This digital edition prepared by Joseph H. Peterson, 1995; updated Apr 15, 2023.
Translated by James Darmesteter (From Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898.)
|It has already been seen (Farg. VII, 44) that there are three kinds of medicine one that heals with the knife, one that heals with herbs, and one that heals with sacred spells. The present Fargard deals with the origin of medicine, particularly the herbs-medicine. Its inventor was Thrita, of the Sâma family, to whom Ahura Mazda brought down from heaven ten thousand healing plants that had been growing up around the tree of eternal life, the white Hom or Gaokerena (§ 4).||Notes:|
This Thrita is mentioned only once again in the Avesta,
in Yasna 9.7,
where he appears to have been one of the first priests
of Haoma. This accounts for his medical skill; as Haoma is the
plant of eternal life, it is but natural that one of his first
priests should have been the first healer.
This Fargard has only an allusion to the origin of the knife-medicine [surgery], which was, as it seems, revealed by Khshathra Vairya (§ 3). The last paragraphs (§§ 5-12) deal with the spell-medicine.
|The functions ascribed here to Thrita were sometimes conferred on his semi-namesake Thraetaona [Faridoon] (see Westergaard Fragments, II). Hamza makes Thraetaona the inventor of medicine (Ed Gottwaldt, p. 23; cf. Mirkhond, Early Kings of Persia, tr. by Shea, p. 152); the Tavîds (formulas of exorcism) against sickness are inscribed with his name, and we find in the Avesta itself his Fravashi invoked 'against itch, hot fever, humours, cold fever (Vd7.58), incontinence, against the plagues created by the serpent (Yt13.131).' We see from the last words of this passage that disease was understood as coming from the serpent; in other words, that it was considered a sort of poisoning1, and this is the reason why the killer of the serpent (Azi-Dahaka) [Zohak] was invoked to act against it.||1. This theory, which modern science would not utterly reject, accounts for the great part which the serpent plays in the worship of Asclepius; as sickness comes from him, from him too must or may come the healing.|
|1. Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda: 'Ahura Mazda, most beneficent Spirit, Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Who was he who first of the healers2, of the wise, the happy, the wealthy, the glorious, the strong, the Paradhatas3, drove back sickness to sickness, drove back death to death4; and first turned away the point of the sword and the fire of fever from the bodies of mortals?'||
2. Those who knew how to take care or their own bodies,
like Isfandyar: some say that no sword could wound him' (Comm.)
3. The Paradhata or Peshdad, the kings of the first Iranian dynasty.
4. That is to say, who kept sickness in bonds, who kept death in bonds' (Comm.)
|2. Ahura Mazda answered: 'Thrita it was who first of the healers, of the wise, the happy, the wealthy, the glorious, the strong, the Paradhatas, drove back sickness to sickness, drove back death to death, and first turned away the point of the sword and the fire of fever from the bodies of mortals.|
|3. 'He asked for a source of remedies; he obtained it from Khshathra-Vairya5, to withstand sickness and to withstand death; to withstand pain and to withstand fever; to withstand Sarana and to withstand Sarastya6; to withstand Azana and to withstand Azahva; to withstand Kurugha and. to withstand Azivaka; to withstand Duruka and to 'withstand Astairya; to withstand the evil eye, rottenness, and infection which Angra Mainyu had created against the bodies of mortals.||
5. As Khshathra-Vairya presides over metals, it was a knife he received,
'of which the point and the base were set in gold.' He was therefore
the first who healed with the knife, as well as the first who
healed with herbs. As for the healing with the holy word, see §
5 and seq.
