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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 - aṯ tā vaxšyā išəntō       yā mazdāθā hyaṯ-cīṯ vīdušē

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- those things
  • vaxšyā -- verb; 1st person singular future indicative active <vak> 'say, speak, declare' -- I shall proclaim
  • išəntō -- present participle active; vocative plural masculine <> 'strive, desire, arrive' -- o seekers
  • -- relative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • mazdāθā -- noun; accusative plural neuter <mazdāδa-> 'thing to be considered' -- to be borne in mind
  • hyaṯ-cīṯ -- conjunction; <hyaṯ> 'if, so, when' + indefinite participle; <cīṯ> '...' -- even
  • vīdušē -- present participle active; dative singular masculine <vid> 'see, know, obtain' -- for one knowing

staotā-cā ahurāi       yesnyā-cā vaŋhə̄uš manaŋhō

  • staotā-cā -- noun; nominative plural masculine <staota-> 'hymn, song of praise' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and hymns
  • ahurāi -- noun; dative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • yesnyā-cā -- noun; accusative plural masculine <yesnya-> 'sacrifice, worship' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and praises
  • vaŋhə̄uš -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manaŋhō -- noun; genitive singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- of mind

humązdrā ašā ye-cā       yā raocə̄bīs darəsatā urvāzā

  • humązdrā -- adjective; vocative plural masculine <humązdra-> 'careful, good to see' -- attentive ones
  • ašā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <aša-> 'truth' -- for Truth
  • ye-cā -- dative ending; plural masculine <-aya> '...' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and # All known manuscripts separate this dative case ending from the word aša to which it should be attached. It should not, therefore, be read as a separate word.
  • -- relative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • raocə̄bīs -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <raocah-> 'light' -- by lights
  • darəsatā -- noun; accusative plural neuter <darəsata-> 'visible, beautiful to see' -- beautiful to see
  • urvāzā -- noun; accusative plural neuter <urvāza-> 'joy, bliss' -- joys

2 - sraotā gə̄uš-aiš vahištā       a-vaēnatā sūcā manaŋhā

  • sraotā -- verb; 2nd person plural aorist imperative active <sru> 'hear, listen' -- Listen
  • gə̄uš-aiš -- noun; instrumental plural masculine <gə̄uša-> 'ear' -- with ears
  • vahištā -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- to the best things
  • a-vaēnatā -- preposition; <ā> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + verb; 2nd person plural present imperative active <vaēna-> 'see, observe, look' -- observe
  • sūcā -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <sūca-> 'light, pure, clear' -- radiant
  • manaŋhā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <manah-> 'mind' -- with mind

āvarənå vīciθahyā       narə̄m narəm xvah́yāi tanuyē

  • āvarənå -- noun; accusative dual masculine <āvarəna-> 'invitation, choice' -- two alternatives
  • vīciθahyā -- noun; genitive singular neuter <vīciδa-> 'decision, judgement' -- choosing
  • narə̄m -- noun; accusative singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- each
  • narəm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <nar-> 'man' -- man
  • xvah́yāi -- reflexive pronoun; dative singular feminine <xva-> 'self' -- ...
  • tanuyē -- noun; dative singular masculine <tanu-> 'body' -- for himself

parā mazə̄ yåŋhō       ahmāi nə̄ sazdyāi baodantō paiti

  • parā -- preposition; <parā> 'before, beyond, away' -- before
  • mazə̄ -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <maz-> 'large, great' -- great
  • yåŋhō -- noun; genitive singular neuter <yāh-> 'pilgrimage, retribution' -- retribution
  • ahmāi -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- to him
  • nə̄ -- enclitic pronoun; 2nd person accusative plural <vaēm-> 'we' -- us
  • sazdyāi -- verb; infinitive <saŋh> 'announce, proclaim' -- to announce
  • baodantō -- present participle active; nominative plural masculine <bud> 'be attentive, aware' -- being careful
  • paiti -- postposition; <paiti> 'near, toward, with respect to' -- ...

