O holy Zarathushtra!' said Ahura Mazda, 'Who wears a wrong Paitidana1, and who has not girded his loins with the Religion2; When such a man says, "I am an Athravan," he lies; do not call him an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra!' thus said Ahura Mazda. 1. See above, Vd14.8, note 19.

2. The word translated girded is the word used of the Kusti, the sacred girdle which the Parsi must never part with (see § 54); the full meaning, therefore, is, 'girded with the law as with a Kusti' (cf. Yasna 9.26 [81]), that is to say, 'never forsaking the law,' or, as the Commentary expresses it, 'one whose thought is all on the law' (cf. § 5).

2. 'He holds a wrong Khrafstraghna3 in his hand and he has not girded his loins with the Religion; when he says, "I am an Athravan," he lies; do not call him an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra! thus said Ahura Mazda. 3. See above, Vd14.8, note 20.
3. 'He holds a wrong twig4 in his hand and he has not girded his loins with the Religion; when he says, "I am an Athravan," he lies; do not call him an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra!' thus said Ahura Mazda. 4. The bundles of Baresma [barsom -JHP] or the urvaram (see Vd3.1, note 3 and Vd14.8, note 23).
4. 'He wields a wrong Ashtra mairya5 and he has not girded his loins with the Religion; when he says, "I am an Athravan," he lies; do not call him an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra!' thus said Ahura Mazda. 5. The ashtra (Aspahe-ashtra) with which the priest, as a Sraosho-varez, chastises the guilty.
5. 'He who sleeps on throughout the night, neither performing the Yasna nor chanting the hymns, worshipping neither by word nor by deed, neither learning nor teaching, with a longing for (everlasting) life, he lies when he says, "I am an Athravan," do not call him an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra!' thus said Ahura Mazda.
6. 'Him thou shalt call an Athravan, O holy Zarathushtra! who throughout the night sits up and demands of the holy Wisdom6, which makes man free from anxiety, and wide of heart, and easy of conscience at the head of the Chinwad bridge7, and which makes him reach that world, that holy world, that excellent world of Paradise. 6. That is to say, studies the law and learns from those who know it.

7. See Vd19.30. 'It gives him a stout heart, when standing before the Chinwad bridge' (Comm.)

7. '(Therefore) demand of me, thou upright one! of me, who am the Maker, the most beneficent of all beings, the best knowing, the most pleased in answering what is asked of me; demand of me, that thou mayst be the better, that thou mayst be the happier.'

8. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What is it that brings in the unseen power of Death?'

9. Ahura Mazda answered: 'It is the man that teaches a wrong Religion8; it is the man who continues for three springs9 without wearing the sacred girdle10, without chanting the Gathas, without worshipping the Good Waters. 8. [akha daêna, lit. 'bad religion' -JHP] 'The deceiver Ashemaogha' (Comm.); the heretic. See Vd15.2

9. 'For three years' (Comm.)

10. The Kusti, which must he worn by every Parsi, man or woman, from their fifteenth year of age (see below, § 54 seq); it is the badge of the faithful, the girdle by which he is united both with Ohrmazd and with his fellow-believers. He who does not wear it must be refused water and bread by the members of the community; he who wears it becomes a participator in the merit of all the good deeds performed all over the Zarathustrian world (Saddar 10 and Saddar 46). The Kusti consists 'of seventy-two interwoven filaments, and should three times circumvent the waist. ... Each of the threads is equal in value to one of the seventy-two Has of the Yasna; each of the twelve threads in the six lesser cords is equal in value to the dawazdih hamaist...; each of the lesser cords is equal in value to one of the six Gahambars; each of the three circumventions of the loins is equal in value to humat, good thought, hukht, good speech, huaresta, good work; the binding of each of the four knots upon it confers pleasure on each of the four elements, fire, air, water, and the earth' (Edal Daru, apud Wilson, The Parsi Religion Unfolded, p. 163).

Another piece of clothing which every Parsi is enjoined to wear is the Sudre, or sacred shirt, a muslin shirt with short sleeves, that does not reach lower than the hips, with a small pocket at the opening in front of the shirt, the so-called giriban or kissai karfa, 'the pocket for good deeds.' The faithful man must, while putting on his Sudre, look at the giriban and ask himself whether it is full of good deeds.

10. 'And he who should set that man at liberty, when bound in prison11, does no better deed than if he should cut a man's head off his neck12. 11. See Introd. III, 10. Cf. § 12.

