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M.N. Dhalla: History of Zoroastrianism (1938), part 5.




Ardashir, a Magus, rejuvenates Zoroastrianism. With the fall of the Achaeraenian empire were extinguished the last sparks of the fire of racial jealousy between the Medes and Persians. Common hardships and common sorrows had obliterated all traces of bitter feeling for one another. The Seleucid period and the five centuries of Parthian rule, as another great empire in Iran, served all the more to make them now one compact homogeneous people, thinking with one mind, feeling with one heart, and acting with one aim. As already pointed out, the Magi did not receive recognition in the Avesta. It is not so in the Pahlavi period. The Avestan term athravan remains during this era as a class designation alone, but magopat, which later becomes mobad, is used throughout the Pahlavi literature, equally as a class designation for priesthood and as a personal title of a priest to distinguish him from a layman. Significant in this light becomes the fact that although the Persians of old had de­feated the Medes and their sacerdotal caste, the Magi, it was now a Magus again that was destined to revive the national glory of Iran, and restore their ancient faith. The Kingly Glory of Iran clave to a hero of the house of Sasan in the province of Fars,1 who was alike priest and king.2 Ardashir was his name, and the Iranian world rang with the praises of this son of Babak, whose fame is writ large in the history of Zoroastrianism. 1. Karname-i-Artakhshir-i Papakan, 3. 10-18.

2. Agathias, 2.26.
This founder of the Sasanian dynasty won his spurs in. the battle against Ardavan, the last of the Parthian kings, in a.d. 224. People turned their eager eyes to him for the national emancipa­tion from the heavy yoke of the foreigners. His was the task of rebuilding the shattered fragments of the ancient Persian empire upon the ruins of the Parthian empire. When he succeeded in [319] consolidating the various states of Iran into one mighty commonwealth under his sceptre, he proceeded vigorously thereupon to establish a polity in conformity with the teachings of Zoroaster which would unite his empire as Church and State. It was through Ardashir that Zoroastrianism became once more enthroned as the creed paramount, after a lapse of fully five centuries, and remained so for four centuries under the House of Sasan. The king himself, being of sacerdotal caste, strongly upheld the doctrine of the unity of the Church and the State. The two, he said, are like brother and sister; neither can flourish without the other.3 They both are interwoven together like two pieces of brocade.4 The Denkard, which is the greatest of the Pahlavi works of this period, upholds the divine right of kings and states if the temporal power of the glorious king Jamshed had been blended with the spiritual power of the supreme priest Zoroaster, the Evil Spirit would have lain low long ere this, and the Kingdom of Righteousness would have been established on earth once and forever.5 Both of these powers will be concentrated in the final saviour, who is to enable man to gain the final victory over the Kingdom of Wickedness.6 3. Masudi, tr. Barbier de Meynard, 2. 162.

4. ShN. 6.286.

5. Dk., vol. 3, p. 175, 176.

6. Ib., p. 176.
Ardeshir, as a pontiff-king himself, commissioned his high-priest Tansar to collect the scattered Avestan works and thus to prepare an authorized compilation of the sacred texts.7 The enthusiasm evoked among the faithful at the restoration of their lost scriptures presents a situation seldom paralleled in history, and certainly never surpassed in the religious development of Zoroastrianism.

7. Ib., vol. 9, p. 578.
The revival of Zoroastrianism continues with unabating zeal. The great work inaugurated by the first of the royal House of Sasan was zealously continued by descendants and notably by Shapur II,8 who brought the work to completion with the help of his illustrious Dastur and premier Adarbad Mahraspand.9 Mani's heresy was at its height during this period, and Adarbad strove hard to restore the faith of his people that was undermined by the misguided leader's heretical teachings. In order to prove the marvels of the faith, Adarbad is reported to have submitted himself to the ordeal of the molten metal and to have [320] come out unscathed.10 King Shapur thereupon declared the work, as thus redacted, to be authoritative, and he commanded that anything outside this canonical collection should not be countenanced. Another source states that still further steps were taken to put the truth of the religion to the test. Several pious mobads were convoked to attend at the temple of the fire Froba, and there to consider the momentous question of deputing one of their number to visit, in a vision, the spiritual world and thus to bring back from the angels themselves a first-hand knowl­edge of matters spiritual for the complete restoration of the re­ligion. Seven holy men were first elected from the assembly. Out of this number Arda Viraf was selected as the most right­eous and saintly. After preliminary ceremonies this holy man entered into a trance for seven days and nights, during which he was transported in spirit to the other world. His soul as­cended into the realm of heaven, traversed the spiritual regions, and after beholding paradise visited likewise the inferno. Viraf described the experience of his visions and thus contributed to rehabilitating the faith of the people in their historic religion.

8. A.D. 309-379.

9. Dk., vol. 9, p. 579.

10. SLS. 15. 16; Sg. 10. 70; Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 5. 5, p. 74, 75; AV. 1. 16.
The Pahlavi works are written by many hands in succes­sive periods. Though the canon was declared closed by the edict of Shapur II, the work of rendering the Avestan texts into Pahlavi with exegetic commentaries, and the composition of orig­inal works in the court language, continued throughout the Sasanian period, and even long after the downfall of the empire. Few if any of the exegetical works of Zoroastrianism written during the Sasanian period have survived the devastating hands of the conquering hordes of the Arabs, and almost all the im­portant Pahlavi works that we possess today were written under the Abbasid Caliphs. The Persians in whose veins flowed the kingly blue blood had helped the Abbasids in overthrowing the Umayyads, thus avenging themselves upon their national foes, the Arabs. This greatly elevated the position of the Zoroastrians at the royal court of Bagdad. During this period it was that the composition of the Pahlavi treatises was undertaken with renewed vigour. To the ninth century we owe much of the Pahlavi literature that has come down to us. Thus the Pahlavi literature covers a period of about seven centuries, beginning [321] from the first Sasanian ruler, Ardashir, or still earlier, and stretching downwards to the times of the illustrious Caliph of the Abbasid dynasty, al-Ma'mun, or even later. The invention of the modern Persian alphabet restricted the use of Pahlavi to the learned clerics, who continued to make some slight additions to the Pahlavi literature up to the end of the eleventh century.11

11. West, Pahlavi Literature, in GIrPh. 2. 80.
The Pahlavi literature has its roots in the Avestan soil. The Pahlavi works allege that the Avestan Nasks had perished, but the tradition transmitted orally from father to son and the fragments of the sacred texts did not suffer the Avestan lore to die out entirely. The extant Pahlavi works contain quotations from Avestan works that have not come down to us, and this may help to show that the later writers either quoted from mem­ory or that they had access to Avestan works, since lost, when they wrote their Pahlavi treatises; or possibly it may serve to prove both facts. Nay, some of the Pahlavi works seem to be wholly or in part reproductions of some of the Avesta Nasks, and most scholars agree with West that the Pahlavi Bundahishn is an epitome of the Avestan Damdad Nask, that has since dis­appeared.12 This leads to the probable conclusion that besides the two archetype copies deposited in the royal treasuries at Persepolis and Samarkand, there may have existed other copies of these Nasks, in full or in part, in private possession or in the more notable fire-temples. The internal evidence of some of the most important Pahlavi works show us that they preserve much of the material derived from Avestan sources, which still existed in their days, but has been subsequently lost, and thus make up for the loss of the original Avestan books to a considerable ex­tent.

12. SBE., vol. 5. int. xxiv.
The Pahlavi literature is the completion of the Avestan works. The Pahlavi works explain, elaborate, and describe in detail much of what is stated in brief in the original Avestan texts. This is the inestimable value of the Pahlavi literature. A few examples may serve to illustrate this statement.
The Avestan texts frequently mention 'the Time of Long Duration,' a period carved out from eternity as the age for the duration of the present world, but give no idea, as far as the texts have been preserved, as to the length of this mighty aeon. It is to [322] the Pahlavi books that we have to turn to ascertain the specific duration of this period, for the millennial doctrine is recognized but not described in the Avestan writings that we possess today. It is worked out in full detail in the Pahlavi works. This fact might even suggest that the idea originated with the Pahlavists but such is not the case, for we know from Plutarch that Theopompus, who flourished in the fourth century B.C., or a little before the close of the Avestan period, was well acquainted with this doctrine of the Zoroastrians, and wrote about it in his works.13 13. Is. et Os. 47.
The Later Avestan texts speak of the future judgment, the rising of the dead, the renovation, but it is the Pahlavi works that acquaint us with the method of the administration of justice in the heavenly tribunal and the final restoration of the universe.

The texts of the Younger Avesta, as noted above, speak of different heavens and hells, but the Pahlavi works locate them, and give a detailed description of the area they cover, the boun­daries that divide them from one another, and the conditions that prevail in them.

The trend of the religious thought of the Pahlavi period. We have described the change from the Gathic to the Avestan texts as a retrograde step; the Pahlavi texts are still farther removed from the Gathas. The Gathic ideal lingers and con­tinues to be admired, but it has ceased to influence. It evokes praise from the Pahlavi writers, but fails to inspire them with its abstract tone.
Zoroaster is a historical personage in the Gathas. In the Later Avesta he becomes super-human; but in the Pahlavi works his personality is enshrouded by miracles, and he is transformed into a myth. The fascination for marvels in religion is an un­mistakable sign of the times. Christian bishops, who, as we shall see in the further stage of our inquiry, carried on inveterate dis­putes with the Zoroastrian clergy in Persia, based the claim of the greatness of their own religion on miracles. Perhaps in conse­quence the life-story of Zoroaster, as told by the writers of the Pahlavi period, is similarly stamped with the mark of the miracu­lous. The Gathas and the Younger Avesta speak of the proph­et's conferences with the Amshaspands, or archangels, and his communing with them. The Pahlavi texts, as we have seen, state [323] that they came to the court of King Gushtasp as the envoys of Ormazd, to give proof of the divine calling of the prophet. Moreover, when Zoroaster met Vohuman, he actually saw the body and the face of the archangel, his size, and his garments, and in these celestial conferences with the archangels the prophet was requested by each in turn to command mankind to take due care of the concrete thing under the special charge of each as an Amshaspand and not the abstract virtue that each impersonates. Vohuman, for instance, as the genius of good mind, did not em­phasize the faithful adherence to good thoughts, but contented himself with reminding the prophet to teach mankind to take care of the cattle. Artavahisht, the genius of righteousness, gave no command to Zaratusht to exhort men to follow the path of righteousness, but taught him that the best way of propitiating the heavenly spirit was to propitiate his fire. Similarly the other archangels in these celestial interviews did not hold up as the ideals the virtues over which they presided, but they inculcated due preservation of their respective earthly objects. A Pazend penitential prayer, whose authorship is attributed to Dastur Adarbad Mahraspand, the high-priest and premier of King Shapur (309-379 a.d.), mentions the Amshaspands by name, and exhorts the penitent to atone severally for the sins committed against them. In every case he addresses each archangel in turn and craves forgiveness for any offence that may have been com­mitted by ill-treating the earthly object over which the genius presides. Offences against the abstract virtues which the arch­angels impersonate are not mentioned in this treatise,14 and this fact tends decidedly to show that phase of Zoroastrianism in which abstract ideas were gradually losing in importance, and the concrete side of the religion was coming out with greater promi­nence. 14. Pt. 8.
This process of materializing the original abstract concepts reaches its climax in the eschatological notions of this period. The several heavens and hells, as also the bridge of judgment that leads to them, are now completely materialized. All the splendours of a royal court with its golden thrones, rich carpets, fine cushions are transferred to paradise. On the other hand, all sorts of physical tortures that man's ingenuity can devise prevail in hell.
[324] Fifteen hundred years separated Zoroaster from the Sasanian period, and a thick veil began to hide the pristine truth of his great religion from his followers.

The Sasanian Church became an arbiter of the faith of Zoroaster. It was through the Church that the religious teachings filtered into the populace. During the period of her great influence, when the State was practically under her tutelage, the Church rendered a lasting service by her attempts to reinvigorate the Mazdayasnian faith. She triumphed when she stood for the spirit of the religion of Mazda; but she failed when she descended to rigid formalism, stifled independent inquiry, stigmatized honest doubt as Ahrimanian, and sought to overrule original thinking by dogmatic assertions. Religion defeats its own ends when it degenerates into dogmatic theology. And it was not otherwise in Persia.




The Pahlavi works on proselytism. Zaratusht first preached his new religion to the people of Iran where he was born; but Ormazd has commanded that the excellent religion should be spread among all races of mankind throughout the world.1 In their commentary on the oft-recurring Avestan formula fravarâne, the Pahlavi versionists add an explanatory gloss that every believer undertakes to proclaim the Zoroastrian religion of Ormazd to the entire world. It is said that the act of the highest merit that a non-believer can perform in his life is to his religion and embrace the Mazdayasnian faith.2 The great Sasanian monarch, Shapur II, zealously worked for the restoration and promulgation of the faith among the unbelievers with the aid of his illustrious Dastur Adarbad.3 The Denkard sanctions even the use of force for the conversion of the aliens.4 A Pahlavi treatise devoted mostly to the Zoroastrian rituals attests the practice of admitting outsiders into the Zoroastrian fold.5 Another Pahlavi tractate treating of the social and legal practices of the Sasanians lays down that if a Christian slave embraces the faith of his Zoroastrian master, he should be given freedom.6

1. Dk., vol. 10, bk. 5. 14, p. 12; see Gray, Missions (Zoroastrian) in , ERE. 8. 749-751.

2. SBE., vol. 18, Appendix, p. 415.

3. Dk., vol. 9, p. 579.

4. SBE., vol. 37, bk. 8. 26. p. 88, 89. [I.e. the Duwasrud Nask (Warrior's Code) of the ancient Avesta, as summarized in Dk8.26.21. -JHP]

5. Aerpat. bk. 1. 4. 28, 29; 1. 5. 4.

6. Mâdigân-i Hazâr Dâdistân, ed. Modi, p. 1, Poona. 1901.
An Armenian account of the Zoroastrian propaganda. Elisaeus, bishop of the Amadunians in the fifth century A.D., in his historical work states that King Yazdagard II and his royal court resorted to both persuasion and force in their attempt to win over the Christians of Armenia to Zoroastrianism.7 The [326] Christian subjects of the Persian king in Armenia, we are informed, were promised high positions, court distinctions, royal favours, and the remission of the taxes, if they accepted the national faith of Iran. Mihr Narsih, the premier of Yazdagard II (A.D. 438-457), in the proclamation to the Christian population in Armenia that he issued at the royal command, exhorts them to adopt the religion that their sovereign holds, and adds that those that do not acknowledge the Mazdayasnian faith are deaf and blind, and are misled by Ahriman.8 Elisaeus informs us that this proselytizing movement on the part of the Magi of Sasanian times was not confined to Armenia alone, but it extended further to Georgia, Albania, and various other countries.9

7. The History of Vartan, p. 8, 9, 11, 31, 32, 35, London, 1830. 8. The History of Vartan, p. 11,12.

9. Ib., p. 26.
Judaism and Christianity penetrate into Persia as the formidable rivals of the national faith. When the Zoroastrian Church was thus engaged in promulgating the faith of Zoroaster outside Persia, her religious supremacy was challenged at home by Judaism, and more aggressively by Christianity.10 Ardashir had established Zoroastrianism as the state religion of Persia, but there were in the empire colonies of people following other religions. Iran had long ceased to be a religious unit, and the vast number of Jews, Christians, and others of divergent faiths and creeds contributed towards disunion. Referring to the presence of the people professing different religions in his kingdom, King Hormizd IV once remarked that his throne rested on four feet;11 and troublesome these outside elements certainly proved to the sovereign occupying the throne. A fairly tolerable latitude was conceded to these adherepts of the alien faiths, though occasional persecutions of them were not unknown. These non-Zoroastrians frequently occasioned heated polemics in which virulant criticism and derisive terms were exchanged between the the Zoroastrian priests on the one side and the prelates of the rival faiths on the other. Iranian society was often convulsed with the storm of controversy. The alien faiths were branded as the promptings of the Evil Spirit, and were declared to be teaching a vile law, [327] opposed to the pure law of Mazda.12 The religions that most struggled in this manner with the national faith during the Sasanian period were Judaism and Christianity, whose position in Persia we shall now discuss.

10. See Gray, Jews in Zoroastrianism in ERE., 7 562, 563; Jesus Christ in Zoroastrianism, 7. 552, 553; Pettazoni, La Religione di Zarathustra, p. 193-199; 201-204.