3 - aṯ tā mainyū paouruyē       yā yə̄mā xvafnā asrvātəm

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • -- pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- there are two
  • mainyū -- noun; nominative dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirits
  • paouruyē -- adjective; nominative dual masculine <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- primeval
  • -- relative pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • yə̄mā -- noun; nominative dual masculine <yə̄ma-> 'twin' -- twins
  • xvafnā -- noun; instrumental singular masculine <xvafna-> 'sleep, dream' -- through dream
  • asrvātəm -- verb; 3rd person dual aorist indicative passive <sru> 'hear, listen' -- are revealed

manahi-cā vacahi-cā       šyaoθanōi hī vahyō akəm-cā

  • manahi-cā -- noun; locative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- in mind
  • vacahi-cā -- noun; locative singular neuter <vacah-> 'speech, word' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and speech
  • šyaoθanōi -- noun; locative singular neuter <šyaoθana-> 'act, deed' -- and deed
  • -- emphatic particle; <hi> 'indeed' -- even
  • vahyō -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vahya-> 'better' -- better
  • akəm-cā -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and bad

ås-cā hudåŋhō       ərəš vīšyātā nōiṯ duždåŋhō

  • ås-cā -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <a-> 'he, this' -- of these two
  • hudåŋhō -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <hudah-> 'of good gifts, beneficent' -- the beneficent
  • ərəš -- adverb; <ərəš-> 'right, correct, true' -- rightly
  • vīšyātā -- prefix; <vi> 'wide, apart' + verb; 3rd person plural aorist indicative active <ci> 'discriminate, tell apart' -- choose
  • nōiṯ -- negative particle; <nōiṯ> 'no, none' -- not
  • duždåŋhō -- adjective; nominative plural neuter <duždā-> 'of bad gifts, maleficent' -- the miserly

4 - aṯ-cā hyaṯ tā hə̄m mainyū       jasaētəm paourvīm dazdē

  • aṯ-cā -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and what is more
  • hyaṯ -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- when
  • -- pronoun; nominative dual masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- these two
  • hə̄m -- preposition; <hə̄m> 'together, with' -- together
  • mainyū -- noun; nominative dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirits
  • jasaētəm -- verb; 3rd person dual imperfect indicative middle <gam> 'go' -- came
  • paourvīm -- adverb; <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- at the beginning (of the world)
  • dazdē -- verb; 3rd person dual imperfect indicative middle <dā-> 'give, put' -- gave

gaēm-cā ajyāitīm-cā       yaθā-cā aŋhaṯ apə̄məm aŋhuš

  • gaēm-cā -- noun; accusative singular masculine <gaya-> 'life' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- both life
  • ajyāitīm-cā -- noun; accusative singular masculine <ajyaiti-> 'death' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and death
  • yaθā-cā -- adverb; <yaθa> 'just as, like' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and likewise
  • aŋhaṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will arise
  • apə̄məm -- adverb; <apə̄məm> 'last' -- at the end
  • aŋhuš -- noun; nominative singular masculine <aŋhu-> 'existence, life' -- a life

acištō drəgvatąm       aṯ ašāunē vahištəm manō

  • acištō -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- most wicked
  • drəgvatąm -- adjective; genitive plural masculine <drəgvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- for followers of the Lie
  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • ašāunē -- noun; dative singular masculine <ašavan-> '(in accordance with) Truth' -- for the followers of Truth
  • vahištəm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- best
  • manō -- noun; accusative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- thought

