The Life of Zarathushtra, and other marvels

NOTE: Compare with newer more complete version by Sanjana.

Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1897.

  1. Kay Loharasp at Jerusalem, and descent of the religion
  2. Parentage, birth, and life of Zartosht. Future apostles
  3. Events after Vishtasp's conversion and in later times
  4. Descent of the Iranians. The tribe having a Gyemara


The triumph of the creator Ohrmazd, and glory of complete wisdom, is the divine (ahuig) religion of Mazda-worship.
The fifth book is about the sayings of the saintly Adar Farnbag, son of Farukhzad, who was the leader of the orthodox, even as to the manuscript which is called Gyemara. 3. The collected replies of Adar Farnbag, son of Farukhzad, the leader of the orthodox, about several significant questions that are the wonder of the moderns, which are like the friendly words, spoken by him as to those of the ancient tribe (kadmon-raman) who call it really their Gyemara, which are obtaining a like wonder for them openly accessible to him.
About the unswerving and cooperating chieftainship of those forefathers who went in mutually-friendly command of troops, and the complete enclosure of that tribe within the military control of Bukht-Narsih. 5. About the disabling of vicious habits and evil deeds, which are entirely connected, and of the heinous demon-worship and mischief which are owing to them, through the ruler Kay Loharasp being sent, with Bukht-Narsih, from the country of Iran to Beta-Makdis of Arum, and their remaining in that quarter. 6. And the orthodox belief in the rude particulars of religious custom in the mutual deliberation of those of the tribe, the acquaintance with religion of a boor (durushtako-I), the difficult arrangements, and the inquirer doubtful of the religion after the many controversial, deliberative, and cause-investigating questions and answers adapted to the importunities of that wordy disciple.
About how the accepting of this religion by the prophets before Zartosht occurred, how the pure and saintly Zartosht of the Spitamas came, and who will afterwards come as bringers of the same pure good religion hereafter. 8. That is, of the prophets, apostles, and accepters of the religion, there were they who accepted it concisely and completely such as Gayomard was, from whom came irregularly (durushtako) such as Masye and Siyamak, Hooshang, Takhmorup, Yim [Jamshed], Faridoon, Manushcihar, the Saman, the Kayanian, and also many other leaders in those times. 9. And their acceptance expressly at various times is produced for action, and thereby the adversity of the creatures is removed, benefit and prosperity are sought, the world is controlled, and the creator and good creations are propitiated.


In the pure light and equal to the archangels -- collected together and reckoned together, since the original creation, and completely unmixed -- Zartosht was spiritually fashioned and provided undefectively for the acceptance and propagation of the religion in the world. 2. And when he is sent for the manifestation of restrained saintliness (mokih) and bodily substance, great glory and radiance become as much discernible in him as the same had come into the posterity of Yim [Jamshed] who are Pourushasp, his father, and Dogdo who is his mother; and also while he is being born and for the duration of life, he produced a radiance, glow, and brilliance from the place of his own abode, that issued intensely and strongly, like the splendor of fire, to distant lands.
Also about the wizards and witches [=paris, i.e. pairikas, fairies], tyrants, Kigs, and Karbs, and other miscreants who have produced outrage for him during his birth and childhood, with desire for his destruction; who have manifestly come about his death or disablement, and even so far as those who have come into the visible assembly about the destruction of his glory and other causes of helplessness. 4. And also including the wolves and other wild beasts, to whom he was cast forth by those of Pourushasp's kinsmen who were wizards, and the kindred of those frequenting demon-worship, but only as a test.
In like manner it is declared that, on account of Vohuman being welcome to him, he laughed outright at birth. 6. His coming for conference with Ohrmazd, and owing to his accepting the religion, Ahriman and many demons and fiends have come to him with exhibition of fear, offering of service, and the argument and entreaty of supplicants; and all these have returned from him disapprovingly, defeatedly, and confusedly, through the pure proclamation of his Avesta, the unique perfection of Ohrmazd's will, and the indication of a prepared armament (virasto-zenih), a declared reward, powerful sovereignty, and a way of injury to the destroyer.
Also the triumph of the sacred beings in the end, and the peculiarity of the joint control of the demons; how, before that, they rushed openly into the world and have dwindled, their bodily forms are shattered, and they are so converted into secret decay, that their supplicants, deceived and deceivers, became awful disputants through confession of it.
And when, through completely accepting the religion from Ohrmazd, he came to the obedient king Kay Vishtasp to attract those of the world, he exhibited glorious actions of many kinds and the smiting of demons and fiends; and he openly spoke the thoughts of king Vishtasp and many of the multitude about hidden matters, thus: 'A person is possessing life only by destiny, and without his body, but with a like destiny, the person possessing life is restored;' he was also opposing many wizards, demon-worshippers, demon-consulters, and those seduced by deceivers who are awful disputants. 9. And this was the utterance of those twelve stars whose names are those of the twelve zodiacal constellations, and the primitive learned of Bapel, that have come to these, who are asking questions of the chief rulers of Xwaniratha, have to justify it, in the controversy, with the spiritual and material customs and rude observances which are diversely manifested, onwards from the time of Yim [Jamshed] the splendid; and the evidence of it, discernible with him, was that of Vohuman, Ardwahisht, the fire, and some other good spirits.
Afterwards, too, the estimating and weighing of the whole utterance of the religion of Ohrmazd were held out by him to Vishtasp and those of the world, as very accountably a wonder; and further, too, he remained as it were more conflicting with fellow-disputants than his own words opposing the fellow-disputants.
Also when, through the effect of glory and the struggle for being saved, every class of apostles and prophets and manifestation of tokens and such-like were, with certain and striking evidence, casting down blessings, even thereupon the obedient king Kay Vishtasp's fear of the adversary of religion, and also other causes, arose, on account of which he was then accepting the propagation of the religion, when its great glory and beauty were seen by him. 12. At first, Zarir, Spend-dad, Frashostar, and Jamasp, several of the realm who were noble, conspicuous, and well-acting, the good and princes of mankind, beheld visibly the will and desirableness of Ohrmazd and the archangels, and the progressive religion of the creatures, fit for those completely victorious (huciraganig).
Lastly, the seizure and capturing (girinisno) by the demons are beheld and watched; and they have remained opposing, owing to the number of idolators competing wranglingly. 14. And much conflict and slaughter occurred, which arose purely, so that the mingling of the religion in the world proceeded.
There are also his pure new bringers and complete controllers of the same religion, Ushedar, Ushedarmah, and Soshyant; and through the complete progress of this religion of Ohrmazd, all the good creatures become without disturbance and all-radiant.


