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avesta

avesta

avesta Sentence Examples

  • The earlier conception of Varuna is singularly similar to that of Ahuramazda of the Avesta.

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  • The Avesta is, indeed, our principal source for the doctrine of Zoroaster; on the subject of his person and his life it is comparatively reticent; with regard to his date it is, naturally enough, absolutely silent.

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  • Darmesteter has failed to realize sufficiently the distinction between the Zoroaster of the later Avesta and the Zoroaster of the Gathas.

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  • It cannot be denied that in the later Avesta, and still more in writings of more recent date, he is presented in a legendary light and endowed with superhuman powers.

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  • 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).

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  • They are the last genuine survivals of the doctrinal discourses with which - as the promulgator of a new religion - he appeared at the court of King Vishtaspa The person of the Zoroaster whom we meet with in these hymns differs lobo coelo from the Zoroaster of the younger Avesta.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Already in the later Avesta he has become a half-mythical figure, the last in the series of heroes of east Iranian legend, in the arrangement of which series priestly influence is unmistakably evident.

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  • His first disciple, Maidhyoimaongha, was his cousin: his father was, according to the later Avesta, Pourushaspa, his mother Dughdova, his great-grandfather Haecataspa, and the ancestor of the whole family Spitama, for which reason Zarathushtra usually bears this surname.

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  • His death is, for reasons easily intelligible, nowhere mentioned in the Avesta; in the Shah-Nama he is said to have been murdered at the altar by the Turanians in the storming of Balkh.

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  • The most striking difference between Zoroaster's doctrine of God and the old religion of India lies in this, that while in the Avesta the evil spirits are called daeva (Modern Persian div), the Aryans of India, in common with the Italians, Celts and Letts, gave the name of deva to their good spirits, the spirits of light.

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  • Thus, in the later Avesta, we find not only Mithra but also purely popular divinities such as the angel of victory, Verethraghna, Anahita (Anaitis), the goddess of the water, Tishrya (Sirius), and other heavenly bodies, invoked with special preference.

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  • - The cult goes back to a period before the separation of the Persians from the Hindus, as is shown by references in the literatures of both stocks, the Avesta and the Vedas.

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  • In the Avesta, after the separation of the Iranian stock from the Hindu and the rise of Zoroastrianism, which elevated Ormazd to the summit of the Persian theological system, his role was more distinct, though less important; between Ormazd, who reigned in eternal brightness, and Ahriman, whose realm was eternal darkness, he occupied an intermediate position as the greatest of the yazatas, beings created by Ormazd to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world.

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  • - The sources of present knowledge regarding Mithraism consist of the Vedas, the Avesta, the Pahlevi writings, Greek and Latin literature and inscriptions,.

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  • In the Avesta (Vendidad, Fargard xix.

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  • The demons carry on conflicts with each of the six classes of creation, namely, the sky, water, earth, plants, animals represented by the primeval ox, and mankind represented by Gayomard or Kayumarth (the "first man "of the Avesta).

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  • In the more ethical religion of the Avesta the creator is more clearly distinguished from the creature: " I desire to approach Ahura and Mithra with my praise, the lofty eternal, and the holy two."

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  • Cp. the "fair shepherd" Yima of the Avesta (Vend.

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  • It is impossible to enter into the manifold details of the fire cultus which forms the main part of the worship in the Avesta.

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  • It may be noted that in all the ceremonies in the religion of the Avesta, incantations, prayers and confessions play a very large part.

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  • 2) showed that one at least of the fundamental myths of Mani was borrowed from the Avesta, namely, that which recounts how through the manifestation of the virgin of light and of the messenger of salvation to the libidinous princes of darkness the vital substance or light held captive in their limbs was liberated and recovered for the realm of light.

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  • 20, in an enumeration of angels, we hear of Narsus, who may be the Neryosang (Armenian Nerses or Narsai) of the Avesta.

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  • Here we recognize a technical term of the Avesta - namely, the "Frasho-kereti," that is the reanimation of the world or resurrection of the dead (Darmesteter, op. cit., p. 239).

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  • In the Avesta Sraosha is the angel that guards the world at night from demons, and is styled "the righteous" or "the strong."

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  • Just as the background of Christianity was formed by the Hebrew scriptures, and just as the Hebrew legends of the creation became the basis of its scheme of human redemption from evil, so the Avesta, with its quaint cosmogony and myths, formed the background of Mani's new faith.

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  • In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta soma is the king of plants; in both it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.

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  • As an expression of the Iranian mind we have the Avesta and the Pehlevi theological literature.

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  • Unfortunately in a question of this kind the dating of our documents is the first matter of importance, and it seems that we can only assign dates to the different parts of the Avesta by processes of finedrawn conjecture.

