The Zend Avesta, Part III (SBE31), L.H. Mills, tr. , at sacred-texts.com
The chapter divides itself naturally into sections 1-5, 6-11. Verse 12 belongs with chapter L. One of the struggles in the holy cause seems to have gone against the party of Asha. I say 'one
of the struggles,' for from the account of a reverse which we have here, and from that of a success which meets us in chapter XLV, 1, and again from reverses in XLVI, 1, 2, &c., we naturally conclude that 'the cause' saw many vicissitudes, in which the last Gâtha still leaves us. Whether Y. XLV, 1 records a victory which was subsequent to the reverse before us, referring to a battle alluded to in Y. XLIV, 14, 15, also possibly anticipated in Y. XXXI, can never be decided; the order of the statements in the sequence of our present MSS. has little or nothing to do with the possible order of the events.
1. A border chief, Bendva by name, had proved himself too formidable (mazistô) for the moment, and the holy Faith knows how to beg for vengeance on the armed Drûg-worshipper. The weapons of Ahura were not spiritual only, any more than those of Israel were, or those of Mohammed. The death of an armed religious enemy was devoutly to be desired for every moral and political, as well as for every personal reason. 2. For judicial as well as priestly decisions hung on the issue. And this Bendva had his functionaries and a system, and they were in full and active operation. And this was, beyond a doubt, a rival and settled system, and not merely an upstart and insurrectionary one. It had caused the true prophet many an hour of thought as well as anger. Its functionaries gave him pause (mânayêitî). Falsity in religion was as ever his opportunity; and invective follows. 'The priestly judge himself who served the Drûg-worshippers was a cheat.' 'The holy Order was his foe, and not his helper.' And he did not contribute at all to the spread of Piety as the Zarathustrians conceived of it, nor indeed really in another sense for the reason that he even repudiated the source of pious wisdom, which is holy counsel. 3. But, however, the evil functionaries might resort to subterfuge and strategy, the opposing powers themselves, the Righteous Order on the one side, and the power of the Lie-demon on the other, were planted in the opposing systems with dualistic clearness, to benefit or injure. There was no compromise, as doubtless the Drûg-party may have wished.
And so the poet cries once more for the divine Benevolence to be his guardian; or perhaps he may have intended a particular chief who represented the Good Mind, while at the same time he swept the entire throng and company who adhered to the Lie-demon, with his interdict, away from his consideration. 4. He declares them closely allied to the Daêva-worshippers, or else he puts their worship of the Daêvas in the place of climax as their
highest offence, not failing to point out what should conciliate sympathy with him always; that is, that those who brought the Daêvas, and opposed Asha, were the devotees of Rapine (aêshmem vareden); for murderous rapine seems to have been, apart from Asha, the universal sin. By this these Daêva-worshippers gained a stolen livelihood, and spent their ill-gotten means in idle waste (fshuyasû afshuyantô). 5. But he who defended the holy Daêna was as meat and drink to the people, wise and faithful, as a settled citizen, and trained in the habits of the holy State.
6. He therefore prays once more for right discernment as to how he may propagate the Faith. 7. And he calls on the steady citizen to listen, beseeching God Himself to give an ear, and to tell him who the faithful prince, or peer, or villager, may be, who may take the lead (see sare) in giving forth (see srâvayaêmâ) that holy Daêna, with its frasasti, to the masses who await it. 8. But he asks the question as if only to give emphasis to his naming a chief and venerated friend. Frashaostra is the man. He is the one fitted for the hearing, apt to proclaim the truth (frasrûidyâi erethwô). And he begs that they both (compare Y. XXVIII, 9) may be lastingly prominent in that holy Realm which was to counteract the depraved polity whose chief had for the moment gained the upper hand (verses 1, 2). 9. But the case is in so far uncertain and undecided, that he cries for help once more to the ideal citizen himself, fearing that he may yet be induced to share the power with the heretic, and still declares that men's souls may reach the reward of priority only through the holy System of Ahura, and under the rulers of His choice.
