Zand-i Vohuman Yasht

Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism

Translated by E. W. West

CHAPTER 1

0. May the gratification of the creator Ohrmazd, the beneficent, the developer, the splendid, and glorious, and the benediction of the archangels, which constitute the pure, good religion of the Mazdayasnians, be vigor of body, long life, and prosperous wealth for him whose writing I am.

1. As it is declared by the Sudgar Nask (of the Ancient Avesta) that Zartosht asked for immortality from Ohrmazd, then Ohrmazd displayed the omniscient wisdom to Zartosht, and through it he beheld the root of a tree, on which were four branches, one golden, one of silver, one of steel, and one was mixed up with iron.

2. Thereupon he reflected in this way, that this was seen in a dream, and when he arose from sleep Zartosht spoke thus: 'Lord of the spirits and earthly existences! it appears that I saw the root of a tree, on which were four branches.'

3. Ohrmazd spoke to Zartosht the Spitaman thus: 'That root of a tree which thou sawest, and those four branches, are the four periods which will come.

4. That of gold is when I and thou converse, and King Vishtasp shall accept the religion, and shall demolish the figures of the demons, but they themselves remain for . . . concealed proceedings.

5. And that of silver is the reign of Ardashir the Kayanian king (Kai shah), and that of steel is the reign of the glorified (anoshak-ruban) Khosraw son of Kobad, and that which was mixed with iron is the evil sovereignty of the demons with disheveled hair of the race of Wrath, and when it is the end of the tenth hundredth winter (sato zim) of thy millennium, O Zartosht the Spitaman!'

6. It is declared in the commentary (zand) of the Vohuman Yasht, Hordad Yasht, and Ashtad Yasht that, during this time, the accursed Mazdak son of Bamdad, who is opposed to the religion, comes into notice, and is to cause disturbance among those in the religion of God (yazdan).

7. And he, the glorified one, summoned Khosraw son of Mah-dad and Dad-Ohrmazd of Nishapur, who were high-priests of Ataro-patakan, and Ataro-frobag the undeceitful (akadba), Ataro-pad, Ataro-Mitra, and Bakht-afrid to his presence, and he demanded of them a promise, thus: 'Do not keep these Yashts in concealment, and do not teach the commentary except among your relations.'

8. And they made the promise unto Khosraw.

CHAPTER 2

1. In the Vohuman Yasht commentary (zand) it is declared that Zartosht asked for immortality from Ohrmazd a second time, and spoke thus: 'I am Zartosht, more righteous and more efficient among these thy creatures, O creator! when thou shalt make me immortal, as the tree opposed to harm, and Gopatshah, Yavisht-i Friyan, and Chitrok-miyan son of Vishtasp, who is Peshotan, were made.

2. When thou shalt make me immortal they in thy good religion will believe that the upholder of religion, who receives from Ohrmazd his pure and good religion of the Mazdayasnians, will become immortal; then those men will believe in thy good religion.'

3. Ohrmazd spoke thus: 'When I shall make thee immortal, O Zartosht the Spitaman! then Tur-i Bradrok-resh the Karb will become immortal, and when Tur-i Bradrok-resh the Karb shall become immortal the resurrection and future existence are not possible.'

4. Zartosht seemed uneasy about it in his mind; and Ohrmazd, through the wisdom of omniscience, knew what was thought by Zartosht the Spitaman with the righteous spirit, and he took hold of Zartosht's hand.

5. And he, Ohrmazd the propitious spirit, creator of the material world, the righteous one, even he put the omniscient wisdom, in the shape of water, on the hand of Zartosht, and said to him thus: 'Devour it.'

6. And Zartosht devoured some of it; thereby the omniscient wisdom was intermingled with Zartosht, and seven days and nights Zartosht was in the wisdom of Ohrmazd.

7. And Zartosht beheld the men and cattle in the seven regions of the earth, where the many fibers of hair of every one are, and whereunto the end of each fiber holds on the back.