5 - ayå mainivå varatā       yə̄ drəgvå acištā vərəzyō

  • ayå -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- these
  • mainivå -- noun; genitive dual masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- of two spirits
  • varatā -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative middle <var> 'choose' -- chose
  • yə̄ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- the one who
  • drəgvå -- adjective; nominative dual masculine <drəgvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- possessed of the Lie
  • acištā -- adjective; accusative plural masculine <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- the most wicked things
  • vərəzyō -- infinitive; <verəz-> 'perform an action' -- to perform

ašəm mainyuš spə̄ništō       yə̄ xraoždištə̄ng asə̄nō vastē

  • ašəm -- noun; accusative singular neuter <aša-> 'truth' -- Truth
  • mainyuš -- noun; nominative singular masculine <mainyu-> 'spirit' -- spirit
  • spə̄ništō -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <spənta-> 'beneficent, holy, sacred' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- beneficent
  • yə̄ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • xraoždištə̄ng -- adjective; accusative plural masculine <xrūždra-> 'hard, firm' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- hardest
  • asə̄nō -- noun; accusative plural masculine <asan-> 'stone, heaven' -- stones
  • vastē -- verb; 3rd person singular present indicative middle <vas> 'be clothed, swathed' -- is clothed

yaē-cā xšnaošən ahurəm       haiθyāiš šyaoθanāiš fraorəṯ mazdąm

  • yaē-cā -- relative pronoun; nominative plural <ya-> 'who, what, which' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and who
  • xšnaošən -- verb; 3rd person plural s-aorist indicative active <xsnu> 'satisfy' -- satisfy
  • ahurəm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- the Lord
  • haiθyāiš -- adjective; instrumental plural neuter <haiθya-> 'true, real' -- true
  • šyaoθanāiš -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <šyaoθana-> 'act, deed' -- with actions
  • fraorəṯ -- adverb; <fraorəṯ> 'readily' -- readily
  • mazdąm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- Wise One

6 - ayå nōiṯ ərəš vīšyātā       daēvā-cinā hyaṯ īš ā-dəbaomā

  • ayå -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive dual masculine <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- (between) these two
  • nōiṯ -- negative particle; <nōiṯ> 'no, none' -- not
  • ərəš -- adverb; <ərəš-> 'right, correct, true' -- correctly
  • vīšyātā -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist indicative active <vi> 'wide, apart' + <ci> 'discriminate, tell apart' -- did choose
  • daēvā-cinā -- noun; nominative plural masculine <daēva-> 'divine being' + indefinite particle; <cinā> '...' -- the Daevas... whatsoever
  • hyaṯ -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- since
  • īš -- enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- them
  • ā-dəbaomā -- preposition; <ā> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + noun; nominative singular masculine <dəbaoman-> 'beguilement, deception' -- Deception

pərəsmanəng upā-jasaṯ       hyaṯ vərənātā acištəm manō

  • pərəsmanəng -- present participle middle; accusative plural masculine <pərəs-> 'ask' -- deliberating
  • upā-jasaṯ -- verbal prefix; <upa> 'near, up on/to, etc.' + verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <gam> 'go' -- approached
  • hyaṯ -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- ...
  • vərənātā -- verb; 3rd person plural present injunctive middle <vərən-> 'choose' -- they chose
  • acištəm -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <aka-> 'bad, evil, wicked' + superlative suffix; <-ista-> indicates superlative -- worst
  • manō -- noun; accusative singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- thought

aṯ aēšəməm hə̄ndvārəntā       yā bąnayən ahūm marətānō

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- thereby
  • aēšəməm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <aēšəma-> 'anger, fury, wrath' -- wrath
  • hə̄ndvārəntā -- verb; 3rd person plural imperfect indicative middle <həm> '...' + <dvar> 'rush together' -- rushed headlong
  • -- relative pronoun; instrumental singular masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- by which
  • bąnayən -- verb; 3rd person plural present injunctive active <banaya-> 'poison, make ill' -- poison
  • ahūm -- noun; accusative singular masculine <aŋhu-> 'existence, life' -- life
  • marətānō -- noun; genitive singular masculine <marəta-> 'mortal' -- moral men

