SELECTIONS OF ZADSPRAM
Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East,
volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1897.
Legends indicative of his good disposition
- About the righteousness of his desires it is thus declared,
that when he became fifteen years old, the sons of Pourushasp
demanded a portion from their father, and their portions are allotted
out by him. 2. Among the clothes there was a girdle [[kusti]], the width
of which was four finger-breadths; and of the four portions around
and the girdle, which it was possible to bring forth, Zartosht
selected the latter and tied it on himself. 3. This was owing
to the precepts (parvanakan) of Vohuman who came into his reason
at birth; as to whatever is not the custom his mind was now quite
closed, and in that which is the custom it was impetuously exercised
- About his compassionate disposition and the streams of the
Arag province, this also is declared, that there was a river,
and from them the body of a naked woman floated, for the reason
that, on account of the strength and swiftness of the river, a
woman, except when she was quite naked while she was in it, was
not able to pass; and an old person, such as he who is of seventy
years and is called in revelation a Hano, for want of power (apadiyavandih
rai), was not able to go back through it by his own strength.
5. Zartosht came on to the bank of the water, and of women and
old people seven persons had come, and are passed on by him, in
the manner of a bridge; it was an emblem of the spiritual performers
of bridging work, that is, of those providing a passage to heaven.
- About his liberal disposition it is declared, that the fodder
of Pourushasp, which was stored for the beasts of burden, was
not only for the beasts of Pourushasp in a scarcity, but also
for distribution among the beasts of others, which, owing to their
hunger on account of the scarcity, then constantly ate off the
tails of each other; and it was given to them plentifully.
- About his abandoning worldly desire, and his laying hold of
righteousness of way, this, too, is declared, that when he became
twenty years old, without the consent (ben akamakih) of his father
and mother, he wandered forth and departed from their house, and
openly inquired thus: 'Who is most desirous of righteousness and
most nourishing the poor?' 8. And they spoke thus: 'He who is
the youngest (kehisto) son of Aurvaito-dih the Tur, who every
day gives an iron caldron (jamak), which is the height of a horse,
full of bread and milk and other food, unto the poor.' 9. Zartosht
went on to that place, and with his cooperation, for the nourishment
of the poor, some of the chief men performed duty by carrying
forth food for the poor.
- About his compassion, not only upon mankind, but also his
other creatures, this, too, is declared, that a bitch was seen
by him, which had given birth to five puppies, and it was three
days then that she had not obtained food. 11. Whomever she saw,
she then advanced her mouth towards him, and became as it were
prostrated; Zartosht provided a remedy, by swiftly bringing up
bread for her, but when he was bringing it she had expired.
- About his own desire for the good quality of a wife, on account
also of the will of his parents, and his not mingling his own
seed before a suitable obtainment, this, too, is declared, that
when his father sought a wife for him, Zartosht argued with the
bride (nesha) thus: 'Show me thy face, so that may find out (barkham)
its kind of appearance, and this, too, whether its appearance
be undesirable, or shall not be gratifying;' and the bride turned
away her face from him. 13. And Zartosht spoke thus: 'Whoever
takes away a sight from me, does not practice respect for me.'
- About his having accepted progress even from the iniquitous,
that listened sinfully desirous, who accepted so much advantageousness
as was manifest, this, too, is declared, that he came into an
assembly who were well known in the place for much knowledge,
and he inquired of them thus: 'What is most favorable for the
soul?' 15. And they spoke thus: 'To nourish the poor, to give
fodder to cattle, to bring firewood to the fire, to pour Haoma-juice
into water, and to worship many demons with words, with the words
which are called revelation (deno).' 16. Then Zartosht nourished
the poor, foddered the cattle, brought firewood to the fire, and
squeezed Haoma into water, but never are any demons whatever worshipped
with words by Zartosht.
His going to confer with Ohrmazd
- About his coming to thirty years of age if is thus declared,
that on the lapse of thirty years onwards from his appearance,
on the day Anagran of the month Spandarmad, he had proceeded in
that direction in which there occurred the so-called festival
of spring (jashno-i vahar), forty-five days beyond new-year's
day, at a place become specially noted, where people went, from
many quarters, out to the place of festival (jashnocar).