About that which is manifested as regards the propitiousness, forward intellect, and complete virtue of Zartosht, it is openly declared that, according to his explaining statements, there occurred such events as the victory of Kay Vishtasp and the Iranians over Arjasp and an army of Khyons and other foreigners of innumerable kinds, and details on that subject; also other assistance of Vishtasp and those of the realm in other necessities.
The killing of Zartosht himself by Bradro-resh the Tur; the provision of a chariot by Srito of the Visraps; and whatever is on those subjects.
Also, specially, matters in the times to come, each consecutively, when therein arrive devastators such as Alexander, and the killer of Akre-khirado, Mahrkus, Zohak, and other devastators; extenders of belief (viravishn-valan) such as the Messiah (Mashikh), Manih, and others; periods such as the steel age, that mingled with iron, and others; and organizers, restorers, and introducers of religion, such as Artakhshatar, Adarbad, Khosraw, Peshotan, Ushedar, Ushedarmah, Soshyant, and others.
The formation of custom, and the indications which have come to manifestation and will arrive at various periods; and the proclamation of these, too, by Jamasp, from the teaching of Zartosht, is what he wrote, together with the Avesta and Zand, upon ox hides, and it was written with gold, and kept in the royal treasury. 5. And it was from it the high-priests of the rulers made many copies; and afterwards, too, it is from it that it happened, both to the less intelligent and the corrupters, that they were introducing different opinions and different views.


About the selectness and perfection of the race of Iran, that is, how the destroyer and the mingling of defects came into the creation, first into the distribution of the race [of mankind] from the children of Siyamak, and good intellect, good disposition, proper affection, proper praise, proper modesty, observance of hope, liberality, truth, generosity, good friendship, and other capability, glory, and proper duty are more particularly included for Fravak, and again altered for frontier peoples.
Such-like goodness and glory, again, through selection from a promiscuous origin -- even till the coming on of various new contaminations, from the demons, among the children of Fravak were for Hooshang and Vaegered, as Hooshang through superior glory was ruler of the world, and Vaegered through provincial government (dahyukanih) became the cultivator and cherisher of the world; and their well-destined descendants aggrandized the race of the monarchs among the well-born provincial governors (dahyukan).
In union, such-like glory and goodness proceeded, mutually connected, in various ages as settled by the annals (madigan), and the frontiers of Atur are penetrated; also in various annals there were in succession such men as Takhmorup, Yim [Jamshed], Faridoon the Aspigan, and Airic of Iran, the progenitor of Manush, Manush-khvarnar, and Manushcihar.
And, besides including this one, who was a monarch of superior glory, and other monarchs such as are also in the same race, the Kayanians were chosen. 5. Even thus, as regards the Kayanians, the annals have always to consider him who is monarch as the right one, who is a fellow-descendant of the lineage, and in whom the glory is residing.
The creator Ohrmazd has informed Neryosang, his own reminder, that a similar instance is the supreme Zartosht-ship, and the glory of the religion due to the same; also many other reasons, which are recountable, are declared in the Avesta, indications known only to an Iranian person of the best lineage. 7. And this, too, he has said, namely: 'Great glory and goodness of this description are appropriatable by the same race, and are even now visibly manifest.'
About what are the requirements of the tribe of those who call this really their Gyemara and how they are effected by our acquaintance with revelation, that is, by much recitation of it; only, several occasions (yavar I-cand) are necessary in these times 9. Also action and precaution are possible for them, and among the actions and precautions one is to assume more especially law and custom, and whatever was perverted by us and again made true; and, as to those taught, several persons who are intellectual, seeking means, and friends of the soul, have come to teach complete delusions to them; also for the same tribe and whomever it is proper to teach, when it is necessary for them, even a worldly priestly authority is guiding for that same tribe, because he has come.


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