ČĪDAG ANDARZ Ī PŌRYŌTKĒŠĀN (Selected precepts of the ancient sages), a post-Sasanian compendium of apothegms intended to instruct every Zoroastrian male, upon his attaining the age of fifteen years, in fundamental religious and ethical principles, as well as in the daily duties incumbent upon him. It is also called Pand-nāmag ī Zardušt (Book of the counsels of Zoroaster), but the attribution to Zardušt son of Ādurbād ī Mahraspandān is incorrect. The text is preserved in codex MK II, copied by Mehrabān Kayḵosrow in 1322 C.E. from a manuscript copied by Dēnpanāh son of ʾytlpʾy, that is, Ēhrbāy/Hērbāy(?) in 956 C.E. (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 83); all other manuscripts are ultimately derived from it. The Pahlavi text has been edited by J. M. Jamasp-Asana, with variants from all known manuscripts (Pahlavi Texts I, pp. 41-50, 4-5); by Alexander Freiman, with a German translation; by M. F. Kanga with an English translation and glossary; and by H. S. Nyberg (Manual I, pp. 62-67).

As the title suggests, these apothegms were brought together from the sayings of fathers of the faith (e.g., Ādurbād ī Mahraspandān) and pronouncements (andarz) attributed to such “orthodox guardians of the religion” as Ḵosrow Anūšīravān (Kanga, pp. iii-iv), as well as fresh precepts adopted in response to Islamic domination and the threat of Muslim proselytization. These last injunctions urge the believers to staunchness in the faith; the moral virtues of Iranianism (dād ī ērīh; Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 44 pars. 17, 18), a term that does not occur in andarz literature of the Sasanian period; and forbearance in adversity and hopefulness in calamity (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 46 par. 35). A lengthy comment on the approaching end of the millen­nium and the trial imposed upon Zoroastrians is also late in style and substance (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, pp. 49-50 par. 54; see APOCALYPTIC i).

The andarz begins with a confession of faith formulated as a series of questions and answers on such fundamental questions as the purpose of the creation of man as an ally of Ohrmazd and adversary of Ahriman, the fundamental principles of duality, the two worlds, heaven, hell, and retribution. It also contains exhortations to observe the cardinal virtues of uprightness, truthfulness, prudence, concord, peaceability, subduing lust and other passions, and so on, together with some essential obligations, like maintenance of the lineage by marriage and fostering education.

The language of the text is generally clear, but a few phrases have been misunderstood. For example, har mardōm kū ō dād ī 15 sālag rasēd (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 41 par. 1) “every man who reaches the age of fifteen” has been rendered by R. C. Zaehner (p. 20) as “every man or womaṇ . . . ,” even though only men received instruction in religious precepts; āfrīdag hōm nē būdag (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 42 par. 2) “I am created spiritually (or created in the ideal), not fashioned materially” (see būdag) was translated by Kanga (p. 20) as “I am created and not existing” and by Zaehner (p. 21) as “I was created and have not (always) been”; ǰud-kēšān nē stāyom . . . u-šān padiš nē wurrōyom (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 44 par. 23) “I do not praise the non-Zoroastrians (i.e., the people of a different religion) . . . or adhere to them (i.e., their religion)” was rendered by Kanga (p. 24) as “I will neither praise nor extol the alien religions nor shall I put faith in them” and by Zaehner (p. 24) as “I neither approve of nor respect other religions, nor do I lend them credence”; tan [ī] ōšōmand ruwān wēn(HZYTWN) (Pahlavi Texts, ed. Jamasp-Asana, I, p. 49 par. 53) “the body is mortal; perceive the soul” has been amended by Zaehner (p. 28, reading “*asachishn,” i.e., *asazišn) “the body is mortal but the soul is immortal” and read by D. N. MacKenzie (p. 285) as ruwān astwand “the soul is substantial” (for the expressions ruwān wēn “perceive the soul” and astwand ruwān “substantial soul,” see Gignoux, p . 73-74).



M. Boyce, “From "Selected Precepts of the Ancient Sages",” in Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism, Manchester, 1984, pp. 99-101.

H. Corbin, “Le livre des conseils de Zartusht,” in Professor Pour-e Davoud Memorial Volume II. Papers on Zoroastrian and Iranian Subjects . . . , Bombay, 1951, pp. 129-43.

A. Freiman, “Pandnāmak i Zaratušt. Der Pehlevi-Text mit Übersetzung, kritischen and Erläuterungsnoten,” WZKM 20, 1910, pp. 149-66, 237-80.

P. Gignoux, “Corps osseux et âme osseuse. Essai sur le chamanisme dans l’Iran ancien,” JA 267, 1979, pp. 41-79.

M. F. Kanga, ed., Čītak Handarž i Pōryōtkēšān. A Pahlavi Text, Bombay, 1960.

D. N. MacKenzie, review of M. Back, Die sassanidischen Staatsinschriften, Indogermanische Forschungen 87, 1982, pp. 280-97.

H. S. Nyberg, Hilfsbuch des Pehlevi I, Uppsala, 1928, pp. 17-30.

P. Sanjana, Ganjesháyagán. Andarze Atrepát Máráspandán, Mádigáne chatrang and Andarze Khusroe Kavátán, Bombay, 1885.

J. C. Tarapore, Pahlavi Andarz-nāmak Containing Chītak Andarz i Pōryōkaēshān, Bombay, 1933.

R. C. Zaehner, The Teachings of the Magi. A Compendium of Zoroastrian Beliefs, Ethical and Religious Classics of East and West 14, London, 1956; paperback ed., London, 1975.

(Mansour Shaki)

Originally Published: December 15, 1991

Last Updated: October 20, 2011

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