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.
- As to the thirty-seventh question and reply, that which you ask is thus:
The measure that they measure good works with being revealed, how is it then
when there is more, or not, done by us?
- The reply is this, that every thought, word, and deed whose result is joy,
happiness, and commendable recompense -- when a happy result is obtainable,
and the exuberance (afzuno) of thought, word, and deed is important -- is
well-thought, well-said, and well-done. 3. And for him the result of whose
wish for good works is conclusively joy and exaltation of soul -- which are
his attainment of recompense from the constantly-beneficial space, the immortal
and unlimited, which shall never perish -- there is no measure of the multitude
of good works. 4. For everyone by whom many are performed, and who engages
in still more, appropriates the result more fully, and is more worthy; but
it is not obtained for the completion of that which is a definite measure,
therefore he does not obtain still more, and it is not necessary he should;
and it is, moreover, not obtained even for the completion of a limit of unlimitedness.
- As to the thirty-eighth question and reply, that which you ask is thus:
What are the reason and cause of tying on the sacred thread-girdle (kusti)
which, when they shall tie it on is said to be so greatly valuable, and when
they shall not tie it the sin is so grievous?
- The reply is this, that the all-good, most spiritual of spirits, and most
ruling of rulers is the creator, and there is no need of troubles for men
of the poor as to any wealth or anything, for all are his own. 3. And through
his will as ruler, and all-powerful, he demands this of men, to remain properly
skirted as a true servant not even bound -- which is due to that service,
and also the indication of a servant as is seen and clearly declared in the
ever-fixed (hamai-dado) religion and belief.
- Formerly men paid homage through the will and worship, as it were more effectually,
more essentially, and more suitably for the discreet; and every day spent
in worship offered and homage paid they account as of the greatest use, particularly
for observing the world, and understanding its character. 5. And as to him
of whose offering of homage no worldly advantage whatever is apparent -- as
fruit is apparent from trees, flavor from foods, fragrance from aromatic herbs,
tint (bam) from colors, the good quality of spears from the forest, health
from the patient (molvarakan), and decision from words -- but, audibly speaking,
his head is lowered in sign of humility as though the head, which is uppermost
in the body and in the most pre-eminent position, and is lowered as far even
as the sole of the foot, which is lowermost in the body, salutes and is placed
on the ground in thought about worship and desire of paying homage -- and
the appearance which exists as regards himself through that lowliest (kihasto)
servitude is in accordance with that which is apparent from trees, food, and
the many other worldly advantages before recited -- whoever has offered homage
and such advantageous (veshishnako) appearance is manifest -- even then that
sign of humility and servitude is what great multitudes consider the offering
of homage of a man more essential for hypocrisy (shedo).
- But owing to that which happens when they plant a tree in the name of a
sacred being and eat the produce, and practice other worldly labor of worldly
advantage, owing also to work of this kind through the doing of which they
preserve all the growing crops of the whole world, and through tillage and
multitudinous cultivated plots (khustakiha) it is manifest that they should
meditate inwardly (den minoyen). 7. A token and sign of worship is of great
use, and a great assistance (banjishno) therein is this belt (band), which
is called the Kusti, that is tied on the middle of the body.
- The reasons of the assistance are numerous; and its first assistance is
this, that as to him who -- as a worshipper of the sacred beings, owing to
the undeceitful (akadba) religion whose indication is sagaciously propitiating
with the purifying cup -- wears upon the body that spiritual, customary, and
doctrinal indication of the sacred beings with a wisdom which is truly religion,
his steadfastness and religious service of the sacred beings are audibly spoken
thereby; even for the religious it is commanded, because it is an assisting
motive of beneficial high-priests and such-like submitters to the commands
of the religion of the sacred beings.
- One is this, that, as the lowliest servant and greatest lord are steadily
agreed, and it is beneficial when they (the servants) wear a belt upon the
body as a sign of service -- because it is not the custom to grant that little
at any time without guardianship -- the lapse of which service is also not
a beneficial lapse, then those unbound are without a token of the lord's service.
- One is this, that it is commanded in revelation to keep thought, word, and
deed confined from sin by a belt, and just like a servant; for the sake of
confinement of sins from purity of thought, whose dwelling is the heart, one
is to wear the same belt, which is the token of a servant, on the middle of
the body and before the heart; and the periodical (hangamikano) sight of the
token and sign of confined sins, and of the constant reminder for one's own
mind, is the necessity of wearing it as a belt which is very restraining from
the sin in thought, word, and deed that is manifest even in experience; which
wearing of the same belt is as a reason and cause of much remembrance of much
sin, that in the same way is therefore a restraint of it.
