5) Pahlavi translations of Avesta texts
The Pahlavi Vendidad contains about 48,000 words, of which 400 constitute the Avesta questions introduced by the Pahlavi translators; and its text is well known from Spiegel's edition of 1853, which separates the Avesta text from its Pahlavi version. But, in the MSS. the two languages are mingled, short sentences of the Avesta text alternating with their word-for-word Pahlavi translation, more or less interspersed with explanatory glosses; and sometimes the combined texts are interrupted
by Pahlavi commentaries of considerable extent, which occasionally contain Avesta quotations from some other books.
The only two independent authorities for the Pahlavi version of the Vendidad are the MSS. K1 and L4, both written in India about 570 years ago; but they have lost very many of their original folios at the beginning, so that the text of Vd. 1, i-iii, 14 and iv, 29-v, 26 is missing in both, and the best authorities for this missing text are M13 copied from K1 in 1588-94, and Bu. 1 of about the same age. K1 has three successive colophons, from the first of which we learn that Artaxshir-i Vohuman
copied a Vendidad in 1205 from the MS. of Homast-i Shatan, at the order and expense of Mah-dat-i Atur-veh in Sagastan, for Mahyar-i Mah-Mihr, a priest from India, who had come from Autshak near the river Sind (probably Utshh in the Panjab), and has been six years in Sagastan obtaining religious information for the Parsis in India. The second colophon states that Rustakhm-i Mihraban copied the Vendidad after his arrival in India, but the year is not mentioned. And the third colophon states that
Mihraban-i Kai-Khusro (a great grand grand-nephew of Rustakhm) copied K1 from Rustakhm's MS. in K'ambay in 1324, by order of his own father, for Tshahil Sang. Thus we have an account of four successive copies of the Vendidad, from that of Homast in the twelfth century to that of Mihraban which still exists. The colophons of L4 are lost, but it has long been considered to be in the same handwriting as K1, and this opinion has recently been fully confirmed by direct comparison of L4 with the
photographic facsimile of J2, Dastur Jamasp's old MS. of the Yasna, now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, which is known to have been written by Mihraban. A copy of the missing colophons of L4 has recently been discovered in Pt.2, a Pahlavi Vendidad were noticed by Geldner; the first two of these colophons are the same as the first two in K1, but the third colophons records the completion of a Vendidad, with commentary, at Naosari by Mihraban-i Kai-Khusro, for Tshahil-Simangan of K'ambay, at a
date corresponding to 28 August 1323. As this date was 214 days after the completion of J2 and 81 days before the completion of K5 by the same copyist, it is a likely time for the completion of L4, and was just 37 weeks before the completion of K1; but it is singular that these two old Vendidads should have been written for the same person, and apparently from the same original. M13 has two colophons; the former is a copy of the first colophon in K1, and the latter states that M13 was written by
Artakhshir Magopat in the city of Bharutsh, and was finished in 1594, it also copies many lines of the third colophon in K1, omitting some few unsuitable phrases, which have also been struck out of K1 by a later hand, most probably by Artakhshir Magopat himself, as they are absolutely necessary for Mihraban's meaning in K1. There is, therefore, little doubt that M13 was copied direct from K1, and its introductory invocation states that it was commenced in 1588. Bu. 1 is also a Bharutsh MS., very
similar to M13, but it has lost its colophon and first three folios, containing Vd. i, 1-23; Geldner has, however, ascertained that it must be an old copy of M13, and it is the best authority for the texts of Vd. iv, 101-v, 11 and v, 21-25, where the original folios of M13 are missing. No other independent sources for the Pahlavi text are known in India, and no attempt has been made to ascertain if independent MSS. exist in Persia.
No complete translation of the Pahlavi Vendidad has yet been made, but Spiegel, Darmesteter, Horn, and others have translated several passages, Geiger has translated Phlv. Vd.i, and Phlv. Vd. i, xviii-xx have been translated in Haug's Essays.
