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J.J. Modi: The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Parsees (Bombay, 1922.) Part 4.

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The liturgical ceremonies may be divided under two heads :-

  • I.-The Inner Liturgical Services.
  • II.-The Outer Liturgical Services.
  • The “Inner and Outer Liturgical Services.”

    By the inner liturgical services,1 I mean those religious services which can only be performed in a separate place specially allotted for the purpose. Such a place is known as the Dar-i-Mihr2 and is generally connected with a fire-temple. Again, such ceremonies can only be performed by the priests who observe the barashnom.3 These ceremonies are generally spoken of as the pâv mahal () ceremonies, i.e., the ceremonies of the holy or consecrated house. The priests capable of performing these ceremonies are spoken of as Yaozdâthragar Mobads, i.e., priests who are purifiers.

    1. In my account of the details of these ceremonies, besides my knowledge of what I have practised and observed, I have drawn informa­tion and particulars from other sources and especially from the Tamâm Khordeh Avesta of Mr. Dadabhoy Akhbar-i.Saudagarwala and the Yasna bâ Nirang of the late Ervad Tehmuras Dinshaw Anklesaria.

    2. Vide below, p. 261.

    3. Vide above, barashnom Chap, V.

    By the outer liturgical services, I mean those religious services which may be, but need not necessarily be, performed in a Dar-i-Mihr or a place specially allotted for the purpose. They can also be performed in any ordinary or private house or place. Again, they may be performed by any priest, even by one who does not observe the barashnom or by one who has only gone through the Nawar and not the Martab initiation.4

    4. Vide above Initiation, Chap. VIII, p. 207.

    Under the heading of the inner or pâv mahal liturgical services, fall the following ceremonies:

  • I.- Yasna or Yazashna.
  • II.- The Visparad.
  • III.- The Vendidad.
  • IV.- The Baj.

    The Dar-i Mihr, or the place for performing the inner liturgical service.

    I will first describe here what a Dar-i-Mihr, where only the inner liturgical ceremonies can be performed, or the, place for is. A fire-temple is, as the word signifies, a temple or a sacred place for the preservation of the sacred fire. These temples have generally a place or a set of apartments attached to them where the above-said inner liturgical ceremonies are performed. These places are known as the Dar-i-Mihr. Though, strictly speaking, these places or portions attached to the temples for the performance of these ceremonies form the Dar-i-Mihr proper, generally the whole religious build­ing, including the chamber of the sacred fire, is called the Dar-i-Mihr. All the fire-temples need not necessarily have these Dar-i-Mihrs or the apartments for the performance of the inner liturgical services attached to them. For example, the Atash Behram, or the Great Fire-temple at Naosari, has not the Dar-i-Mihr attached to it. There, the Dar-i-Mihr is in a separate building. But generally, almost always, the [262] fire-temple and the Dar-e Mihr are in one and the same building and so, they are spoken of by both names. The building is spoken of generally as the Atash Bahram or the Atash Adaran, according as it contains the fire of the first or the second grade. If it is a building containing the fire of the second grade, it is spoken of both as Atash Adaran or Dar-e Mihr. A Dar-e Mihr always contains the sacred fire of the third grade, viz., Atash Dadgah, burning in it. A fire-temple or a Dar-e Mihr is, at times, also spoken of as an Agiary, i.e., the place of Âg, Agni or fire.

  • The name Dar-e Mihr is made up of Dar (Avesta dvara, Sans. dvara, German Thür or Thor, English door) and Mihr which is the later form of Avesta Mithra. So it means "the door5 or the porch of Mithra." Mithra or Mihr (or Meher) occupies a prominent place in Zoroastrian angelology.6 He is the Yazata [Yazad] or the angel presiding over light and justice, and as light is the symbol of truth and justice, and, as such, the symbol of divinity, the place where all the higher religious liturgical services in honour of God are performed, has come to be specially called Dar-e Mihr, i.e., the house of Divine light and justice.