- When Zartosht, for the sake of going off to the festival place,
halted on the way in walking, he chanced upon a solitary (aevatak)
plain, and he saw, in a vision, that mankind and a much-adorned
worldly existence were kept away to the north, so that all the
people in the earth have become fully manifest in the north. 3.
And he at the head (pavan tekh) of them was Maidok-mah, son of
Arastai, even as Arastai was brother of Pourushasp; Maidok-mah
was the leader of all mankind who have gone out to the presence
of Zartosht, and he became their guide, so that first Maidok-mah
and afterwards the whole material existence are attracted.
- And about his coming out to the conference, on the lapse of
those forty-five days, at the place of festival at dawn on the
day Dadvo-pavan-Mitro [Day-pa-Adar] of the month Ardwahisht. 5.
And Zartosht, for the purpose of squeezing the Haoma, went forth
to the bank of the water of the Daitya, because it is the river
of the conference for the supremacy (patih) of Zartosht, and is
the water of Aban which has consisted of four channels (beta).
6. Zartosht also passed on through it; and its first channel was
up to the ankle, the second up to the knee, the third up to the
parting of the two thighs, and the fourth up to the neck. 7. This
was an indicator that his religion comes four times to supremacy;
the manifestations of which are through Zartosht, Hoshedar, Hoshedarmah,
- When he came up from the water, and put on his clothes, he
then saw the archangel Vohuman in the form (ayuinako) of a man,
handsome, brilliant, and elegant, who wore his hair curve-tailed,
because the curved tail is an indication of duality; who had put
on and wore a dress like silk, than which there was no making
anything superior, for it was light itself; and his height was
nine times as much as of Zartosht.
- He also inquired of Zartosht thus: 'Who mayst thou be, and
from whom of them mayst thou be? also what is mostly thy desire,
and the endeavor in thy existence?' 10. And he replied thus: 'I
am Zartosht of the Spitamas; among the existences righteousness
is more my desire, and my wish is that I may become aware of the
will of the sacred beings, and may practice so much righteousness
as they exhibit to me in the pure existence.'
- And Vohuman directed Zartosht thus: 'Do thou proceed to an
assembly of the spirits!' 12. As much as Vohuman walked on in
nine steps, Zartosht did in ninety steps, and when he had gone
ninety steps farther than him, he saw the assembly of the seven
archangels. 13. When he came within twenty-four feet of the archangels,
he then did not see his own shadow on the ground, on account of
the great brilliancy of the archangels; the position of the assembly
was in Iran, and in the direction of the districts on the bank
of the water of the Daitya. 14. Zartosht offered homage, and spoke
thus: 'Homage to Ohrmazd, and homage to the archangels!' and he
went forward and sat down in the seat of the inquirers.
- As to the asking of questions by Zartosht, he inquired of
Ohrmazd thus: 'In the embodied world which is the first of the
perfect ones, which the second, and which the third?' 16. And
Ohrmazd replied thus: 'The first perfection is good thoughts,
the second good words, and the third good deeds.'
- Zartosht also inquired thus: 'Which thing is good, which is
better, and which is the best of all habits?' 18. And Ohrmazd
replied thus: 'The title of the archangels is good, the sight
of them is better, and carrying out their commands is the best
of all habits.'
- Afterwards he demonstrated the duality of the original evolutions
(bun gashtano), and the divergence in each control, and spoke
thus: 'Of those spirits, he who was wicked preferred the practice
which is iniquitous (Ahriman's desire was for the practice which
is iniquitous), and the spirit of righteousness, the propitious
(Ohrmazd) prefers righteousness.' 20. Specially he demonstrated
the divergence in each control of the exhibitors of light, and
he spoke thus: 'Neither our thoughts, nor desires, nor words,
nor deeds, nor religion, nor spiritual faculties agree; he who
is loving light, his place is with the luminaries; and he who
is loving darkness is with the dark ones.'