The word-for-word Pahlavi translations of the Avesta text cannot be really considered as a sample Pahlavi literature, because the Parsi translators have been fettered by the Avesta arrangement of the words, but in the occasional commentaries they have enjoyed more freedom, although critical comments are seldom pleasant to read, as may be seen from the following passages:-
[Phlv. Vd. iv, 35, commentary. Translation]. That is, this is the account of the number of years (according to) that which is in the Husparum as regards the account of the number; and (according to) that which is in the Nihatum (it is) the account of the number of men. The number of years and the amount of men and property (pledged) are a proportionate account; and, as regards a number not enumerated, until one of these three departs, or some one fully atones, fear of every vengeance is to be entertained;
when one of these three has departed, or some one has fully atoned, not even a single fear is to be entertained; when it has happened to one, this fear is not less to be entertained by the others. The breach of promise subsists in one's offspring, nava drudshaiti khshathraeibyo (it deceives for nine guardianships), it subsists in the child he begets after the sin is committed, nerebyo ho dandrakhti (it seizes upon men), and through every good work done by him the result becomes worse; afterwards,
too, the effect is pairi aodshastaro zi ahmat (even more violet thereby). Giratano-bodshet of Kirman said that fear of the good is less to be entertained. By the teaching of Go-gushnasp (sometimes Nev-gushnasp), when the father has died, fear is not to be entertained by righteous children.
[Phlv. Vd. v, 14, commentary. Translation]. Afarg said that this question is as to bodily refuse, and one should not deliver a decision as to dead matter, because when eaten by it (it is) bodily refuse of the bird. Maidyo-mah said that this question (being) as to something digestible, one should deliver a decision as to dead matter, because while it digests, this is when dead matter is in the digestible (thing). The two teachings have become of similar operation, so that, though made heinous for him by the one,
it is made more injurious for him by the other; and (as to) a man when he goes to bring the firewood, (there) is no calculation of any place for him, because everywhere it stands it is not allowable to cut it down. That for the sacred fire is to be cut out of some other when very pure; that for a domestic fire is to be provided daitya-pairishta (lawfully inspected). Useless wood is this: that on which they may remove a corpse, that on which they dismember (a body), that on which they may hang on a gallows,
that with which grease is mingled, and that on which a menstruous woman places her hand in her lodging. That which is produced for use, and dead matter comes upon it, it also one which is not to be burnt; but in (case of) death or wounding, when one shall burn it (he is of) the Tanapuhl sinners, unless (it be) that with which grease is mingled, for when that is burnt (he is of) those worthy of death.
The Pahlavi Yasna contains about 39,000 words, and its text is readily accessible in Spiegel's edition of 1858. It contains no long commentaries and very few short ones; but in other respects the word-for-word Pahlavi translation is arranged in the same way, with interspersed glosses, as that of the Vendidad.
When Spiegel published his edition the only MS. of the Yasna with Pahlavi known in Europe was K5, which is still one of the best authorities for both texts of the Yasna; but two other independent authorities, J2 and Pt4, have since been recognised, the latter of which, though modern, traces back its descent from a MS. whose writer was living in 1020. From the colophons of K5 and J2 it appears that they were both written in K'ambay by the same Mihraban who wrote K1, and for the same person, Tshahil Sangan. J2 was
completed on 26 January 1323, but the MS. from which it was copied is not mentioned. K5 was completed on 17 November 1323, and, like K1, it was copied from a MS. written by Rustakhm, a great grand-uncle of Mihraban. Pt4, known to have been written in 1780, is one of three copies of a MS. which came from Iran, probably in 1478, and whose descent is described in the following extract from a Pahlavi introduction which is contained, and which may be cosidered as a specimen of fifteenth century Pahlavi as written in Iran:-
[Extract from Phlv. introduction in Pt4. Translation]... And for like reasons it is written, for similar successful deliberations, by me, the servant of the religion Hoshang, son of Siyavaxsh, son of Shahriyar, son of Bakht-afarit, son of Shahriyar; from the copy of Herbad Mihraban, Son of Spento=dat, son of mihraban; and that from the copy of herbad Mah-panah, son of Azad-mard, son of protector of so many from the district of Kazerun, a beneficent man supertending in the religion, without doubt of the soul, and his
virtuous desire was for the sacred beings and the good, (who was) Rustakhm, son of Dad-Aurmazd, a new plant from the happy land of Ispahan, from the town Vardshuk of the Rut-dasht district. The immortal Farnbag, son of Sroshyar, had written a copy for himself-the Avesta from one copy, and the Zand from another copy, (which were) the production of the glorified Mahyar, son of Farrukhzad, from the same salubrious place of the district of Kazerun, (and of) me, the immortal Mah-vindat, son of Nariman, son of Vahram, son
of Mihraban-from such copies, at the request of the successful and dutiful (lit. father-observing) Mard-shad, son of Shahpur, from the happy land of Shiraz...
