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



With the Yasna of the 'Seven Chapters' which ranks next in antiquity after the Gâthas, we already pass into an atmosphere distinct from theirs. The dialect still lingers, but the spirit is changed. We have advanced personification of the Bountiful Immortals; that is, their personification seems more prominent, while the ideas of which they are the personification already, and to a proportionate degree, have grown dim. The name Amesha Spenta occurs: the Fravashis appear; the Fire is worshipped, the Earth, and the Grass.

To the waters, to the Soul of the Kine, and to all holy or clean

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beings, the very word yazamaidê is applied for the first time. On the other hand, many later objects of worship are totally absent, the six seasons of the creation, the five divisions of the day, the five Gâthas, Zarathustra, the Baresman, the Haoma, &c. A considerable period of time must have elapsed since the Gâthas had been composed, and a lengthy period must also be supposed to have passed before the Avesta of the later type began to be sung and recited. The chapter numbered XLII in the Vendîdâd Sâdah of Brockhaus (1850), and in the edition of Westergaard (1852), and numbered XLI, 18-35 in Spiegel's edition, seems a later addition; but it cannot be very much later, as it preserves the dialect and general features. An intentional imitation is not probable. Spiegel has included it with chapter XLI to preserve the number 'seven;' and if the entire section is to be called 'the Yasnas of the Seven Chapters,' it should most certainly not be numbered XLIII! so number merely to follow Westergaard, as do the first two parts of these translations from the Avesta. This portion should neither be incorporated with chapter XLI, nor numbered as a separate one; it should be noted as a supplement. The name 'Seven Chapters' was of course given to the pieces long after their composition.


1. We sacrifice to Ahura Mazda, the holy Lord of the ritual order, and to the Bountiful Immortals, who rule aright, who dispose of all aright; and we sacrifice to the entire creation of the clean, the spiritual and the mundane, with the longing blessing of the beneficent ritual, with the longing blessing of the benignant Religion, the Mazdayasnian Faith.

2. We are praisers of good thoughts, of good words, and of good actions, of those now and those hereafter 1 [(Pâzand) of those being done, and of those

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completed]. We implant 1 (?) them (with our homage, and we do this) the more, and yet the more since we are (praisers) of the good (from whom they spring).

3. That, therefore, would we choose, O Ahura Mazda! and thou, O Righteousness the beauteous! that we should think, and speak, and do those thoughts, and words, and deeds, among actual good 2 thoughts, and words, and actions, which are the best for both the worlds; (4) and together with these gifts (?) and actions which are thus the best, we would pray for the Kine (which represents the pure creation), that she may have comfort and have fodder from the famed, and from the humble, from the potent and the weak.

5. To the best of good rulers (is) verily the Kingdom, because we render and ascribe it to Him, and make it thoroughly His own (?), to Mazda Ahura do we ascribe it, and to Righteousness the Best. 6. As thus both man or woman knows (the duty), both thoroughly and truly, so let him, or her, declare it and fulfil it, and inculcate it upon those who may perform it as it is. 7. We would be deeply mindful of Your sacrifice and homage, Yours, O Ahura Mazda! and the best, (and we would be mindful) of the nurture of the Kine. And that let us inculcate and perform for You according as we may, and (for) such (praisers as we are).

8. Under the shelter 3 of the ritual Order let us do so in the active fulfilment 3 of its (precepts) toward every one of the (clean) and better creatures which

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are fit to live 1, with a gift for both the worlds. 9. Yea, those words and sayings, O Ahura Mazda! we would proclaim as Righteousness, and as of the better mind (?); and we would make Thee the one who both supports (us in our proclamation) of them, and who throws still further light upon them (as they are),

10. And by reason of Thy Righteous Order, Thy Good Mind, and Thy Sovereign Power, and through the instrumentality of our praises of Thee, O Ahura Mazda! and for the purpose of (still further) praises, by Thy spoken words, and for (still further) spoken words, through Thy Yasna, and for (still further) Yasnas (would we thus proclaim them, and make Thee the bestower of our light).


282:1 The Pahlavi translator, as so often, first saw the proper explanation here.

283:1 Or, we are 'purifiers,' or 'adorners.' Tradition 'spreading from man to man,' so thoroughly implanting themselves; comp. perhaps nîd.

283:2 Hâtãm in this sense.

283:3 Or, 'in the house and stall.'

284:1 Or, 'live-stock.'

Next: Yasna XXXVI. To Ahura and the Fire