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  • And even if we could date the Avesta securely, we could only prove borrowing by more or less close coincidences of idea, a tempting but uncertain method of inquiry.

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  • Taking an opinion based on such data for what it is worth, we may note that Darmesteter believed in the influence of the later Greek philosophy (Philonian and Neo-platonic) as one of those which shaped the Avesta as we have it (Sacred Books of the East, iv.

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  • As there can be scarcely any doubt that it was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is everywhere surrounded and limited by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zoroaster preached and gained his first adherents, and that his religion spread from here over the western parts of Iran, the sacred language in which the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, is written, has often been called "old Bactrian."

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  • The Iranian tradition, preserved in the Avesta and in Firdousi's Shahnama, localizes a part of its heroes and myths in the east of Iran, and has transformed the old gods who fight with the great snake into kings of Iran who fight with the Turanians.

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  • of the Avesta are written.

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  • The fravashi or ideal type, the genius of both men and gods in the Zend Avesta (possibly connected originally with the cultus of the dead "), rises in successive ranks from the worshipper's own person through the household, the village, the district and the province, up to the throne of Ahura himself.'

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  • Nor were the authors of the scriptures whose fragments are preserved in the Zend Avesta less conscious of their divine value.

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  • 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).

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  • Only the evil serpent Azhi Dahaka (Azhdahak) is domiciled by the Avesta in Babylon (Bawri) and depicted on the model of Babylonian gods and demons: he is a king in human form with a serpent growing from either shoulder and feeding on the brains of men.

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  • This is the Avesta, the Bible of the modern Parsee, which comprises the revelation of Zoroaster.

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  • Its contents, even if they go back to lost parts of the Avesta, are merely a late patch- oroas Cf work, based on the legendary tradition and devoid of historica foundation.

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  • The west of Iran is scarcely ever regarded in the Avesta, while the districts and rivers of the east are often named.

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  • The language, even, is markedly different from the Persian; and the fire-priests are not styled Magians as in Persiathe word indeed never occurs in the Avesta, except in a single late passagebut athravan, identical with the at/tarvan of India (~riJpafoL, fire-kindlers, in Strabo xv.

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  • The possibility that Zoroaster himself was not a native of East Iran,but had immigrated thither (from Rhagae?), is of course always to be considered; and this theory has been used to explain the phenomenon that the Gathas, of his own composition, are written in a different dialect from the rest of the Avesta.

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  • 140), a practice, as is well known, strictly enjoined in the Avesta, ruthlessly executed under the Sassanids, and followed to the present day by the Parsees.

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  • In the Avesta all these recur ad nauseam, so much so that the primitive spirit of the religion is stifled beneath them, as the doctrine of the ancient prophets was stifled in Judaism and the Talmud.

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  • At all events, they play here not merely the role of the Fire-kindlers (aihravan) in the Avesta, but are become an hereditary sacerdotal caste, acting an important part in the stateadvisers and spiritual guides to the king, and so forth.

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  • The later Parsee tradition contends that Alexander burned the sacred books of Zoroaster, the Avesta, and that only a few fragments were saved and afterwards reconstructed by the Arsacids and Sassanids.

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  • is probably also the king Valgash, who, according to a native tradition, preserved in the Dinkart, began a collection of the sacred writings of Zoroasterthe origin of the Avesta which has come down to us.

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  • Thus arose the Avesta, the sacred book of the Parsees.

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  • that the compilation of the Avesta was completed and the state orthodoxy perfected by the chief mobed, Aturpad.

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  • The age of Zend must be examined in connection with the age of the Avesta.

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  • In its present form the Avesta is not the work of a single author or of any one age, but embraces collections produced during a long period.

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  • 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.

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  • These gthas are what they claim to be, and what they are honored in the whole Avesta as beingthe actual productions of the prophet himself or of his time.

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  • If, then, the gathas reach back to the time of Zoroaster, and he himself, according to the most probable estimate, lived as early as the 14th century B.C., the oldest component parts of the Avesta are hardly inferior in age to the oldest Vedic hymns.

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  • 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.

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  • The language of the other parts of the Avesta is more modern, it not all of one date, so that we can follow the gradual decline Z Zend in the Avesta itself.

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  • For is reason all that time had spared of the Avesta was translated to Middle Persian or PARLAVI (q.v.) under the Sassanians.

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  • Justi (Leipzig, 1864); editions for the Avesta by N.

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  • ZEND - AVESTA, the original document of the religion of Zoroaster, still used by the Parsees as their bible and prayer-book.

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  • The name " Zend-Avesta " has been current in Europe since the time of Anquetil Duperron (c. 1771), but the Parsees themselves call it simply Avesta, Zend (i.e.

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  • " interpretation ") being specially employed to denote the translation and exposition of a great part of the Avesta which exists in Pahlavi.

