SELECTIONS OF ZADSPRAM
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East,
volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1897.
Two old legends of Spandarmad and of the hero Srito
- About the coming of the religion at a given time being a resemblance
such-like as the birth of a child through two united powers, which
are the reception of semen by females in procreation, and delivering
it back to the fathers, and a period of struggling and intermingling,
especially by two means: a monarchy with religion of the same
tenets (ham-vac-denoih), and the existence of similar tenets to
those of the monarchy in the custom of the religion. 2. The religion
of the Mazda-worshippers, when the period of material organization
is being converted again into a spiritual nature, became manifest
on the earth, first through Spandarmad and afterwards through
Ohrmazd, like the reception of a child by mothers and delivering
it back to the fathers.
- The manifestation of the religion through Spandarmad was at
that time when Frasiyav kept back the water from the country of
Iran, and brought the water again; in damsel form she was a speaker
for its manifestation, in reply to foreigners, at the house of
Manuschihar, the monarch of the country of Iran. 4. She was also
dressed, and wore radiant clothing which shone out on all sides
for the length of a Hasar, which is a distance, like a Parasang;
and, tied on her waist, she wore a golden sacred girdle [[kusti]] which
was the religion of the Mazda-worshippers itself.
- As to the belt of the religion, it is that to which are connected
the thirty-three fetters upon the thirty-three sins, according
to which all sin is divided; so that (ku) the damsels, by whom
the tied sacred girdle [[kusti]] of Spandarmad was seen, have become impetuous
(taftigo) after that for a tied girdle [[kusti]], on account of its seeming
- And this was the motherhood which is supplied through Spandarmad,
as a gift, in the year 528 before Zartosht came out to his conference,
which is one of their statements from the annals of the religion
in a manuscript of the ancients.
- The name of Zartosht is also cited on the earth at 300 years
before his conference. 8. For Iran, at the supplication even of
the priests in the land, and for the sake of the pacification
of a dispute arisen, Ohrmazd produced a great ox, by whom the
boundary of Iran next to Turan was intimated by pawing with his
hoofs, and he was kept in a jungle. 9. Whenever contention arose,
the boundary was fully made known by that ox, until it was the
wish of Kay Us to take, fully covetously, a portion of the land
of Turan back into Iran, and he saw that the ox is about to act
very ill-naturedly, because it was not besought with forms which
were prescribed for it, where a boundary was intimated by it.
- There were seven brothers, and he who was the seventh was
called Srito the Seventh, the largest in body and chief in strength,
belonging to those instructed in many subjects for Kay Us, and
he was among his princes. 11. Kay Us summoned him into his presence
and ordered him thus: 'Go and kill that ox in the jungle!'
- Srito went, and the ox whom he wished to kill expostulated
with him, in human words, thus: 'Do not kill me! for though thou
canst kill me, he whose guardian spirit is in the Haoma, the death-dispeller,
will also become manifest on the earth, he whose name is Zartosht
of the Spitamas, and will proclaim thy bad action in the world.
13. And the distress in thy soul becomes such as is declared in
revelation thus: "As it occurs to him, so it does to Vadak,
when they mention his iniquity," and thy death becomes the
like and, owing to death, it is mixed up with hers (that is, owing
even to hers is the death of Srito).'
- When those words were heard by him, Srito turned back, and
went again to Kay Us; also by his manner, and even apart from
this, he stated what the ox had spoken with awfulness, and also
thus: 'I am more desirous than any one who is in the earth created
by righteousness, that you should now order destruction for the
- And Kay Us uttered his will, with the conviction of superior
wisdom, thus: 'It is not certain whether he whose guardian spirit
is in the Haoma, the death-dispeller, is himself, or not; and
if he be, and be born, whether he will become manifest, or not;'
and he commanded with severity, thus: 'Go and kill it!'
- And Srito spoke thus: 'It is not that I am without strength
to kill, because its reprieval by me was owing to its remonstrance,
mentioned to me, that a high-priest is to arise.'