    5. The word "dar" or "door" is used here in more than its ordinary physical sense. It is rather used in the allegorical sense in which it is used in John 10:9, where we read: "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." The word "dar" is used in later Persian, also for "Chapter." For example, the religious book Sad-dar derives ite name from its having 100 (sad) chapters. Another equivalent of the word "dar" is also "bâb" (meaning both door and chapter). Hence, the word "bâb" has also received an allegorical religious signification. Hence it is, that Bâb, the founder of the Bâbi religion in Persia, has derived his name. The word "Chapter" which, as said above, is another signification of the word "dar" has received a religious signification among the Christians also.

    6. For an account of the attributes of Mithra and for a comparison of some of his attributes with those of St. Michael, Vide my papers on "Mithra of the Parsees and St. Michael of the Christians" in the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. VI, pp. 237-1S3. Vide my Anthropological Papers (Part I), pp. 173-190.

    Just as a church, an abbey or a cathedral, at times, contains several chapels where different priests conduct their services, so a Dar-e Mihr has several divisions, where different sets of priests conduct their services. In the Yazashna, Vendidad, and Visparad ceremonies, it is always necessary to have two priests to officiate. These different parts or divisions of the Dar-e Mihr, where different pairs of priests perform their ceremonies, are known as (a) Yazashna-gah, or (b) Urviç gah, or (c) Hindholâ.

    (a) By Yazashna-gah is meant the place (Pers. gâh) where the Yazashna ceremony is performed.

    (b) Urviçgâh (the place of Urviç) is another synonym of Yazashna-gâh. The Dadestan-i Denig (XLVIII, 13)7 speaks of the Yazashna-gâ as the Aûvés. The meaning of the word urviç is not certain. Darmesteter says: "Uryaêsa signifie proprement 'tour'8 (urvaésa vardashna: Dastur Hoshangji and Haug's Old Zand-Pahlavi Glossary, p. 23, 1. 9)." According to Darmesteter, the word means a place where they turn (le lieu où l'on tourne). The word can be derived from "vars" hair, i.e., the place where the "vars" or the hair of the varasya or sacred bull is used in the ceremonial. We know that in Persian, the word urvis means a hair-rope. West thinks that the word "is probably to be traced to the Avesta 'urvaesa' goal."9 The word occurs in the Frawardin Yasht (Yt13.58) in the sense of 'limit.' Darmesteter translates the word dura-urvaesa there, as "far-evolving circle." In the Vishtasp Yasht (Yt24.29), the word is used in connection with the running of a horse in a circle ("as an excellent horse turns back from the wrong way (hacha urvaesat) and goes along the right way (fratarem urvaesem) [264] (smiting the many Drujs." Darmesteter. S. B. E. XXIII p. 335). So, West seems to be right. Urviç is the circle or the limits within which the celebrants have to remain. At times, the stone slab on which the ceremonial utensils are arranged is also called Aurves (Dadistan-i-Dini, XLVIII, 14).

    7. S. B. E., XVIII, p. 163.

    8. Le Zend-Avesta I, p. LXII, n. 2.

    9. S. B, E., Vol. XVIII, p. 163, n. 4.

    (c) The word Hindhorâ or Hindholâ is another name of the Yazashna-gah. It seems to be a form of the Sanskrit Hindhola, i.e., a swing. The priests while reciting their prayers generally assume a swinging posture. So, perhaps it has received its name from the swinging posture of the celebrants. The stone platform on which all the ceremonial utensils and requisites are placed is also known as a hindholâ. Perhaps the word hindholâ may be a corruption of the Avesta word arâthru which is used in the Nirangestan10 for the seat of the zoti. The Pahlavi rendering of that word there is udgâh. The word aráthru when written in Pahlavi may be read hanatrâ from which the word may have been corrupted to hindhorâ.

