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To cut off, purify, and make whole: historiographical and ecclesiastical conceptions of ritual space.


Notions of ritual space, and patterns of behavior within such spaces, seem to be intrinsic to individual aspiration and collective resolution as sectarian groups organize means of rationalizing life and death. The purity attributed to ritual spaces by Zoroastrians or Mazdeans can be probed in the context of theological, mythological, and linguistic links to space, place, and time in chronological contexts. Despite specific divergences between various religions, ritual spaces and the rites conducted therein seem to condition devotees to understand and accept events in particular manners that benefit both the individuals and the communities. As the Zoroastrian case demonstrates, a separation of pure, holy, and sacred--and of their counterparts impure, unholy, and profane--rather than the more traditional conflation of those concepts, may be necessary because purity and holiness seem to be linked in religious settings to order rather than to reverence and fear. Thus, an alternative interpretation of ritual space, and of devotional processes that occur within such spaces, over time, and in terms of notions relating to purity and holiness rather than sacredness and its interwoven aspect of mysterium tremendum may prove useful in better understanding religion within a historiographical framework.


Zoroastrian or Mazdean doctrine from the period during which the Standard or Young Avestan ritualistic texts began to be orally composed (linguistically contemporary to Old Persian of the sixth to fourth centuries B.C., with a chronological range of 900-400 B.C. for the period of composition followed by a process of canonization lasting into the third century B.C.) to the terminus of the period whence the Pahlavi exegetical writings have survived (early thirteenth century A.D.) made increasingly stark distinctions between asa- (Avestan), also termed arta- (Old Persian), opposing drug- or druj- (Avestan), also termed drauga- (Old Persian), respectively. It is essential to observe that asa- (cf. Sanskrit *rta- < Indo-European *ar- "to fit together, organize"), a neuter noun, denoting "order" or structure deemed appropriate and beneficial, is contrasted with drug- (cf. Sanskrit druh- < Indo-European *dhr[??]-gh- "to confuse, deceive, disturb, lie," *dher-g- "dark" < *1dher- "to make muddy, dark"), a feminine noun, denoting deceptive "confusion" or deliberate sullying of order to generate lack of structure (thus not confused or chaotic in a random sense nor based on chance). That dichotomy appears to have been initially personified, although not in absolute dualist terms, by the devotional poet who later came to be regarded as a prophet, namely Zarathushtra (Zoroaster, sometime ca. 1700-1500 B.C., with oral composition and modification of the Old or Gathic Avestan texts ca. 1700-1200 B.C.), in a pair of primal entities: Spenta Mainyu the holy spirit or hypostasis of Ahura Mazda (Ohrmazd) the wise lord, and Angra Mainyu (Ahreman) the destructive or evil spirit. (1) Yet as centuries passed after Zarathushtra's eponymous era, Ahura Mazda's persona was gradually recast (not without heterodox variants and even the Zurvanite orthodoxy of Sasanian and early Islamic times, however) in Zoroastrian doctrine and devotion especially after the Arab Muslim conquest of Iran in the seventh century A.D. as the absolutely orderly creator--a perfect, good, rational, hence righteous, deity from whom no form of confusion, by then equated to evil, could arise. (2) That opinion was best stated by the commentator Mardanfarrox son of Ohrmazddad, who lived during the the ninth century A.D., in his Pahlavi Skand Gumanig Wizar or "Doubt-Dispelling Exposition" of which a later Pazand rendering is extant: a ois i pa neki bundaaspuri vadi azas budan ne sayat "something completely perfect in terms of goodness cannot produce vileness." (3) Thus eventually, in theological terms, asa- via its medieval rendering as arda (Pahlavi) came to represent not only order but by extension righteousness, truth, creation, and everything considered good, whereas drug- via its medieval rendering as druz (Pahlavi) came to stand not only for confusion but also for falsehood, lies, destruction, and everything regarded as bad or evil. Symbolic binary opposites were constructed, contrasted as light versus darkness. The stark opposition generated then was applied to explain and rationalize issues, such as life and death, wholeness and injury, which are interwoven with existence and sentience. Despite the many centuries that have lapsed, those explanations still are utilized by many orthodox Zoroastrians or Mazda worshipers, especially in Iran and in India (where they are called the Parsis).

As part of an attempt to comprehend the joys and trials of existence and to locate each individual within a macrocosmic scheme, Zoroastrian cosmogony that was influenced by firm dualism centers on a belief that Angra Mainyu launched an onslaught to seize, then control, the spiritual and material creations of Ahura Mazda--i.e., cause total confusion. That attack began, according to writings of the medieval period of Zoroastrianism (ca. 500-1500), a universal battle between the two primal spirits and their derivative creations, an ongoing conflict whose stage was thought to be the space of the material world. The material world, creation of which was ascribed to Ahura Mazda, came to be regarded by Zoroastrians as pure due to its presumed divine origin. It became for religious purposes, according to the creation story preserved in later form in the Pahlavi Bundahisn or "(Book of) Primal Creation," the specific place--supposedly pure in its creation by the divinity--within which Ahura Mazda wrought living creations and in which confusion or evil eventually would be defeated by earthly creatures and divine entities together. Owing to a primeval covenant, recorded in the Bundahisn as having been reached between Ahura Mazda and the immortal spirits of humans (Avestan frauuasi-, Old Persian fravarti-, Pahlavi frawahr), the faith enjoins all believers to participate in the universal conflict on a dally basis throughout life, as the foot-soldiers of god, by performing good deeds, engaging in rites of devotion, and maintaining or, if necessary, reestablishing ritual purity. (4) Thus by late medieval times, everyone's lives were cognitively connected and symbolically made intrinsic with aspects of the perceived universe to grant, in Max Weber's words, "the world ... a meaningful totality." (5)


Like the battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, the two religiously central endeavors of Zoroastrians--i.e., propitiation and purification--did and still do often take place within special spaces. Delineation of space and performance of actions within such regions are, fundamentally, conscious processes drawing on culturally determined elements. Such activities involve multilayered interrelations among episodic, mimetic (rote and/or repetitive), linguistic, and external representations. They utilize working, long-term, and shared communal or historical memories, event fields that trigger internal and external symbolic information stores, plus constant flows of sensory inputs and outputs--all mediated by the mind. It is the mind that attributes symbolism to both space and action within the context of time, an ascription based on the collective repertoire shared by participant individuals through thoughts, words, and deeds. (6) Those shared notions form a cultural system generating--for reasons to be discussed later--the ideas that create religious space.

When cultures are studied, their own terms should be represented as exactly as possible rather than through general, seemingly universalistic, language. For the purposes of understanding religion within culture, scholarship that conflates "pure" and "impure" with "sacred" and "profane," melding the latter two terms with "holy" and "unholy," cannot be applied precisely to Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrians equate religion with purity, goodness, and consequently holiness--all said to derive from order as distinguished from confusion or evil--rather than connecting faith to the sacred separated from the profane. (7) Mazda worshipers concluded fairly early on that purity (Pahlavi yojdahrih, Avestan yaozdata-) was a much desired religious quality. (8) As a result, for Zoroastrians, space--whether small or large, earthly or cosmic--would be pure (Gujarati pak, also pawak "who or which purifies," Indo-Persian variant paw < New Persian pak and Pahlavi pak "pure," pakih "purity, pure space" < Old Persian *pavaka-, cf. Avestan *pauuaka-, Sanskrit pavaka-, pavaka- "pure, clean" < Indo-European *peu[??]- "to purify, cleanse") instead of sacred. (9) Yet, such spaces exist in relation to other spaces as regions set apart. (10) Precisely because of such locational relationships, their purity can be compromised. The notion of "sacred" (New Persian and Pahlavi saz- "to be worthy, suitable, proper," cf. Avestan 1sak- "to have power, to comprehend" in a specialized sense, Sanskrit sak- "to be able," Latin sacer "consecrate, dedicate" < Indo-European *sak- "to sanctify") is best reserved for royal settings and personages despite its ostensible religious connotations which render its wielders intermediaries between the human and the divine. (11) Cases in point include rulers of the Sasanian and Byzantine kingdoms who became sacral or sanctified by virtue of a social rank thought to be bestowed upon them by god but, owing to injurious acts involved with wielding that position, were not pure. (12) So sacrality is linked to social authority thought to be conferred upon individuals and families by the deity--authority that must be enforced and can be abused. Not surprisingly, therefore, monarchs although sacral in life are scarce among the pure inhabitants of heaven in Zoroastrian descriptions of the afterlife. This despite their claiming, for example, Auramazdaha adam xsaya[??]iya amiy Auramazda xsacam mana frabara "By the will of Ahura Mazda, I am king; Ahura Mazda granted me the kingdom" and that they were cihr az yazadan "of the character of the divinities." (13) Moreover, the sacred must be distinguished from the term "holy" (cf. German heilig, Old English halig < Indo-European *kailo-, *kwen-slo- < *kwen- "to make whole, complete, heal, uninjured," hence "of good omen, holy"). Indeed, the holy (Pahlavi spenag < Avestan sp[??]nta- < Old Iranian *spanta- < Indo-European *kwen- "holy") in Zoroastrianism is closer to the idea of order--i.e., to make whole or complete--and, thus, to purity than to sacrality. (14)

