The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
IT is now hardly necessary to say that the Yasna is the chief liturgy of the Zarathustrians, in which confession, invocation, prayer, exhortation, and praise are all combined as in other liturgies. Like other compositions of the kind, it is made up of more or less mutually adapted fragments of different ages, and modes of composition. The Gâthas are sung in the middle of it, and in the Vendîdâd Sâdah, the Visparad is interpolated within it for the most part at the ends of chapters.
We have no reason to suppose that the Yasna existed in its present form in the earlier periods of Zarathustrianism, but we have also no reason to doubt that its present arrangement is, as regards us, very ancient. The word Yasna means worship including sacrifice. Introductory excerpts occur in several MSS., and are now printed by Geldner. They are to be found in Y. I, 23; Y. III, 25; Y. XI, 17, 18; Y. XXII, 23-27; Y. XXVII, 13, 14; Ny. I, 2.
1. I announce 1 and I (will) complete (my Yasna) to Ahura Mazda, the Creator, the radiant and glorious, the greatest and the best, the most beautiful (?) (to our conceptions), the most firm, the wisest, and the one of all whose body 2 is the most perfect, who
attains His ends the most infallibly, because of His Righteous Order, to Him who disposes our minds aright 1, who sends His joy-creating grace afar; who made us, and has fashioned us, and who has nourished and protected us 2, who is the most bounteous Spirit 3!
2. I announce and I (will) complete (my Yasna) to the Good Mind, and to Righteousness the Best, and to the Sovereignty which is to be desired, and to Piety the Bountiful, and to the two, the Universal Weal and Immortality, to the body of the Kine, and to the Kine's Soul, and to the Fire of Ahura Mazda, that one who more than 4 (all) the Bountiful Immortals has made most effort (for our succour)!
3. And I announce and I (will) complete (my Yasna) to the Asnya, the day-lords of the ritual order, to Hâvani the holy, the lord 5 of the ritual order; and I celebrate, and I (will) complete (my Yasna) to Sâvanghi and to Vîsya, the holy lord(s) of the ritual order. And I announce and (will) complete (my Yasna) to Mithra of the wide pastures, of the thousand ears, and of the myriad eyes, the Yazad of the spoken 6 name, and to Râman Hvâstra.
4. I announce and (will) complete (my Yasna) to Rapithwina, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Frâdatfshu, and to Zantuma, the holy lord(s) of the ritual order; and I celebrate and complete (my Yasna) to Righteousness 1 the Best, and to Ahura Mazda's Fire 1.
5. I announce and complete (my Yasna) to Uzayêirina the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Frâdat-vîra and to Dahvyuma 2, the holy lord(s) of the ritual order, and to that lofty Ahura Napâtapãm (the son of waters), and to the waters which Ahura Mazda 3 made.
6. I announce and complete (my Yasna) to Aiwisrûthrima (and) Aibigaya 4, the holy lord(s) of the ritual order, and to Zarathustrôtema, and to him who possesses and who gives that prosperity in life which furthers all. And I celebrate and complete (my Yasna) to the Fravashis of the saints, and to those of the women who have many sons 5, and to a prosperous home-life which continues without reverse throughout the year, and to that Might which is well-shaped and stately 6, which strikes victoriously, Ahura-made, and to that Victorious Ascendency (which it secures).
7. I announce and I complete (my Yasna) to Ushahina, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Beregya (and) Nmânya, the holy lord(s) of the ritual order, and to Sraosha (who is Obedience) the blessed, endowed with blessed recompense (as a thing
completed 1), who smites with victory, and furthers the settlements, and to Rashnu 2, the most just, and to Arstât 3, who advances the settlements, and causes them to increase.
8. And I announce and I complete (my Yasna) to the Mâhya, the monthly festivals, lords of the ritual order, to the new and the later 4 moon, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to the full moon which scatters night.
9. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the Yâirya, yearly feasts, the holy lords of the ritual order. I celebrate and complete (my Yasna) to Maidyô-zaremya 5, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Maidyô-shema, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Paitishahya, and to Ayâthrima the advancer, and the spender of the strength of males 6, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Maidhyâirya, the holy lord of the ritual order, and to Hamaspathmaêdhaya, the holy lord of the ritual order; yea, I celebrate and complete my Yasna to the seasons, lords of the ritual order.
10. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to all those who are the thirty and three 7 lords of the ritual order, which, coming the nearest, are around about Hâvani, and which (as in their festivals) were
inculcated by Ahura Mazda, and were promulgated by Zarathustra, as the lords of Asha Vahista, who is Righteousness the Best.
11. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the two, to Ahura 1 and to Mithra, the lofty, and the everlasting, and the holy, and to all the stars which are Spenta Mainyu's creatures, and to the star Tistrya, the resplendent and glorious, and to the Moon which contains the seed of the Kine, and to the resplendent Sun, him of the rapid steeds, the eye 2 of Ahura Mazda, and to Mithra the province-ruler. And I celebrate and complete my Yasna to Ahura Mazda (once again, and as to him who rules the month 3), the radiant, the glorious, and to the Fravashis 4 of the saints.
12. And I announce and complete my Yasna to thee, the Fire, O Ahura Mazda's son! together with all the fires, and to the good waters, even to all the waters made by Mazda, and to all the plants which Mazda made.
13. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the Bounteous Mãthra, the holy and effective, the revelation given against the Daêvas 5; the Zarathustrian
revelation, and to the long descent 1 of the good Mazdayasnian Faith.
14. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the mountain Ushi-darena 2, the Mazda-made, with its sacred brilliance, and to all the mountains glorious with sanctity 3, with their abundant Glory Mazda-made, and to that majestic Glory Mazda-made, the unconsumed 4 Glory which Mazda made. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to Ashi the good, the blessedness (of the reward), and to Kisti, the good religious Knowledge, to the good Erethe (Rectitude 5?), and to the good Rasãstât (persisting zeal 6?), and to the Glory and the Benefit which are Mazda-made.
15. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the pious and good Blessing of the religious man 7, the holy, and to the curse of wisdom, the swift and redoubted Yazad of potency (to blight).
16. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to these places and these lands, and to these pastures, and these abodes with their springs of water(?) 8, and
to the waters, land, and plants, and to this earth and to yon heaven, and to the holy wind, and to the stars, moon, and sun, and to the eternal stars without beginning 1, and self-disposing 2, and to all the holy creatures of Spenta-Mainyu, male and female, the regulators of the ritual order.
17. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to that lofty lord who is the ritual Righteousness 3 (itself), and to the lords of the days in their duration, and of the days during daylight, to the moons, the years, and the seasons which are lords of the ritual order at the time of Hâvani 4.
18. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to the Fravashis of the saints, the redoubted, which overwhelm (the evil), to those of the saints of the ancient lore, to those of the next of kin, and to the Fravashi of (mine) own 5 soul!
19. And I announce and complete (my Yasna) to all the lords of the ritual order, and to all the Yazads, the beneficent, who dispose (of all) aright, to those both heavenly and earthly, who are (meet) for our sacrifice and homage because of Asha Vahista, (of the ritual Order which is 'the best').
20. O (thou) Hâvani, holy lord of the ritual order, and Sâvanghi, Rapithwina, and Uzayêirina, and Aiwisrûthrima, (and) Aibigaya, (thou that aidest
life!) if I have offended you, and thou, O Ushahina, holy lord of the ritual order!
21. If I have offended thee 1, whether by thought, or word, or deed, whether by act of will, or without intent or wish, I earnestly make up the deficiency of this in praise to thee. If I have caused decrease 2 in that which is Thy Yasna, and Thy homage, I announce (and celebrate 3) to thee (the more for this)!
22. Yea, all ye lords, the greatest ones, holy lords of the ritual order, if I have offended you by thought, or word, or deed, whether with my will, or without intending error 4, I praise you (now the more) for this. I announce to you (the more) if I have caused decrease in this which is your Yasna, and your praise.
23. I would confess myself a Mazda-worshipper, of Zarathustra's order, a foe to the Daêvas, devoted to the lore of the Lord, for Hâvani, the holy lord of the ritual order, for (his) sacrifice, homage, propitiation, and praise, for Sâvanghi, and for Vîsya, the holy lord of the ritual order, for (his) sacrifice, homage, propitiation and praise, and for the sacrifice, homage, propitiation and praise of the lords of the days in, their duration, and of the days during daylight for
those of the monthly festivals, and for those of the yearly ones, and for those of the seasons!