11. Tabari, tr. Nöldeke, p. 268; Wigram, History of the Assyrian Church, p. 214. London, 1910.

12. SLS. 6. 7.
Judaism in Persia. Judea had come under the Persian rule at the very early period. The Babylonian exile brought the Jews into close touch with the Persians in the sixth century B.C. We have already referred to the fact that the restoration of tbe temple at Jerusalem was executed at the royal command of the Persian kings Cyrus and Darius. The Jews had settled in Persia in large numbers from very early times, and had planted their colonies all over the country. They thrived peacefully and were given privileges to manage their own civic affairs without molestation from the state. Some of the members of the royal house had even married Jewish princesses. King Yazdagard I, for example, had a Jewish consort.13 But in general those who contracted matrimonial alliances with Jewish women were disliked, and the Denkard inveighs in strong terms against the practice of contracting such unions.14 In the course of time, the Persians and the Israelites seem to have been sharply divided in religious matters. Disputations on questions of belief must have been frequent. All of the Pahlavi works denounce Judaism in unsparing terms. The writer of the Denkard, for instance, avers that Judaism is not a divine religion,15 and points to Zohak, the most detested of men, as the originator of the Jewish scriptures,16 branding elsewhere the Jewish books as utterances of the demons.17 Seno, a Zoroastrian sage, is reported to have said, in his admonitions to the kings of Persia, that the sovereign of the people ought to keep aloof from the religion of the Jews, as bringing devastation to the world.18 The progress of the Jewish belief be arrested, lest it spread its evil among the faithful.19 The knowledge of this religion produces baneful influences upon the Mazdayasnians,20 it implants vice,21 and [328] aggravates immorality.22 Men become of evil disposition through it.23 Those who belong to this faith cannot be said to be related to the Prime Source.24 Such violent attacks on the beliefs of a race which had settled in Persia from the very early period of her history show us the bitterness of feeling that must have prevailed between Zoroastrians and Jews. A later writer, confounding Kai Lohrasp with Nebuchadnezzar, states that one of the meritorious deeds done by Lohrasp was that he destroyed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews.25

13. Shatroihâ-i Airân, 47, 53.

14. Dk., vol. 2, p. 97-102.

15. Dk., vol. 4, p. 211.

16. Dk., vol. 6, p. 372, 373; vol. 7, p. 439.

17. Dk., vol. 9, p. 604.

18. Dk., vol. 5, p. 310.

19. Dk., vol. 1, p. 24.

20. Dk., vol. 6, p. 373.

21. Dk., vol. 7, p. 456.

22. Dk., vol. 6, p. 357, 358.

23. Dk., vol. 4, p. 257.

24. Dk., vol. 4, p. 267.

25. Mkh. 27. 64, 67; see also Jackson, Zoroaster, p. 209.
Christian propaganda in Iran. Christianity had entered Persia during the Parthian period, and the Sasanians found the creed of Christ more or less current when they established their empire. Of all the alien faiths in Persia, Christianity was the most aggressive. The pertinacious attempt of the Christians to win over converts to their faith from the ruling nation, often caused shedding of human blood. There was a state of perennial war between Sasanian Persia and Byzantine Rome, which had embraced Christianity. The sympathy of the Christian population naturally went to their Roman co-religionists and caused disturbances in Persia. Moreover, the fanatic zeal of the priests on both sides fomented communal strife, which often resulted in the destruction of the Zoroastrian fire-temples and Christian churches, and the consequent persecution of the Christians. Great as are the resemblances between the fundamental teachings of the two religions, their ethical systems show a glaring distinction. Christianity exalted monastic virtues, and glorified celibacy. The Zoroastrian priests vehemently denounced the foreign priests who preached a mode of life which clashed with their ethics.26 Reckless utterances of the Christian priests often aggravated the ill-feeling between the two peoples, and violent scenes ensued. An enthusiastic bishop once regaled his congregation by saying that the soul of the king would, in his future life, be born in hell-fire with Satan, whereas the Christians would be translated to heaven,27 while another patriarch urged the Roman bishops to free them from the accursed rule of the [329] Persians.28 The priests on both the sides became zealots, and occasionally fell into the slough of fanaticism. Great was the fury of religious rancour that prevailed on such occasions. The seceders from Zoroastrianism were persecuted; apostasy was made a capital crime by the Zoroastrian Church, and the renegades were put to death. Notwithstanding such harsh measures adopted by the Iranian clergy, numerous converts were made throughout the whole time of the Sasanian rule from Zoroastrianism to Christianity. Some of the greatest saints were won from the Zoroastrian community. A noted Zoroastrian preceptor embraced Christianity, and later became the Patriarch under the name Mar Aba the Great. The Zoroastrian priesthood clamoured for his death, and the law of the country supported them. It was the great admiration that King Noshirvan held for the Patriarch that saved his life.29 Yazdagard I and Hormizd IV ascended the throne with proclivities for Christianity, and Noshirvan and Khusru Parviz had wedded Christian princesses. Nushzad, one of the sons of the great Sasanian king Noshirvan, was brought up a Christian.30 Another ruler of the House of Sasan, Parviz, built a monastery to please his favourite Christian wife.31 Such royal examples encouraged the Christian propaganda in Iran. Yazdagard I, who favoured the Christian cause, was hailed by the Christians as the blessed king, but was branded by his own co-religionists as the wicked sinner.32

26. Wigram, op. cit., p. 64; Elisaeus. op. cit. p. 13.

27. Wigram, op. cit., p. 43.

28. Ib., p. 151, 152.

29. Wigram, op. cit., p. 184, 22-209.

30. Tabari, tr. Nöldeke, p. 467-474.

31. Wigram, op. cit., p. 259.

32. Shatroihâ-i-Airân, 26; cf. Wigram, op. cit., p. 85, 86.



Zoroastrianism split up into a number of sects. As indicated above, the Zoroastrian church had lost all control over its adherents. Sect after sect arose, each claiming to interpret the religion of Zoroaster in its own light.1 The fact that numerous sects flourished in Iran at this period is proved by the frequent allusions to them by Greek, Arabian, Syriac, and Armenian writers. Shahrastani, as we shall see later, speaks of three sects, namely the Zarvanites, the Gayomarthians, and the Zardushtians. Mohsan Fani refers to fourteen sects as he witnessed in his days in the seventeenth century. Several of these, he adds, flourished from early times. Unfortunately the accounts of those sects, which we find in the extant Zoroastrian literature, is very meagre. Several of them, about which we get some information from the non-Zoroastrian sources, are not even mentioned by name in the Iranian works. The Armenian writers, Eznik and Elisaeus, writing in the fifth century about the Zoroastrians of their own time, state they were split into two rival sects called Mog and Zendik. Damascius (529 A.D.), on the authority of Eudemus states that sects flourished in Iran which held space as the primordial being that created the rival spirits of goodness and evil.2 The most formidable of the sects, which counted eminent persons among its adherents during the Sasanian period and which had a considerable following long after the disappearance of this last Zoroastrian empire, was that of the Zarvanites. Zarvan, or Time, accompanied Mithra in his migration to the far West and as Kronos was placed at the pinnacle of the divine hierarchy in the Mithraic cult.3 Antiochus I of Commagene speaks of Boundless Time. 1. Jackson, Zoroastrian Studies, p. 174-177, Edwards, Sects (Zoroastrian) in ERE. 11. 345-347.

2. De Primis Princ., tr. by Chaignet, Les Premiers Principes, vol. 2, p. 129, Paris, 1898.

3. Cumont, The Mysteries of Mithra, Eng. tr. McConnack, p. 107, Chicago, 1903.


Zarvan according to the Pahlavi writers. This image of the eternal duration of Time is as cold and lifeless in the Pahlavi works as it was in the Avestan texts. Ormazd created it, and with its creation the entire existence came into motion.4 or according to another passage, Boundless Time is eternally in Ormazd, and the very first work of his in creation appertained to Time.5 He brought into being the earthly and heavenly creatures through his own splendour and through the blessing of Time.6 Zarvan, or Time, is called hungerless and thirstless, painless and deathless, ever-living and ever-predominating over the fleeting things of the universe.7 Thus the authoritative Zoroastrian works speak of Boundless Time in its relation to Ormazd; just as any system of philosophy or theology may speak of the eternity of God. The demon Arashk is alleged to have said that Ormazd and Ahriman have been two brothers in one womb.8 Mani calls Zarvan in his heresy, Time Eternal, the Father God of Light.9

4. Zsp. 1.24.

5. Dk., vol. 6, p. 415, 416.

6. Mkh. 8.8.

7. Mkh. 8.9.

8. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 30.4, p. 241, 242.

9. Jackson, Researches in Manichaeism, p. 8.
Zarvan according to the non-Zoroastrian writers. The account that we get of this being from the writings of the classical and Armenian authors is different from what we find in Iranian sources.10 The Armenian and Syrian writers attack Zoroastrianism on this point.11 Zarvan, or Time, they aver, is held by the Persians to be the generative principle of the universe. Moses of Chorene12 writes that the Zoroastrians regarded Time as the source and father of existence.13 According to Photius this being was looked upon as the ruler of the universe; he offered sacrifice in order to beget Hormizdas, but gave birth Hormizdas and Satan.14 Damascius quotes Eudemus (about [332] 306 B.C.) as stating that Time is the father of Oromasdes or Light and Arimanius or Darkness.15 10. See Jackson, Zoroaster, p. 274-278; Gray, Zrvam, in The Foundations of the Iranian Religions, p. 124-129; Junker (tr. Tavadia), The idea of Zruvan in the Iranian Literature and its influence elsewhere in Journal of the Cama Oriental Institute, 5. 1-10; Pettazoni, La Riligione di Zarathustra, p. 189, 190.

11. Nöldeke, Fesgtruss on Roth, p. 34-38, Stuttgart, 1893; Blue, The Zarvanite System in Indo-Iranian Studies in honour of Dastur D. P. Sanjana, 68, London, 1925.

12. Blue, ib., p. 68, 69.

13. Cf. Jackson, Zoroaster, p. 275.

14. Theodore of Mopsuestia, apud Photius, Bibl. 81.

15. See Fox and Pemberton, Passages in Creek and Latin Literature relating to Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism, p. 107.
The Armenian writer Eznik, in the fifth century a.d., attests the existence of a sect that held Zrovan or Time as the sovereign lord and was named after it. The sect, he says, holds Zrovan as the generative principle of everything, and it was from this primordial principle that both Ormizd and Arhmn have sprung. They are its twin children.16 The Armenian historians credit Mihr Narsih, the premier of Yazdagard II, with speaking of Zarvan as the prime originator of Ohrmazd and Ahriman.17 Ac­cording to the teachings of this sect, as portrayed by these writers Zarvan existed when the earth was not, and the heaven was not, and brooded over the thought of begetting a son who would create the universe. A doubt crossed his mind, the account claims, at the end of a thousand years, lest his sacrifice should turn out fruitless and he would not be blessed with a child. The sacrifice, however, turned out fruitful, but not without mishap. Zarvan conceived two offspring, one as the result of his sacrifice, the other as the outcome of the doubt that had desecrated his mind. He resolved to give sovereignty to him who was born first. Ohrmazd, who seems to have been possessed of fore-knowl­edge even before he was thus born, read the thought of his father Zarvan, and gave it out to his comrade in the embryo. Ahriman thereupon perforated the womb and came into existence before Ohrmazd. He demanded sovereignty from his begetter, Zarvan, who disowned this ugly, dark creature, and gave the sceptre into the hands of Ohrmazd, who was resplendent with light. Ahriman now charged his father with breaking his vow. In order to free himself from this accusation, Zarvan entered into a covenant with Ahriman, and decreed that the empire of the universe should be conjointly ceded to both Ohrmazd and Ahriman for nine thousand years, though the right of priority was ever to be with the Good Spirit. After the expiration of this period, Ohrmazd, it was destined, should be at liberty to deal with his wicked brother as he liked.18

16 Blue, ib , p. 70, 71.

17 Elisaeus, The History of Vartan, p. 11, 12.

18 Cf. Eznik, translated in Wilson's The Parsi Religion, p. 542, 543, Bombay, 1843; Elisaeus, The History of Vartan, p. 11, 12.
[333] This fantastic legend has left no traces whatever in the extant Pahlavi works. They do not even mention any sect which had. its designation after Time itself, and we fail to glean any con­nected account of the doctrines of the Zarvanites from the ex­tant Pahlavi works. Be this as it may, it is certain that a sect of the Zarvanites, who evidently aimed at resolving the Zoroastrian dualism into monotheism by the apotheosis of Time, did. flourish for a long time in Iran. Shahristani, who wrote in the early part of the twelfth century, attests, as we shall see later,, that he met the followers of this sect in his day.


Superstitious belief in Fate that weaves the web of events in man's life. God has willed man to be the architect of his destiny and endowed him with the freedom of will, says Zarathushtra.19 Man's ignorance and superstition have led him to the belief that he is not a free agent who can control and shape the actions of his life. Human happenings, it is believed, are regulated by the position and movements of the stars and planets and constellations. Ingenious brains have laboured to divine the future from the careful observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies. They have practised augury by watching the flight of birds and have drawn omens from the stars and other sources. They have endeavoured to read the course of the stars and to study with utmost scrupulous care and anxiety, worthy of more rational and useful pursuits, the phenomena, in the vain hope that they would thereby be able to foretell coming events and forestall coming misfortunes. Fate, they have taught,, dogs man's footsteps and overtakes him unawares. It hunts. him like wild animals to and fro. Nothing could be done against it. In vain would a man struggle to save himself from being drowned in the floods of fate. The mightiest among men has to yield submission to the decrees of unrelenting fate. This credulous belief in the inevitability of the decrees of Fate has led men and women to accept with fatalistic resignation what befell their lot. It has led them to submit and succumb to the buffetings of life where they should have braved them and fought [334] them and overpowered them. The belief in Fate and Kismet and Karma have all been equally paralysing. In one case it is the movements of the stars, in other the arbitrary will of Providence and in the third, actions of past life, that grip the individual at every step he takes in his life. Anything and everything that happens is predestined either by the stars and planets or by the inscrutable decree of Kismet or by the in­exorable law of Karma. The fatalistic belief has crippled the activities, cramped the progress, stifled the spirit, and blighted the ardour of countless millions of people in the East. 19. See Jackson. The Zoroastrian Doctrine of the Freedom of the Will in Zoroastrian Studies, 219-244.
Mithraism is loaded with fatalistic ideas which it received from Babylonia before going to Europe. Orthodox Zoroastrianism did not entirely escape the Babylonian influence. The Baby­lonian and Magian diviners played important part in the lives of the people. Shah Namah abounds in instances of superstitious regard for omens and portents and astrological auguries. The court astrologers read the stars to indicate the future events. The kings did not embark upon war without consulting the diviners. According to the Pahlavi Aiyadgar-i Zariran, King Vishtasp asks his wise diviner, Jamasp, to foretell the conse­quences of the war.20 When Xerxes was marching against the Greeks, an eclipse of the sun took place. The king was taken with alarm and consulted the magicians about the meaning of the portent.21 Men and women regulated the chief events of their daily lives according to the dictates of the planetary move­ments. Fate generally became the ruling force of life.

20. 35-39.

21. Herod. 7. 37.
Fate is the decree of Time. Time and Fate are indissolubly linked together. They are often spoken of as identical with each other.22 The movements of the heavens regulate Fate, and the planets and constellations are the arbiters of man's fortune.23 The good and evil stars determine man's lot, which is linked with the course of the stars. Every good and evil event that falls to the lot of man comes to pass through the doings of the twelve constellations that are ranged on the side of Ohrmazd, or through the baneful influence of the seven planets, as their special antagonists, arrayed on Ahriman's side. Both of these agents combine to administer the affairs of the world.24 22. Theodore of Mopsuestia, apud Photius, Bibl. 81.