- So it is declared thus, in another revelation (deno zagai),
when the Turanians were backward in heart, Kay Us spoke thus:
'Go out to a certain jungle, in which dwell many chiefs of the
witches, and they will cut thee up without any striving of heart.'
- And Srito went up to the jungle, where many witches saw him,
who kept their jaws open, and they spoke about the handsome man
thus: 'Slay and do not spare!' 19. And compassion having gone
out of his heart, he went back to the other jungle and, with his
fist, he broke the back of the ox in three places; and the ox,
awfully convulsed (skifto bar-hamako), kept up an outcry.
- After the slaughter of the ox, owing to its convulsed state
which was heard by him, the remembrance of it then became grievous
to Srito; and he went back to Kay Us, and informed him how it
was, and begged him that he should finish off by slaying him,
because his life was not desirable.
- Kay Us spoke thus: 'Shall I slay thee, for it was not designed
- And Srito spoke thus: 'If thou wilt not slay me, then I shall
- Again Kay Us spoke thus: 'Do not thou slay me, for I am the
monarch of the world.'
- Srito continued his discontent, until Kay Us ordered him thus:
'Go out to a certain jungle, because a witch in the shape of a
dog is in it, and she will slay thee.'
- Then Srito went out to that jungle, and that witch in the
shape of a dog was seen by him; after he smote the witch, she
became two; and he constantly smote them till they became a thousand,
and the host (girdo) of them slew Srito on the spot.
Parentage of Zartosht
- About the glory of Zartosht becoming manifest even before
his birth, it is thus declared, that forty-five years before the
time when Zartosht came out to his conference, when Freno gave
birth to the mother of Zartosht, whom they called Dukdaub, it
came down from the endless light, in the manner of fire, and mingled
with the fire which was before her; and from the fire it mingled
with the mother of Zartosht.
- For three nights it was manifest, to all passers-by, as a
species of fire in the direction of the house, and passers on
the road always saw great radiance. 3. Also when she became fifteen
years old, the radiance of that glory which was in her, was even
such that, on the path she was walking along, its brightness was
then shed by her.
- About the combination of Zartosht, whose guardian spirit is
reverenced; that is, his guardian spirit, in the Haoma, and his
glory are given the cow's milk, by his father and mother drinking
it up, and his spiritual life (ahvo) came into the combination,
as was proclaimed by his statements in the manuscript about the
Guidance of the Ceremonial.
- About the backward connection of Zartosht with Ohrmazd, through
the two who are Yim [Jamshed], the best of the worldly existences,
and Neryosang of the spirits. 6. The enumeration of the lineage
of Zartosht is Zartosht, son of Pourushasp, of Purtaraspo, of
Aurvadasp, of Haecadaspo, of Chikhshnush, of Paitiraspo, of Arejadarshi*,
of Kharedhar*, of Spitaman, of Vaedishto, of Ayazem, of Frish,
of Arij*, of Durasrobo, of Manuschihar, of Manus-khurnar, of Manus-khurnak,
whom Neryosang the messenger of Ohrmazd brought, and whose mother
was Vizag, daughter of Aryag, of Sritak, of Bitak, of Frazushak,
of Zushak, of Fraguzag, of Guzag, daughter of Airik, son of Faridoon
of the Aspigans to the total of ten Aspigans, of Yim [Jamshed],
of the Vivanghas, of the Ayanghas, of the Ananghas, of Hooshang,
of Fravak, of Siyamak, of Mashye, of Gayomard.
Demons try to injure him before and at his birth
- About the wonderful striving of the fiend for the destruction
of Zartosht. 2. When it became near to his birth, the Fever demon,
the Pain demon, and the Wind demon of Ahriman, each one with 150
demons, have come out to kill Zartosht, and from his spirit they
have gone forth to his mother. 3. And she is hurried from there
by Fever, Pain, and Wind; and at the distance of one league (parasang)
there was a wizard, Impudent (Storko) by name, who was the most
medical of wizards; in hope of practice he stood up from his seat,
as she stopped in her progress.
