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

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This Gâtha consists of the single chapter Y. LI. It has lines of fourteen syllables with caesura in the middle.



It is hardly possible that we have here a continuous whole. The thoughts, however, harmonise well enough, and the changes give little trouble. 1. As so often the Sovereign Authority of Ahura, His reign over the hearts and in the minds of His faithful worshippers, is the leading theme. That sovereign Power, when it is established, will produce every good thing with it, and repress every evil, and the composer prays that he may never pause at any moment in his efforts to bring that kingdom on. 2. Accordingly, as the foremost of objects, he beseeches for both its blessings and its protection, and names Âramaiti as the especial representative of Ahura in this case to grant the Kingdom as a Realm established in spiritual wealth, and whose first effect should be the glory of God through the agency of holy dispositions in men.

3. The spirit of the Daêna is public and prophetic rather than occult and mysterious. The people therefore gather to hear Gâthas recited, and religious harangues delivered as on political occasions, and all the more because the Mãthras are declared to be the results of direct inspiration from Ahura. 4. The present recitations are invocations calling for the four energising Immortals, the guiding Order, the active Piety, the inspiring Benevolence, and the Power-wielding Kingdom, and, in using these names, the multitude are also beseeching, by the voice of their spokesman, for the Ratu, the Saoshyant cried for by the Kine, looked for by Asha himself, and promised by Ahura.

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5. And the men who press this prayer are, each of them, for the moment (nûkît), as the Ratu himself. Wise in his homage, he seeks to gain the kine, like the ideal husbandman, both as property and as emblem, and he desires to establish the Ratu, understood as a person, or as the law, which may judge between the two sides (Y. XXXI, 2), and, by the expulsion of the evil, give quiet to the land (Y. XLVI, 4; Y. LIII, 9). 6. Declaring Ahura to be the awarder of the highest good and deepest evil, (7) he calls on Him to grant the 'eternal two,' the rewarding Immortals (not named in the former verse), but only by means of the inspired teachings. 8. And as these inculcations are effective for himself, he will declare forth their threats and promises to others, being repaid for his zealous fidelity in the very act. 9. Recalling the hopes of vengeance, he beseeches Ahura to give forth a sign, or instrument, from the holy Fire, which may settle the disputes by the forged blade of justice. 10. For he declares that the man who murderously assaults his adherents in the opposing interest (see Y. XXXII, 10, &c.) is inherently and originally perverted in his motives, a very son of the Lie, and of the seed of Akôman.

11. While in terms he addresses Ahura, he in reality challenges the devotion of the chieftains, as he calls aloud to the Deity.

12. Here a temptation of Zarathustra is narrated, as in the Vendîdâd, here dwelling on his youth, there on his maturer manhood. But the verse shows marked signs of later age.

13. And the soul of the righteous is encouraged by the recorded example; he shall come off the conqueror, as Zarathustra did.

14. But the Karpans (priestly chiefs?) of the opposing party, following the typical destroyer (as in Y. XXXII), would bring the world to ruin, and the creatures to Hell.

15. The true disciples will however infallibly receive the promised recompense.

16. And as for that Kisti, conceived by Mazda to give the saving knowledge in the sacred verse, the King of the Realm had acquired it. It will be stored in the memory of faithful priests under his care and rule; and he will give his subjects a good worship (Y. XLIX, 7) in accordance with it. 17. A female saint, also illustrious in rank, is celebrated with honourable mention; she is, as it were, the Kisti in her person, as she is named in this connection.

18. Another devoted friend arrests the speaker's eye, as he stands in the assembly; (59) and still another. 20. Then, as if taking in all with his view, and with an expression which shows

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his identification with the people, he declares that the 'Archangels' are of one mind with Mazda in bestowing spiritual blessings, the chief of which are inspired words, the source of their discipline, and the guide of their hopes.

21. And with assurances as to the greatness of the spiritual blessings implied in all that he has said, he prays Ahura all the more earnestly to grant them to His elect. 22. And he declares that Ahura knows and observes the man who fulfils every command that he has uttered, as well as believes every doctrine which he has divulged, and that, knowing Him, He also marks Him as the object of His grace. And he ends by expressing once more his desire to approach the Bountiful Immortals, not as naming them alone, but naming them, as we may well suppose, with a full appreciation of all that is meant by the sacred words which belong to them as names.