23. See Gray, Fate (Iranian) in ERE. 5. 792,793.

24. Mkh. 8.17-19, 21.
[335] Ohrmazd allots happiness to man. If man does not receive it, it is owing to the extortion of these planets.25 Like brigands and highwaymen they rob the righteous of their good lot and bestow it upon the wicked.26 Ahriman has specially created them for the purpose of depriving man of the happiness which the good stars would bestow upon man.27 Like witches they rush upon the creation to spread evil,28 and pervert every crea­ture that comes across their path.29 Fate, as the guardian of the celestial sphere, is therefore implored to help mankind at all times and in every deed.30 That which is ordained to come to pass will unfailingly happen; man should not worry over things over which he has no control. He should learn to receive with tranquillity and calm whatever falls to his lot.31 Though noth­ing in the world can rescind the inexorable decree of Fate,32 divine Providence, moved by the prayers and supplications of mortals, can still, in special cases, intervene in mortal behalf. Owing to the counter-movements of the evil planets, Providence rarely interferes.33

25 Mkh. 38. 4, 5.

26 Sg. 4.24-27.

27 Mkh. 12. 7-9.

28 Sg. 4. 9.

29 Mkh. 8. 20.

30 SLS. 22. 31.

31 SLS. 20. 13; Mkh. 27. 11.

32 SLS. 20. 17; Dk. vol. 12, bk. 6. A. 6, p. 36, 37.

33 Mkh. 24. 3-8.
The inscrutable power of Fate. Among the masses humility is apt to degenerate into servility in human affairs, or into fatalism in their relations with the superhuman powers. In Persia, the dissolution of the great empire, and the centuries of struggle and servitude that followed the national catastrophe, drove the Iranians to believe in Fate, the inevitable necessity before which they had to bow. The fatalist doctrine pervades the writings of the Pahlavi period. As early as the fifth century the Armenian controversialist Eznik attacks this fatalistic doc­trine of the Persians.34 Fate, we are told, is written on man's forehead; he is fettered to it from his very birth.35 Man is ignorant of the course mapped out for him by Fate, which guides the affairs of the world.36 Fate holds sovereign sway over every one and everything.37 Vazurgmitra states that the world shows that fools prosper and the wise suffer, for which reason he upholds [336] the view that the ordering of results of man's actions is not in man's hands, but rests with Fate.38 34. Eznik, Against the Sects, German tr. Schmid,2. 15, Vienna, 1900.

35. Mkh. 24. 6.

36. Mkh. 27. 10.

37. Mkh. 47. 7. 38 Ibn Isfandiyar, History of Tabaristan, tr. Browne, p. 85, 86, London, 1905.
Under the influence of Fate the wise man fails of his wisdom, and the fool shows intelligence, the hero becomes a coward, and the coward plays the part of a hero, the industrious turn out to be indolent, and the indolent become industrious.39 When Fate befriends an indolent, ignorant, arid wicked man, his sloth becomes like unto diligence, his ignorance unto knowledge, and his wickedness unto righteousness. On the other hand, when Fate frowns upon a wise man and a good man, his wisdom is transformed to foolishness and ignorance, and his knowledge, skill, and worthiness do not help him in the least.40 Life, wife, and child, power or fortune alike, come all through Fate.41

39. Mkh. 23. 5-7.

40.Mkh. 51.5-7.

41. Dd. 71. 3; Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. D. 1, p. 75; Jamaspi, p. 122.
How far Fate affects man's exertions. Replying to the query whether man gets various things through Fate or through his own exertion, Vazurgmitra, the talented premier of Noshirvan, states that both of these are as closely linked together as are man's body and life. As the body falls a ruined tabernacle of clay when life has quitted it, and as life without the body is an intangible wind, so are Fate and exertion indissolubly united with each other.42 Fate is the efficient cause, and exertion is the means through which man attains everything.43 It is true that exertion is of no avail when Fate has ordained otherwise. Man may toil, and yet may not reap the fruit of his labour. But then, man's exertion in good works, even if not rewarded with fruitful results in this world, will reap a benefit in the next world through the angels. Man, therefore, has to depend upon the doings of Fate for the good of this world, but upon his own actions for the spiritual goods to be enjoyed in the world hereafter.44 42. Gs. 56.

43. Gs. 57.

44. Phl. Vd. 5. 8; Mkh. 22. 4-6.
Through Fate man performs meritorious deeds.45 Man, it is true, is dependent upon the decree of Fate as regards his earthly possessions, but it is left only to his individual exertion whether [337] he shall reap the reward of righteousness or the retribution of wickedness.46 Tansar, in his letter to Jasnaf, the king of Tabaristan, writes that it is wrong to deny the sovereign sway of Fate over man's life, but it is equally wrong to give up personal effort under the exaggerated: idea of the influence of Fate. The wise, he continues, should take the middle course, for Fate and man's free will are like two loads on the back of an animal. If either is heavier than the other, both fall down.47 45. Dk., vol. 9, p. 585.

46. Dd. 71. 3.

47. Darmesteter, Lettre de Tansar au roi de Tabaristan, in JA., 1894, 1. p. 553.
Despite such prominence given to the workings of Fate by the Pahlavi writers, fatalism never came to be employed among the Zoroastrians as an excuse for cloaking man's indolence. It is idle persons, we are told, that blame Fate.48 The feeble and faltering always throw the burden of their faults on Fate. The ever active spirit of Zoroastrianism militated against fatalism, and saved the people from much of its baneful influences.

48. AnAtM. I 19.



Heretics detested more than the demon-worshippers. Her­esy was one of the greatest crimes of which a Zoroastrian could be guilty according to the ancient texts. It was a criminal offense punishable by law. The severity of the law, however, was considerably modified during the Sasanian period, even though the works written during this period do not show any considerable advance in real religious toleration. In his letter to the king of Tabaristan, Tansar states that, in the statutes which Ardashir had framed, he had greatly modified the rigour of the law; for, whereas formerly a heretic was instantly killed, Tansar's royal master had ordered that such a sinner should be imprisoned for one year, and that the religion of Ohrmazd should be preached to him daily during that period in order to reclaim him from heresy. If he still persisted obstinately in his heretical belief, capital punishment was to be inflicted upon him as a last resort.1 King Noshirvan extirpated heresies when he came to the throne.2 Any one also who did not give assent to the dogmatic teachings of the Zoroastrian creed, or expounded views that were at vari­ance with those sanctioned by her authority, incurred the odium of heresy, and came under the ban of ecclesiastical excommunica­tion. The Church forbade with proscription any criticism of its authoritative canon; the ecclesiastical doctrine was fixed, and to think otherwise was heresy. Giving the definition of a heretic, the Denkard states that whosoever teaches, speaks, or acts re­specting the beliefs and practices of the national faith differently from that which the ancients have done is a heretic.3 Heretics are of three kinds: the deceiver, deceived, and the opinionated.4 All of these misrepresent the teachings of the elders, and pervert [339] the sacred writings,5 as they declaim against the established teachings.6 They promote, in opposition to Ohrmazd, the wicked religion of Ahriman.7 The, heretic is possessed by the Evil Spirit.8 He is the disciple of the demon of heresy.9 The demons lodge in his body;10 he is, in fact, a demon in human form.11 Even during his lifetime, his body resembles a corpse and the faithful should refrain from coming in contact with him, lest they themselves become defiled.12 Bad as is his lot in this world, it is worse in the world to come. His soul is doomed to everlast­ing torture. It becomes a darting snake, and there is no resurrec­tion for it.13 For these reasons, men are warned to guard them­selves from anything that savours of heresy.14 The Pahlavi writers, in every treatise, are unsparing in their denunciation of heretics, arraigning them for deception, lying, and perversion. The heretic Gurgi is called a disreputable impostor, full of avarice, and worthy of every opprobrium.15 In a similar manner, the Pahlavi works swarm with invectives against Mani, an arch-heretic in the third century A.D., to whose account we now turn.

1. Darmesteter, Lettre de Tansar au roi de Tabaristan, in JA., 1894, p. 524.

2. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 4. 28, p. 415.

3. Vol. 12, bk. 6. C. 26, p. 58.

4. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. C. 83, p. 74.

5. Dk., vol. 1,p. 3.

6. Dk., vol. 1,p. 5.

7. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 53. 2, p. 328.

8. Dk., vol. 7, p. 474.

9. Phl. Ys. 44. 14.

10. Phl. Ys. 47,4.

11. Dk.,vol. 1, p. 15.

12. Dk., vol. 1, p. 31.

13. Sls. 17. 7.

14. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 128, p. 35.

15. Dk., vol. 5. p. 320.


The arch-heretic of the Sasanian period. This remarkable man was born in the reign of Ardavan, the last of the Parthian kings.16 He received his first revelation at the age of thirteen, and ultimately claimed to be a prophet, the very seal or the last messenger of God.17 He began his propaganda under Ardashir, but worked with greater vigour under Shapur I, who embraced his faith.18 Manichaeism flourished with varied success [340] side by side with the state religion until the time when Bahram I ascended the throne. The teachings of Mani acquired a strong hold over the minds of many, and threatened to be a powerful rival of the ancient faith. The national spirit rebelled against the encroachment of the new cult, and the king strove to extinguish the heresy by the exercise of a firm hand. He confronted Mani with his Dastur, who threw him a challenge that, both of them should pour molten lead on their bellies, and whosoever came out unhurt should be declared to be in the right. This Mani did not accept. Consequently in A.D. 276-277 he was flayed to death and his body was stuffed with straw.19 With the removal of Mani from the field of activity, the Manichaean propaganda entered upon its dissolution in Iran, but the seed of the new faith he had sown did not remain unfruitful. Despite the heavy slaughter of the Manichaeans, the new cult spread from the home of its origin to the Far East, reaching even as far as China, and penetrated far into the West in the fourth century, where for some time it contested supremacy with Chris­tianity, somewhat as Persian Mithraism had done before it. St. Augustine was a follower of Manichaeism before he was con­verted to Christianity. He was not able to free himself from the influence of his teachings even after he had joined the Christian Church. He imparted its dualistic philosophy to Chris­tian doctrine.20

16. See Jackson's excellent work Researches in Manichaeism, New York, 1932; Sevan, Manichaeism in ERE. 8. 394-402.

17. Al-Biruni, Chronology of Ancient Nations, tr. Sachau, p. 189, 190. London, 1879; Mirkhond, Rauzat-us Safa, tr. Rehatsek, part 1, vol. 2. p. 336, London, 1892.

18. Mirkhond, p. 333, 336; al-Ya'qubi, quoted by Browne, Literary His­tory of Persia, 1. 156, New York, 1902.

19. Al-Biruni, p. 191; al-Ya'qubi, cited by Browne, Literary History of Persia, 1. 157; Mirkhond, p. 337; Tabari, translated by Noldeke, Geschichte der terser und Araber, p. 47, Leiden, 1879.

20. Windelband (Eng. tr. Tufts), A History of Philosophy, p. 286, New York. 1905.
The Pahlavi writers vehemently attack Mani and his follow­ers. He is dubbed a druj21 of evil origin,22 and his followers are branded as deceivers, empty-skulled persons that practised witch­craft and deceitfulness, and taught folly in the way of secret societies;23 they are denounced as deluding the uninformed and unintelligent, and as capturing the men of little knowledge in their esoteric circle.24

21. Dk., vol. 5, p. 315-317.

22. Dk., vol. 4, p. 211.

23. Sg. 10.59, 60.

24. Sg. 10, 75-77.
Mani's eclectic system. Mani aimed at forming a world religion and based his new religion on materials drawn from [341] Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Syrian Gnosticism. In his synthetic religion he accepts the dualistic theory as the basic doctrine to explain the existence of evil. Light which is synonymous with God existed above and darkness below. Satan arose out of darkness. Twice did he invade the kingdom of light. Light and darkness are mingled in the confusion of crea­tion. Light is to be liberated from Darkness and made secure from the assaults of Darkness. That is the function of man during life. In the final dispensation Light will dispel Darkness for ever. His new religion differed in its cardinal principles from Zoroastrianism. The author of Shikand Gumanik Vijar devotes a chapter (16th) to the teachings of Mani and refutes them. The subject, however, remains incomplete as the latter part of the work is lost. Some of the more prominent features of Manichaeism, which are fundamentally foreign to the spirit of Zoroastrianism, are the ascetic principles of self-mortification, celibacy, fasting, and the vow of poverty. Each of these in turn we shall examine from the point of view of Zoroastrianism, and seek at the same time to determine the basic difference be­tween the two theories of life.

Mani holds matter to be the root of evil, hence self-morti­fication of the body is a virtue in his system. The body as composed of matter, according to this thinker, is inherently evil. On this very ground he denies the final resurrection.25 Manichaeism brands all bodily desires as evil and legislates for their stifling and killing. Since all evil has its root in the body, salvation is possible only through the extirpation of bodily de­sires. Mani's system of religion becomes quietistic, ascetic, and inculcates only passive virtues. He taught his followers to abhor all natural pleasures and abandon them. He strove to extinguish the fire of the bodily desires. The devout was to begin by abstaining from every comfort and from every amusement. In spite of this, temptations assail him on all sides, so long as he lives in the midst of earthly attachments. To adopt a practical image, the centipede does not lose much if one of its legs is broken, so man is not safe when he succeeds in eradicating one desire, for another takes its place and haunts him in the quiet moments, even when the ardent longing of communing with the divine consumes him. He is still overcome by passion, by the [342] desire of wife and child, of hearth and home. He feels that he cannot liberate himself from the unbearable yoke of these strong passions, unless he flees from the world to some solitary place where joys and sorrows cannot reach him. Life, such a one thinks, is a fleeting illusion. It cannot give him enduring calm. Accordingly, he breaks his family ties, shuns society, be­comes a hermit, and lives a life of complete quiescence. He courts negation.

25. Sg. 16.50.
Zoroastrianism stands for controlling and regulating bodily desires, but not for supprtssing and killing them. The antithesis of body and soul, flesh and spirit, is not unknown to the Pahlavi writers. But the body in itself is not evil. According to Zoro­astrianism, matter is not inherently evil, and life in the flesh is not necessarily death in the spirit. Zarathushtra legislates for the material as well as the spiritual side of our nature. A healthy body alone can nurture a healthy mind, and it is through the agency of these two prime factors that the spirit can work out her destiny. Man can act righteousness and assail wickedness only with a sound body. The faithful craves for a long life in the body in this world, before he is allotted an eternal life of spirit in heaven. Bodily life in this world is sacred, it is a pledge. Ohrmazd has confided this most precious of his gifts to man that he may join with his Heavenly Father in securing the ultimate triumph of good over evil and thus usher the divine Kingdom of Righteousness into the world. The soul rules over the body as a householder rules over a family or a rider rides his horse.26 It is the stubborn slave of the soul, and with the exercise of self-control it is to be converted into an obedient servant always ready to carry out the mandates of its master.27 The body is an indispensable vehicle of the soul and the saintly soul drives in it on the path of righteousness. It is only in the case of the wicked, in whom the flesh gains victory over the spirit, that it becomes a heavy burden, its wheels refuse to move, sticking in the quagmire of sin. But then the fault lies with the driver. It is only when the individual lives solely for the body, feasts his lustful eyes on the vices of the flesh, and is a willing slave to the bodily passions, that the body turns out to be the grave of the soul.28 Whoso lives in this world for the body [343] alone and is immersed in bodily pleasures, loses in spirit in the next world, but whoso works for the soul, makes the spiritual existence more his own.29 Just as a person going without shoes on a road infested with serpents and scorpions is constantly on guard lest the noxious creatures bite him, so a man should always beware of his bodily passions.30 The great Sasanian pontiff Adarbad said that whenever any harm befell his body, he took consolation that it did not affect his soul, which was of greater significance.31 Whosoever lives in this world with a view to the betterment of his soul, reaps the future reward, but whoso lives exclusively for the body, sees his body ultimately crumbling into dust with no hopes for the welfare of the spiritual existence.32 The wicked conducts his soul after the bodily de­sires, but the righteous man should regulate his body in con­formity with the higher desires of the soul.33 The body is the halter to the soul, and the faithful one is reminded that he should so act in the world that neither the soul nor the body suffers for the other, but if that is not possible, he should prefer the soul to the body and be prepared to sacrifice it for the good of the soul.34 The soul profits when the inordinate bodily pleasures are foregone.35 The man who is prepared to dedicate his body for the sake of his soul or religion practises true generosity.36 Though the body is the bane of the spirit, it is not branded as inherently evil. Man may work with the body, yet he may live for the soul. Discipline rather than austerity is the Zoroastrian watchword. Self-mortification does not form part of the Zoro­astrian theology. With due self-control the devout has to con­quer the flesh in order to be victor in spirit; he has to subdue his bodily nature, but not to suppress it. The body is not to be reduced to a skeleton. Zoroastrianism demands a sound and a strong body to enable man to effectively combat the hydra of evil in this world. Uncleanliness of body is one of the ascetic virtues. It is repugnant to the spirit of Zoroastrianism, which stands for the bodily purity. Purity of body contributes to purity of [344] spirit. Bodily uncleanliness means spiritual pollution, and wan­tonly weakening the body is a sin. Monastic life is unknown to the Zoroastrians of all periods. Christianity had entered Iran under the Parthian rule, and monasteries of both the sexes flourished in the Assyrian Church during the Sasanian period. Far from, exerting any influence upon the Zoroastrians, they were looked upon with great aversion by them.

26. Dk., vol. 6, p. 353, 380, 381.

27. Dk., vol. 1, p. 56.

28. Dk., vol. 5, p. 469.

29. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. A. 2, p. 33.

30. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. B. 47, p. 49, 50.

31. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. A. 5, p. 35, 36.

32. SLS. 20. 10.

33. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. 285, p. 5.