- On the same day also, his omniscient wisdom appeared three
times: as regards the same first questions, it pointed out the
sky in great light and splendor, and in its exhibition of the
prevention of darkness, at the sight of which it becomes an opposing
existence as regards that darkness. 22. And it exhibited its own
appearance proportionally to the sky, when it kept its head at
the summit of the sky, ifs feet at the bottom of the sky, and
its hands reached to both sides of the sky; the sky also kept
it covered, in the manner of a garment.
- The six archangels were manifest by their similar stature
(ham-bashnih), in such manner that it is obvious each one successively
is apparently one finger's breadth shorter than the other. 24.
The archangels exhibited three kinds of achievement (pasakhtan)
for the religion; first, by means of fires, and Zartosht walked
three steps on them, with the words, 'good thoughts, good words,
and good deeds,' and was not burnt; and secondly, hot metal is
poured on to his chest, cooled thereby, and, grasping it with
his hand, he held it for the archangels. 25. Ohrmazd spoke thus:
'After the establishment of the pure religion, when a dispute
occurs in the religion, those who are thy disciples will pour
it on to a spiritual lord, they will take it up with the hand,
and will thoroughly believe in him who is over the whole embodied
existence.' 26. The third was cutting with a knife, and the vital
parts (ahvon) becoming visible, which are inside the abdomen.
with a flowing forth of blood; and, after the hands are rubbed
over it, it became healed. 27. And this is pointed out, namely:
'Thy and thy co-religionists' accepting of the pure religion is,
as to the steadfast in other religions, such that, through such-like
burning of fire, pouring of hot metal, and through an operation
with a sharp instrument, there is no perversion from the good
His conferences with the archangels
- About the seven questionings (7-frashnoih), with reference
to religion, of the seven archangels, which occurred in seven
- For the occurrence of the first questioning, that of Ohrmazd,
the person of Zartosht, who was the upholder of Ohrmazd, came
out to a conference on the bank of the water of Daitya.
- For the occurrence of the second, which is Vohuman's, five
animals out of the five species which are the worldly tokens of
Vohuman, have come with Zartosht to a conference on Hugar and
Ausind; and on that day also, before their coming out to the conference,
their tongues are fully liberated and spoke with human words.
4. And among the rest is a fish of one species, Arzuva by name;
of those in burrows (khanoigano) are the white ermine and white
marten; of the flying creatures (vayan-dagan) is the Karshipt,
a bird like a species of water-fowl; of the wide-travelers (farakhvo-raftarano)
is the hare which is showing wild beasts the way to the water;
and of those suitable for grazing (carako-arjanigan) is the white
ass-goat; with human words they also accepted the religion from
Ohrmazd. 5. With the chieftainship of the five species they are
entrusted, so that the like animals also, with their own voices,
and as much as their knowledge is capable, shall recount the powerfulness
of the religion. 6. And freedom from assault, exemption from persecution,
and proper maintenance of the five species of animals, were prescribed
by him to Zartosht with seemingly very awful admonition.
- For the occurrence of the third questioning, which is Ardwahisht's,
the spirits of the fires have come out with Zartosht to a conference
at the Tojan water; and, in that questioning, care for the proper
maintenance of the Warharan fire, and the propitiation of all
fires, is explained to him.
- For the occurrence of the fourth questioning, which is Shahrewar's,
the spirits of the metals have come with Zartosht to a conference
at Sarai, a settlement on the Mivan; and he was fully admonished
about various proper preservations of the metals, and as to not
producing warlike accouterments of gold.
