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Uncleanness








Source: Sacred Books Of The East


O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Here is a man watering a
corn-field. The water streams down the field; it streams again; it
streams a third time; and the fourth time, a dog, a fox, or a wolf
carries some Nasu into the bed of the stream: what is the penalty that
this man shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"There is no sin upon a man for any Nasu that has been brought by dogs,
by birds, by wolves, by winds, or by flies. For were there sin upon a
man for any Nasu that might have been brought by dogs, by birds, by
wolves, by winds, or by flies, 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."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Does water kill?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Water kills no man: Asto-vidhotu binds him, and, thus bound, Vayu
carries him off; and the flood takes him up, the flood takes him down,
the flood throws him ashore; then birds feed upon him. When he goes
away, it is by the will of Fate he goes."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Does fire kill?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Fire kills no man: Asto-vidhotu binds him, and, thus bound, Vayu
carries him off; and the fire burns up life and limb. When he goes away,
it is by the will of Fate he goes."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If the summer is past and
the winter has come, what shall the worshippers of Mazda do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"In every house, in every borough, they shall raise three rooms for the
dead."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! How large shall be those
rooms for the dead?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Large enough not to strike the skull of the man, if he should stand
erect, or his feet or his hands stretched out: such shall be, according
to the law, the rooms for the dead. And they shall let the lifeless body
lie there, for two nights, or for 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 as soon as 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 lay down the dead on the
Dakhma, his eyes towards the sun. If the worshippers of Mazda have not,
within a year, laid down the dead on the Dakhma, his eyes towards the
sun, thou shalt prescribe for that trespass the same penalty as for the
murder of one of the faithful; until the corpse has been rained on,
until the Dakhma has been rained on, until the unclean remains have been
rained on, until the birds have eaten up the corpse."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Is it true that thou,
Ahura Mazda, seizest the waters from the sea Vouru-kasha with the wind
and the clouds? That thou, Ahura Mazda, takest them down to the corpses?
that thou, Ahura Mazda, takest them down to the Dakhmas? that thou,
Ahura Mazda, takest them down to the unclean remains? that thou, Ahura
Mazda, takest them down to the bones? and that then thou, Ahura Mazda,
makest them flow back unseen? that thou, Ahura Mazda, makest them flow
back to the sea Puitika?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"It is even so as thou hast said, O righteous Zarathustra! I, Ahura
Mazda, seize the waters from the sea Vouru-kasha with the wind and the
clouds. I, Ahura Mazda, take them to the corpses; I, Ahura Mazda, take
them down to the Dakhmas; I, Ahura Mazda, take them down to the unclean
remains; I, Ahura Mazda, take them down to the bones; then I, Ahura
Mazda, make them flow back unseen; I, Ahura Mazda, make them flow back
to the sea Puitika. The waters stand there boiling, boiling up in the
heart of the sea Puitika, and, when cleansed there, they run back again
from the sea Puitika to the sea Vouru-kasha, towards the well-watered
tree, whereon grow the seeds of my plants of every kind by hundreds, by
thousands, by hundreds of thousands. Those plants, I, Ahura Mazda, rain
down upon the earth, to bring food to the faithful, and fodder to the
beneficent cow; to bring food to my people that they may live on it, and
fodder to the beneficent cow.

"This is the best, this is the fairest of all things, even as thou hast
said, O pure Zarathustra!"

With these words, the holy Ahura Mazda rejoiced the holy Zarathustra:
"Purity is for man, next to life, the greatest good, that purity, O
Zarathustra, that is in the Religion of Mazda for him who cleanses his
own self with good thoughts, words, and deeds."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! This Law, this
fiend-destroying Law of Zarathustra, by what greatness, goodness, and
fairness is it great, good, and fair above all other utterances?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"As much above all other floods as is the sea Vouru-kasha, so much above
all other utterances in greatness, goodness, and fairness is this Law,
this fiend-destroying Law of Zarathustra. As much as a great stream
flows swifter than a slender rivulet, so much above all other utterances
in greatness, goodness, and fairness is this Law, this fiend-destroying
Law of Zarathustra. As high as the great tree stands above the small
plants it overshadows, so high above all other utterances in greatness,
goodness, and fairness is this Law, this fiend-destroying Law of
Zarathustra. As high as heaven is above the earth that it compasses
around, so high above all other utterances is this Law, this
fiend-destroying Law of Mazda. Therefore, he will apply to the Ratu, he
will apply to the Srao-sha-varez; whether for a draona-service that
should have been undertaken and has not been undertaken; or for a draona
that should have been offered up and has not been offered up; or for a
draona that should have been intrusted and has not been intrusted. The
Ratu has power to remit him one-third of his penalty: if he has
committed any other evil deed, it is remitted by his repentance; if he
has committed no other evil deed, he is absolved by his repentance
forever and ever."

