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Old Iranian Online

Lesson 4: Old Avestan

Scott L. Harvey, Winfred P. Lehmann, and Jonathan Slocum

Reading and Textual Analysis

This hymn, Yasna 30, provides an excellent statement of Zarathustra's dualism. While he maintained monotheism with Ahura Mazda as sole god, he also posited an opposition that existed from the beginning of the world between two principal spirits, Spenta Mainyu, 'the incremental spirit', and Angra Mainyu, 'the fiendish spirit' as stated in stanza 3. They, in turn, reflect a dualism beween Ashu 'Truth' and Angra 'Falsehood'. Human beings choose between these, as did the Daevas -- god-like beings who chose Falsehood. Their resulting status is in direct opposition to that in Indian religion, in which the devas make up the accepted pantheon. But the one who accepts Ahura Mazda is strengthened by Armaiti, 'Devotion'. The rewards or retribution for one's choice are stated graphically in stanzas eight through twelve.

1 - at t vaxshy ishent       y mazdth hyat-ct vdush

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • t -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- those things
  • vaxshy -- verb; 1st person singular future indicative active <vak> 'say, speak, declare' -- I shall proclaim
  • ishent -- present participle active; vocative plural masculine <ish> 'strive, desire, arrive' -- o seekers
  • y -- relative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • mazdth -- noun; accusative plural neuter <mazddha-> 'thing to be considered' -- to be borne in mind
  • hyat-ct -- conjunction; <hyat> 'if, so, when' + indefinite participle; <ct> '...' -- even
  • vdush -- present participle active; dative singular masculine <vid> 'see, know, obtain' -- for one knowing

staot-c ahuri       yesny-c vanghush manangh

  • staot-c -- noun; nominative plural masculine <staota-> 'hymn, song of praise' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and hymns
  • ahuri -- noun; dative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • yesny-c -- noun; accusative plural masculine <yesnya-> 'sacrifice, worship' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and praises
  • vanghush -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; genitive singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- of mind

humzdr ash ye-c       y raocbs daresat urvz

  • humzdr -- adjective; vocative plural masculine <humzdra-> 'careful, good to see' -- attentive ones
  • ash -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- for Truth
  • ye-c -- dative ending; plural masculine <-aya> '...' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and # All known manuscripts separate this dative case ending from the word asha to which it should be attached. It should not, therefore, be read as a separate word.
  • y -- relative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • raocbs -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <raocah-> 'light' -- by lights
  • daresat -- noun; accusative plural neuter <daresata-> 'visible, beautiful to see' -- beautiful to see
  • urvz -- noun; accusative plural neuter <urvza-> 'joy, bliss' -- joys

2 - sraot gush-aish vahisht       a-vanat sc manangh

  • sraot -- verb; 2nd person plural aorist imperative active <sru> 'hear, listen' -- Listen
  • gush-aish -- noun; instrumental plural masculine <gusha-> 'ear' -- with ears
  • vahisht -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- to the best things
  • a-vanat -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + verb; 2nd person plural present imperative active <vana-> 'see, observe, look' -- observe
  • sc -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <sca-> 'light, pure, clear' -- radiant
  • manangh -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <manah-> 'mind' -- with mind

varen vcithahy       narm narem xvahyi tanuy

  • varen -- noun; accusative dual masculine <varena-> 'invitation, choice' -- two alternatives
  • vcithahy -- noun; genitive singular neuter <vcidha-> 'decision, judgement' -- choosing
  • narm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- each
  • narem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- man
  • xvahyi -- reflexive pronoun; dative singular feminine <xva-> 'self' -- ...
  • tanuy -- noun; dative singular masculine <tanu-> 'body' -- for himself

par maz yngh       ahmi n sazdyi baodant paiti

  • par -- preposition; <par> 'before, beyond, away' -- before
  • maz -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <maz-> 'large, great' -- great
  • yngh -- noun; genitive singular neuter <yh-> 'pilgrimage, retribution' -- retribution
  • ahmi -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- to him
  • n -- enclitic pronoun; 2nd person accusative plural <vam-> 'we' -- us
  • sazdyi -- verb; infinitive <sangh> 'announce, proclaim' -- to announce
  • baodant -- present participle active; nominative plural masculine <bud> 'be attentive, aware' -- being careful
  • paiti -- postposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...