10. He therefore confides the result to Ahura, and with it, his dependents, those living and those dead. And his thoughts, being turned to heaven (11), they also revert as if by antithesis (the key-note of the Daêna) to future retribution. Those who may be wavering, half-inclined to adhere to the opposing party (verse 9), are warned in words of peculiar meaning. Those that choose the evil sovereign, a dussasti, as in Y. XXXII, 9, or as the sastars of Y. XLVI, 1, will not go forward with the saints to the Kinvat (Y. XLVI, 10), nor will they be met by their consciences under pleasing images, and later by the souls of saints who had gone before, but the wicked dead shall meet them in the home of Lies, with poisoned food, and sneering words. And this shall be a self-inflicted vengeance.
1. Bendva 1 has ever fought with me; (yea, since he first appeared at hand to threaten, and alas to his advantage in the strife) He is the most powerful (in brutal might), and (in his predominance) would crush my strength as I seek to win back the disaffected (in my host) through Righteous 2 (zeal), O Mazda! Come then with gifts of (vengeful 3) good to (meet) my sorrow 4. Through (Thine inspiring) Good Mind obtain (for me 5) that (Bendva's) death 6!
2. (Aye, he is indeed the greatest 7), for that
[paragraph continues] Bendva's evil judge doth cause me to hesitate and ponder (in my earnest course of propagation and reform), a deceiver as he is, (estranged) from the Righteous Order, and receiving 1 from it (not happiness) but many a wound. The bountiful and perfect Piety he has not maintained nor strengthened for this 2 land, nor questions with Thy Good Mind hath he asked 3 (to gain him light), O Lord!
3. But (all is not yet lost!); for this religious choice 4 (our holy creed, for which our last lost 5 battle has been fought), O Mazda! Thy blessed Order (our guardian help) has yet been set to save and bless us. (But) for (that evil) Judge, the Demon-of-the-Lie, (is set) to deal (for him) her wounds 6. Therefore do I pray (the more) for the sheltering leadership of Thy Good Mind (within our folk and our commanders). And all the allies of the wicked I abjure 7.
4. They who with evil scheme and will shall cherish and help on the Wrath of Rapine, and with her Râma 8, and (not by silent favour, but) with their
very tongues, whose will and wish 1 (run) not with good but evil deeds. These settle and support the Daêvas (in their power, not the Lord). It is 2 the wicked's Faith and Insight (so to do. Their faith is the perverted).
5. But he, O Mazda! is our abundance and our fatness 3, who (will yet dare these unbelieving foes) and guard the Faith (against that envious Wrath 4), and with the Good Mind's power. For every man of Piety is a wise citizen 5 in accordance with the holy Order, and so are all who are (in truth) within Thy Realm, O Lord!
6. And now, will I beseech of You, O Mazda, and Righteousness (within Thy Mãthra) speaks 6 (to tell me) what lies within Your will's intention, that (having discerned Your Insight as the enlightened
ever must), I may as well discern aright how we can herald forth those (truths), and that pure Daêna (with them) which is the Faith of Him who is Thyself 1, O Lord.
7, And (as we speak it forth as taught by Asha) then let the (zealous 2 citizen) give heed, and with Thy Good Mind, O Ahura Mazda! Yea, let him give ear in accordance with (the dictate of) the Holy Order, and do Thou hear alike as well 3. Who shall be the ally; and who the kinsman-lord himself, who, with his gifts and (legal rules), shall institute and settle for the serving mass a worthy praise (for God 4)?
8. (And I do not ask in vain, for such an one is found for us, and near at hand.) To Frashaostra hast Thou given that most favouring guardian power, the headship 5 of the Holy Order (for us), O
[paragraph continues] Ahura! This therefore would I pray of Thee (to confirm to him that gracious gift), and for myself likewise, would I now seek as well that sheltering headship which is within Thy Realm; yea, most blest and foremost 1 may we both for ever be within it.