How long shall the piece of ground lie fallow whereon dogs or men have
died?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"A year long shall the piece of ground lie fallow whereon dogs or men
have died, O holy Zarathustra! A year long shall no worshipper of Mazda
sow or water that piece of ground whereon dogs or men have died; he may
sow as he likes the rest of the ground; he may water it as he likes. If
within the year they shall sow or water the piece of ground whereon dogs
or men have died, they are guilty of the sin of 'burying the dead'
towards the water, towards the earth, and towards the plants."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If worshippers of Mazda
shall sow or water, within the year, the piece of ground whereon dogs or
men have died, what is the penalty that they shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"They are Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, two
hundred stripes with the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If worshippers of Mazda
want to till that piece of ground again, to water it, to sow it, and to
plough it, what shall they do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"They shall look on the ground for any bones, hair, dung, urine, or
blood that may be there."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If they shall not look on
the ground for any bones, hair, dung, urine, or blood that may be there,
what is the penalty that they shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"They are Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, two
hundred stripes with the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top
joint of the little finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to
the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Thirty stripes with the Aspahe-astra, thirty stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top
joint of the fore-finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the
ground, what penalty shall he pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Fifty stripes with the Aspahe-astra, fifty stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as the top
joint of the middle finger, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to
the ground, what penalty shall he pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Seventy stripes with the Aspahe-astra, seventy stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as a finger
or as a rib, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what
penalty shall he pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Ninety stripes with the Aspahe-astra, ninety stripes with the
Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as two
fingers or as two ribs, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the
ground, what penalty shall he pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"He is a Peshotanu: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra, two
hundred stripes with the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man shall throw on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as an
arm-bone or as a thigh-bone, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to
the ground, what penalty shall he 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 on
the ground a bone of a dead dog, or of a dead man, as large as a man's
skull, and if grease or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what
penalty shall he 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 on
the ground the whole body of a dead dog, or of a dead man, and if grease
or marrow flow from it on to the ground, what penalty shall he 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 worshipper of Mazda,
walking, or running, or riding, or driving, come upon a corpse in a
stream of running water, what shall he do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Taking off his shoes, putting off his clothes, while the others wait, O
Zarathustra! he shall enter the river, and take the dead out of the
water; he shall go down into the water ankle-deep, knee-deep,
waist-deep, or a man's full depth, till he can reach the dead body."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If, however, the body be
already falling to pieces and rotting, what shall the worshipper of
Mazda do?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"He shall draw out of the water as much of the corpse as he can grasp
with both hands, and he shall lay it down on the dry ground; no sin
attaches to him for any bone, hair, grease, dung, urine, or blood, that
may drop back into the water."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water in
a pond does the Drug Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and
pollution?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Six steps on each of the four sides. As long as the corpse has not been
taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and unfit to
drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the pond, and lay
it down on the dry ground. And of the water they shall draw off the
half, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth part, according as they
are able or not; and after the corpse has been taken out and the water
has been drawn off, the rest of the water is clean, and both cattle and
men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water in
a well does the Drug Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and
pollution?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so long
shall that water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall, therefore,
take the corpse out of the well, and lay it down on the dry ground. And
of the water in the well they shall draw off the half, or the third, or
the fourth, or the fifth part, according as they are able or not; and
after the corpse has been taken out and the water has been drawn off,
the rest of the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it
at their pleasure, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of a sheet of
snow or hail does the Drug Nasu defile with corruption, infection, and
pollution?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Three steps on each of the four sides. As long as the corpse has not
been taken out of the water, so long shall that water be unclean and
unfit to drink. They shall, therefore, take the corpse out of the water,
and lay it down on the dry ground. After the corpse has been taken out,
and the snow or the hail has melted, the water is clean, and both cattle
and men may drink of it at their pleasure, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! What part of the water of
a running stream does the Drug Nasu defile with corruption, infection,
and pollution?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"Three steps down the stream, nine steps up the stream, six steps
across. As long as the corpse has not been taken out of the water, so
long shall the water be unclean and unfit to drink. They shall,
therefore, take the corpse out of the water, and lay it down on the dry
ground. After the corpse has been taken out and the stream has flowed
three times, the water is clean, and both cattle and men may drink of it
at their pleasure, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Can the Haoma that has
been touched with Nasu from a dead dog, or from a dead man, be made
clean again?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"It can, O holy Zarathustra! If it has been prepared for the sacrifice,
there is to it no corruption, no death, no touch of any Nasu. If it has
not been prepared for the sacrifice, the stem is defiled the length of
four fingers: it shall be laid down on the ground, in the middle of the
house, for a year long. When the year is past, the faithful may drink of
its juice at their pleasure, as before."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Whither shall we bring,
where shall we lay the bodies of the dead, O Ahura Mazda?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"On the highest summits, where they know there are always corpse-eating
dogs and corpse-eating birds, O holy Zarathustra! There shall the
worshippers of Mazda fasten the corpse, by the feet and by the hair,
with brass, stones, or clay, lest the corpse-eating dogs and the
corpse-eating birds shall go and carry the bones to the water and to the
trees."

If they shall not fasten the corpse, so that the corpse-eating dogs and
the corpse-eating birds may go and carry the bones to the water and to
the trees, what is the penalty that they shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"They shall be Peshotanus: two hundred stripes with the Aspahe-astra,
two hundred stripes with the Sraosho-karana."

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Whither shall we bring,
where shall we lay the bones of the dead, O Ahura Mazda?

Ahura Mazda answered:--

"The worshippers of Mazda shall make a receptacle out of the reach of
the dog, of the fox, and of the wolf, and wherein rain-water cannot
stay. They shall make it, if they can afford it, with stones, plaster,
or earth; if they cannot afford it, they shall lay down the dead man on
the ground, on his carpet and his pillow, clothed with the light of
heaven, and beholding the sun."





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