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  • Text and translation are often spoken of together in Pahlavi books as Avistak va Zand (" Avesta and Zend "), whence - through a misunderstanding - our word Zend-Avesta.

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  • The origin and meaning of the word " Avesta " (or in its older form, Avistak) are alike obscure; it cannot be traced further back than the Sasanian period.

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  • The language of the Avesta is still frequently called Zend; but, as already implied, this is a mistake.

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  • We possess no other document written in it, and on this account modern Parsee scholars, as well as the older Pahlavi books, speak of the language and writing indifferently as Avesta.

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  • Although the Avesta is a work of but moderate compass (comparable, say, to the Iliad and Odyssey taken together), there nevertheless exists no single MS. which gives it in entirety.

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  • As we now have it, the Avesta consists of five parts - the Yasna, the Vispered, the Vendidad, the Yashts, and the Khordah Avesta.

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  • 28-54) contain the discourses, exhortations and revelations of the prophet, written in a metrical style and an archaic language, different in many respects from that ordinarily used in the Avesta.

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  • 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.

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  • The Khordah Avesta, i.e.

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  • the Little Avesta, comprises a collection of shorter prayers designed for all believers - the laity included - and adapted for the various occurrences of ordinary life.

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  • In its present form, however, the Avesta is only a fragmentary remnant of the old priestly literature of Zoroastrianism, a fact confessed by the learned tradition of the Parsees themselves, according to which the number of Yashts was originally thirty.

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  • The truth is that we possess but a trifling portion of a very much larger Avesta, if we are to believe native tradition, carrying us back to the Sassanian period, which tells of a larger Avesta in twenty-one books called nasks or nosks, as to the names of which we have several more or less detailed accounts, particularly in the Pahlavi Dinkard (9th century A.D.) and in the Rivayats.

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  • From the same sources we learn that this larger Avesta was only a part of a yet more extensive original Avesta, which is said to have existed before Alexander.

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  • But even of the remains of the Avesta, as these lay before the author of the 9th century, only a small residue has survived to our time.

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  • In the Khordah Avesta, as we now have it, we find two Srosh Yashts; with regard to the first, it is expressly stated in old MSS.

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  • Lastly, the numerous other fragments, the quotations in the Pahlavi translation, the many references in the Bundahish to passages of this Avesta not now known to us, all presuppose the existence in the Sassanian period of a much more extensive Avesta literature than the mere prayer-book now in our hands.

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  • The existence of a larger Avesta, even as late as the 9th century A.D., is far from being a mere myth.

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  • But, even granting that a certain obscurity still hangs undispelled over the problem of the old Avesta, with its twenty-one nasks, we may well believe the Parsees themselves, when they affirm that their sacred literature has passed through successive stages of decay, the last of which is represented by the present Avesta.

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  • In fact we can clearly trace this gradual process of decay in certain portions of the Avesta during the last few centuries.'

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  • According to the Arab historian, Tabari, these were written on 12,000 cowhides, a statement confirmed by Masudi, who writes: Zartusht gave to the Persians the book called Avesta.

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  • According to the Arda-Viraf--Nama the religion revealed through Zoroaster has subsisted in its purity for 300 years, when Iskander Rumi (Alexander the Great) invaded and devastated Iran, and burned the Avesta which, written on cowhides with golden ink, was preserved in the archives at Persepolis.

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  • 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."

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  • As to this re-collection and redaction of the Avesta the Dinkard gives various details.

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  • or III.?), ordered the scattered remnants of the Avesta to be carefully preserved and recorded.

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  • The first of the Sassanian kings, Ardashir Babagan (226-240), caused his high-priest, Tanvasar, to bring together the dispersed portions of the holy book, and to compile from these a new Avesta, which, as far as possible, should be a faithful reproduction of the original.

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  • (241-272) enlarged this re-edited Avesta by collecting and incorporating with it the non-religious tractates on medicine, astronomy, geography and philosophy.

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  • (309-380) the nasks were brought into complete order, and the new redaction of the Avesta reached its definitive conclusion.

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  • Even the statement as to the one or two complete copies of the Avesta may be given up as the invention of a later day.

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  • that the original Avesta, or old sacred literature, divided on account of its great bulk and heterogeneous contents into many portions and a variety of separate works, had an actual existence in numerous copies and also in the memories of priests, that, although gradually diminishing in bulk, it remained extant during the period of foreign domination and ecclesiastical decay after the time of Alexander, and that it served as a basis for the redaction subsequently made.

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  • In its outward form the Avesta, as we now have it, belongs to the Sassanian period - the last survival of the compilers' work already alluded to.

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  • But this Sassanian origin of the Avesta must not be misunderstood: from the remnants and heterogeneous fragments at their disposal, the diasceuast or diasceuasts composed a new canon - erected a new edifice from the materials of the old.

