The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
Brighter times seem to have arrived. The vengeance so confidently promised in the close of XXXII is described as near at hand. In fact the first three verses seem to belong as much to XXXII as to the present chapter. They remind one of the choruses of attending saints, or 'Immortals,' in XXIX, perfectly germane to the connection, but referring in the third person to a speaker who closes the last chapter with a first, and who begins again with a first in verse 4. The propriety of a division of chapters here rests upon the fact that the thought comes to a climax at XXXII, 16, beginning afresh at XXXIII, 4. Whether Zarathustra, or the chief composer, whatever his name may have been, composed these three verses relating, as they do, to himself, and put them into the mouth of another, or whether their grammatical form indicates another author, is difficult to determine. I doubt very greatly whether either the expressions 'I approach,' 'I offer,' &c., or the words 'he will act,' 'let him be in Asha's pastures,' are at all meant to express more than some modern hymns which use 'I' and 'he.' Both are in constant employment in anthology with no change in the person indicated. 'I' and Thy servant' are merely verbal variations. Here, however, the change is somewhat marked by the allusion to the chastisement of the wicked just previously mentioned in XXXII, 16. 1. It is to be noticed that the strictest canon with the original, as indeed with the later, Zarathustrians of the Avesta was the 'primeval law.' Unquestionably the precepts understood as following from the dualistic principle were intended; that is to say, no trifling with any form of evil, least of all with a foreign creed, was to be tolerated. Ahura has no share in the evolution of anything corrupt. We may even add that He had no power to prevent either sin or sorrow, although He possessed all conceivable power to oppose them. According to these fundamental laws, then, the Ratu is said to act, as sternly severe upon the evil as he is beneficent to the saint. 2. The fierce hostilities hitherto pursued are more than justified. The injury of the wicked by denouncing, planning, or by physical violence, is on a par with advising the good. They who pursue the enemies of Ahura are actually operating in love to God, and sacrificing to religion itself.
3. And accordingly the reciter is made to pray in this immediate connection for a sincere and useful friend (a vahista) to the believer, to whichever class he may belong, whether chief, allied peer, or villager, a friend spiritually enlightened (vîdãs), and, according to Ahura's prescript (XXIX, 2), keen, persevering, and brave in the cultivation of cattle (thwakhshanghâ gavôi). 'Let such an one as this, so asked for by the Lord himself, so needed by the Kine, let him,' he prays, 'be supported in his holy toil for us. Let him till and tend, not in the pastures of our valleys only, but in the spiritual pastures of the Divine Benevolence where the mystic kine is grazing.' 4. Taking up the peculiar 'I who' of XXVIII, the composer returns to the first person, continuing in that form with little exception until the last verse, which, naming Zarathustra in the third person, implies (if it is not an addition, which, however, it may be) that Zarathustra had been the speaker throughout. As it is highly probable that the author who uses this 'I who' is the same who uses it in XXVIII, and if we may take verse 14 as fair evidence that Zarathustra is the speaker here, we acquire some additional grounds for believing that the person who wrote (if we can apply such an expression to the author) the words 'to Zarathustra and to us,' as well as 'to Vîstâspa and to me,' and 'to Frashaostra and to me,' was universally recognised to be Zarathustra himself composing a piece to be recited by another. As if in response to the expression in verse 3, recalling that although a vahista (a best one) to some of each class (verse 1) he was no contenter of the wicked (XLIII, 15), he begins a prayer which is only completed by its izyâ in verse 6, and which gathers force by each preceding profession of fidelity. And true to a practical dualism, he first abjures the leading sin of disobedience to God, and of arrogance, discontent, and dishonesty toward man, accompanied (as it seems to have been) with neglect of the all-important duties to the cattle who shared the sanctity of 'the soul' of their representative. And perhaps it is this practical severity of dualism as opposed to the more facile 'lying' of the opposed religion, which was the cause of that high reputation of the Persians for veracity, which was grouped with avoiding debt by Herodotus among the virtues of the race. 5. I, he goes on to say, or to imply, I who not only abjure disobedience, insolence, complaint, and lying, but especially invoke the great genius who is Obedience himself, Obedience toward God, (Thee), endeavouring as I do by this abjuration and prayer to attain, not to a 'hundred autumns' of booty and glory, but to a long life in the kingdom which was established in the spirit of