12. Doubtful. The Commentary seems to understand the sentence as follows: 'He who should free him from hell would thus perform no less a feat than if he should cut off the head of a man and then make him alive again.'

11. 'For the blessing uttered by a wicked, ungodly Ashemaogha does not go past the mouth (of the blesser); the blessing of two Ashemaoghas13 does not go past the tongue; the blessing of three13 is nothing; the blessing of four13 turns to self-cursing. 13. Perhaps better: 'The second ..., the third ..., the fourth blessing of an Ashemaogha.'
12. 'Whosoever should give to a wicked, ungodly Ashemaogha either some Haoma prepared, or some Myazda consecrated with blessings, does no better deed than if he should lead a thousand horse against the boroughs of the worshippers of Mazda, and should slaughter the men thereof, and drive off the cattle as plunder.

13. 'Demand of me, thou upright one! of me, who am the Maker, the most beneficent of all beings, the best knowing, the most pleased in answering what is asked of me; demand of me, that thou mayst be the better, that thou mayst be the happier.'

II.

14. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'Who is the Sraosha-varez14 of Sraosha? the holy, strong Sraosha, who is Obedience incarnate, a Sovereign with an astounding weapon15.' 14. 'Who is he who sets the world in motion?' (Comm.)

15. Sraosha, Srosh, the Genius of Active Piety. He first tied the Baresma [barsom], sacrificed to Ahura, and sang the Gathas. Thrice in each day and night he descends upon the earth to smite Angra Mainyu and his crew of demons. With his club uplifted he protects the world from the demons of the night, and the dead from the terrors of death and from the assaults of Angra Mainyu and Asto-vidotu [Astwihad]. It is through a sacrifice performed by Ohrmazd, as a Zoti, and Srosh, as a Raspi, that at the end of time Ahriman will be forever vanquished and brought to nought (Yasna 57, Yt11, etc.)

15. Ahura Mazda answered: 'It is the bird named Parodarsh16, which ill-speaking people call Kahrkatas17, O holy Zarathushtra! the bird that lifts up his voice against the mighty Ushah18: 16. 'He who foreshows the coming dawn; the cock.'

17. 'When he is not called so, he is powerful' (Comm.) See Vd13.2, 6.

18. Ushah, the second half of the night, from midnight to the dawn. [Ushahin -JHP]

16. '"Arise, O men! recite the Ashem yad vahistem that smites down the Daevas19. Lo! here is Bushyasta, the long-handed20, coming upon you, who lulls to sleep again the whole living world, as soon as it has awoke: 'Sleep!' [she says,] 'O poor man! the time21 is not yet come.'" 19. The cock is 'the drum of the world.' As crowing in the dawn that dazzles away the fiends, he crows away the demons: 'The cock was created to fight against the fiends and wizards; ... he is with the dog an ally of Srosh against demons' (Bundahishn 19). 'No demon can enter a house in which there is a cock; and, above all, should this bird come to the residence of a demon, and move his tongue to chant the praises of the glorious and exalted Creator, that instant the evil spirit takes to flight' (Mirkhond, History of the Early Kings of Persia, translated by Shea, p. 57; see Saddar 32, and J. Ovington, A Voyage to Suratt, 1696, p.371).

20. The demon of sleep, laziness, procrastination. She lulls back to sleep the world as soon as awaked, and makes the faithful forget in slumber the hour of prayer.

21. 'To perform thy religious duties' (Comm.)

17. '"On the three excellent things be never intent, namely, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds; on the three abominable things be ever intent, namely, bad thoughts, bad words, and bad deeds."

18. 'On the first part of the night, Atar, the son of Ahura Mazda, calls the master of the house for help, saying:

19. '"Up! arise, thou master of the house! put on thy girdle [[kusti]] on thy clothes, wash thy hands, take wood, bring it unto me, and let me burn bright with the clean wood, carried by thy well-washed hands22. Here comes Azi23, made by the Daevas, who consumes me and wants to put me out of the world." 22. The Parsi, as soon as he has risen, must put on the kusti, wash his hands, and put wood on the fire.

23. Âzi, the demon of avidity; he extinguishes the fire, while he devours the wood.

20. 'On the second part of the night, Atar, the son of Ahura Mazda, calls the husbandman for help, saying;

21. '"Up! arise, thou husbandman! Put on thy girdle [[kusti]] on thy clothes, wash thy hands, take wood, bring it unto me, and let me burn bright with the clean wood, carried by thy well-washed hands. Here comes Azi, made by the Daevas, who consumes me and wants to put me out of the world."

