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DENKARD (Acts of Religion), Book 3

This digital edition copyright © 1997 by Joseph H. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Edited by Peshotan Dastur Behramjee Sanjana, 1900.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the character of the man whose body is the abode of generosity and of the man whose body is the abode of avarice. (414)

Be it known that the invisible feeling generosity is warm and passionate and that of avarice cold. The source of both is in the conscience of men. The heart and conscience of the generous man are warm and such a heart has the light of the holy fire. It is the warmth of this luster that indicates the presence of this feeling. The generous man is exalted among men.

The heart and conscience which are the abodes of avarice are cold as ice and it is the meanness and the coldness (of the man) which show him to be avaricious. (Such a) man is through his avarice the chief of all avaricious men.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the fact that life-endowed human beings are either praiseworthy or blameworthy in their actions and either accept and follow the good that is in them or the evil that is in them. (415)

Be it known that life-endowed human beings are either good-looking or ill-looking. Because the man of good essentials (i.e. the four that go to make a man's body, fire, wind, water, and earth) is healthy in appearance, the man of bad essentials sickly in appearance. The man of good essentials praises his Creator and feels grateful to Him for his healthy appearance.

The man whose body is sickly because of its bad essentials is ugly in appearance through the man's evil deeds. Good looks are due to health induced by the good essentials (of one's body). Every part of the body performs its normal functions and the enemy full of blemishes cannot affect (such body) for evil. The sickly body induced by the bad essentials (of one's body) has no thought for the Creator, is devoid of good looks and is worthy of the bad essentials which jeopardize (the health) of the body.

Of those who crave for a righteous and those who crave for a sinful life, the man who prefers righteousness through his pure thoughts and understanding has an understanding full of good thoughts. And he who has a perverse intellect full of evil thoughts prefers sin. Of these, the righteous man who follows the lead of the understanding given by Vohuman deserves praise (from men) and good return (i.e. reward) from his Creator. The righteousness induced by good thoughts is due to the grateful understanding which prefers righteousness (to sin).

Again the man, who hankers after the perverse thoughts induced by the sinful and evil-thought power, is the sinful man who guides himself by his perverse intellect of evil thoughts. He is hateful in the sight of his Creator. The righteous man influenced by the good-thought power has an understanding, which prefers righteousness and has nothing to do with the sin induced, by the evil-thought power.,. Hence it is impossible for such a man to have any liking for sinful and perverse thoughts.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the revelation (to the prophet) about the creation of the invisible spirit (in the spiritual world) and sending of that spirit from the spiritual world to this world. (416)

Be it known that the invisible spirit was brought into this world (by God) to embellish the material universe. The spirit or the soul of man is invisible and intangible and its abode in this world is the perishable (human) body. The body is sustained so long as it is united with the invisible spirit. The growth and development of the body is due to the progress it makes through (the presence of) this invisible spirit. The life-endowed creatures of this world are visible and tangible. From (all this) it is apparent that the material body is the abode of the invisible spirit or soul. Again all (the information) that we can gather about the spirit is through its union with the material body. Again the material body grows and develops through its union with the invisible spirit. That the invisible spirit has taken up its abode in the material body is known by (observing) the material body itself. The invisible spirit (when it leaves its tenement of clay) returns to its original abode, the spiritual world. The invisible spirit is one and indivisible but (through its union with the body) it divides itself into two (i.e., the vital power and the soul). Again He who invests the soul with its first halo and glory is God, the Creator. Life in matter is due to the union of the soul with the body. God Himself is known through His investing the invisible spirit with glory (in the spiritual world) and (then) giving it birth in this world. It is known from the scriptures of the good faith that God created the first creation, the invisible spirit, in the spiritual world and then sent it from that spiritual world to this world.

