The Zend Avesta, Part II (SBE23), James Darmesteter, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
The Ormazd Yast, properly so called, ends with § 23. The rest of the Yast, from § 24 to the end, is wanting in several manuscripts, and is supposed by the Parsis to be a fragment of the Bahman Yast.
The Ormazd Yast is exclusively devoted to an enumeration of the names of Ahura and to a laudation of their virtues and efficacy: the recitation of these names is the best defence against all dangers.
§§ 1-6. The names of Ahura Mazda are the most powerful part of the Holy Word.
§§ 7-8. The twenty names of Ahura Mazda are enumerated.
§§ 9-11. Efficacy of these names.
§§ 12-15. Another list of names.
§§ 16-19. Efficacy of Ahura's names.
§§ 20-23. Sundry formulas of invocation.
As may be seen from this summary, the subject has been treated twice over, first in §§ 1-11, and then in §§ 12-19; yet it does not appear that this Yast was formed out of two independent treatises, and it is more likely that the vague and indefinite enumeration in §§ 12-15, which interrupts so clumsily the train of ideas, is due either to an interpolation or simply to the literary deficiency of the writer himself.
The Ormazd Yast is recited every day at the Hâvan Gâh, after the morning prayer (Anquetil, Zend-Avesta, II, 143): it is well also to recite it when going to sleep and when changing one's residence (§ 17).
Speculations on the mystical powers of God's names have always been common among Orientals. The number of these names went on increasing: Dastûr Nôshîrvân wrote on the roc names of God; Dastûr Marzbân on his 125 names. With the Musulmans, Allah had 1001 names. On the names of God among the Jews, see Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, XXXV, pp. 162, 532.
We have three native translations of this Yast; one in Pahlavi (East India Office, XII, 39, and St. Petersburg, XCIX, 39; edited by Carl Salemann), one in Persian (East India Office, XXII, 43), and one in Sanskrit (Paris, fonds Burnouf, V, 66); the last two edited in our Études Iraniennes, II, 255).
The second part of the Yast, the so-called Bahman Yast fragment, is in a state of the utmost corruption. It is difficult to trace any connection in the ideas, yet §§ 28, 29, 30 seem to point rather clearly to the final struggle between Ormazd and Ahriman and to the annihilation of the Daêvas, and, thereby, some connection is established between this fragment and the Pahlavi Bahman Yast 1, which deals with the same subject. If that correspondence be real, § 26 might refer to the beginning of the Pahlavi Bahman Yast, in which Zarathustra is shown by Ahura the times to come and the end of the world.
Of this fragment we have only a bad Pahlavi translation in the St. Petersburg manuscript mentioned above.
0 2. May Ahura Mazda be rejoiced! May Angra Mainyu be destroyed! by those who do truly what is the foremost wish (of God 3).
I praise well-thought, well-spoken, and well-done thoughts, words, and deeds. I embrace all good thoughts, good words, and good deeds; I reject all evil thoughts, evil words, and evil deeds.
I give sacrifice and prayer unto you, O Amesha-Spentas! even with the fulness of my thoughts, of my words, of my deeds, and of my heart: I give unto you even my own life 4.
I recite the 'Praise of Holiness 5:'
'Ashem Vohû: Holiness is the best of all good. Well is it for it, well is it for that holiness which is perfection of holiness!'
I confess myself a worshipper of Mazda, a follower of Zarathustra, one who hates the Daêvas and obeys the laws of Ahura 6;
For sacrifice 1, prayer, propitiation, and glorification unto [Hâvani] 2, the holy and master of holiness;
For sacrifice, prayer, propitiation, and glorification unto [Sâvanghi and Vîsya] 3, the holy and masters of holiness;
For sacrifice, prayer, propitiation, and glorification unto the Masters of the days, of the periods of the day, of the months, of the seasons, and of the years 4;
Unto AHURA MAZDA, bright and glorious, be propitiation, with sacrifice, prayer, propitiation, and glorification.
Yathâ ahû vairyô: The will of the Lord is the law of holiness: the riches of Vohû-Manô shall be given to him who works in this world for Mazda, and wields according to the will of Ahura the power he gave him to relieve the poor.
