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Dadestan-i Denig ('Religious Decisions')

Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 24, Oxford University Press, 1880.


The forty-seventh question is that which you ask thus: How is a liking for the desirableness, joy, and pleasure arising from the sacred ceremony (yazishn) friendly to Ohrmazd, the archangels [Amahraspandan], and the guardian spirits of the righteous [Asho Farohar]; in what manner is the perfection of him by whom the ceremony is ordered and the people of the country then exalted by them; and how and in what manner does it become the vexation, defeat, anguish, and discomfort of the evil spirit, the demons, and the fiends? 2. How is the purpose of the ceremony, what is the ceremony, where is the place [or time?] when they shall perform it, what is good when they shall perform it, and how is it good when they shall perform it?
The reply is this, that the great satisfaction of Ohrmazd and the archangels arising from the sacred ceremony is in the purity of its formulary (nirang), and also in this, that it is completely fulfilling his own blessed commands; because he ordered that entire goodness for the complete procedure of those of the good religion (bundako hudinakanakih), as the recompense and full allotment of the sure upholder of religion among those who rightly recite it. 4. From the performance of the ceremonial of the sacred beings are the propitiation of the good spirits, the destruction (drujishno) of violence, the increase of digestiveness, the growth of plants, the prosperity of the world, and also the proper progress of living beings, even until the movement of the renovation of the universe and the immortality of the creatures arise therefrom. 5. It became so, it is expressly said, because the sacred beings are great; and unitedly opposing it the demons are particularly undesirous of it, and owing to it their defeat and vexation are severe; its consecrated cup (tashtiko) also becomes the express preservation of the ceremony.
And its purpose inquired about is this, that religion is transmitted clearly to the intelligent, that is, it is not the wisdom whose comprehension exists in worldly beings; and as, moreover, even that which is not understood by worldly wisdom is really the creature of the spirits, that also which is the spiritual formulary (nirang) is for making it intelligible to worldly beings through the body. 7. That religion which is comprehensible by the world and authoritative (nikezako) is rightly connected with that which worldly beings are quite able to understand through worldly wisdom; and the understanding about its evidence as to that which is spiritual and powerful, apart from the worldly evidence of superiors (avarikano), is the right way of the intelligent. 8. That proper (kano) purpose -- in which, moreover, the ceremonial, owing to timely memory for its own completion, is unique -- is this unique exhibition of purity in the pure glorifying of the heavenly angels, as is commanded; just as the purpose of the ceremonial of a season-festival [Gahambar] being before the season-festival, and of maintaining (daran) the exposure of the body of a jackal (shakhal) or a man, is to make the body clean from the corrupting (nasushiko) pollution, and also from outward contamination.
That also which might be written, as to the much retribution appointed as regards washing the limbs outside with clean moisture from clean animals and plants, and then completely washing the body with the purifying water streaming forth; as to the clean scents among those which they rightly perceive, and making the body and clothing sweet-scented; and as to the putting on of the white and proper garment of Vohuman [i.e. sudra], and supposing the power of avarice to be the sight of distress, is all superfluous. 10. But it is needful still as regards these matters, that is, while engaged in the ceremonial it is not to be hurried owing to any hunger or thirst, owing to liability of punishment for religious practices, or even owing to deficiency of vacant space. 11. And before the ceremonial one is to eat at the appropriate time, and such food, too, as is preparable and only moderately troublesome (navas); and any of that which one has to perform aloud in leaving the heavenly-minded, yet moderate, duty in the abode of fires -- which is perpetual light is proper, pertaining to good works, and good for him, and thereby lodging in him. 12. And they, that is, the gloomy ones, thereby see the service (yasak) for them themselves is short; and good are they who come into the world glorified by praise.
The position of the ceremony-holders themselves, that is, the position of the officiating priest (zot) and his cooperators, is the Aurves place; and, if it be the precinct (dargasih) of prayers, one should wash it over (madam pasayad) with the water of purification, to make it clean. 14. The apparatus of the ceremonial, together with its own man, who is a solemnizer, and the two creatures which are solid out of these four: fire, metal, water, and plants, just as one has to bring them together in readiness, the stone Aurves, the stone and mortar Khan, and the Hom-mortar (havanih), cups, and crescent-shaped (mah-rupo) stands set upon it, are all ceremoniously washed (padyavinid) with the water of purification. 15. The bright fire on the clean fire-stand (atishto) is increased by the dry firewood delivered to it purified, and one is to put upon it at appropriate times the wholesome perfumes of various kinds of plants; and the water of purification, which is ritualistically produced by reciting the words of revelation, is in the clean metal cups. 16. The well-grown Hom through which the world is possessed of creatures, the Hom through which the production of Zartosht occurred, is a symbol of the white Gokerano [Av. gaokerena] as regards the immortality of the renovation of the universe [Frashegird] manifest therefrom, and the resting-places of its vengeance are the various demons; and with it one is to put attentively (sinvisno-dahak) in its appropriate place the pomegranate (hadanapag) plant of the Aurvaram. 17. The vegetable sacred twigs carefully girded with the vegetable belt (parvand) and girdle, and the metallic crescent-shaped stands -- which are in the position of those who are sovereigns of the worldly creatures who are interpreted as the sacred twigs [barsom] of the treatises -- are prepared.
