The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
1. A tone of thankfulness continues. As if in gratitude for better fortunes, the prophet declares that he will bestow upon Ahura with the foremost, according to the measure of the gifts (which he has received. Those gifts were the secured Immortality not mere temporal 'deathlessness'), the Righteous Order, and the Sovereign Power established in holiness and bestowing the Universal Weal.
2. The kind of gifts which are proposed for offerings are not sacrificial beasts or fruits, but the actions of the truly pious citizen whose soul is intimately united with Righteousness, the homage of prayer, and the songs of praise. As no piety could exist without strict ecclesiastical regularity, so no ceremonial punctuality was conceived of apart from honour and charity (see verse 5 and Yast XXII).
3. Accordingly the meat-offering, the mention of which immediately follows, is spoken of as offered with homage to the Righteous Order and to the Divine Sovereignty for the benefit of all the sacred settlements, in order to equip the wise man fully, and as a helpful blessing among the Immortals themselves and their adherents.
4. And the Fire is likewise mentioned, which was worshipped not so much like Agni as the friendly god of the hearth and the altar, but more and chiefly like Agni as the priest of the church.
Not unlike Agni, it is called upon both for inward spiritual strength and for temporal blessings in various forms, together with vengeance hurled very much as if in the form of a thunderbolt (zastâ-istâis derestâ-aênanghem). 5. To explain what he means by his supplications for the coming of the Kingdom, and for holy actions (that is, to make it certain that he does not mean punctilious ritualism apart from the noblest charity), he rhetorically asks: ‘And what is Your Kingdom, that which Zarathustra establishes and offers to You? (XXXIII, 14). What is the kind of prayer (comp. XLVIII, 8, and LIII, 1) which I must use, so that I may become Yours (Your property) in my actions, not to load Your priesthood with sacrifices, nor to fatten Your princes with booty (as too often in the Riks), nor yet to secure a heavy gift to the poet, but to 'nourish Your poor?' This was the essence of the desired Sanctity and the Sovereign Authority. The Kingdom of God, exalted
and personified as a separate intelligence, is positively said to be something more than a gaudy pageant of material display, even Tavâ Khshathrem yâ erezigyôi dâhî drigavê vahyô (LIII, 9). (See also even Vendîdâd II [part i], where moral duties are lauded.)
And the composer himself seems to be so conscious of the sharply defined difference between such a kingdom and that of the rival religion, that he immediately adds an interdict: 'Such is Your Kingdom, caring for the righteous poor, and therefore we declare You irreconcilably distinct from the Daêvas and their polluted followers. Ye are beyond them and before in the spirit of Your Reign!'
6. He then utters an impressive doubt, which only deepens our admiration at his expressions of faith: 'If it be really true,' he continues (see XLIV, 6), 'that Ye are thus with the Righteous Order and the Good Mind, the God who looks upon the goodness of the heart and the activity of the hands, then give me a sign of it, that I may persevere and increase in the depth of my homage while life shall last.' 7. For the struggle, though not without signs of a favourable issue, was far from over yet. (Hence his misgivings.)
He then asks with some wistfulness after the 'ar(e)drâ,' the men that could help, who from the experience of the grace of God, could turn sorrow into blessing by establishing the holy religious system firmly, but with enlarged and not narrowed understanding. And, still a little dispirited, he declares, as so often: 'None have I other than You; therefore I can wait for the ar(e)drâ. Do ye save us alone by Your already offered means of grace.'
8. 'For Ye have given me already, as it were, a sign. The enemy are checked, and for the moment cowed, if they are not repelled. They among whom there was death for so many when they had the upper hand, and when their ruler persecuted the holy vows are not only struck with terror by the action which we take, but their chief retribution is, as we hold it, spiritual, and therefore, in the eye of truth the more severe. They will not encourage righteous Order and righteous intentions, and accordingly, the personified Good Intention, grieved, will depart from them.'