8. And he beheld whatever trees and shrubs there were, and how many roots of plants were in the earth of Spandarmad, where and how they had grown, and where they were mingled.

9. And the seventh day and night he (Ohrmazd) took back the omniscient wisdom from Zartosht and Zartosht reflected in this way, that I have seen it in a pleasant dream produced by Ohrmazd, and I am not surfeited with the dream.

10. And he took both hands, rubbed his body (kerp) again, and spoke thus: 'I have slept a long time, and am not surfeited with this pleasant dream produced by Ohrmazd.

11. Ohrmazd said to the righteous Zartosht thus: 'What was seen in the pleasant dream produced by Ohrmazd?'

12. Zartosht spoke thus: 'O Ohrmazd, propitious spirit! creator of the material world, righteous creator! I have seen a celebrity (khunid) with much wealth, whose soul, infamous in the body, was hungry (gurs) and jaundiced and in hell, and he did not seem to me exalted; and I saw a beggar with no wealth and helpless, and his soul was thriving (farpih) in paradise, and he seemed to me exalted.

13. [And I saw a wealthy man without children, and he did not seem to me exalted;] and I saw a pauper with many children, and he seemed to me exalted.

14. And I saw a tree on which were seven branches, one golden, one of silver, one brazen, one of copper, [one of tin], one of steel, and one was mixed up with iron.'

15. Ohrmazd spoke thus: 'O Zartosht the Spitaman! this is what I say beforehand, the one tree which thou sawest is the world which I, Ohrmazd, created; and those seven branches thou sawest are the seven periods which will come.

16. And that which was golden is the reign of King Vishtasp, when I and thou converse about religion, and Vishtasp shall accept that religion and shall demolish the figures of the demons, and the demons desist from demonstration into concealed proceedings; Ahriman and the demons rush back to darkness, and care for water, fire, plants, and the earth of Spandarmad becomes apparent.

17. And that which was of silver is the reign of Ardashir the Kayanian (Kai), whom they call Vohuman son of Spend-dad, who is he who separates the demons from men, scatters them about, and makes the religion current in the whole world.

18. And that which was brazen is the reign of Ardashir, the arranger and restorer of the world, and that of King Shahpur, when he arranges the world which I, Ohrmazd, created; he makes happiness (bukhtakih) prevalent in the boundaries of the world, and goodness shall become manifest; and Adarbad of triumphant destiny, the restorer of the true religion, with the prepared brass, brings this religion, together with the transgressors, back to the truth.

19. And that which was of copper is the reign of the Ashkanian king, who removes from the world the heterodoxy (javid-rastakih) which existed, and the wicked Akandgar-i Kilisyakih is utterly destroyed by this religion, and goes unseen and unknown from the world.

20. And that which was of tin is the reign of King Vahram Gor, when he makes the sight of the spirit of pleasure manifest, and Ahriman with the wizards rushes back to darkness and gloom.

21. And that which was of steel is the reign of King Khosraw son of Kobad, when he keeps away from this religion the accursed Mazdak, son of Bamdad, who remains opposed to the religion along with the heterodox.

22. And that which was mixed with iron [is the reign of the demons with disheveled hair of the race of Wrath, when it is the end of the tenth hundredth winter of thy millennium], O Zartosht the Spitaman!'

23. Zartosht said thus: 'Creator of the material world! O propitious spirit! what token would you give of the tenth-hundredth winter?'

24. Ohrmazd spoke thus: 'Righteous Zartosht! I will make it clear: the token that it is the end of thy millennium, and the most evil period is coming, is that a hundred kinds, a thousand kinds, a myriad of kinds of demons with disheveled hair, of the race of Wrath, rush into the country of Iran (Airan shatro) from the direction of the east, which has an inferior race and race of Wrath.

25. They have uplifted banners, they slay those living in the world, they have their hair disheveled on the back, and they are mostly a small and inferior (nitum) race, forward in destroying the strong doer; O Zartosht the Spitaman! the race of Wrath is miscreated (vishud) and its origin is not manifest.