1. The good Government (of Ahura 1) is to be chosen (among all wished-for things 2) as that lot which most of all brings on (our happiness). Actions that oppress us it opposes 3, through the holy Order (which pervades it), and with the pious zeal (of its true servants). Therefore, O Great Creator! let me

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produce, and help bring on (that Sovereign Power) which is the best for us at every present hour.

2. And first I will ask for 1 these two blessings of Your own, O Thou Great Creator, and thou His Righteous Order! and I also ask of thee, Our Piety (personified, as well); and grant me this Your Sovereign Rule over our desired wealth (to give and to preserve it; and likewise) those spiritual blessings which are advantageous for our worship (of Ahura) through (the inspiration of His) Good Mind (within the soul).

3. (And it is not I alone who thus appeal to You; I speak for all) who are guarded in the (ceremonial and moral) actions of Your (law), and by those (inspired) words (which proceed) from the tongue of Thy Good Mind (as he speaks within Thy Mãthra). Yea, these are all assembling (each) to hear You, of whom Thou, O Ahura Mazda! art the foremost guide 2 and light.

4. (And they cry aloud to Thee, O Mazda! I speaking with them, and in their name): Where is the (promised 3) lord of our thrift (the embodied law, saving us from the most dreaded dangers that we fear 4, the thrift-lord) of (our) ready zeal? Where

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does he stand to (show us) mercy? Whither are (Thy) Righteousness and the Bountiful Âramaiti (our Piety) approaching? From what direction comes Thy Best Mind (to inspire and to guide)? And whence (again), O Great Creator! Thy Sovereign Power (to be our ruler and defence 1)?

5. And it is the tiller of the earth who asks this of Thee, O Ahura! (Thy chosen saint himself); he has asked this all of Thee, striving to discover how he may gain to himself the sacred Kine (and with all wealth in herds beside. And he would seek this) moved by the motives which flow from Thy Righteous Order (and Thy cause), upright as he is in actions, and wise in his self-humbling worship (of that 2 One) who, as a righteous ruler, has appointed a just controlling guide for those whom He has made.

6. (And in partial answer to his question, and to solve his doubt, I now declare the truth): He who gives to this (good citizen) that which is better than the good 3; yea, He who bestows on him in accordance with his religious choice is (our) Ahura Mazda (and not

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a false god of the Daêvas 1). And this will He bestow through His divine Authority (established in preparation here), while on the withholder of the sacrifice, who offers nothing to His (cause), He will send worse than the evil (and that not here alone, but) in the last turning of the creation in its course!

7. (And as Thou wilt bestow thus graciously on him), so grant me also, O Thou most bountiful Spirit Mazda, Thou who hast made both the Kine and the waters and the plants 2 (for her support) both Immortality and Welfare, those two eternal powers, and through Thy Good Mind in the doctrine (which is revealed through his inspired words 3).

8. (Yea, grant me these two inseparable gifts, for having them in store) I will speak for Thee, O Mazda! because to the man of understanding 4 one should declare for Thee that which is woe to the wicked, but salvation to him who has maintained the holy Order (in Thy folk and in his soul). For he is (repaid in his deed, and) rejoiced by the Mãthra who declares it to the wise.

9. (And when I shall speak, I will declare for You that mental) keenness (which reaches the decision), and which Thou hast bestowed upon the two striving sides 5, (in Thy satisfying word). And this

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[paragraph continues] I will announce by means of Thy flaming Fire; yea, I will declare it for the bestowal of that sword of justice which is forged from steel 1, and wrought for both the worlds 2. And for the wounding of the wicked (with its blade) may’st Thou 3, O Ahura Mazda! bless and prosper Thine (avenging) saint 4!

10. (Yea, let Thy believer wound the wicked to the quick), for he, who totally estranged from this (our holy rule 5), O Mazda! seeks to destroy my life, is a son 6 of the Lie's creation, and belongs to the miscreants; (but as for me), I call on Asha (Thy Righteous Order to be my help); and may he come with Thy good blessing.