3 - at t mainy paouruy       y ym xvafn asrvtem

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • t -- pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- there are two
  • mainy -- noun; nominative dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirits
  • paouruy -- adjective; nominative dual masculine <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- primeval
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • ym -- noun; nominative dual masculine <yma-> 'twin' -- twins
  • xvafn -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <xvafna-> 'sleep, dream' -- through dream
  • asrvtem -- verb; 3rd person dual aorist indicative passive <sru> 'hear, listen' -- are revealed

manahi-c vacahi-c       shyaothani h vahy akem-c

  • manahi-c -- noun; locative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- in mind
  • vacahi-c -- noun; locative singular neuter <vacah-> 'speech, word' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and speech
  • shyaothani -- noun; locative singular neuter <shyaothana-> 'act, deed' -- and deed
  • h -- emphatic particle; <hi> 'indeed' -- even
  • vahy -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vahya-> 'better' -- better
  • akem-c -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and bad

s-c hudngh       eresh vshyt nit duzhdngh

  • s-c -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <a-> 'he, this' -- of these two
  • hudngh -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <hudah-> 'of good gifts, beneficent' -- the beneficent
  • eresh -- adverb; <eresh-> 'right, correct, true' -- rightly
  • vshyt -- prefix; <vi> 'wide, apart' + verb; 3rd person plural aorist indicative active <ci> 'discriminate, tell apart' -- choose
  • nit -- negative particle; <nit> 'no, none' -- not
  • duzhdngh -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <duzhd-> 'of bad gifts, maleficent' -- the miserly

4 - at-c hyat t hm mainy       jasatem paourvm dazd

  • at-c -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and what is more
  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- when
  • t -- pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- these two
  • hm -- preposition; <hm> 'together, with' -- together
  • mainy -- noun; nominative dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirits
  • jasatem -- verb; 3rd person dual imperfect indicative middle <gam> 'go' -- came
  • paourvm -- adverb; <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- at the beginning (of the world)
  • dazd -- verb; 3rd person dual imperfect indicative middle <d-> 'give, put' -- gave

gam-c ajyitm-c       yath-c anghat apmem anghush

  • gam-c -- noun; accusative singular masculine <gaya-> 'life' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- both life
  • ajyitm-c -- noun; accusative singular masculine <ajyaiti-> 'death' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and death
  • yath-c -- adverb; <yatha> 'just as, like' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and likewise
  • anghat -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will arise
  • apmem -- adverb; <apmem> 'last' -- at the end
  • anghush -- noun; nominative singular masculine <anghu-> 'existence, life' -- a life

acisht dregvatm       at ashun vahishtem man

  • acisht -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- most wicked
  • dregvatm -- adjective; genitive plural masculine <dregvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- for followers of the Lie
  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • ashun -- noun; dative singular masculine <ashavan-> '(in accordance with) Truth' -- for the followers of Truth
  • vahishtem -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- best
  • man -- noun; accusative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- thought

5 - ay mainiv varat       y dregv acisht verezy

  • ay -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- these
  • mainiv -- noun; genitive dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- of two spirits
  • varat -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative middle <var> 'choose' -- chose
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- the one who
  • dregv -- adjective; nominative dual masculine <dregvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- possessed of the Lie
  • acisht -- adjective; accusative plural masculine <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- the most wicked things
  • verezy -- infinitive; <verez-> 'perform an action' -- to perform

ashem mainyush spnisht       y xraozhdishtng asn vast

  • ashem -- noun; accusative singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- Truth
  • mainyush -- noun; nominative singular masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirit
  • spnisht -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <spenta-> 'beneficent, holy, sacred' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- beneficent
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative singular <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • xraozhdishtng -- adjective; accusative plural masculine <xrzhdra-> 'hard, firm' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- hardest
  • asn -- noun; accusative plural masculine <asan-> 'stone, heaven' -- stones
  • vast -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative middle <vas> 'be clothed, swathed' -- is clothed