Of the writers mentioned in this rather complicated statement, Hoshang-i Siyavakhsh was living at Sharfabad in Yazd in 1478, when he wrote some of the documents brought back to India by Nariman Hoshang; Mihraban-i Spento-dat, probably alive in 1280, was the grandfather of the writer of K5 and J2; and Mah-vindat-i Nariman, in 1020, wrote the earliest colophon of the Denkart which is extant (see 34). Anothe copy of Hoshang-i Siyavakhsh's MS. is Mf4, which is evidently independent of Pt4, but contains few variants; and
the third copy, which belongs to Dastur Peshotan, has not been examined. Whether Hoshang's original MS. still exists is not known.
A collotyped facsimile of J2 has been published at Oxford. Phlv. Yas. xxx and lvii have been translated by Huebschmann, phlv. Yas. xi by Bang, phlv. Yas. xxviii-xxxii, 1 in Haug's Essays, and many short passages in the notes to Darmesteter's Yasna.
The Nirangistan contains about 3200 words of Avesta text, 6000 of Pahlavi translation, and 22,000 of Pahlavi commentary, including 1800 of Avesta quotations, three-fourths of which are from the liturgy. A manuscript of this work was first brought from Iran to India by Mobad Jamasp in 1720, and from this all the known Indian copies have descended, including Haug's MS. MH8, and Westergaard's MS. K41. This original MS. his disappeared, but a careful copy of it, having been taken by Jamasp Asa in 1727, is now the
best authority for the next in India, and a photozincographed facsimile of this copy has been prepared by the Parsis for early publication. According to a memorandum on the first folio of Jamasp Asa's copy, Mobad Jamasp states that the original, from which he was copying, was written by Shahpur Jamasp in 1471.
Some twenty years ago Mobad Tahmuras Dinshawji Anklesaria obtained from an Iranian Mobad a codex containing a copy G of the Iranian Bundahish written in the sixteenth century (see 43), followed by a copy of the Nirangistan in a different handwriting, but without a colophon, as the last 16 folios of the text were lost. This copy, which may be called T from its owner's name, supplies the contents of three folios and several other short passages omitted in Jamasp's copy which may be called H, also from its owner's name,
Dastur Hoshang Jamasp. And so far as it goes, that is, for seven-eighths of the text, T is more correct than H, though both MSS. mutually correct each other.
After the description of the Nasks, given in the eighth book of the Denkart, had been translated, it became evident that the last seven-eighths of the Nirangistan corresponded exactly with the account of the first half of the Nirangistan section of the Husparam Nask, given in Denkart. Viii, xxix, 1-17; and that the previous part of the Nirangistan corresponded with the description of some portions of the previous Aerpatistan section of the same Nask. As this correspondence is quite as close as that of the account of
the Vendidad in Denkart viii with the Vendidad itself, and the describer admits that his descriptions are based upon the Pahlavi versions only, it may be considered practically certain that the Nirangistan consists of two, or more, large fragments of the Husparam Nask with Pahlavi, nearly as it existed in Sasanian times. Darmesteter has published the Avesta text, with a French translation and many notes on its Pahlavi version, among the Fragments in his Zend-Avesta, vol. iii. Beginning with priestly duties, the work
is chiefly concerned with the ritual in Sasanian times, the drons, temperance, recital of the Gathas, effect of the sin of a priest on rites, the Gahs and Gahanbars, holy-water, the kusti and sudra, barsom, firewood, and Hom-mortar.