When arranged (stordo) by the bringing together of clean worldly productions, so much the more purely as is possible, the arrival of the pure renders all the symbols reliable. 19. Those celebrators of whom the outside of their own bodies is defiled with their bodily refuse and in clean clothing, and their disposition -- if in the religion of moderate eating in which is a thirst for lawfully drinking -- is customarily sleep and lethargy through the tendency (runo) to falsehood of their wisdom, are to consider, even from their innermost hearts and minds, the retribution of the body of wrath, the falsehood, and bad thoughts in that disposition of infamy, and the recompense of their own renunciation of it; they are to atone for their sinfulness, and to seek great purification of mind. 20. And having acquired eyes speaking forth, hands in a state of ablution, and every other member of the body -- especially there where well-accomplishable -- free from its bodily refuse and covered with the clean clothing, the tongue is preserved and guarded from falsehood and the hand from sin, the mind is established by little preparation with good consideration for knowledge of the sacred beings, and even the good are to recite by direction (radiha) the verbal renunciation of sin.
The officiating priest (zot), having directed and purified the place of the fire with liturgical words, is to go and walk unto the place of the officiating priests while glorifying the sacred beings, and to consider invokable the glory given to the luminaries and the guardian spirits [Farohars] of the good. 22. Of those also who, cooperatively, conjointly, and interspersed (ham-resh), have each separately remained in their own places and thought of the sacred beings, with propitiation of Ohrmazd and scornful notice (tar dahishno) of the evil spirit [Ahriman], the employment stands forth prominently at the ceremonial. 23. As to the position of others cooperating with him who is an officiating priest of good leadership, there are some who are for the Avesta, there is the solitude (khaduidarih) by the fire, there are some who are bringers forward of water, there are some who are for carriers away, there are some who are solitary ones, there are some who are gregarious ones, there are some who are directors of duties, and their own needful arrangement in the place is arranged in the ceremony.
In cleanliness, purity, and truth, as much as there is in this mingled existence, if one has to commence a ceremony glorifying the sacred beings, when the righteously-disposed temperament is purified along with the apparatus the abundant ritualism (nirangakih) of the spirit is a symbol and reminder of the will of the sacred beings, undesired by the fiend [Druj], remains a blessing deservedly unto those come together. 25. Then is explained the text (Avesta) of that great scripture (Nask) which is called the Hadokht, that is itself the best of the chiefs of the scriptures, and of the sublime Dvazdah-homast [i.e. Damdad Nask] that is not recited by any voice with falsehood (akadba), and is called 'the origin of every truth.'
The pure glorification of the sacred beings is in the light, this is in the morning time (frayar gas); and even until night the ritualistic and true recitation of revelation (dino) is unchangeably proceeding, undivided and faultless. 27. This, too, is in benediction of the angels; this, too, is producing restraint of the fiends; this, too, is in praise of the glorious ones, the mighty doers; this, too, is as an admonition for creatures subject to command; this is in the true words of the ancients who have passed away; this, too, is as a suitable servant for the righteous, these good doers; this, too, is to obtain a permanence (patistan) of requisites; this, too, is suitable for the discreet and is merciful; this, too, is as another way in which the promoters of good (veh-yavkaran) are pardoned, as soon as the Hom-juice (parahom) is digested, through not having eaten from dawn till night during the pure utterance of the pure glorification. 28. And, moreover, one performs no work, nor is even a word uttered; one does not go to sleep, nor should they allow any pollution to the body; the sequence (patisarih) of the religious formulas is, likewise, not changed from that ordered, nor is even a detached thought away from that truth and purity; but always with phrases rightly consecutive and properly worded (hu-sakh-unaganoiha) the Avesta is uttered; and even the manner of response of one's cooperators is in modes contributing to good (hu-padayako), or they utter the scripture (Nask).