- For the occurrence of the fifth questioning, which is Spandarmad's,
the spirits of the regions, frontiers, stations (austaman), settlements
(rudastakan), and districts, as many as were desirable, have come
out with Zartosht to a conference where there is a spring (khanigo-ae)
which comes out from the Asnavad mountain, and goes into the Daitya,
like those of Sataves who is blowing the Pairigs. 10. And Zartosht
was also thus admonished by her, about the care and propitiation
of the earth: that each district is to be entrusted to a faithful
testifier (gokas-i vavar), each settlement to a judge acquainted
with the law, each station to an officiating priest (magopato
= mobed) of just intentions, and each frontier to a pure priestly
authority (rado); over all is proclaimed the councilor of the
spirits, the supreme priest (magopatano magopato), and through
him the sovereignty of Ohrmazd is provided.
- For the occurrence of the sixth questioning, which is Hordad's,
the spirits of seas and rivers have come with Zartosht to a conference
at the Asnavad mountain, and he was told about the care and propitiation
- For the occurrence of the seventh questioning, which is Amurdad's,
the spirits of plants have come out with Zartosht to a conference
on the precipitous bank of the Dareja, on the bank (bar) of the
water of Daitya, and different places; and he was informed about
the care and propitiation of plants.
- The seven questionings are explained within the length of
these winters, which are of five months, and within ten years.
Dates of conversions, births, and deaths
- On the completion of revelation, that is, at the end of the
ten years, Maidok-mah, son of Arastai, became faithful to Zartosht.
- Afterwards, on having obtained his requests, he came back
to the conference of Ohrmazd, and he spoke thus: 'In ten years
only one man has been attracted by me.' 3. And Ohrmazd spoke thus:
'There will be days when so few are not attracted by you, who
are themselves the occasion of the resurrection of the world;
when, apart from Dahak [Zohak], the beneficence of the formation
of the renovation of the universe attracts every one besides,
and the impenitence of Dahak [Zohak] is destroyed.'
- When he came out from the presence of Ohrmazd, with the same
paradox, he thereby indicated his religion as complete to Spandarmad
through his intelligence.
- In the two years after that, the Kavigs and Karbs of Vishtasp,
in the manner of opponents (hamestaranih), propounded thirty-three
inquiries (khvastako) to him, so that by command of Vishtasp he
became the explainer of those thirty-three inquiries. 6. Of the
thirty-three habits of iniquity, come for opposition to the religion
of the sacred beings, of the declaration, by revelation, of those
thirty-three indications of fetters; and of the restraint of the
thirty-three iniquitous practices by the thirty-three best good
works, there are statements in revelation. 7. Including the acceptance
of the religion by Vishtasp from Zartosht, after the redemonstration
of its judicially multiform prophecy and spiritual character,
which are looked into through the evidence of three speakers about
them, the archangels who, with worldly manifestation, have become
apparent unto Vishtasp and his councilors and mighty ones; they
are Vohuman, Ardwahisht, and the Burzin-Mihr fire.
- About the reward which existed before the beneficence of Zartosht,
and its being seen how, through guidance by Ohrmazd, it is demonstrated
by him to those of the world, so that Maidok-mah is attracted
in the tenth year in the forest of reedy hollows (kanyastano veshako)
which is the haunt of swine of the wild-boar species (khazura-i
varazo gas); in the twentieth year the Kavig who is son of Kundah
is attracted; in the thirtieth year the Khyons arrive, who make
an incursion (vardako) into the countries of Iran, owing to the
Kavigs, those who are more of their own race; and in the fortieth
year Vohunem, son of Avaroshtar, is born.
- In the forty-seventh year Zartosht passes away, who attains
seventy-seven years and forty days in the month Ardwahisht, on
the day Khur; and for eight rectified (vehicako) months, till
the month Dadvo and day Khur, he should be brought forward as
to be reverenced.
- In the same month Ardwahisht, in the sixty-third year, Frashostar
passed away, and in the sixty-fourth year Jamasp, the same as
became the priest of priests after Zartosht; in the seventy-third
year Hangaurush, son of Jamasp; in the eightieth year Asmok-khanvato,
and also in the eightieth year Kabed-us-spae, who is called also
Akht the wizard, is killed.