Pure places usually are specially demarcated areas or ritual precincts, regions of space located in time but detached from their surroundings within which a religiously determined system can be constructed. (15) A precinct would often be termed vara- "separated area, enclosure" in the Young Avestan Nerangestan or "Ritual Code (Book of Ritual Directions)," later rendered as war i zohrag "place of offering or ritual enclosure" or more frequently war "enclosed space, enclosure" in its medieval Pahlavi exegesis, when used for devotional or propitiatory ceremonies such as the Yasna or worship (sacrifice) service. (16) A parallel enclosed place (echoing the Sumerian tradition of Ziusudra's boat and, later, the biblical tradition of Noah's ark), not used for ritual purposes but one that served similar religious functions of separation, preservation, and triumph over the forces of confusion, was the vara- (cf. Sanskrit vala-) said to have been created by the Avestan hero Yima (a character found in many Indo-European mythologies, for example as Vedic Yama, later Indian Rama, Norse Ymir, Roman Remus): an underground chamber in which other creatures and he supposedly survived an extended period of cold, snow, and ice--during which time the Mazdean faith is believed to have been introduced into that isolated, pure space and preached to the creatures there. (17) The aforementioned type of devotional area would be referred to as a gah "(ritual) place or space" in Pahlavi during the medieval period and later in New Persian and Parsi Gujarati liturgical and didactic texts of premodern and modern times (ca. 1500--present), (18) Contemporary Parsis, or Indian Zoroastrians, also employ the term pawi "pure space" (< Gujarati pak, paw-, Pahlavi pak) in the same context. The demarcated areas usually were termed gatauu- "space, place" in the Young Avestan Videvdad (Widewdad) or "Code to Ward Off Evil Spirits," translated as gah in its Pahlavi commentary and later in the premodern Persian Rivayats or "Treatises," when used for purificatory rites such as the Barasum 1 no sab or purification of the nine (days and) nights. (19)

Both devotional and purificatory spaces were separated or cut off (Pahlavi tasidan "to cut" also meaning "to complete, make whole, create by putting together different elements" < Old Persian taxs- "to be active" Avestan tas- "to cut, fashion, shape," cf. Sanskrit taks- "form by cutting" < Indo-European *teks- "to fabricate by cutting" especially with an axe) from surrounding areas by three concentric or interlocated rectangles marked by furrows or lines, i.e., karsa- (< Avestan 4kar- "to cut into the ground, make furrows"), on the ground with a sharp metal instrument like a blade, according to instructions preserved in the Videvdad. (20) The Young Avestan Nerangestan refers to this practice as well, yo z[??]mo tisro kar[??]sa fra.karaiieiti, translated into Pahlavi for that text's medieval exegesis as ka pad zamig se kis pad kared "when one cuts three furrows into the earth." (21) Cognitive aspects of demarcating space seem to have early cross-cultural roots, as demonstrated by development of the "temple" or devotional setting from the action of separating (cf. Latin templum "cutoff space, separated area" < Greek temenos, actually a walled compound containing several buildings < temnein "to cut, separate" < Indo-European *tem- "to cut, separate"). Particular spaces when at least conceptually and often physically cut off from larger space are ascribed with meaning as significant places. It also should be noted that the actions of categorizing and classifying involve separating or cutting off particular issues and items from others--i.e., granting them significance through locating them in particular mental and/or physical places. Not surprisingly, given the specific religious and ritual contexts under discussion, writers of the Denkard or "Acts of the Religion," the most significant medieval Zoroastrian compendium, observed pakih ed bawed judagih az druz "purity in this: separation from confusion." (22)

Construction of fire temple complexes (New Persian atas gah, atas kada, Pahlavi ataxs gah, atas kadag, other terms are used as well) for medieval and contemporary praxes witnessed separatory furrows (Parsi Gujarati and New Persian kas < Pahlavi kas, kis) being marked permanently into a stone tile floor (nowadays the floors may even be composed of ceramic tile), and the term pawi is often used loosely to refer to the demarcating lines (now basically a narrow channel or groove) plus the enclosed area itself. Moreover, when a permanent pawi is laid out now, the (original) triple furrows are often collapsed into a single groove or line on the floor, enclosing an area usually approximating six steps or one hundred and fifty-two inches long along the south to north axis and three and one half steps or eighty-four and one-half inches wide along the east to west axis. (23) Every new pawi is supposed to be dedicated through performance of a Yasna service in honor of the revelatory spiritual entity Sraosha. Prior to each reuse, the space thus separated from the rest of the world is cleansed by sprinkling it with water (usually drawn from a well within the fire temple's compound). (24) Thus disconnection, construction, and lustration of space--each a ritualized or mimetic step in establishing order--are performed. This is very much in keeping with a general schema present among Zoroastrians, and members of other faiths, involving conceptual organization of religious knowledge and of ritual activity into preliminal separation, liminal transition, and postliminal incorporation. (25) In earliest praxis Zoroastrians, like their Vedic counterparts, might have strewn grasses, technically termed bar[??]sman-, within the devotional precinct to form a surface on which ritual equipment could be placed and devotional rites could be performed (in Vedic settings kusha grass also served as a seat for the attendant divinities). Perhaps grass had been chosen because it symbolized the resilience of life as represented by growth. Yet in established praxis, by medieval times, barsom came to refer to bundles of twigs--later metal rods--used in devotional rites such as the Yasna within those pure precincts. It is possible that, once devotional rites were moved indoors within fire temples, the scattering of grass, if ever done, became superfluous as regular surfaces--first stone floors, later stone tables--with their own purity valence (on which see below) existed, upon which implements could be placed and actions could be performed. (26) The pawi arrangement also surrounds each holy fire of the atas bahram, adaran, and dadgah levels in those temples.

Rituals of purification, on the other hand, were and still are never conducted directly within devotional settings such as the ritual precincts of fire temples, in order to prevent pollution, however indirect, of holy fires, pure priests, and devotees. Rather, spaces were and still are specially set aside for purificatory rites, on the outskirts of settlements during antiquity (ca. 1750 B.C.--A.D. 500) and the early medieval period and in enclosures near fire temple compounds during the late medieval and modern periods--although purification rules and ablutionary activities now are declining with Zoroastrian communities in Iran, India, and elsewhere. Since such places usually had no stone floor and often still have none, furrows can be incised afresh--with a longer west (originally north) to east (originally south) axis, along which a candidate for purification moves (now toward the sun's light, originally away from hell's cold) on the surface of each purificatory gah--prior to each reuse. (27) Because the karsa are recut before each session, the enclosed area has to be rededicated by recitation of holy words or ma[??]ra- (Avestan) (Pahlavi mansar, nerang; formerly the as[??]m vohu, frauuarane, snuman or dedicatory formula to Sraosha, and sros baj; now the dasturi, as[??]m vohu thrice, and sros baj) while demarcating the area. (28) The number three (and its multiples) seems to be intended to represent the Zoroastrian creed of humata-, huxta-, huuar[??]sta- or "good thoughts," "good words," and "good deeds," respectively, mentioned in the antique period Old Avestan Yasna Haptanhaiti--a phrase that manifests, through language, categorizing and classifying functions of the mind which impact religion and sectarian communities. (29) The efficacy of each furrow, and of the pure space for purification that it encloses, is generated by the good thoughts that result in the recitation of good words while the good deed of delimiting the ritual space is being performed. Incidentally, it is believed that the tripartite arrangement of lines to demarcate specific areas also was used in the mythical vara- following instructions said to have been given to Yima by Ahura Mazda. (30) Like devotional ceremonies, purificatory ones also involve sequentially arranged preliminal, liminal, and postliminal activities.

Overall, ritualized architecture and geometry combined--and still combine--to create an aura of religiosity within which holy utterances and pious deeds attempt to dispel confusion. In other words, the pure spaces constructed for Zoroastrian rituals by the furrows or grooves seem to become, for devotees, spatially oriented regions within which existence can be organized or reorganized symbolically according to a religiously derived schema whose parameters stem from cognitive processes. (31) In religious terms, karsa- mark a region isolated from confusion--a vara-, gatauu-, or pawi distinguished by its own status, governed by divine law and regulated by clergy. Within those ritual areas nothing can occur accidentally, everything serves a purpose, and people, objects, and spaces all become pure owing to their ascribed locations and religious functions. (32)

The pure precincts used by Zoroastrian priests for propitiatory functions such as the Yasna service and the Jashan or thanksgiving service are presumed to exclude impurity. (33) Thereby, the purity of ritual items, the power (Pahlavi, New Persian, and Parsi Gujarati xub) of priests, and the efficacy of each action are safeguarded. Likewise, Yima's vara- supposedly kept harm and death at bay in the religion's legendary prehistory. Spaces constructed for purification rituals such as the Barasnum 1 no sab are, however, regarded as having the opposite function. The latter are believed to entrap impurity within an enclosed space until it is ritually exorcised, thereby preventing pollution (Pahlavi remanih < Avestan irimant-) from spreading throughout the community of devotees. As distinct units, the spaces symbolize both the exclusion of what is outside and the limitation of what is inside. Through belief and ritual, those areas become zones of control where choice is exercised in applying religious tenets to determine what should be included and what should he excluded. (34) Presumably opened and closed only by the appropriate divine beings and priests, the precincts are structural situations--rather than interstructural ones. Those spaces are the here and now which form liminal regions where order can be increased and confusion can be vanquished by the actions and devotions of participants--clergy and laity alike. (35)

Yet access to ritual spaces had never been equally available to all the faithful, irrespective of gender and class, especially because of considerations relating to purity and pollution. (36) In Zoroastrian society, a wide range of items categorized as pollutants from bad thoughts, false words, and harmful deeds to bodily fluids when released--are ascribed power to vitiate the efficacy of ritual spaces, rites performed therein, and participants. So direct access to performances within pure space was and is generally restricted to duly initiated, purified members of the hereditary male clergy during propitiatory rituals, and to purifiers and candidates for cleansing during purificatory rituals. In the absence of priests, male and female members of the laity--especially religiously learned individuals--may perform basic rites. But pious notions that ominous forms of impurity arise from bleeding during menstruation and childbirth construe all women, at various points of their lives, as potential defilers of spaces--much more so than men. (37) Menstruation, like other discharges of blood, saliva, semen, and similar substances, came to be regarded, by late antiquity (ca. 200-500) as impure and polluting not merely because transmission of fluid across the body's threshold occurs but because in the process of expulsion it becomes matter out of place--in other words, the order of the body is disturbed. (38) Ritual precincts are constructed within the religious worldview to exclude or exorcise impurity, depending on the ceremony performed, and thereby create order. As a consequence, the purity requirements of those spaces usually exclude women devotees from functioning as performers and periodically excludes them from serving as patrons, venerators, and observers. (39)


As conscious deliberation established links between generalities and specifics, the earth and its contents came to be regarded as similar in some functions, from a confessional point of view, to the pure space of a ritual precinct--all thought to be permeated by asa- or order. For instance, it was claimed in the Frawardin and Zamyad Yasts that the legendary Kavi Vishtaspa had been a pious early Zoroastrian yo draoca pauruuanca asai rauuo iiaesa yo draoca pauruuanca asai rauuo viuuae[??]a "who sought space for order in tree and rock, who located space for order in tree and rock." (40) So, cognitively, the material world is not merely a symbolic arena where humans combat drug- because medieval Zoroastrian commentators came to regard the earth's space as a separate area, a trap, into which the locus of confusion was lured by order. Once ensnared within the space of the material world, Angra Mainyu can gradually be vanquished by Ahura Mazda, the Amesha Spentas or holy immortals, the Yazatas or (spirits) worthy of sacrifice (or worship), and votaries acting in unison, or so it has been believed especially since cosmic dualism became fundamental to the faith. When confusion is finally neutralized, fraso.k[??]r[??]ti- (Pahlavi frasagird < Avestan fra-/frasa "forth, again" + 1kar- "to make") or a universal "remaking complete, renovation" supposedly will occur.