the Divine Benevolence, and to paths not only for the war-cart, or for commerce, but to those rigidly straight paths of moral purity in which Ahura dwells, 6. I, he adds once more, who am thus Thine actually invoking (zbayâ) invoker, 'straight' like the paths (erezus), I am seeking with longing (kayâ) to know from that Best Spirit (Thy Spenta Mainyu?) animated once more by that best mind, to know-what? Shall we regard it as a bathos when we read that he thus with cumulative urgency prays to know what the Best Spirit thought should be done for the recovery and perfection of the fields? If we turn back to XXIX, 1, we shall see that the identical word (vâstryâ) describes the original want of the kine's soul. It was vohu vâstryâ which she implored as her salvation; and it was the sacred agriculturist who alone could afford it, and who as the 'diligent tiller of the earth' always remained the typical saint. And as his useful deeds in reclaiming, irrigating, and cultivating land, were justly ranked among the first services of a human being, and as the last preparation of the gathered grain was perhaps humorously, but yet pungently, said to make the Daêvas start, and shriek, and fly (see Vendîdâd III, 32, Sp. 165), and as further, a life from the fruits of the earth to this day constitutes the main difference between those who live by murderous theft and those who live honestly in nearly the same regions, I think we may not only see no bathos here, but on the contrary admire the robust sense of this early religion 1, and say that a knowledge as to a true policy in the department of agriculture was one of the wisest possible desires, and the most of all things worthy of a 'sight of Mazda and of consultation with Him.' How the fields had better be worked, and how the people could best be kept from bloody freebooting as aggressors or as victims, this involved Ahura's Righteous Order, Benevolence, Power, and Piety, the four energising Immortals all at once. And this only could secure the other two rewarding personifications, Welfare and Immortality.
7. Having prayed for that which is the first virtue of civilised existence, work (verezyêidyâi), he proceeds to further petitions. 'Come Ye,' he beseeches in Vedic fashion. Come Ye, O Ahura, Asha, and Vohu Manah l and behold the attentive monarch, the leading Magavan, as he listens to my instructions with the other
chiefs, and the thronging masses. And let too the sacrificial gifts pour in for offering and worship.
8. He rests at no bare morality for the simple multitude. He knows too well the human foible, therefore he asks with vigour for sacrifice and hymn.
9. Encouraging the two pious chiefs whose souls go hand in hand, he prays that an influence like that of the 'eternal two' might bear their 'spirit' (sic) to the shining home of Paradise, it having attained to perfection by the help of the Best Mind of God within it. (For mainyu in this sense compare XLIV, 11.)
10. Asking of Mazda to grant in His love (or 'by His will') all the happy phases of life which have been, or which shall ever be experienced, he prays that their bodies, that is, their persons, as separate accountable individuals (compare narem narem hvahyâi tanuyê) might flourish in the graces of the Good Mind, the Holy Sovereignty, and the Sacred Order, till they were blessed with the ustâ, the summum bonum.
11. He here prays all the grand abstractions, Piety, the Righteous Order (which alone can 'push on' the settlements), the Good Mind of God within His people, and His kingdom, to turn their mental ears and listen, and listening to pardon.
12. And specifying the one central object of desire, the Thrift-law, the Avesta of the Ratu, or Saoshyant, he asks Ahura to arise to his help and give him spiritual strength by sustaining him through the inspiring Righteousness and the Good Mind, in an effective invocation.
13. With a spirituality still deeper than his Semitic colleague, he asks, not to see the person of God, but His nature, and especially to be able to comprehend and bring home to his mind what the Sovereignty of God implies with its 'blessed rewards.' And he asks of Piety as first acquired, practised, and then speaking within him, to reveal the Gnosis, the Insight, that is, the Religion.