ya-c xshnaoshen ahurem       haithyish shyaothanish fraoret mazdm

  • ya-c -- relative pronoun; nominative plural <ya-> 'who, what, which' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and who
  • xshnaoshen -- verb; 3rd person plural s-aorist indicative active <xsnu> 'satisfy' -- satisfy
  • ahurem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- the Lord
  • haithyish -- adjective; instrumental plural neuter <haithya-> 'true, real' -- true
  • shyaothanish -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <shyaothana-> 'act, deed' -- with actions
  • fraoret -- adverb; <fraoret> 'readily' -- readily
  • mazdm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- Wise One

6 - ay nit eresh vshyt       dav-cin hyat sh -debaom

  • ay -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- (between) these two
  • nit -- negative particle; <nit> 'no, none' -- not
  • eresh -- adverb; <eresh-> 'right, correct, true' -- correctly
  • vshyt -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist indicative active <vi> 'wide, apart' + <ci> 'discriminate, tell apart' -- did choose
  • dav-cin -- noun; nominative plural masculine <dava-> 'divine being' + indefinite particle; <cin> '...' -- the Daevas... whatsoever
  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- since
  • sh -- enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural <aym-> 'this, that' -- them
  • -debaom -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + noun; nominative singular masculine <debaoman-> 'beguilement, deception' -- Deception

peresmaneng up-jasat       hyat verent acishtem man

  • peresmaneng -- present participle middle; accusative plural masculine <peres-> 'ask' -- deliberating
  • up-jasat -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <gam> 'go' -- approached
  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- ...
  • verent -- verb; 3rd person plural present injunctive middle <veren-> 'choose' -- they chose
  • acishtem -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- worst
  • man -- noun; accusative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- thought

at ashemem hndvrent       y bnayen ahm maretn

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- thereby
  • ashemem -- noun; accusative singular masculine <ashema-> 'anger, fury, wrath' -- wrath
  • hndvrent -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative middle <hem> '...' + <dvar> 'rush together' -- rushed headlong
  • y -- relative pronoun; instrumental singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- by which
  • bnayen -- verb; 3rd person plural present injunctive active <banaya-> 'poison, make ill' -- poison
  • ahm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <anghu-> 'existence, life' -- life
  • maretn -- noun; genitive singular masculine <mareta-> 'mortal' -- moral men

7 - ahmi-c xshathr jasat       manangh voh ash-c

  • ahmi-c -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <aym-> 'this, that' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- yet... unto him
  • xshathr -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <xshathra-> 'power' -- with power
  • jasat -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <gam> 'go' -- he goes
  • manangh -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- with mind
  • voh -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • ash-c -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and with Truth

at kehrpm utayitish       dadt rmaitish nm

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • kehrpm -- noun; accusative singular feminine <kehrp-> 'form, body, outward appearance' -- body
  • utayitish -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <utayiti-> 'fresh, lasting, enduring' -- youthful
  • dadt -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <d-> 'give, put' -- gives
  • rmaitish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <rmaiti-> 'devotion, piety' -- Armaiti
  • nm -- noun; accusative singular neuter <nman-> 'spirit, breath' -- breath

ashm ti anghat       yath ayangh dnish paouruy

  • ashm -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural <aym-> 'this, that' -- of these things
  • ti -- personal pronoun; dative singular <tvm-> 'you' -- for you
  • -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- ...
  • anghat -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will arise
  • yath -- adverb; <yatha> 'just as, like' -- just as
  • ayangh -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <ayah-> 'metal, iron' -- by molten iron
  • dnish -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <dna-> 'portion, forging together, retaliation' -- through retribution
  • paouruy -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- the previous