9. 'Yea,' he reiterates, amplifying, 'the unfortunate sinners who depart from Thy kindly and sacred Piety in this ignorance of all experience of Thy Good Mind, will suffer an equal desertion. The characteristics of righteousness will, in their turn, avoid them as the unclean creatures flee from us.' 10. 'And this is,' thus he continues, 'a sign or result which the All-wise declares to me to steady my soul as I waver.' 'And these are indeed the cheering proofs of Thy favour,' he adds, addressing Ahura, 'which terrify our enemies
and advance us, giving us a righteous eminence (XXXIII, 14) in Thy Kingdom.'
11. 'Therefore that kindly Piety whom these desert in their judicial ignorance, will increase for us both the all-comprehensive blessings; spiritual Deathlessness begun in anticipation here, and its necessary condition, Welfare. And they shall be increased as food (sic) for Mazda's straitened people, or better, to His glory as their monarch. And by their means Ahura may defend Himself efficiently from the persecuting and idolatrous foe.' 12. Taking into consideration all that depends on a correct understanding as to religious and political duties, he fervently prays to be guided aright in the establishment of a ceremonial and of praises, beseeching Mazda to speak, declaring the kind of worship which may secure the ashis (which are the blessed rewards). And he asks to be taught those religious paths about which no error was possible, the paths which are the Good Mind's own.
13. After a fashion already known to us (as in XXIX), he answers his question himself. That way which Ahura had already revealed as the Good Mind's own, was made up of the revealed precepts of the Saoshyants. There, as in the paths where Ahura dwells (XXXIII, 5; XLVI, 16), the well-doer may prosper from his devotion to the religious truths, and gain a reward immediately from the hand of God. 14. As if never forgetting the original calamity, the woes of the Kine, he further declares that way to be the one of all to be chosen for this earthly life, as the vestibule to the heavenly one. And he asserts that they who toil for the Kine (who represents here, as generally, the holy settlements as well as their chief source of riches and support) are striving to further and demonstrate the wisdom of that way by every righteous contrivance.
Nay, he declares that the deeds of Piety are themselves the highest wisdom, just as the words and righteous actions of the Saoshyants not only declare and make, but constitute, 'the way.'
15. Again, concluding with a climacteric and synoptical prayer, he beseeches Ahura to speak and reveal to him all the most available statements, ceremonies, and praises. And never forgetting that all ceremonies, hymns, and sacrifices, sacred as they are, are only means to a greater end; he prays the Deity that He may exert that Sovereign Power which is alone supremely efficient in relieving actual distress (LIII, 9), for by its holy laws and spiritual arms it can alone bring on the Frashakard, and produce that condition in society in which all human progress shall have become complete.
1. As to those (three gifts of blessings), Immortality, the Righteous Order, and the (established) Kingdom of Welfare, which Thou, O Mazda! hast given through (holy) deeds, words, and the sacrifice unto these (Thy servants here in my sight 1), gifts (shall) be offered 2 by us in return to Thee, O Ahura! and with the foremost of them all.
2. Yea, and all those gifts of the Good Spirit 3 have been given (back in gratitude) to Thee by the mind and the deed of the bountiful man, whose soul goes hand in hand 4 with the Righteous Order in the settlement, in homage toward the One like You 5,
[paragraph continues] O Mazda! and with the chants of the (thankful) praisers 1.
3. And unto Thee, O Ahura! will we offer the (thankful) meat-offering with self-humbling praise, and to Thy Righteousness (like Thee a person), and for all the settlements in Thy kingdom which are guarded 2 by Thy Good Mind. For in the perfect preparation of the justly acting (has that offering its power), O Mazda! together with all (others of its kind). Among those like You and worthy of Yourselves, it is a blessing 3.
4. And we pray likewise for Thy Fire, O Ahura! strong through Righteousness (as it is), most swift, (most) powerful, to the house with joy receiving it, in many wonderful ways our help, but to the hater, O Mazda! it is a steadfast 4 harm as if with weapons hurled from the hands 5.