- A messenger of Ohrmazd uttered a cry thus: 'Do not go to a
wizard! for they are not healing (beshazinidar) for thee; but
go back to the house, wash thy hands on the morrow with cow's
butter held over the fire, also burn (tapo) firewood and incense
for thy own self and thy progeny which is in thy womb.' 5. And
she acted accordingly and became well; and the cooperators of
the demon, and those of equal power, who had not obtained their
remedy from her body, are again exposed, and spoke thus: 'On account
of the existence of fire from all sides we have not succeeded;
it is a help for every one who is her friend more than opponent;
therefore it was not for us, because of the power within her.'
- The same night as she gave birth, Ahriman selected commanders
and arrayed his champions (gurd); there are some who are with
one thousand demons, and there are some who are with two thousand
demons; pursuing and attacking they have contended. 7. The opposing
stand of the sacred beings, especially of the glory itself at
the family fire, was manifest at that birth; and for its splendor
and brightness (padroko), settled opposite a distant place, they
have then found no remedy.
- At last, Ahriman sends Akoman on, and spoke to him thus: 'Thou
canst be very spiritual, who canst be most intimate; thou canst
go with deceit into the mind of Zartosht, and make him turn his
mind to us who are demons.' 9. And Ohrmazd sends Vohuman on against
him; Akoman advanced to the front, and had come forward to the
door, and wished to go inside.
- Vohuman schemingly (carakogariha) turned back, and exclaimed
to Akoman thus: 'Go inside!' 11. Akoman imagined thus: 'There
is nothing to be accomplished by me of what was mentioned to me,
for Vohuman has gone back.' 12. And Vohuman went inside, and mingled
with the reason (varom) of Zartosht, and Zartosht laughed outright,
for Vohuman is a gratifying spirit.
- Also seven wizards were seated before him, and owing to the
light in the dwelling, his having laughed at birth was conveniently
seen, which is opposed to the habit of the rest of mankind who
cry out at birth and are quite terrified.
- Also, at the same time of birth, he authoritatively accepted
the religion from Ohrmazd, as it is stated in revelation, that
he spoke at birth thus: 'As is the will of the spiritual lord
(ahvo) mayst thou be who art the officiating priest (zot) (that
is, mayst thou be the leader of the creatures).'
- As Zartosht, on account of his worldly body, spoke with a
worldly voice, Ohrmazd spoke in reply to him, on account of the
spirits, thus: 'So mayst thou be the priestly authority (rad shae),
and so mayst thou be virtuous, owing to whatsoever righteousness
occurs; and I confidently proclaim thee righteous (that is, I
am thy controller).'
- Another day, Pourushasp went and inquired of the wizards who
kept in front at the place, thus: 'What is the cause when infants
cry out at birth, beyond that which occurs when they laugh outright?'
17. And they replied thus: 'Because those who are made to cry
have seen mortality as their end, and those having laughed have
seen their own righteousness.'
Five Karb brothers opposed to Zartosht and his four brothers
- About the brothers who were a band of opponents of Zartosht.
2. The Karbs and Ausikhshes were brothers' sons, and have become
the devastation (gastaragih) of the Iranians; the devastators
of the Iranians (Eranan) were from Kokhared, and Kokhared was
born from Eshm and Manushak, the sister of Manuschihar. At the
place where Zartosht was born, five brothers have been, whose
names were Brad-rukhsh, Brad-royishn, Brad-resh the Tur [Bradrok-resh], Hazan,
and Vadast. 4. Their brotherhood of five -- of which the middle
one was Brad-resh the Tur, who became more of an adversary of
Zartosht -- was a semblance of the brotherhood of five who were
sons of Pourushasp, of whom the middle one was Zartosht.
