Shayest Na-Shayest ('Proper and Improper')
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East,
volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1880.
PART 2. -- A Supplementary Treatise (Continued).
- The signification of the Gathas.
- These three Ashem-vohus (Y11, end) which represent
the Fravarane (Y11, end) of the preliminary ritual (pesh nirang)
and the rotation of these three Has ('chapters'), the Fravarane,
Frastuye, and Astuye -- fravarane being the beginning of the Fravarane
which extends as far as frasastayaecha, frastuye, the beginning
of the Frastuye (Y12.1-Y13.26) which extends up to the Astuye,
and astuye, the beginning of the Astaothwanem (Y13.27-Y14, end)
which extends as far as astaothwanemcha daenayau Mazdayasnoish
-- also represent the Visai-ve-amesha-spenta (Y15), which is the
beginning of the Stotan-yasno ('the ritual of praisers'), and
these three Has of the Baghan (Y19-Y21).
- In the exposition (chashidak) and through the evidence of
revelation (dino) the wise of those of the primitive faith have
thus said; that a man of fifteen years, and a son and brother
of Mazdayasnians -- when he confesses his failings (mandak) to
the high-priests (radan), and they shall bring him the whip and
scourge, and these five Gathas are chanted and the good waters
consecrated by him, and the whole of the renewed-birth ceremony
(navid-zadih) is performed by him -- becomes a mature youth and
not a child, and a share of the prayers of initiation (napar)
and of the fires is to be given over to him; and when thus much
is not performed by him, a share is not to be given. 3. These
five Gathas are made up from the body of a righteous man.
- Ahya-yasa (Y28), Khshmaibya (Y29), and Ad-ta-vakhshya (Y30)
have, severally, eleven stanzas (vachest), because eleven things
move spiritually within the bodies of men, as life, consciousness,
religion, ,soul, guardian spirit, thought, word, deed, seeing,
smelling, and hearing; and the bodies of men and other creatures
are formed of water, fire, and wind.
- Ashem-Ahurem-mazdam (Vr15) is to be recited three times before
the coming of Hoshedar, Hoshedarmah, and Soshyans; and when they
also recite the chapter (had) well, and by line (gas) and stanza,
those apostles are present, and the country becomes more flourishing
and more dominant in the world.
- The twenty-two stanzas of Ta-ve-urvata (Y31) are the twenty-two
judgments (dadistan) of which it speaks in the Hadokht Nask
thus: -- 'Anaomo mananghe daya vispai: kva, kva paro?' ('where
are they to be produced beyond every thought? and where before?')
'Lodging in the judge, that while he has twenty-two judgments
he may be more just;' -- so that when they pray the Ta-ve-urvata
chapter well, and recite it by line and stanza, the judges possess
those twenty-two judgments more correctly, and judiciousness is
more lodging in them.
- The sixteen stanzas of the Hvaetumaithi chapter (Y32) are
lodging in warriors, so that it becomes possible, during their
good protection, to force the enemy away from those sixteen countries
which the Vendidad mentions in its first fargard.
- The fourteen stanzas of Yatha-aish (Y33) are for this reason,
because seven archangels are more diligent in activity for the
spirit, and seven archangels for the world, so that they may attain
'to heaven, the home (mehono) of Ohrmazd, the home of the archangels,
the home of those righteous ones,' avi gara-nmanem, maethanem
Ahurahe mazdau, maethanem ameshanam spentanam, maethanem anyaesham
ashaonam [Vd19.107]. 9. The three repetitions (danar) of Ye-sevisto
(Y33.11), and the holding up of the holy-water (zohr) at these
repetitions, are for the four classes, and for this reason at
Ahurai mazdai and ashemcha fradat the holy-water is to be held
level with the heart of him who is the officiating priest (zot),
and at sraota is to be held level with the arm of him who is the
officiating priest, so that while the warriors are in battle with
foreigners (an-airan) they may be fuller of breath (vayo-girtar),
and the husbandmen stronger-armed in the tillage and cultivation
of the world.