1. Zarathustra asked Ahura Mazda: 'O Ahura Mazda, most beneficent Spirit, Maker of the material world, thou Holy One!
'What of the Holy Word is the strongest? What is the most victorious? What is the most glorious? What is the most effective?
2. 'What is the most fiend-smiting? What is the best-healing? What destroyeth best the malice of Daêvas and Men? What maketh the material world best come to the fulfilment of its wishes 5? What freeth the material world best from the anxieties of the heart 6?'
3. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Our Name, O Spitama Zarathustra! who are the Amesha-Spentas, that is the strongest part of the Holy Word; that is the most victorious; that is the most glorious; that is the most effective;
4. 'That is the most fiend-smiting; that is the best-healing; that destroyeth best the malice of Daêvas and Men; that maketh the material world best come to the fulfilment of its wishes; that freeth the material world best from the anxieties of the heart.'
5. Then Zarathustra said: 'Reveal unto me that name of thine, O Ahura Mazda! that is the greatest, the best, the fairest, the most effective, the most fiend-smiting, the best-healing, that destroyeth best the malice of Daêvas and Men;
6. 'That I may afflict all Daêvas and Men; that I may afflict all Yâtus and Pairikas 1; that neither Daêvas nor Men may be able to afflict me; neither Yâtus nor Pairikas.'
7. Ahura Mazda replied unto him: 'My name is the One of whom questions are asked 2, O holy Zarathustra!
'My second name is the Herd-giver 3.
'My third name is the Strong One 4.
'My fourth name is Perfect Holiness 1.
'My fifth name is All good things created by Mazda, the offspring of the holy principle. 'My sixth name is Understanding 2;
'My seventh name is the One with understanding.
'My eighth name is Knowledge;
'My ninth name is the One with Knowledge.
8. 'My tenth name is Weal;
'My eleventh name is He who produces weal.
'My twelfth name is AHURA (the Lord) 3.
'My thirteenth name is the most Beneficent.
'My fourteenth name is He in whom there is no harm 4.
'My fifteenth name is the unconquerable One.
'My sixteenth name is He who makes the true account 5.
'My seventeenth name is the All-seeing One.
'My eighteenth name is the healing One.
'My nineteenth name is the Creator.
My twentieth name is MAZDA (the All-knowing One).
9. 'Worship me, O Zarathustra, by day and by
night, with offerings of libations well accepted 1. I will come unto thee for help and joy, I, Ahura Mazda; the good, holy Sraosha will come unto thee for help and joy; the waters, the plants, and the Fravashis of the holy ones will come unto thee for help and joy.
10. 'If thou wantest, O Zarathustra, to destroy the malice of Daêvas and Men, of the Yâtus and Pairikas, of the oppressors, of the blind and of the deaf 2, of the two-legged ruffians 3, of the two-legged Ashemaoghas 4, of the four-legged wolves;
And of the hordes with the wide front, with the many spears 5, with the straight spears, with the spears uplifted, bearing the spear of havock; then, recite thou these my names every day and every night.
12. 'I am the Keeper 1 I am the Creator and the Maintainer 2; I am the Discerner 3s; I am the most beneficent Spirit.
'My name is the bestower of health; my name is the best bestower of health.
'My name is the Âthravan 4; my name is the most Âthravan-like of all Âthravans.
'My name is Ahura (the Lord).
'My name is Mazdau (the all-knowing).
'My name is the Holy; my name is the most Holy.
'My name is the Glorious; my name is the most Glorious.
'My name is the Full-seeing; my name is the Fullest-seeing.
'My name is the Far-seeing; my name is the Farthest-seeing.
13. 'My name is the Protector; my name is the Well-wisher; my name is the Creator; my name is the Keeper; my name is the Maintainer.
'My name is the Discerner; my name is the Best Discerner.
'My name is the Prosperity-producer 5; my name is the Word of Prosperity 6.
'My name is the King who rules at his will;
my name is the King who rules most at his will.
'My name is the liberal King 1; my name is the most liberal King.