- Of the four brothers of Zartosht, the names of the two before
Zartosht were Ratushtar and Rangushtar, and of the two after him
Nodariga and Nivedis. 6. The middle position of Zartosht is for
the reason that he is so produced at that time, as an intermedium
of the early narrators and the later narrators, that three millenniums
came before him and three after. 7. So that he has prescribed
to the creatures in what manner he would teach the ancients as
to what had occurred, and in what manner it is also to be done
as regards what will occur; as is stated in the Gathas thus: 'Both
those I ask of thee, O Ohrmazd! even whatever has happened till
now, and whatever shall happen henceforth?'
One Karb tries to kill Zartosht five times
- About the trials (auzmayishno) which occurred to him whose
practice was lawful, and the signs of prophecy that are seen therein,
it is thus declared, namely; 'Another day, when the child had
been born, Pourushasp called one of those five brothers of the
race of Karbs, and spoke thus: "Fully observe the marks and
specks of my son Zartosht."'
- The Karb went and sat down before Zartosht, and the head of
Zartosht was thereupon severely twisted by him, in order that
he should be killed; but he, being fearless, watched the wizards
whose terror was distressing. 3. As it was in those ten nights
for hospitality, Ohrmazd sent Spandarmad, Aredvisur, and Ardafrawash
down to the earth, by way of female care; thereupon no variation
occurred to the child, and, further, the hand of that Karb was
withered, and that wizard demanded the life of Zartosht from Pourushasp
for the harm from him, which sprang upon himself from his own
- At the same time Pourushasp took Zartosht, and gave him to
the Karb, that he might do with him according to his own will.
5. He seized him and threw him out, at the feet of the oxen who
were going on a path to the water; the leader of that drove of
oxen stood still in his vicinity, and 150 oxen, which walked behind
it, were kept away from him thereby; and Pourushasp took him,
and carried him back to the house.
- Also the second day, the Karb threw him out at the feet of
the horses; and the leader of the horses stood still in the vicinity
of Zartosht, and 150 horses, which walked behind it, were kept
away from him thereby; and Pourushasp took him, and carried him
back to the house.
- Also the third day, firewood is gathered together by the Karb,
and Zartosht is deposited on it by him, the fire is stirred up
by him, yet with the same result (ham-bun-ic), the child is not
burnt by it, and those marks, which existed and were made upon
him, were a preservation from it.
- And the fourth day, he is thrown by the Karb into the lair
(ashyanako) of a wolf; the wolf was not in the lair, and when
it wished to go back to the den (surako), it stopped when it came
in front of some radiance, in the manner of a mother, at the place
where its cub was. 9. In the night, Vohuman and Srosh the righteous
brought a woolly (kurushako) sheep with udder full of milk into
the den, and it gave milk to Zartosht, in digestible draughts
(guvarako guvarako), until daylight.
- In the dawn, the mother of Zartosht went to that place, in
the expectation that it would be necessary to bring a skeleton
out of the den, and the woolly sheep came out and ran away; his
mother supposed that it was the wolf, and she spoke thus: 'Thou
hast devoured to repletion; mayst thou endure for ever without
it!' She went farther, and when she saw Zartosht quite safe, she
then took him up and spoke thus: 'I will not give thee to any
one during life, not though both the provinces of Ragh and Nodar
should arrive here together.'
- Because these princes were among the spiritual from two provinces
which are in Atur-padakan, such as are at sixty leagues (parasang)
from Chist; Zartosht arose from Ragh, and Vishtasp from Nodar.
13. And of these two provinces, Ragh was according to the name
of Eriko, son of Durasrobo, son of Manuschihar, from whom arose
the race of Zartosht; and Nodar was according to the name of Nodar,
son of Manuschihar, from whom arose the race of Vishtasp.
Another foretells his glorious destiny
- These were his tokens at birth: -- One day, one of those five
brothers of the Karbs saw Zartosht, and he looked a long while
upwards, downwards, and on all sides around.