11. (And ye who throng the great assembly 7, it is of you I speak while, with my lips, I now address the Lord): Who, O Ahura! is a loyal friend to the Spitâma 8, to Zarathustra? Who has asked his question of the divine Righteousness, (as he approached 9)?

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[paragraph continues] By whom is the bounteous Piety (received and cherished)? Or who has been regarded as upright and fitted for the great cause of Thy Good Mind?

12. ('Who is worthy?' would I ask, for Zarathustra was ever such, and from earliest days. He was no polluted wretch.) Paederast never gained his ear, nor Kavi-follower on this (temptation-)bridge of earth, when his body was (maturely) grown, when they both hasten(ed) to him with the bosom's 1 impure power 2.

13. (And he will be likewise victorious on the veritable Judgment Bridge, for) the righteous man's conscience will truly 3 crush the wicked man's (spirit) while his soul rages 4 fiercely on the open Kinvat Bridge 5, as he strives by his actions, and his tongue's

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[paragraph continues] (cursing speech) to reach 1 (and to pollute) Asha's paths (where the faithful souls come).

14. (And as are those lost spirits, so are our foes.) No friends to the creatures 2 are the Karpans, (not granting) complete (harvests) from the fields with complete (pasture) for the Kine (chief objects for our prayer), bringing woe 3 by their deeds and their teachings. And they 4 will deliver these (beings 5 whom they lead) at the last (?) by their doctrine(s) in the Home of the Lie.

15. But this is the reward which Zarathustra declared before (to his friends who counsel with Asha), and are fitted for the cause 6; Ahura Mazda will come the first 7 into His Song Home, Garôdman,

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and then these gifts will be given you by the Good Mind (within you), and with blessings for the cause of the Righteous Order (in His hosts).

16. (And one of you, the greatest, has indeed attained to that wisdom which is thus blessed with a promise), Kavi Vîstâspa has reached it in the Realm of our great cause (of devotion 1), and moved in his toil by the chants of the Good Mind (who speaks in the Mãthra 2); yea, he hath attained to that wisdom which the bountiful Ahura conceived in accordance with Asha, thus to teach us salvation.

17. (And not alone amidst our princes hath sanctity been marked), Frashaostra, the Hvôgva, hath presented a blest and an endeared form (his child 3); and may Ahura Mazda, who has the Sovereign Power, grant her (to us), who is so much to be beloved. And for the (progress of the) good Religion 4 do ye, O ye people! receive her with desire 5, and for the gaining of Asha; (she will help the great cause).

18. Yea, that (holy) wisdom, O Gâmâspa the Hvôgva 6! these (pious throngs) are choosing through

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their Righteousness as the (true) splendours of riches (these pious men who are) gaining the kingdom where the Good Mind (doth govern). And grant me also, O Mazda! that which these with glad wishes 1 receive from Thy grace 2.

19. (And this prayer is already and beforehand heard.) This established Sovereign Power the heroic (Kavi Vîstâspa has given), O Maidhyô-mâh the Spitâma. He who is wise through the Religion, and who seeks (the true) life, he is granting it to us 3; yea, he has pronounced the laws of Ahura our Maker, and declared that which is for (our) life's actions (beyond all other things) best.

20. And, that gift of blessedness for you, all (the Bountiful Immortals) with one consent in sympathy to help us (are disposed 4) to grant; (and may they likewise make) the Holy Order (firm) for us through the Good Mind (in our folk); and may they reveal to us the words with which Piety likewise (speaks her truths). And receiving sacrifice with homage (from our praises), may they seek 5 for us Ahura Mazda's grace.

21. (Yea, this Kavi Vîstâspa) the man of Âramaiti is bounteous, and with understanding in his words and his actions. (And as a reward) may Ahura give

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him that Righteousness which is blest, (but) with the Religion (alone), and that Sovereign Power which is established through the Good Mind (in His folk). And this same blessing would I pray from His grace 1.