5. What is 1 then Your Kingdom, O Mazda? What are Your riches? that I may become 2 Your own in my actions, with the Righteous Order, and (Thy) Good Mind, to care for Your poor (in their suffering 3). Apart from all would we declare You, yea, apart from Daêvas 4, and Khrafstra-polluted mortals!
6. If thus Ye are in verity, O Mazda! with the Righteous Order and Thy Good Mind, then grant Ye me a sign 1 of this in this world's entire abiding 2 (while I live amid its scenes), how offering sacrifice and praising 3 You the more devoutly 4, I may approach You (in my worship)!
7. Where 5 are Thine offerers, O Mazda! Thy helpers, who as the enlightened of the Good Mind are producing the doctrines with wide mental light as inherited treasures, (delivering them as Thy word) in misfortune and in woe 6? I know none other than You; then do Ye save us through Your righteousness!
8. Through these our deeds (of sacrifice and zeal 7), they are terrified 8 among whom there was (once) destruction, and for many (at the time) when the
oppressor of Thy holy vows was as the stronger oppressing the weaker 1. They who have not thought (in consonance) with Thy Righteous Order, from these Thy Good Mind 2 abideth afar.
9. Aye, they who desert Thy bountiful Piety, O Mazda! that one desired of Thee 3, O Thou omniscient! and who thus abandon her by reason of the evil-doer, and in their ignorance of (Thy) Good Mind, from such as these (Âramaiti) with her holiness utterly departs 4 as the red Khrafstras (who destroy and pollute all life, flee) from us 5 (Thy faithful servants).
10. Through the action of this (His) Good Mind (as he works his grace within us) the benevolently wise 6 One declared a result as its fruit, He knowing the bountiful Piety, the creatrix of righteous beings 7. These all, O Mazda Ahura! in Thy Kingdom (are
[paragraph continues] 'helps to our progress') for they smite (our tyrants) with fear 1.
11. And for Thee hath Âramaiti (who is Our Piety) increased both the Universal Weal and (its continuance in) Immortality, and (with them as ever united) the Righteous (ritual and moral) Order (established and made firm) in the Kingdom of (Thy Good Mind). Those powerful lasting two (hath she increased) to (give us the needful) food 2. And through these, O Mazda! art Thou with Thy perfect expellers of hate 3. (Thou removest Thy foes afar 4!)
12. What then are Thy regulations 5? And what wilt Thou? What of praise, or of (fuller) offering? Speak forth that we hear it, O Mazda! what will establish the blessed rewards of Thine ordinance 6!
[paragraph continues] Teach Thou us the paths through Righteousness, those verily trod by (Thy) Good Mind 1 as he lives within Thy saints 2.
13. (Do I ask what is that path?) That way which Thou declarest to me as the path of the Good Mind, O Ahura! (is made 3 in its parts by) the religious precepts and laws of the Saviours, wherein the well-doer thrives 4 from (his) Righteousness 5. And it marks for the good a reward of which Thou art Thyself the bestower.
14. For that (reward), O Mazda! ye have given as the one to be chosen for (our) bodily 6 life through
the deeds of Thy Good Mind (in us). They who work in the toil of the mother 1. Kine, these further 2 Your merciful care through the understanding's action 3, and (taught) by Thine Order's (word) 4.
15. Yea, (show me, O Mazda! that path and its reward); tell me the best (of truths); reveal the best words and best actions, and the confessing 5 prayer of the praiser through Thy Good Mind (living within us); and through the Righteous Order, O Ahura! And by Your Sovereign Power and grace may’st Thou make life really progressive 6 (till perfection shall have been reached)!
83:1 The hymns seem to be all composed for public declamation, as is evident from various passages. Similar indications often occur in the Veda. I formerly connected aêshãm with Ameretatât, &c., 'a thank-offering for these (gifts).'
