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The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. [1886], at



The Haoma-yast has claims to antiquity (owing to its subject, but not to its dialect), next after the Srôs-yast. H(a)oma = Soma, as a deity, flourished not only before the Gâthas, but before the Riks of the Veda, in Aryan ages before Iranian and Indian became two peoples.

The astonishing circumstance has been elsewhere noted that a hymn, which is a reproduction of an Aryan original, should, notwithstanding its earlier characteristics, be necessarily assigned to

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a date much later than the Gâthas in which H(a)oma worship is not mentioned.

Probably on account of bitter animosities prevailing between their more southern neighbours and themselves, and the use of Soma by the Indians as a stimulant before battle, the Iranians of the Gâthic period had become lukewarm in their own H(a)oma worship. But that it should have revived, as we see it in this Yast, after having nearly or quite disappeared, is most interesting and remarkable. Was it definitively and purposely repudiated by Zarathustra, afterwards reviving as by a relapse? I do not think that it is well to hold to such deliberate and conscious antagonisms, and to a definite policy and action based upon them. The Soma-worship, like the sacramental acts of other religions which have become less practised after exaggerated attention, had simply fallen into neglect, increased by an aversion to practices outwardly similar to those of 'Daêva-worshippers.' The Yast is, of course, made up of fragments, which I have endeavoured to separate by lines. In the translation I have given a rhythmical rendering, necessarily somewhat free. It was difficult to import sufficient vivacity to the piece, while using a uselessly awkward literalness. The freedom, as elsewhere, often consists in adding words to point the sense, or round the rhythm. (Expressions for identical Zend words have been here, as elsewhere, purposely varied.)

1. At the hour of Hâvani 1. H(a)oma came to Zarathustra, as he served the (sacred) Fire, and sanctified (its flame), while he sang aloud the Gâthas.

And Zarathustra asked him: Who art thou, O man! who art of all the incarnate world the most beautiful in Thine own body 2 of those whom I have seen, (thou) glorious [immortal]?

2. Thereupon gave H(a)oma answer 3, the holy one who driveth death afar: I am, O Zarathustra

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[paragraph continues] H(a)oma, the holy and driving death afar; pray to me, O Spitâma, prepare me for the taste. Praise toward me in (Thy) praises as the other [Saoshyants] praise.

3. Thereupon spake Zarathustra: Unto H(a)oma be the praise 1. What man, O H(a)oma! first prepared thee for the corporeal world? What blessedness was offered him? what gain did he acquire?

4. Thereupon did H(a)oma answer me, he the holy one, and driving death afar: Vîvanghvan2 was the first of men who prepared me for the incarnate world. This blessedness was offered him; this gain did he acquire, that to him was born a son who was Yima, called the brilliant, (he of the many flocks, the most glorious of those yet born, the sunlike-one of men 3), that he made from his authority both herds and people free from dying, both plants and waters free from drought, and men could eat imperishable food.

5. In the reign of Yima swift of motion was there neither cold nor heat, there was neither age nor death, nor envy 4 demon-made. Like fifteen-yearlings 5 walked the two forth, son and father, in their stature and their form, so long as Yima, son of Vîvanghvant ruled, he of the many herds!

6. Who was the second man, O H(a)oma! who

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prepared thee for the corporeal world? What sanctity was offered him? what gain did he acquire?

7. Thereupon gave H(a)oma answer, he the holy one, and driving death afar: Âthwya 1 was the second who prepared me for the corporeal world. This blessedness was given him, this gain did he acquire, that to him a son was born, Thraêtaona 2 of the heroic tribe,

8. Who smote the dragon Dahâka 3, three jawed and triple-headed, six-eyed, with thousand powers, and of mighty strength, a lie-demon of 4 the Daêvas, evil for our settlements, and wicked, whom the evil spirit Angra Mainyu made as the most mighty Drug(k) [against the corporeal world], and for the murder of (our) settlements, and to slay the (homes) of Asha!