14. After the fervent language of the previous verses we may accept verse 14 as a legitimate continuation. Its 'Zarathustra' may mean 'I' just as 'David' is used by the Psalmist for 'me.' And the language can mean nothing but a dedication of all that he is and has to God, his flesh, his body, his religious eminence, the obedience which he offers in word and deed, inspired by Righteousness, and the Kingdom which he has succeeded in saving and blessing. (I do not think that I have at all exaggerated the grasp and fervour of this section. Less could not be. said, if the words are to be allowed their natural weight.)
1. As by the laws of the primeval world, so will our spiritual chieftain act (that chief besought-for by the Kine 1, and named as Zarathustra 2 by the Lord). Deeds most just he will do toward the wicked, as toward the righteous, and toward him whose deeds of fraud 3 and righteous deeds combine (in equal measure).
2. Yea, (he will act with justice but with vengeance, for) he who does evil to the wicked by word, or with thought (and plan), and (who therein does not dally, but toils labouring as) with both the hands, or he (again) who admonishes one for his good 4, such as these are offering (a gift) to their religious 5 faith in the love (and with the approving view) of Ahura Mazda 6; (they are offering to conscience.)
3. (And so may it be), O Ahura! Let the man who is the best toward the righteous saint, whether lord's kinsman 1, or as village labourer, with the allied 2 peer (of the master), having light, and endowed with energy for the cattle (a Ratu such as Ahura sought to satisfy their wail), let such an one be (for us) 3 in the work-field of the Righteous Order, in the pastures of Thy Good Mind 4.
4. (And I beseech for Thine instruction), I who will abjure 5 all disobedience (toward Thee, praying that others likewise may withhold it) from Thee; I who abjure the Evil Mind as well, the lordly kinsman's arrogance 6, and that lying sin which is (alas!) the next thing to the people 7 (their most familiar fault), and the blaming ally's falsehood, and from the Kine the worst care of her meadows 8 (the crime of stint in labour 9),
5. I, who (abjuring these sins), call earnestly on Thine Obedience of all (assisting guardians) the greatest one for our help 1, gaining (thereby 2) long life in the Realm of (Thy) Good Mind (incarnate in our tribes), and paths that are straight from their Righteous Order, wherein Ahura Mazda dwells 3,
6. (Yea), I who, as this Thy faithful priest, invoke Thee through (my) Righteousness, (now) seek 4 with longing from (Thy) Best Spirit, and with that 5 (best) intention of mind, (to know) what 6 he himself thought of the working of (our) fields 7. Therefore (because I abjure the Evil Mind, and all disobedience,
arrogance, falsehood), O Mazda! would I beseech of Thee for a sight of Thee, and for consultation with Thee! (What is Thy will and mind?)
7. Come Ye, then, to my best (regulations. Come to my men, and my laws 1), my very own, O Mazda! and let them see through the Righteous Order and (Thy) Good Mind (which Thou wilt bestow in Thy drawing near) how I am heard before the rich giver 2 (in the assembly of Thy worshippers). Yea, (come Ye); and let the manifold offerings of worship be manifest among us 3. (Arouse Ye, and help our zeal 4!)
8. (Come Ye) and show me the worthy aims of our faith, so that I may approach and fulfil them with (Thy) Good Mind, the offering, O Mazda! of the One like You 1, or the words of praises offered with Righteousness. And give Ye as Your offering 2 (of grace to me) the abiding gifts of Your Immortality and Welfare!
9. And let (one like those 3), O Mazda! bear on to Thee the spirit of the two leaders who cause the holy ritual Truth to flourish; let him 4 bear them to (Thy) brilliant home 5 with 6 preternatural insight, and with the Better Mind. Yea, let him bear that spirit on as a fellow-help 7 in (furthering) the
readiness 1 of those (in their holy work) whose souls go hand in hand 2.
10. (And not for these alone do I pray, but for us 3 as well.) All prosperous states 4 in being which have been enjoyed in the past, which men are now enjoying, and which shall be known in the future, do Thou grant (me) these in Thy love 5. (Yea), cause (our) bodily and personal life to be blest with salvation 6 through (Thy) Good Mind, (Thy) Sovereign Power, and (Thy) Sanctity 7.