83:2 I am very sorry to oppose progress on such a subject as dastê, but I do not think that it is an infinitive, nor that âitê or mrûitê are such. -Tê, or what it represents, I regard as seldom or never a Gâthic suffix, and especially not, as here, where dastê falls to the end of the sentence. Too little attention has been paid to the Gâthic sentence. The infinitive seldom falls to the end of it; vîdvanôi vaokâ; tat môi vîkidyâi vaokâ; vîduyê (vîdvê) vohû mananghâ; menkâ daidyâi yêhyâ mâ rishis; ashâ fradathâi asperezatâ; âgôi (?) hâdrôyâ; ye akistem vaênanghê aogedâ; but zbayâ avanghânê (?) yâ verezyêidyâi mantâ vâstryâ; srûidyâi Mazdâ frâvaokâ; kahmâi vîvîduyê (-vê) vashî; tat verezyêidyâi hyat môi mraotâ vahistem; arethâ vôizhdyâi kâmahyâ tem môi dâtâ; dazdyâi hâkerenâ; but vasmî anyâkâ vîduyê (-vê); mendâidyâi yâ Tôi Mazdâ âdistis, &c. The Pahlavi renders here with admirable freedom as a first person, yehabûnêm.
83:3 Observe this expression. It is the spenta mainyu which, like the 'Holy Spirit of God,' is sometimes identical with Him.
83:4 Souls are elsewhere said to go hand in hand; see Y. XXXIII, 9.
83:5 I suppose that it is possible that khshmâvatô, here and elsewhere, may refer to the human subject, 'to the praise of your worshipper,' p. 84 but it does not sound at all natural. I think that khshmâvatô is merely another way of saying 'of you,' as mavant = me. So the Pahlavi also seems to render here: Avô zak î lekûm va nîyâyîsnŏ. Ner. also: Samâgakkhâmi yushmâkam namaskritaye, Mahâgñânin.
84:1 This recalls the dasemê-stûtãm of Y. XXVIII, 10.
The Pahlavi renders freely and not uncritically, regarding the spenta nar as Zarathustra himself: Aftânŏ dên Garôdmânŏ stâyem. Ner.: Garothmâne staumi te.
84:2 So also the translations: Aîghas parvarisn va min frarûnîh. Ner.: Uttamena pratipâlyâ manasâ. Compare Y. XXXII, 2: sâremanŏ khshathrât. The singular verb is difficult.
84:3 Or, 'for as those justly acting, and in preparation will we offer it as a blessing together with all who are among "Your own."' Here khshmâvant equals 'Your own'; rather than 'Yourselves.'
84:4 Or 'visible' as fire, but this seems too feeble a conception for the place. The Pahlavi translator read derestâ as a participle from dar(e)z, which is quite as possible as that it should be from dar(e)s. He renders yakhsenunêd kînŏ; Ner., vidadhâti nigraham. That he so translated because he was not aware that derestâ could be also a participle from dar(e)s, is no longer tenable.
84:5 As by no means a partially selected specimen, let the reader p. 85 consider the following from the Pahlavi: Thus, O Aûharmazd! this which is Thy Fire, which is so powerful, is a satisfaction to him whose is Aharâyîh [-when my chieftain (the glossist seeming to have a text with a first pronoun; otherwise the first translator who never saw? us(e)mahî) becomes one by whom duty and charity are fulfilled], for it is quick and powerful [the Fire], and remains continually in friendship with him, and makes joy manifest to him. And therefore, O Aûharmazd I on him who is the tormentor it takes revenge as if with a mighty wish.
85:1 Kat is often a mere interrogative particle, so modern interrogatives are also often merely formal.
85:2 Bartholomae admirably follows K4 here with its hakhmî; it gives a more common explanation of vâo, which I am obliged to take in a possessive sense beside ne. The manuscript used by the Pahlavi writer had, however, ahmî, as many others now extant.
85:3 Note the recurrence of this care for the poor, showing what the frequent mention of righteousness, the good mind, &c. meant.