- The fifteen stanzas of Ya-shkyaothana (Y34) are for this reason,
because it is given for the destruction of those fifteen fiends
who are disclosed in the medical part (beshaz) of the Hadokht
Nask. 11. The four repetitions (bar) of Mazda-at-moi (Y34.15)
are for the right coming on of the share of these five chieftainships
(radih), the house-ruler, the village-ruler, the tribe-ruler,
the province-ruler, and the supreme Zartosht [Zarathushtrotema].
- The two repetitions of Ahya-yasa (Y28.1) are for this reason,
that the sovereign (dahyupat) may not at once seize body, consciousness,
and soul. 13. Those four Yatha-ahu-vairyos of the first Gatha
are for this reason, that is, so that inferiors may become more
tolerant of the commands of superiors, and good thoughts, good
words, and good deeds be more domesticated (mah-mantar) in the
world, and the fiend more powerless (apadakhshahtar).
- In short (ae-mar), Ahya-yasa is as (pavan) Ohrmazd and the
righteous man, Khshmaibya as Vohuman and cattle, At-ta-vakhshya
as Ardwahisht and fire, Ta-ve-urvata as Shahrewar and metal, the
Hvaetumaithi as the Gatha of Spandarmad and the earth, Yatha-aish
as Hordad and water, and Ya-shkyaothana as Amurdad and plants.
- The progress [benefit] which is in the Ahunavaiti Gatha the
house-rulers should carry on; that which is in the Ushtavaiti
Gatha the village-rulers should carry on; that which is in the
Spenta-mainyu Gatha the tribe-rulers should carry on; that which
is in the Vohu-khshathra Gatha the province-rulers should carry
on; that which is in the Vahishto-ishti Gatha the supreme Zartoshts
[Zarathushtrotema] should carry on; and that which is in the Yasna,
which is the place of righteous blessing, these four classes themselves
should carry on.
- Of the Yasna of seven chapters (Y35-41.17) the beginning section
(kardako) has nine stanzas; and its beginning is Humatanam (Y35.4),
and its end is Humatanam (Y51.17 supl.)
- The six stanzas of Ahya-thwa-athro (Y36) are owing to the
six hot ordeals (var) which, in the Husparum Nask, are
effected by cha-thrayaim athraiam.
- The five stanzas of Itha-at-yazamaide (Y37) are thanksgiving
and praise for the production of the good creations by Ohrmazd.
- The five stanzas of Imam-aat-zam (Y38) are owing to those
five comforts and five discomforts of the earth, which, it is
declared in the third fargard in the Vendidad, are accomplished
thus:- 'The first comfort of the earth is from the land on which
a righteous man walks forth; the second is when they shall make
the dwelling of the good and fires upon it; the third is when
they sow corn upon it, and shall take heed of dead matter; the
fourth is when all beasts of burden are born upon it; the fifth
is when every beast of burden, is on it; and its first discomfort
is from the Arezur ridge and the gate of hell; the second is when
they dig it up for a dead body; the third is when one constructs
a depository for the dead (khazan) upon it; the fourth is from
the holes of its noxious creatures; the fifth is when they shall
forsake a man in affliction (vardakih) upon it, who is righteous.'
- The five stanzas of Itha (Y39) are just as those which go
- The four stanzas of Ahu-at-paiti (Y40) are about the benefit
(arj-homandih) which is on account of water, earth, plants, and
- The six stanzas of Stuto-garo (Y41.1-17), the two repetitions
of Humatanam (Y35.4-6), and the three repetitions of Hukhshathrotemai
(Y35.13-15) are on account of the existence of the sons of Zartosht.
