Denkard, Book 9

Details of Nasks 1-3 (Ancient Canon of Zoroastrianism)

Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, Oxford University Press, 1897.

Sudgar Nask

fargard 21. The four best prayers; the Dahman Afrin making a good man infinitely more splendid than the finest woman, horse, ox, or sheep, and a bad man infinitely worse. The reign of Kay-Us, his success and ruin; (§10) his flight followed by the spirit of Kay Khosraw and the angel Neryosang (22)

1. The twenty-first fargard, Vahishtoishti [1], is about where the best prayers [2] of the good religion are: unto Mihr [3] once every night for dismissing and lessening Wrath in the whole world, and a second time for doing so with Lethargy; a third unto Srosh [4] the righteous, and the fourth is the Dahman Afrin [5] for further gifts and increasing gifts; and the most preservative of them was the Dahman Afrin. 2. And this, too, that the most admirable of shapes of women was Humai [6] of the noble family of Vishtasp, of horses the splendid horse of Vishtasp, of oxen the male ox Barmayun [7], of sheep the very much celebrated [8] sheep that is fat, white-jawed, and star-spotted, with its upper half in a manufacture (pashakhtako) embroidered with gold and the topmost part yellow; and yet not one of them attains an equality to even a single thousandth part of the glory of a righteous man, a member of the community, by whom the Dahman Afrin of the good is uttered. 3. And this, too, as much as its goodness for the man and his wife is its evil for a villain and his paramour [9].

4. About the exercise of sovereignty by Kay Us [10] with triumph, over the earth of seven regions; the advancement of his commands, by the people of the creation [11], more swiftly than a wave of the hands; the construction of his seven dwellings (man) [12] in the midst of Alburz [13], one of gold, two of silver, two of steel, and two of crystal (avginakino); the restraining of the many Mazonik [[Mazendaran]] demons [14] who are the ruin of the world, and confining them to their own duty; the arrival at those dwellings of his, and the swift winding (vafinidano) around those dwellings, of a person whose strength is overpowered by decrepitude, and the approach of whose life to departure from the body has taken place; the reduction (khusani-hastano) of the decrepitude thereby, and the return of his strength and manhood, that is, a command is given by him thus: 'Keep no people away at the door!' and he might make a domestic of fifteen years of age.

5. Afterwards, the consultation of the demons about the death of Kay-Us, and the coming of Eshm [15] to Kay-Us, approving his death, and, therefore, making him wretched in his mind about the great sovereignty which was possessed by him over the seven lands, and causing him to long for the sovereignty of the heavenly region (asamano gas) of the archangels [[Amahraspands]] [16]. 6. And, owing to the seductiveness of Eshm, and the other demons who remained his co-operators for that undoing, Kay-Us was even engaged in opposing and molesting the sacred beings. 7. Also his not returning across Alburz, but rushing upwards, with many demons and wicked people, unto the outer edge of darkness [17]; and the reason of the glory of the Kayanians [18] becoming a figure of clay on that border. 8. The previous separation (madam reji-hastano) of Kay-Us from the troops, and his not turning from that ill-advisedness even on renewed strife aloft [19] with the supreme sacred beings. 9. Afterwards, the creator's calling back the glory of the Kayanians to himself, the falling of the troops of Kay-Us to the earth from that height, and the flying of Kay-Us to the wide-formed ocean [20].

10. This, too, it says, that, besides him, someone [21] flew behind him, thus associated with him; and after him flew Neryosang [22], the promoter (freh-dadar) of the world, for diverting that person from him. 11. And the cry of him, the unborn Khosraw, who was thus associated with him, like that of a regiment (sipah) a thousand strong, was thus: 'Thou shouldst not smite him, O Neryosang, promoter of the world! for if thou shouldst smite this man, O Neryosang, promoter of the world! there will not he afterwards obtained, for acquirement, a thorough destroyer of the high-priest of Turan [23]; because owing to this man will be born him whose name is Siyavakhsh [24], and owing to Siyavakhsh I shall be born, who am the Khosraw who will entice the most heroic [25] one of Turan -- who is mostly the destruction of champions and troops -- to the numerous heroes of the religion, so that I may accomplish the destruction of his champions and troops, when [26] I would occasion a distant flight of the sovereign of Turan.' 12. Through these words the guardian spirit of Khosraw delighted Neryosang, the promoter of the world; and, on these words, the latter was releasing him and that Kay-Us who thereby became discreet.