- One is this, that the ancients acquainted with religion have communicated
these tidings (srobo) unto our ancestors and to us: 'When the destroyer came
upon the creatures, the demons and witches (parikas) especially rushed up
in the earth and atmosphere, and even to just below the position of the stars;
and they saw multitudes of luminaries, and also the barricade and rampart
of the glory of the religion, and the girdle (parvand) of the wishes and good
works of all, when it is arrayed like a brilliant thread-girdle (kusti), and
all its luminaries are girded (parvasto) by the girdle as the girdle of the
omniscient wisdom has girded the all-intelligent angels.' 12. That great glory
of the pure religion, solving doubts, became as beautiful and far-adorning
as is stated in the liturgy (mansar) thus: 'The star-studded girdle (aiwiyangano)
of the spirit-fashioned, good religion of the Mazda-worshippers.' 13. All
the demons and fiends were terrified by the great glory of the religion, and
it is said that, by the recital, practice, and promulgation of the whole routine
of the enlightened religion, all those fiends are subdued, and the renovation
of the universe is produced by the will of the patron spirits (ahvan). 14.
Likewise, on account of that terror, none of the demons and fiends, who are
the mightiest of the demons, rushed upon the creatures of that uppermost third
of the sky, who are in purity and indestructibility. 15. And it (the girdle)
[kusti] is commanded in revelation for men, more particularly for upholders
of the religion, to be within the middle third and near to the uppermost third
of the body.
- One is this, that Yim the splendid [Jamshed], son of Vivangha, who in his
worldly career was most prosperous in worldly affairs, a keeper away of all
agitations of temper and all death, and a provider of freedom from decay and
exemption from death, when he was deceived by the fiend was thereby made eager
for supreme sovereignty instead of the service of Ohrmazd. 17. And about his
administration (dadarih) of the creatures it is said he himself became cut
away from radiant glory [khwarrah] by that fiendishness, and their cause of
wandering (garinishno) is the demon, and mankind perishes in that wandering
from plain and hill-side. 18. And his pardon originated from the fully-persistent
creator; therefore he spoke and gave advice unto his successors as to the
retribution of those who shall abandon the service of the creator; and therein
is explained about the fortress of the angels, with the many proper actions
which are the strength of the fortress, and about the proportional way it
is strengthened when a belt worn on the waist is ordered for men by him --
the fully glorious ruler who was lord of the world, and also in gloriousness
well-betokening the good creation -- and they likewise order it.
- One is this, that just as through that reason, which is an appointment (pado-dahishno)
that the sacred beings decreed, the sacred thread-girdle [kusti] was worn
even before the coming of Zartosht the Spitaman, so after the coming of that
messenger (vakhshvar) of the sacred beings, the righteous Zartosht -- who
enjoined the commands of the good spirits and the exposition of the religion,
with discourse praising the sacred beings and scriptures (avistako) about
steadfastness in the good religion -- the same religious girdle is put on,
with a religious formula [nirang], around the body, over the garment of Vohuman
[i.e. the sudra]. 20. Because the same intimation, relative to girding (parvandishnik)
is wisdom for which the race of the religion is so justly famed that innumerable
people, with the same customs and equally proper girding, wear the sacred
thread-girdle [kusti], the ceremonial belt of the religion and indication
of the creator, on the middle of the body; and it becomes more destructive
of the power of destruction, more obstructive of the way to sin, and more
contesting (kastaktar) the will of the demons.
- One is this, that he is unwise that has not worn it when that man has arrived
in whose law no belting and no girdling are ordered, and more perplexing and
more grievous destruction is so manifested at the time, that it is similar
evidence to that exposition of revelation, the purport (aevaz) of whose question
and reply is spoken thus: '"O creator! in whom is the manifestation of
secretly-progressing destruction, that is, in whom is its progress?"
And Ohrmazd spoke thus: "In him who is the guide of a vile religion;
whoever it is who puts on a girdle [kusti] at most thrice (3-tumak) in a year,
that is, he does not wear a sacred shirt [sudra] and thread-girdle [kusti],
and his law also is this, that it is not necessary to wear them"' --
and when the law of no belting is so grievous that, when that law shall be
accepted, it is observed that destruction is strengthened.