9. Who was the third man, O H(a)oma! who prepared thee for the corporeal world? What blessedness was given him? what gain did he acquire?

10. Thereupon gave H(a)oma answer, the holy one, and driving death afar: Thrita 5, [the most helpful of the Sâmas 6], was the third man who prepared me for the corporeal world. This blessedness was given

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him, this gain did he acquire, that to him two sons were born, Urvâkhshaya and Keresâspa, the one a judge confirming order, the other a youth of great ascendant, ringlet-headed 1, bludgeon-bearing.

11. He who smote the horny dragon swallowing men, and swallowing horses, poisonous, and green of colour, over which, as thick as thumbs are, greenish poison flowed aside, on whose back once Keresâspa cooked his meat in iron caldron at the noonday meal; and the deadly, scorched, upstarted 2, and springing off, dashed out the water as it boiled. Headlong fled affrighted manly-minded 3 Keresâspa.

12. Who was the fourth man who prepared thee,

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[paragraph continues] O H(a)oma! for the corporeal world? What blessedness was given him? what gain did he acquire?

13. Thereupon gave H(a)oma answer, he the holy, and driving death afar: Pourushaspa 1 was the fourth man who prepared me for the corporeal world. This blessedness was given him, this gain did he acquire, that thou, O Zarathustra! wast born to him, the just, in Pourushaspa's house, the D(a)êva's foe, the friend of Mazda's lore, (14) famed in Airyêna Vaêgah; and thou, O Zarathustra I didst recite the first the Ahuna-vairya 2, four times intoning it, and with verses kept apart [(Pâzand) each time with louder and still louder voice].

15. And thou didst cause, O Zarathustra! all the demon-gods to vanish in the ground who aforetime flew about this earth in human shape (and power. This hast thou done), thou who hast been the strongest, and the staunchest, the most active, and the swiftest, and (in every deed) the most victorious in the two spirits’ 3 world.

16. Thereupon spake Zarathustra: Praise to H(a)oma. Good is H(a)oma, and the well-endowed, exact and righteous in its nature, and good inherently, and healing, beautiful of form, and good in deed, and most successful in its working 4, golden-hued, with bending sprouts. As it is the best for drinking, so (through its sacred stimulus) is it the most nutritious 5 for the soul.


17. I make my claim on thee, O yellow one! for

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inspiration 1. I make my claim on thee for strength; I make my claim on thee for victory; I make my claim on thee for health and healing (when healing is my need); I make my claim on thee for progress and increased prosperity, and vigour of the entire frame, and for understanding 2, of each adorning kind, and for this, that I may have free course among our settlements, having power where I will, overwhelming angry malice, and a conqueror of lies.

18. Yea, I make my claim on thee that I may overwhelm the angry hate of haters, of the D(a)êvas and of mortals, of the sorcerers and sirens 3, of the tyrants 4, and the Kavis, of the Karpans, murderous bipeds, of the sanctity-destroyers, the profane apostate bipeds, of the wolves four-footed monsters, of the invading host, wide-fronted, which with stratagems 5 advance.


19. This first blessing I beseech of thee, O H(a)oma, thou that drivest death afar! I beseech of thee for (heaven), the best life of the saints, the radiant, all-glorious 6.

This second blessing I beseech of thee, O H(a)oma, thou that drivest death afar! this body's health (before that blest life is attained).

This third blessing I beseech of thee, O H(a)oma, thou that drivest death afar! the long vitality of life.

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20. This fourth blessing I beseech of thee, O H(a)oma, thou that drivest death afar! that I may stand forth on this earth with desires gained 1, and powerful, receiving satisfaction, overwhelming the assaults of hate, and conquering the lie.

This fifth blessing, O H(a)oma, I beseech of thee, thou that drivest death afar! that I may stand victorious on earth, conquering in battles 2, overwhelming the assaults of hate, and conquering the lie.

21. This sixth blessing I ask of thee, O H(a)oma, thou that drivest death afar! that we may get good warning of the thief, good warning of the murderer, see first the bludgeon-bearer, get first sight of the wolf. May no one whichsoever get first the sight of us. In the strife with each may we be they who get the first alarm!