That belief was manifested vividly in the Skand Gumanig Wizar through language comparing the wise lord to a prudent gardener, in a passage filled with notions of space, time, events, participants, confusion, and order all carefully managed in a controlled fashion:
 He (Ahura Mazda) is like the owner of a garden, or a wise
 gardener, whose garden destructive wild animals and birds seek
 to ruin ... The wise gardener--to save himself trouble and to
 exclude those destructive wild animals--devises means like traps,
 nets, and bird bait by which to capture them. When the wild
 animal sees the bait and attempts to fulfill its desire [to get
 the bait], it is unwittingly snared inside the trap and the net
 ... The strength and power which the wild animal has within its
 body are neutralized by its own struggle [to escape] ... Since
 [the wild animal's] strength is insufficient, its power to resist
 diminishes and it is vanquished. Then, the wise gardener ...
 drives the wild animal out of the net. The wild animal retains
 its essence, but is powerless. The gardener returns his net and
 trap safely to his storehouse where he refurbishes them.
 Similarly, the creator Ahura Mazda ... is like the gardener who
 safeguards his garden from that which is harmful to it. The
 destructive wild animal who [seeks to] ruin the garden is the
 accursed Angra Mainyu who attacks and confuses creation. The
 reliable net is the sky, within which the good creatures are
 guests and the evil spirit and other miscreants are entrapped.
 The trap and net prevent the destructive wild animal from
 fulfilling its desire within the time established for the
 battle. (41)

Within the system utilized by Zoroastrians, just as furrows are believed to serve as barriers that safeguard the space inside devotional precincts by excluding confusion, or protect the world by holding a product of confusion--i.e., pollution--inside the limited area of purificatory precincts, so too does the sky. The sky (Pahlavi asman-, Old Persian asman-, Avestan asman- < asan- "stone," cf. Sanskrit asman- "stone") is thought to function as a spiritual barrier--literally, a wall of piled up crystalline stone (Pahlavi ayoxsust < Avestan aiioxsusta-, aiiaoxsusta-)--in the form of a cosmic net that catches the locus of confusion. (42) That legend is vividly portrayed in yet another ninth-century Zoroastrian source, the Pahlavi Wizidagiha or "Selections" of the magus Zadspram, son of Juwanjam:
 ce ciyon andaron asman amad eg menog i asman artestar homanag i
 *arwand ke ayoxsusten zreh paymoxt dared i xwad ayoxsusten asman
 he pad borz wang ud staft *xrosisn guft o ahreman ku nun ka andar
 amad he a-t abaz ne hilem be winnard ta ka ohrmazd peramon asman
 any drubustih-e i saxttar be winnarid ... pad ham zaman ahreman
 koxsid ku abaz o xwes *bunag i tarigih sawed u-s widarag ne ayaft

 When he (Angra Mainyu) came within the sky, then the spirit of
 the sky--who like a gallant warrior clad in crystal armor is
 itself the crystalline sky--said in a loud voice and [with] a
 firm cry to Angra Mainyu: "Now that you have entered, I will not
 let you exit until Ahura Mazda builds another stronger
 fortification around the sky to imprison you" ... Simultaneously,
 Angra Mainyu struggled to return to his own abode of darkness,
 but did not find a passageway [out]. (43)

Angra Mainyu cannot escape, it was recorded, because Ahura Mazda had ensured that the rock-crystal sky is xv aena- (usually rendered in Pahlavi as rosn rather than as xwen), i.e., radiant or glorious, and therefore undeceivable, unpollutable, or inviolable, as also, it an be suggested, are the furrows whose boundary all confusion--including the demoness Nasush to whom pollution is attributed--symbolically may not cross into during devotional ceremonies or exit from during purificatory rites. Hence, according to Zoroastrian theology that gained canonical form by late medieval times, confusion is combated and inevitably vanquished within the confines of pure space in both the corporeal world generally and the ritual precinct specifically. Again, the cognitive overlap of thoughts, words, and deeds, the symbolic separation of internal and external fields, and the vitality of ritualistic and linguistic images is evident--conceptually linking processes that produced the Zoroastrian oral-mythic-ritualistic system to parallel those in other religious communities. (44)

It seems that the mental analogy of precinct to world or, to phrase it another way, of ritual space to cosmic space, symbolically involves a union of place and period--for, according to Zoroastrian doctrine, the contest between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, order overcoming confusion, righteousness versus falsehood, truth opposing deception, good against evil, light dispelling darkness, is conducted within limited or finite space and time (termed zaman/zurwan i kanarag in Pahlavi). This union of space and time came to be reflected in the vocabulary of the Zoroastrian liturgy--for the Avestan term gatauu- and its Pahlavi counterpart gah both denote (a region of) space, (a particular) place, and (a unit of) time. Another Pahlavi term gah (< Avestan ga[??]a- also refers, in a ritual context, to holy words that purify spaces, persons, and things. (45) Holy words, generally called ma[??]ra- (Pahlavi mansar), serve as symbolical barriers too, cutting off space and time from surroundings, just like the furrows or karsa- and the sky or asman-. (46) One medieval passage claims: den 7 parisp ast u-san han i be-tom mansar ud zand guft "Religion consists of seven walls. They said the outermost one is the holy word and exegesis." (47) So, a clear homology was created between ritual space that symbolically withstands for avoidance, or contains for exorcism, all confusion or evil including impurity, and cosmic space that doctrinally imprisons for vanquishment the spiritual source of all such confusion. Within the pious order of doctrine and praxis, the microcosm of a ritual space on the earth was equated to the macrocosm of the earth in the universe, and each individual human life was united, mentally, with the collective of many lives and then compared, allegorically, to the universe. (48) Space, both as precinct and cosmos, thereby becomes the symbolic albeit cognitive means of self-transcendence. Clearly such parallelism does not exist by itself; in other words, it would not have been created without a theological framework being used to ascribe links.


In the manner discussed, Zoroastrian doctrines and rituals attempt to reassure members of the congregation that the problems of confusion or evil, including imperfection, pollution, and other alleged sins, are restricted to a particular place or area--the earth--and to a finite period--the phase between creation and eschaton--after which there supposedly will be order, perfection, and goodness in both purified, boundless space and time (termed zaman/ zurwan i a-kanarag in the medieval Pahlavi literature). In ancient myth, such reassurance had been reinforced by connecting the enclosed space of the earth, within which human life is lived, with the spiritual world, within which the afterlife would take place, along the path of cinuuato.p[??]r[??]tu- (Pahlavi cinwad puhl) or the bridge of the compiler via the persona of Yima--bearer of the epithet xsaeta- (Pahlavi sed), i.e., radiant or glorious--who apparently produced the first enclosure, constructed the nexus between the corporeal and spiritual realms by piling up (Avestan 1ci- < 1kay- "to pile up, gather, complete, make whole" < Indo-European *kailo-) the rocks for the cosmic bridge, and charted the way to the after-life. (49) In ritual praxis, such reassurance was reinforced by bridging the perceived life and the unperceived yet assumed afterlife via analogies formed through structured pious behavior that reinforced order. Thus, ideas about creation, existence, and eschatology all are connected together in rites conducted within space and time--ritual which, when performed exactingly, is thought to ensure the best possible mizda- "recompense" for the participants precisely because they are believed to have upheld and strengthened asa-. In that manner, it was believed the finality of death would be denied and transformed into eternal existence. Essentially, through appropriate performances conducted in exemplary fashion within pure or ritual space, salvation supposedly could be obtained for the individual and the community. (50)

So it seems that religious ritual, like religious cosmology and eschatology, builds a bridge between this world, which is experienced in human time through life, and another world, which is mentally attributed within divine time. Clifford Geertz has suggested: "In ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined, fused together under the agency of a single set of symbolic forms, turn out to be the same world." (51) Philological and historiographical analyses of religious texts, coupled with anthropological observation of ritual performances, in the case of Zoroastrianism suggests the contrary. Ritual does not fuse nor singularize corporeal and spiritual realms, nor does it render events timeless. Ritual, when transpiring within devotional frames of mind and action, and within particular chronological contexts, mentally connects the world in which the faithful live with the world that they imagine and yearn for, even though they are aware that life still goes on in space and time and that confusion still occurs. Ritual builds a bridge across the spaces and times of human microcosm and divine macrocosm, so to speak. It establishes a cognitive nexus between places and periods, rather than an amalgamation of both or a sublimation of one in the other. Ritual does so by priming each person involved to focus his or her thoughts, words, and actions in prescribed manners toward a specific target: the hope for salvation. To phrase it another way, ritual spaces serve as locales of forced dynamics in which spatial cues trigger a series of concepts and events directed at the hope of achieving an aspired goal. (52)