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  • All the grammatically correct texts, together with those portions of the Avesta which have intrinsic worth, especially the metrical passages, are indubitably authentic and taken ad verbum from the original Avesta.

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  • But to search for a precise time or an exact locality is to deal with the question too narrowly; it is more correct to say that the Avesta was worked at from the time of Zoroaster down to the Sassanian period.

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  • The rest of the Avesta, in spite of the opposite opinion of orthodox Parsees, does not even claim to come from Zoroaster.

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  • Thus we search vainly in the Avesta itself for any precise data to determine the period of its composition or the place where it arose.

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  • The original country of the religion, and the seat of the Avesta language, .ought perhaps to be sought rather in the east of Iran (Seistan and the neighbouring districts).

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  • The geography of the Avesta points both to the east and the west, particularly the north-west of Iran, but with a decided tendency to gravitate towards the east.

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  • The language of the Avesta travelled with the Zoroastrian religion and with the main body of the priesthood, in all probability, that is to say, from east to west; within the limits of Iran it became international.

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  • As has been already stated, the Avesta now in our hands is but a small portion of the book as restored and edited under the Sassanians.

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  • The understanding of the older Avesta texts began to die away at an early period.

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  • of the Avesta are, comparatively speaking, of recent date.

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  • The first European scholar to direct attention to the Avesta was Hyde of Oxford, in his Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum eoramque Magorum (1700), which, however, failed to awake any lasting interest in the sacred writings of the Parsees.

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  • The interpretation of the Avesta is one of the most difficult problems of oriental philology.

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  • Opinion is divided also as to the significance of the Avesta in the literature of the world.

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  • Upon the: whole, the Avesta is a monotonous book.

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  • As a whole, the Avesta, for profundity of thought and beauty, stands on a lower level than the Old Testament.

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  • But as a religious book - the most important document of the Zoroastrian faith, and the sole literary monument of ancient Iran - the Avesta occupies a prominent position in the literature of the world.

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  • Spiegel, Avesta (Vienna, 1853-58), only Vendidad, Vispered and Yasna, but with the Pahlavi translation; K.

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  • Avesta traduit par C. de Harlez, ed.

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  • In the Avesta, airya- is found both as adjective and substantive in the sense of Aryan, but no light is thrown upon the history of the word.

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  • In the Avesta the derivative airyana- is also found in the sense of Aryan.

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  • The vocabulary is still largely the same; whole sentences can be transliterated from one language to the other merely by making regular phonetic changes and without the variation of a single word (for examples see Bartholomae, Handbuch der altiranischen Dialekte, 1883, p. v.; Williams Jackson, Avesta Grammar, 1892, pp. xxxi.

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  • Apap u'tos in Aristotle, or 'Apa i ulams in Agathias; in the Avesta, Angro Mainyush) - " the Destructive Spirit"), the name of the principle of evil in the dualistic doctrine of Zoroaster.

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  • In the Avesta he is called the twin-brother of the Holy Spirits, and contrasted either with the Holy Spirit of Ormazd or with Ormazd himself.

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  • She is depicted as a great builder, a kind of Persian Semiramis, and is a half-mythical personage already mentioned in the Avesta, but her legend seems to be founded on the history of Atossa and of Parysatis.

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  • In 1875 he published a thesis on the mythology of the Zend Avesta, and in 1877 became teacher of Zend at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes.

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  • He followed up his researches with his Etudes iraniennes (1883), and ten years later published a complete translation of the Zend Avesta, with historical and philological commentary (3 vols., 1892-1893), in the Annales du musee Guimet.

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  • He also edited the Zend Avesta for Max Miller's Sacred Books of the East.

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  • The earlier conception of Varuna is singularly similar to that of Ahuramazda of the Avesta.

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  • The Avesta is, indeed, our principal source for the doctrine of Zoroaster; on the subject of his person and his life it is comparatively reticent; with regard to his date it is, naturally enough, absolutely silent.

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  • According to Darmesteter, the Zarathustra of the Avesta is a mere myth, a divinity invested with human attributes, an incarnation of the storm-god, who with his divine word, the thunder, comes and smites the demons.

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  • Darmesteter has failed to realize sufficiently the distinction between the Zoroaster of the later Avesta and the Zoroaster of the Gathas.

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  • It cannot be denied that in the later Avesta, and still more in writings of more recent date, he is presented in a legendary light and endowed with superhuman powers.

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  • 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).

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  • They are the last genuine survivals of the doctrinal discourses with which - as the promulgator of a new religion - he appeared at the court of King Vishtaspa The person of the Zoroaster whom we meet with in these hymns differs lobo coelo from the Zoroaster of the younger Avesta.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Already in the later Avesta he has become a half-mythical figure, the last in the series of heroes of east Iranian legend, in the arrangement of which series priestly influence is unmistakably evident.

