Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives Contents Prev Fargard 6 Next Avestan Glossary

AVESTA: VENDIDAD (English): Fargard 6. Purity Laws.

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

Translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, New York, The Christian Literature Company, 1898.)

Compare this chapter with the ancient description given of it in the Denkard, Book 8, Chapter 44.

I (1-9). How long the earth remains unclean, when defiled by the dead.

II (10-25). Penalties for defiling the ground with dead matter.

III (26-41). Purification of the different sorts of water, when defiled by the dead.

IV (42-43). Purification of the Haoma.

V (44-51). The place for corpses; the Dakhmas.


FARGARD 6. Purity laws

I.

1. How long shall the piece of ground he fallow whereon dogs or men have died? Ahura Mazda answered: 'A year long shall the piece of ground he fallow whereon dogs or men have died, O holy Zarathustra!

Notes:
2. 'A year long shall no worshipper of Mazda sow or water that piece of ground whereon dogs or men have died; he may sow as he likes the rest of the ground; he may water it as he likes1. 1. Cf. Vd7.45 seq.
3. 'If within the year they shall sow or water the piece of ground whereon dogs or men have died, they are guilty of the sin of "burying the dead" towards the water, towards the earth, and towards the plants2.' 2. 'To the water which they pour out, to the earth which they plough. to the plants which they sow' (Comm.)
4. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If worshippers of Mazda shall sow or water, within the year, the piece of ground whereon dogs or men have died, what is the penalty that they shall pay?
5. Ahura Mazda answered: 'They are Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, two hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana3.' 3. 'If they plough and sow it, one tanapuhr (see Introd. V, 19); if they pour water on it, one tanapuhr; if they plough, sow, and water it, two tanapuhrs' (Comm.)
6. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If worshippers of Mazda want to till that piece of ground again4, to water it, to sow it, and to plough it, what shall they do? 4. Even when a year's space is past, the ground is not free ipso facto.
7. Ahura Mazda answered: 'They shall look on the ground for any bones, hair, dung, urine, or blood that may be there.'

8. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If they shall not look on the ground for any bones, hair, dung, urine, or blood that may be there, what is the penalty that they shall pay?

9. Ahura Mazda answered: 'They are Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, two hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

II.

10. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top joint of the little finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

11. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Thirty stripes with the Aspahe-astra, thirty stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

12. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top joint of the fore-finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

13. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Fifty stripes with the Aspahe-astra, fifty stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

14. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top joint of the middle finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

15. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Seventy stripes with the Aspahe-astra, seventy stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

16. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as a finger or as a rib, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

17. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Ninety stripes with the Aspahe-astra, ninety stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

18. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as two fingers or as two ribs, and if grease or marrow flow from it on the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

19. Ahura Mazda answered: 'He is Peshotanu: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-ashtra, two hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

20. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as an arm-bone or as a thigh-bone, and if grease or marrow flow from it on the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

21. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Four hundred stripes with the Aspahe-ashtra, four hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

22. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as a man's skull, and if grease or marrow flow from it on the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

23. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Six hundred stripes with the Aspahe-ashtra, six hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

24. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on the ground the whole body of a dead dog, or of a dead man, and if grease or marrow flow from it on the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

25. Ahura Mazda answered: 'A thousand stripes with the Aspahe-ashtra, a thousand stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

III.

26. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a worshipper of Mazda, walking, or running, or riding, or driving, come upon a corpse in a stream of running water, what shall he do?

27. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Taking off his shoes, putting off his clothes, while the others wait5, O Zarathushtra! he shall enter the river, and take the dead out of the water; he shall go down into the water ankle-deep, knee-deep, waist-deep, or a man's full depth, till he can reach the dead body6.' 5. Ready to help him in case of need.

6. 'If he is able to draw out the corpse and does so, it is a pious deed worth a tanapuhr (that is, one by which a tanapuhr sin can be cancelled); if he is able to draw it out and does not do so, it is a tanapuhr sin. Gugoshasp says, It is a margarzan sin (a capital crime)' (Comm.)

28. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If, however, the body be already falling to pieces and rotting, what shall the worshipper of Mazda do?

29. Ahura Mazda answered: 'He shall draw out of the water as much of the corpse as he can grasp with both hands, and he shall lay it down on the dry ground; no sin attaches to him for any bone, hair, grease, dung, urine, or blood that may drop back into the water.'

30. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water in a pond does the Druj Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and pollution?

31. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Six steps on each of the four sides. As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the pond, and lay it down on the dry ground.

32. 'And of the water they shall draw off the half, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth part, according as they are able or not; and after the corpse has been taken out and the water has been drawn off, the rest of the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before.'

33. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water in a well does the Druj Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and pollution?

34. Ahura Mazda answered: 'As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the well, and lay it down on the dry ground.

35. 'And of the water in the well they shall draw off the half, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth part, according as they are able or not; and after the corpse has been taken out and the water has been drawn off, the rest of the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before.'

36. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of a sheet of snow or hail does the Druj Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and pollution?

37. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Three steps7 on each of the four sides. As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the pond, and lay it down on the dry ground. 7. Nine feet on the four sides.
38. 'After the corpse has been taken out, and the snow or the hail has melted, the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before.'

39. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water of a running stream does the Druj Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and pollution?

40. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Three steps down the stream, nine steps up the stream, six steps across. As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the pond, and lay it down on the dry ground.

41. 'After the corpse has been taken out and the stream has flowed three times8, the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before.' 8. Three times the measure up the stream (that is nine feet).

IV.

42. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Can the Haoma that has been touched with Nasu from a dead dog, or from a dead man, be made clean again?

43. Ahura Mazda answered: 'It can, O holy Zarathushtra! If it has been prepared for the sacrifice9, there is to it no corruption, no death, no touch of any Nasu10. If it has not been prepared for the sacrifice, [the stem] is defiled the length of four fingers11: it12 shall be laid down on13 the ground, in the middle of the house, for a year long. When the year is passed, the faithful may drink of its juice at their pleasure, as before.' 9. Pounded and strained.

10. Because the Haoma is the plant of life; when strained for the sacrifice, it is the king of healing plants (Bund. 24); the dead shall become immortal by tasting of the white Haoma (ibid. Bund. 31).

11. Four fingers from the point touched by the Nasau. That part of the stem shall be cut off (Framji): the rest can be made clean.

12. What is left of the stem.

V.

44. O Maker of the material world, thou holy One! Whither shall we bring, where shall we lay the bodies of the dead13, O Ahura Mazda? 13. In places where there are no Dakhmas; for instance, in the country.

45. Ahura Mazda answered: 'On the highest summits14, where they know there are always corpse-eating dogs and corpse-eating birds, O holy Zarathushtra!

14. 'On the top of a mountain' (Comm.) Cf. Vd8.10.

46. 'There shall the worshippers of Mazda fasten the corpse, by the feet and by the hair, with iron,14b stones, or clay, lest the corpse-eating dogs and the corpse-eating birds shall go and carry the bones to the water and to the trees.

14b. Dar: brass. -JHP

47. 'If they shall not fasten the corpse, so that the corpse-eating dogs and the corpse-eating birds may go and carry the bones to the water and to the trees, what is the penalty that they shall pay?'

48. Ahura Mazda answered: 'They shall be Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-ashtra, two hundred stripes with the Sraosho-charana.'

49. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Whither shall we bring, where shall we lay the bones15 of the dead, O Ahura Mazda?

15. When the flesh has been stripped off the bones, thay may be. collected in a stone ossuary. See following note.

50. Ahura Mazda answered: 'The worshippers of Mazda shall make a receptacle16 out of the reach of the dog, of the fox, and of the wolf, and wherein rain-water cannot stay.

16. "When the corpse-eating birds have eaten the fat, that fat which, when it is not possible to eat it, becomes rotten, offensive, and fraught with noxious creatures, then men shall properly convey the bones away to the bonne-receptacle (astôdân), which one is to elevate so from the ground, and over which a roof so stands, that in no way does the rain fall upon the dead matter, nor the water reach up to it therein, nor are the dog and fox able to go to it, and for the sake of light coming to it a hole is made therein" (Dadistan 18.3; tr. West).
51. 'They shall make it, if they can afford it, with stones, plaster, or earth17; if they cannot afford it, they shall lay down the dead man on the ground, on his carpet and his pillow, clothed with the light of heaven, and beholding the sun18.' 17. Such stone ossuaries have been found at Bushir, by Mr. Malcolm; earth ossuaries, found at Susa, were brought to the Louvre by M. Dieulafoy.

18. The dead must see the sun: that is why the astodan has holes for letting the light in (see note 16 above).



Avesta -- Zoroastrian Archives Contents Prev Fargard 6 Next Avestan Glossary