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Funerals And Purification








Source: Sacred Books Of The East


If a dog or a man die under a hut of wood or a hut of felt, what shall
the worshippers of Mazda do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"They shall search for a Dakhma, they shall look for a Dakhma all
around. If they find it easier to remove the dead, they shall take out
the dead, they shall let the house stand, and shall perfume it with
Urvasna or Vohu-gaona, or Vohu-kereti, or Hadha-naepata, or any other
sweet-smelling plant. If they find it easier to remove the house, they
shall take away the house, they shall let the dead lie on the spot, and
shall perfume the house with Urvasna, or Vohu-gaona, or Vohu-kereti, or
Hadha-naepata, or any other sweet-smelling plant."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If in the house of a
worshipper of Mazda a dog or a man happens to die, and it is raining, or
snowing, or blowing, or it is dark, or the day is at its end, when
flocks and men lose their way, what shall the worshippers of Mazda do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"The place in that house whereof the ground is the cleanest and the
driest, and the least passed through by flocks and herds, by the fire of
Ahura Mazda, by the consecrated bundles of Baresma, and by the
faithful."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! How far from the fire? How
far from the water? How far from the consecrated bundles of Baresma? How
far from the faithful?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Thirty paces from the fire; thirty paces from the water; thirty paces
from the consecrated bundles of Baresma; three paces from the
faithful;--on that place they shall dig a grave, half a foot deep if the
earth be hard, half the height of a man if it be soft; they shall cover
the surface of the grave with ashes or cow-dung; they shall cover the
surface of it with dust of bricks, of stones, or of dry earth. And they
shall let the lifeless body lie there, for two nights, or three nights,
or a month long, until the birds begin to fly, the plants to grow, the
hidden floods to flow, and the wind to dry up the earth. And when the
birds begin to fly, the plants to grow, the hidden floods to flow, and
the wind to dry up the earth, then the worshippers of Mazda shall make a
breach in the wall of the house, and two men, strong and skilful, having
stripped their clothes off, shall take up the body from the clay or the
stones, or from the plastered house, and they shall lay it down on a
place where they know there are always corpse-eating dogs and
corpse-eating birds. Afterwards the corpse-bearers shall sit down, three
paces from the dead, and the holy Ratu shall proclaim to the worshippers
of Mazda thus: 'Worshippers of Mazda, let the urine be brought here
wherewith the corpse-bearers there shall wash their hair and their
bodies.'"

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Which is the urine
wherewith the corpse-bearers shall wash their hair and their bodies? Is
it of sheep or of oxen? Is it of man or of woman?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"It is of sheep or of oxen; not of man nor of woman, except a man or a
woman who has married the next-of-kin: these shall therefore procure the
urine wherewith the corpse-bearers shall wash their hair and their
bodies."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Can the way, whereon the
carcasses of dogs or corpses of men have been carried, be passed through
again by flocks and herds, by men and women, by the fire of Ahura Mazda,
by the consecrated bundles of Baresma, and by the faithful?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"It cannot be passed through again by flocks and herds, nor by men and
women, nor by the fire of Ahura Mazda, nor by the consecrated bundles of
Baresma, nor by the faithful. They shall therefore cause a yellow dog
with four eyes,[13] or a white dog with yellow ears, to go three times
through that way. When either the yellow dog with four eyes, or the
white dog with yellow ears, is brought there, then the Drug Nasu flies
away to the regions of the north, in the shape of a raging fly, with
knees and tail sticking out, droning without end, and like unto the
foulest Khrafstras. If the dog goes unwillingly, O Spitama Zarathustra,
they shall cause the yellow dog with four eyes, or the white dog with
yellow ears, to go six times through that way. When either the yellow
dog with four eyes, or the white dog with yellow ears, is brought there,
then the Drug Nasu flies away to the regions of the north, in the shape
of a raging fly, with knees and tail sticking out, droning without end,
and like unto the foulest Khrafstras. If the dog goes unwillingly, they
shall cause the yellow dog with four eyes, or the white dog with yellow
ears, to go nine times through that way. When either the yellow dog with
four eyes, or the white dog with yellow ears, has been brought there,
then the Drug Nasu flies away to the regions of the north, in the shape
of a raging fly, with knees and tail sticking out, droning without end,
and like unto the foulest Khrafstras. An Athravan shall first go along
the way and shall say aloud these victorious words: 'Yatha ahu
vairyo:--The will of the Lord is the law of righteousness. The gifts of
Vohu-mano to the deeds done in this world for Mazda. He who relieves the
poor makes Ahura king. What protector hast thou given unto me, O Mazda!
while the hate of the wicked encompasses me? Whom but thy Atar and
Vohu-mano, through whose work I keep on the world of righteousness?
Reveal therefore to me thy Religion as thy rule! Who is the victorious
who will protect thy teaching? Make it clear that I am the guide for
both worlds. May Sraosha come with Vohu-mano and help whomsoever thou
pleasest, O Mazda! Keep us from our hater, O Mazda and Spenta Armaiti!
Perish, O fiendish Drug! Perish, O brood of the fiend! Perish, O
creation of the fiend! Perish, O world of the fiend! Perish away, O
Drug! Rush away, O Drug! Perish away, O Drug! Perish away to the regions
of the north, never more to give unto death the living world of
Righteousness!' Then the worshippers of Mazda may at their will bring by
those ways sheep and oxen, men and women, and Fire, the son of Ahura
Mazda, the consecrated bundles of Baresma, and the faithful. The
worshippers of Mazda may afterwards prepare meals with meat and wine in
that house; it shall be clean, and there will be no sin, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw
clothes, either of skin or woven, upon a dead body, enough to cover the
feet, what is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Four hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, four hundred stripes with
the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw
clothes, either of skin or woven, upon a dead body, enough to cover both
legs, what is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Six hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, six hundred stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw
clothes, either of skin or woven, upon a dead body, enough to cover the
whole body, what is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"A thousand stripes with the Aspahe-astra, a thousand stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man, by force,
commits the unnatural sin, what is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Eight hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, eight hundred stripes with
the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man voluntarily
commits the unnatural sin, what is the penalty for it? What is the
atonement for it? What is the cleansing from it?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"For that deed there is nothing that can pay, nothing that can atone,
nothing that can cleanse from it; it is a trespass for which there is no
atonement, forever and ever."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Who is the man that is a
Deva? Who is he that is a worshipper of the Devas? that is a male
paramour of the Devas? that is a female paramour of the Devas? that is a
wife to the Deva? that is as bad as a Deva? that is in his whole being a
Deva? Who is he that is a Deva before he dies, and becomes one of the
unseen Devas after death?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman
lies with mankind, is the man that is a Deva; this one is the man that
is a worshipper of the Devas, that is a male paramour of the Devas, that
is a female paramour of the Devas, that is a wife to the Deva; this is
the man that is as bad as a Deva, that is in his whole being a Deva;
this is the man that is a Deva before he dies, and becomes one of the
unseen Devas after death: so is he, whether he has lain with mankind as
mankind, or as womankind."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Shall the man be clean who
has touched a corpse that has been dried up and dead more than a year?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"He shall. The dry mingles not with the dry. Should the dry mingle with
the dry, how soon all this material world of mine would be only one
Peshotanu, bent on the destruction of righteousness, and whose soul will
cry and wail! so numberless are the beings that die upon the face of the
earth."





Next: Cleansing The Unclean

Previous: Uncleanness



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