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  • His first disciple, Maidhyoimaongha, was his cousin: his father was, according to the later Avesta, Pourushaspa, his mother Dughdova, his great-grandfather Haecataspa, and the ancestor of the whole family Spitama, for which reason Zarathushtra usually bears this surname.

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  • His death is, for reasons easily intelligible, nowhere mentioned in the Avesta; in the Shah-Nama he is said to have been murdered at the altar by the Turanians in the storming of Balkh.

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  • The most striking difference between Zoroaster's doctrine of God and the old religion of India lies in this, that while in the Avesta the evil spirits are called daeva (Modern Persian div), the Aryans of India, in common with the Italians, Celts and Letts, gave the name of deva to their good spirits, the spirits of light.

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  • Thus, in the later Avesta, we find not only Mithra but also purely popular divinities such as the angel of victory, Verethraghna, Anahita (Anaitis), the goddess of the water, Tishrya (Sirius), and other heavenly bodies, invoked with special preference.

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  • by Soderblom (Breslau, 1903); Rastamji Edulji Dastoor Peshotan Sanjana, Zarathushtra and Zarathushtrianism in the Avesta (Bombay, 1906); E.

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  • - The cult goes back to a period before the separation of the Persians from the Hindus, as is shown by references in the literatures of both stocks, the Avesta and the Vedas.

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  • In the Avesta, after the separation of the Iranian stock from the Hindu and the rise of Zoroastrianism, which elevated Ormazd to the summit of the Persian theological system, his role was more distinct, though less important; between Ormazd, who reigned in eternal brightness, and Ahriman, whose realm was eternal darkness, he occupied an intermediate position as the greatest of the yazatas, beings created by Ormazd to aid in the destruction of evil and the administration of the world.

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  • - The sources of present knowledge regarding Mithraism consist of the Vedas, the Avesta, the Pahlevi writings, Greek and Latin literature and inscriptions,.

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  • In the Avesta (Vendidad, Fargard xix.

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  • The demons carry on conflicts with each of the six classes of creation, namely, the sky, water, earth, plants, animals represented by the primeval ox, and mankind represented by Gayomard or Kayumarth (the "first man "of the Avesta).

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  • In the more ethical religion of the Avesta the creator is more clearly distinguished from the creature: " I desire to approach Ahura and Mithra with my praise, the lofty eternal, and the holy two."

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  • Cp. the "fair shepherd" Yima of the Avesta (Vend.

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  • It is impossible to enter into the manifold details of the fire cultus which forms the main part of the worship in the Avesta.

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  • It may be noted that in all the ceremonies in the religion of the Avesta, incantations, prayers and confessions play a very large part.

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  • 2) showed that one at least of the fundamental myths of Mani was borrowed from the Avesta, namely, that which recounts how through the manifestation of the virgin of light and of the messenger of salvation to the libidinous princes of darkness the vital substance or light held captive in their limbs was liberated and recovered for the realm of light.

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  • 20, in an enumeration of angels, we hear of Narsus, who may be the Neryosang (Armenian Nerses or Narsai) of the Avesta.

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  • Here we recognize a technical term of the Avesta - namely, the "Frasho-kereti," that is the reanimation of the world or resurrection of the dead (Darmesteter, op. cit., p. 239).

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  • In the Avesta Sraosha is the angel that guards the world at night from demons, and is styled "the righteous" or "the strong."

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  • Just as the background of Christianity was formed by the Hebrew scriptures, and just as the Hebrew legends of the creation became the basis of its scheme of human redemption from evil, so the Avesta, with its quaint cosmogony and myths, formed the background of Mani's new faith.

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  • In both the Rig Veda and Zend Avesta soma is the king of plants; in both it is a medicine which gives health, long life and removes death.

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  • As an expression of the Iranian mind we have the Avesta and the Pehlevi theological literature.

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  • Unfortunately in a question of this kind the dating of our documents is the first matter of importance, and it seems that we can only assign dates to the different parts of the Avesta by processes of finedrawn conjecture.

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  • And even if we could date the Avesta securely, we could only prove borrowing by more or less close coincidences of idea, a tempting but uncertain method of inquiry.

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  • Taking an opinion based on such data for what it is worth, we may note that Darmesteter believed in the influence of the later Greek philosophy (Philonian and Neo-platonic) as one of those which shaped the Avesta as we have it (Sacred Books of the East, iv.

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  • As there can be scarcely any doubt that it was in these regions, where the fertile soil of the mountainous country is everywhere surrounded and limited by the Turanian desert, that the prophet Zoroaster preached and gained his first adherents, and that his religion spread from here over the western parts of Iran, the sacred language in which the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism, is written, has often been called "old Bactrian."

