The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
The most striking circumstance here, after the rhetorical and moral-religious peculiarities have been observed, is the sixth verse; and as to the question of Zarathustrian authorship, it is the most striking in the Gâthas or the Avesta. In that verse we have Zarathustra, not named alone, which might easily be harmonised
with his personal authorship, nor have we only such expressions as 'to Zarathustra and to us' (Y. XXVIII, 7), but we have Zarathustra named as 'mahyâ râzeng sâhît,' 'may he declare my regulations,' which could only be said, without figure of speech, by some superior, if not by the prime mover himself. Were these verses then written by the prime mover? And was he other than Zarathustra? If so, the entire mass of the Gâthas was of course written by him, or else their style and character may be regarded as of such a character that they could have been composed by four or five closely connected individuals. But while verses here and there are doubtless the productions of secondary persons, the mass of the Gâthas cannot be regarded as the work of several different composers. They are one man's work, directly or indirectly. If then the present section, which is especially original in its tone, was not from Zarathustra, the man whose heart and soul, and, we may add, whose power were in Zarathustrianism, was not Zarathustra, but some unnamed individual far more important. (See note on Y. XXVIII, 7.) The prominence of the name of Zarathustra was in that case solely owing to the personal activity of Zarathustra supported by the social rank of the Spitâmas. Zarathustra was a princely disciple, on the hypothesis mentioned, and nothing more. The real author of Zarathustrianism was, in that case, in no sense Zarathustra; compare 'to Zarathustra and to us:' nor yet Vîstâspa; compare 'to Vîstâspa and to me:' nor Frashaostra; compare 'to Frashaostra and to us;' and, we may also say, not Gâmâspa, for he is addressed in the vocative. He was mentally and personally the superior of all of them. In fact he was the power behind both throne and home, and yet without a name! But, in that case, what becomes of Y. XXIX, 6, 8? Is it probable that the founder of a religion (or of a new departure in a religion) would describe another as the chosen of God, if he were not in fact supposed to be thus eminent? Or, if a popular and sincerely enthusiastic religious composer were about to chant a hymn at a meeting of the religious masses, would he be likely to name a person to the animated throngs, whom they themselves did not feel to be the life of their religious faith? especially, if that person were not prominent from the arbitrary circumstance that he was the reigning prince? I do not think that this is at all probable. But if Zarathustra had, as described, the leading name, and composed a portion of the hymns with their lost companions, is it probable that he possessed no decided prominence in this matter above Vîstâspa, Frashaostra, and Gâmâspa? Was there no central poet, who
composed the mass of the metrical lore, dominating by his influence those who added portions here and there, or was there a quaternion of seers, four Zarathustras, as one might say? As we have said, the hymns decide it. One man's soul is in them, as a composer's feelings are in his compositions, or a master's feelings are in the lines of his disciples. But if there was one central figure instead of four, and he is mentioned as Zarathustra, and as the spokesman in many portions of the Gâthas, being likewise known by inference to be the composer of nearly all of them, how can we account for the words, 'let him, Zarathustra, teach or proclaim my regulations?' Can the verse be regarded as put into the mouth of Ahura, as elsewhere? Hardly, for Ahura is addressed in it. I can therefore only repeat of this verse, as of the others which present analogous questions in Y. XXVIII (with which this chapter L stands in the closest connection), that this thoroughly original piece was composed by Zarathustra as by far the most prominent individual in the religious struggle, dominating his party essentially and positively, and that these verses (6-11) were simply rhetorically put into the mouth of the monarch from the exigency of the style of composition. And I conclude that Vîstâspa was supposed to speak them, because in the presence of Zarathustra, it is extremely improbable that any one but the titular head of the State should have been represented as saying of Zarathustra, 'mahyâ râzeng sâhît.'
