PAZAND – Language & Texts
In the 6th century AC, a new system of writing was employed for writing Pahlavi, in which the ideograms were replaced by their Iranian equivalents, and the language was written as it was spoken, in the newly invented Avesta script. The Pahlavi texts written in this system were known as Pazand.
The term Pazand is be derived from Avesta paiti-azainti which means additional explanation on the commentary. During the Sasanian times the Pahlavi texts were transcribed into Pazand.
Pazand passages were prefixed and suffixed to Avesta prayers. Some Pazand pieces were also inserted in the body of the Avesta prayers, which, while chanting the prayers are recited inaudibly in a suppressed tone. In the 12th century, Neryosang Dhaval, the great Parsi Sanskrit scholar of India, transcribed some of the Pahlavi texts into Pazand and translated them into Sanskrit.
Thus, practically all the extant Pazand texts are transcriptions from Pahlavi. All the extant Pazand texts, with the exception of the Shkand Gumānīk Vichār and the Jāmāsp Nāmak, have been collected and published in the book ‘Pazend Texts’, by Ervad Edalji K. Antia, Bombay 1909.
The extant Pazand texts may be divided into the following groups:
(1) Pazand Afrins,
(2) Prayers in the Khordeh Avesta like the Patet Pashemani, Doa Tandarosti and Nirangs following some Yashts.
(3) Pazand texts transcribed by Neryosang Dhaval: Mēnōk i Khrat, Ardā Virāf Nāmak, and Shkand Gumānīk Vichār. Of these the Shkand Gumānīk Vichār “Doubt-dispelling Decision” is very popular. It is available only in Pazand as its Pahlavi version is lost. This text was compiled by Mardan Farrokh son of Ohrmazd-dāt about the end of the ninth century. The author criticizes the views of other religions, particularly in connection with the doctrine of the origin of evil. It appears that the book was written specially to ‘dispel the doubt’ of a sceptic person by the name Mihryar son of Mahmud of Ispahan. The book is incomplete, as the final folios are missing.
(4) Rest of the Pazand texts, particularly: Bundahishn (shorter version), Vahuman Yasht, and Aogemadaecha.
(5) The Pazand Rivayats, which are Modern Persian texts transcribed in the Avesta script, and strictly speaking belong to the Modern Persian Zoroastrian literature.