The Pahlavi Vishtasp Yasht contains about 5,200 words; and the only MS. which has been examined is in the library of Dastur Jamasp Minochehrji Jsmasp-Asana at Bombay. It is modern, and the Dastur, recognising the handwriting thought it was written about 1840, but did not know from what MS. it was copied. The Avesta text alternates in short sentences with the Pahlavi version, and the Yasht is preceded by an Av.-Phlv. introduction, consisting of the four B formulas, published in Westergaard's ZA. which are used in
the Yasna whenever the Vishtasp Yasht is recited instead of the Vendidad. The Pahlavi in this MS. is not of an old type, and must have been composed after the Avesta text had nearly reached its latest stage of corruption. But the constant use of i for u, the larger y, and only one o, in the Avesta text, points to an Iranian original; and the last clause of 2 may be taken as a specimen of some special knowledge, on the part of translator, hardly obtainable in India; it is as follows:-
[Extract from V.Yt. 2, end:Av. Translation of Phlv.] May you be far-traversing! traversing the distant road of the Arang river, like the Arang river! May you be strong, like the announcer, the son of Arnavaz! (this Arnavaz allusion is this, that Arnavaz and Shahrnaz were two sisters of Yimshet (Jamshid), and the son of the former one possessed much strength).
It seem probable that 'the announcer' is a translation of the name Vifro which has been corrupted into puthro in the Avesta text, as the word 'son' would be understood from the mere juxtaposition of the two names.
The Pahlavi Visperad contains about 3300 words, and its text is well known from Spiegel's edition of 1858, based upon Paris MSS. written in the last century. Like the Pahlavi Yasna it contains no long commentaries. K7 contains a Visperad, with ritual, followed by a colophon stating that it was completed at Anklesar, in India, by Rustakhm-i Mihraban on a date corresponding to 28 December 1278; and this is followed by a Visperad, with Pahlavi, in the same handwriting. Westergaard thought that this colophon had been
copied from an older MS., but Geldner is doubtful regarding this, on account of the Iranian style of the writing and the accuracy of the texts. The copyist mentioned in this colophon also wrote a copy of Av and Yf in 1269 (see 58), probably in Iran, but this copy no longer exists. The next oldest copy of the Pahlavi Visperad appears to be than in MH6, and was written in 1397.
The Frahang-i Oim-evak contains about 1000 Avesta and 2250 Pahlavi words, and was edited by Hoshang and Haug in 1867. There are two very old copies of this text, one in MH6, written in 1397, and the other nearly contemporary MS. K20. The MSS. chiefly used by Dastur Hoshang appear to have been copied less than a century old and descended from K20; but he sometimes consulted MH6. The two old MSS. correspond very closely, and if Haug had trusted entirely to his own MS. MH6, with very few amendments of orthography,
his edition would have been far more correct than it is. But he supposed that Hoshang's MSS. were independent authorities. This text gives the Pahlavi meanings of about 880 Avesta words, occuring either singly, or in phrases, quoted sometimes from Nasks that have been lost. There are also longer explanations of technical terms in Avesta law. It is worthy of notice that the Avesta letters d and z are written very nearly alike in these old MSS., and this similarity has led to misreadings.
The Pahlavi Yashts have probably not yet been all seen by Europeans, but there is little reason for supposing that Pahlavi versions of even half the Yashts are now extant, and some of those which are extant may be comparatively modern. The Pahlavi Aurmazd Yasht contains about 2000 words, but no old MSS. of this text have been seen. Salemann has published an Av.-Pz.-Phlv. text from a MS. of the beginning of this century; and similar Av.-Phlv. texts occur in F2, written in 1706, and in L12 written in 1755. But there
can be no doubt that the Pahlavi text existed before the time of Neryosang, in the twelfth century, as he translated it into Sanskrit in his Perama-iasti, the oldest known copy of which is J9, a very old MS. belonging to Dastur Jamasp, written Samvat 1400, but its colophon is lost. Darmesteter has edited the same Sanskrit version in his Etudes iraniennes, taken from Burnouf's MS. No. 5. The Pahlavi Bahram Yasht has probably about the same extant; Dastur Jamasp has a copy, probably modern, which has not been
examined. Of the Pahlavi Haptan Yasht, which would probably contain about 700 words, Dastur Jamasp has also a copy, with some other Yashts accompanying it, none of which have been examined. Of the Pahlavi Haptan Yasht, which would probably contain about 700 words, Dastur Jamasp has also a copy, whith some other Yashts accompanying it, none of which have been examined. The Pahlavi Srosh Yasht Hatokht also contains about 700 words, and Darmesteter has edited it in his Etudes iraniennes, from L12 and P33.