1. The piece from Y. XLIX, 52 to Y. L, 1-5 joins well on with Y. XLIX, although the tone is brighter. As he begins with questions in Y. XLVIII, 8-11, after the prospective prayers of Y. XLVIII, 1-7, in which he looks forward to a crisis in the armed struggle, so now after the hostile chief has got the upper hand, he cries out once more with interrogatives, uttering the questions, not of curiosity, but of mournful devotion.
'The storm has broken over us,' so he would seem to say, 'and I have prayed for grace to know how we may administer (Y. XLIV, 9) the all-powerful means of help, the Daêna, in which Thy Righteous Order is set (Y. XLIX, 3). I have cried to Thee for chief and peer (verse 7), naming Frashaostra, Gâmâspa, and the Yâhin, and now, while I invoke you, praying for what in your selection is the best (Y. XXVIII, 11; Y. XLIV, 10), I would more than ever declare that I have none other help than Thee and Thy saving Order.' 2. And he asks once more to know how he who seeks to further the sacred herds, as the emblem of the moral thrift of the provinces, should proceed in his allotted work. 3. Answering his own question, he says that it is by advance upon the enemy; he declares
that the heroic settler who pushes the holy system to the utmost verge of the sacred territory or still further, was the man 'to gain the Kine' for the seeking prophet. 4. But in the midst of struggles, he anticipates Garôdman with its praises. 5. For they were all prepared for both worship and work, since God had approached to aid His prophet, encouraging His discouraged spirit. 6. Here Vîstâspa is represented as intervening; and he addresses Ahura literally, but Zarathustra really, exhorting him indirectly to continue on in his work of propagation, undismayed by present circumstances. 7. And with Zarathustra, he would re-engage the other powerful helpers, whom he would yoke on as steeds to gain God's praise in Heaven by passing over every bridge of trial safely. 8. Having heard from Zarathustra his metric words, he will approach with them to pray, and, as in Y. XXVIII, 2, 3, 'with hands stretched out' with homage, and with vigour. 9. And he looks to attain the object of his prayers by religious self-control, and faithful action. 10. His efforts vie with the heavenly bodies in their praise of God. 11. Therefore he will persevere, and as a praiser-king (so the Pahlavi in one place); and he beseeches that Ahura, the life-giver, may help on the all-engrossing cause.
Y. XLIX, 12 1. What aids of grace hast Thou for Thine invoking Zarathustra, (O Ahura Mazda!) to grant him through Thy Righteous Order? Yea, what (aids of 2 grace hast thou for me as) through Thy Good Mind given (within my soul), for me who will (still) pray to Thee with praises, O Great Creator! beseeching what in accordance with Your wished-for aim is best?
Y. L, 1. Aye, doth my soul indeed obtain assisting
grace, and which of Thy blessings is that gift to me, O Lord? What saving champion is found to save both flocks and herds? And who for myself other than Thy Righteous Order, and Thyself, Ahura? Tell me 1, O (ye) invoked ones! Or what of grace is there for me save Thy Best Mind (itself)?
2. (And if Thy guardian is verily to save our wealth) how shall he (obtain, and by what means shall he) seek after 2 that joy-creating Kine (who is the living symbol of our peace 3)? (How shall that man obtain his wish) who shall desire to see her provided with pastures for (the welfare of) this land? (That only way is righteousness.) Do Thou then grant me lands (so would I ask of Thee) which live in justice in the many 4 splendours of the sun, and lands which openly 5 thus live, and which are to be
sought and gained by me (as conquests for the cause). Give Thou this gift!
3. (Yea, let that joy-creating one) be his possession through the Righteous Order (which he helps to bring, that living sign) which (the most valiant citizen) may give to him (at once reward and charge), and in accordance with Thy Sovereign Authority. (May that heroic settler grant him this gift) he who may make the (last imperilled) farm to flourish in the vigour of Thy blest prosperity, the tract which lies the nearest (to the fields) which our foeman holds as his 1.