7 - ahmāi-cā xšaθrā jasaṯ       manaŋhā vohū ašā-cā

  • ahmāi-cā -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular masculine <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- yet... unto him
  • xšaθrā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <xšaθra-> 'power' -- with power
  • jasaṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <gam> 'go' -- he goes
  • manaŋhā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- with mind
  • vohū -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • ašā-cā -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <aša-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and with Truth

aṯ kəhrpə̄m utayūitiš       dadāṯ ārmaitiš ąnmā

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • kəhrpə̄m -- noun; accusative singular feminine <kəhrp-> 'form, body, outward appearance' -- body
  • utayūitiš -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <utayūiti-> 'fresh, lasting, enduring' -- youthful
  • dadāṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular imperfect indicative active <dā-> 'give, put' -- gives
  • ārmaitiš -- noun; nominative singular feminine <ārmaiti-> 'devotion, piety' -- Armaiti
  • ąnmā -- noun; accusative singular neuter <ąnman-> 'spirit, breath' -- breath

aēšąm tōi ā aŋhaṯ       yaθā ayaŋhā ādānāiš paouruyō

  • aēšąm -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- of these things
  • tōi -- personal pronoun; dative singular <tvə̄m-> 'you' -- for you
  • ā -- preposition; <ā> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- ...
  • aŋhaṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- will arise
  • yaθā -- adverb; <yaθa> 'just as, like' -- just as
  • ayaŋhā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <ayah-> 'metal, iron' -- by molten iron
  • ādānāiš -- noun; instrumental plural neuter <ādāna-> 'portion, forging together, retaliation' -- through retribution
  • paouruyō -- adjective; nominative singular masculine <paouruya-> 'first, original' -- the previous

8 - aṯ-cā yadā aēšąm       kaēnā jamaitī aēnaŋhąm

  • aṯ-cā -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and then
  • yadā -- relative adverb; <yadā> 'when' -- when
  • aēšąm -- demonstrative pronoun; genitive plural <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- of these
  • kaēnā -- noun; nominative singular feminine <kaēnā-> 'atonement, punishment' -- punishment
  • jamaitī -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <gam> 'go' -- will arrive
  • aēnaŋhąm -- noun; genitive plural neuter <aēnah-> 'sin' -- of sins

aṯ mazdā taibyō xšaθrəm       vohū manaŋhā vōi-vīdaitī

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- then
  • mazdā -- noun; vocative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- O Wise One
  • taibyō -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular <tvə̄m-> 'you' -- for you
  • xšaθrəm -- noun; accusative singular neuter <xšaθra-> 'power' -- sovereign rule
  • vohū -- adjective; instrumental singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manaŋhā -- noun; instrumental singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- through mind
  • vōi-vīdaitī -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active intensive <vid> 'see, know, obtain' -- will finally obtain

aēibyō sastē ahurā       yōi ašāi dadən zastayō drujim

  • aēibyō -- demonstrative pronoun; dative plural <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- to those
  • sastē -- infinitive; <saŋh> 'announce, proclaim' -- to proclaim
  • ahurā -- noun; vocative singular masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lord
  • yōi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • ašāi -- noun; dative singular neuter <aša-> 'truth' -- over to the Truth
  • dadən -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <dā-> 'give, put' -- will give
  • zastayō -- noun; locative dual masculine <zasta-> 'hand' -- in both hands
  • drujim -- noun; accusative singular masculine <druj-> 'deceit' -- Deceit