22. For Ahura Mazda knoweth the man whose best gift for the sacrifice is given unto me, and from the motive of Righteousness; (and in thankfulness for all, and in prayer for yet still further grace), I will worship (the eternal ones); yea, I will worship those who have ever lived, and who still live, and by their own (holy) names, and to their (thrones 2) will I draw near with my praise!


178:1 It is far better to take Khshathra in its usual and often necessary sense. And it is especially desirable not to confound it with shôithra = kshétra.

178:2 The choice one.

178:3 One is somewhat inclined to regard vîdushemnâis as a monstrous form of vid, which has crept into the text under the influence of the two words vîdushê in verse 8, and owing to an attempt to fill out the metre, the original word having been vîdemnâis. The Pahlavi gives no indication except for a form of dû = to give. Leaving the MSS. intact, I compare dush + vi.

I render as above on the principle that the text in the MSS. should not be violated where it is possible to translate it at all. Reading vîdemnâis we might render, 'that kingdom's privileges are shared (it is entered and penetrated) by men who act (by actions) in a manner to further its security, (by actions gaining it).'

179:1 I have rather reluctantly read yêkâ with long ê. Having in mind Y. XXX, 1, where Sp.'s B. reads yaêkâ, and reading yaêkâ here, we might regain the lost dual neuter of the pronoun here as in Y. XXX, 1, and so render, 'and which two things belong to thee, the possession (rule) of wealth and the blessings.'

Roth, cited by Geldner, changes to ashayaêkâ here and in Y. XXX, 1; and it is certainly striking that ashâ yêkâ should occur twice. I render as above, first, as, nearer our MSS., and as affording a good sense.

179:2 See Y. XXXI, 17.

179:3 See verse 5.

179:4 See Y. XXIX, 1; Y. XXXII.

180:1 It is hardly necessary to call attention to the fact that these abstracts are personified here, as in so many other places in the Gâthas. We may indeed doubt whether the idea of personification was ever wholly absent, the original meaning being likewise never lost. Professor Wilhelm prefers taking Ashem as an accusative, 'how does one (do they) come to Asha?' This is admirable; but I am, on the whole, inclined to regard Ashem as a nominative with fseratus, Âr(a)maitis, &c., taking the plurals yasô hvyen (hyen) as irregularly extending to the other subjects.

180:2 So Wilhelm (by letter), taking a form of the pronoun as understood. It is difficult to suppose that the vâstrya could be referred to as appointing the Ratu through the influence of his devotion and pious supplications; as Wilhelm justly says, the third line must apply to Ahura.

180:3 See Y. XLIII, 3; notice ahmâi as referring to hôi.

181:1 See Y. XXXI, 17 where the faith of the dregvant is sufficiently recognised to form the basis for a question, rhetorical indeed, but still a question.

181:2 From this and similar occurrences of the 'water and the plants' beside 'Immortality and Welfare' probably arose the later peculiar identification of those names with water and plants.

181:3 Compare perhaps verse 20.

181:4 Otherwise; 'I will speak for Thee, O Lord! for the (all)-wise one should speak.'

181:5 Or, 'from the two arani;' see notes on Y. XXXI, 3 and Y. XLIII, 12.

182:1 Compare Y. XXXII, 7, hvaênâ ayanghâ (lit. iron).

Others see the ordeal of fire here, and the bath of melted metal from which the righteous suffers nothing, but in which the sinner is consumed, but râshayanghê seems to point to injury produced otherwise than by dipping, and dakhshta certainly designates a metallic instrument elsewhere; 'sign' is, however, the original meaning.

182:2 So several times; comp. Y. XXVIII, 3, where the depth is unmistakable; see also Y. XXXI, 18 with ahûbîs in the next verse.

182:3 The Pahlavi while not strictly correct, affords the indication of a causative, sûdînêd.

182:4 From this verse probably arose the later association of khshathra-vairya and metal founding and forging.

182:5 As invoking Asha is in the antithesis, I regard ashât as understood here. Gat seems a particle, but also not impossibly = gât. As it is twice followed by tê (tôi), the interesting change is suggested to gatê, infin.

182:6 Or a proper name.

182:7 See the third verse.

182:8 See Y. XLVI, 9, 14.

182:9 See the fourth verse.