22. 'On the third part of the night, Atar, the son of Ahura Mazda, calls the holy Sraosha for help, saying: "Come thou, holy, well-formed Sraosha, [then he brings unto me some clean wood with his well-washed hands24.] Here comes Azi, made by the Daevas, who consumes me and wants to put me out of the world." 24. The text seems to be corrupt: it must probably be emended into 'bring into me...'
23. 'And then the holy Sraosha wakes up the bird named Parodarsh, which ill-speaking people call Kahrkatas, and the bird lifts up his voice against the mighty Ushah:
24. '"Arise, O men! recite the Ashem yad vahistem [Ashem Vohu] and the Naismi daevo25. Lo! here is Bushyasta, the long-handed, coming upon you, who lulls to sleep again the whole living world as soon as it has awoke: 'Sleep!' [she says,] 'O poor man! the time is not yet come.'" 25. The prayer 'Righteousness is the best of all good...' (the Ashem Vohu), and the profession of faith [creed]: 'I scorn the Daevas...' (Yasna 12.1).
25. '"On the three excellent things be never intent, namely, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds; on the three abominable things be ever intent, namely, bad thoughts, bad words, and bad deeds."

26. 'And then bed-fellows address one another: "Rise up, here is the cock calling me up." Whichever of the two first gets up shall first enter Paradise: whichever of the two shall first, with well-washed hands, bring clean wood unto Atar, the son of Ahura Mazda, Atar, well pleased with him and not angry, and fed as it required, will thus bless him:

27. '"May herds of oxen and sons accrue to thee: may thy mind be master of its vow, may thy soul be master of its vow, and mayst thou live on in the joy of thy soul all the nights of thy life."

'This is the blessing which Atar speaks unto him who brings him dry wood, well examined by the light of the day, well cleansed with godly intent.

28. 'And whosoever will kindly and piously present one of the faithful with a pair of these my Parodarsh birds, a male and a female, O Spitama Zarathushtra! it is as though he had given26 a house with a hundred columns, a thousand beams, ten thousand large windows, ten thousand small windows. 26. 'In the day of recompense' (Comm.); he shall he rewarded as though he had given a house, &c.... he shall receive such a house in Paradise.
29. 'And whosoever shall give meat to one of the faithful, as much of it as the body of this Parodarsh bird of mine, I, Ahura Mazda, need not interrogate him twice; he shall directly go to Paradise.'

III.

30. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! Thou then, alone in the material world, dost bear offspring without any male coming unto thee?'

31. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! It is not so, nor do I, alone in the material world, bear offspring without any male coming unto me.

32. 'For there are four males of mine; and they make me conceive progeny as other males make their females conceive by their seed27.' 27. Sin makes the Druj mother of a spontaneous progeny, as the sinner is 'the brood of the Druj' (Yasna 61.10).
33. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! Who is the first of those males of thine?'
34. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! He is the first of my males who, being entreated by one of the faithful, does not give him anything, be it ever so little, of the riches he has treasured up28. 28. See Vd3.34.
35. 'That man makes me conceive progeny as other males make their females conceive by their seed.'

36. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! What is the thing that can undo that?'

37. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! This is the thing that undoes it, namely, when a man unasked, kindly and piously, gives to one of the faithful something, be it ever so little, of the riches he has treasured up.

38. 'He does thereby as thoroughly destroy the fruit of my womb as a four-footed wolf does, who tears the child out of a mother's womb.'

39. The holy Sraosha, letting down his club upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! Who is the second of those males of thine?'

40. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! He is the second of my males who, making water, lets it fall along the upper forepart of his foot.

41. 'That man makes me conceive progeny as other males make their females conceive by their seed.'

42. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! What is the thing that can undo that?'

43. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, wall-formed Sraosha! This is the thing that undoes it, namely, when the man rising up29 and stepping three steps further off, shall say three Ahuna-Vairya30, two humatanam31, three hukhshathrotemam32, and then chant the Ahuna-Vairya33 and offer up one Yenhe hatam34. 29. 'Nec stando mingens ... facile visitur Persa' (Amm. Marc. XXIII, 6); Arda Viraf 24; Menog i Khrad 2.39; Saddar 56. Cf. Manu IV, 47 seq., and Polack, Persien I, 67: 'Von einem in Paris weilenden Perser hinterbrachte man dem König, um seine Emancipation und Abtrünnigkeit vom Gesetz za beweisen, dass er Schweinefleisch esse und stehend die Function verrichte.'