26. Through witchcraft they rush into these countries of Iran which I, Ohrmazd, created, since they burn and damage many things; and the house of the house owner, the land of the land-digger, prosperity, nobility, sovereignty, religion, truth, agreement, security, enjoyment, and every characteristic which I, Ohrmazd, created, this pure religion of the Mazdayasnians, and the fire of Warharan, which is set in the appointed place, encounter annihilation, and the direst destruction and trouble will come into notice.

27. And that which is a great district will become a town; that which is a great town, a village; that which is a great village, a family; and that which is a [great] family, a single threshold.

28. O Zartosht the Spitaman! they will lead these Iranian countries of Ohrmazd into a desire for evil, into tyranny and misgovernment, those demons with disheveled hair who are deceivers, so that what they say they do not do, and they are of a vile religion, so that what they do not say they do.

29. And their assistance and promise have no sincerity, there is no law, they preserve no security, and on the support they provide no one relies; with deceit, rapacity, and misgovernment they will devastate these my Iranian countries, who am Ohrmazd.

30. And at that time, O Zartosht the Spitaman! all men will become deceivers, great friends will become of different parties, and respect, affection, hope, and regard for the soul will depart from the world; the affection of the father will depart from the son; and that of the brother from his brother; the son-in-law will become a beggar (kidyak or kasik) from his father-in-law, and the mother will be parted and estranged from the daughter.

31. 'When it is the end of thy tenth hundredth winter, O Zartosht the Spitaman! the sun is more unseen and more spotted (vasangtar); the year, month, and day are shorter; and the earth of Spandarmad is more barren, and fuller of highwaymen; and the crop will not yield the seed, so that of the crop of the corn-fields in ten cases seven will diminish and three will increase, and that which increases does not become ripe; and vegetation, trees, and shrubs will diminish; when one shall take a hundred, ninety will diminish and ten will increase, and that which increases gives no pleasure and flavor.

32. And men are born smaller, and their skill and strength are less; they become more deceitful and more given to vile practices; they have no gratitude and respect for bread and salt, and they have no affection for their country (desak).

33. 'And in that most evil time a boundary has most disrespect where it is the property of a suffering man of religion; gifts are few among their deeds, and duties and good works proceed but little from their hands; and sectarians of all kinds are seeking mischief for them.

34. And all the world will be burying and clothing the dead, and burying the dead and washing the dead will be by law; the burning, bringing to water and fire, and eating of dead matter they practice by law and do not abstain from.

35. They recount largely about duties and good works, and pursue wickedness and the road to hell; and through the iniquity, cajolery, and craving of wrath and avarice they rush to hell.

36. 'And in that perplexing time, O Zartosht the Spitaman! -- the reign of Wrath with infuriate spear and the demon with disheveled hair, of the race of Wrath, --- the meanest slaves walk forth with the authority of nobles of the land; and the religious, who wear sacred thread-girdles on the waist, are then not able to perform their ablution (padiyavih), for in those last times dead matter and bodily refuse become so abundant, that one who shall set step to step walks upon dead matter; or when he washes in the Barashnom ceremony, and puts down a foot from the stone seat (magh), he walks on dead matter; or when he arranges the sacred twigs (Barsom) and consecrates the sacred cakes (Dron) in their corpse-chamber (nasai katak) it is allowable.

37. Or, in those last times, it becomes allowable to perform a ceremonial (yazishn) with two men, so that this religion may not come to nothing and collapse; there will be only one in a hundred, in a thousand, in a myriad, who believes in this religion, and even he does nothing of it though it be a duty; and the fire of Warharan, which will come to nothing and collapse, falls off from a thousand to one care-taker, and even he does not supply it properly with firewood and incense; or when a man, who has performed worship and does not know the Nirangistan ('code of religious formulas'), shall kindle it with good intentions, it is allowable.