8 - at-c yad ashm       kan jamait ananghm

  • at-c -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and then
  • yad -- relative adverb; <yad> 'when' -- when
  • ashm -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural <aym-> 'this, that' -- of these
  • kan -- noun; nominative singular feminine <kan-> 'atonement, punishment' -- punishment
  • jamait -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <gam> 'go' -- will arrive
  • ananghm -- noun; genitive plural neuter <anah-> 'sin' -- of sins

at mazd taiby xshathrem       voh manangh vi-vdait

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- then
  • mazd -- noun; vocative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- O Wise One
  • taiby -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular <tvm-> 'you' -- for you
  • xshathrem -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xshathra-> 'power' -- sovereign rule
  • voh -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- through mind
  • vi-vdait -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active intensive <vid> 'see, know, obtain' -- will finally obtain

aiby sast ahur       yi ashi daden zastay drujim

  • aiby -- demonstrative pronoun; dative plural <aym-> 'this, that' -- to those
  • sast -- infinitive; <sangh> 'announce, proclaim' -- to proclaim
  • ahur -- noun; vocative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • yi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • ashi -- noun; dative singular neuter <asha-> 'truth' -- over to the Truth
  • daden -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <d-> 'give, put' -- will give
  • zastay -- noun; locative dual masculine <zasta-> 'hand' -- in both hands
  • drujim -- noun; accusative singular masculine <druj-> 'deceit' -- Deceit

9 - at-c ti vam hym       yi m ferashm kerenaon ahm

  • at-c -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and therefore
  • ti -- pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- the ones
  • vam -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <azem-> 'I' -- we
  • hym -- verb; 3rd person plural present optative middle <ah-> 'be, become' -- may be
  • yi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • m -- enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <aym-> 'this, that' -- this
  • ferashm -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <ferasha-> 'shining' -- vibrant
  • kerenaon -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <kar> 'do, make' -- would make
  • ahm -- noun; accusative singular neuter <ahu-> 'existence, life, breath' -- existence

mazds-c ahurngh       -myastr-baran ash-c

  • mazds-c -- noun; vocative plural masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- Wise (Lord) and
  • ahurngh -- noun; vocative plural masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lords
  • -myastr-baran -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + enclitic pronoun; dative singular <azem-> 'I' + privative prefix; <a> 'no, none' + adjective; <stra-> 'spread-out' (?) + noun; instrumental singular masculine <barana-> 'carriage, support' -- by means of the unbroken support to me
  • ash-c -- noun; nominative singular masculine <asha-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and the Truth

hyat hathr man bavat       yathr cistish anghat math

  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- so that
  • hathr -- preposition; <hathra> 'together, at the same place/time' -- unified
  • man -- noun; nominative plural neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- minds
  • bavat -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- may be
  • yathr -- adverb; <yathra> 'where, in order to' -- whenever
  • cistish -- noun; nominative singular feminine <cisti-> 'knowledge, thought' -- judgement
  • anghat -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- would be
  • math -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <madha-> 'changing, false' -- in doubt

10 - ad z av drj       av-bavait skend spayathrahy

  • ad -- adverb; <ad> 'then, thereupon, thus' -- then
  • z -- emphatic particle; <zi> 'for, indeed' -- for
  • av -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' -- ...
  • drj -- noun; ablative singular feminine <druj-> 'deceit' -- of deceit
  • av-bavait -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- will descend
  • skend -- noun; nominative singular masculine <skenda-> 'destruction' -- destruction
  • spayathrahy -- noun; genitive singular neuter <spayathra-> 'atonement, prosperity' -- prosperity

at asisht yaojant       hushitish vanghush manangh

  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • asisht -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <asishta-> 'fastest' -- the swiftest
  • yaojant -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist subjunctive middle <yuj> 'join, unite, yoke' -- will be yoked
  • -- preposition; <> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- to
  • hushitish -- noun; genitive singular feminine <hushiti-> 'good dwelling, comfort, safety' -- dwelling place
  • vanghush -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manangh -- noun; genitive singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- of mind

mazd ashahy-c       yi zazent vanghu sravah

  • mazd -- noun; genitive singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- of the Wise One
  • ashahy-c -- noun; genitive singular masculine <asha-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and of Truth
  • yi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • zazent -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <z> 'conquer, win, come in first' -- will race ahead
  • vanghu -- adjective; locative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- unto good
  • sravah -- noun; locative singular neuter <sravas-> 'fame' -- fame