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  • The Iranian tradition, preserved in the Avesta and in Firdousi's Shahnama, localizes a part of its heroes and myths in the east of Iran, and has transformed the old gods who fight with the great snake into kings of Iran who fight with the Turanians.

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  • of the Avesta are written.

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  • The fravashi or ideal type, the genius of both men and gods in the Zend Avesta (possibly connected originally with the cultus of the dead "), rises in successive ranks from the worshipper's own person through the household, the village, the district and the province, up to the throne of Ahura himself.'

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  • Nor were the authors of the scriptures whose fragments are preserved in the Zend Avesta less conscious of their divine value.

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  • following, several of them being also enumerated in the Avesta: i, The Medes (Mada) in the north-west (see MEDIA).

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  • 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).

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  • So, too, fire-worship, especially of the sacrificial flame; the preparation of the intoxicating soma, which fills man with divine strength and uplifts him to the gods; the injunction to good thoughts and good works, imposed on the pious by Veda and Avesta alike: the belief in an unwavering order (rta)a law controlling gods and men and dominating them all; yet with this, a belief in the power of magical formulae (mantra), exclamations and prayers, to whose compulsion not merely demons (the evil spirits of deception druh) but even the gods (daeva) must submit; and, lastly, the institution of a priesthood of fire-kindlers (athravan), who are at once the repositories of all sacral traditions and the mediators in all intercourse between earth and heaven.

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  • Only the evil serpent Azhi Dahaka (Azhdahak) is domiciled by the Avesta in Babylon (Bawri) and depicted on the model of Babylonian gods and demons: he is a king in human form with a serpent growing from either shoulder and feeding on the brains of men.

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  • This is the Avesta, the Bible of the modern Parsee, which comprises the revelation of Zoroaster.

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  • Its contents, even if they go back to lost parts of the Avesta, are merely a late patch- oroas Cf work, based on the legendary tradition and devoid of historica foundation.

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  • The west of Iran is scarcely ever regarded in the Avesta, while the districts and rivers of the east are often named.

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  • The language, even, is markedly different from the Persian; and the fire-priests are not styled Magians as in Persiathe word indeed never occurs in the Avesta, except in a single late passagebut athravan, identical with the at/tarvan of India (~riJpafoL, fire-kindlers, in Strabo xv.

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  • The possibility that Zoroaster himself was not a native of East Iran,but had immigrated thither (from Rhagae?), is of course always to be considered; and this theory has been used to explain the phenomenon that the Gathas, of his own composition, are written in a different dialect from the rest of the Avesta.

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  • 140), a practice, as is well known, strictly enjoined in the Avesta, ruthlessly executed under the Sassanids, and followed to the present day by the Parsees.

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  • In the Avesta all these recur ad nauseam, so much so that the primitive spirit of the religion is stifled beneath them, as the doctrine of the ancient prophets was stifled in Judaism and the Talmud.

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  • At all events, they play here not merely the role of the Fire-kindlers (aihravan) in the Avesta, but are become an hereditary sacerdotal caste, acting an important part in the stateadvisers and spiritual guides to the king, and so forth.

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  • The later Parsee tradition contends that Alexander burned the sacred books of Zoroaster, the Avesta, and that only a few fragments were saved and afterwards reconstructed by the Arsacids and Sassanids.

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  • is probably also the king Valgash, who, according to a native tradition, preserved in the Dinkart, began a collection of the sacred writings of Zoroasterthe origin of the Avesta which has come down to us.

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  • Thus arose the Avesta, the sacred book of the Parsees.

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  • that the compilation of the Avesta was completed and the state orthodoxy perfected by the chief mobed, Aturpad.

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  • Our Zend-Avesta does not mean the Avesta in the Zend language, but is an incorrect transcription of the original expression Avistgk Va zand, i.e.

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  • The age of Zend must be examined in connection with the age of the Avesta.

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  • In its present form the Avesta is not the work of a single author or of any one age, but embraces collections produced during a long period.

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  • 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.

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  • These gthas are what they claim to be, and what they are honored in the whole Avesta as beingthe actual productions of the prophet himself or of his time.

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  • If, then, the gathas reach back to the time of Zoroaster, and he himself, according to the most probable estimate, lived as early as the 14th century B.C., the oldest component parts of the Avesta are hardly inferior in age to the oldest Vedic hymns.

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  • 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.

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  • The language of the other parts of the Avesta is more modern, it not all of one date, so that we can follow the gradual decline Z Zend in the Avesta itself.

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  • We in ye no chronological points by which to fix the date when Zend 01 ased to be a living language; no part of the Avesta can well be re~ tt later than the 5th or 4th century B.C. Before Alexanders ~r Ire it is said to have been already written out on dressed cowhides d preserved in the state archives at Persepolis.