13. Perfect is the excellence of righteousness.


1. The appellation of the fifth Gatha (Yas. 53) which begins with the words vahishta ishtish; it is here written yahistok-ishto in Pahlavi.

2. The Pahlavi explanation of Av. vahishta ishtish.

3. See Bk. 8, Chap. 44.16.

4. See Bk. 8, Chap. 9.3.

5. 'The blessing of members of the community.' The Dahman Afrinagan consists of Y60.2-7 with Af. 1.14-18; but the Afrin is another formula, otherwise called 'the Afrin of the seven Amahrapands,' and it is uncertain which of the two is meant here.

6. Av. (gen.) Humayau of Yt13.139.

7. See Chap. 21.22.

8. Reading freh-okhtar (for freh-okhttar), as Bd. 24.3 states that 'the black sheep which is fat and white-jawed is the chief of sheep.' It might be 'the sheep of Frashokhtar,' and this name might be a miswriting of Frashoshtar, but we have no record of any such sheep of his.

9. It is easy to trace a connection between §§ 1, 2 and Y53.1, and between § 3 and the Pahl. version of Y53.6a.

10. Av. Kava Usa (see Bk. 8, Chap. 13.13).

11. K has 'by demons and men.'

12. Probably the origin of the legends of the seven halting-places of Rustam and Isfendiyar in the Shah-Namah.

13. Here meaning the mountain-range south of the Caspian (see Chap. 20.3).

14. Av. Mazainya daeva, the idolators of Mazendaran.

15. The demon of wrath (see Bk. 8, Chap. 9.3 n).

16. §§ 5-9 are evidently a summary of the original form of the legend of Kavus's attempt to reach the sky, otherwise described in the Shah-Namah.

17. Where the endless light commences. Reading par-i tom; or it might be 'to the utmost,' if we read fretum as equivalent to frehtum.

18. K omits 'of the Kayanians.' It is the royal glory of Yt.19, which descended from heaven and accompanies the faithful rulers and champions of the religion, successively (see Chap. 24.3).

19. B has 'pitying strife;' khvaparik being written instead of avarik.

20. Meaning the Caspian, as in Chap. 21.17.

21. It will be seen, from what follows, that this was the fravashi, or guardian spirit, of his future grandson, Kay-Khosraw. Every being and object belonging to Ohrmazd's creation is supposed to have its spiritual representative, created before the universe and perpetually existing (see Bd.1.8; MX49.23).

22. Av. Nairyosangha, an angel who is supposed to be the usual messenger of Ohrmazd to mankind (see Byt. III, 25, 26, 59, 60). K has only 'besides him and behind him flew Neryosang.'

21. See Bk. 8, Chap. 13.15.

22. See Bk. 8, Chap. 13.14.

23. A single particular hero appears to be meant, although this is not quite certain.

24. Assuming that mun, 'who,' stands for amat, as in Chap. 13.2.

fargard 22. Kay Khosraw riding upon Vae in the form of a camel, his finding Haoisht, Tus, and Kay-Apiveh, his meeting Soshyant, who praises him for his exploits; Kersasp, exhorted by Tus, adopts the religion, and so all the producers of the renovation are united (23)

1. The twenty-second fargard, Airyaman [1], is about the meeting of Kay-Khosraw [2] and Vae, the long-continuing lord [3] next to the renovation of the universe , and Kay Khosraw's asking Vae, the long-continuing lord, about his smiting so many of the ancients who have been the highest of mankind in splendor and glory. 2. The reply of Vae, the long-continuing lord, about his smiting them; and, upon that answer, Kay Khosraw's taking Vae, the long-continuing lord, and transforming him into the shape of a camel, mounting him, and going, with the Iranian levies (hanjamanoikan), to the place where the immortal Haoisht, Son of Geurva [4], lies in strength [5], and his letting him lie; also his going beyond (kadmon) him to the place where Tus [6], the banisher of strife, lay in strength, and his letting him also lie; and his going beyond him to the place where Kay Apiveh [7] lies, and his letting him also lie.