38. 'Honorable wealth will all proceed to those of perverted faith (kevid-keshan); it comes to the transgressors, and virtuous doers of good works, from the families of noblemen even unto the priests (mog-mardan), remain running about uncovered; the lower orders take in marriage the daughters of nobles, grandees, and priests; and the nobles, grandees, and priests come to destitution and bondage.

39. The misfortunes of the ignoble will overtake greatness and authority, and the helpless and ignoble will come to the foremost place and advancement; the words of the upholders of religion, and the seal and decision of a just judge will become the words of random speakers (andezo-gokan) among the just and even the righteous; and the words of the ignoble and slanderers, of the disreputable and mockers, and of those of divers opinions they consider true and credible, about which they take an oath, although with falsehood, and thereby give false evidence, and speak falsely and irreverently about me, Ohrmazd.

40. They who bear the title of priest and disciples wish evil concerning one another; he speaks vice and they look upon vice; and the antagonism of Ahriman and the demons is much brought on by them; of the sin which men commit, out of five sins the priests and disciples commit three sins, and they become enemies of the good, so that they may thereby speak of bad faults relating to one another; the ceremonies they undertake they do not perform, and they have no fear of hell.

41. 'And in that tenth hundredth winter, which is the end of thy millennium, O righteous Zartosht! all mankind will bind torn hair, disregarding revelation, so that a willingly-disposed cloud and a righteous wind are not able to produce rain in its proper time and season.

42. And a dark cloud makes the whole sky night, and the hot wind and the cold wind arrive, and bring along fruit and seed of corn, even the rain in its proper time; and it does not rain, and that which rains also rains more noxious creatures than water; and the water of rivers and springs will diminish, and there will be no increase.

43. And the beast of burden and ox and sheep bring forth more painfully and awkwardly, and acquire less fruitfulness; and their hair is coarser and skin thinner; the milk does not increase and has less cream (charbisht); the strength of the laboring ox is less, and the agility of the swift horse is less, and it carries less in a race.

44. 'And on the men in that perplexing time, O Zartosht the Spitaman! who wear the sacred thread-girdle on the waist, the evil-seeking of mis-government and much of its false judgment have come as a wind in which their living is not possible, and they seek death as a boon; and youths and children will be apprehensive, and gossiping chitchat and gladness of heart do not arise among them.

45. And they practice the appointed feasts (gashno) of their ancestors, the propitiation (ausofrid) of angels, and the prayers and ceremonies of the season festivals and guardian spirits, in various places, yet that which they practice they do not believe in unhesitatingly; they do not give rewards lawfully, and bestow no gifts and alms, and even those [they bestow] they repent of again.

46. And even those men of the good religion, who have reverenced the good religion of the Mazdayasnians, proceed in conformity with (bar-hamako rubishn) those ways and customs, and do not believe their own religion.

47. And the noble, great, and charitable, who are the virtuous of their own country and locality, will depart from their own original place and family as idolatrous; through want they beg something from the ignoble and vile, and come to poverty and helplessness; through them nine in ten of these men will perish in the northern quarter.

48. 'Through their way of misrule everything comes to nothingness and destitution, levity and infirmity; and the earth of Spandarmad opens its mouth wide, and every jewel and metal becomes exposed, such as gold and silver, brass, tin, and lead.

49. And rule and sovereignty come to slaves, such as the Turk and non-Turanian (Atur) of the army, and are turbulent as among the mountaineers; and the Chini, the Kavuli, the Softi, the Ruman (Arumayak), and the white-clothed Karmak then attain sovereignty in my countries of Iran, and their will and pleasure will become current in the world.

50. The sovereignty will come from those leather-belted ones and Arabs (Tazhigan) and Rumans to them, and they will be so misgoverning that when they kill a righteous man who is virtuous and a fly, it is all one in their eyes.