85:4 Observe that daêvâis must mean the Demon-gods and not their worshippers here; pare vâo indicates this, and also mashyâis = men, who are separately mentioned. The Pahlavi translator is finely critical here, giving us our first hint as to the meaning: Pêsh Lekûm min harvisp-gûnŏ levînŏ gûft hômanêd [aîgh tûbânkardar hômanêd, &c.]. So with antare-mrûyê (-vê), he was the pioneer also. I render with impartiality: Which (of what kind) is your sovereignty? [that is, what thing can I do, whereby your sovereignty may be increased through my instrumentality?] And which is your wealth? [that is, what thing shall I do whereby riches may be kept in your possession by my means?] How thus in the actions of Aûharmazd shall I become yours? [That is, I (?) shall do that thing through which, by my means, your sovereignty is extended; and also wealth is kept in your possession by me.] For whenever I (?) shall do righteous deeds, [that is, when I (?) shall do duty and good works], Vohûman gives nourishment to our poor. Before all of every kind, even before them ye are p. 86 declared; [that is, ye are more capable] than the demons, for their (?) intellect is perverted, (and ye are also before) men.
86:1 So also the Pahlavi dakhsak.
86:2 So indicated by ketrûnânî. I have no doubt whatever that maêthâ should have this sense. See also Y. XXX, 9.
86:3 So also the Pahlavi: Pavan âfrînagânŏ dahisnŏ va stâyisnŏ sâtûnam madam.
86:4 Urvâidyâo, if in its original form, looks like a comparative. One naturally thinks of a *vrâd (?) equivalent to 'vridh.'
86:5 Rhetorically interrogative as often in English, or indeed a mere particle. (Compare XLVI, 9.)
86:6 So also the Pahlavi indicates with its âmûkhtisnŏ (sic) î hûvarisnŏ [î avŏ kâr va kirfak], mûnik pavan âsânîh va mûnik pavan tangîh vâdûnyên frâkh-hushîh. Ner.: Sikshâm satyiya yah samâdhânatve, samkatatve* ’pi kurute vipulakaitanyah [kila, yah kâryam punyam yat samriddhatayâ kurute] takka yat samkatatayâ ’pi kurute, tasya vigñânakaitanyam tasmâd bhavati.
86:7 Nâo being taken in a possessive sense.
86:8 But the Pahlavi has: 'Min zak î valmansân maman kûnisnŏ lanman bîm'; possibly 'by these actions they terrify us'; the middle in the sense of the active.
87:1 It is a mistake to suppose that the Pahlavi translator and his followers, Ner. and the Persian MS. (of Haug's Collection), refer nâidyaunghem and nadentô to the same Sanskrit word. They translate them as if referring the first to nâdh, and the last to nid.
87:2 Min valmansân barâ rakhîk aîtŏ Vohûman. Asmanô seems an impossible reading, and cannot be reconciled with Vohû.
87:3 The hint of the Pahlavi points, as usual, to the general sense, leaving us the task of discovering the grammatical structure.
Here I do not follow the indication of sedkûnyên; Ner. parikshipyanti. The voc. 'O Thou' is free.
87:4 So also in general the Pahlavi: Min valmansân kabed Aharâyîh segdak; Ner. tebhyah* prabhuto dharmah* prabhrasyati.
87:5 So if ahmat is read, but the MS. before the Pahlavi translator read ahmât; Ner. etebhyah (freely). A simpler rendering results; 'as from him flee away.'
87:6 Observe the evidence of the Zend to the prevalent meaning of 'khratu.'
87:7 Or reading hithãn, and in the sense of 'bond,' we coincide with Ner. sukhanivâsam. Haithãm = the true; hâtãm? = of beings. Lit. 'the true creatrix of Asha (the holy).'
88:1 The word voyathrâ is difficult to place; the Pahlavi translator divided, reading âvo-yathrâ (possibly âvoi athrâ), and rendered frôd kûshî-aît = is smitten down; the Persian better: Frôd zadar, is smiting down. We may well hesitate before rejecting this indication, which may point to a better text. Like vafus, it may indicate the severity of the influences of the righteous system, in the midst of genial allusion. The tâ vîspâ might refer quite naturally to dus-skayasthanâ in the previous verse. The form voyathrâ (corrected) may represent some derivative from the root bî = to fear. Compare byantê in verse 8.
