Tafsir Pagra

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The Tafsir Pagra ("The Explanation of the Body") makes up Book 1, Part 2 of the 1012 Questions, a Mandaean text (Drower 1960).

Tafsir Pagra[edit | edit source]

... And so, when food goes down and reacheth the inside, the lower belly;
Šdum-Daiwa cometh and by his agency and strength he bringeth the excrements forth by way of Karafiun and 2 worlds so that they come and fall into
  1. Ṣihiun (Zion), a valley which is the dumping-ground of dung and urine in one place.
  2. It is the world below the ocean
  3. and the ocean is beneath the world of Ptahil.
  4. And the world of Ptahil is extended (ptian) beneath the earthly world,
  5. and the earthly world is beneath the world of Mšunia-Kušṭa
  6. and Mšunia-Kušṭa below the world of Abathur.
  7. And the world of Abathur is below the world of outflowing waters,
  8. and the world of outflowing waters below the world of the pure Yušamin.
  9. And the world of the pure Yušamin is beneath the world of Yukabar-Kušṭa-Kana
  10. and the world of Yukabar-Kušṭa-Kana below the world of Yawar-Ziwa;
  11. and the world of Yawar-Ziwa is below the world of Tarwan-Nhura.
  12. And the world of Tarwan-Nhura is beneath the world of Yawar-Rba
  13. and the world of Yawar-Rba beneath the world of Šahrat-Anana,
  14. And the world of Šahrat-Anana is below the world of Kanat-Rabtia
  15. and the world of Kanat-Rabtia below the world of Mara-d-Rabutha.
  16. And the world of Mara-d-Rabutha and the great mighty Mana,
  17. and the great Father of Glory,
  18. and Šišlam-Rba,
  19. Abathur-Rama
  20. and Sam-Mana-Smira
  21. (yea even) the House of the Lofty Radiance
all of them constitute one Mšunia-Kušṭa.
And to each of them their light is mutually visible, pleasing and displayed;
and their rays are formed like one another,
for they are all of light;
all (form part) of a single Body,
and each one of them that existeth in the Body is a world;
when separated (taken separately) each one of them is a world.
When (If) it happened that these worlds separated,
it would be as if one of them divided:
one is the Body and one the division.
The head is one world;
one world the neck,
one world the breast,
and each leg is one world (even so),
unto the liver,
and spleen,
liver (sic),
the male organs
and the womb
and skin
and hair
and nails
and back
and viscera
each one of them is a (separate) world.
And when they converse together
it is like (talk) between persons in whom there is no hatred, envy or dissension.
And if, amongst all these (worlds),
there be (one) superfluous or another lacking from the structure,
(that is) in the Body,
the whole Body is harmed,
for they counterpoise one another,
and the Soul dwelleth in their midst as they (dwell) with one another.
And if they are not counterpoised,
one corrupteth the other and they,
together with Body and Soul,
are not mutally established.
For when the Body was formed,
a Soul (nišimta) was formed,
and when the Soul took shape in the Body,
the Body formed the Vital Spirit (ruha).
And when both had taken shape,
the Womb was formed.
For the Womb is a great world,
there is no (world) greater or more powerful than It.
And the Blood that is within it is lovely Radiance (or Light),
and the Blood that is in its Heart is precious and sublime Radiance,
and the blood in its Liver is lovely and plenteous Radiance,
that moveth in all the Body.
And the blood that is in the Veins is flowing Radiance,
These are the 4 Lights (Emanations of Light) which control the Body,
if they had been (but) three,
the Body would not be established.
If the juices of the liver imbibe from them,
4 fluids intermingle,
they are (become?) one:
fluids which plasma deposits,
and they are wholesome,
(some) are gathered from the eyes;
other fluids gathered from the ears;
further, mingled fluids are gathered from the nostrils.
Moreover, these 4 humours resemble blood and water;
each of which has its own (inherent) quality.
From these, 4 qualities and 4 colours arise,
and of these 4 humours
  1. one of them is red,
  2. one of them yellow,
  3. one of them white
  4. and one of them black.
And from the black one evil impurities originate which injure spirit and soul,
and they fear it and quake before it.
Then there are 4 other qualities which proceed from the watery humours by which the whole body is interpenetrated.
The quality of one is wholesome and pleasing so that the soul (gladly)-sitteth in its company.
And one of them is pungent mysteries of the body,
and one of them is troublesome,
bile is its name.
For the blend of mysteries are held together by stability,
(each one) with all its brethren.
4 winds are kept within it.
And of these 4 qualities,
each one of them has 4 attributes: thus there are 16 attributes,
and each of these 16 (have) 32 characteristics,
and of those 32 characteristics 64 qualities (tendencies) characterise the Body:
heating, drying and consuming;
hence they are called 64 sins.
Every man whose soul is delivered from these cities (?),
64 sins, namely these, shall be loosed from him...
In the name of the Great Life!...
So, when she (the soul) reacheth the 7 mysteries,
a servant of the 7 went forth towards her and came and embraced her and said to her
"Whence comest thou and whither goest thou?"
I will say to him
"I come from the Body the name of which is ‘earth’ and I journey towards the Good Kimṣa."
And the servant said (will say?) to her (the soul)
"Who art thou and of whom art thou called a messenger?"
I will say to him
"I am the servant of the beloved Kimṣa and the messenger of Ayar-Sagia."
Then they bless and praise her and say to her:
"Every man who knoweth this saying will rise towards the good Kimṣa because he seeketh to control the mysteries of the body."
And they question her
and then she riseth up towards the good Kimṣa.

