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Date: 16.09.2017

Between Two Husbands (1922)

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Yasht 8, Tir, Yasht 10, Meher, Yasna 11, Hom Yasht, 4, 7, 10, 13, Yasna 62, Atash Niyayesh, 10; Vendidad Yasht 10, Mihr, 3; Yasht Hom Yasht, Yasna X, 22; XII, A Zoroastrian woman often prayed for a good, healthy child. Atash Niyayesh, Yasna Yasht 5 Aban , Among the Achaemenians, a wife who gave birth to many children was a favourite with her husband, who did not like to displease her in any way. Every year, the king sends rich gifts to the man, who can show the largest number: In the Avesta itself, we find no references to any ceremony or rite during the state of pregnancy.

The only allusion we find is this: Coming to later Pahlavi and Persian books, we find, that the Shayest ne-Shayest directs, that, when it is known that a lady of the family has become pregnant, a fire may be maintained most carefully in the house. The reason, assigned for this in the Pahlavi and Persian books, is that the fire, so kindled in the house, keeps out daevas, i.

Again, a fire or a lamp is even now taken to be symbolical of the continuation of a line of offspring. X, 4; XII, According to the Avesta, in the state of pregnancy, a woman is to be looked after very carefully. It is wrong for the husband to have sexual intercourse with her in her advanced state of [4] pregnancy, which, according to the Rivayats, commences with the fifth month. Four months ten days. Shayast ne Shayast, Chap. X, 20; XII, 13, S. The fifth and the seventh months of pregnancy, observed as days of rejoicing.

During pregnancy, the modern Parsees have no religious ceremonies or rites. Similarly, a day is observed on the completion of the seventh month, and is known as Agharni. These days are observed as auspicious days of rejoicing only in the case of the first pregnancy. They are observed not in accordance with any religious injunction or with religious ceremonies or rites.

The expectancy of a child being a joyful event as said above, these days — especially some day after the completion of the seventh month — are observed as joyous occasions, when the lady who is enceinte is presented with suits of clothes by her parents, relatives, and friends and especially by the family of her husband.

In these sweets, one prepared in the form of a cocoanut,30 has a prominent place. Some [5] of the customs observed on these occasions are more Indian in their origin and signification than originally Persian or Zoroastrian. An astrologer once said to a king that, whatever was sown or planted on such and such a coming auspicious day, would grow well.

The king, thereupon, cut off the head of the astrologer and sowed it in a stony ground. The cocoanut palm grew out of it. Journal of the Ceylon Asiatic Society. Place of delivery, and its temporary consecration. A room or a part of a room, generally on the down-floor, is prepare an set apart for the purpose. As the Vendidad32 says, the place for delivery must be very clean, dry and least-frequented by others. It appears, that in former times, such places were specially provided in Parsee houses on the down-floors.

Parsee houses in those times had generally spacious down-floors that were used for all purposes. The upper floors were low, and were rather like lofts. So, the down-floors provided proper places for delivery, as enjoined in the Vendidad.

But, as, with changed circumstances, Parsee houses of today are not what they were before, and as, at present, in storied houses in big towns, the down-floors are generally the worst part of the houses, places of delivery at the down-floor are now-a-days properly condemned as unhealthy. In the case of a house or a place where no delivery has taken place before, religious-minded persons generally take care that a religious ceremony may be performed there before the delivery.

In other words, they get the place consecrated.

A priest or two say and perform the Afrinagan prayer and ceremony over the place. At times, even the Baj prayer is recited. It seems that one of the lost nasks books , the Husparam, had special chapters on the subject of parturition.

The second of the above two chapters, refers to various subject, of obstetrics. A lamp lighted on the birth of a child. On the birth of a child, a lamp is lighted and kept burning, for at least three days, in the room where the lady is confined.

Period of confinement on delivery, 40 days. On delivery, the mother is enjoined to remain apart from others. She is not to come into contact with fire, water, and other furniture of the house.

This period has been latterly extended, as described m the later Pahlavi and Persian books, to forty days in all cases of delivery.

Now-a-days, a Parsee lady has generally forty days of confinement after delivery. Some families, following the Hindu custom, observe the fifth day after birth, known as pachory i.

Perfect isolation and purification. During the above forty days, the lady is in a state of isolation. She is not to come into contact with anybody and with any part of the ordinary furniture of the house, especially wooden furniture and linen articles.

Her food is to be served to her on [7] her plate by others. Those who have to come into contact with her have to bathe before they mix with others.

Even the medical attendants had to do so, but, now-a-days, this sanitary rule is more honoured in the breach than in its observance. The original injunction may, among some other reasons, have been intended to observe "purity" in order to prevent the spread of the diseases to which women in this state are subject.

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Vide the chapter on "Maternity and its Perils" in Mr. It says that in England and Wales, where 4, women die every year in child-births "about 70 percent of this mortality is due to puerperal fever" and that "almost the whole of this mortality might be avoided. The midwifery writers of old said to their disciples: Some of the later Pazand and Persian writers have not properly understood the original good object of the early writers, and so, have carried the rigour of isolation too far.

But anyhow, the origins injunction of isolation is intended for the purity referred to by old mid-wifery writers. At the end of forty days, which is the period of confinement, the lady has to purify herself by a bath before ordinarily mixing with others.

All the bedding and clothes of the woman, used during the forty days of her confinement after delivery, are rejected from ordinary use. They are enjoined to be destroyed, lest they carry germs of disease among others. But, now-a-days, that injunction is not strictly followed. They are given away to sweepers. Formerly, a mother in child-birth first drank a few drops of the sacred Haoma-juice, which was squeezed and consecrated in a fire-temple.

In the Hom Yasht,41 Haoma is said to give fine healthy children to women. Haoma was emblematical of immortality. Anquetil Du Perron42 refers to this religious custom as prevalent in his time.

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But now-a-days this custom is rarely observed, and in place of the Haoma-juice, a sweet drink made of molasses or sugar is given to the child as a first auspicious drink. Vide my paper on "Haoma in the Avesta" for the health-giving properties attributed to the plant.

Vide my Asiatic Papers, Part I, pp. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. Zend Avesta, II, p. Herodotus43 refers to the custom of naming the child among the ancient Persians. We infer from what he says, that the parents waited for some time after birth, and then, watching the physical and mental characteristics of the child, gave them such names as indicated their characteristics.

In the case of modern Parsees, many name the child after an immediate deceased ancestor. A Parsee name is made up of three names. The first is his own personal name. Some resort to a so-called astrologer and name the child as advised by him.

This process of naming the child has one particular religious significance, and it is this: In his or her Naojote [navjote], i. In the case of a female, her personal name is recited together with that of her father as long as she is not betrothed. But after betrothal, her name is recited together with that of her husband. Among the present Zoroastrians of Persia and those of the Kadmi sect in India, who follow them, her name is recited with that of her father.

Herodotus says of the old Achaemenian times, that "their names, which are expressive of some bodily or mental excellence, all end with the same letter. This can be easily seen from a list of Iranian names given by Rawlinson46 with their corresponding forms in Greek writings. Herodotus47 speaks of Persian names as expressive of their physical form. It is taken to be a suffix-appellation of only the living. Modern Parsee names can be traced to certain few sources.