- The same belt, kept on after the command of Yim [Jamshed], was the first
token as regards which an annihilator of destruction is mentioned and established
by law, and on both occasions destruction is more grievously manifest. 23.
That which is more particularly important is such as the destroyer of destruction,
Yim the splendid, advised, which the high-priest of the good, Zartosht the
Spitaman, mentioned thus: 'The sacred thread-girdle [kusti] is as a sign of
the service of the sacred beings, a token of sin ended, and a presage of beneficence;
and one is to put it on and to gird it, in the neighborhood of the heart and
on the middle of the body, with the religious formula accompanying the glorious
scripture.' 24. That is also betokened by its equally-dividing (hambur) position
and determining fashion; for, as a wise man becomes a discriminator between
benefit and injury, between good and evil, so also the place of the sacred
thread-girdle is between below and above. 25. With a low sacred girdle [kusti]
there is a passage for one's want of openness (avishodano) and secret ruin,
and also a shutting up of life; with a high sacred girdle there is a way for
thought, word, and deed, and no confinement (agirishnokarih) of life; and
tying the sacred girdle with a religious rite (ham-dino) is like a glory amid
the glories of the angels, for it is itself through the aid of the patron
spirit (ahvo). 26. And from the heart, which is the place of thought and dwelling
of life, on the upper side (lalaih) are the eye, ear, tongue, and brain, which
are the dwellings of sight, hearing, speech, understanding, and intellect;
and on its lower side (frodih) is the abode of a father's generativeness.
- When this sacred thread-girdle [kusti], whose token, sign, and presage are
such, is tied, it is girded on with this glorious rite of the glorious ones,
the custom of the learned, the command of rulers, and the decree of apostles.
- That secretly-progressing destruction, which arises from the fiend of insubordination
(asardarih) who was much afraid of Yim [Jamshed], and which is averse to the
labor of men and the service of Ohrmazd, is a demon and irreligious (dush-dino),
who is full of fear of the girdles (parvandiha) of the glory of religion,
with which both angels and also worldlings have become belted and diligent.
- Then, because the glory for this belt of ours, which is called the Kusti
and is worn on the middle of the body, remains unreleased (avi-vukht) from
the angels, who are givers of glory, and from men who are glorious -- which
is explained as a similitude and sample of fortunes (baharakoiha) among worldlings,
even those who are actually primitive creatures likewise -- it has, therefore,
seemed comely and desirable. 30. And their heart, will, knowledge, and purpose
are as much for it as that which is perceptible where, even apart from those
of the good religion who shall tie the sacred thread-girdle with the scripture
formula, some of the faiths of all countries, except those who are unbelted,
possess the religious custom. 31. Also outside the seat of the existence of
faith all men have the waist, or the palms of the hands, or similar joints
for a girdle (kustiko); and it is deemed comely, desirable, and convenient
for work to wear it. 32. And it is manifestly the lot (dako) of the thoroughly-praising
one whose own desire is truth and the enjoyment of welfare, it is a token
of the service of the sacred beings, and a sign of walking in the commands
of religion, which they shall tie on account of the superior beings (pashuman)
with the proper formula, more particularly with that which one utters when
there is reliance upon the scripture itself.
- As to the thirty-ninth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: What
kind of goodness and want of goodness can there be in the sacred thread-girdle
[kusti] and shirt [sudra]; and what are the sin of running about uncovered,
of prayer offered and prayer not offered, and the purpose of cleansing (mishn)?
- The reply is this, that it (the shirt) is needful to be perfectly pure white
and single, which one fold is because Vohuman also is thus the one creature
who was first, and afterwards from him the garment which is innermost and
concealed is called in revelation.
- Proper girdling is double, which two folds are because he also who is in
the course of the twofold religious wisdom is intelligent, and the duties
due to the sacred beings are themselves in two divisions which are called
the instinctive and that heard by the ears.
- After a man is in the girding they shall tie on, the symptoms of any sins
of the belted body are free from sin which is condemned (vijirinido); and
when he walks uncovered, or naked, or with a two-fold garment, there is then
no root of the sin of running about uncovered in him. 5. Moreover, on hymns
[Gathas] being chanted during a meal an inward prayer is not also necessary.