34. Dk., vol. 10, bk. 6. 25, p. 8.

35. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 89, p. 2.

36. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 91, p. 5.
Celibacy, a virtue with Mani, a vice with Zoroaster. Manichaeism extols celibacy as the greatest virtue. For those initiated in the higher orders Mani advocated celibacy. When the ardent longing for the love of God swallows up all other de­sires and becomes the controlling factor of the devout, he is enjoined to take a vow of continence. Fie should not enter into matrimonial alliance if he desires to serve God whole-heartedly. Marriage is declared incompatible with sanctity; it is accounted impure and defiling. Mani forbids sexual intercourse as the worst type of uncleanliness.37 Virginity is the highest form of life. Body being the formation of Ahriman, the propagation of lineage and breeding of families are evil.38 Marriage pro­longs the life of mankind, and so retards the union of the human species with God. 37. Al-Biruni, p. 190.

38. Sg. 16. 40, 41.
All this is in direct antagonism to the teachings of Zoro­aster. In no period of the history of his religion was celibacy ever held a virtue. Those practising it were not considered more holy and held in higher reverence, as among the Manichaeans, but their action was strongly reprehended. Even the priests were not to be celibates, for it is a cardinal point of the faith of every true Zoroastrian that he shall marry and rear a family.39 Ohrmazd prefers the man who lives a life of marital happiness to the one who lives in continence.40 Whoso does not marry and propagate lineage hinders the work of Renovation, and is wicked.41 Marriage is doubly an obligation, being a religious duty to the Church, a civic duty to the State. Hence both the Church and the State encouraged married life in Iran. It is considered a highly meritorious form of charity to help a poor man to marry.42 Herodotus remarks that the Persian kings gave [345] prizes to those who were blessed with many children.43 The Zoroastrian works of all periods exhort the faithful to enter into matrimony. Mar Shiman, the chief bishop of the Christian settlers in Iran, was accused by the Mobads before Shapur II to the effect that he and his clergy were teaching men to refrain from marriage and the procreation of children.44 King Yazdagard II saw great danger to the State in the spread of such doctrines among the masses. If they caught the contagion, says his royal edict, the world would soon come to an end.45 Such were the strong feelings against any form of celibacy that pre­vailed at all times in Persia; and even in Mani's system the stringency was generally relaxed in case of the masses. Marriage was tolerated as a source of relief to their unrestrained sexual ap­petites. It was a necessary evil in their case. But in the case of the clergy and of other righteous persons who aimed at higher life, it was obligatory that they should be celibates. Zoroastrianism legislates for the clergy and the laity alike. In Mani's sys­tem marriage was a vice for the priest, a reluctant concession to the layman. According to the religion of Zoroaster, it is neither the one nor the other; it is a positive virtue for both. Sacerdotal piety does not tend to celibacy in Iran. It is disapproved for all and under all circumstances. In no stage of the individual's moral and spiritual development is marriage ever considered as incompatible with saintliness.

39. Dk., vol. 9, p. 609, 634, 637, 639; Gs. 123, 155.

40. Vd. 4. 47.

41. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 92, p. 6, 7.

42. Vd. 4. 44.

43. 1. 136.

44. Wigram, History of the Assyrian Church, p. 64, London, 1910.

45. Elisaeus, History of Vartan, p. 13.
Fasting recommended by Manichaeism, condemned by Zoroastrianism. Mani advocated the abstinence from food as a means of expiation for sin.46 Nearly a quarter of the year was set apart by him as the period of fast. If there is one thing more than another which Zoroaster teaches, it is that man shall never serve Ohrmazd by fasting and austerities, but only by prayers and work. Far from recommending these ascetic practices as virtues, he prohibits them as sins. Fasting formed no part of the religion of ancient Iran at any period of her history. It is strongly reprobated in the works of all periods. Fasting is a sin, and the only fast that the faithful are exhorted to keep is the fast from sin.47 The wilful abstinence from food is a deliberate [346] disregard of the bounty of Ohrmazd. In his exaggerated idea of the need of fasting, the ascetic weakens his body, and practically starves himself to death by a rigorous system of fasts. Zoro­astrianism enjoins that man should take sufficient food to keep his body strong and active, and not make it languid by withhold­ing the due share of food from it. With a feeble body man could not work strenuously for the furtherance of the world of righteousness, and carry on a vigorous warfare against the world of wickedness; and this, according to the Zoroastrian belief, is the chief object of man's life on earth.

46. Al-Biruni, p. 190.

47. Sd. 83.1-6.

Mani's doctrine of poverty in the light of Zoroastrianism. The saint in Mani's system holds earthly things as so many distractions. The things of sense are impure. He tries to avoid them, and gradually gives them up one by one. He makes a vow of poverty. Wealth is looked upon as a source of temptation. Material commodities are regarded as satisfying the lower nature of man. The accumulation of property beyond that which would enable him to purchase food for one day or clothing for one year is forbidden.48 The true hermit renounces all personal effort, does not think of providing for the morrow, and with passive resignation looks to God for what he may send to him. All ascetic orders where the vow of poverty is overemphasized give rise to mendicants and beggars living upon the alms of others. Among other evils mendicancy brings a drain on the resources of a society. For that reason it is not consecrated in Zoroastrianism. In fact it was not recognized at any period in the religious history of Iran. It is not a sin to acquire riches and accumulate property. The sin originates with the improper use of one's possessions, and the faithful are expressly warned not to lust for and indulge exclusively in the accumulation of the material wealth at the expense of the spiritual.49 This repri­mand serves as a corrective to the unbridled desire to covet earthly riches.50 Wealth of the spirit is undoubtedly superior to that of the body. As regards the use of the wealth of this world man should work as if he were going to live a life of a thousand years, and as if what he failed to do today he could easily perform the next day. But when it comes to the question [347] of the spiritual riches, he should act with the fear that he might perhaps live only a day more in this world, and that if he post­poned today's good work till tomorrow, death might overtake him and prevent him from accomplishing it.51 One should choose rather to be poor for the spirit than to be rich without it. Losing the spirit for the sake of earthly riches is wrong. But accumulating earthly riches with upright means and expending them for the welfare of the spirit is meritorious. Srosh helps the man who has riches and plenty, and who, far from yielding to temptations, makes good use of his fortune.52 Wealth helps a righteous man to perform meritorious deeds,53 whereas grinding poverty at times occasions wickedness.54 If a man craves for a vast fortune with a firm resolve to spend it for charitable pur­poses, his desire is laudable.55 It is praiseworthy that man should, spend his earthly riches for his spiritual welfare.56 Wealth is given to man not to squander on himself, but to help the poor and the needy, and assuage the wrongs of suffering humanity.57 When misused, wealth becomes a halter to the body, and the wise one should sacrifice it, for the good of his soul.58 Man should not be intoxicated with pride when he is in the plenitude of his riches and at the height of fortune, and must not hate the poor, for his fortune might leave him at any moment and place him in the class of the paupers.59 He is reminded that howsoever rich he grows, his wealth could never exceed that of Jamshid. And yet that great king found his wealth deserting him when his end approached.60 The kingdoms of the kings with all their fabulous fortunes are not everlasting.61 One should not be proud of his fortune. It is but vanity; it is as fleeting and transient as a dream.62 It changes its masters like a bird that flies from one tree to another, only to leave that in turn for still another.63 At death wealth and property do not accompany [348] company the owner, but go into others' possessions.64 None should be proud of his possessions and count upon them as exclusively his own, for at the time of death even the palaces and treasures are of no avail, and the owner does not take them with him on his journey heavenward.65 A wealthy man rolling in riches is healthy in the morning, becomes ill at noon, and quietly passes from this world before night; his fortune does not help him to avert this calamity.66 Wealth and rank are the accidents of life, they do not constitute the real greatness of man. Righteousness alone is the true riches and man can­not get it in the next world on loan.67

48. A1-Biruni, p. 190.

49. Dk., vol. 3, p. 129; vol. 5, p. 314, 315; vol. 11, bk. 6. 149, 150, p. 49.

50. Dk., vol. 13, bk. 6. E. 16, p. 4, 5.

51. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 151, p. 49.

52. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 90, p. 4, 5.

53. Dk., vol. 4, p. 192.

54. Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. 283, p. 8.

55 Dk., vol. 12, bk. 6. 310, p. 25, 26.

56. Dk., vol. 6, p. 418.

57. Dk., vol. 3, p. 142; AnAtM. 47.

58. Dk., vol. 10, bk. 6. 26, p. 8, 9.

59. AnAtM. 57.

60. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 152, p. 49, 50.

61. Gs. 1.

62. Gs. 58.

63. AnAtM. 88.

64. AnAtM. 145.

65. Gs. 169.

66. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 200, p. 71, 72.

67. AnKhK. 5.


The economic basis of his religious reform. The second great heretic of this period who had a considerable following was a pious Mobad named Mazdak, son of Bamdat.68 A Pahlavi treatise named Mazdak Namah, Book of Mazdak, is said to have been rendered into Arabic by Ibnul Muqaffa. The work has been lost, but its contents have been preserved in other Arabic works.69 The author of Dabistan says that he met some Mazdakites who practised their religion secretly among the Mohammedans. These showed him a book called Desnad, written in Old Persian.70 There are references to Mazdak and his teachings in Greek and Syriac, Arabic and Persian. He is called the accursed heterodox who observes fasts,71 who ap­peared to cause disturbance among the faithful.72 He was con­temporary with Kobad.73 Mazdak agreed with the fundamental doctrine of Zoroastrianism in respect to the indelible antithesis between the two principles, Light and Darkness, or Ohrmazd and [349] Ahriman.74 Masudi calls him a Zendik.75 Tabari, Mirkhond, and others accuse him of teaching the doctrine of the community of wives.76 The Dabistan repeats the statement.77 Mazdak's revolutionary reform, however, was not so much religious as it was social and economic, for he preached communism, pure and simple. 68. Modi, Mazdak the Iranian Socialist in Dastur Hoshang Memorial Volume, p. 116-131; Christensen, Two Versions of the History of Mazdak in Modi Memorial Volume, p. 321-330; Nicholson, Mazdak in ERE. 8,,. 508-510; Pettazoni, La Religione di Zarathustra, p. 199, 200.

69. Browne, A Literary History of Persia, I. 169, New York, 1902.

70. Dabistan, tr. Shea and Troyer, 1. 378.

71. BYt. 2. 21; Phl. Vd. 4. 49.

72. BYt. 1.6.

73. 488-531 A.D.

74. Al-Biruni, tr. Sachau, p. 192; Dabistan, tr. Shea and Troyer, I. 373.

75. Tr. Barbier de Meynard, vol. 2. p. 195.

76. Zotenberg. 2 148-152; Sacy, Memoires sur diverses Antiquites de la Perse, p. 354-356.

77. Shea and Troyer, I. 377, 378.

The account of Mazdak's system is very meagre; but it is known that he accounted Jealousy, Wrath, and Greed as the three main causes of all evil in the world. Everyone, according to Mazdak's teachings, should be given equal opportunity and equal share of the enjoyment of the earthly possessions of God. So it was originally ordained by God, but that natural order has been upset by the aggressive strong for their own self-aggran­dizement.78 Society should therefore return to that original ideal state. These revolutionary teachings thrilled for a time Iran, and exercised a powerful fascination on the masses. The crisis was brought to a head when, far from taking any initiative to stamp out the heresy, the king encouraged it, and finally em­braced it. His son, Prince Noshirvan, summoned the Dasturs and Mobads to consider the situation. It was certain that the cult would spread and the young prince adopted severe measures to suppress it, lest it should menace the public peace. The clergy who viewed the new heresy with great alarm, advised rigorous measures to extirpate the threatening creed. Mazdak did not live long to preach his doctrine, for the prince arranged a banquet for him and his followers and put them all to the sword in A.D. 528.

78. Tabari, tr. Nöldeke, Geschichte der Terser und Araber zur zeit der Sasaniden, p. 141, 154, Leiden, 1879.

This communistic socialistic sect received therewith a fatal blow from which it never wholly recovered, but it maintained a feeble spark of life for a considerable time. The Rawandis, Babak, called al-Khurrami, and al-Muqanna, the Veiled Prophet of Khurasan, later embodied the salient teachings of Mazdak in their system.79

79. Browne, op. cit., 1.316-318; 328.



The supreme godhead. Ohrmazd is the Pahlavi equivalent of the Avestan Ahura Mazda in the Pahlavi writings of the Sasanian period and later. The concept of the Highest Being retains its former abstract and spiritual character in the works of the Pahlavi writers. Ohrmazd is what the entire creation is not, and he is not what anything in the universe is. The author of the Denkard describes him by negatives, and states that Ohrmazd is the sovereign, and not slave; father, and not child; first, and, not last; master, and not servant; lord, and not serf; pro­tector, and not protected; changeless, and not changeable; knowl­edge itself, and not acquiring knowledge; giver and not receiver.1 Radiant and glorious are his standing epithets in the Pazend prayers. We shall presently discuss some of the most prominent of the divine attributes which the Pahlavi works ascribe to Ohrmazd.

1. Vol. 3, p. 176,177.

Ohrmazd is eternal. Ohrmazd had no beginning and has no end. He alone is the one who is neither born nor dies.2 His adversary is inferior to him in this respect, that there will be a time when he will not exist. Ohrmazd ever was, is, and will ever be.3 He is the causer of causes, himself being causeless.4 He is the prime source of existence.5

2. Ba Nâm-i Yazad in Pazend Texts, p. 210.

3. Bd. 1. 3; Dk. vol. 2, p. 103; Gs. 128; Duâ-i Nam Sitâyishn in Pazend Texts, p. 159.

4. Dk., vol. 9, p. 572.

5. Dk., vol. 3. p. 157.

Ohrmazd is invisible. The concept of the spirituality of Ohrmazd remains unchanged. He is the Spirit of Spirits.6 Invisi­bility is the chief characteristic of spirituality, and Ohrmazd is said to be invisible.7 He is so even to the other spiritual beings.8 Though present in everything, he is unseen anywhere.9 When [351] Viraf is escorted by Srosh and Atar to the celestial court, and presented by Vohuman to Ohrmazd he hears the voice of Ohrmazd, sees a light, but does not see him face to face.10 The souls of the righteous ones behold the place of Ohrmazd in heaven, and console themselves as having seen Ohrmazd himself.11

6. Dd. 31. 6; Sg, 1. 2; Dk., vol. 2, p. 103; Dua-i Nam Sitâyishn in Pazend Texts, p. 159.

7. Dk., vol. 6, p. 390.

8. Dd. 31. 6.

9. Dk., vol. 3, p. 174.

10. AV. 11, 1-6; 101. 10-12.

11. Dd. 19, 4.

He is intangible. The Gathic and Later Avestan texts spoke figuratively of the hands, mouth, eyes, and body of Ohrmazd. In the Pahlavi texts Zaratusht is portrayed as sitting by the side of the Lord and saying to him that the head, hands, feet, hair, mouth, tongue, and even clothes of Ohrmazd resembled his own and therefore he wished to grasp the Heavenly Father with his hands. Ohrmazd thereupon tells him that this is impossible, for, as the godhead, he is intangible.12 A later text, on the contrary, speaks of Ohrmazd as taking hold of the prophet's hand and giving him wisdom in the shape of water to swallow.13

12. SLS. 15.2,3.

13. BYt. 2, 4, 5.

He is omniscient. In his knowledge of the past, present, and future Ohrmazd is without an equal.14 It is he alone who is called the all-knowing one.15 He knows all that is to come, and is aware of the final overthrow and end of his adversary.16 Through his wisdom it is that man can guide himself to the path of righteousness.17 Owing to his power of comprehending every­thing, he is the best judge of man.18 He knows the inmost recesses of man's heart, for no secrets are hid from him.

14. Bd. 1. 2; Dk. vol. 1, p. 34.

15. Bd. 1. 2; Sg. 1. 1; 8. 49; Dk. vol. 1. p. 34; vol. 2, p. 103 ; vol. 3, p. 140; vol. 5, p. 331 ; vol. 6, p. 390, 412, 416; vol. 7, p. 440, 452; Vol. 8, p. 429, 461, 485; vol. 9, p. 594; Jsp., p. 110; Dua-i Nâm Sitâyishn; Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd; Nâm-i Khâvar; Sitâyishn-i Ahuramazd in Pazend Texts, p. 159, 206, 212, 243.

