The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
This hymn bears fewer traces of a fragmentary condition than others. It recalls Y. XXX, and, like it, appears to belong to a period, or to an interval, of political repose and theological activity. It is smoother and more artificial than is usual, and it goes straight on its way from beginning to end. A powerful adversary had just been crushed. It was the dussasti of Y. XXXII, 9. This may well have been the result of the conflict alluded to in Y. XLIV, 15, 16, and possibly in Y. LI, 9, 10, also urged on by the fierce Y. XXXI, 18 probably often repeated in lost hymns.
An assembly is addressed as in Y. XXX, 1, but this time as coming 'from near and from far.' It may very possibly have been the winning side in a late struggle. The first verse sounds like a congratulation.
It might be said to be intended to be sung, if not shouted, to a multitude whose outskirts were by no means within easy reach with the voice. At all events attention is summoned with three differing expressions. 'Awake your ears to the sound,' literally 'sound ye,' in a receptive sense; ('let the sound peal in your ears'), then 'listen' (sraotâ); and then 'ponder' (mãzdaunghôdûm). 'The Antizarathustra, the evil teacher par eminence, has been defeated,' he declares, 'and he will never again destroy the peace of our lives (Y. XXXII, 9, 11). His evil creed has been silenced, and his tongue can no longer shout out its periods of persuasion or invective (Y. XXXI, 12) beside our preachers.'
2. He then reiterates the chief doctrine for which the parties had been at war, and which they should now see clearly in the light of their victory. 'The foul evils of society do not lie within the control of the holy Ahura in such a manner as that he either originates, or tolerates them.' They are, on the contrary, the product of the personified Anger of the Daêvas, the Mainyu in its evil sense, the Angra (angry?) Spirit. Between this being, or personified abstraction, and Ahura, there is a gulf fixed. (Never do we see any aspersions upon Ahura's name, or a suspicion of His purity as shown by complicity with cruelty, or the toleration of evil passions.) It is also to be noted that the defeated dussasti may have possibly been a Daêva-worshipper chiefly as being a heretic from this Faith
of Ahura, believing Him to be implicated in the creation, or permission of sin and suffering, or, if the burial or burning of the dead was forbidden at this time, then possibly a heretic on these questions also. But yet, as a recreant Mazda-worshipper he may have claimed a rightful allegiance to the urvâtâ, and the future blessings, as well as temporal advantages, involved in a correct discipleship; and so he may have used the name of the sacred tenets of the Religion itself to help on a nefarious warfare. In fact he may have been a self-styled Mazda-worshipper, but not of 'Zarathustra's order,' not owned at all in any degree by the genuine adherents, and met as a real, if not an open, Daêva-worshipper.
The ardent prophet therefore declares the utter severance between the good and the evil, the God and the Demon. It is a popular corollary to Y. XXX, 3-6. The two spirits came together indeed at first to make life, and its negation, and they co-operate, if such a term can be applied to an irreconcilable antagonism out of whose antitheses and friction sentient existence alone becomes possible. Their union consists in opposition, for if they blend, they each cease to be what they are. They are, while upholders of existence, yet separate for ever, and that as to every attribute and interest.
3. And the sage goes on to assert that in this he is proclaiming the first Mãthra of this life which the all-wise Mazda had revealed to him. And, whether sure of the victorious masses before him, or whether on the contrary perfectly aware that many a group among them had been more convinced by the snaithais than by reason, he presses at once upon them that one terrible doctrine which seems unfortunately too needful for all successful and sudden propagandism, and he declares that they who do not act in a manner accordant with what he speaks, and even thinks, (having formerly announced it), to such delinquents this life should end in woe.
4. Proceeding in a happier vein, he then dwells upon the fatherhood of God. He will declare this world's best being who is Mazda Himself. He is the father of the Good Mind within His people, when that Good Mind is active in good works. So our piety, when it is practical, is His daughter, for no pretended good intention can claim relationship with Him, nor can any idle sentiment. He needs the 'ready mind' within His servant, and He is not to be deceived (compare Y. XLIII, 6).