9. Aye, let the zealous and thrifty husbandman, so formed for giving help and blessings 2, give heed and listen when I call, (O Mazda!) Let not the truthful (tiller, he who hears and speaks Thy word 3), be he who takes 4 that sheltering chieftainship together with the wicked. Let the believing natures (only) join in that best recompense. And thus in the course of the holy Order are in the fact so joined those two, Gâmâspa and the 'hero' 5.
10. (And since these champions thus join in that reward), then therefore will I place as well in Thy
protection (Thy) Good Mind 1 (in the living) and the spirits (of the dead. Yea, I confide our very) self-humbling praises, (which we offer, unto Thee), by which (Thine) Âramaiti (who is our Piety, exists), and likewise sacrificing zeal. And this would we do to further Thy great Sovereign Power (among Thy folk), and with undying 2 (?) strength.
11. (But as to faithless reprobates); the souls (of the evil dead) shall meet those evil men who serve their evil rulers, who speak with evil words, and harbour evil consciences, these souls (in Hell) shall come with evil food 3 (to welcome them), and in the Lie's abode their dwelling 4 verily shall be 5!
162:1 If this word does not simply mean 'a band,' one might suspect a relation of root with bãnayen. The Pahlavi has expressively and freely badtûm here, and vîmarîh in the next verse, with a like word in Y. XXX, 6. This enemy may have been roughly dubbed 'the polluted,' or even 'diseased one;' analogous occurrences are not wanting.
162:2 I cannot agree to rendering ashâ 'really,' when applied in an evil sense. The sacred word may mean 'really' when applied to the righteous, but then, in that case, the reality indicated has an element of sanctity in it, and that of no low order. I am also not aware that riténa is applied in an evil sense in the Rig-veda. The use of Asha, like that of Vohu Manah and Khshathra, &c., is obvious in the Gâtha; the six sacred words were, like the theme of a symphony, brought in at every opportunity, with all shades of meaning from those of proper names to those of adverbs. With slight change of text to a nom., we might render, 'He who seeks to please the evil-minded, O Thou A.!'
162:3 Comp. Y. XXXIII, 2,
162:4 I cannot agree that arapâ should be read rapâ for the sake of a syllable in the metre. The line has more than eleven syllables here, as the Vedic Trishtup often has. Moreover the ancient writing before the Pahlavi translator read likewise arapâ, and the sense demands it.
162:5 Or, 'may I obtain.'
162:6 See Y. LIII, 9.
162:7 See the first verse.
163:1 I would gladly accede to a subjunctive 2nd singular intensive here in a causative sense, but a 3rd singular precedes, and a 3rd singular follows. I cannot therefore recognise a subjunctive in a precative, or imperative, sense here. I think the word is a nominative, as its position in the verse corresponds well to that form. It may mean 'delivering against us many a wound.'
163:2 Possibly 'for us in (this) land.'
163:3 Comp. Y. XLIV, 13.
163:4 Comp. Y. XXX, 2.
163:5 See mazistô in the first verse.
163:6 The Pahlavi mûn rêshînêd pavan Drûg.
163:7 The Pahlavi translator gave as our first rendering here: Andarg harvîsp-gûnŏ darvandânŏ min hamkhâkîh andarg yemalelûnam; [aîgh, min dôstîh î levatman valmansân gavîdâk yehevûnam].
163:8 The Pahlavi has arêshkŏ = envy.
164:1 The Pahlavi gave us our first surmise as to the general meaning of vãs; it renders kâmak.
164:2 Or, 'by that which is the evil's Faith.'
164:3 The Pahlavi translator gave us our first general indication here as elsewhere; he has shîrînîh and karpîh. Reading 'Mazdau,' we have 'Mazda (is our source of) abundance and refreshment.'
164:4 See the fourth verse.
164:5 The Pahlavi has, however, khûp shinâsakîh. I differ with hesitation; possibly views may be harmonised.