22. H(a)oma grants to racers 3 who would run a course with span both speed and bottom (in their horses). H(a)oma grants to women come to bed with child a brilliant offspring and a righteous line.

H(a)oma grants to those (how many!) who have long sat searching books, more knowledge and more wisdom.

23. H(a)oma grants to those long maidens, who sit at home unwed, good husbands, and that as soon as asked, he H(a)oma, the well-minded.

24. H(a)oma lowered Keresâni 4, dethroned him from his throne, for he grew so fond of power, that

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he treacherously said: No priest behind 1 (and watching) shall walk the lands for me, as a counsellor to prosper them, he would rob everything of progress, he would crush the growth of all!


25. Hail to thee, O H(a)oma, who hast power as thou wilt, and by thine inborn strength! Hail to thee, thou art well-versed in many sayings, and true and holy words. Hail to thee for thou dost ask no wily questions, but questionest direct.

26. Forth hath Mazda borne to thee, the star-bespangled girdle 2, the spirit-made, the ancient one, the Mazdayasnian Faith.

So with this thou art begirt on the summits of the mountains, for the spreading of the precepts, and the headings 3 of the Mãthra, (and to help the Mãthra's teacher),

27. O H(a)oma, thou house-lord, and thou clan-lord, thou tribe-lord, and chieftain of the land, and thou successful learned teacher, for aggressive strength I speak to thee, for that which smites with victory, and for my body's saving, and for manifold delight!

28. Bear off from us the torment and the malice of the hateful. Divert the angry foe's intent!

What man soever in this house is violent and wicked, what man soever in this village, or this tribe, or province, seize thou away the fleetness from

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his feet; throw thou a veil of darkness o’er his mind; make thou his intellect (at once) a wreck!

29. Let not the man who harms us, mind or body, have power to go forth on both his legs, or hold with both his hands, or see with both his eyes, not the land (beneath his feet), or the herd before his face.


30. At the aroused and fearful 1 Dragon, green, and belching forth his poison, for the righteous saint that perishes, yellow H(a)oma, hurl thy mace 2!

At the (murderous) bludgeon-bearer, committing deeds unheard of 3, blood-thirsty, (drunk) with fury, yellow H(a)oma, hurl thy mace!

31. Against the wicked human tyrant, hurling weapons at the head, for the righteous saint that perishes, yellow H(a)oma, hurl thy mace!

Against the righteousness-disturber, the unholy life-destroyer, thoughts and words of our 4 religion well-delivering, yet in actions never reaching, for the righteous saint that perishes, yellow H(a)oma, hurl thy mace!

32. Against the body of the harlot, with her magic minds o’erthrowing with (intoxicating) pleasures 5, to the lusts her person offering, whose 6 mind as vapour wavers as it flies before the wind, for the righteous saint that perishes, yellow H(a)oma, hurl thy mace!


231:1 In the morning from six to ten.

231:2 Or, 'beautiful of life'

231:3 'Me,' omitted as interrupting rhythm, seems to be merely dramatic; or did it indicate that there was an original Zarathustrian Haoma Gâtha from which this is an extension?

232:1 Might not the entire sixteenth verse be placed here?

232:2 The fifth from Gaya Maretan the Iranian Adam, but his counterpart, the Indian Vivasvat, appears not only as the father of Yama, but of Manu, and even of the gods, (as promoted mortals?).

232:3 Compare svar-dsas pávamânâs.

232:4 So the Pahlavi.

232:5 Males, like females, seem to have been considered as developed at fifteen years of age.

233:1 Comp. Tritá âptiá.

233:2 Comp. the Indian Traitaná connected with Tritá.

233:3 Let it be remembered that Tritá smote the Ahi before Indra, Indra seeming only to re-enact the more original victory which the Avesta notices. Concerning Azhi Dahâka, see Windischmann's Zendstudien, s. 136.