4. (And therefore both in thankfulness and hope) will I give sacrifice to You with praises, O Ahura Mazda! together with Thine Order and Thy Best Mind (in Thy saints), and in accordance with Thy sacred Sovereign Power, by whose help the wisher (heaven-bound) may stand upon the (certain) pathway 2, and in Thine Home-of-song shall I (by means of these my Yasnas offered here) there hear the praises of Thine offering saints who see Thy face 3.
5. And we 4 are in readiness as well (to fulfil Your praises and declare your words), O Ahura Mazda! through Your (grace, and) in accordance with Your Holy Order, since Ye advance with friendliness 5 to cheer the speaker of Your Mãthra-word with open acts of visible relief, as if with hand sent forth,
whereby that Mãthra-speaker of Your truth may bring us on, and settle us, in weal and bliss 1.
6. (Therefore will I incite him to his task the more. Let him indeed proclaim the righteous way 2) he who already lifts his voice in Mãthras, O Ahura Mazda! he, Zarathustra 3, the faithful friend in accordance with the Holy Order, and with self-abasing worship, giver of understanding for this land, voice-guider (of the way to glory 4), let him indeed proclaim and teach my regulations, and in accordance with Thy Good Mind (as his law).
7. (And together with that chief speaker of your word I would engage yet others in the cause). Your well-incited 5 and swift 6 (servants), O Ahura! would I yoke 7 on (as steeds to take their holy course toward heaven), gaining 7 thereby (at last) the Bridges 8 where
[paragraph continues] Your adoration (rules and is complete). Yea, I (?) yoke on your mighty ones, and with Thy Holy Order, and Thy Good Mind. And with these may Ye drive on; aye, be Ye for my help!
8. (And as I yoke on Your Mãthra-speakers for their course, then) would I (myself) approach You in the (highest) deed of worship 1, and with these sacred metric feet (of Zarathustra and his peers 2), those which are heard and famed afar, as the metric feet of zealous worship, and with my hands stretched 3 out (in supplicating prayer). Yea, You (would I approach), O Mazda! in union with Your sacred ritual Truth, and with the homage of a freely-giving helper 4, and with the good virtue of (Your) Good Mind (in my soul).
9. Yea, with these Yasnas of Your sacrifice would I approach You, praising back to You (in answer to Your mercies), O Ahura! and Thou, O Righteousness! in (the holy) actions of Your Good Mind, (as he moves within us), so long indeed as I shall have the power, commanding at my will o’er this my sacred (privilege) and gift. (And doing as) the wise man (thus), may I (like him) become a supplicant who gains 5 his ends.
10. (Mine every wish and prayer is this), then therefore whatsoever I shall do, and whatsoever deeds
[paragraph continues] (of ritual and truth I shall yet further do) on account of, (and to make full 1) these (prior deeds of worship), yea, whatsoever (holy works) shine bright 2 as having worth in (all) men's eyes through Thy Good Mind (whose character they share; these as) the stars, suns, and the Aurora which brings on the light 3 of days, are all, through their Righteous Order, (the speakers) of Thy 4 praise, O Thou Great Giver, Lord!
11. Your praiser then (by eminence) would I be named, and (more), would be it, so long as by (Thine inspiring) Righteousness I am thus able and may have the power. And may the maker of the world give help through (His implanted) Good Mind (in my fellow-servants). And may that (all) be done 5 (to further us) which through His veritable grace is most promotive (for the cause)!
170:1 This verse is placed here as obviously more closely related to chapter L than to chapter XLIX. Lost verses may, however, have intervened between it and Y. L, 1.
170:2 Another rendering, regarding kat as a purely interrogative participle, would be, 'Are they (tôi) helpful to the invoking Zarathustra?' But kat tôi is a familiar form; see Y. XXXIV, 12, where it must mean quid tibi.