164:6 Compare Y. XXIX, 3, where Asha answers. I cannot well accept mrûitê as an infinitive. Geldner has keenly pointed out that fraêshyâ is inclined to unite with an infinitive, but so are other forms of ish and vas. Moreover the infinitive does not so naturally fall to the end of the sentence in Gâthic or Vedic. (See above, note on Y. XXXIV, 1.) If an infinitive is insisted upon (so long since) let us at least bring the word into more usual shape, using the Pahlavi translator, as in one of his most valuable offices, as an indirect evidence, where his translation is at fault as a rendering. He has: Frâzŏ avŏ zak î Lekûm farmâyêm, Aûharmazd, va Ashavahistŏk râî yemalelûnam. He had 'mrûvê' before him, which might be an infinitive.
165:1 I think that khshmâvatô equals simply 'yourself' here, as often (so mavant = me); otherwise 'of your disciple,' which would be feeble. Professor Jolly has, V.S., s. 97, 'damit wir ihn verkündigen möchten den Glauben, welcher der euere ist, o Ahura.'
165:2 See the ninth verse.
165:3 Ahura is elsewhere addressed in close connection with human beings; here the human subject is half lost in Vohûman and Asha. I hardly think that it is wise to change the text without MSS. A lost verse may have relieved all difficulty.
165:4 Others 'the good doctrine,' or again 'the good repute;' but as to the latter, frasasti is coupled so constantly in the later Avesta with yasna, and vahma, &c., that I do not feel at liberty to depart from that sense. The Pahlavi has also vâfrîgânîh, quite in harmony with the connection.
165:5 This verse is clearly an answer to the questions contained in verse 7. It is a half answer, even if we render dau (dâo) as a subjunctive. As the question in verse 7 certainly concerns a chief of some kind, I cannot see how we can avoid rendering sarem analogously. We need one who gives a refuge rather than one who receives it. Compare the Pahlavi, and also the Persian, sar. The Pahlavi p. 166 translation gives its evidence without intermission for this meaning, a fact largely overlooked.
166:1 I think that the connection fairly proves this meaning; and it has likewise the powerful support of the Pahlavi translation: Hamâi vad avŏ vîspŏ farmânpatŏ hômanânî [aîgh, Frashostar [ ] vad tanû î pasînŏ hamâî salîtâîh yehabûn].
166:2 It is not to be forgotten that su is the root of Saoshyant.
166:3 Comp. Y. XXXI, 15.
166:4 Or 'gives;' compare peresâ avat yâ mainis ye dregvâitê khshathrem hunâitî. Professor Jolly, V.S., s. 36: 'Nicht soll wer das Rechte redet, die Herrschaft dem Lügner überlassen.'
166:5 Yâhî remains a singular, whereas we should expect a dual; (can it be such, the form being altered, as so often by later reciters, to accommodate the metre?) For Gâmâspâ and yukhtâ as duals compare utayûitî tevîsht. Yâhî probably refers to Vîstâspa (Y. XLVI, 14). Was it an especial epithet for the kings? The later Persian kings took prominent places in battle. If the duals are not admitted, my rendering would be, 'the souls are united with the reward through the (influence and example of the) valiant Gâmâspa.' Perhaps Gâmâspô is to be read.
167:1 This is probably the foundation for the later identification of Vohû Manah and the faithful disciple.
167:2 Here all is conjectural. The Pahlavi reports an adjective from a form of man (or a participle). They who think upon the throne (to seize it) do so with dying power. Wilder conjectures have been made; but the Pahlavi translators seldom wilfully guessed. They took the shattered results of their predecessors, and worked them feebly over; hence their great value, and the unimportance of their errors. They used what intelligence they possessed in redelivering what they heard and read. Vazdanghâ cannot well be taken in an evil sense, as it is used in a good sense elsewhere. The connection mãzâ with râ has long circulated; mãzâ avêmî râ (?). As the souls of the departed are thought of, perhaps 'undying' is the meaning; compare avemîra (for form) with the Zend avimithris.
167:3 See Yast XXII by Darmesteter, as supplemented.
167:4 So the Pahlavi; otherwise 'their bodies shall so lie.'
167:5 Verse 12 belongs to the next chapter.