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Zoroastrian Pre-Islamic Texts; Zadspram
The Selections of Zadspram
Translated by: W. E. West

Chapter 11: The seventh battle, that of fire

  1. As he (Ahriman) came seventhly to fire, which was all together against him, the fire separated into five kinds, which are called the Propitious, the Good diffuser, the Aurvizisht, the Vazisht, and the Supremely-benefiting.
  2. And it produced the Propitious fire itself in heaven (garothman); its manifestation is in the fire which is burning on the earth, and its propitiousness is this, that all the kinds are of its nature.
  3. The Good diffuser is that which is in men and animals, and its business consists in the digestion of the food, the sleeping of the body, and the brightening of the eyes.
  4. The Aurvazisht is that which is in plants, in whose seed it is formed, and its business consists in piercing the earth, warming the chilled water and producing the qualities and fragrance of plants and blossoms therefrom, and elaborating the ripened produce into many fruits.
  5. And the Vazisht is that which has its motion in a cloud, and its business consists in destroying the atmospheric gloom and darkness, and making the thickness of the atmosphere fine and propitious in quality, sifting the hail, moderately warming the water which the cloud holds, and making sultry weather showery.
  6. The Supremely-benefiting, like the sky, is that glory whose lodgment is in the Warharan fire, as the master of the house is over the house, and whose propitious power arises from the growing brightness of the fire, the blazing forth in the purity of the place, the praise of God (yazdano), and the practice of good works.
  7. And its business is that it struggles with the spiritual fiend, it watches the forms of the witches -- who walk up from the river, wear woven clothing, disturb the luminaries by the concealment of stench, and by witchcraft injure the creatures -- and the occurrences of destruction, burning, and celebration of witchcraft, especially at night; being an assistant of Srosh the righteous.
  8. And in the beginning of the creation the whole earth was delivered over into the guardianship of the sublime Farnbag fire, the mighty [Adar] Gushnasp fire, and the beneficial Burzin-Mihr fire, which are like priest, warrior, and husbandman.
  9. The place of the fire Farnbag was formed on the Gadman-homand ('glorious') mountain in Khvarizem, the fire [Adar] Gushnasp was on the Asnavand mountain in Ataro-patakan, and the fire Burzin-Mihr on the Revand mountain which is in the Ridge of Vishtasp, and its material manifestation in the world was the most complete.
  10. In the reign of Hooshang, when men were continually going forth to the other regions (karshwar) on the ox Sruvo, one night, half-way, while admiring the fires, the fire-stands which were prepared in three places on the back of the ox, and in which the fire was, fell into the sea, and the substance of that one great fire which was manifest, is divided into three, and they established it on the three fire-stands, and it became itself three glories whose lodgments are in the Farnbag fire, the [Adar] Gushnasp fire, and the Burzin-Mihr.