9 - aṯ-cā tōi vaēm h́yāmā       yōi īm fərašə̄m kərənaon ahūm

  • aṯ-cā -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and therefore
  • tōi -- pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- the ones
  • vaēm -- personal pronoun; nominative singular <azəm-> 'I' -- we
  • h́yāmā -- verb; 3rd person plural present optative middle <ah-> 'be, become' -- may be
  • yōi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- who
  • īm -- enclitic demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular masculine <ayə̄m-> 'this, that' -- this
  • fərašə̄m -- adjective; accusative singular masculine <fəraša-> 'shining' -- vibrant
  • kərənaon -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <kar> 'do, make' -- would make
  • ahūm -- noun; accusative singular neuter <ahu-> 'existence, life, breath' -- existence

mazdås-cā ahuråŋhō       ā-mōyastrā-baranā ašā-cā

  • mazdås-cā -- noun; vocative plural masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- Wise (Lord) and
  • ahuråŋhō -- noun; vocative plural masculine <ahura-> 'lord' -- Lords
  • ā-mōyastrā-baranā -- preposition; <ā> '(up) to, toward, etc.' + enclitic pronoun; dative singular <azəm-> '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
  • ašā-cā -- noun; nominative singular masculine <aša-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and the Truth

hyaṯ haθrā manå bavaṯ       yaθrā cistiš aŋhaṯ maēθā

  • hyaṯ -- conjunction; <hyat> 'as, since, because' -- so that
  • haθrā -- preposition; <haθra> 'together, at the same place/time' -- unified
  • manå -- noun; nominative plural neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- minds
  • bavaṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- may be
  • yaθrā -- adverb; <yaθra> 'where, in order to' -- whenever
  • cistiš -- noun; nominative singular feminine <cisti-> 'knowledge, thought' -- judgement
  • aŋhaṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular present subjunctive active <ah-> 'be, become' -- would be
  • maēθā -- adjective; nominative singular feminine <maēδa-> 'changing, false' -- in doubt

10 - adā zī avā drūjō       avō-bavaitī skəndō spayaθrahyā

  • adā -- adverb; <adā> 'then, thereupon, thus' -- then
  • -- emphatic particle; <zi> 'for, indeed' -- for
  • avā -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' -- ...
  • drūjō -- noun; ablative singular feminine <druj-> 'deceit' -- of deceit
  • avō-bavaitī -- verbal prefix; <ava> 'away, down' + verb; 3rd person singular aorist subjunctive active <bu> 'be, become' -- will descend
  • skəndō -- noun; nominative singular masculine <skənda-> 'destruction' -- destruction
  • spayaθrahyā -- noun; genitive singular neuter <spayaθra-> 'atonement, prosperity' -- prosperity

aṯ asištā yaojantē       ā hušitōiš vaŋhə̄uš manaŋhō

  • aṯ -- particle; <aṯ> 'then, but, and, so, thus' -- and
  • asištā -- adjective; nominative plural masculine <asišta-> 'fastest' -- the swiftest
  • yaojantē -- verb; 3rd person plural aorist subjunctive middle <yuj> 'join, unite, yoke' -- will be yoked
  • ā -- preposition; <ā> '(up) to, toward, etc.' -- to
  • hušitōiš -- noun; genitive singular feminine <hušiti-> 'good dwelling, comfort, safety' -- dwelling place
  • vaŋhə̄uš -- adjective; genitive singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- good
  • manaŋhō -- noun; genitive singular neuter <manah-> 'mind' -- of mind

mazdå ašah́yā-cā       yōi zazəntī vaŋhāu sravahī

  • mazdå -- noun; genitive singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- of the Wise One
  • ašah́yā-cā -- noun; genitive singular masculine <aša-> 'truth' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and of Truth
  • yōi -- relative pronoun; nominative plural masculine <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • zazəntī -- verb; 3rd person plural present subjunctive active <> 'conquer, win, come in first' -- will race ahead
  • vaŋhāu -- adjective; locative singular neuter <vohu-> 'good' -- unto good
  • sravahī -- noun; locative singular neuter <sravas-> 'fame' -- fame