Exposition in the good religion about the power of motion. (417)

Be it known that the power of the invisible spirit is for inducing motion in those that move about. Without the spirit or soul none can move about and work in this world. The continuance of the power of motion in the living body that moves about and works (in this world) is due to the presence in the material body of the life-and-movement-inducing spiritual substance. The growth of the body too is owing to the invisible spirit. Men in this world conduct themselves aright through their moral faculties The life-inducing power (or in other words the invisible spirit) which is the seat of the spiritual substances (the vital power, the conscience, the intellect, the soul and the guarding spirit) makes the body move about and grow. The material body is (refreshed and) strengthened by water and powerful (i.e. good) air. And water and winds (move about) through the strength of the heavenly power (the Yazads and Ameshaspands). The heavenly spirit (i.e. the soul) grows and develops through the inspiration of the Ameshaspands. The material body is strengthened by strengthening the structure of the body through its four essentials (fire, air, water, and earth). The spiritual powers in man (intellect, conscience, soul etc.) in getting strength (for themselves) strengthen the invisible spirit in man.

The priestly class gives religious instruction to the world, the military protects it, the farming nourishes it, and the artisan gives it (facilities for) comfort.

Security for men in this world is through kings. Security for the next is through those who raise men (to a higher moral level) through religion (i.e. the priests).

It is through (worldly) wealth that men improve in health and strength in this world. It is through the power of exalted righteousness that the soul is rendered fit for the spiritual world.

Again, he, who conducts the life that he has obtained in sinful acts and shows (to all that) his life is useless, viciously lessens instead of piously (increasing) the strength (he derives from) his ancestral faith.

Again, when the (same) man is in the pious estimation of the faithful worthy of (all) praise and in the judgment of the world seems fit (only) for curses, the difference (in the estimation of the worldly and the pious) should be understood as due to the influence of the northern stars. The cure for the injury and sting and poison of noxious animals is the (recitation of) the Manthras of the Avesta. And sickness induced by a vicious course of life can be removed by religious ceremonies. It is through the influence of the northern stars that fire, water, and the vegetable creation are harmed and that life-endowed animals live in (and pollute) subterranean mines. All the diseases in the world are from the (malign) northern stars. Health is due to the seven planets because all these seven planets side with the (benign) new, full, and the Vispatas moon. Again, it is noted in the (scriptures of) the faith, that by worshipping God with the (appropriate) religious ceremonies, the Yazads are pleased and the demons distressed. It is by the triumphant ceremonies of the faith that many substances both in the material and the spiritual world are strengthened. The overpowering triumph in this world of the strength of the spirit is only then lessened when the strength (for the performance of) acts for the spiritual world gives way. The resolution, which exalted life-endowed human ,beings have in their heart, for the performance of pious deeds, is due to the strength of inspiration. The exalted strength for public work, exalted success (in) such work, and the religious ceremonies incidental to such work are all due to inspired strength. Just as people visiting towns and countries distant from one another appreciate the strength of the rulers of such countries and obtain knowledge regarding many places like these (i.e. the towns and countries) by observing the rulers (so it is by fixing one's mind and heart on God and the holy Yazads that one can obtain inspiration for pious deeds.)

Exposition in the good religion regarding the indication of (the presence of) Spenamino and Ganamino in this world. (418)

Be it known that the indication of Spenamino in this world is generally the virtuous, pious ruler. This ruler is the exalter of Ohrmazd; he is of pure motives, and of good resolutions; he gives birth to exalted understanding in men (i.e. leads the thoughts of men to the things of the spirit), inculcates the best and most sublime precepts, strengthens men's adherence to their faith and guides the world aright. Through him, men lead a holy life, cities remain without fear (and in security), the subjects enjoy happiness and those who work according to his wishes (i.e. obey him in everything) are hopeful and secure (about their future). And through his deeds, he confers happiness on his soul both in this and in the next world, confers greatness, advantages and strength on his family and on the people of the world and their descendants. He (i.e. the king) like Spenamino is full of glory through the honor in which he is held by the people of the world.

The influence of Ganamino makes itself manifest in this world through the supremacy of the sinful ruler of evil religion. Such a ruler, through his base instincts working against God, is (characterized by) dark sins, destructive intentions and wishes for the infliction of evil. He orders about his subjects according to his wantonly perverse will, weakens (men's) faith in religion, desolates the world through his mean instincts and makes the people lead an evil life full of misery. Every city stands in dread of him and men have to put up with miseries of various sorts through him. In a variety of ways he inflicts harm on those who follow the commandments of God. The hopes of his officers who obey his evil behests are as dead within them (as men) buried in snow and he himself owing to his heart full of malice is doomed to damnation. All his thoughts arc to weaken the sources of prosperity and to increase the strength of those making for harm. And in the end he destroys those who put their trust in him and wish to work for him and (he) strengthens (every) work which is harmful. Such a ruler is, through his defects, like unto Ganamino, to the people of this world.