16. Bd 1. 13, 17, 20; Zsp 1. 2; Dk., vol. 4, p. 258.

17. Dk., vol. 3. p. 174.

18. Dk., vol. 7, p. 473.

He is omnipotent. Despite his rival who always thwarts his work, Ohrmazd is called omnipotent and all-ruling.19 Every­thing in the world has some superior, Ohrmazd alone has none.20 He is not wanting in anything.21 The strongest of men feels [352] himself impotent before the Lord. There are moments in each man's life during which his strength fails him, and he longs for the invisible power to lean upon. Ohrmazd is the power to turn to, for he is all-protecting.22 He is the sustainer and helper of the helpless, guardian of the rich and the poor, liberator of those in distress and averter of all harm.23

19. Sg. 1. 1; Dk., vol. 1, p. 34; vol. 2, p. 103; vol. 3, p. 140, 157; vol. 6, p. 390, 412; vol. 7, p. 440; Duâ-i Nâm Sitâyishn; Ba Nâm-i Yazad; Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd; Sitâyishn-i Ahuramazd in Pazend Texts, p. 159, 206-208, 243.

20. Dk., vol. 3, p. 177.

21. Dk., vol. 3, p. 174; vol. 6, p. 412.

22. Dk., vol. 7, p. 440; Duâ-i Nam Sitâyishn in Pazend Texts, p. 159.

23. Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd; Ba Nâm-i Yazad, Sipâs-i Akenâreh, Nâm-i Khâvar; Sitâyishn-i Ahuramazd in Pazend Texts, p. 206, 209, 211, 212, 243.

Ohrmazd is the creator and conservator of creation. He has created the entire creation.24 He has created the Amshaspands and Izads, the paradise and Garotman, the shining sun and the brilliant moon, stars and the wind, water and fire, earth and trees, cattle and metals and men. He has given movements to the heavens and upholds them without pillars. He has given eyes to see and ears to hear and tongue to speak and hands to hold and feet to walk.25 Through his wisdom he has brought the world into being and exercises his providential care to maintain it.26 He is the father of man,27 whom he has created as the greatest in all creation and has endowed with the power of thinking.28 It is man's sacred duty to obey his heavenly creator.29 He is the father and lord of creation.30 He has created the good creatures, that they may participate in removing the blemish-giver from the world.31 Like the weaver he has woven multi­farious objects on the loom of nature.32 Progress of his crea­tures is his constant wish.33 He is the eternal source of all bless­ings and benefactions.

24. Dk., vol. 3, p 163, 179.

25. Duâ-i Nâm Sitâyishn; Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd, Ba Nâm-i Yazad; Sipâs-i Akenâreh; Nâm-i Khâvar; Sitâyishn-i Ahuramazd in Pazend Texts, p. 159, 206-209, 211, 212, 243.

26. Dk., vol. 5, p: 324; vol. 12, bk. 6. 311, p. 26.

27. Gs. 122.

28. Duâ-i Nâm Sitâyishn in Pazend Texts, p. 159.

29. Dk., vol. 4, p. 268.

30. Dk., vol. 5, p. 323.

31. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 135, p. 39; Duâ-i Nâm Sitâyishn in Pazend Texts, p. 159.

32. Dk., vol. 7, p. 425.

33. Dd. 3. 1,2.

He is all-good. The creator is supreme in goodness,34 he is all-goodness without any evil.35 Whatever is good in the world proceeds from him.36 He is the fountain of goodness as he is the [353] source of glory and light and happiness.37 He is benevolent and beneficent.38 He is foremost in goodness;39 always wish­ing good, and never contemplating evil of any kind.40 His good­ness extends to the good and evil alike,41 for his desire is all-beneficent.42 This is manifest from the infinite care which he takes of his creatures,43 as he is the preserver and protector of man through his perfect goodness.44 Man should discipline his soul to trust in the goodness of Ohrmazd. Young and old, it is said, should think a hundred thousand times daily about the numerous blessings showered upon them by Ohrmazd, for un­gratefulness on their part would lead their souls to the abode of woe.45

34. Bd. 1. 2.

35. Zsp. 1. 17.

36. Dk.,vol. 12, bk. 6. 1. 2, p. 38. 37 Sitâyish-i Depmihr in Pazend Texts, p. 257.

38 Dua-i Nam Sitâyishn; Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd; Ba Nâm-i Yazad; Sipâs-i Akenâreh; Nâm-i Khâvar, Sitâyishn-i Ahuramazd in Pazend Texts, p. 159, 206-209, 211, 212, 243.

39 Dd. 37. 127; Dk., vol. 4, p. 194.

40 Mkh. 8. 22.

41 Mkh. 38. 4.

42 Sg. 8. 53.

43 Sg. 8.57,58.

44 Dk., vol. 3, p. 140.

45 Ba Nâm-i Yazad in Pazend Texts, p. 209, 210.

He is all-merciful. The Heavenly Father is the source of mercy and is all-merciful.46 He is the lord of beneficence.47 He is merciful to those who turn to him in joy and sorrow. When man look to Ahriman and not to Ohrmazd for guidance, he incurs the divine displeasure. Yet even if man in this way may be out of Ohrmazd's approbation, he is still not out of his mercy. The deity knows the infirmities of human nature and the weaknesses of the human heart, and forgives man's inequity and transgression, if, penitent, the sinner approaches his Heavenly Father with heartfelt contrition,48 firmly resolving to redeem his sinful past by good deeds present and future. 46. Dk., vol. 6, p. 385.

47. Mkh. 1. 1.

48. Dk., vol. 1, p. 9; Duâ-i Nâm Sitâyishn; Namâz-i Dâdâr Ahuramazd; Ba Nâm-i Yazad in Pazend Texts, p. 159, 206-208.

At the end of time, Ohrmazd will gather back all his creatures to himself.49 Even the sinners will not be lost forever. Yet all this while the merciful Lord desires that man may not even now leave his blessed company, for it grieves him that man should suffer even temporarily through his own perverse conduct, and thus postpone the ultimate renovation.

49. Dk., vol. 6, p. 416.

[354] Ohrmazd is light physically, morally he is truth. When Viraf, as hallowed visitant of true faith to the realms supernal, is escorted by Srosh and Atar as angel guides to the presence of Ohrmazd, he finds to his utter bewilderment that, although the almighty Lord is graciously pleased to greet him with audible divine words, he himself can see nothing in the ineffable presence but the sovereign light.50 This endless light is emblematic of Ohrmazd, who dwells therein.51 All light proceeds from Ohrmazd.52 In the moral sphere Ohrmazd is eternal truth. Porphyry of Tyre53 says that he learnt from the Magi that they upheld the view that the body of Ohrmazd resembled light, and his soul was a likeness of truth.54

50. AV 101. 4-12.

51. Bd. 1. 2;Zsp. 1.2.

52. Gs. 132.

53. About 230-305 A. D.

54. Vita Pyth., 41.

He is all-just. Great is the goodness of Ohrmazd, but his justice demands that he shall not make awards regardless of the merits or demerits of man. He is the divine law-giver, and as such he is the sovereign judge. The guilty man who affronts him, the sinner who lives and moves without contrition in his heart, the rebel who discards divine authority, all need a correc­tive. As the lord of mercy he forgives, but as the lord of justice he punishes as well. He is the giver of the reward of merit,55 and does not let pass a single good deed of man unrewarded.56

55. Dk., vol. 6. p. 361.

56. Dk., vol. 6, p. 385, 386.

Man should devote himself body and soul to Ohrmazd. Man has an inborn impulse that prompts him to strive after the divine. He looks to God for the satisfaction of the yearnings of his heart, even though the Evil Spirit ever struggles to steal away his heart from Ohrmazd. In the age-long conflict between good and evil, man's soul forms the prize of the two combatants. Whether he shall be a willing prize in the hands of Ohrmazd, or a rebel prey in the clutches of Ahriman, rests with him. Man, therefore, should learn to know himself. Religion best teaches him to do this. This knowledge of the self it is that will put him into right relation with his Heavenly Father, and thus save him from falling a victim to Druj.57 Man toils to teach the parrot and the pet nightingale, but neglects to tame himself in the service of the Lord. The animal in his makeup asserts itself under such circumstances and prevents his spirit from singing glory to his creator. Man's evil thoughts and sensual appetites, [355] hampering his spiritual growth, prove to be only so many turns and win dings that lead him astray from the path of Ohrmazd to that of Ahriman. Well can we see why man has constantly to beware of these; the tempestuous storm may overtake him at any moment, if he has not made any provision in the hour of calm. There is no hope for the individual who demeans and debases himself, and is loath to leave the path of wickedness. It is through the help of Ohrmazd that man can liberate himself from the evil designs of Ahriman, and make himself worthy for eter­nal bliss.58 57. Dk., vol. 6, p. 356.

58. Dk., vol. 7, p. 441.

Man should further know Ohrmazd, for to know him is to follow him. This is the desire of the godhead.59 He loves man with the love of a father for his child.60 It behooves man to live in accordance with the divine will, and to offer to him wor­ship and glorification.61 He is worthy of man's praise because of his wise dispensation unto man.62 Purity of thought, word, and deed is the most acceptable sacrifice to be given to Ohrmazd. The righteous person who furthers his creation by his holy deeds pleases him most.63 59. Mkh. 40. 24, 25; Dk., vol. 7, p. 444; vol. 10, bk. 6. 31, p. 10.

60. Dk., vol. 7, p. 441.

61. Dk., vol. 9, p. 641.

62. Dk., vol. 6, p. 390.

63. Dk., vol. 8, p. 489.

Devotion to Ohrmazd should dominate man's entire being, and man stands firm as a rock in the midst of trials and suffer­ings as long as he lives for Ohrmazd. Woe unto him who ceases to be good, for Ohrmazd departs from his sinful person and the wicked man becomes a partner of Ahriman.64 The strongest of the strong has to turn to God for succour in the moment of over­whelming trouble, and Ohrmazd's help is the best preservative of man from all calamities. In the moment of the bitterest anguish, when man's heart sinks under sorrow, when cramping and sordid poverty brings depression, when the cup of misery is filled to the brim, and the spirit is wrung with grief, man finds the final refuge in him.65 When man is devoutly resigned to Ohrmazd, he is saved from all troubles.66 64. Dk., vol. 3, p. 179.

65. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 126, p. 33.

66. Dk., vol. 10, bk. 6. 28, p. 9.

In his divinity, moreover, Ohrmazd desires that man shall not come to him simply when reduced to dire extremities, but shall be constant in his devotion, whether amid happiness or in misery. [356] Man shall not serve him because he fears him, but because he loves him. The devout shall not remember him in need, and forget him in plenty; nor shall he pay homage to Ohrmazd in the temple, and bend his knees to Ahriman outside.

The Holy Spirit. Spena Menu is the Pahlavi equivalent of the Avestan Spenta Mainyu, or the Holy Spirit, and occurs es­pecially in the great Pahlavi work Denkard as the divine attri­bute of Ohrmazd. Instances may, however, be cited in which the Holy Spirit, here as in the Gathas, seems to have been regarded as being separate from Ohrmazd.67 Like the Younger Avestan texts, the Denkard speaks of the creation of the Holy Spirit.68 He is the source of all virtue, as his rival Gana Menu or Ahri­man is the originator of vice.69 The good qualities of man that make him righteous are derived from him.70 To know Spena Menu, is to reach him,71 and the devout person who is in spirit­ual communion with the Holy Spirit prospers in this world.72 When a man is possessed of the power of Spena Menu, he is able to rout the Evil Spirit,73 but when he sinfully puts out the Holy Spirit from his person, he exposes himself to the danger of being overpowered by the arch-fiend.74 Spena Menu warns man of the temptations of the Evil Spirit, and inspires him with pious thoughts.75 67. Dk., vol. 2, p. 120; vol. 4, p. 194; vol. 5, p. 297, 328.

68. Vol. 5, p. 325; vol. 8, p. 442.

69. Dk., vol. 5, p. 348.

70. Dk., vol. 5, p. 341.

71. Dk., vol. 8, p. 442.

72. Dk., vol. 5, p. 328, 340; vol. 8, p. 441, 442.

73. Dk., vol. 4, p. 208, 209.

74. Dk., vol. 2, p. 108.

75. Dk., vol. 4. p. 250-252.

Vohuman, the genius of wisdom, and also the innate wisdom, are the products of Spena Menu,76 and it is the Holy Spirit that bestows the gift of divine wisdom upon man.77 In fact the Mazdayasnian religion itself is the innate intelligence of Spena Menu.78 76. Dk., vol. 3, p. 158.

77. Dk., vol. 8, p. 477.

78. Dk., vol. 8, p. 474.

Spena Menu will ultimately triumph over the wicked Gana Menu,79 and banish evil from the world.80 79. Dk., vol. 4, p. 252, 253; vol. 7, p. 462; vol. 8, p. 441.

80. Dk., vol. 5, p. 326.




The archangels. The Avestan designation Amesha Spenta, representing the highest celestial beings, now assumes the form Amshaspand or Amahraspand. With Ohrmazd as the president of the celestial council the Amshaspands are seven in number1, though occasionally Goshurun and Neryosangh are also classed among the archangels.2 A late Pazend prayer called Shtkasta-i Shaitan, or the Annihilation of Satan, augments the list of the Amshaspands and speaks of them as being thirty-three in number. Ohrmazd has created his colleagues.3 They are both males and females.4 The first seven days of each month bear their names.5 Every one of the group has a special flower dedi­cated to him or her.6 Their abode is in the all-glorious, all-de­lightful Best Existence.7 A later Pahlavi-Pazend work states that the seven Amshaspands have emanated one from the other, that is, the second from the first, the third from the second, and so on.8

1. Zsp. 21. 12; 22. 1; Dd. 43. 8, 9.

2. SLS. 22. 14; Dk., SBE. vol. 47, bk. 7. 2. 21, p. 23.

3. Bd. 1.23,26.

4. BYt. 2.64.

5. Bd. 27. 24; SLS. 22. 1-7; 23. 1.

6. Bd. 27. 24.

7. Dd. 74. 2; 94. 12.

8. Jsp. 110.

Their attributes. The Amshaspands are immortal, invisible,9 intangible,10 of great wisdom, friendly to the good creation, the forgiving ones,11 holy, wise, far-seeing, beneficent and intelli­gent.12 Inasmuch as they owe their existence to Ohrmazd they are finite,13 yet so great is their brilliance that Zaratusht does not see his own shadow on the ground when he approaches them in heavenly conference.14

9. Dd. 74. 2; Dk., vol. 1, p. 47.

10. SLS. 15.3.

11. Dd. 74.3.

12. Jsp. p. 110.

13. Dk. vol. 2, p. 114.

14. Zsp. 21.13.

Their work. Various are the boons that the archangels give unto men.15 Just as in the Later Avestan descriptions, they [358] come down to the sacrifice,16 and accept the prayers and offerings of pious men, if performed with accuracy; but they do not grace the ceremony with their august presence when it is performed by impious persons, and with faulty recitals.17 They dwell in the man over whom wisdom has full sway,18 and those men alone who are blessed with superior wisdom are under their protec­tion.19 Three times every day they form an assembly in the fire-temples and shed good works and righteousness around for the advantage of the devout votaries that frequent the sacred places.20 It is the will and pleasure of Ohrmazd that mankind shall propitiate them, and Zaratusht is commissioned to exhort mankind so to do.21 Ohrmazd further tells the prophet that the recital of their names is good, the sight of them is better, but to carry out their commands is best.22 Man should be quick to speak the truth, ever thinking that the invisible archangels are standing by his side to watch him.23 Ohrmazd confers with them in regard to creating Zaratusht on earth, and they help the god­head in this great work.24 They rout the demons,25 and join naturally in lending assistance to Tishtar in his struggle with Aposh.26 They successfully conduct Zaratusht through the three ordeals in heaven-the first by fire, the second by molten metal, and the third by the knife. All the symbolic bearing of these tests they explain to him as the veritable trials to prove the steadfastness of the faithful when called upon, in troublous times, to vindicate the truth of the religion.27

15. SLS. 22, 1-7.

16. SLS. 19. 7.

17. SLS. 9. 10.

18. Dk., vol. 3, p. 159.

19. Dk., vol. 8, p. 462, 463.

20. SLS. 20. 1; Dk., vol 12, bk. 6. 301. p. 15.

21. SLS. 15.30.

22. Zsp. 21 18.

23. Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 91, p. 5,6.

24. Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 2. 19-35, p. 22-26. 25. Bd. 30.29.

