THE Pahlavi texts selected for translation in this volume are distinguished from all others by the peculiarity that both the name and station of their author and the time in which he lived are distinctly recorded.
His name, Mânûskîhar, son of Yûdân-Yim (or Gûsndam), is mentioned in each of the headings and colophons to the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and the three Epistles attributed to him. He is styled simply aêrpat, or ‘priest,’ in the headings of Eps. I and II, and aêrpat khûdâî, or ‘priestly lordship,’ in that of Ep. III; but he is called the rad, ‘pontiff, or executive high-priest,’ of Pârs and Kirmân, and the farmâdâr, ‘director,’ of the profession of priests, in the colophons; to Dd. and Ep. II.; and we learn from Dd. XLV, 5 that the farmâdâr was also the pesûpâî or, ‘leader’ of the religion, the supreme high-priest of the Mazda-worshipping faith.
Regarding his family we learn, from Ep. I, iii, 10, vii, 5, that his father, Yûdân-Yim, son of Shahpûhar, had been the leader of the religion before him; and his own succession to this dignity indicates that he was the eldest surviving son of his father, who, in his declining years, seems to have been assisted by his advice(Ep: I, iii, 11). We also learn, from the heading of his second epistle, that Zâd-sparam was his brother, and this is confirmed by the language used in Ep. II, vi, I, ix, 6, and by Zâd-sparam being a son of the same father (Eps. I, heading, III, 2); that he was a younger brother appears from the general tone of authority over him adopted by Mânûskîhar in his epistles. Shortly before these epistles were written, Zâd-sparam appears to have been at, Sarakhs (Ep. I, v., 3), in the extreme north-east of Khurâsân, where he probably came in contact with the Tughazghuz (Ep. II, i, 12) and adopted some of their heretical opinions, and whence he may have travelled through Nîvshahpûhar (Ep. II, i, 2, note) and Shîrâz (Ep. II, v, 3, 4) on his way to Sîrkân to take up his appointment as high-priest of the south (Eps. I, heading, II, i, 4, v, 9, vii, 1, viii, 1, Zs. I, 0). Soon after his arrival at Sîrkân he issued a decree, regarding the ceremonies of purification, which led to complaints from the people of that place, and compelled his brother to interfere by writing epistles, threatening him with deprivation of office (Ep. I, xi, 7) and the fate of a heretic (Eps. II, viii, 2, 3, III, 17-19). That Zâd-sparam finally submitted, so far as not to be deprived of his office, appears from his still retaining his position in the south while writing his Selections (Zs. I, 0), which must have been compiled at some later period, free from the excitement of active and hazardous controversy.
The age in which Mânûskîhar lived is decided by the date attached to his third epistle, or public notification, to the Mazda-worshippers of Irân; which date is the third month of the year 250 of Yazdakard (Ep. III, 21), corresponding to the interval between the 14th June and 13th July A.D. 881; at which time, we learn, he was an old man (Ep. II, ix, 1), but not too old to travel (Eps. I, iii, 13, xi, 4, II, v, 5, vi, 4, 6, vii, 3, viii, 4, 5).
His writings, therefore, represent the state of the Zoroastrian religion a thousand years ago; and it may be presumed, from the importance and influentialness of his position, that his representations can be implicitly relied upon. To detect any differences there may be between the tenets and religious customs he describes, and those upheld by Zoroastrians of the present time, would require all the learning and experience of a Parsi priest; but, so far as a European can judge, from these writings and his own limited knowledge of existing religious customs among the Parsis, the change has been less than in any other form of religion during the same period. The manuscripts containing the writings of Mânûskîhar are of two classes, one represented in Europe by the codex No. 35 of the collection of Avesta and Pahlavi manuscripts in the University Library at Kopenhagen, the other represented by No. 14 of the Haug Collection of similar manuscripts in the State Library at Munich, which two manuscripts are called K35 and M14, respectively, in this volume. In the former of these classes, represented by K35, the Dâdistân-î Dînîk occupies the central third of the codex; being preceded by a nearly equal extent of other miscellaneous religious writings of rather later date, resembling a Pahlavi Rivâyat; and being followed by a third series of similar writings of about the same age and extent as the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, which includes the Epistles of Mânûskîhar and the Selections of Zâd-sparam. In the latter class of manuscripts, from which M14 is descended, the text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk contains many variations from that in the former class, as if it had been revised by some one whose knowledge of Pahlavi was insufficient to decipher difficult passages, and who had freely exercised his editorial license in altering and mutilating the text to suit his own limited comprehension of it.
