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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.


As to the ninety-second question and reply, that which you ask is thus: From what place should Tishtar [Sirius] seize the water? How does it pass into a cloud, and how does he make the cloud move on? How does it rain upon the world? How can he carry on a struggle with demons, and with which demon can he carry it on? How does this always happen with the hail and snow, whenever hail and snow occur? And who can force away that hail and snow?
The reply is this, that the high-priests have thus said, that Tishtar seizes a place which is called 'abysmal' (varunak), that is the last place of filtration in the ocean, and there are no removal of any kind and causing rain from any other place. 3. And the cause of its (the rain's) establishment is spiritually active, more particularly, however, through two kinds of material agency: one is that which is the rule (mang) in the atmosphere of the earth, whereby it is drawn up in atoms similarly to smoke, and in larger masses, well-soaring from the rivers; and one is that which blows with the power of the well-operating wind, and the blowing of the great united breath (ham-vae) and strength of the community (chandiganoih) of spirits [or thoughts], from the fully perfect distillation (pur-hu-zuhigih) of the mighty ocean to the upper regions, and thereby the clouds are blown.
Afterwards, it (the rain) speeds in the cloud, through the great strength of the mighty wind, to where there is a necessity for it, to divert it from where there is no necessity; and so long as there is a necessity for it it (the cloud) discharges. 5. And when there is a necessity and it causes rain, and the necessity is for no more acquisitions of water, and the advantage is the effect of water upon the place, and it distributes it to the existing rivers for the use of the sea, and it causes rain again, it thereby produces even new water, new flowing, new coming of healing to plants, new growth, new golden coloring to lands, new purification to animals, new procreation, new proper breathings for other creatures, new dawn, and new things of that description. 6. The thriving of the world makes the advantage and perfection of the good creation increase; and, apart from a great craving for the effect of the glory of the spirits in the operations of cultivation and the performance of spiritual mysteries, it is said labors are aided even for one gloriously destined.
And Tishtar in seizing the water should seize upon the great strength of the wind of whirlwinds (gardinakan), which is figuratively (minishnik) the dragging and blowing that follow the whirling; and the purified water is expanded and carried up aloft to the higher regions of the atmosphere, just as that which is seen where it reaches up with the heaviness and weight of earth, and then is discerned in the plain accompanied by the dragging of the whirling wind which would carry it afar to settle like that which is owing to dust; it (the atmosphere) is called Andarvae ('the intermediate air'), and the wind is a whirlwind. 8. As the water is lighter, and owing to the more strongly dragging wind on the ocean than that which exists on the plain, so, also, the water from the ocean is much more in proportion, and transportable farther up than the dust from the plain. 9. And as in the midst of a plain a medium whirlwind of wind is expanded into the wide plain by a medium dragging of the wind, and plenty of much buffeting is the violence of the dragging of winds, a whirlwind of wind which is seen very lofty and large is unknown; so, also, one is ignorant of what is spreading among the movements of the sea. 10. The water of that full and abundant flowing -- which is through the power and glory of the heavenly angels and Tishtar's control of the work -- is blown up, both by the well-characterized water-drawing power, and also by the force of various kinds, the dragging, and upward blowing of the winds, into the atmosphere; and thence it rains the complete rain, as they have recounted from observation and much full evidence.
The demon who resists the doings of Tishtar -- and the glorious Tishtar, meeting him, properly drives back such improper resistance of his -- is a demon of the name of Apaosh [Av. Apaosha], which is interpreted as 'the destruction of water' (ap-aosh). I2. He contends, moreover, with the uppermost and lowermost water; and desirous of its destruction that demon contends at three periods: first, for the non-existence of rain; secondly, for converting it into a cause of damage to a place; and thirdly, at the place of producing it with advantage; and the struggling is like a tree (vano) which is set moving.
The seizers of the feminine pure water are a benefit for the existences of the whole world; and the formation of rain, and the triumph and ascendancy of Tishtar over the demon, through that seizing (falanih) of water, are due to the creator who strengthens him, the archangels [Amahraspandan] who have him assisted, the religious who reverence him, and the worldly beings who glorify him. 14. Very properly do the archangels propitiate him, and mankind promote the strength and power, which are engaged about the business, by glorifying and invoking the good spirit who increases them in consequence of glorifying and worship, and through which arises that advantageousness of his which owing to that benefit is the benefit of every one else for this advantageous business.
And Tishtar shall gradually (padmanikiha) seize upon the water to distribute it liberally, assiduously a similitude of that which a learned ruler said, in extolling a wise high-priest, that, 'just as the wind draws the up-flying water from rivers and springs and from seas, Tishtar, through his own liberality, bestows the prepared apportionments of the whole production for the advantage of the creatures by the will of the sacred beings, and makes it rain. 16. And through that which he shall purposely seize to distribute suitably he distributes the water purified, he moistens the pleasant existences of animals and plants and spares the polluted, he provides for the thirsty, he causes harm to the dye-like bloody one, and he makes the world thrive. 17. When that widespread liberality of his, the production of rain, is from the pure, healing water which he shall thus seize gradually and with just apportionment, and when through that acquiring of water-seizings the rivers, springs, and other existences (shavandagano) are well-expanding, and even the diminution which is owing to the wasting (airikhtagih) of rivers and springs does not occur thereby, it is thus, too, the lordly, by a law (dado) moderate and varied -- if the regulation (gun) is to reach away from the region -- are as much contributing, as Tishtar is by causing rain for the region and the good, to the aggrandizement of the many grades and the replenishment of the region and creatures.'