14. 'My name is He who does not deceive; my name is He who is not deceived.
'My name is the good Keeper; my name is He who destroys malice; my name is He who conquers at once; my name is He who conquers everything; my name is He who has shaped everything 2.
'My name is All weal; my name is Full weal; my name is the Master of weal.
15. 'My name is He who can benefit at his wish; my name is He who can best benefit at his wish.
'My name is the Beneficent One; my name is the Energetic One; my name is the most Beneficent.
'My name is Holiness; my name is the Great One; my name is the good Sovereign; my name is the Best of Sovereigns.
'My name is the Wise One; my name is the Wisest of the Wise; my name is He who does good for a long time.
16. 'These are my names.
'And he who in this material world, O Spitama Zarathustra! shall recite and pronounce those names of mine 3 either by day or by night;
17. 'He who shall pronounce them, when he rises up or when he lays him down; when he lays him down or when he rises up; when he binds on the sacred girdle 1 or when he unbinds the sacred girdle; when he goes out of his dwelling-place, or when he goes out of his town, or when he goes out of his country and comes into another country;
18. 'That man, neither in that day nor in that night, shall be wounded by the weapons of the foe who rushes Aêshma-like 2 and is Drug-minded; not the knife, not the cross-bow, not the arrow, not the sword, not the club, not the sling-stone 3 shall reach and wound him.
19. 'But those names shall come in to keep him from behind and to keep him in front 4, from the Drug unseen, from the female Varenya fiend 5, from the evil-doer 6 bent on mischief 7, and from that fiend who is all death, Angra Mainyu. It will be as if there were a thousand men watching over one man 8.
20. ' "Who is he who will smite the fiend in order to maintain thy ordinances? Teach me clearly thy
rules for this world and for the next, that Sraosha may come with Vohu-Manô and help whomsoever thou pleasest 1."
21. 'Hail to the Glory of the Kavis 2! Hail to the Airyanem Vaêgah 3! Hail to the Saoka 4, made by Mazda! Hail to the waters of the Dâitya 5! Hail to Ardvi 6, the undefiled well! Hail to the whole world of the holy Spirit!
'Yathâ ahû vairyô: The will of the Lord . . . . 7
'Ashem Vohû: Holiness is the best of all good. . . . 8
22. 'We worship the Ahuna Vairya 9. We worship Asha-Vahista, most fair, undying, and beneficent 10. We worship Strength and Prosperity and Might and Victory and Glory and Vigour 11. We worship Ahura Mazda, bright and glorious.
'Yênghê hâtãm 12: All those beings 13 of whom Ahura Mazda knows the goodness 14 for a sacrifice
[paragraph continues] [performed] in holiness, all those beings, males 1 and females 2, do we worship.
23. 'Yathâ ahû vairyô: The will of the Lord is the law of holiness . . . .
'I bless the sacrifice and the prayer unto Ahura Mazda, bright and glorious, and his strength and vigour 3
(Bahman Yast 4.)
24. 'O Zarathustra! keep thou for ever that man who is friendly [to me] from the foe unfriendly [to me]! Do not give up that friend unto the stroke (of the foe), unto vexations to be borne; wish no harm unto that man who would offer me a sacrifice, be it ever so great or ever so small, if it has reached unto us, the Amesha-Spentas.
25. 'Here is Vohu-Manô, my creature, O Zarathustra! here is Asha-Vahista, my creature, O Zarathustra! here is Khsathra-Vairya, my creature, O Zarathustra! here is Spenta-Ârmaiti, my creature, O Zarathustra! here are Haurvatât and Ameretât, who are the reward of the holy ones 5, when freed from their bodies, my creatures, O Zarathustra!
26. 'Thou knowest this, and how it is, O holy Zarathustra! from my understanding and from my knowledge; namely, how the world first began 6, and how it will end 7.
'A thousand remedies, ten thousand remedies 1!
'A thousand remedies, ten thousand remedies!
'A thousand remedies, ten thousand remedies!
27. '[We worship] the well-shapen, tall-formed Strength; Verethraghna, made by Ahura; the crushing Ascendant 2, and Spenta-Ârmaiti.
