Related Topics Introduction There are four extant hell texts from the Zoroastrian tradition. Dating these texts is problematic: the manuscripts provide the only reliable basis. Although the texts themselves are probably much earlier than the earliest surviving manuscripts, it is impossible to determine the form and contents of the originals and we suspect, or fear, that they may have been revised extensively according to new ideas. Although scholars feel that many of our earliest notions about hell derive from Zoroastrianism, with the evidence provided by these texts we cannot make a reliable determination. Although this is a religion that dates back to the Prophet Zoroaster Zarathustra c.

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Charles F. Horne, Ph. He has sometimes been connected with a religious scholar who wrote commentaries on the Avesta during the Sasanian Empire. His book narrates a vision of heaven and hell which Viraf saw in an inspired dream or vision.

Most of the brief book is given here, except where the details of hell become too bestial, too coarsely sordid for modern taste. The entire vision is truly Dantesque; and while we do not know its age, we can say confidently that it is several centuries older than the work of Dante.

It has certainly a powerful influence in restraining the Parsis from sin. Passages in [] such as chapter and section headings supplied by JHP. These are primarily intended to facilitate electronic searches.

Published: Bombay : Govt. Central Book Depot, Description: v, lxxxvii, p. Subjects: Pahlavi literature Pahlavi literature -- Translations into English. English literature -- Translations from Pahlavi. Hadokht nask. Notes: Text in Pahlavi characters and Roman transcription. A67 [Part 1. They say that, once upon a time, the pious Zartosht made the religion, which he had received, current in the world; 2 and till the completion of years, the religion was in purity, and men were without doubts.

But afterward, the accursed evil spirit, the wicked one, in order to made men doubtful of this religion, 4 instigated the accursed Alexander, the Roman, who was dwelling in Egypt, so that he came to the country of Iran with severe cruelty and war and devastation; 5 he also slew the ruler of Iran, 6 and destroyed the metropolis and empire, and made them desolate.

And this religion, namely, all the Avesta and Zand, written upon prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink, was deposited in the archives, in Stakhar Papakan, 8 and the hostility of the evil-destined, wicked Ashemok, the evil-doer, brought onward Alexander, the Roman, who was dwelling in Egypt, and he burned them up.

And after that, there were confusion and contention among the people of the country of Iran, one with the other. And afterward, there were other magi and Dasturs of the religion; 20 and some of their number were loyal and apprehensive.

Afterward also, with the concurrence of the Dasturs of the religion, they called all the people to the residence of the Frobag fire. And afterward, those seven men sat down; 34 and, from the seven, three were selected; and from the three, one only, named Viraf; 35 and some call him the Nishapurian.

And that Viraf had seven sisters, 2 and all those seven sisters were as wives of Viraf; 3 they had also learned the religion of heart, and recited the prayers. And afterward, those Dasturs of the religion selected, in the dwelling of the spirit, a place which was thirty footsteps from the good.

Those Dasturs of the religion and the seven sisters were occupied, seven days and nights, with the ever-burning fire and fumigations; and they recited the Avesta and Zand of the religious ritual, 33 and recapitulated the Nasks, and chanted the Gathas, and kept watch in the dark.

And the soul of Viraf went, from the body, to the Chinwad bridge of Chakat-i-Daitik, 2 and came back the seventh day, and went into the body. In the third dawn, that soul of the pious departed into the sweet scent of trees; 16 and he considered that scent which passed by his nose among the living; 17 and the air of that fragrance comes from the more southern side, from the direction of God.

And there stood before him his own religion and his own deeds, in the graceful form of a damsel, as a beautiful appearance, that is, grown up in virtue; 19 with prominent breasts, that is, her breasts swelled downward, which is charming to the heart and soul; 20 whose form was as brilliant, as the sight of it was the more well-pleasing, the observation of it more desirable. Afterward, the width of that Chinwad bridge became again nine javelin-lengths.

I came to a place, 2 and I saw the souls of several people, who remain in the same position. And afterward, I put forth the first footstep to the star track, on Humat, the place where good thoughts humat are received with hospitality. When I put forth the second footstep, it was to Hukht of the moon track, the place where good words hukht find hospitality; 2 and I saw a great assembly of the pious. When I put forth the third footstep on Huvarsht, there where good deeds huvarsht are received with hospitality, there I arrived.