183:1 Some other portion of the human body, suggested by the context, may be meant by aodares. The word looks like a verbal form, 3rd pl., but see the preceding dual.

183:2 I render the Pahlavi of this most difficult verse as follows: Far from satisfying me is the Kîk, the paederast, in regard to both of the two particulars [food and clothing] on the path of winter; (far from satisfying me) who am Zartûsht, the Spîtâman, with whom he is; that is, (or 'where') he incites me with his incitation in my bodily (?) (sensations; reading astak (?)); [that is, a person comes, and thus also they, or he, would do it to me]; and this one who (is doing) [that to us] is also leading us on, even in our progress in the cold [of a winter] of accustomed sin, (or in the cold iniquitous winter). This verse seems a very ancient interpolation.

183:3 Haithîm is an adverb; its position also does not so much favour an accusative substantive.

183:4 So our texts; but the Pahlavi translator saw khraozhdaitî (see Y. XLVI, 11) in his MSS., rendering khrûsisnŏ yehabûnd = utter cries: 'while his soul cries fiercely.'

183:5 The occurrence of peretau(âo) in this verse sheds light upon the peretô in the previous one. Âkau(âo) seems to be an attracted form for a loc. as elsewhere. Perhaps it is miswritten.

184:1 Nãsvau(âo) would naturally mean 'reaching'; but the word is also elsewhere used in an evil sense, 'reaching to harm.' Y. LIII, 7. The Pahlavi, however, indicates the reading nasvau by its nasînênd. Does the Avesta show an original evil sense to nas = to reach? May the two nas possibly have some original connection? That hvâis skyaothnâis means here 'by means of' rather than 'because of' is the more probable from the same words in the next verse, and this notwithstanding Y. XXXI, 20.

184:2 So general a term as 'creatures' should be avoided where possible; but see ye dâthaêibyô eres ratûm khshayãs ashavau kistâ (verse 5).

184:3 As to the grammatical structure, all depends on sendâ. Shall we bring down nôit from the verse above; or shall we regard sendâ as in an evil sense from sad as in sadrâ? The Pahlavi favours the former, as also in Y. XXXVIII, 5 (Sp. 15). The general result is not, however, affected. Read as alternative: No friends to the creatures are the Karpans as to perfect (harvests) from the fields, (not) blessing us in the matter of perfect (care and fodder) for the cattle, &c.; (sad in the sense of blessing with nôit).

184:4 Free.

184:5 Or, 'doctrines.'

184:6 See the eleventh verse.

184:7 Alternatives would be, 'Ahura will meet these engagements (?) made when the reward was promised;' or, 'the reward which Zarathustra promised before Ahura came into Garôdman.' According p. 185 to the general form of the Gâthic sentence, kôist parâ go more naturally together than if the force of the parâ was extended to gasat. The coming of Ahura is elsewhere mentioned; here He enters His audience-chamber before His approaching saints.

185:1 Maga may have some such cast of meaning. I have, moreover, more than once suspected that the origin of 'magian' may, notwithstanding the môghu of the later Avesta, be simply this maga so often used in the Gâthas to designate 'the cause.'

185:2 See verse 20.

185:3 So also the Pahlavi translator in his gloss; aîgham bartman pavan nêsmanîh barâ yebabûnêdŏ.

185:4 So also of Zarathustra's daughter, Y. LIII, 4.

185:5 Or, 'cry ye for the gaining of Asha,' as in Y. XXIX, I.

185:6 Or, reading a nominative, 'Gâmâspa is choosing,' which is itself well possible, as var is also conjugated with n; but rapen seems a plural, and vîdô likewise.

186:1 I concede this shade of meaning to the indications of the Pahlavi.

186:2 The Pahlavi gives us our first indication here.

186:3 If Gâmâspô (nom.) is read in verse 18, ahmâi might here refer to him; 'to this one.'

186:4 Or, 'let them grant;' infinitive as imperative.

186:5 Seeking; a dual is here disapproved by the source from which the suggestion originated.

187:1 I refer tem to Ahura, supposing it to stand; reading tãm, I would refer it to ashi.

187:2 Compare Vend. XIX, 31.

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