171:1 I should be far from denying that azdâ may equal addhâ´, but a strengthening adverb seems to me of no particular force here. I formerly rested at the simple explanation az + dâ = dhâ = desire-exciting, much desired one. But the Pahlavi translator affords an explanation which may surpass that of his successors. He sees the meaning: 'When I shall call upon You,' (that is, freely, 'being invoked,') 'cause Thou (sic) me to understand fully.' This is the remnant of some predecessor's work who rendered 'tell ye me;' az = ah, otherwise lost in Zend. The plural follows the singular too often to excite much doubt; azdâ = tell ye; so zdî is from az, as syôdûm is from as (recall the well-known Indian analogies). See also the explanation of the Pahlavi at Y. XXXI, 17. If a plural cannot be admitted, then consider a form extended by d.
171:2 The Pahlavi translates freely, bavîhûnam.
171:3 The Kine must represent the people as well as their live-stock. The raids concerned the owners more than their cattle. In answer to the cry of the Kine, Zarathustra was sent to the people.
171:4 I can hardly agree to the rendering 'among people who see the sun' without a needless reconstruction of the text. The Pahlavi likewise has pavan khvârîh; for general meaning, compare Khshathrôi hveng daresôi, not as equivalent however.
171:5 Âskârak stî.
172:1 The Pahlavi translation, as usual, not literally exact, still furnishes the correct clue, Zak î nazdistô (1) gêhânŏ min valman î darvand bakhshêd [aîgas zak dên dârisn barâ yansegûnyên].
172:2 Frô tâis vîspâis Kinvatô frâ, peretûm.
172:3 Âkau (compare the Indian âkê); 'who approach, and are therefore evident (âshkârak) to God, and seeing Him.' Comp. âkau in Y. LI, 13, which has been thought a loc.
172:4 See nau.
172:5 To vrag.
173:1 See the previous verse, where the wisher stands on the path, seeking to reach Garôdman. It seems therefore probable that hvâthrê refers to demânê garô.
173:2 Compare Y. LIII, 2, daunghô erezûs pathô.
173:3 As remarked, this entire piece recalls Y. XXVIII. Here the monarch is represented as speaking precisely as spokesmen are introduced in any other composition. We have no reason to suppose the piece to be the composition of some leading person other than Zarathustra, because of the words 'let Zarathustra speak forth my regulations.' (See page 169.)
173:4 Îshô staunghat â paithî.
173:5 Consider a suffix ishti.
173:6 Here the Pahlavi translator gives us both text and translation, aurvatô = arvand.
173:7 Or, 'yoke Thou, may’st Thou gain.'
173:8 The Kinvat Bridge, either literally or figuratively. Compare 'the bridge of the earth' (Y. LI, 12). The crises of effort, or temptation, are meant, as the Kinvat Bridge was the last crisis before salvation or perdition. The souls of the good and of the evil were met by their own consciences on the Bridge, and encouraged or reviled.
'When the soul of the pious passes over that Bridge, the width of p. 174 that Bridge becomes about one league' (West, Mainyô-î Khard,* p. 134). Possibly the extension of the Bridge for the pious arose from the plural use here.
174:1 Compare Y. XXVIII, 3.
174:2 See Y. XXVIII, 9.
174:3 See Y. XXVIII, 2.
174:4 See Y. XLVI, 9.
174:5 The Pahlavi translator accepts a ser se of acquisition here as well as of desire: Aêtûnŏ zak î valman î avŏ hû-dânâk pavan khvahîsnŏ grîftâr hômanânî [mozd]. I accede to its indication, holding that gardh certainly has such an element in its meaning.
175:1 I can here only follow the words as they are written; the meaning is clear enough although rather advanced. Reconstructions on a large scale are seldom of value.
175:2 Judging from the context, we may render argat thus.
175:3 The Pahlavi translator here renders as if he read ushâ. In Y. XLVI, 3 he translates ukhshânô. Professor Wilhelm, preferring as above, still recalls the Homeric usage favouring 'increaser.' The Pahlavi has vakhshînîdâr in Y. XLVI, 3. Here hôsh zak î arûs dên bâm I. Ner. alone understood arûs.
175:5 An imperative has long been recognised in varstãm; or read: 'Let him cause that which is the most furthering of deeds to grow influential through veritable grace.' So perhaps better.