Commentary[edit | edit source]

This is a secret mystery and explanation of the Body,
that is esoteric and not revealed,
which I have copied who am poor, lowly, striving and child-like,
a slave who is all sin.
I am Zakia-Zihrun....
The earth is a Body and air (ayar) is the soul therein.
And its burgeoningsforth are its bones and the rivers are its veins;
its blood is the ocean and its womb...
The copper earth is the legs upon which the body is supported,
and its supporting columns are in the earth...
the Body and its size,
its convexity and its extent...
and the hair of the head,
the eyebrows and eyelashes,
hair beneath the buttocks and breasts,
and the hair of the whole body.
Moreover, each extremity is the (end of) one world.
The right is a world and the left a world;
the breasts are 2 worlds and the 2 feet 2 worlds,
and the 2 shanks 2 worlds and the knees 2 worlds.
The 2 thighs are 2 worlds and the whole trunk is 2 worlds.
And the male organ is vigorous in its strength and imperial majesty:
the body, the earth and heavens and the worlds of light and darkness,
are equipped therewith.
It is a strong implement,
and kingliness resembleth it,
for the whole Body and the kings are safeguarded thereby
and no trees, birds, animals, cattle or running waters can escape its compulsion.
For 7 kings are incorporated therein standing in 7 garments and written with 7 letters namely,
GABARUT(A) (virility) — their name.
For it (the male organ) is the channel of mysteries,
it is a wellspring and hair cometh out from it;
thereby the senses are held.
For it is a great mystery to those who perform (its function);
who erect it in purity and not to excess.
(As for) those who deprave it,
they are cast from the height down to the uttermost limit of the worlds.
The eye is not opened which beholdeth all worlds;
their eyes are dazzled and they behold them not!
So, when thou releasest seed and hast been orderly in (the act) and its fount fell upon the mystery of the womb within her,
which is alight at it (responsive to it) seed and blood love one another and seek their vehicle;
a soul, a body and a vital spirit.
And by them kings and regents,
(yea) and the whole world, are created.
And so, when they approach one another,
soul and spirit rejoice at that mystery.
As it (the male seed) neared the mystery of the womb,
the soul rejoiced and addressed a hymn to it and said:—
In the Name of the Great Life!
On the day the Radiance became manifest.
And emerged from the Inner Radiance,
The counterpart of the Jordan formed itself in its mirror.
Its counterpart was formed in a jordan that was its mirror,
And in the Ether water was produced.
A jordan issued in radiancy
And water in the Ether was shed abroad;
Shed abroad were the waters in the Ether-air,
And the power of Light divulged itself;
It expressed itself,
increased and multiplied.
And the Crown was established,
and the Wreath twined;
Twined was the Wreath and the leaves of myrtle flourished,
They flourished,
the leaves of the myrtle,
And trees bore their burden (of fruit).
Nasirutha spoke in them and twined their purities on kings
From the beginning unto the end.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Drower, Ethel S. (1960). The Thousand and Twelve Questions: A Mandaean Text (Alf Trisar Šuialia). Berlin: Akademie Verlag.