28. 'And with the help of Spenta-Ârmaiti, break ye 3 asunder their 4 malice, turn their minds astray, bind their hands, make their knees quake against one another, bind their tongues 5.
'When, O Mazda! shall the faithful smite the wicked 6? When shall the faithful smite the Drug? When shall the faithful smite the wicked?'
29. Then Zarathustra said: 'I threw you back into the earth 7, and by the eyes of Spenta-Ârmaiti 8 the ruffian was made powerless 9.
30. 'We worship the powerful Gaokerena 10, made by Mazda; the powerful Gaokerena, made by Mazda.
31. 'We worship the memory of Ahura Mazda, to keep the Holy Word.
'We worship the understanding of Ahura Mazda, to study the Holy Word.
'We worship the tongue of Ahura Mazda, to speak forth the Holy Word.
'We worship the mountain that gives understanding, that preserves understanding 1; [we worship it] by day and by night, with offerings of libations well-accepted 2.
32. 'We worship that creation [of Ahura's], Spenta-Ârmaiti; and the holy creations of that creature and of Asha [Vahista], that are foremost in holiness 3.
'Here I take as lord and master 4 the greatest of all, Ahura Mazda; to smite the fiend Angra Mainyu to smite Aêsma of the wounding spear 5; to smite the Mâzainya fiends 6; to smite all the Daêvas and the Varenya fiends 6; to increase Ahura Mazda,
bright and glorious; to increase the Amesha-Spentas; to increase the star Tistrya 1, the bright and glorious; to increase the faithful men; to increase all the holy creatures of the Beneficent Spirit.
'Ashem Vohû: Holiness is the best of all good. . . . 2
33. '[Give] unto that man 3 brightness and glory, give him health of body, give him sturdiness of body, give him victorious strength of body, give him full welfare of wealth, give him a virtuous 4 offspring, give him long, long life, give him the bright, all-happy, blissful abode of the holy Ones 5.
'May it come according to my blessing 6!
'A thousand remedies, ten thousand remedies 7! (three times.)
'Come to me for help, O Mazda!
'We worship the well-shapen, tall-formed Strength, and Verethraghna, made by Mazda, and the crushing Ascendant 8.
'We worship Râma Hvâstra, and Vayu who works highly and is more powerful to destroy than all other creatures. That part of thee do we worship, O Vayu, that belongs to Spenta Mainyu. We worship the sovereign Sky, the boundless Time, and the sovereign Time of the long Period 9.
'Ashem Vohû: Holiness is the best of all good . . . .'
22:1 Translated by West (Pahlavi Texts, I).
22:2 The formulas of this section serve as an introduction to all Yasts.
22:3 The last clause of this sentence is imitated from Yasna XLVI [XLV], 19: 'he who does truly in holiness what was the foremost wish of Zarathustra' (that is, what he ordered most earnestly; Pahl. Comm.).
22:4 'If I must give up my life for the sake of my soul, I give it up' (Pahl. Comm.). The two sentences, 'I praise . . . .,' 'I give unto you . . . .,' are taken from Yasna XI, 17, 18 [XII].
22:5 The Ashem Vohû, one of the holiest and most frequently recited prayers.
22:6 The Fravarânê or profession of faith of the Zoroastrian (Yasna L 23 [65-68]).
23:1 He shows himself a Zoroastrian by offering sacrifice . . . .
23:2 The actual Gâh during which the Yast is being recited must be mentioned here. Hâvani is the first Gâh (see Gâhs).
23:3 The Genii who co-operate with Hâvani, his hamkârs; for each Gâh the names of its proper hamkârs should be mentioned (see Gâh s).
23:4 See Vendîdâd VIII, 19, text and notes.
23:5 Pun mînishn ît barâ matârtûm, mandûm frârûn (Phl. tr.); manasas asti prâpakatarâ (Sansk. tr.); (Pers. tr.).
23:6 Pun akhû it barâ mûshîtârtûm: pîm(î) u mandûm î apârûn p. 24 (Phl. tr.); vitarkânâm asti mûshakatarâ (Sansk. tr.); (Pers. tr.).
