Dadestan-i Denig Index
Dadestan-i Denig ('Religious Decisions')
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 24,
Oxford University Press, 1880.
- The third question is that you ask thus: For what reason does this greatness
of a righteous man exist?
- The reply is this, that it is for the performance of what is desirable for
the creator by the Mazda-worshipper; because he strives unhesitatingly that
the way for the performance of what is desirable for the creator may be the
propitiation which is his desire, and that desired propitiation becomes perfect
through sound wisdom. 3. The wisdom by which he understands about the desire
of the heavenly angels is not appointed (vakht), but is the true, pure religion
which is knowledge of the spirits, the science of sciences, the teacher of
the teaching of the angels, and the source of all knowledge.
- And the progress, too, of the pure religion of the Mazda-worshippers is
through the righteous man, as is shown of him in revelation thus: 'I created,
O Zartosht the Spitaman! the righteous man who is very active, and I will
guard his hands from evil deeds; I will also have him conveyed unto those
who are afterwards righteous and more actively wise. 5. And at the same time
the religion of me who created him is his desire, and it is the obtainment
of a ruler which is to be changed by the well-organized renovation of the
- As through wisdom is created the world of righteousness, through wisdom
is subjugated every evil, and through wisdom is perfected every good; and
the best wisdom is the pure religion whose progress is that achieved by the
upholders of religion, the greatness of the best men of the righteous, in
whose destiny it is, such as that which was shown about Gayomard, Zartosht,
- The fourth question is that which you ask thus: Of this destruction (zadam)
and terror which ever happen to us from the retribution of the period, and
are a cause of the other evils and defects of the good religion, what kind
of opinion exists? And is there a good opinion of us among the spirits, or
- The reply is this, that it is said in the revelation of the Mazda-worshippers
that the impediments (ras-bandih), through which there is vexation in righteousness,
are because its doctrine is this, that, regarding the difficulty, anxiety,
and discomfort which occur through good works set going, it is not desirable
to account them as much difficulty, trouble, and discomfort. 3. Whereas it
is not desirable to account them as anxiety and difficulty, it is then declared
by it thereof, that, as its recompense, so much comfort and pleasure will
come to the soul, as that no one is to think of that difficulty and discomfort
which came upon him through so many such good works, because he is steadfast
to maintain the good religion, and utters thanksgivings (va stayedo). 4. And
as regards the discomfort, which the same good religion of ours has had, it
comes on from the opponents of the religion.
- Through the coming of religion we have full enjoyment (bara gukarem), and
owing to religion, unlike bondsmen (aburdoganvar), we do not become changeable
among the angels; our spiritual life (ahvoih) of praise then arrives in readiness,
and owing to the angels there are joyous salutation, spiritual life, and glory
for the soul.
- The fifth question is that you ask thus: Why does evil always happen more
to the good than to the bad?
- The reply is this, that not at every time and every place, and not to all
the good, does evil happen more -- for the spiritual welfare of the good is
certainly more -- but in the world it is very much more manifest. 3. And the
reasons for it are many; one which is conclusive is even this, that the modes
and causes of its occurrence are more; for the occurrence of evil is more
particularly appointed (vakhto) by two modes, one by the demons, the appointers
of evil, and one by the vile, the doers of evil; even to the vileness of creation
and the vile they cause vexation. 4. Moreover, incalculable is the evil which
happens to the vile from the demons, and that to the good from the demons
and also from the vile, and the mode of its occurrence is in the same way
without a demon.
- This, too, is more particularly such as the ancients have said, that the
labor and trouble of the good are much more in the world, and their reward
and recompense are more certain in the spiritual existence; and the comfort
and pleasure of the vile are more in the world, and their pain and punishment
in the spiritual existence are more severe. 6. And this, too, is the case,
that the good, through fear of the pain and punishment of hell, should forsake
the comfort and ease in the world, and should not think, speak, or do anything
improper whatever. 7. And through hope for the comfort and pleasure in heaven
they should accept willingly, for the neck, much trouble and fear in the practice
of virtue in thought, word, and deed.
- The vile, through provision with temporary enjoyment -- even that enjoyment
of improprieties for which eventually there is hell -- then enjoy themselves
therein temporarily, and lustfully on account of selfishness; those various
actions also, through which there would be a way to heaven, they do not trouble
- And in this way, in the world, the comfort and pleasure of the vile are
more, and the anxiety, vexation, despondency, and distress of the good have
become more; the reason is revealed by the stars.