- The two repetitions of Ashahya-aat-sairi (Y35.22, 23) are
for the laudation of righteousness and the destruction of the
fiend. 24. The two repetitions of Yenhe-hatam are for the laudation
of Ohrmazd and the archangels, and the destruction of the evil
spirit and the miscreations (vishudakan). 25. The two repetitions
of Thwoi-staotarascha (Y41.12-14) are for the laudation of ceremonial
worship (yazishno) and the sacred feast (myazd).
- The two repetitions of Ataremcha (Vr19.1-8) are for the laudation
of the [Adar] Farnbag fire and the fire Vazisht.
- Of the sixteen stanzas of the Ushtavaiti chapter (Y42) it
is related just as about the Hvaetumaithi chapter.
- The twenty stanzas of Tat-thwa-peresa (Y43) are the twenty
judgments (dadistan) between the beneficent spirit and the evil
spirit; and for this reason they should every time utter Tat-thwa-peresa
again, because they should utter the original judgment again,
and the twentieth time the evil spirit becomes confounded.
- The eleven stanzas of At-fravakhshya (Y44) are made up from
the six chieftainships and the five accomplishments (farhang)
owing to religion; one is thus, not to do unto others all that
which is not well for one's self; the second is to understand
fully what is well-done and not well-done; the third is to turn
from the vile and their conversation (andarag-guftano); the fourth
is to confess ones failings to the high-priests, and let them
bring the whip; the fifth is not to neglect the season-festivals
[Gahambars] at their proper hour (den hasar), nor the other things
which go to the bridge; and the six chieftainships are not his
property who has not these five accomplishments, and he is not
fit even for teaching.
- The nineteen stanzas of Kem-nemoi zam (Y45) are for this reason,
that every one may so persevere in his own duty (khveshakanih),
that while those are our nineteen propitiations (aushofrit), which
it says in the Sagadum Nask should be my own, the strength
and power of the angels shall become more considerable, and the
destroyer more perishable.
- The Ushtavaiti Gatha is a Gatha (gas) of four chapters, and
each stanza of five lines (gas), except Haechat-aspa-vakhshya
(Y45.15). 32. The two repetitions of Ushta-ahmai (Y42.1) are,
one as a retention and embrace of Ohrmazd, and one as a destruction
of the fiends; and Ushta-Ahurem-mazdam (Vr21.1-5) in like manner.
- Spenta-mainyu (Y46) has six stanzas, Yezi-adaish (Y47) twelve
stanzas, At-ma-yava (Y48) twelve stanzas, and Kat-moi-urva (Y49)
eleven stanzas. 34. The Spenta-mainyu Gatha is a Gatha of four
chapters, and each stanza of four lines; it is made up from the
five chieftainships and four classes. 35. The two repetitions
of Spenta-mainyu (Y46.1) are, one for the laudation of the beneficent
spirit (Spandarmad) and one for that of the earth.
- One Spentem-Ahurem-mazdam (Vr22.1-11) is the laudation of
the creatures of the beneficent spirit, and one is the destruction
of the creatures of the evil spirit.
- The twenty-two stanzas of the Vohu-khshathra Gatha (Y50) are
those twenty-two judgments which are lodging within judges, as
written above. 38. The two repetitions of Vohu-khshathrem (Y50.1)
are, one the laudation of living (zindakih), and one of the supreme
- One Vohu-khshathrem yazamaide (Vr23.1-9) is for the laudation
of Shahrewar, and one of metal. 40. The two repetitions of Avi-apam
(Vr24.1-12) are, one for the laudation of waters, and one of plants.