195:1 Or, 'I invite;' but the word seems equal to âvaêdhayêma; compare the Vedic vid + ni. Comp. also nî tê vaêdhayêmi and nî vô vaêdhayêmi in Y. I, 21, 22. The Pahlavi favours 'I invite.'
195:2 Not that Ahura was conceived of as having a body proper. The stars are elsewhere poetically described as his body, as other p. 196 divinities are said to be tanu-mãthra, having the Mãthra as their body; that is, incarnate in the Mãthra.
196:1 'Disposing aright as to mind.'
196:2 Pahlavi parvard.
196:3 Elsewhere the Spenta Mainyu is spoken of as His possession.
196:4 The Fire seems almost spoken of as one of the Amesha Spenta.
196:5 Lords of the ritual because ruling as chief at the time of their mention, and in thin sense regarded as genii protecting all ritual seasons and times of their class. Vîsya presides over the Vîs; Sâvanghi, over cattle.
196:6 Having an especial Yast.
197:1 Constantly associated together in the later Avesta.
197:2 hv = h before y.
197:3 As opposed to those which might belong to Angra Mainyu.
197:4 Or, 'who furthers life.'
197:5 'Men and herds?'
198:1 I should say that the suffix has this force here as in close connection with ashyô.
198:2 Genius of rectitude.
198:3 Rectitude in another form.
198:4 Literally, 'to the moon within,' showing little light.
198:5 See the Âfrînagân.
198:6 The rutting season.
198:7 Haug first called attention to the striking coincidence with the Indian. In the Aitareya and Satapatha Brâhmanas, in the Atharvaveda, and in the Râmâyana, the gods are brought up to the number thirty-three. The names differ somewhat however. (See Essays, ed. West, 2nd edition, p. 276; see also Rv. 240, 9; 250, 2.)
199:1 The star Jupiter has been called Ormuzd by the Persians and Armenians, and it may be intended here, as stars are next mentioned, but who can fail to be struck with the resemblance to the Mitra-Varuna of the Rig-veda. Possibly both ideas were present to the composer.
199:2 Recall Kakshur Mitrasya Varunasya Agneh.
199:3 The first day of the month is called Ahura Mazda.
199:4 The first month is called Fravashi. These are put for the particular day of celebration.
199:5 This was the Vendîdâd, the name being a contraction of vîdaêvâ-dâta. It will not be forgotten that the Vendîdâd, although later put together, contains old Aryan myths which antedate p. 200 Zarathustra, although in its present greatly later form, Zarathustra is a demi-god in it, and his name is involved in myth.
200:1 'The long tradition;' so Spiegel.
200:2 From this mountain the Iranian kings were later supposed to have descended; hence the mention of the 'glory.'
200:3 Observe the impossibility of the meaning 'comfort,' or mere 'well-being' here.
200:4 Or possibly 'the unseized,' the Pahlavi agrift(?); Ner. agrihîtâm; hvar, to eat, may have meant 'seize' originally.
200:5 Erethe (riti?) seems without inflection.
200:6 The state of activity (?).
200:7 Shall we say, 'of the departed saint' here?
200:8 The Pahlavi with its afkhvâr points here perhaps to a better text. Recall awzhdâtemka, awzhdaunghô, awrem.
201:1 Meaning 'without beginning to their course,' and so 'fixed' (?).
201:2 Self-determining, not satellites, having the laws of their own motion in themselves.
201:3 The divine Order par eminence, expressed in the ritual and the faith.
201:4 Not 'to the chief of Hâvani,' possibly 'in the lordship,' the time when it is especially the object of worship. Thus each object of worship becomes in its turn a 'lord or chief' of 'the ritual order.'
201:5 The soul of the celebrant or his client is intended.
202:1 Compare Rv. VII, 86, 3-6.
202:2 Practised, or induced neglect, or omitted portions of it.
202:3 'I invite for Thee' (?).
202:4 That the thought, word, and deed here were more than the mere semi-mechanical use of faculties in reciting the liturgy, is clear. At the same time all morality was supposed to be represented in the liturgy. The evil man would offend in thought, word, and deed, if he recited it carelessly, or with bad conscience, and as guilty of any known and unrepented sins. The moral and ceremonial laws went hand in hand.