Exposition in the good religion as to which (of the two years) the solar and the lunar is (connected with) the important ceremonies of the faith. (419)

Be it known that the solar year is of two kinds. Of these (two solar years) one is made up by the addition of days, the other by the addition of hours. The one that is made up by the addition of days consists of twelve months, each month of which is of thirty days. (When to these three hundred and sixty days) the five additional days, required for the course of the sun through the constellations during twelve months, are added the year becomes one of three hundred and sixty-five days. The five days which are over and above (the thirty days) of each month are placed at the end of the last month of the year. These five days are made up by the increase (in time of the solar year over the year of 360 days) and they are fixed after many calculations. According to such calculations these days are named (in the daily prayers recited on the last five days of the year).

Besides the sum-total of three hundred and sixty-five days there are six additional hours (to be taken into consideration). These hours have to be added every year. These additional (six) hours (for every year) make up one day for four years, ten days for forty years, one month for a hundred and twenty years, five months for six hundred years and one year for one thousand, four hundred and forty years. The time of six hours should be kept apart from (i.e. not to be added to) the last days of the year for many years, till (the hours) amount to (a definite period of time).

This additional period (i.e. the intercalary month at the end of every hundred and twenty years) is fixed by calculations. And it (i.e. the intercalary month) is necessary for (the right performance of) Noruz, Mihragan, and other time-honored Jashans. Again the commencement of the year has been fixed by great kings from the first day of the year from the beginning of creation. Hence innumerable men adhere to the Noruz or New Year's day (i.e. observe it as a holiday) and perform good deeds (on the day). And on this glorious day (of the New Year) the people of all countries from the times of the old Peshdadians downwards have been rendered happy and full of joy by their kings. On the occasion of this Jashan, men who work (for their living) hope for rest (i.e. observe it a day of rest) enjoy happiness and find comfort. Again when the solemn time (of the intercalary month) arrives, down-trodden nations derive strength from just kings and innumerable men find happiness and comfort. On that occasion (of the intercalary month) work and labor which wear away (mind and body) become (a good deal) less and by the ceremony fixed from of old (regarding the intercalary month) the state is reformed anew. The good of many things is (closely) united to this period. Weak and diseased men find relief from laborious work and a new gift is conferred on the world. (The calculation of) years, months, and days depends on the course of the starry orbs. From the beginning of the world men have fixed the year (of the intercalary month) by adding up the past years of the (preceding) sovereigns (i.e. the period of one hundred and twenty years which intervened between one intercalary month and another was calculated on the basis of the period of rule of the different sovereigns). During the glorious and immortal period (of the intercalary month) large quantities of food are exchanged among men. According to the precepts of the faith the year (of the intercalary month) should be kept up (every 120 years) and should not be allowed to pass by (without the addition of the intercalary month), Men should not (during the period) harm animals which should be cared for. When the calculated year arrives, the intercalary (month) should be added. And many people (in other parts) of the world should be made to add the intercalary (month).

The additional hours of each year get accumulated in the course of years. Exalted (religious) work (i. e. ceremonies) is fixed (or connected) with the four seasons of the year.1 1. The attention of those who deny that the Jashans and Gahambars ought to fall in their due seasons might with advantage be drawn to this passage.
The spring is the season of the commencement of the year. It is from (the time) when the sun enters the first portion (or degree) of Aries which (degree) is called the Halo of the sky. And its three months are those (during which) the sun travels through the constellations of Aries, Taurus, and Gemini.

The second season of the year is summer which is regarded as the season of light. And it lasts three months from when the sun enters the first degree of the constellation Cancer till it continues its course through the constellations of Cancer, Leo and Virgo. The third season is autumn and it lasts from when the Sun arrives at the first degree of Libra, which (degree) is known as Star, till it (i.e. the sun) completes the (constellations) of Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius.