As alluded to throughout this inquiry, there are broader issues of which the Zoroastrian case is a representative one. Concepts like purity, holiness, and sacrality are not ontologically separate from human life. Rather, they arise from experiences generated by sentient existence within time. The pure, holy, and sacred can be regarded as conceptual categories that overlap under the metacategory called religion, which in turn is part of the principles of separation, categorization, abstraction, and symbolization. They should not be conflated with one another nor should the pure and the holy be regarded as merely dimensions of the sacred. (53) Religion may very well have sprung from classification of sensory inputs and outputs relating to order and confusion, interpreting that information in terms of good and evil. (54) Yet, the human ability to establish and perpetuate order is not limited to ritual activity specifically or even to religion generally. It appears to be a central feature of life itself, deriving from the mind's remarkable ability to separate, categorize, abstract, and symbolize within chronological settings. (55) Such activity also seems to be a social one in which categories are formed collectively, often as schemas, as evidenced by language and literature--two other major symbolic categories without which religious concepts such as pure space could not be shared nor rendered important. (56) Thus, religion was and is but one attempt by humans to comprehend existence through ascriptive and descriptive forms of metacategories. (57) Through speech, action, and memory, religion became a powerful means of ensuring order, in part by using rituals that grant meaning to aspects of life--particularly those which can be linked symbolically to large-scale chronologically comprehended processes intrinsic to order in the universe, such as creation or birth, development or life, and destruction or death.

Of those events, on the societal scale but far more on the individual scale, the greatest existential tension surrounds death (usually denoted by New Persian and Pahlavi marg, Avestan mahrka- < Old Persian and Avestan mar-, cf. Sanskrit mriyate-, Latin moritur < Indo-European *2mer- "to die, crumble, disintegrate, rub away, harm," i.e., to lose order) which represents potential disintegration of all that was and had been achieved by the mind and the body. (58) As Bronislaw Malinowski observed: "Of all sources of religion, the supreme and final crisis of life--death--is of the greatest importance ... The whole event breaks the normal course of life and shakes the moral foundations of society ... By setting in motion one part of the deep forces of the instinct of self-preservation, it threatens the very cohesion and solidarity of the group, and upon this depends the organization of that society, its tradition, and finally the whole culture." (59) The insecurity caused by acknowledgment of death as inevitable is the price that people pay for conscious existence, it can be suggested. (60) One medieval Zoroastrian text, linking spirit and body while juxtaposing life with purity and death with pollution, would describe death as an attack abag mardom xwadih i hast ruwan u-s zay i hast tan ... xwahenid i mardom xwadih ud zay ... ahogenidan ud judagenidan ... gray-tar ahogenidan i mardom xwadih ud zay ... skaft wisanisn i az agenen ne madan i o anastgarih "upon an individual's essence which is the soul and instrument which is the body ... it seeks to separate and pollute an individual's essence and instrument ... [by] polluting and seriously separating an individual's essence and instrument ... it desires greatly to divide and destroy." (61) That probably was the general view among Zoroastrians. Additionally, the medieval priests had concluded mardom hast ohrmazd sti "humans are [in] Ahura Mazda's likeness." (62) So, the existential problem was compounded by a theological one--if death as a reflection of Angra Mainyu's confusion could eliminate humans who were a reflection of the high god's order, then could not Ahura Mazda also be dissipated? Death thus represented the location of gravest danger, potentially the moment of absolute confusion within the timeframes of each individual and the confessional group. (63)

It is reasonable, given the evidence discussed in this essay, to suggest that the processes of cognition involving religious beliefs and praxes--especially actions relating to space and rite in time--arose at least partly as a means of ensuring a degree of tranquility in each believer's life by explaining and rationalizing death as only a temporary condition that produces a change of state from material to spiritual. (64) Moreover, death is often comprehended doctrinally as a change of state that ensures return to the fabled initial condition of humanity: for Zoroastrians, a cosmic existence but eventually one with no terminus because it would conform completely to order. (65) Within that linguistically based and culturally based system, pure ritual spaces represent temporal, material, analogs of the nontemporal, spiritual, cosmic space thought to be occupied by the source of order--in the Zoroastrian case, wahist (< Avestan vahista-) "best existence" or more loosely "heaven," also called garodman in Pahlavi (< Avestan garo.d[??]mana-) "abode of song" which is regarded as Ahura Mazda's pure area.

It is interesting to note that another term commonly used for heaven is "paradise," a word of Iranian origin. The assimilation of paradise into the terminology for the most ordered spiritual locale is understandable, given that just as the ritual precinct is humanity's pure space (cut off by the furrows) within which confusion is eliminated, and the material world is Ahura Mazda's pure space (cut off by the sky) in which confusion is negated, so too paradise is a circumscribed place--literally a "walled garden" (Greek paradeisos < Old Persian paradayada- < *paradaida- < 2para "beyond, around" + dida- "to be piled up, erected, constructed of rock," hence "wall, fortress," cf. Greek peri "around" + teichos "wall" < Indo-European *1per "around" + *dheigh- "to form, build")--which Angra Mainyu and his pandemonium cannot penetrate. (66) Zoroastrians' souls would reach paradise after death via the stone bridge erected by Yima. Miniature paintings of heaven in the Arda Wiraz Namag, a medieval description of journeying through heaven, hell, and limbo which continued to be developed into premodern times, portray the souls of pious Zoroastrians journeying safely across the bridge to enjoy the good life within walled gardens filled with tinkling fountains, reflecting ponds, tranquil waterways, lush lawns, fruit-filled trees, song birds, resplendent pavilions, food, and wine--even though the textual wording is more along the lines of palatial settings, royal courts, spiritual hierarchies, and formalized behavior. Through rites, both propitiatory and purificatory, performed in pure ritual spaces, each performer stakes his or her claim for inclusion in pure paradisiacal space and for reunion therein with family, friends, and coreligionists after demise of the body. (67) Not surprisingly, one of the medieval Zoroastrian terms for death, widerisn (< Pahlavi widardan), denotes "crossing over" to the afterlife (a term also used for the more mundane crossing over a bridge). In other words, ritual was and is conducted to ensure that existence does not end with death but could continue within an orderly setting safe from the confusion of change: a-hos ud a-marg ud a-zarman ud *a-suyisn ud a-pohisn "immortal, deathless, ageless, without hunger, and without corruption." (68)

Zoroastrians came to regard the preliminary state of life as one which entails an admixture (Pahlavi gumezisn) of order or good and confusion or evil. After the liminary experience of death, the postliminary state of an afterlife imbued with purity supposedly ensues--just as purity supposedly does after ritual in pure spaces. Thus, the devotee s mind can sidestep the terror of apprehending inevitable corporeal nonexistence by employing religion to provide the means of surmounting limitations of the physical world. (69) The most negative and horribly frightful--from a generalized human point of view--aspect of existence, specifically the end of existence, is transformed from a terminal cessation into an infinite continuation by means that involve beliefs, myths, and rites. It is a mental reconfiguration of life whose actuality need not, indeed cannot, be empirically verified and is therefore safe from negation.

Belief and ritual--generated by the need to explain in orderly fashion the human condition, and expressed through a blending of feelings, utterances, and actions that create and endow meaning to space in corporeal existence and in finite time--comes to help devotees construct reality to affirm psychological equilibrium, and, by extension, spiritual tranquility for themselves. (70) Intrinsically, the essence of the holy is, therefore, neither terrible nor fascinating, not shock or attraction, not even an otherness or a transcendent reality, despite some individuals experiencing emotions such as fear, awe, excitement, desire, or calm when confronting the numinous. (71) The holy for Zoroastrians, as mentioned earlier but having broader applicability, developed as a concept of order based on purity--a notion fundamental to collective existence not merely because of its religious centrality but also because of its ascribed, interrelated, function of averting confusion, such as the confusion represented by death which is regarded as pollution par excellence. (72) What occurs can be described as a cognition of objects and life processes in relation to stasis, understood as order, and change, understood as confusion--to both of which are attached religious dimensions by blending of concepts--within an underlying framework of space, place, and time.

Robert Hertz observed that "death has a specific meaning for the social consciousness; it is the object of a collective representation." (73) It seems that Zoroastrians have sought, at different times and places, a solution to their existential quandary--a means to vitiate the apparent finality of death--through cognitive links between mortal life, ritual space, devout performer(s), afterlife, cosmic space, and creator deity. In sum, those links were established through activities--constructed allegorically and physically--as follows. The vara-, gatauu-, pawi or precinct is constructed upon the earth on soil (which arises from weathering of stone) or on tile (also made of stone or ceramic). The karsa- or furrows of the precinct are constructed by cutting into the soil or by laying out grooves between the tiles while reciting [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to form symbolical walls around the precinct upon the earth. The asman- or sky is constructed by piling up crystalline stone to form a wall around the earth upon which the precinct lays. Vahista- or heaven and garo.d[??]mana- or the abode of song is very much a paradayada- or garden lying beyond the stone-walled sky and surrounded by a wall constructed by piling up stones. Initially Yima was thought to have constructed cinuuato.p[??]r[??]tu- or the bridge to the afterlife between the earth and the heaven by piling up stones to form a pathway across the region within the stone-walled sky, i.e., the earth with the precinct, to the stone-walled garden with the paradise. Hence Yima and the sky both are regarded as radiant--xsaeta- and xv aena-, respectively--reflecting their roles in maintaining order, a function considered glorious. When Yima's mythic image was censured and his legendary status was tempered by Zarathushtra for inappropriate ritual actions, Ahura Mazda emerged as the compiler par excellence. Ahura Mazda's personal defense against confusion also was constructed by piling up stones, as alluded to by the antique phrase mainiius sp[??]nisto y[??] xraozdist[??]ng as[??]no vaste "the holiest spirit who is clothed in the hardest stones." (74) During the medieval period, those stones were said to be the sky itself: asman man hast wastrag "the sky is my garment." (75) Finally, appropriate rites by humans within the precinct walled by the furrows, upon the earth wailed by the sky, were and are believed to construct a ritual bridge across the unpollutable walls of those two areas and across the wall of the paradisiacal garden into heaven--a nexus from one pure space to another during life, paralleling the nexus between pure life and pure afterlife for which devotees yearn. Ideas, objects, and actions that do not necessarily belong together are united by creating synesthetic relationships within a religious framework. In other words, within the architecture of ritual space, life is cut off (tas-, *teks-, *tem-) from death, made pure (pak, *peue-), and refashioned (tas-, *teks-) or rendered whole (1kay-, *kailo-) again--actions fundamental to the cognitive metaprinciple of order (asa-, *ar-). Time, when used in religion and history, may appear to function as a unit of measure but, because of theology and historiography, time actually acts as a form of representation for ideas and events in specific places and particular spaces. So, while time is understood in a linear manner within mortal contexts connecting life to death, it serves a cyclical role within spiritual contexts connecting preexistence in heaven to existence on earth to postexistence in heaven.