51. And the security, fame, and prosperity, the country and families, the wealth and handiwork, the streams, rivers, and springs of Iran, and of those of the good religion, come to those non-Iranians; and the army and standards of the frontiers come to them, and a rule with a craving for wrath advances in the world.

52. And their eyes of avarice are not sated with wealth, and they form hoards of the world's wealth, and conceal them underground; and through wickedness they commit sodomy, hold much intercourse with menstruous women, and practice many unnatural lusts.

53. 'And in that perplexing time the night is brighter, and the year, month, and day will diminish one-third; the earth of Spandarmad arises, and suffering, death, and destitution become more severe in the world.'

54. Ohrmazd said to Zartosht the Spitaman: 'This is what I foretell: that wicked evil spirit, when it shall be necessary for him to perish, becomes more oppressive and more tyrannical.'

55. So Ohrmazd spoke to Zartosht the Spitaman thus: ' Inquire fully and learn by heart thoroughly! teach it by Zand, Pazand, and explanation! tell it to the priests and disciples who speak forth in the world, and those who are not aware of the hundred winters, tell it then to them! so that, for the hope of a future existence, and for the preservation of their own souls, they may remove the trouble, evil, and oppression which those of other religions cause in the ceremonies of religion (dino yesnan).

56. And, moreover, I tell thee this, O Zartosht the Spitaman! that whoever, in that time, appeals for the body is not able to save the soul, for he is as it were fat, and his soul is hungry and lean in hell; whoever appeals for the soul, his body is hungry and lean through the misery of the world, and destitute, and his soul is fat in heaven.'

57. Zartosht inquired of Ohrmazd thus: 'O Ohrmazd, propitious spirit! creator of the material world who art righteous!' -- He is Ohrmazd through righteous invocation, and the rest through praise; some say 'righteous creator!' -- 'O creator! in that perplexing time are they righteous? and are there religious people who wear the sacred thread-girdle (kusti) on the waist, and celebrate religious rites (dino) with the sacred twigs (Barsom)? and does the religious practice of khwetodas continue in their families?'

58. Ohrmazd said to Zartosht thus: 'Of the best men is he who, in that perplexing time, wears the sacred thread-girdle on the waist, and celebrates religious rites with the sacred twigs, though not as in the reign of King Vishtasp.

59. Whoever in that perplexing time recites Ita-ad-yazam (Av. itha ad yazamaide, Yas.5 and 37) and one Ashem-vohu, and has learned it by heart, is as though, in the reign of King Vishtasp, it were a Dvazdah-homast with holy-water (zohr).

60. And by whomever prayer is offered up, and the Gatha-hymns are chanted, it is as though the whole ritual had been recited, and the Gatha-hymns consecrated by him in the reign of King Vishtasp.

61. The most perfectly righteous of the righteous is he who remains in the good religion of the Mazdayasnians, and continues the religious practice of khwetodas in his family.'

62. Ohrmazd said to the righteous Zartosht: 'In these nine thousand years which I, Ohrmazd, created, mankind become most perplexed in that perplexing time; for in the evil reigns of Az-i Dahak [Zohak] and Frasiyav of Tur mankind, in those perplexing times, were living better and living more numerously, and their disturbance by Ahriman and the demons was less.

63. For in their evil reigns, within the countries of Iran, there were not seven towns which were desolate as they will be when it is the end of thy millennium, O Zartosht the Spitaman! for all the towns of Iran will be ploughed up by their horses' hoofs, and their banners will reach unto Padashkhvargar, and they will carry away the sovereignty of the seat of the religion I approve from there; and their destruction comes from that place, O Zartosht the Spitaman! this is what I foretell.'

64. Whoever of those existing, thus, with reverence unto the good, performs much worship for Ohrmazd, Ohrmazd, aware of it through righteousness, gives him whatsoever Ohrmazd is aware of through righteousness, as remuneration and reward of duty and good works, and such members of the congregation, males and females, I reverence; and the archangels, who are also male and female, they are good.

Share This


Suggestions for Further Reading

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