Since the production of stench is needing something essentially purifying, many formulas in the ceremonial are tokens and signs which, while they are strongly manifested, are terrifying and vexing to the demons, and inviting and rejoicing to the angels. 30. Such as, indeed, the pure Hom, which is squeezed out by four applications of holy-water (zohr) with religious formulas, is noted even as a similitude of the understanding and birth of the four apostles bringing the good religion, who are he who was the blessed Zartosht and they who are to be Hushedar, Hushedar-mah, and Soshans. 31. As also the metal mortar (Hawan) which is struck during the squeezing of the Hom, and its sound is evoked along with the words of the Avesta, which becomes a reminder of the thoughts, words, and deeds on the coming of those true apostles into the world. 32. As also the proper rite as regards the water, that they should perform three times, which is showing the world the glorious seizing of water and formation of rain, and the healthfulness of the production of rain. 33. And as the purification of the milk, by the glorious ritualistic product (nirang) taken from the purifying cattle, is divided in two, by means of which the token is that which is great, glorious, and good; one being for the daughter of Paurvajirya the Mazda-worshipper, and from her was Aoshnor full of wisdom; and one being Farhank, daughter of Vidhirisa, and from her came Kai-Kavad.
And, as to the high-priests of the glorious religion, it is said many concomitants (padvandiha) are obtained; such as, much discrimination of scripture (Nask), the holy-water which is indispensable as a remedy, the healthfulness which is given in that ceremonial to the sacred fire which the world destroys, that preeminent strength which is given at the end of the world from the ox Hadhayas unto the good people scattered about (fravaftan) -- it is mingled with the fire of men's bodies, and they, therefore, become perfect and immortal through it -- and there are also other things. 35. There are also in the ceremonial many tokens and signs of spiritual mysteries, glorious matters, and habitual practices of which statements would be very tedious.
And if the wish (ayupo) should be this, that they should be engaged in a single ceremony of the length of a day, a man who is righteous in purification, inside and outside the body, should stay away from all his relations and the worldly transaction of business, from malicious actions and covetous practices, separated from all lying and falsehood of relatives; and his words are to be all those which are serving the angels, glorifying, and begging favors. 37. Then, indeed, the way of the spirit and the harmoniousness of the sacred beings are manifest therefrom; and those which are as much the means due to the primitive good creations as is more purely possible are strengthening as regards the utility (bun) for offering, encouraging for purity, confounding for the confusers (gumejakan), terrifying for the fiends, and propitiating for the sacred beings.
The ceremonial which is good is when they shall perform it for a pure disposition and assured wisdom, a minder of the religion of the sacred beings of the spheres, and with pure thoughts, just thoughts, wise deeds, a purified body, a tongue worthy of good (veh-sazak), a scripture (Nask) made easy [i.e. memorized, familiar], a true text (avistak), ablutions performed, proper rites, undivided, and faultless. 39. Near which fashion, with like abilities, and innumerable times, it is very purely solemnized in the abode of the ever-growing fire, then in the abode of the other sacred fires, then in the abodes of Mazda-worshippers and other good people, and then in other places pronounced clean. 40. That of the three days is in the abode of the fire-place which is nearest to that of the departed; the ceremony of the guardian spirits of the righteous [Asho Farohars] is solemnized in purity there where the dwelling is which is nearest that of the departed whose soul is honored. 41. And that for victories in war is then at its times of battle, the husbandry of Sam [i.e. Keresasp the Saman] and other offenders (vinasagan) who were for keeping away husbandry, the household attendant's place for a warrior of another rank, the occasion of the outcry of those not possessing (adarigan) a lodging, unto the rest of the same temperament (munoko), expressly to produce and maintain a proportional resemblance.


Grain futures

As to the forty-eighth question and reply, that which you ask is thus: As to them who shall buy corn and keep it in store until it shall become dear, and shall then sell it at a high price (pavan giranoih), what is the nature of the decision?
The reply is this, that when there is nothing therein on account of which I should so deem it otherwise than due to the eating of the requisite amount (avayishn) of food for one's self, that which is his controlling impulse (sardarih), and not the teachings of the worthy and good, is the internal instruction which a time of scarcity has taught by means of the occurrences during that time; but clamorous worldly profit is want of diligence (akhaparakanih), for they would buy to make people distressed, and in order that they may sell again dearer. 3. Moreover, the store one keeps, and keeps as closed even unto the good as unto the bad -- and though it be necessary for a man of the good and worthy, and they beg for some of the food, they shall not sell at the price it is worth at that time, on account of its becoming dearer -- one keeps in store unauthorisedly and' grievously sinfully, and every calamity of those good people they shall suffer who would not sell it at the price they beg.
On account of that non-obtainment of corn, or that unlawfully heinous sin, and because of dearness of price it is not proper to give it for that non-distribution (an-afshanoih) unto him himself, or those under his control, or the poor to whom it would be given by him; and the distribution (reshishno) which occurs is then retaliative upon him. 5. And if the corn be spoiled, through keeping too long a time in store, he is suffering assault from the hungry man (gurshno) who is injured even by that damaging (bodyozedih) of the corn; if through that unlawful want of preservation (adarishnoih) noxious creatures are associated with the corn, he is overwhelmed also by that heinous sin; and, through the profit of improper diligence he is unworthy.