The codex K35, which was brought from Persia by the late Professor Westergaard in 1843, is one of the most important manuscripts of the former class, and now consists of 181 folios; but it is incomplete at both ends, having lost seventy-one folios at the beginning and about thirty-five at the end. It still includes, however, the whole of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk and the Epistles of Mânûskîhar; though its date has been lost with its last folios. But this date can be recovered from an old copy of this codex existing in India (here called BK) and still containing a colophon, probably copied from K35 which states that the manuscript was completed by Marzapân Frêdûn Vâhrôm Rûstâm Bôndâr Malkâ-mardân Dîn-ayâr, on the day Âsmân of the month Amerôdad A.Y. 941 (19th March, 1572), in the district of the Dahîkân in the land of Kirmân. The end of this colophon is lost with the last folio of BK, which renders it possible that the last folio contained the further colophon of this copy.
That BK is descended from K35 is proved by its containing several false readings, which are clearly due to misshapen letters and accidental marks in K35. And that it was copied direct from that codex is proved by the last words of thirty-two of its pages being marked with interlined circles in K35, which circles must have been the copyist’s marks for finding his place, when beginning a fresh page after turning over his folios. This copy of K35 has lost many of its folios, in various parts, but most of the missing text has been recently restored from the modern manuscript J, mentioned below; there are still, however, eleven folios of text missing, near the end of the codex, part of which can be hereafter recovered from TK, described below. The independent value of BK is that it supplies the contents of the seventy-one folios lost at the beginning of K35, and of about nineteen of the folios missing at the end of that codex.
A third manuscript of the first class, which may be even more important than K35, was brought to Bombay from Persia about fifteen years ago, and belongs to Mr. Tehmuras Dinshawji Anklesaria, of Bombay, but it has not been available for settling the texts translated in this volume. It is here called TK, and is described as still consisting of 227 folios, though seventy folios are missing at the beginning and about fourteen at the end. In its present state, therefore, it must begin very near the same place as K35, but it extends much further, so as even to supply nearly half the contents of the eleven folios missing from BK; it does not, however, include the contents of the last three folios of BK. According to a colophon appended in this manuscript to the Sayings of Zâd-sparam, son of Yûdân-Yim, about the formation of men out of body, life, and soul’ (see Zs. XI, 10, note), some copy of these ‘sayings’ was written by Gôpatshah Rûstôm Bândâr Malkâ-mardân in the land of Kirmân. This Gôpatshah was evidently a brother of Vâhrôm, the grandfather of the Marzapân who wrote the colophon found in BK and supposed to have been copied from K35 (see this manuscript). If, therefore, this colophon in TK has not been copied from some older MS., it would indicate that TK is two generations older than K35.
A recent copy of TK exists in the library of the high priest of the Parsis in Bombay, to whom I am indebted for the information that its text does not differ from that of K35, at the two points (Dd. XCIII, 17 and Ep. III, 11) where some omission of text may be suspected.
The manuscripts of the second class appear to be all descended from an old, undated codex brought to Bombay from Persia about sixty-five years ago and recently in the library of Mr. Dhanjibhâi Frâmji Pâtel of Bombay. From what is stated, concerning the contents of this codex, it appears to commence with about three-fourths of the miscellaneous religious writings, found at the beginning of BK; and these are followed by the altered text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk, as appears from the copies described below, but how the codex concludes is not stated. It may, however, be supposed that it contains as much of the third series of writings, as is found in the manuscript J, a copy of this codex which ends in Ep. II, vi, 2.
This manuscript J belongs to the library of Dastûr Jâmâspji Minochiharji in Bombay; it commenced originally at the same point as the codex just described, and, so far as it has been examined, it contains the same altered text of the Dâdistân-î Dînîk. There is, therefore little doubt that it was originally copied from that codex, but a considerable portion of the additional matter at the beginning of BK has been prefixed to it at a later date. The oldest portion of this copy, extending to Ep. I, vii, 4, bears a date corresponding to 21st December 1818; the date of a further portion, extending to Ep. II, vi, 2, corresponds to 12th February 1841; and a third portion copied from BK, at the beginning of the manuscript, is still more recent.