5. Returning once more to the Mãthra, and this time to hold out rewards rather than to utter threats, he declares that Happiness and Immortality would be the portion of those who listened to, and
pondered his revelation, and that Ahura Himself would likewise approach them with the rewarding actions of His Good Mind, for Ahura was also in all good actions on the one hand, just as His Immortal Archangels on the other had their objective existence likewise in the believer's soul.
6. Turning from admonition to worship, he announces, not what he terms the 'first' (verse 3), nor the 'best' (verses 4 and 5), but the 'greatest,' element of all, implying that praise, which he now expresses, includes both prayer and doctrinal confessions, and he calls on Ahura both to listen and to teach. 7. It is the 'greatest' element indeed, for it concerns those spiritual blessings which not only the offerers who are now living will seek after, but those also who shall live in future; nay, even the spirits of the just desire them in the eternal Immortality. And these blessings are, according to a well-remembered law, woe to the wicked, and that, not only from outward discipline, but from inward grief. And Ahura had established, so he adds, the beneficent, but, as regards the wicked, still solemn regulations by the exercise of His Sovereign Power as the controller of all (Y. XXIX, 4). 8. Zarathustra (or his substitute) then professes his eagerness to serve the Lord with these words which he had called the 'greatest,' and because he had seen Him with his very eyes, which he explains as meaning that he had known Him through the Righteous Order in his soul, and therefore he prays and hopes to pronounce these greatest praises, not in the assembly (Y. LI, 3) alone, but in the 'Home of sublimity or song' (Y. L, 4).
9. And he desires all the more fervently to do homage to Ahura, because He approaches him with the Power of His divine Authority in weal or woe, blessing both men and herds so long as they multiplied under the influences of Piety. 10. As the praises were the 'greatest,' so he seeks to 'magnify' the Lord in the Yasnas of Âramaiti, Ahura being renowned by His unchanging purpose, for He will bestow the 'eternal two' in His holy Kingdom, when it shall have been made firm! 11. Yea, he would seek to magnify Him who contemns the Daêvas and their party as much as they, in their turn, profess to make little of Him and His religious Kingdom, contrasted as they were with Ahura's prophet, who honoured Him in the holy Insight, the Daêna of the Saoshyant. And this Saoshyant is declared to be the controlling master of every faithful worshipper, and he, or the faithful venerator of the reviled Ahura, is also as our friend, brother, nay, like Ahura Himself (verse 4), our very Father in the Faith.
1. Yea, I will speak forth; hear ye; now listen, ye who from near, and ye who from afar have come seeking 1 (the knowledge). Now ponder 2 ye clearly all 3 (that concerns) him 4. Not for a second time shall the false teacher slay our life (of the mind, or the body). The wicked is hemmed in with his faith and his tongue! 5
2. Yea, I will declare the world's two first 6 spirits, of whom the more bountiful thus spake to the harmful 7: Neither our thoughts, nor commands, nor our
understandings, nor our beliefs, nor our deeds, nor our consciences, nor our souls, are at one 1.
3. Thus I will declare this world's first 2 (teaching), that which the all-wise Mazda Ahura hath told me. And they among you who will not so fulfil and obey this Mãthra, as I now shall conceive and declare it, to these shall the end of life (issue) in woe.
4. Thus I will declare forth this world's best (being). From (the insight of His) Righteousness Mazda, who hath appointed these (things) 3, hath known (what He utters to be true; yea, I will declare) Him the father of the toiling Good Mind (within us). So is His
daughter through good deeds (our) Piety. Not to be deceived is the all-viewing 1 Lord.
5. Yea, thus I will declare that which the most bountiful One told me, that word which is the best to be heeded by mortals. They who therein grant me obedient 2 attention, upon them cometh Weal to bless, and the Immortal being, and in the deeds of His Good Mind cometh the Lord.
6. Aye, thus I will declare forth Him who is 3 of all the greatest, praising through my Righteousness, I who do aright, those who (dispose of all as well aright). Let Ahura Mazda hear with His bounteous spirit, in whose homage (what I asked) was asked 4 with the Good Mind. Aye, let Him exhort me through His wisdom (which is ever) the best.