30. See Vd8.19.

31. Yasna 35.2: one of the Bish-amruta (Vd10.4).

32. Yasna 35.5: one of the Thrish-amruta (Vd10.8).

33. Making four Ahunwars in all; see Vd10.12.

34. See Yasna 21.

44. 'He does thereby as thoroughly destroy the fruit of my womb as a four-footed wolf does, 'who tears the child out of a mother's womb.'

45. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! Who is the third of those males of thine?'

46. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! He is the third of my males who during his sleep emits seed.

47. 'That man makes me conceive progeny as other males make their females conceive progeny by their seed.'

48. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! What is the thing that can undo that?'

49. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! this is the thing that undoes it, namely, if the man, when he has risen from sleep, shall say three Ahuna-Vairya, two humatanam, three hukhshathrotemam, and then chant the Ahuna-Vairya and offer up one Yenhe hatam.35 35. See § 43 and notes.
50. 'He does thereby as thoroughly destroy the fruit of my womb as a four-footed wolf does who tears the child out of a mother's womb.'
51. Then he shall speak unto Spenta Armaiti36, saying: 'O Spenta Armaiti, this man do I deliver unto thee37; this man deliver thou back unto me, against the happy day of resurrection; deliver him back as one who knows the Gathas, who knows the Yasna38, and the revealed Law39, a wise and clever man, who is Obedience incarnate. 36. The Genius of the Earth (see Vd2.10).

37. In the same way as she received the seed of the dying Gayomard, from which she let grow, in the shape of a plant, the first human couple, Mashye and Mashyane (Bund. 15.1-2).

38. The Yasna Haptanhaiti.

37. Literally, 'the answers made to the questions (of Zarathushtra).'

52. 'Then thou shalt call his name "Fire-creature, Fire-seed, Fire-offspring, Fire-land," or any name wherein is the word Fire38.' 38. Atar, the Fire, is the ideal father of the son to be born, as Spenta Armaiti, the Earth, is his ideal mother. The fire is considered male (Denkard, apud West, Pahlavi Texts, II, 410) and (as Apam Napat) has made and shaped man (Yt19.52).
53. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj! Who is the fourth of those males of thine?'
54. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! This one is my fourth male who, either man or woman, being more than fifteen years of age, walks without wearing the sacred girdle and the sacred shirt39. 39. The kusti and the sudre; see above, § 9, note 10. It is the sin known as kushâd duvârishnî (Menog i Khrad 2.35; Arda Viraf 25.6).
55. 'At the fourth step40 we Daevas, at once, wither him even to the tongue and the marrow, and he goes thenceforth with power to destroy the world of Righteousness, and he destroys it like the Yatus and the Zandas41.' 40. 'Going three steps without kusti is only a three Sraosho-charana sin; from the fourth step, it is a tanapuhr sin' (Comm.)

41. The Yatu is a sorcerer; the Zanda is an apostle of Ahriman. [i.e. zandiks (heretics) -JHP]

56. The holy Sraosha, letting his club down upon her, asked the Druj: 'O thou wretched, worthless Druj, what is the thing that can undo that?'

57. The Druj demon answered: 'O holy, well-formed Sraosha! There is no means of undoing it;

58. 'When a man or a woman, being more than fifteen years of age, walks without wearing the sacred girdle or the sacred shirt [[kusti and sudre]].

59. 'At the fourth step we Daevas, at once, wither him even to the tongue and the marrow, and he goes thenceforth with power to destroy the world of Righteousness, and he destroys it like the Yatus and the Zandas.'

IV.

60. Demand of me, thou upright one! of me who am the Maker, the most beneficent of all beings, the best knowing, the most pleased in answering what is asked of me; demand of me that thou mayst be the better, that thou mayst be the happier.

61. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'Who grieves thee with the sorest grief? Who pains thee with the sorest pain?'

62. Ahura Mazda answered: 'It is the Jahi42, O Spitama Zarathushtra! who mixes in her the seed of the faithful and the unfaithful, of the worshippers of Mazda and the worshippers of the Daevas, of the wicked and the righteous43. 42. The courtesan, as an incarnation of the female demon Jahi. [i.e. prostitute. Pahlavi equivalent is "jeh" (see Bundahishn 1 and Denkard Book 9, chapter 11) Kanga, in his Avestan Dictionary says that a Jahi is a rake, a libertine, one who leads a licentious life (p. 191) -JHP].

43. '[Whether she gives up her body to the faithful or to the unfaithful], there is no difference; when she has been with three men, she is guilty of death' (Comm.)