- The purpose of a cleansing (mishn-ae) is this, that the suitableness of
men for eating is due to worship of the sacred beings and glorification of
the sacred beings. 7. And as to their necessary recommendation (siparih) of
any food for eating, the glorifying of the sacred beings, and the true usages
about recounting it, it is commanded, before eating, when the mouth is not
soiled with food, that the mouth (dahan) should proceed with the utterance
of the pure glorification. 8. Being thereupon suitably seated, and having
properly eaten the food, one is to make the mouth clean with a toothpick and
water; and after eating, before all words, the praise of the sacred beings
is glorified by the mouth cleansed by washing. 9. And between the glorifying
before eating and the after glorification one is not to speak other words,
and when during a meal a word is spoken by the mouth, that kind of glorification
which it is the custom to utter before and after eating is offered by its
own organ (andam).
- And every single organ has one function, but two special functions are connected
with the mouth, which are speaking and eating; and because they are together
they are mutually opposed, for speaking connects that which is an inward possession
with outside teachings (chashiha), and through eating, the outside food comes
for the inward further vitality of life. 11. As the ancients have said, where
one operation is appointed unto two operators, it is more expressly so that
during eating two operations may not both at once (ayag-ich-gun) be produced,
by speaking and by eating.
- To keep those two operations distinct, one from the other, the custom of
uttering the praise of sacred beings and the glorification of sacred beings
when the mouth remains in the act of eating, until the mouth becomes clean
from food, is decreed as inconsistent with goodness (aham-vehih). 13. And
that which remains from the outpouring (rikh) at the time of a cleansing is
called 'a cleansing (misn-ae).'
- One means for the retention of knowledge is through not having that retention
of knowledge exhausted, but when one thus speaks during that: cleansing the
words are really originating with the mouth, for he does not retain them;
and whenever (maman) he does not speak anything whatever with the tongue,
that religious glorification which it is the custom to utter before and after
eating is then offered by him from his own limited resources (samano-i vimand),
and it will be offered from his own limited resources.
- As to the fortieth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: Of those
whose decision is this, that it is not necessary to be steadfast in the religion
of the Mazda-worshippers -- by which decision this is asserted, that they
should abandon the religion of the Mazda-worshippers -- some one disparages
the religion and goes over to a foreign faith (an-airih), then of what nature
is his sin owing thereto, and what does the sin owing thereto, as regards
those of the same foreign religion, amount to? 2. Or order some one then to
tell us clearly concerning it, how it is, and how is the disobedience due
to this sin.
- The reply is this, that an adult is worthy of death [i.e. guilty of a mortal
sin] on account of the good religion they would abandon, on account also of
the adopted law of the foreign faith he is worthy of death, in whose reliance
upon the improper law is also the sin which they maintain and practice by
law, and through being in the same law he is equally sinful with them. 4.
And also when any one is on that course, and his wish is for the same protection,
of which a similitude is in the enduring words of that good law they would
forsake, and he adopts that which is vile, even through that impropriety he
is equally sinful.
- When he dies, without renunciation of that sin and impenitently, in that
improperly-constituted law, the position of his soul is then in the worst
existence, and his punishment is that of many sins worthy of death; from the
demons also there come grievously, hand in hand, pain and suffering, gnawing
and stench of many kinds, stinging, tearing, and lacerating, primary evil
and discomfort. 6. And through their [the foreigners'] law and faith his distress
in that worst existence is thus until the last change of existence, when the
renovation of the universe is produced by will among living beings.
- But reality (aitoih), as regards living, arises from renunciation of that
disobedience; it makes those attract to the good law who seduced him to that
evil law, that which established him improperly in the law it eradicates from
his conduct (rubakih), advancing sins it again restrains, and whatever has
advanced it repairs again anew through the religion of the Mazda-worshippers,
and he becomes thoughtful, constant, and steadfast. 8. The sin which he set
going he restrains and atones for by wealth, trouble, and authorizing commands;
even in the body he also undergoes punishment in the three nights (satuih);
he then obtains forgiveness, and his soul is saved.
- And as it is said in the persistent law of the sacred beings, that 'the
good religion of the sacred beings, who are the Mazda-worshipping superiors,
ordains it as retribution,' so that the sin it takes away (spayeiti)l may
not exist in him, his retribution is declared by revelation. 10. And by the
same witness it is said, that all of the primitive faith [Paoiryo-tkaesha]
have been quite of the same opinion about this, that from the good religion
except by the way of renunciation of sin there is none unless to hell; but
that renunciation should be during life, for it is said that 'whoever when
living does not become righteous, that is, does not fully atone for sin, for
him when dead there is no grant of the best existence.' 11. To commit no sin
is better than retribution and renunciation of sin.