7. (Yea, I will declare Him) whose blessings the offerers will seek for, those who are living now, as well as those who have lived (aforetime), as will they
also who are coming 1 (hereafter. Yea, even) the soul(s) of the righteous (will desire) them in the eternal 2 Immortality. (Those things they will desire which are blessings to the righteous) but woes to the wicked. And these hath Ahura Mazda (established) through His kingdom, He, the creator (of all).
8. Him in our hymns of homage and of praise would I faithfully serve, for now with (mine) eye, I see Him clearly, Lord of the good spirit 3, of word, and action, I knowing through my Righteousness Him who is Ahura Mazda. And to Him (not here alone, but) in His home of song 4, His praise we 5 shall bear.
9. Yea, Him with our better Mind we seek to honour, who desiring (good), shall come to us (to bless) in weal and sorrow 6. May He, Ahura Mazda, make us 7 vigorous through Khshathra's royal power,
our flocks and men in thrift to further, from the good support and bearing 1 of His Good Mind, (itself born in us) by His Righteousness.
10. Him in the Yasnas of our Piety we seek to praise with homage, who in His persistent energy 2 was famed to be (in truth) the Lord Ahura Mazda, for He hath appointed in His kingdom, through His holy Order and His Good Mind, both Weal and Immortality, to grant 3 the eternal mighty pair to this our land (and the creation).
11. (Him would we magnify and praise) who hath despised the Daêva-gods and alien men, them who before held Him in their derision. Far different are (these) from him who gave Him honour. This latter one is through the Saoshyant's bounteous Faith, who likewise is the Lord of saving power 4,
a friend, brother, or a father to us, Mazda Lord 1!
125:1 Ish means 'to come seeking.' The bavîhûnêd of the Pahlavi, followed by many, is by no means incorrect.
125:2 The reading mãzdaunghôdûm was suggested to me by Dr. Aurel Stein previously (as I believe) to its announcement elsewhere. Before this the indication of the Pahlavi (which always hesitates to change a MS. regarded at the time as sacred) had been followed by all with its necessary error.
125:3 The 'e' in kithre must represent a nasalised vowel, as in mehmaidî.
125:4 Îm may be merely a particle.
125:5 I would here strongly insist upon an alternative rendering in the sense of the Pahlavi. The rendering above is given on principle. A text should never be changed, if it is possible to render it as it is. Read, 'the wicked confessing (varetô, active sense) evil beliefs with his tongue.' The Pahlavi has zakas sarîtar kâmakŏ va zakas darvandîh pavan hûzvânŏ hêmnunêd. Many, with this view, would at once read varetâ without MSS.
125:6 Observe the peculiar pouruyê (pourviyê, if not a locative), the two first things, principles, forces; so in Y. XXX, 3.
125:7 Notice that vahyô akemkâ (in Y. XXX, 3) necessarily apply to the mainyû, and not only because, as nominatives, the words fall to the end of the sentence. Here we have analogous adjectives applied unmistakably to the two. The neuters correspond with vahistem manô and akistem manô, and are of capital importance as p. 126 expressing that abstract conception which renders the Gâthas so much more impressive as the earliest documents of their kind.
126:1 The Pahlavi thus glosses: I do not think what thou thinkest, [for I think what is pious, and thou thinkest what is impious]; nor our teachings, [for I teach what is pious, and thou, what is impious]—nor our religions, for mine is the Gâthic, and thine that of the sorcerer; nor our souls, [for he who takes his stand on my religion, and he who takes his stand on thy religion, are apart; their souls do not occupy the same position]. Ner.: naka dînih [yato me dînih gâthabhavâ teka râkshasî*].
126:2 The 'first teaching' was a prominent idea with the Zarathustrians. Z. is called in the later Avesta the paoiryôtkaêsha (sic). He hardly plays the rôle of a reformer in the Avesta. He is mentioned after others chronologically, not as repudiating them. He might better be termed reviver. Yãm is difficult; perhaps daênãm is to be understood, or yem (mãthrem) read; see verse 4, angheus ahyâ vahistem. Neither pourvîm nor vahistem are adverbs.