    10. The photo-zinco text, folio 156-b, l. 11. Darmesteter's Zend Avesta, III, p. 130.

    The different Yazashna-gahs are separated from each other by a pavi,11 which serves both as the limit of each and also as the passage for the water used in the ceremonial. If somebody enters within the limit marked by the pavi while the service is going on, he vitiates the ceremony. If there are two Yazashna-gahs side by side, they are separated by a narrow strip of space anclosed between two pavis. The Yazashna-gahs are so constructed as to permit the Zaoti or the principal officiating priest to face the south.

    11. Vide Chapter on Purification Ceremonies, p. 115.

    Characteristics of a priest qualified to perform the liturgical ceremonies.

    A priest, who performs the inner liturgical ceremonies of the Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad, is spoken of, at times, as Yaôz dâthragar, i.e. "one qualified to give or spread purity. According to the later Pahlavi and Persian writings, [265] he must possess the following 15 characteristics (Vide Darab Hormmazdyar's Revayet. Yasna ba Nirang by Tehmuras D. Anklesaria, Introduction, p. 25):—

    1. Aiwîza hîm, i.e., of pure nature or unblemished.
    2. Âsnideh Kherad, i.e., possessed of innate wisdom.
    3. Din-aspanârgân, i.e., firm in his belief in religion.
    4. Yazdân-mînîdâr, i.e., One who often thinks of God.
    5. Minô-vînashna, i.e., One who looks into spiritual things.
    6. Pâk-minashna, i.e., one of pure thoughts.
    7. Râst-gavashna, i.e., one who speaks the truth.
    8. Kheradi-kunashna, i.e., one who acts with wisdom.
    9. Yaozdâthra tan, i.e., one with a clean body.
    10. Shîvâ-hizvân, i.e., sweet-tongued.
    11. Narm-nask, i.e., a slow or careful reader of the sacred books.
    12. Râst-avestâ, i.e., one who recites the Avesta properly.
    13. Pâdyav sâzashna, i.e., one who does all work with padyab, i.e., after observing the forms of purification.
    14. Khub-nirang, i.e., one who knows well the religious formulas.
    15. Nâbar-ziwan, i.e., one who leads his life like a Nawar, i.e., observes during his life all the forms required to be observed during initiation into priesthood.

    I will now proceed to describe the liturgical service of the Yasna.

    Yasna or Yazashna

    The word Yasna, of which Yazashna is another and a later form, comes from the Avesta root yaz, Sanskrit yaj, meaning "to invoke, to worship, to praise." The word is the same as Sanskrit yajna or yagna meaning "a sacrifice." Thus, it is a prayer which includes the praise of God and his spiritual Intelligences which invokes their aid. It is a long prayer which is accompanied with certain ritual and in which certain things are presented as symbols. Its celebration requires the recital of the 72 chapters, known as the Hâs12 of the Yasna. Two priests are required for its celebration. They are, for the time being, spoken of as the Zaoti and the Raspi or Atravakhshi. They must, at first, have a bath and put on a olean suit of clothes. They must clean their nails, so that there may be no impurities in them. They must have a clean mouth, so that there lurk no particles of any food between their teeth.

    12. The word Hâ is the Avesta word hâiti, meaning chapter or section, and comes from the root , to cut. The 72 fine threads which go to make up the Kusti or the sacred thread are said to symbolise the 72 hâs or chapters of the Yasna.

    The Yasna is celebrated in two parts:—

    I.—The Paragnâ.

    II.—The Yasna proper.


    The word paragnâ comes from para (Avesta para) before or and Sanskrit yagna (Avesta Yasna), and mean, "the recital or the ritual that comes before or precedes the Yasna proper." Some think, that the word is a corruption of paragra, which is [267] the corrupted form of prakriyâ, i.e., (the kriyâ or ceremony) preceding (pra) the ceremony proper.