11 - hyat t urvt sashath       y mazd dadt mashyngh

  • hyat -- conjunction; <hyat> 'if, so, when' -- when
  • t -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- those
  • urvt -- noun; accusative plural neuter <urvta-> 'rule, order, commandment' -- rules
  • sashath -- verb; 2nd person plural present indicative active <sac> 'learn, understand' -- you all learn
  • y -- relative pronoun; nominative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • mazd -- noun; nominative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- the Wise One
  • dadt -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <d-> 'give, put' -- has given
  • mashyngh -- noun; vocative plural masculine <mashya-> 'human being' -- o mortals

xvti-c neit       hyat-c daregm dregv-deby rash

  • xvti-c -- noun; accusative dual feminine <xviti-> 'well-being, freedom of movement' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- freedom and
  • neit -- noun; accusative dual feminine <neiti-> 'ill-being, lack of freedom' -- constraint
  • hyat-c -- conjunction; <hyat> 'if, so, when' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and when
  • daregm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <darega-> 'long' -- long-lasting
  • dregv-deby -- adjective; dative plural masculine <dregvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- for the Possessors of the Lie
  • rash -- noun; accusative singular neuter <rashah-> 'harm, damage' -- destruction

sava-c ashavaby       at aip tish anghait usht

  • sava-c -- noun; accusative plural neuter <sava-> 'benefit, salvation' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- but blessings
  • ashavaby -- noun; dative plural masculine <ashavant-> 'follower of the Truth' -- for the Truthful
  • at -- particle; <at> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- then
  • aip -- preposition; <aipi> 'toward, approaching' -- ...
  • tish -- demonstrative pronoun; instrumental plural masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- through these
  • anghait -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will arise
  • usht -- past participle passive; accusative plural masculine <vas> 'desire, wish' -- the things you desire

Lesson Text

1 at t vaxshy ishent       y mazdth hyat-ct vdush
staot-c ahuri       yesny-c vanghush manangh
humzdr ash ye-c       y raocbs daresat urvz

2 sraot gush-aish vahisht       a-vanat sc manangh
varen vcithahy       narm narem xvahyi tanuy
par maz yngh       ahmi n sazdyi baodant paiti

3 at t mainy paouruy       y ym xvafn asrvtem
manahi-c vacahi-c       shyaothani h vahy akem-c
s-c hudngh       eresh vshyt nit duzhdngh

4 at-c hyat t hm mainy       jasatem paourvm dazd
gam-c ajyitm-c       yath-c anghat apmem anghush
acisht dregvatm       at ashun vahishtem man

5 ay mainiv varat       y dregv acisht verezy
ashem mainyush spnisht       y xraozhdishtng asn vast
ya-c xshnaoshen ahurem       haithyish shyaothanish fraoret mazdm

6 ay nit eresh vshyt       dav-cin hyat sh -debaom
peresmaneng up-jasat       hyat verent acishtem man
at ashemem hndvrent       y bnayen ahm maretn

7 ahmi-c xshathr jasat       manangh voh ash-c
at kehrpm utayitish       dadt rmaitish nm
ashm ti anghat       yath ayangh dnish paouruy

8 at-c yad ashm       kan jamait ananghm
at mazd taiby xshathrem       voh manangh vi-vdait
aiby sast ahur       yi ashi daden zastay drujim

9 at-c ti vam hym       yi m ferashm kerenaon ahm
mazds-c ahurngh       -myastr-baran ash-c
hyat hathr man bavat       yathr cistish anghat math

10 ad z av drj       av-bavait skend spayathrahy
at asisht yaojant       hushitish vanghush manangh
mazd ashahy-c       yi zazent vanghu sravah

11 hyat t urvt sashath       y mazd dadt mashyngh
xvti-c neit       hyat-c daregm dregv-deby rash
sava-c ashavaby       at aip tish anghait usht

Translation

1   And I shall proclaim, O seekers [of Truth], those things
               which [are] to be borne in mind, even for one knowing [them already]:
    [Those] praises and hymns of Good Mind [to be sung] for the Lord and,
               attentive ones, for Truth,
    Which by [their] lights [will bring] joys beautiful to see.
     