The question arises as to why stone became so fundamental a material for demarcating space. Besides its obvious material utility, the standard Zoroastrian explanation for the role of stone in ritual precincts, in the mythic composition of the sky, in the imagery of Ahura Mazda's clothing, in the structure of the cosmic bridge, and in the walls of the paradisiacal garden is that stone--including types of stone such as crystals and products of rock such as metals--has the property of impermeability, consequently withstanding penetration by pollution. In other words, the category of stone was viewed as a material whose structure was highly ordered and, correspondingly, could not easily be rendered confused. Zoroastrian theologians of late antiquity and the Middle Ages even developed a hierarchy of stone substances from the most porous, and hence most susceptible to pollution, namely clay, through increasingly resistant, and hence purer, items such as ruby and iron, to what they believed were the most dense and impermeable minerals, namely copper, silver, and gold. (76) Economic and artistic (especially the category of luxury objects) influences clearly are present in the construction of that list of items. Yet the choice of stone reflects a larger, albeit not always explicit, relationship between stone as a category of objects that appears relatively unaffected by natural forces of change--at least when measured by the scale of human lifetimes. Yes, stone does crumble, just as people do die. Yet the chronological and physical scales are very different--humans die and their bodies decay within time frameworks that seem instantaneous and in magnitudes that seem copious compared to the existence of a stone which, as the commonplace phrase claims, "lasts forever." From the viewpoint of human perception, stone seems related to the notion of a-kanarag "boundless" or anagr "infinite," usually beyond the immediate reach of change. Its often shiny surfaces played into the concept of luminosity representing the light of order. (77) As a result, it could serve ideally as a material from which barriers to change--and the confusion that had been personified as evil--would be constructed by people and whose supposed construction would be attributed by people to divine entities and mythical figures.

Compression of spatial and temporal, of observational and spiritual, viewpoints occurred. Conceptual blending or integration, at a human scale, brought together in a singular manner diverse observations, elements, and issues. (78) Multiple dynamic frames of very different events and ideas, such as ritual space and cosmic space, were integrated within a larger, much more complex single frame to give new meaning in the form of afterlife to the existential dilemma of death. Through confluence of processes, abstractions, and compressions, the collective minds of Zoroastrian society sought to ensure the inner security of believing in an afterlife by generating it from the abstraction of religion, configuring space to reflect religiosity, perceiving the abstraction of time and relating it to religious events real and mythic, constructing the abstraction of ritual, and coalescing all those together with the notion of order in the here and now. (79)

But ultimately no ritual space, and its associated beliefs and myths, can avoid the realities of life, for participants clearly are conscious of those actualities. Existential tensions are never resolved completely. Rather, such tensions are assuaged temporarily. Attempts to establish orderly meaningfulness for existence through actions in space and time are always marked by knowledge of the inadequacy of such efforts on the human scale. Yet the very lingering of those issues leaves room not only for expressions of grief and sorrow. An ongoing need owing to the insufficiency of devotees' attempts to create absolute order, the reality that the apparent order established by rites within special spaces is not ever-enduring, also serves to provide the impetus for continued relevance of faith in ritual and daily life. So, from the religious perspective more spaces need to be demarcated, additional rites need to be enacted, the pure needs to be continually protected by maintaining its separateness, and the community needs to be continually reassured that precincts indeed can ensure that death is only a transitory phase. Creation of pure ritual spaces reflects a pious hope, rather than an actuality, that the inevitable can at best be averted or at least be mitigated.

Within pure spaces, individual perceptions and experiences of the world are summed, symbolized, classified, and categorized--connecting believers beyond the present to other humans living and dead, in a systematic fashion. (80) Despite a variety of possible meanings attached or explanations proffered, and notwithstanding features of apparent meaningless or pure activity, the results of actions within space and time do count very much for members of sectarian communities. Even when ritual action may appear rote or automatic, as the result of repeated performances by a priest or lay devotee whose mind and behavior have been primed by theological writing or oral commentary and religious setting, the words and actions are not devoid of meaning. Listening and observation can ensure, to some degree, duplication of actions and, at least basic transmission of comprehension among persons sharing the same guidelines. (81) Borrowing words from the poet William Blake (1757-1827), and applying them to this analysis, within pure space one can "hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour." (82) Faith, experience, indeed life itself are held symbolically safe and meaningful within the correctly orderly boundaries of the pious notion of pure space because, as a medieval Zoroastrian exegete noted, gah ud den ud zaman i ohrmazd bud ud hast ud hame bawed "the space, religion, and time of Ahura Mazda were, are, and shall be forever." (83) Likewise, the centrality of human understanding to all those perceptions and constructs was acknowledged by the comment that tan i mardoman handazag i getig "people's bodies (provide) assessment (or measurement) of the material world." (84)

Grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford University) facilitated research. Earlier versions of this article were presented as lectures at Harvard University, the K. R. Cama Oriental Institute (Mumbai/Bombay), the First International Avesta Conference (Boston), the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Internationalen Wissenschaftsforum of Universitat Heidelberg. I am grateful for valuable suggestions received on those occasions. Special mention should be made of Robert Orsi, Per Aage Brandt, Stephanie Jamison, Doug McAdam, Robert Scott, Mark Turner, Paul Walker, and Carol Choksy for insightful comments at various places and times.

(1.) For example, in Yasna 30:3, 43:5, 34:6, ed. K. F. Geldner as Avesta: The Sacred Books of the Parsis, vol. 1 (1886; rpt. Delhi: Parimal Publications, 1982), 106, 142, 125; ed. and trans. J. Kellens and E. Pirart as Les Textes vieil-avestiques, vol. 1 (Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1988), 110, 144, 126; ed. and trans. H. Humbach and P. Ichaporia as The Heritage of Zarathushtra: A New Translation of His Gathas (Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1994), 30-31, 60-61, 48-49. For an analysis of how deception knowingly violates orderly rules of inference, and thereby gains dimensions of morality, see Eve E. Sweetser, "The Definition of Lie: An Examination of the Folk Models Underlying a Semantic Prototype," in Cultural Models in Language and Thought, ed. D. Holland and N. Quinn (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), 47, 49, 62-63. On asa- versus drug- partially contra Jean Kellens, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, ed. and trans. P. O. Skjaerv[??] (Costa Mesa, Calif.: Mazda Publishers, 2000), 101, who regards the latter as "a bad order, a false or deceptive order," in which case the concept would have been denoted as *dusasa- (cf. dusmanah- "bad thoughts"). Kellens is correct, however, in regarding drug- as not simply a lack of order (which would have been rendered as *anasa-). On the Indo-European roots, see Calvert Watkins, The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 5, 18. The concept of drug- as deceptive confusion is confirmed by the actions of the Daevas or divinities who were deluded and so did not distinguish appropriately enough to choose asa- (Yasna 30:6, ed. Geldner, 1: 107; ed. and trans. Kellens and Pirart, 1: 111; ed. and trans. Humbach and Ichaporia, 30-31). On the dating of the Young Avestan texts, consult Jean Kellens, "Considerations sur l'historie de l'Avesta," Journal asiatique 286 (1998): 504-13. On the development of Zarathushtra's prophetic persona, now refer to Jamsheed K. Choksy, Evil, Good, and Gender: Facets of the Feminine in Zoroastrian Religious History (New York: Peter Lang, 2002), 9-13. For the suggestion that Zarathushtra's image may itself have no historical basis, see the overview by P. Oktor Skjaerv[??], "The Literature of the Most Ancient Iranians," in Proceedings of the Second North American Gatha Conference, ed. S. J. H. Manekshaw and P. R. Ichaporia (Womelsdorf, Penn.: FEZANA, 1996), 221, 224-26, 234, and "The State of Old Avestan Scholarship," JAOS 117 (1997): 103-7.

(2.) On the transformation of Zarathushtra's teachings into a more universal dualistic worldview, see details in Jamsheed K. Choksy, "Doctrinal Variation within Zoroastrianism: The Notion of Dualism," in Second International Congress Proceedings (Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 1996), 100-104. Shaul Shaked, Dualism in Transformation: Varieties of Religion in Sasanian Iran (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, Univ. of London, 1994), 22-26, emphasizes the diversity of dualistic and monist beliefs surrounding Ahura Mazda in the third through seventh centuries A.D.

(3.) Mardanfarrox i Ohrmazddadan, Skand Gumanig Wizar 8: 104, ed. H. J. Jamasp-Asana and E. W. West (Bombay: Government Central Book Depot, 1887), 60; ed. and trans. P. Jean de Menasce as Skand-Gumanik Vicar: La Solution Decisive des Doutes (Fribourg: L'Universite de Fribourg en Suisse, 1945), 98-99.

