Uncleanness


Sources: 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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