    This Paragna ceremony consists of the following ceremonies:—

    1. The Barsom ceremony.
    2. The Aiwiyaonghan ceremony.
    3. The Urvaram ceremony.
    4. The Jivam ceremony.
    5. The Zaothra or Jor ceremony.
    6. The Haoma ceremony.

    We will describe these different rituals of the Paragna of the Yasna ceremony under the different heads of the religious requisites of the Yasna ceremony which bear their names. For the performance of the Yasna, the Visparad and the Vendidad ceremonies, certain requisites, both organic and inorganic, are necessary. We find a part of the list of these in the third chapter of the Yasna itself. Some of these requisites are mentioned in the recital of the paragna prayer which contains portions of the 24th and the 4th chapters of the Yasna. We give below a complete list of the apparatus required. We will describe these things, and, while doing so, describe the ceremonies bearing the names of, and connected with, these things.

    The liturgical apparatus or the requisites in the Yasashna-gah.

    The following are required in a Yazashna-gah for the performance of the Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad ceremonies. Some of these are required for the Baj ceremony also:—

    (A) Khwân [Khwan] or Stone slabs.

    (B) Metallic requisites, known as Astama (Astâmâ) or Alat (Âlâ) i.e., metallic utensils or instruments. They are generally of brass, and, at times, of silver. Among these are:—

    • (a) and (b) Havanim and Lala (Hâvanim and Lâla), i.e., mortar and pestle.
    • (c) Tashta, i.e., chalice or plates and cups.
    • (d) Mahrui (Mârui), i.e., crescent-shaped stands.
    • (e) Barsom, vegetable twigs or metallic wires
    • (f) Varas ni viti, i.e., a ring entwined with hair (of the sacred bull).
    • (g) Kaplo (Kâplo), i.e., a knife.
    • (h) The Kundi and other vessels for water.

    (C) Organic requisites. Among these are:—

    • (a) Aiwyaonghana (Aiwyâonghana), the leaf of a date-palm.
    • (b) Urvaram (Urvarâm). the twig of a pomegranate tree.
    • (c) Jivam (Jivâm), the fresh milk of a goat.
    • (d) Dron (Darun, Darûn), the sacred bread.
    • (e) Goshudo (Goshûdô), the clarified butter.
    • (f) Haoma, the twigs of the Haoma plant.

    (D) Zaothra or Zor (Zôr), the consecrated water.

    (E) Fire and its requisites. Under this head come:—

    • (a) Fire.
    • (b) Afrinagan (Afarganiun, Afargâniun), a vase to hold the fire, with its accompaniments, the laddle and the tongs.
    • (c) Aesma-boy (Aêsma-bûi), i.e., the fragrant fuel.

    Of all these requisites the principal that are often referred to as appertaining to a Zaotar13 or sacrificer are the Aesma, Barsom, the Jivam, and the Havanim (Aesmozasto, Baresmozasto, Gaozasto, Havano-zast. Vendidad, III, I; Yasna Yasht X Meher 91). A priest in the midst of the ritual is spoken of as one holding these in his hands (Zasta).

    13. For the function of the Zaotar and eight other functionaries of his class, vide the Nirangistan Bk. II, Ch. XXVII. For the Holy Ministers of the Church, their powers, qualifications, instruction, initiation, their triple quinary and octonary orders, &c., vide Nirangistan by Mr. S. J. Bulsara. Introduction, pp. 29, et. seq.

    The ritual of making the requisites pav (pâv) or pure.

    [Consecration of the ritual implements.]