11 - hyaṯ tā urvātā sašaθā       yā mazdå dadāṯ mašyåŋhō

  • hyaṯ -- conjunction; <hyaṯ> 'if, so, when' -- when
  • -- demonstrative pronoun; accusative plural neuter <ha-> '(s)he, this' -- those
  • urvātā -- noun; accusative plural neuter <urvāta-> 'rule, order, commandment' -- rules
  • sašaθā -- verb; 2nd person plural present indicative active <sac> 'learn, understand' -- you all learn
  • -- relative pronoun; nominative plural neuter <ya-> 'who, what, which' -- which
  • mazdå -- noun; nominative singular masculine <mazda-> 'wise one' -- the Wise One
  • dadāṯ -- verb; 3rd person singular aorist indicative active <dā-> 'give, put' -- has given
  • mašyåŋhō -- noun; vocative plural masculine <mašya-> 'human being' -- o mortals

xvīti-cā ə̄nəitī       hyaṯ-cā darəgə̄m drəgvō-dəbyō rašō

  • xvīti-cā -- noun; accusative dual feminine <xviti-> 'well-being, freedom of movement' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- freedom and
  • ə̄nəitī -- noun; accusative dual feminine <ə̄nəiti-> 'ill-being, lack of freedom' -- constraint
  • hyaṯ-cā -- conjunction; <hyaṯ> 'if, so, when' + conjunction; <ca> 'and' -- and when
  • darəgə̄m -- adjective; accusative singular neuter <darəga-> 'long' -- long-lasting
  • drəgvō-dəbyō -- adjective; dative plural masculine <drəgvant-> 'possessor of the Lie' -- for the Possessors of the Lie
  • rašō -- noun; accusative singular neuter <rašah-> 'harm, damage' -- destruction

sava-cā ašavabyō       aṯ aipī tāiš aŋhaitī uštā

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

Lesson Text

1 aṯ tā vaxšyā išəntō       yā mazdāθā hyaṯ-cīṯ vīdušē
staotā-cā ahurāi       yesnyā-cā vaŋhə̄uš manaŋhō
humązdrā ašā ye-cā       yā raocə̄bīs darəsatā urvāzā

2 sraotā gə̄uš-aiš vahištā       a-vaēnatā sūcā manaŋhā
āvarənå vīciθahyā       narə̄m narəm xvah́yāi tanuyē
parā mazə̄ yåŋhō       ahmāi nə̄ sazdyāi baodantō paiti

3 aṯ tā mainyū paouruyē       yā yə̄mā xvafnā asrvātəm
manahi-cā vacahi-cā       šyaoθanōi hī vahyō akəm-cā
ås-cā hudåŋhō       ərəš vīšyātā nōiṯ duždåŋhō

4 aṯ-cā hyaṯ tā hə̄m mainyū       jasaētəm paourvīm dazdē
gaēm-cā ajyāitīm-cā       yaθā-cā aŋhaṯ apə̄məm aŋhuš
acištō drəgvatąm       aṯ ašāunē vahištəm manō

5 ayå mainivå varatā       yə̄ drəgvå acištā vərəzyō
ašəm mainyuš spə̄ništō       yə̄ xraoždištə̄ng asə̄nō vastē
yaē-cā xšnaošən ahurəm       haiθyāiš šyaoθanāiš fraorəṯ mazdąm

6 ayå nōiṯ ərəš vīšyātā       daēvā-cinā hyaṯ īš ā-dəbaomā
pərəsmanəng upā-jasaṯ       hyaṯ vərənātā acištəm manō
aṯ aēšəməm hə̄ndvārəntā       yā bąnayən ahūm marətānō

7 ahmāi-cā xšaθrā jasaṯ       manaŋhā vohū ašā-cā
aṯ kəhrpə̄m utayūitiš       dadāṯ ārmaitiš ąnmā
aēšąm tōi ā aŋhaṯ       yaθā ayaŋhā ādānāiš paouruyō

8 aṯ-cā yadā aēšąm       kaēnā jamaitī aēnaŋhąm
aṯ mazdā taibyō xšaθrəm       vohū manaŋhā vōi-vīdaitī
aēibyō sastē ahurā       yōi ašāi dadən zastayō drujim