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  • For is reason all that time had spared of the Avesta was translated to Middle Persian or PARLAVI (q.v.) under the Sassanians.

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  • Justi (Leipzig, 1864); editions for the Avesta by N.

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  • ZEND - AVESTA, the original document of the religion of Zoroaster, still used by the Parsees as their bible and prayer-book.

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  • The name " Zend-Avesta " has been current in Europe since the time of Anquetil Duperron (c. 1771), but the Parsees themselves call it simply Avesta, Zend (i.e.

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  • " interpretation ") being specially employed to denote the translation and exposition of a great part of the Avesta which exists in Pahlavi.

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  • Text and translation are often spoken of together in Pahlavi books as Avistak va Zand (" Avesta and Zend "), whence - through a misunderstanding - our word Zend-Avesta.

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  • The origin and meaning of the word " Avesta " (or in its older form, Avistak) are alike obscure; it cannot be traced further back than the Sasanian period.

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  • The language of the Avesta is still frequently called Zend; but, as already implied, this is a mistake.

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  • We possess no other document written in it, and on this account modern Parsee scholars, as well as the older Pahlavi books, speak of the language and writing indifferently as Avesta.

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  • Although the Avesta is a work of but moderate compass (comparable, say, to the Iliad and Odyssey taken together), there nevertheless exists no single MS. which gives it in entirety.

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  • As we now have it, the Avesta consists of five parts - the Yasna, the Vispered, the Vendidad, the Yashts, and the Khordah Avesta.

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  • 28-54) contain the discourses, exhortations and revelations of the prophet, written in a metrical style and an archaic language, different in many respects from that ordinarily used in the Avesta.

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  • 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.

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  • The Khordah Avesta, i.e.

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  • the Little Avesta, comprises a collection of shorter prayers designed for all believers - the laity included - and adapted for the various occurrences of ordinary life.

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  • In its present form, however, the Avesta is only a fragmentary remnant of the old priestly literature of Zoroastrianism, a fact confessed by the learned tradition of the Parsees themselves, according to which the number of Yashts was originally thirty.

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  • The truth is that we possess but a trifling portion of a very much larger Avesta, if we are to believe native tradition, carrying us back to the Sassanian period, which tells of a larger Avesta in twenty-one books called nasks or nosks, as to the names of which we have several more or less detailed accounts, particularly in the Pahlavi Dinkard (9th century A.D.) and in the Rivayats.

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  • From the same sources we learn that this larger Avesta was only a part of a yet more extensive original Avesta, which is said to have existed before Alexander.

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  • But even of the remains of the Avesta, as these lay before the author of the 9th century, only a small residue has survived to our time.

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  • In the Khordah Avesta, as we now have it, we find two Srosh Yashts; with regard to the first, it is expressly stated in old MSS.

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  • Lastly, the numerous other fragments, the quotations in the Pahlavi translation, the many references in the Bundahish to passages of this Avesta not now known to us, all presuppose the existence in the Sassanian period of a much more extensive Avesta literature than the mere prayer-book now in our hands.

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  • The existence of a larger Avesta, even as late as the 9th century A.D., is far from being a mere myth.

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  • But, even granting that a certain obscurity still hangs undispelled over the problem of the old Avesta, with its twenty-one nasks, we may well believe the Parsees themselves, when they affirm that their sacred literature has passed through successive stages of decay, the last of which is represented by the present Avesta.

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  • In fact we can clearly trace this gradual process of decay in certain portions of the Avesta during the last few centuries.'

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  • According to the Arab historian, Tabari, these were written on 12,000 cowhides, a statement confirmed by Masudi, who writes: Zartusht gave to the Persians the book called Avesta.

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  • According to the Arda-Viraf--Nama the religion revealed through Zoroaster has subsisted in its purity for 300 years, when Iskander Rumi (Alexander the Great) invaded and devastated Iran, and burned the Avesta which, written on cowhides with golden ink, was preserved in the archives at Persepolis.

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  • 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."

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  • As to this re-collection and redaction of the Avesta the Dinkard gives various details.

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  • or III.?), ordered the scattered remnants of the Avesta to be carefully preserved and recorded.

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  • The first of the Sassanian kings, Ardashir Babagan (226-240), caused his high-priest, Tanvasar, to bring together the dispersed portions of the holy book, and to compile from these a new Avesta, which, as far as possible, should be a faithful reproduction of the original.

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  • (241-272) enlarged this re-edited Avesta by collecting and incorporating with it the non-religious tractates on medicine, astronomy, geography and philosophy.

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  • (309-380) the nasks were brought into complete order, and the new redaction of the Avesta reached its definitive conclusion.

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  • Even the statement as to the one or two complete copies of the Avesta may be given up as the invention of a later day.