    In all inner liturgical services, it is enjoined, that the utensils before being used, must be made pav, i.e., ceremoniously purified. The following is the process adopted for this purification:—

    Pure clean water is fetched from a well in utensils previously cleaned and washed. Well-water only is used; water drawn from pipes is not permitted. For this purpose, all temples are provided with a well. A priest observing the khub goes to a well with the utensils previously cleaned and washed and draws the water himself. Water drawn for the first and second time is rejected. It is the water that is drawn for the third time that is considered to be sufficiently pure for the ceremony. He carries this water to the chamber or place where the liturgical ceremonies are performed, and, with it, makes pav, the utensils to be used in the liturgical service. The utensils are filled up to the brim with water and then the priest utters the following formula and pours additional water so as to let it overflow the brim. He first says "Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao, i.e. (I do this) for the pleasure of God," and then recites one Ashem Vohu. He recites this formula three times, and, at each recital, pours further water so as to let it flow over the brim. In the interval of each formula, he recites in Baj, or mutters with a suppressed tone, the following words:&mdash Yaozdâthra [270] Zareh Frâkand, Yaozdâthra Zareh Varkash, Yaozdâthra Zareh Pûiti, i.e., with the purity of the seas, Frakand, Vouru Kasha and Puiti. The first two are the two names, Pahlavi and Avesta, of the Caspean Sea. The third is supposed to be the sea of Aral. With these three, the holy waters of the heavenly prototype of the river Ardvisura, supposed to be the Oxus, is also remembered (harvasp mînô Ardvisura âw-i pâk Yaozdâthra). What is meant by this recital and purification seems to be this: The celebrant names the principal sources of water in ancient Iran and symbolizes by the ceremony the fact of the purifying prooess of water in the whole nature. All things required to be ceremoniously purified for ritualistic purposes are made pure in this way. A priest makes his hands also clean or pure in this way. Now, I will proceed to describe all the above requisites.

    (A) Khwan (Khwân) or stone slabs.

    The Khwan is a stone slab used in the Yazashna-gah. Over it are spread all the utensils required in the liturgical services of the Yazashna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad. The word is the same as the modern Persian khwân, meaning a table. It is so called because it is a slab standing on four feet in the form of a table. It is cut out of ordinary stone or marble. Altogether six stone slabs are used in the Yazashna-gah. Of these four are large and two small ones. Of the four large ones, three are square and one round. They are—

    • (a) Alât no khwân, i.e., the table or slab for the instruments.
    • (b) Atash no khwân, i.e., the slab for the fire.
    • (c) Kundi no khwân, i.e., the slab for the water vessel.
    • (d) Zoti no khwân, i.e., the slab for the Zaota priest to sit upon.
    • (e) and (f) Âesam boy no khwân, i.e., the slab for the fuel.

    The positions of the slabs in the Yazashna-gah are shown below:—

    Sandalwood and frankincense.

    (a) Alât-no Khwân or the âlât-gah.

    The Alât Khwân is the Khwân proper, because it serves as a table (Khwân) on which the priest spreads all the sacrificial plates, cups and other instruments, the Dron (Darun) or sacred bread, the Jivam (Jivâm) or the fresh milk, the urvarâm or the pomegranate twig, Haoma, etc. It is called Alat-gah, i.e., the place over which all the necessary sacred instruments (alat) are placed. It is also called Âlât no takhtô. The word takhtê in Persian has the same meaning as Khwân, i.e., a board or table. Hence, the word means "the table for the (religious) instruments." It is also known as Urviç.14

    14. Vide, above, p. 263.

    All the liturgical instruments and other requisites are arranged on the slab as shown below:


    Before all the above plates, cups and other requisites are placed over it, the Khwân requires to be made pâv, i.e., cleaned and purified. The officiating priest takes his seat upon his stone-slab and then, making a water-pot and the Kundi, pâv, makes his two hands pâv, and then taking some pâv water from the vessel (Kundi), recites the Khshnaothra formula six times and pours from a saucer the pâv water over the Khwân before him six times. During the first three recitals, he pours the water, so as to let it fall from north to south, and then, during the second three recitals, from west to east. These six pourings of water over the Khwâm makes it pâv.

    Starêta or carpet, the Alat-gah of ancient times.