- Of the six great upholders of the religion there are the two
daughters of Zartosht, whose names are Freno and Srito, with Aharubo-stoto,
son of Maidok-mah, and another three, who are renowned for their
religion for a hundred years, who are Vohunem that is born in
the fortieth year of the religion, Seno is afterwards born and
passes away in the two-hundredth year, and as to his hundred-discipledom,
it exists day and night till the three-hundredth year. 12. Afterwards
the religion is disturbed and the monarchy is contested (jangiaito).
- About the three customs (dado) which Zartosht prescribed as
the best: -- The first of them is this: 'Do not go without others,
except with magisterial authority (apatkar radiha);' the second
is: 'Though they shall proceed unlawfully as to you, consider
your actions lawfully beforehand;' and the third is: 'Next-of-kin
marriage, for the sake of the pure progress of your race, is the
best of the actions of the living, which are provided for the
proper begetting of children.'
Five dispositions of priests and ten admonitions
- About the five dispositions of priests, and the ten admonitions
with which all instruction as to religion is connected.
- Of those five dispositions the first is innocence.
- The second is discrimination among thoughts, words, and deeds;
[to fully distinguish the particulars of destruction from indestructiveness,
such as noxious creatures from cattle; and of production from
unproductiveness, such as the righteous an worthy from the wicked
- The third is authoritativeness, because that priestly master
is always wiser and speaking more correctly who is taught wisely
and teaches with more correct words.
- The fourth is to [understand and consider the ceremonial as
the ceremonial of Ohrmazd, and the essentials with all goodness,
beneficence, and authority; to be steadfast in his religion, and
to consider the indications of protection (sayag) which are established
for his religion. 6. To maintain the reverence of the luminaries
prayerfully, also the reverence of the emanations from the six
archangels, be they fire, be they earth, or be they of bodily
form, and of the creatures which are formed by them; also the
pure cleansing from dead matter, menstruation, bodily refuse,
and other hurtfulness; this is in order that they may be characterized,
and thereby constituted, as better-principled, more sensible,
and purer, and they may become less faulty. 7. The reverence of
mankind is to consider authoritatively about knowledge and property;
the reverence of cattle is about fodder, little hardship, and
moderate maintenance; the reverence of plants is about sowing
and ripening for the food of the worthy. 8. The ceremonial which
is glorifying all the sacred beings, praises the luminaries and
worldly creations improperly, and is antagonistic to them, because
complete glorification is proper through complete recitation of
the ritual; and the ceremonial of any one whatever is his own
proper duty professionally, so long as it is possible to keep
proceeding with very little sinfulness].
- The fifth is to struggle prayerfully, day and night, with
your own fiend, and all life long not to depart from steadfastness,
nor allow your proper duty to go out of your hands.
- And the first of those ten admonitions is to proceed with
good repute, for the sake of occasioning approving remarks as
to the good repute of your own guardian and teacher, high-priest
- The second is to become awfully refraining from evil repute,
for the sake of evil repute not occurring to relations and guardians.
- The third is not to beat your own teacher with a snatched-up
stick, and not to bring scandal upon his name, for the sake of
annoying him, by uttering that which was not heard from your own
- The fourth is that whatever is taught liberally by your own
teacher, you have to deliver back to the worthy, for the sake
of not extorting a declaration of renown from the righteous.
- The fifth is that the reward of doers of good works and the
punishment of criminals have to be established by law, for the
sake of progress.
- The sixth is to keep the way of the good open to your house,
for the sake of making righteousness welcome in your own abode.
- The seventh is that, for the sake of not developing the fiend
insensibly in your reason, you are not to keep it with the religion
of the good, nor to remain in impenitence of sin.
- The eighth is that, for the sake of severing the fiend from
the reason, you have to force malice away from your thoughts,
and to become quickly repentant of sin.
- The ninth is to fully understand the forward movement of the
religion, also to keep the advancing of the religion further forwards,
and to seek your share of duty therein; and on a backward movement,
when adversity happens to the religion, to have the religion back
again, and to keep your body in the continence (makavadih) of
- The tenth is that there is to be a period of obedience (Sroshdarih)
towards the ruler and priestly authority, the high-priesthood
of the religious.
