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



(As the Ahû is excellent, so (is) the Ratu (one who rules) from the righteous Order, a creator of mental goodness and of life's actions done for Mazda; and

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the Kingdom (is) for Ahura which to the poor shall offer a nurturer.)

1. Zarathustra asked of Ahura Mazda: O Ahura Mazda, Thou most bounteous Spirit! maker 1 of the corporeal worlds, the holy One! which was that word which Thou did’st declare to me, (2) which was before the sky, and before the water, before the earth, and before the cattle, before the plants, and before the fire, and before the holy man, and the Demon-gods (the Daêvas), before the Khrafstra-men 2, and before all the incarnate world; even before all the good creatures made by Mazda, and which contain (and are) the seed of righteousness?

3. Thereupon Ahura Mazda said: It was this piece 3, the Ahuna-vairya, O Spitama Zarathustra! which I pronounced as thine (4) before the sky, and before the waters, before the land, and before the cattle and the plants, and before the fire, Ahura Mazda's son, before the holy man 4, and before the Daêvas, and Khrafstra-men, and before the entire corporeal world, even before the good creatures made by Mazda, which contain (and are) the seed of righteousness.

5. It was these part(s) of the Ahuna-vairya, O Spitama

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[paragraph continues] Zarathustra! which especially belongs to me, and when each is intoned aloud without the (needless) repetition 1 of verses and of words, and without their omission, it is worth a hundred of their other stanzas, even although they are prominent in the ritual, and likewise equally as well recited without additions or omissions; nay, further, when it is intoned imperfectly but added to, and with omissions, it is even then in effect equivalent (not to a hundred indeed, but) to ten other (stanzas) that are prominent.

6. And whoever in this world of mine which is corporeal shall mentally recall, O Spitâma* Zarathustra! a portion of the Ahuna-vairya, and having thus recalled it, shall undertone it, or beginning to recite it with the undertone, shall then utter it aloud, or chanting it with intoning voice, shall worship thus, then with even threefold (safety and with speed 2) I will bring his soul over the Bridge of Kinvat, I who am Ahura Mazda (I will help him to pass over it) to Heaven (the best life), and to Righteousness the Best, and to the lights of heaven 3.

7. And whoever, O Spitama Zarathustra! while undertoning the part(s) of the Ahuna-vairya (or this piece the Ahuna-vairya), takes ought therefrom, whether the half, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth, I who am Ahura Mazda will draw his soul off

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from the better world; yea, so far off will I withdraw it as the earth is large and wide; [and this earth 1 is as long as it is broad 2].

8. And I pronounced this saying which contains its Ahû and its Ratu 3 before the creation of this heaven, before the making of the waters, and the plants, and the four-footed kine, before the birth of the holy biped man, before this sun with its body made for the acquisition of the creation of the Bountiful Immortals 4.

9.  5And the more bountiful 6 of the two Spirits (Ahura) declared to me 7 (Zarathustra) the entire creation of the pure, that which exists at present, that which is in the course of emerging into existence 8, and that which shall be, with reference to the performance and realisation 'of the actions of a life devoted to Mazda 9.'

10. And this word is the most emphatic of the words which have ever been pronounced, or which are 10 now spoken, or which shall be spoken in future; for (the eminence of) this utterance is a thing of such a nature, that if all the corporeal and living world

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should learn it, and learning should hold fast by it, they would be redeemed from their mortality!

11. And this our word I have proclaimed as a symbol to be learned 1, and to be recited, as it were, to every one of the beings under the influence of and for the sake of Righteousness the Best.

12. And 'as' (the worshipper has) here spoken it forth, when he has thus 'appointed' the 'Lord and regulator 2,' so (by thus reciting these authoritative words), he acknowledges Ahura Mazda (as prior to, and supreme) over, those creatures who have 'the mind' 3 as their first. 'As' he acknowledges Him as the greatest of them all, 'so' he assigns the creatures to Him (as to their originator).

13. As he undertones the third sentence, he thereby announces that ‘all the amenities of life appertain to the 'good' Mazda 4, (and come) from Him. As he recites 'dazda mananghô,' 'the creator of mind,' he acknowledges Him as superior and prior to mind; and as he makes Him the one who indicates (the truth) to mind, (saying) 'mananghô of mind,' which means that by this much he makes Him (its director), and then he makes Him 'the lord of actions 5.'

14. And when he acknowledges Him for the creatures thus, 'O Mazda 6!' he acknowledges Him (as

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their ruler) when he assigns the creatures to Him thus. He then assigns the Kingdom to Ahura 1, saying: 'Thine, O Mazda! is the Kingdom.' And he assigns a nourisher and protector to the poor, saying: Yim drigubyô dadat vâstârem; that is, as a friend to Spitama 2. This is the fifth sentence, (and it concludes) the entire recital and word, (even) the whole of this word of Ahura Mazda 3.

15. He who is the best (of all) Ahura Mazda, pronounced the Ahuna-vairya, and as He pronounced it as the best, so He caused it to have its effect 4, (He, ever) the same, (as He is).

The evil one at once 5 arose (to oppose Him), but He (Ahura) repelled that wicked one with His interdict, and with this repelling renunciation: Neither our minds are in harmony, nor our precepts, nor our comprehensions, nor our beliefs, nor our words, nor our actions, nor our consciences, nor our souls 6!