(4.) Bundahisn 1: 13-1A: 21, 3: 23-24, ed. T. D. Anklesaria (Bombay: British India Press, 1908), 4-24, 38-39; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria as Zand-Akasih: Iranian or Greater Bundahisn (Bombay: Rahnumae Mazdayasnan Sabha, 1956), 6-29, 44-45, trans. M. Bahar (Tehran: Tus Publications, 1991), 34-42, 50. The classic study of Zoroastrians' engagement in countering drug- on a daily basis in traditional society is by Mary Boyce, A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism (1977; rpt. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1989).

(5.) Max Weber, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, ed. G. Ruth and C. Wittich (Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1978), 1: 450-51. See also Louis Dumont, Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and Its Implications, rev. ed., trans. M. Sainsbury et al. (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980), 6.

(6.) For valuable analyses of cognition and its relationship to culture generally, see Leonard Talmy, Toward a Cognitive Semantics, vol. 2: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2000), 373-77, 390-91, 405-11; and Donald Merlin, A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness (New York: W. W. Norton, 2001), 301-26. On the cognitive underpinnings of religion and ritual specifically, see E. Thomas Lawson and Robert N. McCauley, Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), 77-83, 84-136, 180-84. On the construction of spaces, see Eve E. Sweetser and Gilles Fauconnier, "Cognitive Links and Domains: Basic Aspects of Mental Space Theory," in Spaces, Worlds, and Grammar, ed. G. Fauconnier and E. E. Sweetser (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996), esp. 11.

(7.) Contra, e.g., observations that equate holiness with the sacred, with separation (from the word), and therefore with danger, as in Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss, Primitive Classification, trans. R. Needham (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), 86; W. Brede Kristensen, The Meaning of Religion: Lectures in the Phenomenology of Religion, trans. J. B. Carmen (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1960), 309-10 (who even associates Zoroastrian notions of impurity with sacredness), 355-56; Gerardus van der Leeuw, Religion in Essence and Manifestation, trans. J. E. Turner (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1986), 47-48; and Jean Cazeneuve, Sociologie du rite (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1971), 217-40, among others. See also the subsequent discussion of Rudolf Otto in whose ideas conceptual overlap may have arisen from use of the German term heilig which has come to carry a range of meanings from godly and holy to sacred and pious not originally implicit. For more nuanced interpretations, consult Robert D. Hertz, Death and the Right Hand, trans. R. and C. Needham (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1960), 94-98, 107-10; and Carol E. Burnside (Choksy), "The Left Hand of the Sacred," Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 3.1 (1991): 3-9. Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, xxxiii, does view the sacred as relating to religion, then (p. 73) briefly and incorrectly equates it with the holy.

(8.) Manushchihr i Juwanjaman, Namagiha 1:2:8, ed. B. N. Dhabar (Bombay: Parsee Panchayat, 1912), 7, for instance. Comparison can be made to Manicheism which also regarded purity as separation (of light from darkness)--on which see the Cologne Mani Codex 83-85, ed. L. Koenen and C. Romer (Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1988), 58. The term yaozda- "to make perfect, purify" cannot be read as "sacred" for it refers to purity and purification linked to sacrifice or worship, contra Harriet Lutzky, "On a Concept Underlying Indo-European Terms for the Sacred," Journal of Indo-European Studies 21 (1993): 290-91, who misinterprets the accurate analysis by Emile Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society, trans. E. Palmer (Coral Gables, Fla.: Univ. of Miami Press, 1973), 390-91,396. Benveniste traces the term's Indo-European base to a notion of religio-legal conformity while demonstrating that a connection with sacramentum occurs in Latin (and as a result subsequently in English, resulting in improper usage of "sacred" as a generic term). On the etymology of yaozda-, see also Julius Pokorny, Indogermanisches etymologisches Worterbuch (Bern: Francke, 1949-1969), 512.

(9.) On pak and paw, see further Malhar B. Belsare, An Etymological Gujarati-English Dictionary (Ahmedabad: Gujarat Gazette Press, 1895), 472, 482; Jivanji J. Modi, The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees, 2nd ed. (1937; rpt. Society for the Promotion of Zoroastrian Religious Knowledge and Education, 1986), 109-10 (although his derivation should be discounted); and Firoze M. Kotwal and James W. Boyd, A Persian Offering, The Yasna: A Zoroastrian High Liturgy (Paris: Association pour l'avancement des etudes iraniennes, 1991), 141-42. For *peu[??]-, see Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 67. On space being pure, see, e.g., Bundahisn 1: 1-2; ed. T. D. Anklesaria, 2-3; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria, 4-5; trans. Bahar, 33. See further Jamsheed K. Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism: Triumph over Evil (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1989), xxvi-xxvii, 10-16, 112. Given geographical and cultural overlap of Iranians and Israelites from the sixth century B.C., it should not be surprising that early Jewish beliefs also manifested an equation of purity with holiness as that which is set apart--on which, see insightful observations by W. Robertson Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites: First Series, 3rd ed. (Edinburgh: A. and C. Black, 1927), 140-54; and more recently Lutzky, "On a Concept Underlying Indo-European Terms for the Sacred," 285-86.

(10.) On the cosmic dimension in Zoroastrianism, which ritual space mimics, specifically note Bundahisn 1: 1-4; ed. T. D. Anklesaria, 2-3; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria, 4-5; trans. Bahar, 33-34, where the space of creation is said to be bounded by the regions of infinite light and infinite darkness (between which lay Vaiiu- or Way, an intermediate space or void filled with the celestial wind, later equated with air or the atmosphere). More generally on this issue, see Arnold van Gennep, The Rites of Passage, trans. M. B. Vizedom and G. L. Caffee (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1960), 15-21; and Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. D. Nicholson-Smith (1991; rpt. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994), 35, 204.

(11.) On the etymology of saz-, consult Henrik S. Nyberg, A Manual of Pahlavi, pt. 2 (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1974), 171. For sacer, *sak-, consult Alfred Ernout and Antoine J. Meillet, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue latine, histoire des mots, 4th ed. (Paris: C. Klincksieck, 1967), 586; and Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 73. Latin sacer, though an isolated word linguistically, has become fundamentally and inappropriately important to the study of religions through the widespread application of the term "sacred" to disparate locations, actions, and situations beyond its original Latin and later Christian usage (ca. 1225 onward in the sense of "consecrated," ca. 1380 onward as a substitute for "holy," ca. 1624 onward for rites). On the use of "sacred," see further Michel Despland, "The Sacred: The French Evidence," Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 3.1 (1991): 41-46. Lutzky, "Indo-European Terms for the Sacred," pp. 285, 286-89, has observed that *sak- may be connected with another Indo-European root *sek- "to cut," gaining its religious associations through the concept of separation. It also may be observed that the Hebrew term qados < qd "to cut, divide" or qds "to become pure" denotes "apartness" and consequently "making or becoming pure," as does the Arabic term haram < hrm "to cut off, divide, separate, set apart," rather than their common English translation as "sacred."

(12.) Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society, 455. See further Jamsheed K. Choksy, "Sacral Kingship in Sasanian Iran," Bulletin of the Asia Institute, n.s. 2 (1988): 35-52, with an extensive bibliography of primary sources and scholarly writings.

(13.) The Achaemenian monarch Darius I (522-486 B.C.), Behistun inscription 1:11-12, ed., R. G. Kent, Old Persian: Grammar, Texts, Lexicon, 2nd ed. (1953; rpt. New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1982), 117; Shapur I (240-272 A.D.), Naqshe-e Rostam inscription 1, ed. Philip Huyse, Die dreisprachige Inschrift Sabuhrs I. an der Ka 'ba-i Zardust, 2 vols. (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, Univ. of London, 1999), 1: 22; and obverses of Sasanian drahms or silver coins of monarchs such as Hormizd I (272-73 A.D.) Wahram I (273-76 A.D.), and Wahram II (276-93 A.D.) on which see Robert Gobl, Sasanian Numismatics, trans. P. Severin (Brunswick: Klinkhardt and Biermann, 1971), table 15, pls. 3-5, and Jamsheed K. Choksy, "A Sasanian Monarch, His Queen, Crown Prince, and Deities: The Coinage of Wahram II," American Journal of Numismatics, 2nd set. 1 (1989): 120, p1. 10.

(14.) Cf. Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, xxxiii, 36, 45. Contra Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society, 447-52, 467, who conflates the holy with the sacred and with purity even while correctly identifying the Indo-European root of the holy. Lutzky, "Indo-European Terms for the Sacred" 295-96, provides a more subtle distinction but one that likewise blurs boundaries between the terms, perhaps under the influence of contemporary overlap in meanings. Yet contra her etymology from *keu[??]- "to swell, be full" (p. 291), which follows Pokorny, Indogermanisches etymologisches Worterbuch, 592.

(15.) Excellent theoretical discussions on the nature of ritual space, often loosely and inaccurately termed sacred space as already observed, as a microcosmic representation of religious universe, are found in the classic inquiry by Paul Mus, Barabudur: Esquisse d'une histoire du Bouddhisme fondee sur la critique archeologique des textes, 2 vols. (Hanoi: Imprimerie d'Extreme-Orient, 1935); trans. A. W. Macdonald as Barabudur: A Sketch of a History of Buddhism based on Archaeological Criticism of the Texts (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, 1998). Useful essays also are found in Kapila Vatsyayan, ed., Concepts of Sacred Space, Ancient and Modern (New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1991). More specific to the present study is Ron G. Williams and James W. Boyd, Ritual Art and Knowledge: Aesthetic Theory and Zoroastrian Ritual (Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1993), esp. 15-20, 25-29, 145, 148.

(16.) Nerangestan 2:5:C5:17, 2:5:C5:20, 2:19:18, ed. P. Sanjana (MS HJ) (Bombay: Parsee Punchayet, 1894), 90r., 127v., ed. F. M. Kotwal and J. W. Boyd (MS TD) (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1980), 60v.-62r., 86v.