The first eleven sections of this chapter are quoted from the beginning of the sixth book of the Denkard.

And those of the primitive faith, the ancients of those acquainted with the religion, thus considered, that in the spirit of life (ahvo) there is a thought and one appointed who holds the position (gas), and there is a fiend who stops the way; and in the thought there is a word appointed which holds the position, and there is a fiend who stops the way. 2. In the spirit of life is a thought and Spandarmad ('bountiful devotion') holds the position, and the fiend Taromat ('scornful thought') stops the way; in the thought is a word and Ard ('the righteous') [Areta or Ashishwangh] holds the position, and Vareno ('lust') stops the way; in the word is a deed and Din [Av. Daena] ('religion'), the good, holds the position, and self-conceit (khud-doshagih) stops the way. 3. We men of all descriptions have to become very cautious that, while we do not desist from that way, we do not go on to the way of the demons and fiends. 4. For the struggling of men is in these three ways and paths; and whoever is saved in these three ways and paths is saved from every place, and whoever is misled there comes into the hands of the demons and fiends, and is thenceforth not master (shalita) of himself, except when he shall do that which the fiends order him.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that that nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self; and that wisdom only is good when it thoroughly understands how to utilize the advantage of that happiness which has occurred, and shall not suffer vexation on account of harm which has not occurred; and that intellect only is good which understands that it does not understand that which it does not understand.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that one is to become a friend of every one, and this is thy nature; also, bring them on into goodness, and this is thy wisdom; also, consider them as thine own, and this is thy religion; also, through them it shall produce happiness, and this is thy soul.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that, when one shall do even that which he knows to be sin, that is disobedience, and disobedience is the nature of the adversary; when one shall not do even that which he knows to he a good work, that is cupidity (varenoikih), and cupidity is the wisdom of the adversary; and when one shall do even that which he does not know to be a good work or a sin, until it comes fully to his knowledge, that is self-conceit, and self-conceit is the religion of the adversary.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that Ahriman would do everything for the injury of Ohrmazd, but when it is done by him it is then an injury of him himself, and an advantage of Ohrmazd; and Ohrmazd would do everything for his own advantage, and when it is done by him it is then, indeed, an advantage of him himself, an injury of Ahriman.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that a person of whatever description is to be kept in remembrance of the affairs of the spirit at every period and time, and of the happiness of heaven and misery of hell at that period when comfort, happiness, and pleasure have come to him.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that happiness, indeed, would be there, in the heaven of light, when even here it is so happy, though, owing to many things, Ahriman -- with whom the happiness there is not connected -- is even here so happy at the time when distress, vexation, and misery have come hereto; and this, too, was thus considered, that evils, indeed, would be there, in hell, when here is such misery, though even here much of the earthly happiness of Ohrmazd -- with whom the misery there is not connected -- is here so evil.
And this, too, was thus considered by them, that that person is the more fortunate, in whom are soundness of body, happiness, and energy (rayinishno); who has done those things about which the last wish of him who departs from the world is then thus: 'I will strive to do more;' and who shall have exercised much complete abstinence from those things about which his last wish, when he departs from the world, is then such as 'I will strive to do less, and it would have occurred more comfortably for my soul.'
Do you good people of those of the good religion of these countries of Iran keep in use the laws appointed by those of the primitive faith who were high-priests, so that your bodies may become more renowned, and your souls more perfect, in the radiant supreme heaven which is the seat of Ohrmazd and the archangels [Amahraspandan], of the angels [Yazads] and all the guardian spirits of the righteous [Asho Farohar]. 13. So these are so many answers of the questions provided, and are given explanatorily from the exposition of the religion and the statements of the high-priests of those of the primitive faith, and are the nature of the teachings that Manuschihar, son of Yudan-Yim, pontiff (rado) of Pars and Kirman, and director (farmadar) of the profession of priests, ordered to write.
Steadfast in the propitiation and praise of the creator Ohrmazd is the righteousness of obtainments of prayers, perfect is Zartosht, and one only is the way which righteousness [Asha] obtains, the others are no ways; homage to the exalted pontiff sent from the creator Ohrmazd, the heavenly, most righteous Zartosht the Spitaman.
Completed in peace and pleasure, joy and delight; happy for him who reads, and happier for him who keeps it in use and shall take his duty therefrom, if they exist unto time eternal.