Pahlavi Texts, Part III
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Pahlavi Texts Volume 3 contains the Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad ('Opinions of the Spirit of Wisdom' - a series of enquiries and answers relating to the worship of Ahura Mazda); the Sikand-gûmânîk Vigâr ('Doubt-dispelling Exposition' - a controversial ninth-century Zoroastrian apologetic, designed to prove the correctness of the fundamental doctrine of Mazda-worship); and the Sad Dar, a Persian rather than Pahlavi text, offering valuable discussion of 'a hundred subjects' connected to Zoroastrianism.

Pahlavi Texts

Part III
Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad, Sikand-gûmânîk Vigâr, and the Sad Dar

Translated by E.W. West

I. The Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad

THE Pahlavi phrase Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad, ‘Opinions of the Spirit of Wisdom,’ is a name applied to sixty-two enquiries, or series of enquiries, on subjects connected with the religion of the Mazda-worshippers, made by an anonymous wise man and answered by the Spirit of Wisdom. But, as this name is only found prefixed to a manuscript, written in A.D. 1569, in which the first part of the work is missing, it is doubtful whether it be the original name of the book, or not, although it is very suitable to the general character of the work.

Regarding the reading of this naive, here adopted, it must be observed that the correct pronunciation of the Pahlavi word maînôg, ‘spirit,’ is uncertain; the traditional reading is m ad ô n a d, which is a possible pronunciation of its letters, but is otherwise inexplicable; Haug proposed to read maînivad or mînavad, but, in that case, the word ought to end with d = t, or with nd; some of the present Dastûrs read mînôê, but this would be written minôêk in Pahlavi; the Pâzand writers have mainyô, but this is evidently an imitation of Av. mainyavô, and does not correspond with the Pahlavi letters. As the word is manû or minô in the Sasanian inscriptions, and mînû in Persian, to which words a final k would be added in Pahlavi, it seems probable that the final letter of the Pahlavi word is not d or ê, but g, a corruption of k, and that we ought to read mînôg or maînôg. At the same time it should be noticed that a very old copy of the Pahlavi Farhang, in the library of Dastûr Jâmâspji Minochiharji in Bombay, has the word written with an extra medial stroke, so that it might be read mînavand, as required by Haug’s hypothesis, although this copy of the Farhang gives madonend as the traditional reading.

The subjects discussed by the Spirit of Wisdom are of a very miscellaneous character, and their discussion is evidently intended to furnish an outline of the tenets, legends, and morality of the religion with which they deal; but it forms by no means a complete, or systematic, treatise on these subjects, and it is remarkably silent with regard to all details of religious rites and ceremonies, which are only occasionally. mentioned. This silence may, perhaps, be due to the fact that the author was a layman, as seems clear from the account he gives of his doubts and enquiries in Chap. I, 14-56. Any incompleteness of the treatise may also be explained by the apparent loss of the latter end of the work, as the sixty-second reply (Chap. LXIII) terminates the extant text of the treatise abruptly, and without any trace of peroration.

By the Spirit of Wisdom the author means the innate wisdom of Aûharmazd (Chap. LVII, 4), the âsna khratu of Yas. XXII, 29, XXV, 18, through which the spiritual and worldly creations were produced (Chaps. I, 49, 51, LVII, 5). It was originally created by Aûharmazd (Chap. VIII, 3, 8), and is superior to the archangels (Chap. I, 53); it can appear in a personal form, and undertake to be an instructor (Chap. I, 57, 60, 61); and it can likewise be used as a defence (Chap. XLIII, 6).

With regard to the author of this treatise, and the age. in which he lived, we have no further information than can be gathered from the contents of the book itself. The author was evidently a devoted Mazda-worshipper, and probably a layman, as has been already remarked, but he has given us no further hints about himself. Whether he wrote before or after the Arab conquest of Persia is doubtful. There are only two passages that might be strained into allusions to Muhammadanism: one in Chap. I, 18, which alludes to some heterodox religion injuring the property of the orthodox faith, but the author has just been talking of many sects, and the grievance here mentioned is much too common to be considered as applicable only to the Arabs; the other passage is Chap. XVI, 37-48, which describes the advantages of ‘the moderate drinking of wine,’ and might be supposed to be written in indirect opposition to the Muhammadan prohibition of such indulgence. In either case the allusion is certainly far too obscure to form a fair basis for argument. On the other hand, Chap. XIII, 13, 14, speaks of the sovereignty of Vistâsp existing in connection with the most powerful sect or form of devotion, which statement might be strained to imply that the government was still orthodox; and the definitions of good and bad government in Chap. XV, 12-39 could hardly have been written after the Arab conquest. The allusion to the continued conflict of the Arûmans and Tûrânians with the Irânians, in Chap. XXI, 23-26, may possibly refer to some troublesome wars carried on by the Greeks and Turks against the Persians in the time of the author, and the late Dr. A. D. Mordtmann has suggested A.D. 580-590 as a probable period for such remarks, but, here again, the allusion is too obscure to be relied on.

Very few of the author’s quotations can be identified, but this is no argument for a greater age than eight or ten centuries, as we know, from passages quoted in the Shâyast Lâ-shâyast, Dâdistân-î Dînîk, and other works, that some of the lost Nasks must have been still extant as recently as that. The Avesta is quoted only twice by name, in Chaps. I, 27, XVI, 15; the former passage has not been identified, but the latter may perhaps be from the Pâzag Nask. Several quotations, however, are made from the dînô or ‘revelation,’ a term which, when it refers to writings, is often applied by Pahlavi writers to the Avesta only. Of these passages Chap. XLIV, 18-23 is from the Vendîdâd, Chap. XXI, 24-26 may be from the Kidrast Nask, and six other quotations have not been identified. In other cases the quotations are merely prefaced by the phrase ‘it is declared.’ And of these the passage in Chap. LVII, 24-28 appears to be derived from the Vendîdâd, and that in Chap. II, 155, 156 from the so-called Hâdôkht Nask, while eight other passages are unidentified. In this last class the quotations seem to be rather paraphrases than accurate translations of the original texts.