11. And, O Thou who art the most beneficent Ahura Mazda! and thou who art Âramaiti (our piety), and also the Righteous Order who dost further on the settlements; and Thou, the Good Mind, and the Sovereign Power! hear ye me all, and have mercy 8 for every deed which I do whatsoever 9!
12. And Thou, O Ahura! do Thou (Thyself) arise 1 to me! Through Âramaiti give me power, O most bountiful Spirit Mazda! through (my) faithful appeals and offerings 2; and for (my) Righteousness grant me mighty strength, and (Thy) thrift-law 3 through (Thy) Good Mind 4.
13. (Arise to give me power), and then for grace in a wide perception 5 (that I may view its depth and extent), do Thou reveal to me Thy 6 nature (?), O Ahura! (the power of Thine attributes), and those of Thy (holy) kingdom, and by these, the blessed gifts 7 of (Thy) Good Mind! And do Thou, O bountiful Piety 8 show forth the religious truths through (Thy) Righteous Order.
14. Thus, as an offering, Zarathustra gives the life 1 of his very body. And he offers, likewise, O Mazda! the priority of the Good Mind, (his eminence gained) by his holiness (with Thy folk); and he offers (above all his) Obedience (to Thee) in deed and in speech, and with these (Thine established) Sovereign Power 2!
70:1 In this particular. As to ceremonies it had at a later period more than its share of absurdities; but as to honest work as against 'foraging on the enemy' there is a great difference between the Gâthas, and some other ancient hymns, for instance the Riks of the Veda. In fact these latter may be regarded as representing the opposite extreme.
72:1 See XXIX, 1.
72:2 See XXIX, 6, 8.
72:3 So the Pahl.; and so also Roth (Z.D.M.G., vol. xxxvii. 5, 223) taking mithahyâ as a nom. pl. (comp. vakahya). But I am strongly inclined to a former view of my own. Yêhyâ-mithahyâ look irresistibly like two genitives. I would render as an emphatic alternative 'what fraud he may lay hold of (hemyâsaitê with the gen.), reach (of the one), and what (seem) to him the righteous deeds (of the other).' But if Roth and the Pahlavi are right, we have here the origin of the later hamêstagã, the souls in the intermediate place between Heaven and Hell, whose sins and good works have been equal (West, Gloss. to M. î K.). The Persian manuscript of Haug 12 b. has: Kih ik (pro ham) û i ân ham rasîd êstêd ân i durûgh, kih ik (ham) û ân i ‘hâlis [kû, hamêstân].
72:4 So the Pahlavi also indicates: Val valman î sapîr—kâshisn. Ner. uttamasya vâ âsvâdayanti dehinah.
72:5 Literally, 'they are offering a gift to their own choice' (var = varena; comp. yâvarenâ).
72:6 They are holding fast by the holy cause, and their vehemence in vengeance does not negative the fact that they are toiling in the love of Ahura. Pahlavi: Pavan zak î lak dôshisnŏ, Aûharmazd!
73:1 Literally, 'with, or as, the kinsman.'
73:2 'With the true ally.'
73:3 See XXIX, 2: 'Let that pasture-giver whom ye would appoint for us, teaching by example and precept vohû vâstryâ, let him be on our sacred pastures, and on our side.'
73:4 The Pahlavi may be rendered as follows: He who affords increase to the righteous on account of the relationship [that is, something is given to him?] does so also on account of the labourer's duty, or class [that is, the labourer is to be considered as his own] Through the loyalty; that is, the loyal class, that which adheres to Aûharmazd, he has a thorough understanding as to what is (true) energy toward the herds. Thus Vohûman (a good mind) is a workman with him to whom Righteousness also belongs.
73:5 Hübschm. Casuslehre, 'der ich von dir den Ungehorsam and schlechten Sinn durch Gebet abwenden will' (s. 180).