- The sixth question is that which you ask thus: Why are we men produced for
the world, and what is it necessary for us to do therein?
- The reply is this, that even in the reply to an accompanying question it
is written that the creatures are achieved for justice and the performance
of what is desirable for the creator; and to prepare thoroughly well that
which is unlimited and the virtuous progress of the creatures, whose distress
is like fear, there is the unparalleled (abradarvato) renovation of the universe.
- And that preparation arises from the complete predominance of the creator
and the non-predominance of the fiend, as is said of it in revelation thus:
'In that time I become completely predominant, I who am Ohrmazd; in nothing
whatever is the evil spirit predominant.' 4. And also about the good procedure
of the creature-creation it is recounted thus: 'Happy am I when the creatures
are so created by me, and according to any wish whatever of mine they give
the sovereignty to me, and also come to the sovereignty when I have created
it for the performance of what is desirable for the expression of what sovereignty
- And it is necessary for us to become so in the world as that the supreme
sovereignty of the creator may be kept more friendly to us, its own true servants.
6. The way to that true service is known through wisdom, is believed (vavari-aito)
through truth, and is utilized through goodness; and the path of excellence
more particularly leads to it. 7. And to set the good spirit rightly in the
place of thought it is deliberately taken and they should deliberately leave
it, as it is said in revelation that Ohrmazd spoke out to Zartosht thus: 'Thou
shouldst assist Vohuman with thy pure spiritual faculties (ahvo), so that
they may make him fully welcome; for when thou assistest Vohuman with thy
pure spiritual faculties, so that they make him fully welcome, thou shalt
thus fully understand the two ways, that which is good conduct, and that also
which is bad conduct.'
- The seventh question is that you ask thus: When a man is passing away, and
after the occurrence of his passing away, how does the good work then go to
him and assist him, which any others may do for him who has gone out from
the world, on the third night in the dawn, at which he goes out to the balance?
And is its greatness such as though it be done by his own hand, or otherwise?
- The reply is this: When any others do a good work for him who has passed
away, after the passing away, and if he who has passed away did not order
that good work in his lifetime, and did not bequeath it, nor was its originator,
and it was not even his by design (dado), then it does not go and does not
reach him out at the balance. 3. Even at the time for being proceeded with,
when that good work does not assist it is not appropriated, for that which
is appropriated as the design of some one is appropriated by acceptance from
some one; when it is not his by design it is then not accepted as his.
- If he who has passed away did not order that good work, and did not even
bequeath it, but was consenting to it by design, that which shall be done
in his lifetime then reaches out in the three nights (satuih) for the aggrandizement
of his position; but that which shall be done after his passing away is not
in the account of the three nights and the balance, but reaches out, at the
time the good work is proceeded with, for the enjoyment of the soul.
- And if he who has passed away ordered that good work in his own lifetime,
or bequeathed it, or was the originator and cause of the soul's employment,
although it is proceeded with after his passing away, it then reaches out
to him for the happiness of his soul, since the origin of the thanksgiving
(sipas), and the orderer and ownership of the good work are certain.
- Any good work whatever which is proceeded with is clearly a like good work
as regards those who account for it as with him who is the doer of it; also
in the account of his soul the good work is as much with him who did it, but
the soul of him by whom the good work is done by his own hand, is handsomer
and stronger than of him by whom it is ordered. 7. And its similitude is such
as when a man's handsome and seemly suit of clothes is his own, and he wears
it on his body and is handsomer, more splendid, and more seemly than another
man who wears a suit of clothes, in like manner, which is his own by theft.
- The eighth question is that which you ask thus: Of him who, out of his own
wealth, himself directed others thus: 'Let them act advantageously (khanjinako)
for my soul,' is it so that what others may do for him out of that wealth
and that done by his own toil are very different, one from the other, or not?
- The reply is this, that they are very different, one from the other; for
that which he orders out of his own wealth is more effectual than that which
others may do for him without order. 3. And among the kinds of good work,
that is more effectual which one practices himself and with his own toil;
then that which one sets going out of whatever is his own by his own order,
regarding which he afterwards bequeaths and orders out of his own property
and it comes into progress; and, lastly, that which others may do for him.