2   Listen with [your] ears to the best things [said]
               [And] observe with [your] mind, radiant,
    The two alternatives of [your] choosing, each man for himself
    Being careful to announce us to Him1 before the great retribution.
     
3   There are two primeval spirits, twins who are revealed
               [to us] through dream.
    In mind, in speech, and even in deed they are better and bad:
    The good choose between them correctly, not the evil.
     
4   And what's more, when these two spirits came together
               at the beginning of the world,
    They bestowed [to it] both life and death. And likewise
    At the end, a life most wicked will arise for followers of the Lie,
               and the best thought [will arise] for the followers of Truth.
     
5   Of these two spirits, the one possessed of the Lie chose to execute
               the most wicked things, [but] the beneficent spirit,
    Who is clothed in the hardest stones, [chose] Truth,
    [Just as those men do now] who readily satisfy the Lord, the Wise One,
               with true actions.
     
6   The Daevas did not choose correctly whatsoever between these two,
               since Deception approached them [as they were] deliberating [between
               them].
    [And] since they chose the worst thought,
    They thereby rushed headlong unto [that very] wrath by which they [now] poison
               the life of mortal men.
     
7   Yet He1 goes unto him2 with power, Good Mind, and Truth,
    And youthful Armaiti gives [him] body [and] breath.
    [And each] of these things will arise for you, [too], just as through retribution
               by molten iron the former [followers of the Lie (?)
               will be punished].
     
8   And so, when the punishment of these sins will arrive
    Then dominion will finally obtain for You, O Wise One,
               through Good Thinking.
    [In order] to proclaim, O Lord, to those who will
               give Deceit over to the Truth in both hands.
     
9   Therefore, may we be the ones who would make existence vibrant,
    O Wise [Lord] and Lords, by means of the unbroken support [you have given?]
          to me2 and by means of Truth,
    So that our minds will remain unified whenever our judgment may be in doubt.
     
10   For then the destruction of the prosperity of Deceit will descend
    And the swiftest [steeds] will be yoked to the dwelling place of Good Mind,
    Which will race ahead unto the good fame of the Wise One and of Truth.
     
11   When you, O mortals, learn those rules which the Wise One has given,
    [When you learn that there is] freedom and constraint, and [likewise]
          long-lasting destruction for the Possessors of the Lie,
    But blessings for the Truthful, then through these things [you have learned]
          the things that you desire will arise.

Grammar

16. Noun Stems in Sibilants and Stops
16.1. n-stem Nouns

Avestan has n-stem nouns in an, man, and van, whose declensions vary only by the strength of the stem. Stems in an generally show ablaut, extending to n in cases that take a strong stem. This is not, however, consistent: some words follow this pattern while others do not, perhaps on analogy with man- and van-stems for which ablaut is unattested.

The paradigms given here include the ablaut.

Singular:   Masculine manthran- 'poet-priest'   Neuter nman- 'name'
Nom.   manthr   nma
Acc.   *manthr, *manthrnem   nma
Dat.   manthrnai   *nmanai
Abl.   *manthrat   unattested
Gen.   manthrn   *nmn
Loc.sg   *manthrni   *nmni, *namen
Plural:        
Nom.pl   *manthran, *manthrn   nmn, nmni
Acc.pl   *manthr   nmn, nmni
Instr.pl.   *manthrbish   nmbish, nmnish
Dat.pl.   manthraby   nmaby
Abl.pl   *manthraby   *nmaby
Gen.pl   *manthranm   nmanm
16.2. r/n-stem Nouns

Avestan includes a few stems that end in r or n, depending on the case in which they appear.