73:6 Observe that hvaêtu certainly designates an upper class. Why else arrogance?
73:7 Possibly this severity was the cause of the later high reputation of the Zarathustrians for veracity.
73:8 Literally, 'from the pasture of the Kine.'
73:9 The Pahlavi may be rendered: Him who will not listen to p. 74 Thee, O Aûharmazd! will I abjure, and Akôman also, for by him there is the despising of relations, and the deception of the labouring men who live close at hand [that is, of neighbours]. And he is ever bringing censure upon the clients. And he holds to the lowest measure of duty toward the Herd.
74:1 Avanghâ ne, or avanghânê, an infinitive (see Wilhelm, de Infin. p. 16). The Pahlavi has avŏ aîyyârîh.
74:2 Sraosha (= listening obedience) is the greatest for help, because by a Mãthra which appeals to him the way to Ahura is found out (XXVIII, 6) and the Demon defeated. If apânô is read, so strictly. The Pahlavi translator seems to have understood apâ ne; barâm ayâfînâi pavan dêr-zîvisnîh, zak î pavan khûdâyîh î Vohûman.
Ner.: Avâpaya dîrghe gîvitatve. This may well restore for us the proper text. Reading apâ ne we should render 'obtain for us.'
74:3 Ahura Mazda dwells as in His abode amid the paths where His saints walk (see XLVI, 16).
74:4 So also indicated by bavîhûnêd. Kayâ properly refers to ye.
74:5 The Pahlavi translator seems to have seen an imperative in avâ, rendering it freely aîyyârînêdŏ.
74:6 Yâ may be an instr. sing. or an acc. pl. neut. 'I ask what he thought meet to be done;' yâ does not necessarily equal yen, in every instance.
74:7 I need hardly remind the reader that agriculture was the great question of orderly and religious life with the Zarathustrians. Without it there was of course no resource but wandering and plunder for them.
75:1 So I render from the context. Otherwise see tâ tôi izyâ in the previous verse.
75:2 I was formerly inclined to understand Ahura here, Indian usage permitting. (Indra and other Gods are maghavan.) But modern authority, aided by the ancient Pahlavi translator, brings me to a better mind. The Pahlavi has pavan fravôn magîh. It is better to refer the word to the disciple. The more prominent members of the congregation are meant.
75:3 Ner. renders the last line thus: And may these offerings be manifest in the midst of us, and accompanied with (sincerest) worship.
75:4 There are certain cases where allowance for an ancient scholar working under great disadvantages becomes a critical necessity. Here the Pahlavi translator was clearly the victim of a manuscript. The word 'âidûm' (sic) stood, as similar words so often stand, in his MS. as 'âi. dûm.' Deeply imbued with a superstitious regard for every letter, and with a public equally scrupulous, he saw no course before him but to translate each as best he could. He chose to render 'âi' by an infinitive, preserving the root, and could only think of a form of 'dâ' for dûm (so also moderns in another case). Many writers, seeing such a step, cast away his paper, regarding themselves as absolved by such a 'blunder' from mastering his translations. But a little honest labour will always bring one back to sounder exegesis. In the next following verse we have identically the same form in another word, which he renders awkwardly but correctly, using dâ again, but as a proper auxiliary.
76:1 To approach the offering of a praiser seems certainly an unnatural expression. I think that we are obliged to regard khshmâvatô as another way of saying Yourself rather than 'of Yours'; and if it equals 'Yourself' here, it may elsewhere; see XXXIV, 2, khshmâvatô vahmê, also XLIV, 1, neme khshmâvatô. All acknowledge mavaitê to mean 'to me.' Hübschmann, Casuslehre, s. 200: 'dass ich mit frommem sinne an eure Verehrung, Mazda, gehen kann.'
76:2 It is curious that draonô seems to be in apposition here. The word is used merely in the sense of offering in the later Avesta. It might possibly mean 'possessions' here.