26. Dd. 93.13, 14.

27. Zsp. 21.24-27.

The thirty days of the month are presided over by seven Amshaspands and twenty-three Izads. Each Amshaspand takes three or four Izads as his hamkârs, co-workers, to accomplish certain functions. Ohrmazd, for example, takes Day-pa-Adar (Depadar), Day-pa-Mihr (Depmihr), and Day-pa-Den (Depdin), to rout the accursed Ahriman. Vohuman has May (Mohor), Goshorun (Gosh), and Ram for his comrades to smite the cruel Eshm. [359] Ardwahisht is joined by Atar, Srosh, and Warharan in the work of combating the demon of cold and the torments of Aposh and Spenjagra. Khwarshed, Mihr, Asman, and Anagran join Shahrewar to smite Bushasp, the demon of sloth. Spandarmad has Aban, Den, Ard/Ashishwangh, and Mahraspand as her comrades in her struggle with Astovidhot, the bone-breaker or the demon of death. Hordad (Khurdad) is helped by Tishtar, Wad (Gowad), and Frawardin in his fight with the demons of avarice, Tarich and Zarich. Amurdad is joined by Rashn, Ashtad, and Zam (Zamyat) to co-operate with him in with­standing the demons of thirst and hunger.28

28. Afrin-i haft Amshâspand in Pazend Texts, p. 86-88.

The great change wrought in the concept of the function of the Amshaspands, in contradistinction to Gathic and Later Avestan times, is that their work of guarding the concrete objects of the world receives greater attention than their prime work of en­forcing the abstract virtues which they personify. In the Pahlavi period they have severally been assigned the work of guarding seven worldly creations, man, animals, fire, metal, earth, water, and plants.29 The text just cited goes further and asserts that each Amshaspand has produced his own creation.30 These ob­jects are the counterparts of the Amshaspands, and their pro­pitiation is equivalent to propitiating their spiritual masters.31

29. SLS. 13.14; 15.5.

30. SLS. 15.4.

31. SLS. 15.6.


His materialization. Ohrmazd is the father of Vohuman, or Good Mind, who is the first, after the godhead, in the entire creation,32 and therefore standing next only to Ohrmazd himself.33 He is possessed of good thoughts, peace-giving and evil-smiting, courageous and noble.34 Vohuman is intangible,35 but is depicted as assuming the form of a man when he is commissioned by Ohrmazd to hold a conference with Zaratusht about the new faith. The prophet sees Vohuman coming from the southern regions.36 The archangel seems to be of as great height as three [360] men's spears and he holds a twig, the spiritual symbol of religion, in his hand.37 Another text speaks of him as coming in the form of a handsome, brilliant, and elegant man, of nine times the height of Zaratusht, clad in rich, shining clothes.38 When Vohuman escorted Zaratusht to the council of the Amshaspands, the prophet saw that Vohuman took only nine steps to cover as much space in walking as he himself did in ninety steps.39 The pure, white garment, the sacred shirt of the faithful, is desig­nated as Vohuman's raiment.40

32. Bd. 1. 23; Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 38, 6, p. 274; Dk., vol. 1, p. 34.

33. Dk., vol. 9, p. 572-574.

34. Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Vohuman in Pazend Texts, p. 98, 224.

35. SLS 15. 3.

36. Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 3. 51, p. 47, 48.

He protects Zaratusht from the time of the prophet's birth, and helps him in his prophetic work. Ohrmazd consults Vo­human together with Artavahisht about the appropriate time of sending Zaratusht to the world, and Vohuman accordingly works miraculously to facilitate the birth of Zaratusht.41 He enters into the reason of the infant,42 and makes the child laugh imme­diately at birth.43 When Ahriman lets loose the fiends to destroy the babe, Ohrmazd sends Vohuman to save it.44 The archangel hastens to the home of Zaratusht and dispels Akoman, whom he finds there.45 When the child prophet, according to the legend, was put in the den of wolves by the wizards, Vohuman, with the help of Srosh, took a sheep full of milk at night and suckled the child.46 The Gathas refer to Vohuman's coming to Zaratusht in order to impart to him enlightenment. We have in the Pahlavi texts the details of their meeting and their conver­sation. On being questioned by Vohuman as to his most ardent desire, Zaratusht declared it to be righteousness,47 and Vohuman even conducted him into the celestial council.48 Ohrmazd, as the Pahlavi writings record, sent Vohuman along with the other Amshaspands to the court of Vishtasp in order that they might testify to the truth of the sacred mission of the prophet.49 The archangel is the friend of Zaratusht.50

37. Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 3. 52, p. 48.

38. Zsp. 21.8.

39. Zsp. 21. 12.

40. Dd. 39. 19; 40.2.

41. Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 2, 17, 19, 24-26, 29, 33, p. 22-26.

42. Zsp. 20.3.

43. Zsp. 14. 12; Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 5. 2. 5, p. 123.

44. Zsp. 14.9.

45. Zsp. 14.10, 11.

46. Zsp. 16.9; Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 3. 17, p. 39.

47. Zsp. 21. 9, 10; Dk., SBE., vol 47, bk. 7. 3. 54-59, p. 48, 49.

48. Zsp. 21. 11; Dk.; SBE., vol. 47, bk; 7. 3. 60-62, p. 49, 50.

49. Dk., vol. 9, p. 615, 616; SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 4. 74-82; p. 67-70.

50. Dk., SBE., vol37, bk. 9. 38. 12; p. 276.

[361] Vohuman's functions. He was one of the bearers of relig­ion from the Deity to Siamak, the son of the first human pair.51 He co-operates with Tishtar in pouring down rain on the earth.52 He, as a divine aid, helps man to perform meritorious deeds.53 It is the duty of Vohuman to record the doings of men three times every day, and to keep account of their thoughts, words, and deeds.54 As the recorder of the actions of mankind in the material world, he naturally appears in connection with the celes­tial assize which takes account of the doings of the souls when they proceed to the next world after death.55 When the pious soul approaches heaven he welcomes it, and assigns its place and reward in paradise.56 Vohuman gives reward to him who prac­tises virtue, and teaches mankind to refrain from sin.57 It is Vohuman who pictures the final good at the Renovation to children if they turn out to be righteous, and it is for this reason that children who are innocent are always cheerful.58 At the time of the renovation of the universe man will profit through the friendship of Vohuman,59 and it is Vohuman who ushers in the Messianic benefactors, and brings Hoshedar [Ushedar], Hoshedarmah [Ushedarmah], and Soshyos into conference with Ohrmazd.60 Vohuman will smite forever his adversary Akoman, the demon of evil thought, at the final restoration of the world.61

51. Dk., vol. 7, p. 457.

52. Bd. 7. 3; Zsp. 6. 3.

53. Dk., vol. 8, p. 446.

54. Dd. 14.2.

55. Dd. 31.11.

56. Dd. 31. 5; Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 8. 44. 78, p. 164.

57. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 47. 15, p. 306.

58. Dk., vol. 8, p. 439.

59. Gs. 158.

60. Phl. Ys. 28. 9.

61. Bd. 30.29.

Goodness and wisdom abound in man when he welcomes Vohuman as his guest. Ohrmazd tells Zaratusht that the one who welcomes Vohuman learns the distinction between the ways of good and of evil.62 Reverence for Vohuman brings submission to virtue, and man thereby detects his inner tendency to evil and sin.63 Through the possession of Vohuman he comes to a better understanding of good and evil,64 and the possession of Vohuman serves to explain to him Vohuman's true nature.65 The man who loves Vohuman and his wisdom learns the [362] discrimination between good and evil and thus gratifies Ohrmazd.66 The creator has put Vohuman in man's body to withstand Ako-man.67 He resides in the human conscience and imparts wis­dom;68 and when he is lodged and treasured in the heart of the faithful, he increases man's knowledge of religion.69 Light, purity, perfume, and the archangels are in the man who wel­comes Vohuman as his guest,70 and that individual in whom Vo­human predominates is rich in contentment, and receives praise in both the worlds.71 Peace and righteousness prevail, when one's will is ruled by Vohuman. Whoever entertains this celestial being as his guest purifies his own thoughts, words, and deeds;72 and the man that has Vohuman as his guest becomes staunch in vir­tue.73 The lover of Vohuman spreads instruction of virtue in the world.74 Anyone, furthermore, who speaks words of virtue sac­rifices unto Vohuman.75 In order that Vohuman may dwell in man, every vestige of evil should be destroyed. When he has taken his seat in man, wrath and avarice and evil deeds disap­pear; but when man indulges in these vices, Vohuman departs from him.76 Sin flees away where Vohuman resides;77 and prosperity, good reputation, and piety ensue where Vohuman has his dwelling-place in man.78 He becomes righteous, who makes Vohuman his own.79 Vohuman is besought to grant wis­dom and good thought.80 Man is exalted by imbibing the su­perior knowledge of Vohuman,81 and wisdom comes through the friendship of Vohuman.82 The archangel preserves intelli­gence in man,83 and endows him with wisdom.84 Man gets the innate and acquired wisdom through him.85

62. Dd. 7.7.

63. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 53. 33, p. 335. 336.

64. Dk , SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 31. 14, p. 248.

65. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 51. 10, p. 320, 321.

66. Dk., SBE., vol 37, bk. 9. 54. 6, p. 341, 342.

67. Dk., vol. 9, p. 625.

68. Dk., vol. 8, p. 480, 481.

69. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 50. 14, p. 313, 314.

70. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 67. 4, p. 382.

71. Dk., vol. 3, p. 159.

72. Dk., vol. 1, p. 27, 28.

73. Dd. 3. 14; Dk., SBE., vol. 37. bk. 9. 47. 16, p. 306, 307.

74. Dk, SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9. 63. 9, p. 372.

75. Dk., SBE , vol. 37, bk. 9. 52. 3, p. 323. 76. Sg. 8. 128, 129; Sitâyish-i Vohuman in Pazend Texts, p. 244.

77. Dk., vol, 11, bk. 6. 193, p. 69.

78. Dk., vol. 6, p. 410, 411.

79. Sitâyish-i Vohuman in Pazend Texts, p. 244.

80. SLS. 22.2.

81. Dk., vol. 6, p. 413, 414.

82. Dk., vol. 6, p. 357.

83. Dk., vol. 3, p. 152.

84. Dk., vol. 8, p. 471, 472.

85. Âfrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Vohuman in Pazend Texts, p. 98, 244.

[363] On the material side Vohuman is the patron divinity of animals. In the creation of this world, cattle are placed under the care of Vohuman.86 The true follower of Zaratusht nour­ishes and feeds them, protects them from oppressors, and de­livers them not over to cruel tyrants; it is such a one that pro­pitiates Vohuman;87 for cattle are the counterparts of Vohu­man, and he who is good to them reaps the benefit of both the worlds.88 Vohuman, accordingly, asks Zaratusht in his confer­ence with the prophet to maintain the species of certain classes of animals in the world.89

86. SLS. 13. 14; 15, 5.

87. SLS. 15. 9, 10.

88. SLS. 15. 11, Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitdyish-i Vohuman in Pazend Texts p. 98, 244.

89. Zsp. 22. 6.


His zeal for the protection of fire now supersedes his primal work of guarding righteousness. Artavahisht is the Pahlavi form of the Avestan name read as Asha Vahishta, and really preserves the older form, Arta. Righteousness, glory, light, and healing are from him.90 Righteousness, over which this arch­angel presides, remains still in the Pahlavi period the cardinal word of the religion, but this divine personality is less frequently mentioned in connection with the abstract virtue than in con­nection with fire, the physical object which is under his tutelage.91 Fire is his earthly counterpart, and whoso procures wood and incense for the fire by honest means propitiates him.92 For that reason, Artavahisht in his conference with Zaratusht, commis­sions the sage to teach the people of the world not to ill-treat fire.93 Ohrmazd has given him sovereignty in heaven, with the power of refusing admission therein to those who have dis­pleased him.94 The Denkard tells us that he excluded the soul of the mighty hero Kersasp, because, despite his great heroic works by which he had saved the world from the atrocities of monsters, he had once extinguished fire.95 The Shayast-la-Shayast incidentally records that Artavahisht is invisible.96

90. Afrin-i Rapithwin, Sitâyish-i Ardibahisht in Pazand Texts, p. 98. 244.

91. Ib. 92. SLS. 15.5, 12, 13.

93. Zsp. 22.7.

94. Sd. 11. 5.

95. Dk., SBE., vol. 18, p. 369-382; vol. 37, bk. 9. 15. 3, 4, p. 199.

96. SLS. 15. 3.

[364] His work. He accompanies Vohuman to protect Zaratusht when he was born, and when he became a prophet, the arch­angel goes to the royal court of Vishtasp as an envoy of Ohrmazd to convince him of the divine nature of the seer's mission.97 Ohrmazd sends through him also a cup of immortal drink to King Vishtasp to enlighten that monarch with spiritual vision.98 We can see, therefore, why Artavahisht is implored to grant understanding and intelligence.99 When a sick person is healed, the spiritual debt is due to Artavahisht.100 He is the mighty power that will smite his adversary Indar at the Renovation.101

97. Zsp. 23. 7; Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7. 2. 17, 19, 24, 25, 29, p, 22-25; 4. 75, 78, p. 67-69.

98. Dk., SBE, vol. 47, bk. 7. 4. 84-86, p. 70, 71.

99. SLS. 22. 3.

100. Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 8. 37. 14, p, 116.

101. Bd. 30. 29.


Once the genius of the Divine Kingdom of Ohrmazd, but in the Pahlavi period the guardian spirit of the mineral king­dom only. The abstract virtue of sovereign power which this archangel personified is unknown throughout the Pahlavi literature, his activity being now mainly restricted to metal, Which is placed under his guardianship.102 When Shatravar confers With Zoroaster in heaven he advises him to teach mankind to make good use of metals.103 Metals are the special product of Sha­travar, and those who desire to profit in both the worlds through the propitiation of this genius of those elements should not give gold and silver to the wicked, or make any ill use of them.104 It is said that the best way of such propitiation of the divine personage is to be pure and unsullied of the heart, so that even if one is subjected to the ordeal of the molten metal and the burning liquid is poured on his breast, one may not burn and die like a sinner, but may come out of the trial as successful as the great Sasanian Dastur Adarbad, who felt as if milk were being poured on his breast when he voluntarily submitted him­self to this test for the good of the religion.105 As the lord of the [365] hidden treasures of the earth Shatravar is asked to grant wealth;106 and in the final battle between good and evil he will assail his adversary Sovar and destroy him.107 102. Bd. 30. 19; SLS. 13 14, 39; 15. 5; Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Shahrivar in Pazand Texts, p. 98, 99, 244.

103. Zsp. 22.8.

104. SLS. 15. 18, 19.

105. SLS. 15. 15, 17.

106. SLS. 22. 4.

107. Bd. 30. 29.

It is interesting to note that Shatravar appears in the Pazend form Shahrevar on the coins of the Indo-Scythian kings Kanishka and Huvishka as early as the latter part of the first cen­tury.


Her work. She is perfect-minded, wise, and of efficacious eyes.108 She gives bodily strength and vigour unto man,109 and has the lodgment in man's will.110 Any one who entertains her as his guest becomes truly devotional.111 The advice of this female archangel is that one should consult a good man, when one is in doubt as to good or evil deed, for, just as the swiftest horse sometimes requires a whip and the sharpest knife a whet­stone, so even the wisest man needs counsel.112 As the genius of earth,113 Spandarmad rejoices when the faithful cultivate waste land and rear cattle upon it, or when a virtuous son is born upon it.114 But she is grieved when a robber or a tyrant treads over her sacred face.115 Even as a mother carrying her dead child in her bosom is in grief and sorrow, so does Spandarmad suffer when wicked persons trample on her breast.116 The genius of earth trembles like a sheep that sees a wolf, when the corpse of a wicked one is interred in her.117 When a corpse is buried in the ground she is shocked, as when one discovers a serpent or a scorpion in his bed.118 Even walk­ing with bare foot upon the ground injures her.119 Spandarmad's earth bears on her bosom high mountains, and rivers and oceans; [366] tress and fodder and corn and fruit grow upon her; men and animals thrive upon her. She yields nourishment and prosperity unto all.120 The faithful who wish to propitiate her should propitiate both the earth and virtuous women.121 108. Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Spandarmad in Pazand Texts, p. 99, 44.

109. Dk., vol. 9. p. 582.

110. Dd. 94. 2.

111. Dk., vol. 10, bk. 6. 78, p. 22.

112. SLS. 10. 27, 28; Sd. 85. 3.

113. BYt. 2.8. 16, 31,48, 53; SLS. 13, 14.

114. SLS. 15.24.

115. SLS. 15.22.

116. SLS. 15.23.

117. Sd. 65. 5.

118. Sd. 33.2.

119. Sd. 44, 1.

120. Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Spandarmad in Pazend Texts, p. 99 244.