Chapter 12: Two old legends of Spandarmad and of the hero Srito

  1. About the coming of the religion at a given time being a resemblance such-like as the birth of a child through two united powers, which are the reception of semen by females in procreation, and delivering it back to the fathers, and a period of struggling and intermingling, especially by two means: a monarchy with religion of the same tenets (ham-vac-denoih), and the existence of similar tenets to those of the monarchy in the custom of the religion.
  2. The religion of the Mazda-worshippers, when the period of material organization is being converted again into a spiritual nature, became manifest on the earth, first through Spandarmad and afterwards through Ohrmazd, like the reception of a child by mothers and delivering it back to the fathers.
  3. The manifestation of the religion through Spandarmad was at that time when Frasiyav kept back the water from the country of Iran, and brought the water again; in damsel form she was a speaker for its manifestation, in reply to foreigners, at the house of Manuschihar, the monarch of the country of Iran.
  4. 4. She was also dressed, and wore radiant clothing which shone out on all sides for the length of a Hasar, which is a distance, like a Parasang; and, tied on her waist, she wore a golden sacred girdle which was the religion of the Mazda-worshippers itself.
  5. As to the belt of the religion, it is that to which are connected the thirty-three fetters upon the thirty-three sins, according to which all sin is divided; so that (ku) the damsels, by whom the tied sacred girdle of Spandarmad was seen, have become impetuous (taftigo) after that for a tied girdle, on account of its seeming beautiful.
  6. And this was the motherhood which is supplied through Spandarmad, as a gift, in the year 528 before Zartosht came out to his conference, which is one of their statements from the annals of the religion in a manuscript of the ancients.
  7. The name of Zartosht is also cited on the earth at 300 years before his conference.
  8. For Iran, at the supplication even of the priests in the land, and for the sake of the pacification of a dispute arisen, Ohrmazd produced a great ox, by whom the boundary of Iran next to Turan was intimated by pawing with his hoofs, and he was kept in a jungle.
  9. Whenever contention arose, the boundary was fully made known by that ox, until it was the wish of Kay Us to take, fully covetously, a portion of the land of Turan back into Iran, and he saw that the ox is about to act very ill-naturedly, because it was not besought with forms which were prescribed for it, where a boundary was intimated by it.
  10. There were seven brothers, and he who was the seventh was called Srito the Seventh, the largest in body and chief in strength, belonging to those instructed in many subjects for Kay Us, and he was among his princes.
  11. Kay Us summoned him into his presence and ordered him thus: 'Go and kill that ox in the jungle!'
  12. Srito went, and the ox whom he wished to kill expostulated with him, in human words, thus: 'Do not kill me! for though thou canst kill me, he whose guardian spirit is in the Haoma, the death-dispeller, will also become manifest on the earth, he whose name is Zartosht of the Spitamas, and will proclaim thy bad action in the world.
  13. And the distress in thy soul becomes such as is declared in revelation thus: "As it occurs to him, so it does to Vadak, when they mention his iniquity," and thy death becomes the like and, owing to death, it is mixed up with hers (that is, owing even to hers is the death of Srito).'
  14. 14. When those words were heard by him, Srito turned back, and went again to Kay Us; also by his manner, and even apart from this, he stated what the ox had spoken with awfulness, and also thus: 'I am more desirous than any one who is in the earth created by righteousness, that you should now order destruction for the ox.'
  15. And Kay Us uttered his will, with the conviction of superior wisdom, thus: 'It is not certain whether he whose guardian spirit is in the Haoma, the death-dispeller, is himself, or not; and if he be, and be born, whether he will become manifest, or not;' and he commanded with severity, thus: 'Go and kill it!'
  16. And Srito spoke thus: 'It is not that I am without strength to kill, because its reprieval by me was owing to its remonstrance, mentioned to me, that a high-priest is to arise.'
  17. So it is declared thus, in another revelation (deno zagai), when the Turanians were backward in heart, Kay Us spoke thus: 'Go out to a certain jungle, in which dwell many chiefs of the witches, and they will cut thee up without any striving of heart.'
  18. And Srito went up to the jungle, where many witches saw him, who kept their jaws open, and they spoke about the handsome man thus: 'Slay and do not spare!'
  19. And compassion having gone out of his heart, he went back to the other jungle and, with his fist, he broke the back of the ox in three places; and the ox, awfully convulsed (skifto bar-hamako), kept up an outcry.
  20. After the slaughter of the ox, owing to its convulsed state which was heard by him, the remembrance of it then became grievous to Srito; and he went back to Kay Us, and informed him how it was, and begged him that he should finish off by slaying him, because his life was not desirable.
  21. Kay Us spoke thus: 'Shall I slay thee, for it was not designed by thee?'
  22. And Srito spoke thus: 'If thou wilt not slay me, then I shall slay thee.'
  23. Again Kay Us spoke thus: 'Do not thou slay me, for I am the monarch of the world.'
  24. Srito continued his discontent, until Kay Us ordered him thus: 'Go out to a certain jungle, because a witch in the shape of a dog is in it, and she will slay thee.'
  25. Then Srito went out to that jungle, and that witch in the shape of a dog was seen by him; after he smote the witch, she became two; and he constantly smote them till they became a thousand, and the host (girdo) of them slew Srito on the spot.