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  • that the original Avesta, or old sacred literature, divided on account of its great bulk and heterogeneous contents into many portions and a variety of separate works, had an actual existence in numerous copies and also in the memories of priests, that, although gradually diminishing in bulk, it remained extant during the period of foreign domination and ecclesiastical decay after the time of Alexander, and that it served as a basis for the redaction subsequently made.

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  • In its outward form the Avesta, as we now have it, belongs to the Sassanian period - the last survival of the compilers' work already alluded to.

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  • But this Sassanian origin of the Avesta must not be misunderstood: from the remnants and heterogeneous fragments at their disposal, the diasceuast or diasceuasts composed a new canon - erected a new edifice from the materials of the old.

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  • All the grammatically correct texts, together with those portions of the Avesta which have intrinsic worth, especially the metrical passages, are indubitably authentic and taken ad verbum from the original Avesta.

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  • But to search for a precise time or an exact locality is to deal with the question too narrowly; it is more correct to say that the Avesta was worked at from the time of Zoroaster down to the Sassanian period.

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  • The rest of the Avesta, in spite of the opposite opinion of orthodox Parsees, does not even claim to come from Zoroaster.

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  • Thus we search vainly in the Avesta itself for any precise data to determine the period of its composition or the place where it arose.

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  • The original country of the religion, and the seat of the Avesta language, .ought perhaps to be sought rather in the east of Iran (Seistan and the neighbouring districts).

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  • The geography of the Avesta points both to the east and the west, particularly the north-west of Iran, but with a decided tendency to gravitate towards the east.

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  • The language of the Avesta travelled with the Zoroastrian religion and with the main body of the priesthood, in all probability, that is to say, from east to west; within the limits of Iran it became international.

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  • As has been already stated, the Avesta now in our hands is but a small portion of the book as restored and edited under the Sassanians.

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  • The understanding of the older Avesta texts began to die away at an early period.

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  • of the Avesta are, comparatively speaking, of recent date.

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  • The first European scholar to direct attention to the Avesta was Hyde of Oxford, in his Historia Religionis Veterum Persarum eoramque Magorum (1700), which, however, failed to awake any lasting interest in the sacred writings of the Parsees.

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  • The interpretation of the Avesta is one of the most difficult problems of oriental philology.

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  • Opinion is divided also as to the significance of the Avesta in the literature of the world.

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  • Upon the: whole, the Avesta is a monotonous book.

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  • As a whole, the Avesta, for profundity of thought and beauty, stands on a lower level than the Old Testament.

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  • But as a religious book - the most important document of the Zoroastrian faith, and the sole literary monument of ancient Iran - the Avesta occupies a prominent position in the literature of the world.

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  • Spiegel, Avesta (Vienna, 1853-58), only Vendidad, Vispered and Yasna, but with the Pahlavi translation; K.

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  • Avesta traduit par C. de Harlez, ed.

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  • In the Avesta, airya- is found both as adjective and substantive in the sense of Aryan, but no light is thrown upon the history of the word.

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  • In the Avesta the derivative airyana- is also found in the sense of Aryan.

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  • The vocabulary is still largely the same; whole sentences can be transliterated from one language to the other merely by making regular phonetic changes and without the variation of a single word (for examples see Bartholomae, Handbuch der altiranischen Dialekte, 1883, p. v.; Williams Jackson, Avesta Grammar, 1892, pp. xxxi.

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  • (1) The Aryan voiced aspirates gh, dh, bh, which survive in Sanskrit, are confused in Iranian with original g, d, b, and further changes take place in the language of the later parts of the Avesta; (2) the Aryan breathed aspirates kh, Hz, ph, except in combination with certain consonants, become spirants in Iranian; (3) Aryan s becomes h initially before vowels in Iranian and also in certain cases medially, Iranian in these respects resembling Greek (cf.

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  • Apap u'tos in Aristotle, or 'Apa i ulams in Agathias; in the Avesta, Angro Mainyush) - " the Destructive Spirit"), the name of the principle of evil in the dualistic doctrine of Zoroaster.

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  • In the Avesta he is called the twin-brother of the Holy Spirits, and contrasted either with the Holy Spirit of Ormazd or with Ormazd himself.

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  • She is depicted as a great builder, a kind of Persian Semiramis, and is a half-mythical personage already mentioned in the Avesta, but her legend seems to be founded on the history of Atossa and of Parysatis.

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  • In 1875 he published a thesis on the mythology of the Zend Avesta, and in 1877 became teacher of Zend at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes.

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  • He followed up his researches with his Etudes iraniennes (1883), and ten years later published a complete translation of the Zend Avesta, with historical and philological commentary (3 vols., 1892-1893), in the Annales du musee Guimet.

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  • He also edited the Zend Avesta for Max Miller's Sacred Books of the East.

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