16. And this saying, uttered by Mazda, has three stages, or measures 8, and belongs to four classes (of men as its supporters), and to five chiefs (in the political world, without whom its efficiency is

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marred), and it has a conclusion ending with a gift. (Question.) How are its measures (constituted)? (Answer.) The good thought, the good word, and the good deed. 17. (Question.) With what classes of men? (Answer.) The priest, the charioteer (as the chief of warriors), the systematic tiller 1 of the ground, and the artisan 2. These classes therefore accompany the religious man throughout his entire duty 3 with the correct thought, the truthful word, and the righteous action. These are the classes and states in life which give attention to the rulers 4, and fulfil the (laws) of religion; (yea, they are the guides and companions of that religious man) through whose actions the settlements are furthered in righteousness.

18. (Question.) How are the chiefs (constituted)? (Answer.) They are the house-chief, the village-chief, and the tribe-chief, the chief of the province, and the Zarathustra 5 as the fifth. That is, so far as those provinces are concerned which are different from, and outside of the Zarathustrian regency, or domain. [Ragha 6 which has four chiefs (only) is the Zarathustrian (district)]. (Question.) How are the chiefs of this one constituted? (Answer.) They (are) the house-chief, the village-chief, the tribe-chief, and the Zarathustra as the fourth. 19. (Question.) What is the thought well thought? (Answer.) (It is that which the holy man thinks), the one who holds the holy thought to be before all other things 7. (Question.)

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[paragraph continues] What is the word well spoken? (Answer.) It is the Mãthra Spenta 1, the bounteous word of reason. (Question.) What is the deed well done? (Answer.) It is that done with praises 2, and by the creatures who regard Righteousness as before all other things. 20. (Question.) Mazda made a proclamation, whom did He announce? (Answer.) Some one who was holy, and yet both heavenly and mundane 3. (Question.) What was His character, He who made this sacred enunciation? (Answer.) He who is the best (of all), the ruling one. (Question.) Of what character (did He proclaim him the coming one)? (Answer.) As holy and the best, a ruler who exercises no wanton or despotic power 4.

21. We sacrifice to the (several) part(s) of the Ahuna-vairya. We sacrifice to the memorised recital of the Ahuna-vairya, and its regular chanting and its use in the full Yasna.


259:5 The obvious errors contained in this ancient comment cannot p. 260 destroy its great interest as a specimen of early exegesis. Where I hold it to be erroneous may be seen from my rendering of the Ahuna without further observations. The Ahuna-vairya is in the Gâthic dialect, and the Ahunavaiti metre. This Zand is in the Zend (sic). Ahû gives better sense as a nom.

260:1 See daunghôit para below.

260:2 May not khrafstra be a degeneration from kehrp-astar? While the term may be applied to wild beasts, one is strongly inclined to hold that foul insects are chiefly referred to.

260:3 This part of the Ahuna (?), meaning its several parts.

260:4 Tradition naturally specifies Gaya Maretan.

261:1 I do not think that mispronunciation is here intended; the Pahlavi has abarâ shûtakîh; aîghas barâ lâ khelmûnêd; Ner. na sete. I am strongly inclined to read anapashûta for anapishûta.

261:2 Three times seems to me to lack meaning, but it may have given rise to a foolish belief that the soul went three times before death to heaven.

261:3 Vahistaêibyô retaining this sense here.

262:1 Îm here equals iyám.

262:2 Pâzand.

262:3 So, referring to the wording of the Ahuna.

262:4 Enabling us to receive the blessings which they bestow through the influence of the sun. 'The sun-shaped matter' would give us a materialism. The Pahlavi has 'levînŏ min zak khurkhshêdŏ brînŏ (?) kerpŏ tanû î khûrkhshêd pavan barâ ayâpakîh î ameshnspendânŏ yehabûnd.'

262:5 I hold that Ahura speaks no further here.

262:6 See Y. XLV, 1.

262:7 Of course fictitious, as Z. had long been among the dead.

262:8 Does bavaintika mean 'past?'

262:9 Through the state of action; skyaothananãm angheus Mazdâi.

262:10 Can mruyê(-vê) be a third singular like ghnê, isê?

263:1 Or, 'it has been declared to us, the learner, and the one in charge of the ritual.'

263:2 In the words yathâ ahû vairyô, athâ ratus.

263:3 See dazda mananghô, coming 'before' skyaothananãm angheus, khshathrem, and vâstârem.

263:4 Can the Ahuna have lost words, and is Mazdau hugitîs vangheus a citation? At ally events, the Zandist errs in separating vangheus from mananghô. He attributes mystical meaning to every word.

263:5 Comp. aha-skyaothananãm.

263:6 Reading Mazda (?).

264:1 Khshathremkâ Ahurâi â.

264:2 As having the interest of the poor at heart.

264:3 Supposing Ahura (?) to be meant by Ahû and Ratu; see Mazdâi Ahurâi. The Zandist may have rendered: As Ahura is the (first) to be chosen, so He is our Ratu from His righteousness, the creator of Vohûman (including all good creatures), &c.

264:4 'Praised' (?).

264:5 Reading haithwat; Pahlavi tîz; possibly 'being present.'

264:6 See Y. XLV, 2.

264:7 This Zand differs, as to the application of Ahû and Ratu, from the former.

264:8 Afsman elsewhere applies to metre.

265:1 These are 'the poor,' but not mendicants.

265:2 A class not in the Gâthas; observe the rise of a caste system.

265:3 Or, 'experience.'

265:4 Or, 'the ritual.'

265:5 The title of a governor.

265:6 It did not need the fifth. It was a centre of rule.

265:7 Ashavan manas paoiryô.

266:1 Probably the Gâthas with their lost portions, also the Vendîdâd.

266:2 Ritual strictness based upon practical piety.

266:3 The Saoshyant.

266:4 The latter part of this Zand shows that the Ratu was recognised as a human ruler in it.

Next: Yasna XX. Zand, or Commentary, on the Ashem Vohû