Chapter 13: Parentage of Zartosht

  1. About the glory of Zartosht becoming manifest even before his birth, it is thus declared, that forty-five years before the time when Zartosht came out to his conference, when Freno gave birth to the mother of Zartosht, whom they called Dukdaub, it came down from the endless light, in the manner of fire, and mingled with the fire which was before her; and from the fire it mingled with the mother of Zartosht.
  2. For three nights it was manifest, to all passers-by, as a species of fire in the direction of the house, and passers on the road always saw great radiance.
  3. Also when she became fifteen years old, the radiance of that glory which was in her, was even such that, on the path she was walking along, its brightness was then shed by her.
  4. About the combination of Zartosht, whose guardian spirit is reverenced; that is, his guardian spirit, in the Haoma, and his glory are given the cow's milk, by his father and mother drinking it up, and his spiritual life (ahvo) came into the combination, as was proclaimed by his statements in the manuscript about the Guidance of the Ceremonial.
  5. About the backward connection of Zartosht with Ohrmazd, through the two who are Yim [Jamshed], the best of the worldly existences, and Neryosang of the spirits.
  6. The enumeration of the lineage of Zartosht is Zartosht, son of Pourushasp, of Purtaraspo, of Aurvadasp, of Haecadaspo, of Chikhshnush, of Paitiraspo, of Arejadarshi*, of Kharedhar*, of Spitaman, of Vaedishto, of Ayazem, of Frish, of Arij*, of Durasrobo, of Manuschihar, of Manus-khurnar, of Manus-khurnak, whom Neryosang the messenger of Ohrmazd brought, and whose mother was Vizag, daughter of Aryag, of Sritak, of Bitak, of Frazushak, of Zushak, of Fraguzag, of Guzag, daughter of Airik, son of Faridoon of the Aspigans to the total of ten Aspigans, of Yim [Jamshed], of the Vivanghas, of the Ayanghas, of the Ananghas, of Hooshang, of Fravak, of Siyamak, of Mashye, of Gayomard.

Chapter 14: Demons try to injure him before and at his birth

  1. About the wonderful striving of the fiend for the destruction of Zartosht.
  2. When it became near to his birth, the Fever demon, the Pain demon, and the Wind demon of Ahriman, each one with 150 demons, have come out to kill Zartosht, and from his spirit they have gone forth to his mother.
  3. And she is hurried from there by Fever, Pain, and Wind; and at the distance of one league (parasang) there was a wizard, Impudent (Storko) by name, who was the most medical of wizards; in hope of practice he stood up from his seat, as she stopped in her progress.
  4. A messenger of Ohrmazd uttered a cry thus: 'Do not go to a wizard! for they are not healing (beshazinidar) for thee; but go back to the house, wash thy hands on the morrow with cow's butter held over the fire, also burn (tapo) firewood and incense for thy own self and thy progeny which is in thy womb.'
  5. And she acted accordingly and became well; and the cooperators of the demon, and those of equal power, who had not obtained their remedy from her body, are again exposed, and spoke thus: 'On account of the existence of fire from all sides we have not succeeded; it is a help for every one who is her friend more than opponent; therefore it was not for us, because of the power within her.'
  6. he same night as she gave birth, Ahriman selected commanders and arrayed his champions (gurd); there are some who are with one thousand demons, and there are some who are with two thousand demons; pursuing and attacking they have contended.
  7. The opposing stand of the sacred beings, especially of the glory itself at the family fire, was manifest at that birth; and for its splendor and brightness (padroko), settled opposite a distant place, they have then found no remedy.
  8. At last, Ahriman sends Akoman on, and spoke to him thus: 'Thou canst be very spiritual, who canst be most intimate; thou canst go with deceit into the mind of Zartosht, and make him turn his mind to us who are demons.'
  9. And Ohrmazd sends Vohuman on against him; Akoman advanced to the front, and had come forward to the door, and wished to go inside.
  10. Vohuman schemingly (carakogariha) turned back, and exclaimed to Akoman thus: 'Go inside!'
  11. Akoman imagined thus: 'There is nothing to be accomplished by me of what was mentioned to me, for Vohuman has gone back.'
  12. And Vohuman went inside, and mingled with the reason (varom) of Zartosht, and Zartosht laughed outright, for Vohuman is a gratifying spirit.
  13. Also seven wizards were seated before him, and owing to the light in the dwelling, his having laughed at birth was conveniently seen, which is opposed to the habit of the rest of mankind who cry out at birth and are quite terrified.
  14. Also, at the same time of birth, he authoritatively accepted the religion from Ohrmazd, as it is stated in revelation, that he spoke at birth thus: 'As is the will of the spiritual lord (ahvo) mayst thou be who art the officiating priest (zot) (that is, mayst thou be the leader of the creatures).'
  15. As Zartosht, on account of his worldly body, spoke with a worldly voice, Ohrmazd spoke in reply to him, on account of the spirits, thus: 'So mayst thou be the priestly authority (rad shae), and so mayst thou be virtuous, owing to whatsoever righteousness occurs; and I confidently proclaim thee righteous (that is, I am thy controller).'
  16. Another day, Pourushasp went and inquired of the wizards who kept in front at the place, thus: 'What is the cause when infants cry out at birth, beyond that which occurs when they laugh outright?'
  17. And they replied thus: 'Because those who are made to cry have seen mortality as their end, and those having laughed have seen their own righteousness.'

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