Singular:   Masculine nar- 'man'   Neuter rzar- 'declaration'
Nom.   n   rzar
Acc.   narem   *rzar
Dat.   narai   unattested
Gen.   nrsh   rzanh
Plural:        
Nom.   nar   *rzr
Acc.   nrnsh   unattested
Gen.   *narm   *rznm
17. Relative and Interrogative Pronouns

The relative and interrogative pronouns, ya- and ka-, respectively, decline similarly in Avestan. The interrogative also has a stem ci- that appears only in the nominative singular form cish. The relative paradigm is given here.

ya-declension   Masculine   Feminine
Nom. sg.   y   y
Acc. sg.   yim, yem   ym, ym
Instr. sg.   y   unattested
Dat. sg.   yahmai   unattested
Abl. sg.   yahmt   yenht, yenhda
Gen. sg.   yahya, yenhe   yenha
Loc. sg.   yahmi   yenhe
         
Nom. du.   y    
Gen. du.   yaya    
         
Nom. pl.   yoi   ya
Acc. pl.   yn   ya
Instr. pl.   yish   unattested
Dat.Abl. pl.   yaby   yby
Gen. pl   yashm   yanhm
Loc. pl.   yashu   yhu, yhva

The neuter differs from the masculine in only the nominative and accusative cases:

Nom.Acc. sg.   yat
Nom. du.   y
Nom.Acc. pl.   y
18. The Perfect Tense

In addition to the present and aorist stems encountered in previous lessons, Avestan also has a perfect stem which is formed by the reduplication of the root. Generally, this reduplication is created by adding the vowel of the underlying root and any consonant immediately preceding that vowel to the front of the root. Exceptions to this rule are as follows:

  • Diphthongs ending in i or u reduplicate in i or u, respectively.
  • The initial consonant c changes to k in the root syllable, e.g. cit 'think', cikait-.
  • Initial k reduplicates as c, e.g. kan 'desire, cakan.
  • Consonant clusters omit all but the initial consonant, e.g. vraz 'be joyful', vavraz-.
  • The root vid 'see, know' is not reduplicated.

The root takes full grade in the singular present indicative active and all forms of the subjunctive; zero grade, elsewhere.

In these lessons, the perfect has been translated with past sense, e.g. tatash 'has fashioned'.

Perfect Paradigm

Since no root forms more than one perfect conjugation, the convention of using a single root per paradigm is not followed here.

Indicative   Active   Middle
1 sg.   dadaresha   susruye
2 sg.   dadtha   unattested
3 sg.   cakana   dta
         
3 du.   unattested   mamanite, dazde
         
1 pl.   didvishma   unattested
3 pl.   caxnar   unattested
         
Subjunctive        
2 pl.   vavrazatha   unattested
         
Optative        
3 sg.   vidyt   unattested
19. The Perfect Active Participle

The perfect tense also has active and middle participles. The active form is built by adding the suffix vas, weak grade ush, to the reduplicated stem. Feminines add and decline accordingly. Masculines decline thus:

    vid/vidvas 'having known'
Nom. sg.   vidv
Dat. sg.   vidushai
Gen. sg.   vidush

The present middle participle is formed by adding the ending ana to the perfect stem, which declines according to the a/-paradigms in Section 3.

Perfect participles are translated with the verb 'having', as in vidv 'having known', nominative singular masculine.

20. Relative-Correlative Syntax

Native English speakers sometimes find the Indo-Iranian relative clause difficult because it is not usually embedded within the main clause, as it is in English, but rather precedes the main clause, which 'picks up' the relative pronoun with a corresponding demonstrative, or correlative, pronoun. The relative pronoun may be placed anywhere within its own clause, though it is often found at the beginning. The correlative must begin the main clause. The antecedent, or the word that the relative pronoun represents in the relative clause, also (somewhat counter-intuitively) appears in the relative clause, usually immediately after the relative pronoun.

The relative clause aiby sast yi ashai daden drujem, taken from stanza 8 above, provides an illustration:

    aiby   sast   yi   ashai   daden   drujem
    to those   to proclaim   to whom   over to Truth   will give   Deceit

This is translated into English as "to proclaim to those who will give Deceit over to the Truth."

Footnotes

1   Ahura Mazda
2   Zarathustra