126:3 Some change the text here to another which corresponds to some of the terms better. It should, however, first be rendered as it stands; the obscurities may well be owing to idiosyncrasy it the composer; possibly also to an affectation of obscurity (or 'dark speech'). How can Mazda be said to 'know Himself?' or how could any but Ahura be spoken of as 'the Father of Vohu Manah and Âramaiti?' He recognised Himself as having generated V. M. and Â. He was conscious of the completed relation.
127:1 Hishas looks irresistibly like a nom. sing., but may it not be a nom. actoris from the redup. root? Compare hîshasat (although the Pahlavi renders with a different cast of meaning). What Indian word to compare here is hard to say. I prefer Bartholomae's earlier view (as to the meaning) with the Pahlavi harvispŏ nikîrîdar. By dropping the later glosses, the sense of the Pahlavi comes out as usual, much closer to the Gâtha.
127:2 Observe the vigour possessed by 'Sraosha.' It designates the angel of Obedience; and at the same time it is the only word which can here bring out the sense when it is understood in its actual meaning; so continually with the words Vohu Manah, Asha, &c.
127:3 Lit. 'Him who I, doing aright, (praising Him with His immortals) who (all likewise) are (beneficent).' Or it may be 'that which.'
127:4 So with many who hold the least to the hints of the Pahlavi. Otherwise I would render 'there is furtherance,' comparing afrashîmantô.
128:1 Bvaintikâ (sic) seems, as elsewhere, to express 'those who are becoming.'
128:2 The Pahlavi uniformly errs, or is strangely free, with this word. The sense 'continuous' is here admirably adapted.
128:3 This word seems evidently used almost in a modern sense of 'character,' 'disposition.' Elsewhere we are in doubt whether to refer it to the Spenista Mainyu of Ahura, or to Ahura Himself.
128:4 Paradise; possibly 'home of sublimity.'
128:5 The change from singular to plural is frequent. Ner. varies from the Pahlavi in the last verse, improving upon it: Evam tasmai pranâmam antar Garothmâne nidadâmahe. This was probably an intentional improvement, as the Persian MS. follows our Pahlavi text. His MS. of the Pahlavi probably read barâ yehabûnd.
128:6 Or, 'who has created weal and sorrow for us with good intention, (and as our discipline);' but this is hardly probable. Ahura did not originate evil. Spenkâ, aspenkâ are used adverbially (see Y. XXXIV, 7).
128:7 I hardly agree to reading verezenyau (sic) here in the sense of 'homes.' The meaning is 'endow us with efficiency' in the pursuit of the objects mentioned in the context. Or 'the propitiation and p. 129 reverential honour' may have been more directly in the composer's mind; 'may He endow our (worship) with efficiency that it may accomplish its desired result.' See the positions of the words.
The Pahlavi translation also bears witness to the rendering above, with its erroneous or free varzîdâr ayŏ lanman.
129:1 As it is impossible for those who have studied the subject to believe that the Pahlavi translator did not know the meaning of amavandîh in Zend, we must suppose him to have had some form like hazah before him instead of huzã(thwât).
129:2 The Pahlavi translator, rendering this word in the two other places by pavan astûbîh, had evidently some reason for seeing a form of nãman here. The natural conclusion is that his MS. read differently in this place. Ner. renders him appropriately.
129:3 Dãn looks like an accusative infinitive here (Bartholomae); otherwise the two verbs must be regarded as having indefinite pronouns understood, 'one assigns,' and 'they grant.'
129:4 I cannot see the applicability of Agni's title 'house-lord' here; compare dámsupatnî as adj. referring to páti.
130:1 He who despised the Daêvas, they returning the contempt is probably the same person expressed by the two hôi in the previous verse. It is therefore Ahura, but the words which mean friend, brother, father, are grammatically connected with ye—mainyâtâ. the one who reverenced Ahura. The expression 'father' gives a strong impression that Ahura is referred to, notwithstanding the vocative. Particularly as we have father in verse 4. The word 'brother,' however, inclines one to the more closely grammatical view.