The fourth that is to say the last season is winter and it lasts from when the sun enters the limit of Capricorn called (in Pahlavi) Dudtora till (the end of) the three months which are for the sun to travel through (the constellations of) Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

Again the proper arrangement of the four seasons of the year (or in other words the due falling in of the four seasons) is connected with the motion of the sun through the constellations. And through the many delays in the course (of the sun, owing to the different periods taken to travel through the different constellations) additional (six) hours are accumulated, (by the proper addition of which) days remain with days, months with months, and years with years (i.e. occur at regular intervals). And from this (i.e. the regular observance of intercalary periods) each season and the festivals connected with each season are known by the (close) connection of the festivals with the seasons and the nature of the seasons. The certainty (which men have) of the (proper time of offering certain) prayers of the faith and (the certainty) of the ripening of corn and the growth of plants is through men taking the intercalary period into calculation. The recognition of the difference between the seasons of summer and winter by warlike kings and the reasoning on the blowing of gales and the commencement of breeze on the sea are fixed on this (intercalary calculation).

The custom of the faith and each work (i.e. ceremony) of the faith are fixed as (religious) duties at (their proper) seasons. Again the period for intercalation is made up by the calculation of many additional periods (of six hours). And by the order of the king, those who work (for the addition of the intercalary period) have done so to make the four seasons fall in at the proper time. And through this (observance of the intercalary month) a religion glorifying sentiment is felt clearly by men and plants.

And it is the admonition of the good faith that the rectification (of the calendar) should not be made till a month is completed (i.e. till the additional six hours every year amount to a month at the end of a hundred and twenty. years).2 And more than a period of five months should not be allowed (to accumulate.) [i.e. failing a rectification of a month at the end of 120 years a rectification of five months must be made at the end of 600 years].3 The details regarding the cause of this limit of 120 and 600 years) are to be found in the chapter on days, months, and years. 2. This confirms the statement of Mohammedan and classical writers that the Parsi year is a solar year, that the additional five days are added at the end of the last month, Spendarmad, and that an intercalary month is added every 120 years.

3. The reason for this restriction will be made apparent by the following. According to the Zoroastrian faith there are two chief seasons in the year Hamin (summer) which lasts from Frawardin the first month to the month of Mihr, in all seven months, and Zamestan (winter) which lasts from the first of the month of Aban to the fifth Gatha Vahishtoisht the last day of the year, in all five months. During Hamin, 12 noon to 3 p.m. is the period of the Rapithwin Gah, and during Zamestan the Hawan Gah continues from early morning to 3 p.m. During the Rapithwin season moreover the place where the corpse is deposited is rendered fit for use at the end of nine, whereas during the Hawan season it is fit for use at the end of thirty days and nights. [Vide Vendidad 5.42]. The limit of intercalary months is therefore fixed at five at the outside to prevent the Hamin from merging into the Zamestan or in other words to keep the Rapithwin period distinct from the Hawan period.

The lunar year is (derived) from the motion of the moon along with the sun. The defect of every lunar month (as compared with a month of 30 days) is ten hours which at the end of a year, when the moon recommences its revolution, amount to 120 hours. The five days of these 120 hours together with the five Gathic days amount to ten days (at the end of a year. i.e. the lunar is ten days short of the year of 365 days).3 And on this calculation the days came to a month at the end of three years and to one intercalary year at the end of thirty-six (lunar) years. This (lunar) year (which makes the festivals fall behind or after their proper time) should not be used for great works (i.e. important ceremonies like Jashans, Gahambars etc.) In the business of the world smaller gifts are to be had in the lunary year.4 And this fact is made known in the chapter (containing) the details of years (dependent on) the law of intercalation. 3. These Gathic days are to be added at the end of the month of Spendarmad Hence during the five Gathic day, whether in our obligatory or voluntary prayers or in the ceremonies of Yajashne [Yasna] or of Baj (consecration of the sacred cake and food) the name of the Spendarmad month is not repeated with the name of the particular Gathic day. The learned Iranian dastur Zartosht Behram author of the Zartosht-namah is of the same opinion, as may he seen from his lines: (Persian quote omitted):--

From this it will he seen that the Parsi family who repeat the name of the last month in their prayers during the five Gathic days are in the wrong.