121. SLS. 15.20.

Spandarmad in the Pahlavi period takes up a new function which was not hers in the earlier times. She becomes the guard­ian of virtuous women, as intimated in the close of the preceding paragraph.122 Whoever desires to propitiate her, should propiti­ate the virtuous women;123 and through her intervention men pray for noble wives.124 When a faithless wife of a righteous husband has her abode on her earth, Spandarmad is in sore distress.125 She will rout her adversary Taromat at the Reno­vation.126

122. SLS. 15.5.

123. SLS. 15.20.

124. SLS. 22.5.

125. SLS. 15.22.

126. Bd. 30.29.


The giver of daily bread. He is the lord of the divisions of time, the years and months and days, and it is through him that a good man lives an honest and happy life during the year.127 On the material side this archangel has water for his special care,128 and Zaratusht is commissioned by this archangel to advocate good use of it in the world.129 As water gives fertility to the land and is the source of prosperity, Khurdad is taken as the possession of plenty and prosperity, and is invoked by the pious to bestow these gifts upon mankind.130 The waters of Khurdad bring purity unto all. No living being can live without this precious element. The earth of Spandarmad becomes fer­tile owing to Khurdad's water; Amardad grows trees owing to his waters. Because he spreads prosperity everywhere, 'prosper­ity' becomes his very name.131 Food and drink are his gifts.132 It is said that the daily bread which every one obtains in this [367] world throughout a year is apportioned in the celestial world on the day Khurdad of the first month of the Zoroastrian calen­dar and the archangel intercedes in behalf of those who have propitiated Khurdad by their deeds, and that these offerings thus secure for the faithful a large share in this annual allot­ment of earthly riches.133 Those who make proper use of water rejoice Khurdad and receive rewards in both worlds;134 but those who are guilty of its misuse or defilement find their way to heaven blocked up by the spirits that preside over water.135 In addition the Pahlavi writings record that an unseasonable chatter and an immoderate drinking of wine distress him.136 Khurdad will drive away his adversary, the demon Tairev, at the time of Resurrection.137

127. Afrin-i Rapithwin in Pazand Texts, p. 99.

128. SLS. 9. 8; 13. 14; 15. 5.

129. Zsp. 22. 11.

130. SLS. 22. 6.

131. Afrin-i Rapithwin; Sitâyish-i Khurdâd in Pazend Texts, p. 99, 244.

132. Dk., vol. 7, p. 461.

133. Sd. 52.2,3.

134. SLS. 15.25,29.

135. SLS. 15. 27, 28.

136. Mkh. 2.33,34; 16.49,56.

137. Bd. 30. 29.


Amardad's activity of guarding the vegetable kingdom. Ohrmazd wills that man shall abstain from sin and practise good­ness. Life devoted to goodness in this world brings Amardad's happy reward to his soul in the next world. After death the righteous soul goes to the all-happy Garotman of endless light.138 This divinity works in the vegetable kingdom that belongs above all to him,139 and helps those who work for the plant world.140 Food and drink are in his care.141 Like his comrade Khurdad, Amardad refuses a passage to heaven to those who sin against plants, and do not expiate the wrong.142 The prophet is re­quested by him to enjoin rules for the preservation of plants.143 He will banish Zairich from the world in the final struggle.144

138. Sitâyish-i Amardâd in Pazend Texts, p. 244.

139. Bd. 9. 2: Zsp. 8. 1; SLS. 9. 8; 13. 14; 15. 5.

140. SLS. 15.25, 29.

141. Dk., vol. 7, p. 461.

142. SLS. 15.27,28.

143. Zsp. 22. 12.

144. Bd. 30.29.




The angels. Izad is the Pahlavi equivalent of the Avestan word Yazata, and is similarly employed as the designation for an angel. These angels are immortal and invisible;1 and some of them, who were pre-eminently the genii of the living in the Younger Avestan period, have by this time been transferred more particularly to the sphere of the dead. For example, Srosh, Rashn and Mihr, three of the most prominent Izads of the Avestan period, have changed their sphere of activity. In the Avestan period they were the genii exclusively of the corporeal world, but now they are converted into the judges of the dead. In the Pahlavi time, the faithful, rather than looking to them for protection and help in this world, solicit more especially their favour for the next world. Srosh still retains some of his earthly functions, but he becomes the genius of the dead first, and of the living afterwards. The angels Hom and Din have extended their sphere of activity by joining Tishtar in his work of pro­ducing rain.2 Certain qualities that were attributed in the Aves­tan texts to one angel are now loosely ascribed to another.

1 Dk., vol. 1, p.47; vol. 2, p.65, 66, 114.

2 Bd. 7.3; Zsp. 6.3; Dk., vol. 3, p.146.

The Izads are the loving guides and protectors of men. They first expounded the faith of Ohrmazd to Gayomard, the primeval man;3 and they are ever ready to fulfil the behests of Ohrmazd, who has created them for the welfare of his creatures.4 They most frequently visit the sacred temples consecrated to the fire Bahram.5 They help man,6 and instruct him in goodness.7 It is through their aid that man learns to know God, to dispel demons, and to liberate his soul from the future torments of [369] hell.8 Man's knowledge of them enables him to enter into re­lationship with his creator;9 for he is unable to progress morally without their assistance.10 If man remembers them, he receives their favour and prospers in both worlds.11 Through their wis­dom, moreover, he becomes illustrious,12 and attains to spiritual wealth through them.13 They hasten to help the man who prac­tises righteousness and abstains from wickedness;14 such a man wins their favour by invoking them.15 It was for this very rea­son that the prophet Zaratusht prayed to them to grant him the power of spiritual leadership.16 They keep off Druj from the body of man, and guard him against the miseries of both the Worlds.17 As a physician removes bodily illness, or as a farmer cleans corn of all impurity, so do the angels remove harm from man.18 They keep up this relation with man as long as he prac­tises goodness, but they give up his company when he falls into sinful habits.19 They lodge in the body of a righteous person, causing him joy,20 and instruct the faithful in spiritual matters;21 moreover, sin flees from him in whom they dwell.22 They help and protect a pious man, even as a loving master would lead a calf to the pasture land and prevent it from going to a place of harm.23 Like loving parents who prohibit their children from partaking of some unwholesome food, the angels prevent man, even against his will, from doing that which they foresee, through their superior knowledge to be of eventual harm to him.24 Persons who befriend the righteous in this world find angels as their friends in the next;25 the good leave name and fame here, and are blessed with the company of the angels there.26

3 Dk., vol. 7, p.457.

4 Dk., vol. 3, p.170.

5 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6.230,p.87.

6 Dk., vol. 1, p. 44, 45.

7 Mkh. 52.15.

8 Dk., vol. 2, p. 85.

9 Dk., vol. 2, p. 81.

10 Dk., vol. 4, p. 249.

11 Dk., vol. 7, p. 454.

12 Dk., vol. 7, p. 488.

13 Dk., vol. 7, p. 490.

14 Dk., vol. 2, p. 65.

15 Dk., vol. 7, p. 454.

16 Ib.

17 Dk., vol. 8, p. 475, 476.

18 Dk., vol. 1, p. 38, 49.

19 Dk., vol. 1, p. 26.

20 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6, 97, p. 12, 13; 236, p. 90, 91.

21 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 214, p. 79.

22 Dk., vol. 3, p. 153.

23 Dk., vol. 13, bk. 6. E. 1, p. 1.

24 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 222, p. 83.

25 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 133, p. 38, 39.

26 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 140, p. 41, 42.

Sacrificial offerings made to the angels. We have already seen that meat formed a conspicuous article among the sacri­ficial gifts made to the heavenly beings in the Avestan period. [370] Meat viands are the special feature of the sacred feast during the Pahlavi period. The Pahlavi treatise Shayast-la-Shayast explains what particular parts of a slaughtered animal are to be specifically dedicated to the various divinities in ceremonies. The angel Hom's right to receive the tongue, jaw, and left eye, recognized by the Avestan scriptures, remains still undisputed.27 The head and neck, shoulders and thighs, loin and belly, kidneys and lungs, liver and spleen, legs and tail, heart and entrails are all distributed among several different beings; until at last the tail-bone falls to the lot of the august Farohar of Zaratusht, and the great archangels have to content themselves merely with the residue.28 Decomposed meat is not to be consecrated to any angel;29 nor is any meat at all to be used in any ceremony for the first three days after the death of a person, but milk, cheese, fruit, eggs, and preserves are to be consecrated instead.30 It is stated that if the relations of the deceased person were to conse­crate and eat fresh meat within three days after his death, an­other death might perchance occur in the family.31 Yet on the fourth day they may slaughter a goat or a sheep.32 A short formula is to be recited by the man who slaughters this animal.33 It is desirable that the head of a slaughtered animal should be consecrated before being eaten; but if it is not possible to conse­crate the head, one kidney at least must necessarily be conse­crated.34 27 SLS. 11. 4, 6.

28 SLS. 11. 4.

29 SLS. 10. 34.

30 SLS. 17. 2; Sd. 78. 1.

31 Sd. 78.2.

32 SLS. 17.5.

33 Antia, Pazend Texts, p. 178.

34 Sd. 34.4-6.

In our treatment of the Izads individually, which we shall now undertake, we shall deal only with those that are discussed at any great length in the Pahlavi works.


His activity. The whole earth, or more especially, Arzah and Savah, two of the zones, are the abode of Srosh.35 Three times every night he comes to the world.36 According to the Pahlavi texts, precisely as was recorded above for the Avestan scriptures, the cock and dog are his associates in routing the demons.37 He helps the man who in the midst of temptations [371] practises virtue;38 for he makes his abode in the body of a righteous person; and the man in whose body he is a guest be­comes the more polite in his utterances of welcome.39 Again we see Srosh inspiring an intelligent man to speak good words, as also an unintelligent one who listens to the teachings of the high-priests.40 When the prophet child was thrown into the lair of a wolf for destruction, Srosh and Vohuman brought a sheep with udder full of milk to the den for the babe's nourishment.41 Srosh, likewise, escorted Viraf in his journey to heaven above and to hell below; and at the time of the final restoration of the world, Ohrmazd will depute him with Neryosangh to arouse the sleeping hero Kersasp and fire him with the spirit to kill the accursed Zohak.42 Srosh, in the final struggle between the angels and the demons, will smite his adversary Eshm.43 He will then join in officiating with Ohrmazd in celebrating, once and forever, the final destruction of evil.44 35 Mkh. 62.25.

36 SLS. 13.43.

37 Bd. 19.33.

38 Dk., vol. 11, bk. 6. 90, p. 4, 5.

39 Dk., vol. 10, bk. 6. 78, p. 21.

40 Dd. 3.14.

41 Zsp. 16.9; Dk., SBE., vol. 47, bk. 7.3.17, p. 39.

42 BYt. 3.59, 60.

43 Bd. 30.29; Mkh. 8.14.

44 Bd. 30.30.

A judge of the dead. Srosh is one of the judges who take accounts of the souls of the dead at the Bridge of Judgment.45 If a man, during his lifetime, performs the three nights cere­monies in honour of Srosh for the future welfare of his soul, the angel will not forsake him for the first days after his death.46 At the dawn of the fourth day after the death of a righteous person, Srosh accordingly helps to conduct his soul across the bridge.47 Ceremonies are therefore to be performed in honour of Srosh for the first three days and nights after death, in order that this divine helper may protect the soul from the attack of the demons during this period,48 and may serve in its favour at the seat of judgment.49 Specially distinct praise and reverence are to be bestowed upon Srosh, and even the names of the archangels should not be associated with him.50 In addition, it may be noted, regarding Srosh's relation to mankind, that when [372] children under seven years of age die, their souls accompany in the hereafter those of their parents, to heaven or hell, wherever the parents happen to be. On the other hand, invocation of Srosh in the name of the child enables its soul to separate itself from those of its parents.51

45 Dd. 14.4: 28.5; Mkh. 2.118.

46 Sd. 58.4, 7.

47 Mkh. 2.115, 124.

48 SLS. 17.3.

49 Dd. 28.6.

50 Dd. 29.2.

51 Sd. 47.1-3.


Lord chief justice of the heavenly tribunal. Though re­taining his appellation of being the lord of wide pastures, Mihr (Av. Mithra) no longer appears as a pastoral divinity; neither is he seen driving in his chariot to the battlefield as a war angel. He has chosen a quieter realm of work, and now occupies a seat in Ohrmazd's privy council in heaven. He administers justice at the heavenly court, and is one of the celestial judiciaries that make up the reckoning of good and evil deeds of the souls at the Bridge of Judgment.52 All mankind has to appear before this lord of truth and justice.53 In his trial of the dead, as the ancient divine personage presiding over truth, he exposes those guilty of breach of promise.54 Great is the distress of every soul at the Bridge, but Mihr saves those souls that have belonged to truth-speaking persons.55 52 Dd. 31.11; Mkh. 2.118; Sd. 1.4, 18.16; 100.2: AV. 5; AnKhK. 5.

53 Gs. 169.

54 Dd. 14.3.

55 Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9.20.4, p. 210.

Morning time is the proper time for the ceremonials to be performed in honour of Mihr;56 and the old idea has never been lost; that none should lie unto him.57 That law remained ever supreme. 56 Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9.9.7, p. 183, 184.

57 Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9.20.5, p. 210.

At the time of Renovation Mihr will help Peshyotan, who has lain asleep, tradition repeats, from ancient times only to help in confounding the Evil Spirit, who will flee back to the darkest recess of hell.58

58 BYt. 3.32-36.


He holds the balance of judgment in the celestial court. This Izad of the Avesta, who traversed all earthly regions and presided at the ordeals, in regard to mankind, is transferred in [373] the texts of the Pahlavi period to the celestial world. As genius of truth, Rashn now sits in the heavenly tribunal for judging the souls of the dead.59 He holds in his hands the golden balance and weighs the good and evil deeds of the souls.60 59 Dd. 14.4; 31.11; Sd. 1.4; 18.16; 58.5: 100.2; Dk., vol. 5, p. 280. 281; AnKhK. 5.

60 Mkh. 2.118, 119; AV. 5. 5.

A sacred cake is consecrated to Rashn as an angel, on the dawn of the fourth day after the death of a person.61 The proper period to commemorate him is at dawn.62

61 Dd. 30.2; SLS. 17.4.

62 Dk., SBE., vol. 37, bk. 9.9.6, p. 183.


The sun. The entire creation of Ohrmazd longs for the rising of the sun in order to escape the brood of darkness, the demons and fiends, sorcerers and wolves, noxious creatures of hell, the wicked and the hordes. The faithful pray that the resplendent sun may continue to shine from its loftiest position, for it is due to its light that the earth created by Ohrmazd exists, the creation does not die owing to excessive cold, the fruits of trees gain life and sweetness and the earthly creation gains help and pro­tection and growth. The prayer concludes with a pious wish that the sun may shine with greater glory and greater brilliance and be a more beneficent host to the earth created by Ohrmazd.63

63 Sitâyish-i Khurshed in Pazend Texts, p. 252, 253.

Khurshed's message to mankind. Man should invoke this personification of the sun three times every day. He should completely resign himself to Ohrmazd, and expiate his sins; he should also daily interrogate his own self as to whether he has lived that day in the pious service of Ohrmazd or in the accursed bondage of Ahriman.64 Khurshed delivers three messages of Ohrmazd every day to mankind. In the first, or the message of the morning, Ohrmazd desires that mankind be zealous in doing meritorious deeds, so that, by Ohrmazd himself, their condition in this world may be made better. Secondly, at noon, men are reminded to marry and have children; and are likewise exhorted to co-operate with each other in doing good deeds that will pre­vent Ahriman and his brood from freeing themselves out of bondage until the day of resurrection. In the third, or evening [374] message, mankind are reminded to repent of sins they may have unconsciously committed as in that case they would be forgiven.65 One should reverence the sun during the day, for not to do so is sin.66 It is proper to invoke it even if it is not visible owing to cloudiness;67 otherwise by not thus reverencing it, the good works that a man does that day lose their value for him.68

64 Dk., vol. 11. bk. 6. 227, p. 86.

65 Gs. 154-157.

66 SLS. 7.1, 3.

67 Ib., 5.

68 SLS. 7.6.


He retains his position as the genius of rain. The Pahlavi writers reproduce the account of Tishtar's fight with Aposh from the Avestan Yasht 8, which celebrates his work.69 The Yasht spoke of the help that Ohrmazd gave Tishtar when he was routed in his first combat with his adversary and invoked the Supreme Being for help and strength. The Dadistan adds that besides Ohrmazd the archangels and the guardian spirits also carried help to him.70 Vohuman, Ardvisur, Vat, Hom, and Din are spoken of as his associates.71 Tishtar seizes rain water from the ocean,72 carries seeds of plants with it and scatters them all over the world. This angel of rain removes the hot winds that parch the dry lands and spreads prosperity all around by means of his fertilizing waters. 69 Bd. 7.3-10; Zsp 6.3, 4, 9-11, 13.

70 93. 13.