It also occurs, in a complete state, in K22 written probably a century ago; and 6-22 are found in K20 copied in the fourteenth century. The Pahlavi Khurshet and Mah Yashts, each containing about 400 words, have been edited by Darmesteter in his Etudes iran., from L12; they likewise occur in F2, and their Sanskrit version in J9. The Phlv. Khurshet Yasht is also found on the extra folios at the beginning of MH6, written in the fourteenth century.
Of the Pahlavi Nyayishes, the Atakhsh Nyayish, 7-16, occurs in L12, and it is found complete, to the extent of about 1000 words, in a modern MS. J58, descended from one written in 1739; its Sanskrit version occurs in the old MS. J9. The Pahlavi Aban Nyayish, containing about 450 words, is also found in J58. The Pahlavi Khurshet Nyayish, without the Yasht, contain about 500 words, and is found on the extra folios at the beginning of MH6 written about 1397, as well as in F2 and L12. But the Pahlavi Mah
Nyayish has been seen only in F2.
The Pahlavi Afringan-i Gahanbar, 3-13 (without the first sentences of 7-12) is found in F2 and J58, and contains about 490 words; the Sanskrit version of the same, including those first sentences, is found in J9 and represents about 1200 Pahlavi words. The Pahlavi Afringan-i Dahman occurs in the same MSS. and contains about 400 words from Phlv. Yas. lix, 2-15. Yt. XIII, 49-52, is called the Afringan-i Fravartigan in F2, and constitutes 4 of the Afringan-i Gatha in other MSS.; its Pahlavi version
in F2 contains about 300 words.
The Pahlavi Siroza I and II, containing about 530 and 650 words, respectively, are both found in L12, K22, J58 and MH4 written in 1737. Siroza I is found alone in F2.
The Pahlavi Hatokht Nask, containing 1530 words, accompanies its Avesta text, edited by Haug in 1872 from the two fourteenth-century MSS. K20 and MH6. The first section, 'on the value of the recital of the Ashem-vohu', may possibly be the first section of the Hatokht Nask, which is described in Denkart VIII, xlv, 1 as containing 'particulars about the nature is aloud.' The Ashem is often recited shortly after the Ahunavair, as mentioned in Hn. 1,7; so that the Denkart, when speaking of the recital of the Ahunavair,
would imply that the Ashem would soon follow. But there is nothing in the description of the Hatokht Nask that applies to 'the fate of the soul after death', which is the subject of the two other sections; though it must be admitted that the last 121 sections of the Nask are hardly described at all in the Denkart.
The final 39-42 of Westergaard's Yasht fragment xxii are taken from a fragmentary text with Pahlavi translation in K20, separated from the rest of Yt. xxii by about 100 folios of other texts. This short fragment has been transliterated by Darmesteter in his Etudes iran., and translated in his Zend-Avesta. It contains about 60 Avesta and 350 Pahlavi words, and is partly about departed souls, and partly refers to the distress of fire at the approach of the demon Az, and the waking of men to their duties by early cock-crowing,
in despite of the fiend of lethargy. The end of the fragment is lost, as the next folios are missing.