- Since thus his own and that which is his by design, when any one manages
for him and in his lifetime, aggrandize his position then, and his soul is
preserved, when he manages for him thereafter the enjoyment then reaches unto
his soul. 5. When not consenting as to the good work, and it is not his by
design, even though others may do it for him it does not then come into his
- The ninth question is that which you ask thus: How much does the growth
of his good works increase, from the time when the good works are done, so
long as he is living?
- The reply is this, that from the time when a good work comes into progress
its growth remains on the increase so long as he is living; moreover, when
he is distressed by that good work, while the increase does not desist from
increase, it grows just as a child becomes enlarged in the womb of a mother.
- The tenth question is that which you ask thus: Does the growth which increases
become as commendable in the fourth night as the original good work in his
possession, or does it become otherwise?
- The reply is this, that it is otherwise; for the original good work stands
up opposing sin, and the growing good work stands up opposed to the growth
- The eleventh question is that you ask thus: Does the growth of a good work
eradicate sin just like the original good work, or not?
- The reply is this, that the growth does eradicate it, as happens with the
good work which is for atonement for sin; it shall be done as retribution
for sin, and it eradicates the sin, which is specially mentioned in revelation.
3. 'Then the place of his other good work is evidently the soul; and, in order
to be with the sin at its origin, it remains and is taken into account.' 4.
'Through good works and the growth of good works is the recompense of the
soul, so that they should do those good works in atonement for sin.' 5. And
concerning the sin eradicated it is said: 'An original good work eradicates
original sin, and the growth of a good work eradicates the growth of a sin.'
- The twelfth question is that which you ask thus: In the fourth night do
they score off (bara angarend) the sin by the good works, and does he go by
the residue (bon); or do they inflict punishment on him for the sin which
has happened to him, and give reward and recompense for the good works which
he has done?
- The reply is this, that at dawn of the third night the account is prepared
it is said, and about the sin which he has atoned for, and the good work which
is its equivalent (avar) there is no need for account, since the account is
about the good works which may be appropriated by him as his own, and about
the sin which may remain in him as its origin. 3. Because the origin of it
(the sin atoned for) remains distinct, and it is canceled (astardo) by it
(the good work), they balance it therewith; and they weigh the excess and
deficiency, as it may be, of the other good works and sin.
- Of those living, at the just, impartial (achafsishno) balance the man of
proper habits (dado), whose good works are more, when sin has happened to
him, undergoes a temporary (vidanaik) punishment and becomes eternally cleansed
by the good works; and he of improper habits, of much sin and little good
works, attains temporary enjoyment by those good works, but through the sin
which they perceive in him he is suffering punishment unto the resurrection.
- The thirteenth question is that which you ask thus: Who should prepare the
account of the soul as to sin and good works, and in what place should they
make it up? And when punishment is inflicted by them, where is their place
- The reply is this, that the account about the doers of actions, as to good
works and sin, three times every day whilst the doer of the actions is living,
Vohuman the archangel should prepare; because taking account of the thoughts,
words, and deeds of all material existences is among his duties. 3. And about
the sin which affects accusers, which is committed by (val) breakers of promises,
even in the world Mihr is said to be over the bodies, words, and fortunes
(hu-bakhtako) of the promise-breakers; and as to the amount, and also as to
being more than the stipulation when there is a period of time, Mihr is the
account-keeper. 4. In the three nights' account (satuih) Srosh the righteous
and Rashnu the just are over the estimate of the limits of the good works
and sin of righteousness and wickedness. 5. In the future existence, the completion
of every account, the creator Ohrmazd himself takes account, by whom both
the former account of the three nights and all the thoughts, words, and deeds
of the creatures are known through his omniscient wisdom.
- The punishment for a soul of the sinners comes from that spirit with whom
the sin, which was committed by it, is connected; fostered by the iniquity
practiced, that punishment comes upon the souls of the sinful and wicked,
first on earth, afterwards in hell, and lastly at the organization of the
future existence. 7. When. the punishment of the three nights is undergone
the soul of the righteous attains to heaven and the best existence, and the
soul of the wicked to hell and the worst existence, 8. When they have undergone
their punishment at the renovation of the universe they attain, by complete
purification from every sin, unto the everlasting progress, happy progress,
and perfect progress of the best and undisturbed existence.