- The nine stanzas of the Vahishtoishti (Y52) are on account
of those nine things which are ... the supreme Zartosht-ship lodging
in the supreme Zartoshts [Zarathushtrotema], the source of fountains,
the bridge over waters, and even the navigable river, the righteous
man, and the righteous woman. 42. And it is a Gatha of one chapter,
and each stanza of four lines, except Itha-i-haithya-naro (Y52.6),
for there is always one lord and sovereign in the world. 43. And
those four lines are for this reason, because it is declared:
chathrush hamayau khshapo dahmayat paro afritoit, 'four times
every night is the "blessing of the holy" (Y59),' and
three times Srosh, twice Bushasp, and once Eshm will come to the
material world. 44. And the five lines of that one stanza (Y52.6)
are for this reason, because the assistants of the supreme Zartosht
are five, the house-ruler, the village-ruler, the tribe-ruler,
the province-ruler, and she even who is his own wife (narik).
45. The two repetitions of Vahishta-ishtish (Y52.1) are, one for
the laudation of sovereigns, and one for the laudation of peace
- The two repetitions of Vahishtem-Ahurem-mazdam (Vr26) are,
one for the laudation of Ohrmazd and the archangels, and one for
the destruction of the fiends. 47. The four repetitions of the
A Airyema Ishyo (Y53) are for the existence of more submission
(airmanih) in the house, village, tribe, and province. 48. The
four repetitions of Avat-mizhdem (Vr27) are for the healing of
those who dwell in the house, village, tribe, and province.
- The section (kardako) whose beginning is Tat-soidhish (Y57.1-9)
is, for the completion of the Gathas, taught as pertaining to
the Gathas (gasanik chasht).
- The beginning of the Gathas is Ahya-yasa (Y28.1), and their
end is drigave vahyo (Y52.9, end); and there are 278 stanzas,
1016 lines, 5567 words (vachak), 9999 marik, and 16,554 khurdak.
51. For the lines and stanzas of the Gathas were collected by
us, and were: -- one hundred stanzas of the Ahunavaiti Gatha (Y28-34),
of which each stanza is three lines; forty stanzas of the Yasna
of seven chapters (Y35-41.17), of which each stanza is three lines;
sixty-six stanzas of the Ushtavaiti Gatha (Y42-45), of which each
stanza is five lines, except Haechat-aspa (Y45.15), for that one
is four lines; forty-one stanzas of the Spenta-mainyu Gatha (Y46-49),
of which each stanza is four lines; twenty-two stanzas of the
Vohu-khshathra (Y50), of which each stanza is three lines; and
nine stanzas of the Vahishtoishti (Y52), of which each stanza
is four lines, except Itha-i (Y52.6), for that one is a stanza
of five; -- the amount of the foregoing is 278 stanzas.
- May it be in the name of God (yazdan) and the good creation!
- When they consecrate a sacred cake (dron), and it becomes
demon worship, what and how many thing are not proper?
- The decision is this: -- Whoever knowingly consecrates a sacred
cake with unpurified sacred twigs (barsom-i apatiyav), or with
a twig-bundle the number of whose twigs (tak) is too many or too
few, or of another plant not proper for sacred twigs; or holds
the end of the twig-bundle to the north and utters the Avesta
attentively; or whoever consecrates with efficacy unawares, it
is not to be considered as uttered by him. 3. Nor by him who advertently
or inadvertently takes a taste (chashnik), not from the sacred
cake with the butter (gaush-dae), but from the frasast; or takes
the prayer (baj) inwardly regarding that cake (dron) before the
officiating priest (zot) takes a taste from the same cake; or
shall utter the length of a stanza in excess, and does not again
make a beginning of the consecration of the sacred cake; or takes
up the dedication formula (khshnuman) too soon or too late; or
does not utter the Avesta for the fire when he sees the
- This is how it is when the period of the day (gas) is retained,
and how it should be when one may relinquish it; that is, when
even one of the stars created by Ohrmazd is apparent, it is retained,
and when not it is relinquished. 5. It is Vand-Ohrmazd who said
that when, besides Tishtar, Vanand, or Sataves, one of the zodiacal
stars (akhtarik) is apparent, it is retained, and when not it
is relinquished. 6. There have been some who said that when, besides
one of those three, three zodiacal stars are apparent, it is retained,
and when not it is relinquished.
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