Then Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel, took hold of my hand; 14 and I was led by them from place to place. I also came to a place, and saw 2 the souls of the liberal, who walked adorned, 3 and were above the other souls, in all splendor; 4 and Ohrmazd ever exalts the souls of the liberal, who are brilliant and elevated and mighty. I also saw the souls of those who, in the world, chanted the Gathas and used the prescribed prayers yashts , 8 and were steadfast in the good religion of the Mazdayasnians, which Ohrmazd taught to Zartosht; 9 when I advanced, they were in gold-embroidered and silver-embroidered clothes, the most embellished of all clothing.

I also saw a soul of those who contract next-of-kin marriages, in material-fashioned splendor, 12 when the lofty splendor of its residence ever increased thereby. I also saw the souls of good rulers and monarchs, 15 who ever increased their greatness, goodness, power, and triumph thereby, 16 when they walk in splendor, in their golden trousers. I also saw the soul of the great and of truthful speakers, who walked in lofty splendor with great glory.

I also saw the souls of those women of excellent thoughts, of excellent words, of excellent deeds, and submissive to control, who consider their husbands as lords, 2 in clothing embroidered with gold and silver, and set with jewels. I also saw the souls of performers of the Yazishn ceremony, and of those who know the scriptures by heart, splendid among the lofty and exalted among the great.

I also saw the souls of those who solemnized the whole ritual of the religion, and performed and directed the worship of God, 4 who were seated above the other souls; 5 and their good works stood as high as heaven. I also saw the souls of warriors, whose walk was in the supremest pleasure and joyfulness, and together with that of kings; 8 and the well-made arms and equipments of those heroes were made of gold, studded with jewels, well-ornamented and all embroidered; 9 and they were in wonderful trousers with much pomp and power and triumph.

I also saw the souls of those who killed many noxious creatures khrafstras in the world; 12 and the prosperity of the waters and sacred fires, and fires in general, and trees, and the prosperity also of the earth was ever increased thereby; and they were exalted and adorned. I also saw the souls of agriculturists, in a splendid place, and glorious and thick majestic clothing; 15 as they stood, and offered praise, before the spirits of water and earth, trees and cattle; 16 and they utter thanksgiving and praise and benediction; 17 their throne also is great, and the place they occupy is good.

I also saw the souls of artisans who, in the world, served their rulers and chieftains; 20 as they saw on thrones which were well-carpeted and great, splendid and embellished. I also saw the souls of shepherds, by whom, in the world, quadrupeds and sheep were employed and fed, 2 and preserved from the wolf and thief and tyrannical man.

I also saw many golden thrones, fine carpets and cushions decked with rich cloth, 10 on which are seated the souls of householders and justices, who were heads of village families, and exercised mediation and authority, 11 and made a desolate place prosperous; 12 they also brought many conduits, streams, and fountains for the improvement of tillage and cultivation, and the advantage of creatures.

I also saw the souls of the faithful, the teachers and inquirers, in the greatest gladness on the splendid throne. I also saw the friendly souls of interceders and peaceseekers, 19 who ever increased thereby their brilliance, which was like the stars and moon and sun; 20 and they ever walked agreeably in the light of the atmosphere.

I also saw the pre-eminent world of the pious, which is the all-glorious light of space, much perfumed with sweet basil, all-bedecked, all-admired, and splendid, full of glory and every joy and every pleasure, 22 with which no one is satiated. Afterward, Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel, took hold of my hand, and I went thence onward.

I came back again to the Chinwad bridge. Afterward, a stinking cold wind comes to meet him. Afterward, that soul of the wicked advanced the first footstep on Dush-humat and the second footstep on Dush-hukt, and the third on Dush-huvarsht; and with the fourth footstep he ran to hell.

Afterward, Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel, took hold of my hand, 2 so that I went on unhurt. I came to a place, and I saw the soul of a man, 2 through the fundament of which soul, as it were a snake, like a beam, went in, and came forth out of the mouth; 3 and many other snakes ever seized all the limbs. I came to a place, and I saw the soul of a woman, 2 to whom they ever gave to eat cup after cup of the impurity and filth of men.