The Aogemadaecha consists of 29 Avesta quotations, containing 280 words, with a commentary of 1450 words translating and connecting the Avesta; and only five of these quotations have been found in the Avesta texts now extant. This treatise teaches the certainty of death, and the necessity of being fully resigned and prepared for it. The Avesta quotations and the Pazand and Sanskrit versions of the commentary were edited, with a German translation and glossary, by Geiger in 1878, chiefly from MH21, in which the text
has a Sanskrit colophon originally written in 1498. And Darmesteter has recently edited the Avesta quotations, with a French translation of the commentary, in his Zend-Avesta; for which purpose he has consulted copies of two independent Pahlavi MSS. belonging to Dastur Jamasp (J58 and another) both descended from a Pahlavi MS. dated 1739, which may have been derived from a Pazand text. In both these MSS. the Aogemadaecha (so called from its initial Avesta word) is placed in the middle of an Afrin which they call the Afrin-i
Dahman (see 85). At the end of Pazand-Sanskrit MS. of the Menog-i Khrat, L19, there are sixteen folios containing fragments of Sanskrit versions of some Afrins, what occasional Avesta or Pazand quotations; and on the sixth and seventh of these folios is the Sanskrit text and Avesta quotations of Aog. 12-19, written in the fifteenth century. This fragment forms a part of the Afrin (ashi) of the fourth day, which appears to be the same as the Afrin-i Artafravash of the Persians Rivayats; and it supplies the Avesta quotation
from which Aog. 11 is derived. If it were not for a few traces of pahlavi influence mentioned by Geiger, to which may perhaps be added the single instance of a suffixed pronoun in guftash, 'said by him' (Aog. 57), it would be difficult to believe that this treatise was originally written in Pahlavi characters. At any rate, it must be a late specimen of Pahlavi, although the opportunity of collecting the Avesta quotations from Avesta texts, now no longer extant, could have hardly occurred after the twelfth century.
The Chitak Avistak-i Gasan, or 'Selected Avesta of the Gathas', contains about 400 Avesta and 1100 Pahlavi words from the Yasna. The text is practically the same as that in the Pahlavi Yasna, and any variants that occur are probably errors. The object of the selection appears to have been to contrast the influences of the good and evil existences. It was already known in India in the fourteenth century, as a copy of it occurs in MH6; but, no doubt, it came originally from Iran, as Nareman Hoshang obtained another copy
of it at Yazd in 1478, as appears from a copy of a letter preserved in the Persian Rivayats. A few short extract from the Av.-Phlv. Yasna, also occur near the end of K20.
The Vichirkart-i Denig is a miscellaneous collection of Pahlavi translations and religious texts. The translations contain about 630 Avesta words translated by 900 words in Pahlavi; and the religious texts contain about 17,500 Pahlavi words, whith 260 in Avesta quotations. This collection was edited by Dastur Peshotan, the present highpriest of the Shahanshahi Parsis in Bombay, and was printed at the expense of the Sir Jamshedji Jijibhai Translation Fund in 1848. The Gujrati preface states that it was edited from a copy
in the highpriest's library, made in 1754 from a MS. in the Modi Library at Surat, which was written by Dat-pirai Shahpur Mihryarof Kirman in 1240, but whether this old MS. is still in existence is uncertain, and no third one is known. The book professes to have been compiled by Medyomah, first-cousin of Zartusht; but there have been several priests of that name, and one of them was a commentator of the later Sasanian times, whose opinions are often quoted in the Pahlavi Vendidad. Whoever the compiler may have been, he quotes
nine Avesta passages from three specified Nasks, but not one of these quotations can be traced in the descriptions of these Nasks given in the Denkart, unless we suppose them to have been merely disconnected quotations in the commentaries. This fact does not prove that the quotations are forgeries, because the descriptions of the Nasks are brief, and may be faulty, but it renders them doubtful; and, as the style of the Pahlavi is modern, the work may be very little older than Dat-pirai's MS. The principal contents, which very
much resemble those of a Rivayat, are as follow:-Pahlavi texts Nos. 55, 76 and 88; genealogy and life of Zartusht, inheritance, sacred fires, ceremonial apparatus, treatment and rites for the dead, dakhmas and bone-receptacle, bareshnum and cleansing, Kusti and Sudra, marriage, 101 names of the sacred being, five Gatha days, sins and good works, noxious creatures, origin of Aharman, Gogushnasp's explanation of Avesta difficulties, prayers to be recited at various ceremonies, punishments, truth and falsehood, three times for the
Visperad, six necessaries for a fire-temple, Navazut, a wife's property, children to be taught, etc.
Abstracted from : Pahlavi literature, E.W. West,
in Grundriss der iranischen Philologie, II. Band, Wilh. Geiger und Ernst Kuhn, Strassburg, 1896-1904
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