But if it be necessary for their own people who are under their control, on account of the fear of a time of scarcity, they should buy at their own suitable time, and should afford protection. 7. Or, because of the teachings of the good and worthy, they should buy corn at a cheap price from a place where the corn is more than the requirements of the eaters, and they should bring it unto there where corn is scarce, provided (va hato) the good and those requiring corn are sufficient (vasan). 8. So that, while their information of a scarcity of corn is even from him himself to whom the price would become profit, or is the persistence of these same teachings of the good -- so that it may become more abundant unto them than unto the bad, even in the time of scarcity when it is very much raised in price -- they should buy corn at a cheap price during an excess of corn, so that one may keep it until the time of a period of scarcity. 9. When there occurs a necessity for it among the good he sells it at such price as one buys it at that time, that is, the market price (arj-i shatroik); by that means, in a season of scarcity, much more is obtained in price, and it becomes more plentiful among the good; then a more invigorating (padikhuinagtar) praise of him is commendable.
And, yet, as regards that which is suitable profit and also apart from the eating of corn, from anything eatable for the maintenance of life, from medicine and remedies for the healthfulness of life, and from whatever is for the preservation of life -- it is allowable that they shall buy and shall sell dear.


The forty-ninth question is that you ask thus: If they should sell wine unto foreigners and infidels what is then the decision about it?
The reply is this, that there is very vehement danger of grievous sin, and it would be an evil occupation. 3. But if through the operation of that wine-selling of theirs the wine is kept more away from those who become worse through immoderate drinking of wine, and comes to those who drink wine in moderation -- whom they cause to become better through drinking the wine -- more than when they shall not practice that selling of the wine, then through that selling of theirs the power which is in the wealth, by their keeping away of which a man is confirmed (padayinido) in the good religion and diverted from going into infidelity, the progress of sin is impeded and good works are promoted, becomes the assistance of the good and protection of religion, the hindrance of sin and aid of good works, which, when they shall not practice that wine-selling, do not arise, and which are much more promoted than the various sins that might have arisen from the unlawfully drinking of wine. 4. Or, otherwise, the greater decision -- and great are the good works which are assured therein -- is thus: 'They who shall sell wine to foreigners, infidels, and others from whom unlawful conduct arises through drunkenness, act very sinfully and not authorisedly.'


The fiftieth question is that which you ask thus: As to one of the good religion who drinks wine immoderately, and loss and injury happen to him owing to that immoderate drinking, what is then the decision about him? 2. And how is the measure of wine-drinking which when they drink is then authorized for them?
The reply is this, that whoever through the influence of opportunity drinks wine immoderately, and is adult and intelligent, through every loss and injury which thereupon come to him from that immoderate drinking, or which occasion anything unto any one, is then his causing such pollution to the creatures, in his own pleasurably varied modes, that the shame owing to it is a help (dastakih) out of that affliction. 4. And even he who gives wine authorisedly unto any one, and he is thereby intoxicated by it, is equally guilty of every sin which that drunkard commits owing to that drunkenness.
And concerning that drunkenness, what is said is that that is to be eaten through which, when one eats it, one thinks better, speaks better, and acts better; and such even is the food by which, through having drunk wine, one becomes more virtuous, or does not become more vicious, in thought, word, and deed. 6. When an experiment as regards its being good is tried, so that having drunk it in that proportion one becomes better, or does not become worse, then it is allowable to drink it.
When an untried person, for the sake of being tried, has drunk a mingled portion, first of one drinking cup, secondly of two drinking cups, and thirdly of three drinking cups, and through drinking it he becomes more virtuous, or does not become more vicious, in thought, word, or deed, he is to increase the drinking cups, and the experiment is allowable unto those tested just so far as the proportion is such that he becomes better, or does not become worse. 8. To those tested it is authorisedly given to that amount through which the experimenting that is mentioned has extended; and to him who it is proved will become worse through the drinking of wine, that amount, through the drinking of which, when given in the experiment, it was seen that he became worse, is not authorisedly given.
In a case of doubt one is to consider him who is orthodox (hu-dino), who has chanted the sacred hymns, and is of good repute, whose drunkenness is not manifest, in this way, that he drinks as much wine as was tried by him when he became no worse by drinking it. 10. It is necessary to consider him whose religion is unseen, whose religion is wrong, and him who is a child furnished even with the realities of religion, in this way, that he becomes worse through having drunk wine. 11. When apart from the decision there is no assignable (banjishnik) reason as regards it, the share of wine which they gave not authorisedly who themselves drank wine, one considers as some of the wine on its being given more authorisedly.