I also saw the soul of a man, 2 the skin of whose head they ever widen out, and with a cruel death they ever kill him. I also saw the soul of a man, 2 into whose jaws they ever pour the impurity and menstrual discharge of women, 3 and he ever cooked and ate his own seemly child. And he ever tore out his hair and beard, and devoured blood, and cast foam about with his mouth. Now this soul must suffer so severe a punishment. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who was suspended, by the breasts, to hell; 3 and its noxious creatures khrafstars seized her whole body.

I also saw the souls of several men, and several women, 2 whose legs and necks and middle parts a noxious creature khrafstar ever gnawed, and separated one from the other. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever stretched out her tongue on her neck, and she was suspended from the atmosphere. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whom they ever forced to measure dust and ashes, with a bushel and gallon, and they ever gave it him to eat.

I also saw the soul of a man who was held in the atmosphere, 2 and fifty demons ever flogged him, before and behind, with darting serpents. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whose tongue hung on the outside of his jaw, and was ever gnawed by noxious creatures khrafstars. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whose limbs they ever break and separate, one from the other.

I also saw the soul of a man 2 who, from head to foot, remained stretched upon a rack; 3 and a thousand demons trampled upon him, and ever smote him with great brutality and violence. I also saw the soul of a lazy man, whom they called Davanos, 2 whose whole body a noxious creature khrafstar ever gnawed, and his right foot was not gnawed. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whose tongue a worm ever gnawed. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 whose whole body the noxious creatures khrafstars ever gnawed.

I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever chewed with her teeth, and ever ate, her own dead refuse. I also saw the soul of a man 2 who stood up, in hell, in the form of a serpent like a column; 3 and his head was like unto a human head, and the remaining body, unto a serpent.

I also saw the souls of several men and several women 2 who were suspended, head downwards, in hell; 3 and snakes and scorpions and other noxious creatures khrafstars ever gnawed all their bodies. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whom they ever gave to eat, the flesh and dead refuse of mankind, with blood and filth, and other corruption and stench. I also saw the soul of a man 2 who ever ate the skin and flesh of men.

I also saw the soul of a man 2 who ever carried a mountain on his back; 3 and in snow and cold, he had that mountain upon his back. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whom they gave excrement and dead refuse and corruption to eat; 3 and the demons ever beat him with stones and axes.

I also saw the souls of several people 2 whom they cause to weep; and they ever make piteous cries. I also saw the soul of a man, 2 at whose feet several children fell, and ever screamed, 3 and demons, just like dogs, ever fell upon and tore him. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever dug into a hill with her own breasts; 3 and ever held, on her head, a mill-stone like a cap. And afterwards, Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel, took hold of my hand; 2 and I was carried on to Chakat-i-Daitih, below the Chinwad bridge, into a desert; 3 and was shown hell in the earth of the middle of that desert, below the Chinwad bridge.

The groaning and cries of Ahriman and the demons and demonesses and many other souls of the wicked, came so, from that place, 5 that I was frightened, because I considered that they would shake the seven regions of the earth which heard that noise and groaning. And in front, went Srosh the pious, and Adar the angel; 11 and in the rear, fearlessly, I, Arda Viraf, went on further into that gloomy hell. And I saw the darkest hell, which is pernicious, dreadful, terrible, very painful, mischievous and foul-smelling.

Then I saw the souls of the wicked who died, and ever suffer torment and punishment, in that dreadful, dark place of punishment of various kinds, such as driving snow, and severe cold, and the heat of brisk-burning fire, and foul stench, and stone and ashes, hail and rain, and many other evils.

And their desire was anarchy; and because of their greediness and avarice and lust and wrath and envy, the innocent, pious man was slain; 8 and they have proceeded very deceitfully. Now the soul must suffer such severe torment and punishment.

Then I saw the souls of those whom serpents stung and ever gnawed. These contain additional pictures of sorry fates of the impious. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever wept, and ever tore and ate the skin and flesh from her own breasts. I also saw the soul of a man 2 whose body remains set into a brazen cauldron; and they ever cook it.

I also saw the souls of those wicked 2 who swallowed and voided, and again swallowed and voided. I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever gnashed her own bosom and breasts with an iron comb.

I also saw the soul of a woman 2 who ever licked a hot oven with her tongue, 3 and ever burnt her own hand under the oven.


The Book of Arda Viraf: A Dantesque Vision of Heaven and Hell



The book of Arda Viraf



Book of Arda Viraf


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