(17.) Videvdad 2: 22-43; ed. K. F. Geldner as Avesta: the Sacred Books of the Parsis, vol. 3 (1895; rpt. Delhi: Parimal Publications, 1982), 10-15. On the Vedic use of vala, consult William W. Malandra, An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion: Readings from the Aveta and the Achaemenid Inscriptions (Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press), 178.

(18.) E.g., see the reference to urvisgah in the Rivayat ithutir 1: 4, ed. M. Vitalone (Naples: Istituto Universitario Orientale, 1996), 44.

(19.) Videvdad 9: 2-33; ed. Geldner, 3: 72-77; Persian Rivayats, ed. M. R. Unvala (Bombay: British India Press, 1922), 1: 107, 114, 585, 599-601; trans. B. N. Dhabar (Bombay: K. R. Cama Oriental Institute, 1932), 108, 118, 358, 378-80.

(20.) Videvdad 9: 10-11 ; ed. Geldner, 3: 72-73. On the etymologies, see Christian Bartholomae, Altiranisches Worterbuch (1904; rpt. Berlin:

Walter de Gruyter, 1979), cols. 644-45; Kent, Old Persian, 185-86; Nyberg, Manual of Pahlavi, 82; David N. MacKenzie, A Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1986; rpt. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1990), 82; and Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 89-90.

(21.) Nerangestan 3:10:1; ed. Sanjana (MS HJ), 181v., ed. Kotwal and Boyd (MS TD), 122r.

(22.) Denkard, ed. D. M. Madan, 2 vols. (Bombay: Society for the Promotion of Researches into the Zoroastrian Religion, 1911), 531; ed. and trans. S. Shaked as The Wisdom of the Sasanian Sages (Denkard VI) (Boulder: Westview Press, 1979), 104-5.

(23.) See James Darmesteter, Le Zend-Avesta, 3 vols. (1892-93; rpt. Paris: A. Maisonneuve, 1960), 1: p1. 4; Jacques Duchesne-Guillemin, Symbolik des Parsismus (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersemann, 1973), pls. 55-56, 89 (where the photograph from Darmesteter's volume is reproduced); and Kotwal and Boyd, A Persian Offering, pls. 2-3.

(24.) On the pawi, see further Kotwal and Boyd, A Persian Offering, 4, 18-19, 32-33, 43, 62; and Williams and Boyd, Ritual Art and Knowledge, 26-27, 32, 48.

(25.) Regarding the imposition of sequential structure on actions, refer to the pioneering analysis by Van Gennep, Rites of Passage, esp. 10-12, 21. The English translation of Van Gennep's terms preliminaire, liminaire, and post liminaire--where liminaire denotes prefatory--as "preliminary," "liminary," and "postliminary," while not completely faithful to the French, is better suited for understanding Zoroastrianism within this interpretive scheme. There are only a few Zoroastrian rites, such as the Paragna which precedes the Yasna, that are essentially preliminaire or pre-prefatory to other ceremonies. So the liminal phase in Zoroastrianism is the elimination of confusion, the stilling of disturbance, by order both in the ritual settings and in the minds of participants. My suggestion questions Victor W. Turner's interpretation of liminality as a period of internal turbulence for the performer or "liminal personae" on which see his The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual (1967; rpt. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1997), 96, 97, 106, and The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (1969; rpt. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1979), 94-96. For detailed representations of liminal sequences in Zoroastrianism, also refer to Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, xxiii, 19.

(26.) Properties ascribed by religion to vegetation are discussed in Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 120, 126. Regarding the identity of the early bar[??]sman- Martin Haug, Essays on the Sacred Language, Writings, and Religion of the Parsis, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton, Osgood, 1878), 283-84, suggested perhaps appropriately that it paralleled the bundles of twigs--also called kusha--rather than the grass in the Soma ritual.

(27.) See Modi, Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees, 120a; and Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 43 (fig. 4), 44 (fig. 5), 46 (fig. 6).

(28.) On the purificatory gah, see further Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 24-44. Early modern Zomastrian treatises sent from Iran to India mention the continuation of this practice, e.g., in the eighteenth-century Rivayat ithutir 1: 5, ed. Vitalone, p. 45.

(29.) Yasna 35:2; ed. Geldner, 1: 128; ed. and trans. Kellens and Pirart, 1: 133; ed. and trans. Humbach and Ichaporia, 52-53. On the applicability of classification to religious experiences and events, consult the classic work by Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, trans. J. W. Swain (1957; rpt. New York: Free Press, 1965), particularly 29-30, 36, 47, 409.

(30.) Videvdad 2: 30; ed. Geldner, 3: 12.

(31.) On the role of spatial orientation in the socioreligious functions of space, see Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, 23-24. Regarding the central role of cognition in rites, see also E. Thomas Lawson, "Cognitive Categories, Cultural Forms, and Ritual Structures," in Cognitive Aspects of Religious Symbolism, ed. P. Boyer (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993), 195-96, 204-5. Regarding the notion that cognition and its interpretive aspects can vary, to some degree, with culture, see Mark Turner, Cognitive Dimensions of the Social Sciences (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001), 13.

(32.) Compare Jonathan Z. Smith's observation that "ritual is a means of performing the way things ought to be in conscious tension to the way things are," in To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987), 109. See also his Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982), 54-55.

(33.) The space in which a Jashan ceremony occurs is now demarcated from the surrounding area by a carpet on which the priest sits and the fire, ritual implements, and devotional offerings are placed. The carpet's border thus symbolically cuts off the pure from the rest of the material world. Its textured surface recalls the strewn grasses of the ancient rites. See Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 86 (fig. 12).

(34.) On this issue, see in general Smith, Imagining Religion, 56, 63.

(35.) In the Zoroastrian religious battle scheme, ritual spaces and performers--like cosmic space and all persons--are not "'betwixt and between' all the recognized fixed points in space-time of structural classification." Rather they are an integral part of that structural classification, located in time betwixt cosmogony and eschatology and in space between heaven and hell. Contra in general V. Turner, Forest of Symbols, 93-94, 97 (quotation), and Ritual Process, 95 (quotation repeated).

(36.) In general, see the pioneering observations on women in religious systems by Weber, Economy and Society, 1: 488-90. One important examination of a mentally constructed societal divide--based in part on issues of purity and pollution that has monumental, long-lasting impact on access to ritual space specifically and participation in sectarian society generally--is Dumont's Homo Hierarchicus, esp. 46-61.

(37.) For sources and discussion, see Choksy, Evil, Good, and Gender, esp. 78-79, 81-82, 91-92, 97-98, 113-14.

(38.) On the physique as a boundary, see Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 18 19; and Alan V. Williams, "The Body and the Boundaries of Zoroastrian Spirituality," Religion 19 (1989): 227-39.

(39.) On doctrinal notions and devotional consequences of pollution, plus means of regaining ritual purity, vis-a-vis gender, see Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 10-16, 19-22, 62-71, 88-102, and Evil Good, and Gender, 61-62, 111, 113, 115-16.

(40.) Yasts 13:99, 19:85; ed. K. F. Geldner as Avesta: The Sacred Books of the Parsis, vol. 2 (1895; rpt. Delhi: Parimal Publications, 1982), 189, 256; trans. H. Lommel as Die Yast's des Awesta (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1927), 124, 185. For the Frawardin Yast, see also ed. and trans. W. W. Malandra (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1971), 92, 136; and trans. Malandra, An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion, 99. For the Zamyad Yast, see also ed. and trans. A. Hintze (Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1994), 355-58; and ed. and trans. H. Humbach and P. Ichaporia (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1998), 56, 160-61. Malandra and Hintze, on the one hand, and Humbach and Ichaporia, on the other hand, provide different translations for the problematic phrase draoca pauruuanca as "bow and arrow" and "stock and knots," respectively. On the passage in general and the phrase in particular, see insights by Calvert Watkins, How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics (1995; rpt. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001), 162-64.

(41.) Mardanfarrox i Ohrmazddadan, Skand Gumanig Wizar 4: 63-78; ed. Jamasp-Asana and West, 24-27. A transliteration of the whole passage, whose salient lines have been translated herein, can be found in Menasce, ed. and trans., Skand-Gumanik Vicar, 54-56.

(42.) On the nature and role ascribed to the sky, see further Harold W. Bailey's pioneering observations in Zoroastrian Problems in the Ninth-Century Books, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 124-27, 147-48, with reference to the textual sources.

(43.) Zadspram i Juwanjaman, Wizidagiha 3: 2, 4; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria (Bombay: Parsi Punchayet, 1964), 17-18; ed. and trans. M. Ph. Gignoux and A. Tafazzoli as Anthologie de Zadspram (Paris: Association pour l'avancement des etudes iraniennes, 1993), 40-41.

(44.) Connections between religious beliefs about time and space in Jewish and Christian traditions, among others, have also been documented--on which, consult essays in Sanctity of Time and Space in Tradition and Modernity, ed. Alberdina Houtman, Marcel J. H. M. Poorthuis, and Joshua Schwartz (Leiden: Brill, 1998). For uses of such spaces in Israelite and Babylonian contexts, see Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, trans. W. R. Trask (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1959), 20-21, 26, who utilized a phenomenological approach.

(45.) Bartholomae, Altiranisches Worterbuch, cols. 517-21; and MacKenzie, Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, 34.

(46.) On the efficacy ascribed to words recited in Zoroastrian ritual contexts, see also Williams and Boyd, Ritual Art and Knowledge, 39.

(47.) Denkard, ed. Madan, 519; ed. and trans. Shaked, 84-85.

(48.) Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 124-25, 133-34. Gernot L. Windfuhr, "The Logic of the Holy Immortals in Zoroastrianism" in Proceedings of the Second North American Gatha Conference, ed. S. J. H. Manekshaw and P. R. Ichaporia (Womelsdorf, Penn.: FEZANA, 1996), 257, also noted this point. Hence, the holy cord or kustig worn by Zoroastrians was said to be star-spangled, encircling each devotee's midsection like the zodiac encircling the axis of the sky. For texts and discussion, see Bailey, Zoroastrian Problems in Ninth-Century Books, 145-47.