Of the original Pahlavi text of the Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad only two manuscripts are yet known to exist; one of these (K43) is contained in No. 43 of the Irânian manuscripts in the University Library at Kopenhagen, and the other (TD2) belongs to Mr. Tehmuras Dinshawji Anklesaria of Bombay.

The manuscript K43 is a small quarto volume of 178 folios, of which the Dina occupies fols. 2-37, written fifteen lines to the page. The first and second folios also contain the conclusion of the larger Bundahis, of which the first 129 folios are missing from this codex, as described in SBE, vol. v, introd. pp. xxxix-xli. And the latter part of the codex contains about one-fifth of the Dînkard, in several detached fragments, and four-fifths of the Bahman Yast. This manuscript was brought from Persia by the late Professor Westergaard in 1843, and the Pahlavi text of the Dînâ, which it contains, was published in facsimile by Andreas in 1882.

In this codex the text of the Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad begins in the middle of Chap. I, 28; but, as the copyist has prefixed an introductory heading to this imperfect text, it is evident that he, or some predecessor of his, must have copied the work, in this imperfect state, from some manuscript whose first folio had been lost. Besides this deficiency, ten folios of the text have been lost from this particular codex; nine of these were occupied by Chaps. XIV, 1-XXVII, 49, and the tenth contained Chaps. XXXIX, 31-XL, 17. At the end of the work, Chap. LXIII is followed by a colophon to the following effect: Completed in peace and pleasure and joy on the day Shatvaîrô of the month Âvân of the year 938 of Yazdakard, king of kings, [26th May 1569]. I, Mitrô-âpân Anôshak-rûbân Rûstâm Shatrô-îyâr, wrote it for my own possession. From the copy of Dastûr Gadman-pîrûg Aspendiyâr Gadman-pîrûg, and that from the copy of Dastûr Shatrô-aîyyâr Vêgan Khûsrôîshah, and that, as regards these several sayings, was written from the copy of the heavenly-destined Mâh-vindâd Naremâhân with the righteous soul, and, comes unto us from the realm of the Hindûs. May even our writing be in accordance with the will of the sacred beings.’ In addition to the date, the chief matter of interest in this colophon is its acknowledgment of the fact that the work had come from India, where the original Pahlavi text appears to have since become extinct. We have, therefore, in this text, merely so much of the work as had reached India, on which the Pâzand-Sanskrit version of Nêryôsang, described below, was undoubtedly based; and the possibility of hereafter finding the latter part of the work in Persia should not be overlooked. It is, however, upon the text contained in K43, so far as it is preserved, that the translation of the Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad in this volume is founded.

Of the other Pahlavi manuscript, TD2, nothing further is known to the translator than a copy of the passages corresponding to those contained in the ten folios lost from K43, upon which copy the translation of those passages has been based.

Besides these manuscripts of the original Pahlavi text, there exist other copies, in which the text has been merely reproduced from the Pâzand version described below; and, of these copies, K22 (No. 22 in the University Library at Kopenhagen) may be cited as a typical example. This manuscript is a large octavo volume of 56 folios of glazed Indian paper, probably about a century old, but without a date. The first 48 folios contain a corrupt Pahlavi text of the Dînâ-î Maînôg-î Khirad, alternating with the usual Sanskrit version described below, written nineteen lines to the page, and extending as far as Chap. XXVII, 41. The corruptions in the text consist of misuse of Huzvâris equivalents, and errors in orthography which no old writer of Pahlavi would be likely to commit, such as writing kolâvist for harvist, nafsmanîdârîk for khvêsinîdârîh, barâgûmân for avîgûmân, hamê for hamâî, avas for aûbas, and for al, denman instead of hanâ for Pâz. e, the constant use of the adjective suffix -îk for the abstract suffix -îh, and the frequent omission of the final k in such words as dânâk, avistâk. It can be seen at once, by any one really acquainted with Pahlavi, that a text of this description is merely a modern transliteration of the Pâzand version by some one whose knowledge of Pahlavi was rather limited and artificial.

Most of the Indian manuscripts of this work contain only the Pâzand version written in short sentences, alternating with a word-for-word Sanskrit translation of each sentence; the Sanskrit being written upside down, for the sake of forming a continuous line with the reversely-written Avesta characters of the Pâzand. This Pâzand-Sanskrit version of the Mainyô-i Khard (as it is called in Pâzand) was compiled by Nêryôsang, son of Dhaval, a Parsi priest who is supposed to have lived some time in the fifteenth century, and evidently possessed a very good knowledge of Pahlavi, though not sufficient to avoid some few mistakes, especially in reading foreign names. His authorship is attested by a Sanskrit introduction, prefixed to most manuscripts of this version, to the following effect: ‘Through the name and almighty power and assistance of the lord Ahura-mazda, the greatly wise, may the achievement be auspicious, and be the progress and success of the good Mazda-worshipping religion, and energy in body and long life for all the good and right-minded. This Pahlavi heavenly wisdom, called the Mainyô-i Khard, is translated by me, Nêryôsang son of Dhaval, from the Pahlavi language into the Sanskrit language, and written from the difficult Parsi letters with the Avesta letters, for the joyful understanding of the good listeners to instruction, the true-minded. Salutation to the good, the pure-thinking, the true-speaking, the just-acting.’