6. Headache and cold fever.
|4. 'And I Ahura Mazda brought down the healing plants that, by many hundreds, by many thousands, by many myriads, grow up all around the one Gaokerena7.||7. There are two Haomas: one is the yellow or golden Haoma, which is the earthly Haoma, and which, when prepared for the sacrifice, is the king of healing plants; the other is the white Haoma or Gaokerena, which grows up in the middle of the sea Vouru-Kasha, where it is surrounded by the ten thousand healing plants, created by Ohrmazd in order to oppose so many diseases that had been created by Ahriman (Bundahishn 9; see Vd22.2). A frog goes swimming around the Gaokerena to gnaw it down: but two Kar Mahi (Vd19.42) keep watch and circle around the tree, so that the head of one of them is continually towards the frog (Bund. 18).|
|5. 'All this do we achieve; all this do we order; all these prayers do we utter, for the benefit of the bodies of mortals8;||8. We do all that is necessary for healing; we give, as Dastobar (Dastur), the necessary prescriptions; we recite the needed prayers. -- This section is a transition to the spell-medicine.|
6. 'To withstand sickness and to withstand death; to withstand
pain and to withstand fever; to withstand Sarana and to withstand
Sarastya; to withstand Azana and to withstand Azahva; to
withstand Kurugha and to withstand Azivaka; to withstand Duruka
and to withstand Astairya; to withstand the evil eye, rottenness,
and infection which Angra Mainyu has created against the bodies
7. 'To thee, O Sickness, I say avaunt! to thee, O Death, I say avaunt! to thee, O Pain, I say avaunt! to thee, O Fever, I say avaunt! to thee, O Evil Eye, I say avaunt! to thee, O Sarana, I say avaunt! and to thee, O Sarastya, I say avaunt! to thee, O Azana, I say avaunt! and to thee, O Azahva, I say avaunt! to thee, O Kurugha, I say avaunt! and to thee, O Azivaka, I say avaunt! to thee, O Duruka, I say avaunt! and to thee, O Astairya, I say avaunt!
|8. 'Give us, O Ahura, that powerful sovereignty, by the strength of which we may smite down the Druj! By its might may we smite the Druj9!||9. This clause is borrowed, with some alteration, from Yasna 31.4; the original text is, 'May that strong power come to me, by the might of which we may smite down the Druj!'|
|9. 'I drive away Ishire and I drive away Aghuire; I drive away Aghra and I drive away Ughra; I drive away sickness and I drive away death; I drive away pain and I drive away fever; I drive away Sarana and I drive away Sarastya; I drive away Azana and I drive away Azahva; I drive away Kurugha and I drive away Azivaka; I drive away Duruka and I drive away Astairya; I drive away the evil eye, rottenness, and infection which Angra Mainyu has created against the bodies of mortals.|
|10. 'I drive away all manner of sickness and death, all the Yatus and Pairikas10, and all the wicked Jainis11.||10. See Vd11.9.|
|11. 'A Airyema ishyo. May the vow-fulfilling Airyaman12 come here, for the men and women of Zarathushtra to rejoice, for Vohu-mano to rejoice; with the desirable reward that Religion deserves. I solicit for holiness that boon that is vouchsafed by Ahura!||12. On Airyaman, see Vd22. Clauses 15-12 are borrowed from Yasna 54.1, and form the prayer known as Airyema ishyo.|
|12. 'May the vow-fulfilling Airyaman smite all manner of sickness and death, all the Yatus and Pairikas, and all the wicked Jainis.'|
[13. Yatha ahu vairyo:- The will of the Lord is the law of
The gifts of Vohu-mano to the deeds done in this world for
Mazda. He who relieves the poor makes Ahura king.
Kem-na mazda:- What protector hast thou given unto me, O Mazda! while the hate of the wicked encompasses me? Whom but thy Atar and Vohu-mano, through whose work I keep on the world of Righteousness? Reveal therefore to me thy Religion as thy rule!
Ke verethrem-ja:- Who is the victorious who will protect thy teaching? Make it clear that I am the guide for both worlds. May Sraosha come with Vohu-mano and help whomsoever thou pleasest, O Mazda!
Keep us from our hater, O Mazda and Armaiti Spenta! Perish, O fiendish Druj! Perish, O brood of the fiend! Perish, O world of the fiend! Perish away, O Druj! Perish away to the regions of the north, never more to give unto death the living world of Righteousness13!]
|13. See Vd8.19-20.|