76:3 See XXXII, 15. There helping princes are spoken of 'as borne by the two (Haurvatât and Ameretatât).' Here in immediate connection with the same two it is said: Let one bear the spirit of the two united chiefs. By the term 'spirit,' which sounds so suspiciously modern, we must nevertheless understand very nearly what the word would mean in a modern phrase. By these two leaders we may understand either Gâmâspa and Vîstâspa (XLIX, 9) or Gâmâspa and Frashaostra. (Compare yâvarenâ Frashaostra Gâmâspâ.)
76:4 'Let one bear them.'
76:5 Khvârîh mânînisnŏ.
76:6 The Pahlavi gives its evidence for an instrumental and for a less pronounced meaning than the one above.
76:7 Hamkardârîh. If the second kar is the root, the sense is figurative.
77:2 Pavan akvînŏ rûbânŏ.
77:3 So more probably. See the first person in verses 8 and 11.
77:4 So the Pahlavi also, hû-zîvisnîh.
77:5 So the Pahlavi also: Pavan hanâ î lak dôshisnŏ. 'In Thy will' is here very weak.
77:6 Nadûkîhik î avŏ tanû [am yehabûn]; Ner. subham tanau.
77:7 Neryosangh: Let them continue to live well, and be prosperous in all things [ ] those females (yâh most curiously) who are born thus [that is, come from elsewhere (and not from us)], and who are [gained over by myself]. Those, O Great Wise One! who shall exist [(or) come in the future], let them render these persons thine own through friendship to thee. Cause thou the Best Mind to increase within me, O Lord! [that is, make my mind ever the more piously zealous]. And in view of my righteousness grant me a benefit in my body, or person [ ].
77:8 So the Pahlavi also: Am barâ âmûrzêd.
77:9 Observe that all the Ameshôspends, except the two mentioned in verse 8, are here bidden as persons to listen and be merciful. These recurring instances (recall the two hands of Asha &c.) necessitate the view that the idea of personality is never lost in that p. 78 of the abstract quality; and vice versâ; (the latter especially in the Gâthas where the names always retain much, if not all of their original force). As to âdâi; see vanghuyâ (sic) zavô-âdâ in the next verse.
78:1 We seem obliged to suppose that Ahura was poetically conceived of as sitting (like Vohûman in Vendîdâd XIX, 31 (Wg.)) upon an ornamented throne, or we may take the expression as pure metaphor equalling 'exert Thy power.' Âramaitî may be a voc.
78:2 See âdâi in verse tr.
78:3 Pavan zak î Vohûman sardârîh. The 'thrift-law' is the regulation established by the Ratu demanded in Y. XXIX for the redemption of the Kine. It expresses the entire polity and theology of the Zarathustrian people as summed up in the original Avesta.
78:4 Neryosangh: Up! O Lord! purify me [that is, make me pure, or free, from the influence of that tormentor, the Evil Mind]; and grant me perfect spirituality and zeal. For we are recipients of Gvahmana, O more mighty spirit [that is, let him be as a guest, arrived within my body]! And let sanctity have power over the murderer (?) [ ], and through the lordship of the Best Mind.
78:5 The Pahlavi has here pavan kâmak kâshisnŏ, on which see Darmesteter, Études Iraniennes, vol. ii, as per index.
78:6 Literally, 'Your.'
78:7 Ashi has this meaning in the later Avesta. It also means 'sacred regularity,' 'exactness' in religious duties.
78:8 So the Pahlavi also: As pavan Aharâyîh dînô frâz dakhshakînŏ; p. 79 Ner.: Punyena dinim prakihnaya. Possibly, 'give light to our consciences through Asha' would be better.
79:1 The tissues; the word seems contrasted with bones elsewhere. The Pahlavi has khayâ, and Ner. givam (sic).
79:2 The Pahlavi translation may be rendered as follows: Thus, as a gift of generosity, I who am Zartûst (so freely, and with no error from ignorance (!)) give the life of my own body, as the advance [as the chieftainship] to Vohûman and to Aûharmazd, and to Ashavahist, in actions [that is, I would do the deeds which Aharâyîh desires], and would give obedient attention to the word (literally the hearing of the word) to (i.e. of) Khshatraver.