24:1 See Vendîdâd, Introd. IV, 20-21.
24:2 As the revealer of the law, which is generally expounded by a process of questions from Zarathustra and answers from Ahura. The revelation itself is called spentô frasna, the holy questions' (Vendîdâd XXII, 19).
24:3 'That is, I give herds of men and cattle' (Phl. tr.).
24:4 'Strong, that is, I have strength for the works of the law' (Phl. tr.); the Sanskrit translation has, 'powerful, that is, I have power to create.'
25:1 Asha-Vahista, which is the name of the second Amesha-Spenta too. The commentary has: 'That is, my own being is all holiness.'
25:2 Literally: 'My sixth name is that I am Understanding.' The same construction is used with regard to the eighth, the tenth, and the nineteenth names.
25:3 'It follows from this passage that a man is not fit to be a king, unless he possesses twelve virtues' (Phl. tr.).
25:4 'Some say: I keep harm from man' (Phl. tr.).
25:5 'That is, I make the account of good works and sins' (Phl. tr.); prakatam gananâkaras kila punyapâpayos saṅkhyâm aham karomi (Sansk. tr.). Cf. Yasna XXXII, 6, b.
26:1 Yasô-bereta: prâptena dânena;
26:2 The Kavis and the Karapans, the blind and the deaf, are those 'who cannot see nor hear anything of God.' Those terms were current in the theological language of the Sassanian times to designate the unbelievers. An edict, promulgated by king Yazdgard III (fifth century A.C.) to make Zoroastrism the state religion in Armenia, had the following words: 'You must know that any man who does not follow the religion of Mazda is deaf, blind, and deceived by Ahriman's devs' (Elisaeus, The War of Vartan).
26:3 Or murderers (mairya); according to the Parsis highwaymen ( ).
26:4 The heretics. Casuists distinguish three kinds of Ashemaogha: the deceiver (frîftâr), the self-willed (khôt dôshak), and the deceived (frîftak). The first and worst is one who knowingly leads people astray, making forbidden what is lawful, and lawful what is forbidden; the second is one who follows his own will and reason, instead of applying to a Dastûr (a spiritual guide) for direction; the third is one who has been led astray by another.
26:5 Drafsa means also banner: the Persian , derived from drafsa, has preserved the two meanings. The Sanskrit translation has sastra, the Persian has .
27:1 'I keep the creation' (Phl. tr.).
27:2 'I created the world and I maintain it' (ibid.).
27:3 I can know what is useful and what is hurtful' (ibid.).
27:4 'The priest.'
27:5 'I impart increase to the righteous' (Phl. tr.).
27:6 Doubtful. Fsûsô-mãthrô is used in several passages as the name of a part of the Avesta, Yasna LVIII [LVII], which appears to be called so from the presence in it of the words fsûsa, fsûmant, 'thriving, causing to thrive,' which aptly express its contents.
28:1 Nâma, translated âpât, and interpreted Khutâi rât. The Sanskrit translator has misread âzât for âpât, and translated svatantra, independent.
28:2 The commentator observes orthodoxly, 'everything good.'
28:3 That is to say, who will recite this Yast.
29:1 The aiwyâonghanem or kôsti (see Vendîdâd XVIII, p. 191, note 4).
29:2 Or 'with anger.'
29:3 Akavô, kakavô, ishavô, kareta, vazra, translated kartari, kakra, sara, sastrikâ, vagra.
29:4 Min akhar u lûîn (Phl. tr.); prishtha[ta]s purataska (Sansk. tr.).
29:5 Interpreted as the demon of lust and envy. Cf. Vendîdâd, Introd. IV, 23.
29:6 Kayadha, translated kâstâr (Phl.), 'the impairer;' kadarthaka (Sansk.), 'he who holds for nothing, who makes slight of.'
29:7 Doubtful. The Phl. tr. has 'who impairs living creatures,' etc.
29:8 Cf. Yt. XIII, 71.
30:1 From Yasna XLIV, 16; cf. Vendîdâd VIII, 20.
