THE ZEND-AVESTA PART I THE VENDIDAD

Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism

Translated by JAMES DARMESTETER

THE Zend-Avesta is the sacred book of the Parsis, the few remaining followers of that religion which has been called Dualism, or Mazdeism, or Magism, or Zoroastrianism, or Fire-worship. In less than a century after their defeat, nearly all the conquered people were brought over to the faith of their new rulers, either by force, or policy, or the attractive power of a simpler form of creed. But many of those who clung to the faith of their fathers, went and sought abroad for a new home, where they might freely worship their old gods, say their old prayers, and perform their old rites. That home they found at last among the tolerant Hindus, on the western coast of India and in the peninsula of Guzerat 3. There they throve and there they live still, while the ranks of their co-religionists in Persia are daily thinning and dwindling away.

As the Parsis are the ruins of a people, so are their sacred books the ruins of a religion. There has been no other great belief in the world that ever left such poor and meagre monuments of its past splendour. Yet great is the value which that small book, the Avesta, and the belief of that scanty people, the Parsis, have in the eyes of the historian and theologist, as they present to us the last reflex of the ideas which prevailed in Iran during the five centuries which preceded and the seven which followed the birth of Christ, a period which gave to the world the Gospels, the Talmud, and the Qur’ân. Persia, it is known, had much influence on each of the movements which produced, or proceeded from, those three books; she lent much to the first heresiarchs, much to the Rabbis, much to Mohammed. By help of the Parsi religion and the Avesta, we are enabled to go back to the very heart of that most momentous period in the history of religious thought, which saw the blending of the Aryan mind with the Semitic, and thus opened the second stage of Aryan thought.