71 Dk., vol. 3, p. 146.

72 Mkh. 62. 41, 42.

Ohrmazd has created the glorious Tishtar, the giver of profit and prosperity, the maker of rain for the help of the stars that further the creation of Ohrmazd. He is invoked to further the growth of trees and plants upon the seven Zones by abundant rain to prevent the harm that the Evil Spirit and his infernal crew bring upon earth.73

73 Sitâyish-i Tishtar in Pazend Texts, p. 254, 255.




The Farohars have existed long before the world came into being. Farohar, or Fravahar, is the Pahlavi form of the Avestan Fravashi. The Pahlavi works do not speak of the Farohars of Ohrmazd and his heavenly ministers; in the writings of this period, the Farohars are confined to the earthly creatures. Every single good creature of this world has its own Farohar.1 Ohrmazd created them long before he brought the universe into existence; and they actively worked by the creator's side, when he fortified the sky against the attacks of Ahriman. Mounted on horses and with spears in hands they patrolled the boundaries of the ram­part of heaven.2 At the beginning of the world Zaratusht's Farohar was shown to Goshorun to console her that in the fullness of time the prophet would be sent to the world to remove the inequity that was rampant on earth.3

1 Mkh. 49. 23.

2 Bd. 6.3; Zsp. 5. 2.

3 Bd. 4.4.

They volunteer to descend to earth and stand by men to the end of their lives. From the beginning of time the Faro­hars lived in supreme felicity in the empyrean realm, along with Ohrmazd and his heavenly host.4 When Ohrmazd created man, as the climax and crown of his earthly creation, the deity asked these spiritual intelligences whether they would wish to stay in heaven under his constant protection, or migrate to earth in human bodies and encounter the foe, fight with him valiantly, vanquish him in the flesh and return triumphant to God for the eternal reward. The Farohars accepted the latter alternative, and prepared themselves to face the attack of Ahriman.5 Thus the Farohars, who were seated in heaven and were conscious of the beatific vision of Ohrmazd, prefer the voluntary exile for a time in the world of joy and sorrow, of good and evil, in order to win forever the uninterrupted bliss of heaven. Thus it is, [376] that they tenant human bodies and temporarily adopt the material vehicles for the express purpose of routing evil and redeeming the world from its imperfection.

4 Dk., vol. 2, p. 80.

5 Bd. 2.10,11.

In the Pahlavi period their influence is less prominent. In the Pahlavi texts the Farohars are represented as entrusted with the work of guarding the soul of Sam,6 and the Hom tree of immortality,7 as well as the passage of hell.8 Ninety-nine thous­and nine hundred and ninety-nine of them watch over Zaratusht's seed, which will give birth to the three saviour renovators of the world in the last three millenniums.9 As a part of their office also they help and keep pure the elements and the sun, moon, and stars;10 and they preserve the breath of life and energy of the body in men,11 and keep the bodily organs in unison.12 6 Bd. 29. 8; Mkh. 62.23, 24.

7 Mkh. 62.28, 29.

8 Mkh. 49.15, 16.

9 Bd. 32.8, 9.

10 Dk., vol. 8, p. 446.

11 Dk., vol. 6, p. 353.

12 Dk., vol. 6, p. 409.

The zeal with which they were approached by the living in the Avestan period has considerably abated by this time. The faithful no longer invoke them for various boons as zeal­ously as their forebears did. The fighting armies do not call upon them for help in the thick of battles. Men do not look to them for riches and plenty; and women do not turn their eager eyes to them for easy childbirth. Their hold on humanity is weakened, and they are less in touch with the daily lives of men than before.
One of the later Pahlavi works divests the Farohars of their spirituality, and identifies them with the stars.13 The Farohars of the renovators are spoken of as created from the body of the first man.14

13 Mkh. 49.22.

14 Mkh. 27.17.

In is for the welfare of the living that the Farohars solicit sacrifices. It is the sacred duty of the faithful to commemorate the Farohars of the dead, especially on the days set apart for that purpose.15 The Frawardigan festival was a national institu­tion, and the kings and people zealously observed it. A Byzan­tine ambassador on his way to Persia in 565 was prevented [377] from entering the city of Nisibis for ten days while this festival was celebrated there.16 On the fourth day after death the Farohar of the departed one in a family is to be invoked along with the Farohars of all righteous persons that have lived in this world from the time of the first man on earth, and also of those that will live up to the advent of the renovator of the world.17 When thus invoked in prayer the Farohars come down to attend the ceremonies;18 but if they are not properly propitiated, they wander disconsolate about their former abodes for a time and finally depart leaving their curse. Such a curse is irrevocable, if once given, unless nullified by the Farohars who uttered it. 15 SLS. 10.2; 12.31.

16 Menander Protector, ed. Niebuhr, p. 374, Bonn, 1829.

17 SLS. 17.5; Dd. 28.7; 81.15.

18 SLS. 9.11, 12.

Besides, it is not for their own good that the Farohars seek invocation, because they do not need any ceremony for their own sake; their coming, rather, is to remind the householder of the life after death, to warn him that he also will one day have to leave this world, and that when trouble comes upon him they could not help him, if he neglected them.19 Yet, if well propiti­ated by the survivors of the deceased, they escort the souls of these persons, when their turn of death comes. They intercede on their behalf, give a good report to Ohrmazd, and entreat him to give them due reward.20 But if the living have neglected them, and have failed to sacrifice unto them, they depart cursing, and bide their time, until the day when death brings the sur­vivors to the Bridge of Judgment. To such souls, stepping on the threshold of the next world, they utter reproaches and refuse help.21 19 SLS. 9.13; Sd. 13.6-9.

20 Sd. 37.6-8.

21 Sd. 37.10-12.

The line of distinction between the souls and the Farohars of the dead is gradually obliterated in the Pahlavi texts. By the end of the Pahlavi period both of these spiritual faculties, namely, the soul and the Farohar, are invoked to come down upon earth. The Pahlavi texts, accordingly, speak of the souls or of the Farohars, as the case may be, as coming to this world on the days originally dedicated to the latter. The Avestan texts, on the other hand, always spoke of the advent of the Farohars (not of the souls) to this world on the festival days consecrated [378] to them at the end of every year, but the Pahlavi works ex­pressly speak of the souls descending to the earth on these days, as well as on the anniversaries of their bodily death.22 A passage speaks of the souls as coming on their anniversaries accompanied by nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine Farohars from heaven as their guests, just as men do on earth.23

22 Phl. Vd. 8.22; Sd. 37.1-12.

23 Sd. 13.3.




Pazend prayers. When the Sasanians came to power, the Avesta, the sacred language of Zoroastrianism, has ceased to be a living tongue. The daily prayers continued to be recited in the dead language. The need was evidently felt to supplement the Avestan prayers by some additional prayers in the vernacular. Dastur Adarbad Mahraspand, the learned high-priest and pre­mier of King Shapur II, composed such supplementary prayers in Pazend, and his example was followed by other Dasturs. Sev­eral benedictory, thanksgiving, and expiatory prayers composed during this period have come down to us and are recited as sup­plementary prayers to the Avestan prayers to the present day. The composers take the original Avestan prayers as the source of their inspiration. Short Avestan formulas or sentences are often rendered word for word in Pazend. The Pazend version of the Avestan confessional prayer frastuye,1 for example, forms the opening part of the Patit. Besides thus reproducing the Avestan passages in Pazend, independent prayers, preserving the spirit and sentiment of the Avesta, are composed in praise of Ohrmazd, Amshaspands, and Izads, presiding over the thirty days of the month. The original Avestan wedding hymn has not come down to us. What has reached us is a Pazend hymn, composed during the Sasanian period, embodying three Avestan passages.2 The important Pazend prayers that are extant consist of the Afrins, Sitayishes, Patits, Nirangs, the introductory and closing parts of the Avestan Nyaishes and Yashts, and several devo­tional pieces of considerable beauty.

1 Ys. 11.17.

2 Ys. 54.1; 59.30, 31.

Supplicatory prayers. The worshipper extols Ohrmazd as the eternal, omnipotent, and beneficent lord and asks him to exalt his thoughts and lead him to goodness and happiness in accordance with his divine will. The devotee sees none besides [380] Ohrmazd, he is his only hope. He, therefore, beseeches him to protect and help him.3 His is greatness and his is glory, he who is the creator, protector, and liberator of all. The faithful implore him to give holiness and happiness unto all and bestow upon them reward for their good deeds from his Treasury of Eternal Weal. The faithful ask him to liberate them from the tyranny of the wicked, to help the helpless, to bring comfort to those that are in trouble. He alone, they acknowledge, is the source of protection and help to all and is the one who redresses the wrongs of all.4 The angel presiding over the moon is asked to give ease and health, and the fulfillment of right wishes, joy, well-being, and fearlessness.5 The faithful pray that they may be exalted in both the worlds, and may have health and long life, name and fame, wealth and happiness. Their fervent prayer is that no harm and distress should come upon them from Ahriman, the jealous, the envious, the malicious, the unjust, and the wicked; on the contrary all evil that the wicked conspire by thought and word and deed to do unto them may recoil upon their own persons.6

3 Sitâyish-i Depâdar in Pazend Texts, p. 250.

4 Sitâyish-i Depmihr in Pazend Texts, p. 257.

5 Sitâyish-i Mâh in Pazend Texts, p. 254.

6 Sipâs-i Akenâreh in Pazend Texts, p. 211, 212.

Thanksgiving prayers. The worshipper says unto Ohrmazd, that a thousand times daily he offers him thanks through his thoughts, words, and deeds, for he has created him as an Aryan and of the good religion, and has given him eyes and ears and hands and feet and intelligence and reason and still gives food and garments.7 He offers his praise and remembers him by his name day and night in heartfelt thanksgiving that he has created him as man and endowed him with speech.8

7 Namâz-i Dâdâr Ohrmazd in Pazend Texts, p. 206.

8 Sitâyish-i Depâdar in Pazend Texts, p. 250.

Benedictory prayers. The devout pray that the good co-re­ligionists of Iran and the seven zones be the promoters of the faith, doers of the deeds of merit, and abjurers of sin. May their wishes pertaining to the bodily life in this world and those regarding the soul in the next world be realized.9 May there be prosperity and greatness unto all, and may joy and health come unto the houses of the good. May the heavens shower good and may the earth grow good crops and the good reap the reward [381] of their goodness everywhere.10 May the Izads bring prosperity and joyous and happy life of 150 years unto the worshippers of Mazda and may the knowledge and renown and glory of the good Mazda-worshipping religion spread over the seven zones.11 May joy and pleasure and goodness come unto all from the south and may sickness and trouble and harm flee towards the north. May he get more who needs more. May good come unto him who deserves good. May he get a wife who longs for a wife. May he be blessed with a child who prays for a child. May the good Mazda-worshipping religion spread over the seven zones and live.12 9 Ba Nâm-i Khâvar in Pâzend Texts, p. 213.

10 Afrin-i Rapithwin in Pazend Texts, p. 100.

11. Afrin-i Gahanbâr Châshni in Pazend Texts, p. 105, 106.

12. Afrin-i haft Amshâspand in Pazend Texts, p. 89.

While showering their blessings on the occasion of a wedding, the priests wish the bride and the groom the special virtues, qualities, and characteristics possessed by Ohrmazd, Amshaspands, Izads, Zaratusht, kings, heroes, wise men, Time, sun, moon, stars, earth, water, fire, river, winter, spring, gold, musk, amber, wine, myrtle, jasmine, sweet marjoram, basil and other good objects.

Confessional prayers. The worshipper confesses that he accepts the religion that Ohrmazd taught Zaratusht and Zaratusht taught Gushtasp and which Adarbad Mahraspand purified and organized. Unto the end of his life, he says, he will adhere to the good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, and will em­brace the deeds of merit and discard sinful deeds.13 He avows his faith in Ohrmazd and Amshaspands, and believes in heaven and hell, resurrection and renovation. Good thoughts, good words and good deeds he accepts and evil thoughts, evil words, and evil deeds he renounces.14 At the ceremony of investing a child with the sacred shirt and girdle, it is made to recite the Pazend formula of the Confession of Faith in which it says that the good and true religion is sent by God upon earth and Zara­tusht has brought it. Such is the religion of Ohrmazd and Zara­tusht that it accepts.

13 Patit-i Pashimâni in Pazend Texts, p. 123, 124.

14 Ba nâm-i Izad in Pâzend Texts, p. 208.

Penitential prayers. There are four Pazend Patits extant, called Patit-i Pashimâni, Patit-i Khud, Patit-i Irânik, and Patit-i Vidardakân. A short expiatory prayer included in the Kusti formula is recited by every Zoroastrian as many times a day as [382] he or she unties and ties the sacred girdle round the waist. It also forms part of the introduction to the Nyaishes, Yashts and other prayers. The individual here repents and turns back from all sins which he may have committed knowingly or unknow­ingly, actually committed or merely contemplated, sins pertaining to thought or word or deed, body or soul, and in this world or the next. In the Patit the faithful enumerate all sins of commis­sion and omission, which have been recognized as sins by Ohrmazd and which have been accepted as such by those of the early faith and say that they repent in the presence of Ohrmazd and the Amshaspands and before Mihr, Srosh, Rashn, Fire, Barsam, Hom, Din, before their own souls, before a Dastur or any righteous person and turn back from them with penitence.15 The penitent prays that whatever was the will of Ohrmazd accord­ing to which he should have thought, but had not thought: ac­cording to which he should have spoken, but had not spoken: and according to which he should have done, but had not done-of all these sins he repents. He further repents of the thoughts, words, and deeds which were after the will of Ahriman and which he should have abstained from and yet he had failed to do so.16

15 Patit-i Pashimâni in Pazend Texts, p. 120, 121, 128.

16 Ib., p. 121.

Intercessory prayers and rituals. The Gathic ideal that each individual reaps as he sows and one's own good thoughts, good words, and good deeds form the only means of salvation is gradually weakened. Prayers recited by others and rituals performed by the living for the dead are believed to help those in whose memory they are celebrated. The man who feels death approaching orders that those around him may recite Ashem Vohu and Patit when his death is imminent, he wishes and orders that his children may recite expiatory prayers for him after his death and may celebrate Srosh and Getofarid cere­monies.17 17 Patit-i Pashimâni in Pazend Texts, p. 124.

The sacrificer prays that the offerings he makes to the soul to whom this day is sacred, may reach it for its betterment and may the deeds of merit that he performs in behalf of the soul, enable it to advance to a more exalted place, may it win libera­tion from the clutches of the demons and fiends, and may it [383] enter Garotman, the perfect abode of Ohrmazd, Amshaspands, and the righteous dead, and may Vohuman rise from his golden throne and bestow upon the soul resplendent, golden garments.18

18 Afrin-i Ardâfarvash in Pazend Texts,p. 84, 85.

The Nirangs. The Avestan mânthra, Pahlavi mânsar, 'spell,' has nirang, for its Pazend equivalent. Several such formulas, often embodying Avestan passages, are composed in Pazend, to be recited to obtain various results. They are used to depre­cate evil, to rout the malignant demons of disease, to remove barrenness in women, to ward off the fear of thieves and robbers, to put down sorcery and witchcraft, to preserve a child from the evil eye, to exorcise persons possessed of ghosts and goblins, to cure all kinds of sickness and to accomplish various other pur­poses. Charms inscribed with such spells and tied on the left hand of a child made it wise and dutiful. The same tied on the left hand of a refractory wife brought her on her knees before her husband. The faithful are believed to gain health and wealth and children and the good-will of great persons in this world and divine grace in the next world by the recital of these formulas.

The merit of prayers, rituals, and good deeds stored in the Place of Eternal Weal. We saw in the Gathas that the faithful prayed that their devotion and homage be placed in the Garonmana. The Avestan texts spoke of a place called misvâna gâtu, 'the place of mixing,' without giving any information about it. The Pahlavi and Pazend works call it hameshak sut gâs, 'the Place of Eternal Weal.' It is situated in the Endless Light of heaven.19 It is the place where unbounded joy pre­vails.20 19 Dd. 37.24.

20 Ib., 31.24; 37.22.

It is here that the good works of supererogation and the merit of prayers and rituals are stored in a treasury for the benefit of the souls whose credit is found to be inadequate at the Bridge of Judgment.21 The Pazend texts call it: Ganj-i Dâdâr Ohrmazd 'the Treasury of the Creator Ohrmazd,' Ganj-i Yazatân, 'the Treasury of the Angels,' or Ganj-i hamisha sud, 'the Treasury of Eternal Weal.'22

21 Phl. Vd. 19.36; SLS. 8.4; Dd. 26.3.

22 Afrin-i Ardâfarvash, Afrin-i Gahanbâr, Afrin-i Rapithwin, Afrin-i Gahanbâr Châshni, Sitâyish-i Depmihr in Pazend Texts, p. 83, 91, 100, 106, 257; SLS. 8.4.

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