4. The Gujarati original is rather unintelligible here.

Exposition in the good religion about the Denkard book, one of the scriptures of the faith. (420)

Be it known that the Denkard scripture is made (or written) to make the knowledge of the adorning wisdom of the faith public (to the Mazda-worshippers). The first writing of the work was done by one of the men of the primitive faith, the first disciple of the holy Zartosht, whose Fravashi (i.e. guardian spirit) is worthy of reverence, after questioning and hearing the explanation of that prophet of the worship-worthy Fravashi. Just as from a light-giving center light is diffused everywhere so out of the original Denkard copies were ordered to be made by the glorious king Vishtasp to enlighten the people on the wisdom of the good faith, With the permission of this king the original book was placed in the royal library known as Ganj-i Shaspigan.5 The king ordered other clear (i.e. legible) copies to be made, to be distributed among the people. And lastly he sent one copy to the Dez-i Napesht and ordered that the copy should be (always) kept there. 5. For Dez-Napesht, Ganj-i Shaspigan and Ganj-i Shapigan see the author's Pahlavi Grammar, p.75.
When king Alexander of evil fame came to the country of Iran, the divine faith was (a good deal) harmed. All the writings (preserved in) the Dez-i Napesht were burnt. And other writings (which) were in the Ganj-i Shaspigan passed into the hands of the Arumans. (Alexander) had these translated into Greek. When Artakhshari Papekan was in the ascendant, (acting on) the information obtained during the time of his mending (i.e. restoring to its pristine vigor) the Iranian government, he caused all the scattered writings, which fell in his way and which were referred to by men of the past, to be collected. He ordered the righteous Tosar, religious teacher and leader of the faith, to devote his attention (to the writings) and to complete them after comparing their sense with the Avesta. Accordingly (Dastur Tosar) composed another work of starry clearness after the original glorious work.

And the king ordered it to be kept in the Ganj-i Shapigan and other copies of it to be distributed among the people.

After this owing to the mischief and revolt of kings belonging to the faith itself, that (religious book was scattered) and was obtained from different districts by Adurfarobag bin Farrokh-zad, leader of the people of the good faith and belonging to the family of the saintly Adarbad Mahraspandan. He for the sake of the people of his faith arranged into chapters the work scattered on different sides, after adding new subjects therein. And in order to make the people of the good faith read and understand its exposition made by the men of the Avesta and of the primitive faith, he made luminous copies after the original.

During the times of quarrel of the people of the faith, Zartosht the leader of the good faith, of the family of the possessor of inspired wisdom and understanding, Dastur Atarfarobag, obtained this copy (of Atarfarobag) in odd volumes and scattered condition.

After that I, Adarbad, of the family of Admigan (and) leader of the faithful obtained this book in its weak, old and decayed state. With the help of God and the assistance of the Mazda-worshipping faith I made a new copy of it after laborious and zealous investigation. And whatever of its writing had been lost, eaten up and worn to dust was obtained (by me) once again from those of the good faith. In this fashion after having brought back the book from its (previous) state (wherein it had been) carried away, plundered and robbed, I have composed its sublime matter with the help of the spiritual counsel-giving understanding, after comparison with the Avesta and the writings of the former leaders of the faith. And with the exalted wisdom of the good faith (the book) has been put into chapters according to rule. And from the light of the original copy its halo (i.e. another copy is made.) And from the glory of the halo (i.e. from the second copy) I have made the last and complete copy which is clear as the light of the true dawn. The large sized book of the original Denkard had one thousand chapters; in spite of the subsequent additions (put in to make) those of the good faith understand (the subject-matter), "Denkard" is still retained as the name of the book.

With the help of God every reliable writing (which may be) sent by any one or obtained (by me) should assuredly be added to this (book). The exalted faithful, who in their time obtain in any way writings bearing on the Mazda-worshipping faith from other parts of Iran, should publicly add (these) to the original work for the good of the souls of the faithful. (I hope that) the disciples of Ushedar of the family of Zartosht will after re-questioning Ushedar compose a still more exalted work for the faith.

(End of Book 3)

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