SĪH-RŌZAG

a text of the Xorda Avesta comprising invocations to Zoroastrian divinities.

 

SĪH-RŌZAG, a text of the Xorda Avesta comprising invocations to Zoroastrian divinities. The title consists of a Middle Persian adjectival form that may be translated as “relating to the thirty days” (referring to the use of the text in rituals performed on behalf of a deceased person’s soul thirty days after the person’s death).

Two Sīh-rōzag versions may be found in the manuscripts; the first, shorter one is denoted as the “little Sīh-rōzag,” while the second, longer one is called the “great Sīh-rōzag.” Both versions are subdivided into thirty-three paragraphs, each of which is titled after a divine entity of Zoroastrianism; both conclude with an invocation to all the yazata and the fravaši. Paragraphs 1-30 are titled with the names of the entities that the days of the month are named after in the Zoroastrian calendar, while paragraphs 31-33 are named respectively after Apąm Napāt, Haoma, and Dahmā Āfriti. By analogy with the subdivision of the Zoroastrian month, in the editions and translations of the text published hitherto, the text has been incorrectly subdivided into thirty paragraphs (nos. 31-33 and the concluding formulae are combined with no. 30; for the Sīh-rōzag version, cf. Geldner, 1886-96, II, pp. 260-67; for the translation, cf. Darmesteter, 1892-93, II, pp. 296-304, 323-30, and Wolff, 1910, pp. 299-306; the correct subdivision into 33 paragraphs is found only in the first published translation, the one by Anquetil-Duperron, 1771, II/1, pp.  316-36).

In several paragraphs, together with the entity to which the paragraph is entitled, one or more other divine entities are praised; moreover, in some of them, mention is made of some abstract properties, or some realities of the physical world, or time periods. The structure of the text reflects the elevated symbolic value of the number 33 in Zoroastrianism (for instance, the 33 ratu pairišhāuuani mentioned in the Yasna). The Sīh-rōzag also includes the invocations specific to the five gāh (placed after paragraph 7).

The two versions differ in morphological form, as well as in length: in the shorter version the names are in the genitive. In the longer one they are in the accusative, governed by the verbal form yazamaide “we worship [through sacrifice].” The two versions thus display two distinct ritual dimensions of Zoroastrianism: the first expresses the verbal praise of the divine entities (also emphasized by the concluding nexus aoxtō nāmanō yazataheyazata whose name is pronounced”); the second version expresses the worship of the divine entities through sacrifice.

The majority of the invocations in the text recur also in other Avestan texts (the majority of them are found in the Yasna); it is, however, possible that the Sīh-rōzag was itself a source of other later parts of the Xorda Avesta, such as a section of Niyāyišn 5 and the introductory and concluding formulas of the Yašts.

The version of the text that we have received was crystalized in an era in which a mastery of Avestan was lacking (as well as being subsequent to the elaboration of the Zoroastrian calendar, as is shown by its paragraph headings).

The Pahlavi translation of the Sīh-rōzag is relatively faithful to the original text and almost always coincides with that of the corresponding passages. In the translation of both versions several brief explanatory glosses appear. Furthermore, in some manuscripts of the shorter version some longer glosses are found dealing with the characteristics of several of the entities praised in the various paragraphs. Several of these glosses are very similar in their content to the text of chapter 26 of the Bundahišn, which described the characteristics of the principal Zoroastrian divine entities. However, it may be ruled out that the Sīh-rōzag glosses stem from the text of the Bundahišn, or vice versa; the two texts most probably both derive from the same basic text (perhaps a version of Zand preceding the Sīh-rōzag version that has come down to us).

The Sīh-rōzag invocations are still recited in Zoroastrian rites, in the passages in which the dedicatory entity of the rite is invoked. The entire text is recited in rites held thirty days after death as well as at fixed chronological dates thereafter (see Modi, 1937, p. 370 for further details).

 

Bibliography:

 

B. T. Anklesaria, Zand-ākāsīh. Iranian or Greater Bundahišn, Bombay, 1956.

A. H. Anquetil-Duperron, Zend-Avesta, ouvrage de Zoroastre, 3 vols., Paris, 1771.

A. Cantera, Studien zur Pahlavi-Übersetzung des Avesta, Wiesbaden, 2004.

J. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, 3 vols., Paris, 1892-1893.

B. N. Dhabhar, Zand-i Khūrtak Avistāk, Bombay, 1927.

Idem, Translation of Zand-i Khūrtak Avistāk, Bombay, 1963.

K. F. Geldner, Avesta: the Sacred Book of the Parsis, 3 vols., Stuttgart, 1886-96.

L. H. Gray, The Foundations of the Iranian Religions, Bombay, 1929.

S. S. Hartman, “La disposition de l’Avesta,” Orientalia Suecana V, 1956, pp. 30-78.

J. J. Modi, The Religious Customs and Ceremonies of the Parsees, Bombay, 1937.

E. G. Raffaelli, “Il testo avestico Sīh-rōzag e la sua versione mediopersiana,” in A. Panaino and A. Piras, eds., Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Societas Iranologica Europaea held in Ravenna, 6-11 October 2003. Vol. I. Ancient and Middle Iranian Studies, Milan, 2006, pp. 669-74.

Idem, "Bundahišn 26 and the Pahlavi Sīh-rōzag: Comparative Notes," in M. Macuch, D. Weber, and D. Durkin-Meisterernst, Ancient and Middle. Iranian Studies. Proceedings of the 6th European Conference of Iranian Studies, held in Vienna, 18-22 September 2007, Wiesbaden, 2010,  pp. 161-77.

Idem,   The Avestan Text Sīh-rōzag and the Middle-Persion Version: a Philological and Historico-Religious Analysis  (forthcoming).  

F. Wolff, Avesta, die heiligen Bücher der Parsen übersetzt auf der Grundlage von Chr. Bartholomae’s Altiranischem Wörterbuch, Strassburg, 1910.

(Enrico G. Raffaelli)