233:4 Free.

233:5 In the Rig-veda âptyá seems only an epithet added to the name Tritá, *; and the two serpents of the Avesta are suspicious. Two names seem to have become two persons, or has the Avesta the more correct representation?

233:6 Have we the Semites here? They certainly penetrated as conquerors far into Media, and it seems uncritical to deny their leaving traces. The gloss may be very old.

233:* And to that of other gods.

234:1 Comp. Kapardínam.

234:2 I abandon reluctantly the admirable comparison of hvîs with the Indian svid (Geldner), also when explained as an inchoative (Barth.), but the resulting meaning is far from natural either here or in Vend. III, 32 (Sp. 305). That the dragon should begin to sweat (!) under the fire which was kindled upon his back, and which caused him to spring away, seems difficult. The process was not so deliberate. He was scorched, started, and then sprang. Also in Vend. III, 32 when the barley is produced the demons hardly 'sweat (with mental misery).' The idea is too advanced for the document. Burnouf's and Haug's 'hiss' was much better in both places. But I prefer the hint of the Pahlavi lâlâ vazlûnd. In Vend. III, 32 (Sp. 305), khîst-hômand. Ner. taptaska sa nrisamsah kukshubhe [dvipâdo* babhûva]. Whether hvîsatka = hîsatka (?) has anything to do with hiz or khiz = Pahlavi âkhîzîdanŏ , N. P. ‘hizîdan, is a question. I follow tradition without etymological help; perhaps we might as well write the word like the better known form as a conjecture.

234:3 The Pahlavi translator makes the attempt to account for the epithet 'manly-minded' as applied to Keresâspa while yet he fled affrighted; he says: Hômand mardmînisnîh hanâ yehevûnd, aîghas libbemman pavan gâsdâst; Ner. asya paurushamânasatvam* idam babhûva yad asau kaitanyam sthâne dadhau, 'his manly-mindedness was this, that he kept his wits on the occasion.' See the same story treated somewhat differently in the Yasts by Darmesteter (p. 295, note 2).

234:† Or, âkhêzîdanŏ.

235:1 Son of Pâîtirasp or Spêtârasp; Bundahis XXXII, 1, 2, &c.

235:2 The Ahuna-vairya is in the Gâthic dialect, and in the Ahunavaiti metre; it may have been composed by Z. It named the Gâtha.

235:3 Comp. Y. XXX, 6?

235:4 Free.

235:5 Comp. pathmeng gavôi.

236:1 Or, is madhem related to medhâ´ as well as mazdâ (fem.)?

236:2 Pahl. farzânakîh.

236:3 Hardly 'witches;' outwardly attractive, but evil female beings.

236:4 Pahl. sâstârânŏ.

236:5 Pahl. pavan frîftârîh; Ner. pratâranatayâ.

236:6 Vîspô-hvâthrem does not mean 'comfortable' here. Hvan is the root; comp. hveng = sun.

237:1 Pahl. min hvâstâr.

237:2 Pahl. vânîdâr pavan kûshânŏ.

237:3 Arvantô = aurvantô; so the Pahl. arvand.

237:4 Comp. the Vedic Krisâ´nu, archer and demi-god who guarded the Soma. Ner. seems to notice that the name recalls that of the Christians.

238:1 So the Pahlavi, before others, read apãs; comp. frãs.

238:2 Haug's keen-sighted suggestion, pourvanîm = paurva = the Pleiades + nî = leading the P., looks doubtful, and seems refuted by Yast XXIV, 29, where Darmesteter renders a word probably akin, as 'the many.' I would here render 'the former.'

238:3 The 'grasp,' the summary of them.'

239:1 Pahl. sakhmakan; Ner. bhayamkare.

239:2 Or, 'strike thy club.'

239:3 'Deeds apart,' 'evil deeds.'

239:4 Free.

239:5 Or, 'holding.'

239:6Nhê must be an error; otherwise 'offering the person to him whose mind as vapour waters.'

Next: Yasna X