The Gathas alone within the Avesta make claim to be the ipsissima verba of the prophet; in the rest of that work they are put into Zoroaster's own mouth (Yasna, 9, 1) and are expressly called "the Gathas of the holy Zoroaster" (Yasna, 57, 8).
The litanies of the Yasna, and the Yashts, refer to him as a personage belonging to the past.
According to the Avesta (Yasna, 9, 17),, Airyanem Vaejo, on the river Daitya, the old sacred country of the gods, was the home of Zoroaster, and the scene of his.
On this point the Avesta is wholly silent: only one obscure passage (Yasna, 53, 9) seems to intimate that he found an ill reception in Rai.
In Yasna, 53, 2, he is spoken of as a pioneer of the doctrine revealed by Ormazd.
His guiding spirit is the Holy Spirit, which wills the good: yet it is not free, but restricted, in this temporal epoch, by its antagonist and own twin-brother (Yasna, 30, 3), the Evil Spirit (angro mainyush, Ahriman), who in the beginning was banished by the Good Spirit by means of the famous ban contained in Yasna, 45, 2, and since then drags out his existence in the darkness of Hell as the principle of ill - the arch-devil.
Zoroaster says of himself that he had received from God a commission to purify religion (Yasna, 44, 9).
The doctrine of Zoroaster and the Zoroastrian Church may be summarized somewhat as follows: At the beginning of things there existed the two spirits who represented good and evil (Yasna, 30, 3).
This freedom of the will is clearly expressed in Yasna, 31, I I: "Since thou, 0 Mazda, didst at the first create our being and our consciences in accordance with thy mind, and didst create our understanding and our life together with the body, and works and words in which man according to his own will can frame his confession, the liar and the truth-speaker alike lay hold of the word, the knowing and the ignorant each after his own heart and understanding.
It is an idealization of the yellow haoma of the mountains which was used in sacrifices (Yasna, x.
This is a cord, woven by women of the priestly class, composed of seventy-two threads, representing the seventy-two chapters of the Yasna, a portion of the Zend-Avesta, in the sacredness of which the young.
3 Yasna, xxx.
4 Yasna, lv.; S.B.E.
Though found neither in the inscriptions of Darius nor in the Greek authors, the name Turan must nevertheless be of great antiquity; for not merely is it repeatedly found in the Avesta, under the form Tura, but it occurs already in a hymn, which, without doubt, originates from Zoroaster himself, and in which the Turanian Fryana and his descendants are commemorated as faithful adherents of the prophet (Yasna, 46, 62).
These songs form the true kernel of the book Yasna; they must have been in existence long before all the other parts of the Avesta, throughout the whole of which allusions to them occur.
The Avesta is divided into three parts: (I) Yasna, with an appendix, Visparad, a collection of prayers and forms for divine service; (2) Vendidad, containing directions for purification and the penal code of the ancient Persians; (3) Khordah-Avesta, or the Small Avesta, containing the Yasht, the contents of which are for the most part mythological, with shorter prayers for private devotion.
As we now have it, the Avesta consists of five parts - the Yasna, the Vispered, the Vendidad, the Yashts, and the Khordah Avesta.
The Yasna, the principal liturgical book of the Parsees, in 72 chapters (hait-i, ha), contains the texts that are read by the priests at the solemn yasna (Izeshne) ceremony, or the general sacrifice in honour of all the deities.
The Yasna accordingly falls into three sections of about equal length: - (a) The introduction (chaps.
Between chap. 37 and chap. 43 is inserted the so-called Seven-Chapter Yasna (haptanghaiti), a number of small prose pieces not far behind the Gathas in antiquity.
(c) The so-called Later Yasna (A paro Yasno) (chaps.
The Vispered, a minor liturgical work in 24 chapters (karde), is alike in form and substance completely dependent on the Yasna, to which it is a liturgical appendix.
Its separate chapters are interpolated in the Yasna in order to produce a modified - or expanded - Yasna ceremony.
The Yasna, Vispered and Vendidad together constitute the Avesta in the stricter sense of the word, and the reading of them appertains to the priest alone.
For liturgical purposes the separate chapters of the Vendidad are sometimes inserted among those of the Yasna and Vispered.
The reading of the Vendidad in this case may, when viewed according to the original intention, be taken as corresponding in some sense to the sermon, while that of the Yasna and Vispered may be said to answer to the hymns and prayers of Christian worship.
" songs of praise," in so far as they have not been received already into the Yasna, form a collection by themselves.
The number twenty-one points, indeed, to an artificial arrangement of the material; for twenty-one is a sacred number, and the most sacred prayer of the Parsees, the so-called Ahuno Vairyo (Honovar) contains twenty-one words; and it is also true that in the enumeration of the nasks we miss the names of the books we know, like the Yasna and the Yashts.
But we must assume that these were included in such or such a nask, as the Yashts in the seventeenth or Bakan Yasht; or, it may be that other books, especially the Yasna, are a compilation extracted for liturgical purposes from various nasks.
One of the Rivayato relates further: " After the villainy of Alexander, an assemblage of several high-priests brought together the Avesta from various places, and made a collection which included the sacred Yasna, Vispered, Vendidad and other scraps of the Avesta."
The Yasna, so they ultimately proved to be the first nucleus of a religious literature in general.
The Yasna and many Yashts in great part consist of formulae of prayer which are as poor in contents as they are rich in verbiage.
Spiegel, Avesta (Vienna, 1853-58), only Vendidad, Vispered and Yasna, but with the Pahlavi translation; K.
Yasna, Visparad, &c., by L.