3. His proceeding beyond them, and meeting on e road with that beneficial victor Soshyant [8], and being asked by that beneficial victor thus: 'What man art thou who sittest aloft on Vae, the long-continuing lord, so that thou makest Vae fly, the long-continuing lord transformed into the shape of a camel?' 4. The speaking of Kay Khosraw, in reply to Soshyant, thus: I am Kay Khosraw.' 5. The extolling of Kay Khosraw, by Soshyant, as regards his having extirpated the idol-temples on the shore of Lake Chechast [9], and his smiting the wizard Frasiyav [10].

6. The glorifying of the Mazda-worshipping religion by Kay-Khosraw; the coming of the powerful being Kersasp [11], club in hand, advancing towards them at the dwelling of that wizard Ges [12]; the standing up of Tus, the banisher of strife, and his calling to Kersasp for reliance upon the Gatha lore and for union with them; and the praising of righteousness [13] by Kersasp, and his throwing away arm-breaker.

7. As to these, too, it says that so those men come together for producing the renovation of the universe who are mentioned in this fargard, and also in other places, and are all experienced and eminent doers, and all powerful and brave; and they shall produce the renovation through a desire for an existence undecaying, immortal, hungerless, and thirstless for ever and everlasting.

8. It is perfect excellence that is righteousness.

[[End of the account of the contents of the ancient Sudgar Nask]]


1. The appellation of Yas. 54 which begins with the words a airyema ishyo; it is here written airêmano (B) and airemano (K), in Pahlavi.

2. See Bk. 8, Chap. 13.14.

3. Pahl. vae-i derang khudai = Av. vaya daregho hvadhata who is mentioned as a good spirit in Ny.1.1. There are, however, two Vaes (see Dd. 30.4; MX2.115), the good Vae who assists the departed soul, and the bad Vae who opposes it; the former is closely connected with the angel Ram in Yt.15.0, 58, and the latter with Asto-vidhotu, the demon of death, in Vd5.8, 9; Bd. 28.35. They appear to be personifications of the upper and lower air, respectively; the former being considered pure through its connection with the sacred beings, and the latter impure through contamination by the demons. Possibly the legend about Vae in our text may have been suggested by the words vayu-beredubyo and vayoi in Y53.6, 7; in which case, this fargard must be considered, to some extent, as a continuation of the preceding one. According to Dd36.3 Kay Khosraw was made to pass away by Vae.

4. Compare Av. Yushta Gaurvayana of Yt.13.118. But Yavisht i Friyan of Yt.13.120, is one of the immortals mentioned in Byt. II, 1; Dd.90.3.

5. Reading hang, which can also mean 'a cave;' but we can likewise read hug, 'spiritual life.'

6. Av. Tusa of Yt.5.53, 58; he is one of the immortals mentioned in Bd.29.6; Dd.36.3.

7. Av. Kavi Aipivanghu of Yt.13.132, Yt19.71. He was son of Kay Kobad, brother of Kay-Us, and great-grandfather of Vishtasp's grandfather (see Bd.31.25, 28, 31, 34).

8. See Bk. 8, Chap. 14.14.

9. Apparently the present Lake Urumiyah (see Bd. 17.7, Bd.22.2; MX.2.95)

10. See Bk. 8, Chap. 13.11.

11. See Chap. 15.

12. Written [...], but the reading is uncertain; possibly the name may be connected with 'the Veshko progeny' in Chap. 15.2.

13. Reciting the Ashem Vohu formula, as a token of adhesion to the religion.

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