63. 'Her look dries up one-third of the mighty floods that run from the mountains, O Zarathushtra; her look withers one-third of the beautiful, golden-hued, growing plants, O Zarathushtra;
64. 'Her look withers one-third of the strength of Spenta Armaiti44; and her touch withers in the faithful one-third of his good thoughts, of his good words, of his good deeds, one-third of his strength, of his victorious power, and of his holiness45. 44. The earth.

45. 'If a Jahi (courtesan) look at running waters, they fall; if at trees, they are stunted; if she converse with a pious man, his intelligence and his holiness are withered by it' (Saddar 67). Cf. Manu IV, 40 seq.

65. 'Verily I say unto thee, O Spitama Zarathushtra! such creatures ought to be killed even more than gliding snakes46, than howling wolves, than the wild she-wolf that falls upon the fold, or than the she-frog that falls upon the waters with her thousandfold brood.' 46. It is written in the law (the Avesta): 'O Zartosht Spitaman! with regard to woman, I say to thee that any woman that has given up her body to two men in one day is sooner to he killed than a wolf, a lion, or a snake: any one who kills such a woman will gain as much merit by it as if he had provided with wood a thousand fire-temples, or destroyed the dens of adders, scorpions, lions, wolves, or snakes' (Old Riv. 59 b).

V.

66. Demand of me, thou upright one! of me who am the Maker, the most beneficent of all beings, the best knowing, the most pleased in answering what is asked of me; demand of me that thou mayst be the better, that thou mayst be the happier.

67-68. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'If a man shall come unto a woman who has the whites or sees blood, and he does so wittingly and knowingly47, and she allows it willfully, wittingly, and knowingly, what is the atonement for it, what is the penalty that he shall pay to atone for the deed they have done?' 47. [i.e. while menstruating -JHP] 'Knowing her state and knowing that it is a sin' (Comm.)
69. Ahura Mazda answered: 'If a man shall come unto a woman who has the whites or sees blood, and he does so wittingly and knowingly, and she allows it willfully, wittingly, and knowingly;
70. 'He shall slay a thousand head of small cattle; he shall godly and piously offer up to the fire48 the entrails49 thereof together with Zaothra-libations50; he shall bring the shoulder bones to the Good Waters51. 48. To the Warharan fire.

49. The omentum (afsman) or epipleon. Catullus, describing the sacrifice of the Magi, has: '... Accepto veneretur carmine divos / Omentum in flamma pingue liquefaciens' (LXXXIX [i.e. Carmen 90]. Strabo XV, 13: tou epiplou ti mikron tiqeasi, wV legousi tineV, epi to pur. 'Ascending six steps they showed me in a Room adjoining to the temple, their Fire which they fed with Wood, and sometimes Burn on it the Fat of the Sheep's Tail.' A Voyage Round the World, Dr. J. F. Gemelli, 1698.

50. The ceremony here described is nearly fallen into desuetude: it is the so-called Zohr-atash (zaothra for the fire), which is for the fire what the Zohr-ab is for the waters.

51. This is the Zohr-ab. According to the Shayest (11.4), when an animal is immolated, the heart is offered to the fire and the shoulder is offered to the waters.

71. 'He shall godly and piously bring unto the fire a thousand loads of soft wood, of Urvasna, Vohu-gaona, Vohu-kereti, Hadha-naepata, or of any sweet-scented plant52. 52. See Vd14.3 seq.
72. 'He shall tie and consecrate a thousand bundles of Baresma; he shall godly and piously offer up to the Good Waters a thousand Zaothra-libations, together with the Haoma and the milk, cleanly prepared and well strained, — cleanly prepared and well strained by a pious man, and mixed with the roots of the tree known as Hadha-naepata53. 53. See Vd14.4, and Vd14.8, n. 23.
73. 'He shall kill a thousand snakes of those that go upon the belly, two thousand of the other kind; he shall kill a thousand land-frogs and two thousand water-frogs; he shall kill a thousand corn-carrying ants and two thousand of the other kind54. 54. See Vd14.5.
74. 'He shall throw thirty bridges over canals; he shall undergo a thousand stripes with the Aspahe-astra, a thousand stripes with the Sraosho-charana55. 55. Five tanapuhrs, that is six thousand dirhems.
75. 'This is the atonement, this is the penalty that he shall pay to atone for the deed that he has done.

76. 'If he shall pay it, he makes himself a viaticum into the world of the holy ones; if he shall not pay it, he makes himself a viaticum into the world of the wicked, into that world, made of darkness, the offspring of darkness, which is Darkness' self56.'

56. See Vd5.62.


Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives Contents Prev vd18sbe Next Avestan Glossary