- Pourushasp inquired thus; 'What was there when thou lookedst
upwards, what when thou lookedst downwards, and what when thou
lookedst on all sides?'
- And he replied thus, namely: 'When I looked upwards, it was
for this reason, when I saw that our souls that go up to the sky,
will go up to the best existence, owing to the words of this soul
of mankind. 4. When I looked downwards, I saw that, owing to the
action of this one, the demon and fiend, the wizard and witch
become buried below the earth, and fall paralyzed back to hell.
5. And when I looked on all sides, I saw that the words of this
one will extend through the whole earth; and when they have become
as the law of the seven regions, each person is kept clothed with
a robe (kapah) of seven skins, in which the glory of the seven
archangels has arisen.'
- And Brad-rukhsh the Tur went forth; when he went to the right
side (arako), Zartosht hastened away to the left, and when he
went to the left side, Zartosht hastened to the right, and he
is thereby concealed from Brad-rukhsh the Tur, who has not met
His father disagrees with him
- About his diverse want of participation (gvid akhvesih) with
his parents this also is declared, that the demons, at an assembly
of wizards, produced an outcry for a conference (ham-vaco layishno)
thus: 'That son of Pourushasp is senseless and foolish and secretly
corrupted; no one, man or woman, will consider or accept him as
- The tidings came to Pourushasp, and Pourushasp spoke unto
Zartosht thus: 'I thought that I had begotten a son who would
become a priest, a warrior, and a husbandman, and now thou wouldst
be foolish and secretly corrupted; thou shouldst proceed to the
Karbs, so that they may cure thee.'
- Zartosht gave answer thus: 'I am he that is thy son, a priest,
warrior, and husbandman.' 4. And, by command of Pourushasp he
harnessed two horses to a chariot (vardino), and he went with
- When they came to the place according to the decision of Pourushasp,
into the presence of one Karb of those said five brethren, that
wizard took a cup and made water, and spoke thus: 'This he should
drink who is a son of thine, so that he may become well;' and
he acted with this conviction, that so he would change to the
same nature as theirs.
- Zartosht spoke to Pourushasp thus: 'Thou mayst give it back
to him who is thy protector and high-priest;' and he arose (akhejid)
and went back to their place.
- On the way, Zartosht gave their two horses water, on account
of their thirst; and he thought thus: 'Unprofitable was my going
to the residence of the Karbs, except in this manner, when, through
giving water to the horses, my soul was then expanded.'
And he disagrees with his father and the chief Karb
- About his interfering talk (andarg-gobishnoih) with the iniquitous,
this also is declared, that one day Durasrobo the Karb, as it
were from the same five brethren, came out to the house of Pourushasp;
and Pourushasp placed a bowl (jamako) of mare's milk before him,
and spoke to him thus: 'Consecrate it.'
- Zartosht expostulated with Pourushasp thus: I will consecrate
it.' 3. Pourushasp spoke thus: He should consecrate, and the grace
is to be offered up by you;' and as many as three times they mutually
- Then up stood Zartosht, and his right foot struck at the bowl
and emptied it, and he spoke thus: 'I reverence righteousness,
I reverence the righteous and the poor, men and women; do thou,
O Pourushasp! prepare a portion for him in whom there is worthiness.'
- And Durasrobo spoke unto Zartosht thus: 'As some of my portion
of daily food was first thrown away by thee, it is I who will
bring it on both thy lives, and will utterly destroy thee.' 6.
Zartosht spoke interruptingly thus: 'With complete mindfulness
I will look upon thee with both eyes, and will utterly destroy
- And, for a long time, they constantly looked, one at the other,
with unshrinking gaze; but the divine nature of Zartosht is victorious
over the witchcraft of that wizard, and Durasrobo is further disturbed;
he also asked for his horse and spoke thus: 'On account of this
boy, it is impossible for me to stay.'
- He sat upon the horse, and when he had gone a little way,
he fell off from the horse, through severe distress, and died;
and the children of his children's children have died upon the