About the three divisions of revelation
- About the three divisions of revelation there is a condensed
medium, beneficial and small, of whose subdivision one category
(rajistako) is collection together; that is, the Ahunwar itself
is a symbol of the Nasks.
- First, the Ahunwar is apportioned into its three degrees (padman),
as shown in another chapter; and by a like system (rajistak) the
Gathas, too, are into three, which are the three-lined, four-lined,
and five-lined; even so the Nasks are denominated Gathic, Hadha-mathric,
and Law. 3. Then the Ahunwar is apportioned into six: which they
call half-lines (nem-gas); so, too, the Gathas are into six, which
are called the Ahunavaiti Gatha, the Yasna, the Ushtavaiti Gatha,
the Spenta-Mainyu (Spetamato) Gatha, the Vohu-khshathra Gatha,
and the Vahishtoishti Gatha; even so the Nasks are into six, as
the Gathas are into two, which are called one the Gathic creation
-- which is the Yasht -- and one the rest of the Gathic; also
the Hadha-mathric into two, one the Mathra of the arranger --
which is the Pacino and Rado-dado-aito -- and one the Mathra full
of good tokens, which is the rest of the Hadha-mathra; and also
the Law into two, one the law against the demons -- which is the
Vendidad -- and one the law of Zartosht, which is the rest of
the Law. 4. Then it is apportioned into twenty-one, such as the
twenty-one words (marik) of the Ahunwar; also the Gathas are into
twenty-one, which are the Ahunwar, the praise of righteousness,
the performance of the good, and from Yanim-mano unto Airyaman
which, being accomplished (akardo), are twenty-one; and the Nasks
- Then the Gathas are apportioned into 278 stanzas (vecesto);
and the Nasks also into 278 categories, every single category
having borne a form like a single verse, as regards how much and
how anything good is indicated, such as the Patkar-radistan, in
which what is legally disputable is reported (pedako); the Zakhmistan,
by which the penalty of assault (zakhm) is reported; the Storistan,
by which the sin and amount of penalty for a wound, as regard
beasts of burden and cattle, are reported; the Arateshtaristan,
by which battle is reported; the Pasush-haurastan, by which the
customary keeping of sheep in control is reported; the Jurdai-zaritunistan
('corn-sowing code'), by which agriculture is reported; the Varistan,
by which an ordeal being accomplished is reported; and others
of a like description.
- Then the Gathas are apportioned into 1016 metrical lines (gas),
and the Nasks into 1000 Has and Fargards, and, since the Hadokht
is the priestly master (rado) of the Nasks, and the remedy (darmon)
which is a perfect statement about the master of the resurrection,
the existence of its fargards about the other fargards is therefore
1000 remedies fully combined, being the corn and fodder that are
shut up (bastako) when, over that thousand, they supply one that
is great, which in every way protects them from hail and rain,
from the wind which is hot and that which is cold.
- Then the Gathas are apportioned into 6666 words (marik), and
as to the Nasks, too, their own 6666 ordinances (dadistano) are
therein severed. 8. And the 6666 words, which are in the Gathas,
are an indicator of the period from the adversary having come
to the creatures, as far as unto the end of the six millenniums
-- each millennium being ten centuries -- which amount to 60 single
centuries -- a century being ten tens -- and up to the time when
its cold and distress arrive, which become awful; the 600, including
the excess as far as one ten, are years of the 6000 years which
are the words of the six Gathas that are the first indicator of
the six millenniums; therefore of the 60 centuries are then the
600 and those which are added to them (zak-i ghal).
- And after those 6000, which are the 6000 years, are the Airyaman
of Ardwahisht and the accompanying sayings (ham-vaco) which are
at the end of the Gathas; those are the 57 years of Soshyant,
and for the sake of them, too, are the Airyaman and from the praise
of righteousness at its end to the consecration of the Airyaman,
originally 57 words (marik), because the praise of righteousness
for the Airyaman is 12, and the consecration of the Airyaman is
21, of the original 57.
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