CONTENTS

Introduction INTRODUCTION PAGE
Chapter I THE DISCOVERY OF THE ZEND-AVESTA xi
Chapter II  THE INTERPRETATION OF THE ZEND-AVESTA xxv
Chapter III THE FORMATION OF THE ZEND-AVESTA xxx
Chapter IV THE ORIGIN OF THE AVESTA RELIGION lvi
Chapter V THE VENDÎDÂD lxxxiii
TRANSLATION OF THE VENDIDAD.
Fargard I AN ENUMERATION OF SIXTEEN LANDS CREATED BY AHURA MAZDA, AND OF AS MANY PLAGUES CREATED IN OPPOSITION BY ANGRA MAINYU 1
Fargard II. MYTHS OF YIMA 10
Fargard III THE EARTH 21
I (1-6). The five places where the Earth feels most joy 22
II (7-11). The five places where the Earth feels most sorrow 24
III (12-35). The five things which most rejoice the Earth 25
IV (36-42). Corpses ought not to be buried in the Earth 31
Fargard IV CONTRACTS AND OUTRAGES 33
I (1) 34
II a (2). Classification of contracts 34
II b (3-4). Damages for breach of contract 35
II c (5-10). Kinsmen responsible 36
II d (11-16). Penalties for breach of Contract 37
III (17-55). Outrages 39
(18). Definitions 39
(18-21). Menaces 39
(22-25). Assaults 40
(26-29). Blows 41
(30-33). Wounds 42
(34-36). Wounds causing blood to flow 42
(37-39). Broken bones 43
(40-43). Manslaughter 44
(44-45). Contracts 45
(46, 49 [bis]-55). False oaths 45
(47-49). Praise of physical weal 46
{p. viii}
Fargard V 48
I (1-7). If a man defile the fire or the earth involuntarily, or unconsciously, it is no sin 49
II (8-9). Water and fire do not kill 50
III (10-14) Disposal of the dead during winter 51
IV (15-20). How the Dakhmas are cleansed by water from the heavens 53
V (21-26). On the excellence of purity and of the law that shows how to recover it, when lost 55
VI (27-38). On the defiling power of the Nasu being greater or less, according to the greater or less dignity of the being that dies 57
VII (39-44). On the management of sacrificial implements defiled by the dead 60
VIII (45-62). On the treatment of a woman who has been delivered of a still-born child and what is to be done with her clothes 61
Fargard VI 66
I (1-9). How long the earth remains unclean, when defiled by the dead 66
II (10-25). Penalties for defiling the ground with dead matter 67
III (26-41). Purification of the different sorts of water, when defiled by the dead 69
IV (42-43). Purification of the Haoma 72
V (44-51). The place for corpses; the Dakhmas 74
Fargard VII 74
I (1-5). How long after death the Nasu falls upon the dead 74
II (6-9). How far the defiling power of the Nasu extends 76
III (10-22). Cleansing of clothes defiled by the dead 77
IV (23-24). Eating of corpses an abomination 79
V (25-27). Bringing corpses to fire or water an abomination 80
VI (28-35). Cleansing of wood and corn defiled by the dead 81
VII a (36-40). Physicians; their probation 83
VII b (41-44). Their fees 84
VIII (45-49). Purification of the earth, of the Dakhmas. The Dakhmas and the Daêvas 86
IX (60-72). Treatment of a woman who has brought forth a still-born child 89
X (73-75). Cleansing of vessels defiled by the dead 911
XI (76). Cleansing of the cow 92
XII (77). Unclean libations 92
{p. ix}
Fargard VIII 93
I (1-3). Purification of the house where a man has died 93
II (4-13). Funerals 94
III (14-22). Purification of the ways along which the corpse has been carried 97
IV (23-25). No clothes to be wasted on a corpse 99
V (26-32). Unlawful lusts 100
VI (33-34). A corpse when dried up does not contaminate 103
VII (35-72). Purification of the man defiled by the dead 103
VIII (73-80). Purification of the fire defiled by the dead 110
IX (81-96). The Bahrâm fire 112
X (97-107). Purification in the wilderness 116
Fargard IX. THE NINE NIGHTS' BARASHNÛM 119
I a (1-11). Description of the place for cleansing the unclean (the Barashnûm-gâh) 119
I b (12-36). Description of the cleansing 122
II (37-44). Fees of the cleanser 129
III (47-57). The false cleanser; his punishment 131
Fargard X SPELLS RECITED DURING THE PROCESS OF THE CLEANSING 138
Fargard XI SPECIAL SPELLS FOR THE CLEANSING OF THE SEVERAL OBJECTS 144
Fargard XII THE UPAMAN: HOW LONG IT LASTS FOR DIFFERENT RELATIVES 151
Fargard XiII THE DOG 152
I (1-7). The dog of Ormazd and the dog of Ahriman 152
I a (1-4). The dog Vanghâpara (the hedge-hog) 152
I b (5-77). The dog Zairimyangura (the tortoise) 153
II (8-16). Offences against the dog 153
III (17-19). On the several duties of the dog 156
IV (20-28). On the food due to the dog 156
V (29-38). On the mad dog; how he is to be kept, and cured 159
VI (39-40). On the excellence of the dog 160
VII (41-43). On the wolf-dog 161
VIII (44-48). On the virtues and vices of the dog 161
IX (49-50). Praise of the dog 163
X (50-54). The water dog 163
Fargard XIV THE ATONEMENT FOR THE MURDER OF A WATER DOG 165
Fargard XV 172
I (1-8). On five sins the commission of which makes the sinner a Peshôtanu 172
{p. x}
II (9-19). On unlawful unions and attempts to procure abortion 174
III (20-45). On the treatment of a bitch big with young 175
IV (46-51). On the breeding of dogs 180
Fargard XVI 181
I (1-11). On the uncleanness of women during their sickness 181
II (11-12). How it can be removed 183
III (13-18). Sundry laws relating to the same matter 184
Fargard XVII HAIR AND NAILS 185
Fargard XVIII 189
I (1-13). On the unworthy priest and enticers to heresy 1189
II (14-29). The holiness of the cock 192
III (30-60). The four paramours of the Drug 196
IV (61-71). On unlawful lusts 200
Fargard XIX 219
I (1-10). Angra Mainyu attempts first to kill, then to seduce Zarathustra 217
II (11-42). Ahura Mazda reveals the law to Zarathustra 207
III (43-47). Angra Mainyu flees down to hell 217
Fargard XX. THRITA AND THE ORIGIN OF MEDICINE 219
Fargard XXI. WATERS AND LIGHT 223
I (1). Praise of the holy bull 224
II (2-3). Invocation addressed to hail as a healing power 225
III a (4-7). Joint invocation addressed to the waters and to the light of the sun 226
III b (8-11). Joint invocation addressed to the waters and to the light of the moon 227
III c (12-17). Joint invocation addressed to the waters and to the light of the stars 228
IV (18-21). Spells against disease 229
Fargard XXIIANGRA MAINYU CREATES 99,999 DISEASES: AHURA MAZDA APPLIES FOR HEALING TO THE HOLY WORD AND TO AIRYAMAN

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Source: THE ZEND-AVESTA PART I THE VENDIDAD TRANSLATED BY JAMES DARMESTETER Sacred Books of the East, Volume 4. Oxford University Press, 1880. (Digitally Reorganized for Reader's Convenience at Hinduwebsite.com - July 2001)