(49.) On the primeval links between Yima, vara-, ritual, time, cinuuato.p[??]r[??]tu-, and eschatology, consult Kellens, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, 13-14, 71-75, 95-98; and Choksy, Evil, Good, and Gender, 73-74, 126-27, with further references.

(50.) On the question of spiritual salvation through ritual, see generally Weber, Economy and Society, 1: 529-34; and specifically Kellens, Essays on Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, 102-7. On mizda-, also consult Almut Hintze, Lohn' im Indoiranischen: Eine semantische Studie des Rigveda und Avesta (Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 2000), 141-68, 200-25, 226-27, 230-34.

(51.) Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 112.

(52.) On the conceptual issues, see further Sweetser and Fauconnier, "Cognitive Links and Domains," 2, 4, 5, 8.

(53.) Contra Lutzky, "Indo-European Terms for the Sacred," 297-99; Veikko Anttonen, Ihmisen ja maan rajat: 'Pyha' kulttuurisena kategoriana (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1996), 38, 88-90; and Ilkka Pyysiainen, review of same, Temenos 32 (1996): 265-69.

(54.) The nexus between perception, belief, and holy experiences was eloquently elucidated by William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1961), esp. 42, 45, 47.

(55.) On the issue of classification of perceptions as "intended ... to connect ideas, to unify knowledge," consult Durkheim and Mauss, Primitive Classification, 3-4, 7-9, 81 (quotation), 82-85; and Weber, Economy and Society, 1: 401-7. On the imposition of order on the world using shared perceptions and understandings, see Naomi Quinn and Dorothy Holland, "Culture and Cognition," in Cultural Models in Language and Thought, ed. D. Holland and N. Quinn (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1987), 3, 6, 16. It should be noted, however, that Quinn and Holland regard cultural models as determining cognitive functions rather than a complex amalgam of both.

(56.) On cognition as a basic mental operation, see Mark Turner, Cognitive Dimensions, 52. In The Literary Mind (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1996), v-vi, 9-11, he advances a seemingly obvious but often ignored observation that the manifold manifestations of language not only inform the core of most thoughts and actions but make them possible. The result, it seems, is culture, whose specificity is determined in place and time by the symbolic store of ideas and actions unique in some degree, but not in all respects, to a group of individuals. On the centrality of symbolism to culture, now see Marshall Sahlins, "Two or Three Things that I Know about Culture," Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, n.s. 5 (1999): 400.

(57.) On the role of mental categories in cognition, refer to George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal about the Mind (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987), esp. 5-10, 13, 56-57, 109-10, 145-48, 153-54, 280-83, 302-3, 313-17, 370-73.

(58.) On the terms, see further Bruce Lincoln, Myth, Cosmos, and Society: Indo-European Themes of Creation and Destruction (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1986), 119; and Watkins, Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, 55.

(59.) Malinowski, Magic, Science, and Religion, and Other Essays (1948; rpt. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press, 1992), 47, 52, 53, respectively. Note an earlier comment by Hertz, Death and the Right Hand, 78, "Thus, when a man dies, society loses in him much more than a unit; it is stricken in the very principle of its life, in the faith it has in itself." See further Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, xxii.

(60.) Cf. Malinowski, Magic, Science, and Religion, 50, 51.

(61.) Denkard, ed. Madan, 383-84; trans. P. J. de Menasce as Le troisieme livre du Denkart (Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck, 1973), 360; cf. Robert C. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1961), 274.

(62.) Denkard, ed. Madan, p. 321; trans. Menasce, Le troisieme livre du Denkart, 305, with deletion of a superfluous i.

(63.) On death itself as a location, see Lefebvre, Production of Space, 35.

(64.) The centrality of concern about death also has been commented on by Weber, Economy and Society, 1: 529-32; Malinowski, Magic, Science, and Religion, 47, 51, 52, 53; Talcott Parsons, Essays in Sociological Theory: Pure and Applied (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1949), 58-59; Cazeneuve, Sociologie du rite, 26-38; and Geertz, Interpretation of Cultures, 103-8, among others.

(65.) Bundahisn 34: 4-33; ed. T. D. Anklesaria, 221-28; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria, 284-93; trans. Bahar, 145-48; and Pahlavi Rivayat Accompanying the Dadestan i Denig 48: 55-67, 100-107; ed. B. N. Dhabar (Bombay: Parsee Panchayat, 1913), 149-51, 157-59; ed. and trans. A. V. Williams (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1990), pt. 1, 180-83, 188-91, pt. 2, 83-84, 87-88. On this transformation, see further Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 135-36, with fig. 14. For parallel passages, and analysis using homologies, where at death the body's composite parts are said to return to the cosmos and at the end of time the body is recreated from the cosmos, see Lincoln, Myth, Cosmos, and Society, 122-24, 132-39.

(66.) The isolatory nature of walled enclosures is commented upon in a purity context in Videvdad 3: 18; ed. Geldner, 3: 18, where the Avestan term pairidaeza- occurs. The more secular aspect, a pleasure garden, was noted by the Achaemenian monarch Artaxerxes II Mnemon (404-359 B.C.), Susa inscription d:3, ed. Kent, OM Persian, 155.

(67.) For the cross-cultural applicability of this phenomenon see Hertz, Death and the Right Hand, 55, 58-61.

(68.) Pahlavi Rivayat Accompanying the Dadestan i Denig 48: 101-2; ed. Dhabar, 157; ed. and trans. Williams, pt. 1, 188-89, pt. 2, 87. Williams reads a-sohisn "without feeling," instead of a-suyisn, a condition not in concord with Zoroastrian tenets.

(69.) Consult Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 2 vols., trans. E. F. J. Payne (rpt. New York: Dover, 1969), 1: 37, 199, 2: 166-67, 230, 463, 466-67, 498; and Hertz, Death and the Right Hand, 67, 76-77, 80-81.

(70.) Cf. in part Marcel Mauss, OEuvres, vol. 1: Les fonctions sociales du sacre (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1968), 35-40, 357-400, among others.

(71.) Contra specifically Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the Non-rational Factor in the Idea of the Divine and Its Relation to the Rational, trans. J. W. Harvey (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1923), esp. 29-30. For the numinous point of view, see further Robert R. Marett, The Threshold of Religion, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen, 1914), 143-48, 159-69, and Faith, Hope, and Charity in Primitive Religion (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1932), 2-7, 21-22, 39, 40-43, in terms of social psychology; Van der Leeuw. Religion in Essence and Manifestation, 28, 48, 681; and Kristensen, Meaning of Religion. 15-18, 182-83.

(72.) On Zoroastrian ideas on death as pollution and on ritual as a means of helping people cope with death, see initial observations by Jamsheed K. Choksy, "Aging, Death, and the Afterlife in Zoroastrianism," in How Different Religions View Death and Afterlife, 2nd ed., ed. C. J. Johnson and M. G. McGee (Philadelphia: Charles Press, 1998), 249-50, 253-54, 261.

(73.) Hertz, Death and the Right Hand, 28, also 86.

(74.) Yasna 30:5; ed. Geldner, 1: 106; ed. and trans. Kellens and Pirart, 1: 111; ed. and trans. Humbach and Ichaporia, 30-31.

(75.) Denkard, ed. Madan, p. 829; cf. Bailey, Zoroastrian Problems in Ninth-Century Books, 127.

(76.) A fuller description, with reference to the source materials, is found in Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, 11, 32.

(77.) See John Sallis, Stone (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1994), 3-4, 49-51, 72-79, 108-15, who builds upon the philosophical analyses of Hegel and Heidegger about the ways people apprehend stone.

(78.) On such double-scope integration, see Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner. The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities (New York: Basic Books, 2002), esp. 180, 305,353-60, 391.

(79.) Parallel links between symbolic forms, eschatological beliefs, and purificatory rites connected with reestablishing order and thereby reassuring devotees that a solution to existential stress does exist in religion are discussed by Choksy, Purity and Pollution in Zoroastrianism, xxii, 111-37. Robert C. Zaehner, The Teachings of the Magi: A Compendium of Zoroastrian Beliefs (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. 1976), 119-20, approaches the issue of eschatological significance briefly but more broadly.

(80.) Cf. Lefebvre, Production of Space. 375-76.

(81.) Contra Fritz Staal's interesting contention that "ritual is for its own sake" without meaning or goal, in Rules Without Meaning: Ritual, Mantras, and the Human Sciences (1990; rpt. New York: Peter Lang, 1993), 116, 128, 131 (quotation)-140, 453. On automation of behavior, consult John A. Bargh, Annette Lee-Chai, Kimberly Barndollar, Peter M. Gollwitzer, and Roman Trotschel, "The Automated Will: Nonconscious Activation and Pursuit of Behavioral Goals," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81.6 (2001): 1-2, 6, 11-12. For the cognitive basis of action duplication through observation, see Giacomo Rizzolatti, Luciaro Fadiga, Vittorio Gallese, and Leonardo Fogassi, "Premotor Cortex and the Recognition of Motor Actions," Cognitive Brain Research 3 (1996): 131-41; and Giacomo Rizzolatti and Michael Arbib, "Language within Our Grasp," Trends in Neuroscience 21 (1998): 188-94.

(82.) From "Auguries of Innocence," 11. 3-4.

(83.) Bundahisn 1: 2: ed. M. J. Unvala (Bombay: N.p., 1897), 1. T. D. Anklesaria's ed., p. 3, replaces bud ud hast ud hame bawed with budhend. Robert C. Zaehner, Zurvan: A Zoroastrian Dilemma (1955; rpt. New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1972), 278, provides the same reading using other editions of the text.

(84.) Bundahism 28: 1; ed. T. D. Anklesaria, 189; ed. and trans. B. T. Anklesaria, 242-45; trans. Bahar, 123.


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Author:Choksy, Jamsheed K.
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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