30:2 See Sîrôzah I, 9, p. 7, note 2.
30:3 Irân Vêg; see Vendîdâd, p. 3.
30:4 Saoka; see Sîrôzah I, 3.
30:5 See Vendîdâd, p. 5, note 2.
30:6 Ardvi Sûra Anâhita, the great goddess of the waters; see Yt. V.
30:7 See above, p. 23.
30:8 See above, p. 22.
30:9 The prayer yathâ ahû vairyô, known as Ahuna vairya (Honover), from the first words in it: ahû vairyô. See above, p. 23.
30:10 Or 'the fairest Amesha-Spenta;' cf. Vend. Introd. IV, 7.
30:11 Impersonated as gods, to obtain from them the benefits of which they are the impersonations.
30:12 A formula found at the end of most chapters of the Yasna and imitated from Yasna LI [L], 22.
30:13 The Amesha-Spentas (Pahl. Comm. ad Yasna XXVII, fin.).
30:14 The benefits of which they dispose, and which they impart as rewards to the righteous.
31:1 The first three.
31:2 The last three, whose names are feminine.
31:3 Which he will impart in return to his worshippers.
31:4 See above, p. 21.
31:5 As the Genii who preside over plants and waters, they are very likely entrusted with the care of feeding the righteous in Paradise. Cf. Yt. XXII, 18.
31:6 From Yasna XXVIII, 12.
31:7 Cf. Yasna XXX, 4.
32:1 Yasna LXVIII, 15 (LXVII, 50).
32:2 See Sîrôzah I, 20.
32:3 Refers probably to the Izeds mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
32:4 Of the foes alluded to § 24.
32:5 Derezvan; see Yt. XI, 2.
32:6 Cf. Yasna XLVIII [XLVII], 2.
32:7 I follow the reading zamerena, which is followed by the Pahlavi translation too. In the Yasna IX, 15 (46) Zarathustra is said to have obliged the Daêvas to hide themselves in the earth.
32:8 Cf. Yt. XIX, 94.
32:9 Cf. Vend. IX, 12-13.
32:10 See Sîrôzah I, 7.
33:1 That mount is called in later literature Mount Ôsdâstâr (the Pahlavi translation of ushi-darena, the keeper of understanding). According to the Bundahis (XII, 15), it stands in Seistan. High mountains, being nearer heaven, are apt to become in the spirit of mythology the seat of heavenly beings or treasures. It was on the top of a mountain that Ahura revealed the law (see Vd. XXII, 19 [531); the first man and king, Gayomarth, ruled on a mountain and was called Gar-shâh, the king of the mountain. When the Kayanian family failed, the Iranians went to Mount Alborz and found there Kai Kobâd waiting for his fate.
33:2 The order of the text differs in one series of manuscripts, in which it begins with § 31; then comes § 29 with the following additional words:
We worship the Fravashi of the man whose name is Asmô-hvanvant; then I will worship the Fravashis of the other holy ones who were strong of faith' (Yt. XXII, 37).
[paragraph continues] Asmô-hvanvant was one of the first followers of Zarathustra, and with his name begins the enumeration of the Fravashis (Yt. XIII, 96).
Then follows § 30, and then again § 31 with the Ashem Vohû: and then the additional passage, 'We worship . . . .,' is repeated twice.
33:3 Vispêrad XIX, 2.
33:4 As ahu and ratu, that is, as temporal chief and spiritual guide.
33:5 See Vend. Introd. IV, 22.
33:6 Ibid. 23.
34:1 See Yast VIII.
34:2 As above, p. 22.
34:3 Who shall offer thee a sacrifice. This paragraph is taken from Yasna LXVIII, 11 (LXVII, 32), where it is addressed to the Waters: 'Ye, good waters, give unto that man who will offer you a sacrifice . . . .'
34:4 Susîla (Sansk. tr. ad Yasna LXI, 13).
34:5 This clause serves as a conclusion to all Yasts.
34:6 From Yasna LXVIII, 20 (LXVII, 52).
34:7 Cf. above, § 26.
34:8 Cf. Sîrôzah I, 90
34:9 Ibid. 21.