9 aṯ-cā tōi vaēm h́yāmā       yōi īm fərašə̄m kərənaon ahūm
mazdås-cā ahuråŋhō       ā-mōyastrā-baranā ašā-cā
hyaṯ haθrā manå bavaṯ       yaθrā cistiš aŋhaṯ maēθā

10 adā zī avā drūjō       avō-bavaitī skəndō spayaθrahyā
aṯ asištā yaojantē       ā hušitōiš vaŋhə̄uš manaŋhō
mazdå ašah́yā-cā       yōi zazəntī vaŋhāu sravahī

11 hyaṯ tā urvātā sašaθā       yā mazdå dadāṯ mašyåŋhō
xvīti-cā ə̄nəitī       hyaṯ-cā darəgə̄m drəgvō-dəbyō rašō
sava-cā ašavabyō       aṯ aipī tāiš aŋhaitī uštā

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 ān 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 manθran- 'poet-priest'   Neuter nāman- 'name'
Nom.   manθrā   nąma
Acc.   *manθrā, *manθrānəm   nąma
Dat.   manθrānai   *nāmanai
Abl.   *manθraṯ   unattested
Gen.   manθrānō   *nāmnō
Loc.sg   *manθrāni   *nāmə̄ni, *namən
Plural:        
Nom.pl   *manθranō, *manθrānō   nāmąn, nāmə̄ni
Acc.pl   *manθrō   nāmąn, nāmə̄ni
Instr.pl.   *manθrə̄biš   nāmə̄biš, nāmə̄niš
Dat.pl.   manθrabyō   nāmabyō
Abl.pl   *manθrabyō   *nāmabyō
Gen.pl   *manθranąm   nāmanąm
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 rāzar- 'declaration'
Nom.     rāzar
Acc.   narəm   *rāzar
Dat.   narai   unattested
Gen.   nrš   rāzanh
Plural:        
Nom.   narō   *rāzār
Acc.   nrnš   unattested
Gen.   *narąm   *rāznąm
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 ciš. The relative paradigm is given here.

ya-declension   Masculine   Feminine
Nom. sg.    
Acc. sg.   yim, yəm   yąm, yām
Instr. sg.     unattested
Dat. sg.   yahmai   unattested
Abl. sg.   yahmāṯ   yen̨hāṯ, yen̨hāda
Gen. sg.   yahya, yen̨he   yen̨haē
Loc. sg.   yahmi   yen̨he
         
Nom. du.      
Gen. du.   yayaē    
         
Nom. pl.   yoi   yaē
Acc. pl.   yąn   yaē
Instr. pl.   yāiš   unattested
Dat.Abl. pl.   yaēbyō   yābyō
Gen. pl   yaēšąm   yaēn̨hąm
Loc. pl.   yaēšu   yāhu, yāhva

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

Nom.Acc. sg.   yaṯ
Nom. du.  
Nom.Acc. pl.  
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. ṯaṯašā '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.   dadarəša   susruye
2 sg.   dadāθa   unattested
3 sg.   cakana   dāta
         
3 du.   unattested   mamanāite, dazde
         
1 pl.   didvišma   unattested
3 pl.   caxnar   unattested
         
Subjunctive        
2 pl.   vavrazaθa   unattested
         
Optative        
3 sg.   vidyāṯ   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 , to the reduplicated stem. Feminines add ī and decline accordingly. Masculines decline thus:

    vid/vidvas 'having known'
Nom. sg.   vidvå
Dat. sg.   vidušai
Gen. sg.   vidušō

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

Perfect participles are translated with the verb 'having', as in vidvå '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 aēibyō sastē ... yōi ašai dadən ... drujəm, taken from stanza 8 above, provides an illustration:

    aēibyō   sastē   yōi   ašai   dadən   drujəm
    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