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The Zend Avesta, Part II (SBE23), James Darmesteter, tr. [1882], at

p. 324


'God taught the Zendávasta to Zartusht—a sublime work . . . . God said to Zartusht, "Go and before Sháh Gushtásp read this book, that he may come into the faith . . . . keep all my counsel and repeat it word by word to Sháh Gushtásp 1." '

Zartusht, in obedience to God, went to the court of Gushtásp: 'He came forward and called down a blessing on the Shâh 2.' Then he read to him the Zandávasta and said: 'Learn its statutes and walk therein. If your desire is towards its laws, your abode shall be in the paradise of heaven. But if you turn away from its commandments, you shall bring down your crowned head to the dust. Your God will be displeased with you, and will overthrow your prosperous condition. At the last you shall descend into hell, if you hear not the counsel of the Almighty 3.'

These lines of the Zartusht-Namah are a summary of the following two Yasts. The first, entitled 'The blessing of the prophet Zartûst,' contains the words of blessing addressed by Zarathustra when appearing before the king. These words seem to have followed a similar blessing pronounced by Gâmâspa 4, the prime minister of Vîstâspa 5.

Yast XXIV contains the exhortations of the prophet to the king to follow and closely adhere to the Law of Mazda. It is a counterpart to the XIXth Fargard of the Vendîdâd, as Zarathustra plays here the same part to Vîstâspa as Ahura does there to Zarathustra. It is, therefore, a summary of the Law, of the duties it

p. 325

enforces and of the rewards it promises. This accounts for the strange disconnection apparent in it, which makes it a crux interpretum, as, besides the very corrupt state of the text, the chief difficulty of this Yast arises from the fact that many passages in it are incomplete quotations from the Vendîdâd, or allusions to statements therein 1, which, when supplied, help a good deal to relieve this Yast from its apparent state of utter incoherence.

For this translation I was able to avail myself of a Pahlavi translation, of which a copy was kindly lent to me by Mr. West. That translation is apparently of late date and often manifestly wrong; yet it was very useful to me in several passages, besides its giving a Zend text generally more correct and more correctly divided than the text in Westergaard's edition 2.

Yast XXIII was originally no independent Yast, being nothing more than the beginning of Yast XXIV, detached from it, with one slight alterations and inversions.



1. 'I am a pious man, who speaks words of blessing.'

—'Thou appearest unto me full of Glory.'

And Zarathustra spake unto king Vîstâspa, saying: 'I bless thee, O man! O lord of the country! with the living of a good life, of an exalted life, of a long life. May thy men live long! May thy women live long! May sons be born unto thee of thy own body!

2. 'Mayest thou have a son like Gâmâspa, and may he bless thee as (Gâmâspa blessed) Vîstâspa (the lord) of the country 3!

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'Mayest thou be most beneficent, like Mazda!

'Mayest thou be fiend-smiting, like Thraêtaona 1!

'Mayest thou be strong, like Gâmâspa 2!

'Mayest thou be well-armed, like Takhma-Urupa 3!

3. 'Mayest thou be glorious, like Yima Khshaêta, the good shepherd!

'Mayest thou be instructed with a thousand senses, like Azi Dahâka, of the evil law 4!

'Mayest thou be awful and most strong, like Keresâspa 5!

'Mayest thou be a wise chief of assemblies, like Urvâkhshaya 6!

'Mayest thou be beautiful of body and without fault, like Syâvarshâna 7!

4. 'Mayest thou be rich in cattle, like an Âthwyanide 8!

'Mayest thou be rich in horses, like Pourus-aspa 9!

'Mayest thou be holy, like Zarathustra Spitama!

'Mayest thou be able to reach the Rangha, whose shores lie afar, as Vafra Navâza was 10!

'Mayest thou be beloved by the gods and reverenced by men 11!

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5. 'May ten sons be born of you 1! In three of them mayest thou be an Âthravan! In three of them mayest thou be a warrior! In three of them mayest thou be a tiller of the ground 2! And may one be like thyself, O Vîstâspa!

6. 'Mayest thou be swift-horsed, like the Sun 3!

'Mayest thou be resplendent, like the moon!

'Mayest thou be hot-burning, like fire!

'Mayest thou have piercing rays, like Mithra!

'Mayest thou be tall-formed and victorious, like the devout Sraosha 4!

7. 'Mayest thou follow a law of truth, like Rashnu 5!

'Mayest thou be a conqueror of thy foes, like Verethraghna 6, made by Ahura!

'Mayest thou have fulness of welfare, like Râma Hvâstra 7!

'Mayest thou be freed from sickness and death, like king Husravah 8!

8. 'Then the blessing goes for the bright, all-happy, blissful abode of the holy Ones 9.

'May it happen unto thee according to my blessing!

10 Let us embrace and propagate the good thoughts, good words, and good deeds that have been done and that will be done here and elsewhere, that we may be in the number of the good.

p. 328

'Yathâ ahû vairyô: The will of the Lord is the law of holiness . . . .

'Ashem Vohû: Holiness is the best of all good . . . .

'[Give] unto that man brightness and glory, . . . . give him the bright, all-happy, blissful abode of the holy Ones.'


324:1 The Zartusht-Namah, translated by E. B. Eastwick, in Wilson's Parsi Religion, p. 495.

324:2 Ibid. p. 499.

324:3 Ibid. p. 501.

324:4 See Yt. XXIII, 2; whether Anquetil's statement to that effect (Zend-Avesta II, 623) rests on independent tradition or only on the text of our Yast is not clear.

324:5 See above, p. 70, note 1.

325:1 For instance, §§ 28, 30, 31, 39, &c.

325:2 The various readings in Mr. West's manuscript are indicated by the letter W. in the notes.

325:3 See the introduction to this Yast and Yt. XXIV, 3, text and note.

326:1 Cf. Yt. V, 33.

326:2 Cf. Yt. V, 68

326:3 Cf. Yt. XV, 11.

326:4 Cf. Yt. V,29.

326:5 Cf. Yt. V, 37.

326:6 See Yt. XV, 28.

326:7 See p. 64, note 1.

326:8 One belonging to the Âthwya family, of which Thraêtaona was a member. All of them bore names that show them to have been rich in cattle: Pûr-tôrâ, Sôk-tôrâ, Bôr-tôrâ, &c. ('one with abundant oxen, with useful oxen, with the brown ox, &c.,' Bundahis, tr. West, XXXI, 7, note 8).

326:9 Pourus-aspa was the father of Zarathustra. His name means, 'He who possesses many horses,' πολύ-ιππος.

326:10 Cf. Yt. V, 61.

326:11 Cf. Yt. XXIV, 4.

327:1 Of Vîstâspa and his wife Hutaosa.

327:2 Cf. Yt. XXIV, 4.

327:3 Cf. Sîrôzah, § 11.

327:4 Cf. Yt. XI.

327:5 Cf. Yt. XII, Introduction.

327:6 Cf. Yt. XIV.

327:7 Cf. Yt. XV.

327:8 Kai Khosrav went alive to Paradise (Firdausi).

327:9 He closes his blessing by wishing him bliss in heaven.

327:10 Yasna XXXV, 2 (4-5).

Next: XXIV. Vîstâsp Yast