- The fourteenth question is that which you ask thus: Is the eradication of
life the gnawing of dogs and birds upon the corpse? And does the sin of those
who suppose it a sin proceed from that origin, or not?
- 2. 
- The reply is this, that the decrease of sin and increase of good works,
owing to good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, arise really from the
effort and disquietude which come on by means of the religion the soul practices,
and through the strength in effort, steadfastness of religion, and protection
of soul which the faithful possess. 3. That evil which occurs when doing good
works, which is the one (hana) when doing iniquity, and when one strives it
is the one when he does not strive, the one when content and the one when
not content, and after it is undesired, and no cause of good works is with
it, it occurs just as undesired, for the sake of favor and reward, is the
certain eradication of life. 4. It happens once only (aetum) unto the righteous
and the wicked, every one who may have received the reward -- that reward
is living until the time of passing away -- but the gnawing of dogs and birds
does not happen unto every one and every body. 5. It is necessary for those
to act very differently whose understanding of good works is owing to proper
heed; of dead matter; and, on account of the rapid change (vardi-hastano)
of that pollution, and a desire of atonement for sin, they should carry the
body of one passed away out to a mountain-spur (kof vakhsh), or a place of
that description, enjoining unanimously that the dogs and birds may gnaw it,
owing to the position of the appointed place. 6. Therefore, as owing to that
fear, the commands of religion, and progressive desire it is accepted strenuously
for the wicked himself, his own recompense is therein, and it happens to him
in that way for the removal (narafsishno) of sin and for the gratification
of his soul.
1. Compare M. F. Kanga, Henning Memorial Volume,
pg. 223 ff.
- The fifteenth question is that which you ask thus: When the dogs and birds
tear it (the corpse) does the soul know it, and does it occur uncomfortably
for it, or how is it?
- The reply is this, that the pain occasioned by the tearing and gnawing so
galls (maledo) the body of men that, though the soul were abiding with the
body, such soul, which one knows is happy and immortal, would then depart
from the body, along with the animating life, the informing (sinayinako) consciousness,
and the remaining resources of life. 3. The body is inert, unmoving, and not
to be galled; and at last no pain whatever galls it, nor is it perceived;
and the soul, with the life, is outside of the body, and is not unsafe as
regards its gnawing, but through the spiritual perception it sees and knows
- That which is wicked is then again desirous of its bodily existence, when
it sees them thus: the wonderfully-constructed body which was its vesture,
and is dispersed, and that spiritual life (huko) which was with its heart,
and is even on account of this -- that is: 'Because in my bodily existence
and worldly progress there was no atonement for sin and no accumulation of
righteousness' -- also in mourning about it thus: 'In the prosperity which
this body of mine had, it would have been possible for me to atone for sin
and to save the soul, but now I am separated from every one and from the joy
of the world, which is great hope of spiritual life; and I have attained to
the perplexing account and more serious danger.' 5. And the gnawing becomes
as grievous to it, on account of that body, as a closely-shut arsenal (afzar
beta-i badtum) and a concealed innermost garment are useless among those with
limbs provided with weapons and accouterments, and are destroyed.
- And of that, too, which is righteous and filled with the great joy that
arises from being really certain of the best existence, then also the spiritual
life which was with its body, on account of the great righteousness, fit for
the exalted (firakhtaganik), which was ever accumulated by it with the body,
is well developed (madam hu-tashido), and the wonderfully-constructed body
is destroyed in the manner of a garment, particularly when its dispersion
(apashishno) occurs thereby.
- And the consciousness of men, as it sits three nights outside of the body,
in the vicinity of the body, has to remember and expect that which is truly
fear and trouble (khar) unto the demons [devs], and reward, peace, and glad
tidings (novik) unto the spirits of the good; and, on account of the dispersion
and injuring of the body, it utters a cry spiritually, thus: 'Why do the dogs
and birds gnaw this organized body, when still at last the body and life unite
together at the raising of the dead?' 8. And this is the reminding of the
resurrection and liberation, and it becomes the happiness and hope of the
spirit of the body and the other good spirits, and the fear and vexation of
the demons and fiends [devs and drujs].