88:2 So likewise the Pahlavi with its khûrisnŏ; otherwise 'for glory;' hvar = svar. Lit. 'To Thee (are) both Weal and Immortality.'
88:3 Gavîd bêsh min lak hômanih; Ner. vîtakashtas tvam asi.
88:4 Ner.: Thus both are (to be derived) from thee, Avirdâda's food, and that of Amirdâda also, [the (food) of the Lord-of-water, and of the Lord-of-wood * (so the later Avesta and Parsism)], and in the kingdom of the best mind, righteousness is making a revelation together with the perfect mind. Do thou also bestow zeal and power upon this one, O Great Wise One, the Lord! From torment art thou exempt.
88:5 So also vîrâyisnŏ.
88:6 Pahlavi ârâyisnŏ.
88:* Otherwise simply 'water and tree.'
89:1 The Pahlavi has the gloss: Teach us the way of the original religion.
89:2 Neryosangh: Kim to sammârganam [kila, kâryam, te kim mahânyâyitaram?] Kah kâmah? Kâka yushmâkam stutih? Kâka yushmâkam igisnih? Srinomi, Mahâgñânin! prakrishtam brûhi! yat ketsi* dharmasya sammârganam, [aho viseshena pasya! tasmât mahânyâyitarât kuru!] Sikshâpaya* asmâkam dharmasya mârgam uttamena svâdhînam manasâ. [Mârgam yam pûrvanyâyavantam asmabhyam brûhi.]
89:3 Observe the certainty of a subtle meaning, 'the way is the consciences or laws.'
89:4 Geldner has admirably suggested a comparison with vrag on account of the connection 'way.' But as this necessitates two urvâz = vrâz, and as Ahura is spoken of as 'dwelling' in 'paths,' I do not think that 'thriving in paths' is very difficult. The prominent thought is not the going, but the 'right going.' That path indicates a reward (so also the Pahlavi kâshîdŏ, Ner. âsvâdayah). But we must be thankful for the keen and vigorous discussion. Compare urvâkhshanguha gâya gighaêsa. The Pahlavi has hû-ravâkh-manîh and in Y. XLIV, 8. If vrag is compared, the idea must be happy progress; but varh (Justi) seems the more obvious correspondent.
89:5 Asha, very often personified, is a stronger expression than 'correctly:
89:6 Of course our life on earth, merely in the bodily state. Comp. Y. XXVIII, 3. There astavataskâ evidently means 'of earth,' mananghô, 'of heaven' (—of corporeal—of mind, without body).
90:1 Or the 'mature,' 'drivable' (?) cow. She 'goes on her path' of toil.
90:2 So frâz yehabûnd.
90:3 Observe that verezenâ cannot well mean 'stall' in this line. The Pahlavi likewise sees varzî-aît in it; Ner. vidhîyate, both free as to form.
90:4 Neryosangh: Sa yato, Mahâgñânin! kâmo ’smâkam yat tanumate gîvamate dîyate [âkâryâya], uttamena karmane manasâ [khshatriyâya], yaska gavâ* âkârayitre* Aginâmnyâ, [kutumbine], yo yushmâkam sunirvânagñânatayâ, Svâmin! buddhyâka, punyapradattayâ vidhîyate [dînih]
90:5 I concede this shade of meaning to the constant and unvarying evidence of the Pahlavi translator. He translates uniformly by avâm yehabûnêd or its equivalents.
90:6 Bring on 'millennial' perfection when progress shall have been completed.
The Pahlavi translation is as follows: Pavan zak î lekûm khûdâyîh-Aûharmazd! frashakardŏ pavan kâmakŏ âshkârakŏ dên ahvânŏ yehabûnî-aît.
Ner.: Yushmâkam râgyena, Svâmin! akhshayatvam svekkhayâ parisphutam dâsyate bhuvane.