    It seems that the use of stone-slabs as the alât-gâh or the place for religious utensils, though old, is comparatively recent, because it does not seem to have been referred to in the Avesta. In the Avesta (Visperad XI, 2), we find the word starêta referred to, as one of the requisites for the performance of the liturgical ceremonies. This word starêta (from star, Sanskrit star, Lat., stru-ere, to strew, spread) means a thing spread, i.e., a kind of matting. So, it seems, that in very old times, all the sacrificial requisites were spread on a matting or carpet. Herodotus (Bk. I, 132) seems to support this view, when he says about the sacrificial offering that the priest "strew under it a bed of tender grass, generally trefoil."

    (b) The Adosht or the Khwan of Fire.

    The stone-slab for fire is placed opposite the first Khwân or the Alat-gah at a distance of about five feet. It is the slab upon which the Afrinagan (Aferganiun)15 or the censer containing the ceremonial fire stands. It is about 20 to 24 inches square and about 12 to 16 inches high. It is generally known as Atash no Khwan (Âtash no Khwân), i.e., the slab for the fire. In the Dadestan-i Denig (Chap. XLVIII, 15),16 it is called Âtashto, i.e., the place for [274] the fire to stand upon [Âtash, fire, and stâ, to stand]. This word Âtashto has latterly become Âdusht. It is also spoken of as Atash-gah (Âtash-gâh), i.e., the place of fire. When the Haoma Yasht (Yasna IX, 1) speaks of purifying the fire all round (âtarem pairi-yaozdathentem), it refers to the washing or purifying of this stone slab as is done in the modern ritual. The Pahlavi of this chapter makes it clear (amatash âtâsh gâs kâmîstâ khalêlunastan. J. R. A. S. July 1900, p. 517. "The first preparers of the Haoma" by Dr. Mills.)

    15. The censer is so called, because Afrins or benedictions, etc., are generally recited before it when fire is burning on it.

    16. S. B. E. Vol, XVIII, p, 164.

    (c) The Khwan for the Kundi.

    The third stone-slab is a small and round one. It is about 18 inches high and 15 inches in diameter. It stands on the right of the first Khwan or the Alat-gah. It is called Kundi no Khwan, i.e., the slab for the Kundi, because the Kundi, or the vessel containing pure water and all the utensils when they are not used, stands over it.

    (d) Zoti's Khân

    This is a stone-slab, sufficiently large for the Zaota or the officiating priest who recites the whole of the Yasna, to sit upon. It is spread over with a carpet. It simply serves as a seat and has no sanctity attached to it. The Raspi, or the Atarvakhshi, i.e., the priest who looks after the fire opposite, has a carpet or a stool to sit upon. It is also spoken of as Zôd-gâh, i.e., the place or seat of the Zoti (Zaotar).

    (e) and (f). The two Khwans for the Aesam boy.

    The fire in the Yazashna-gah, besides being fed ordinarily, is fed with pieces of sandalwood and frankincense at particular parts of the ritual, with the recital of particular words in the prayers. For this purpose, a few pieces of the fuel are set apart on two small slabs of stone during particular parts of the recital.

    (B) The Metallic requisites, the Alât or Astâma.

    I will now describe the metallic utensils, which are known as the Âlât (plural of the Persian word Âlat, meaning utensil, instrument, or apparatus). The technical word used by the priests for these utensils or [275] apparatus is Astama (Astâmâ). The word seems to be the corruption of staômya, and means the apparatus used in singing the praise (staômi) of God and His Divine Intelligences. Perhaps it is the Pahlavi astâmeh (Pahl. Vend. XIV, 7), which is the Pahl. rendering of Av. garêmô skarana and is taken by some to represent the fire-vase ( afrinagan. Dastur Jamaspji's Pahl. Vend. Translation, p. 133). According to Dastur Hoshangji (Pahl. Vend. p. 400, n. 7) a Pers. gloss gives for it So, perhaps the astameh or fire-censer, being the principal alat or instrument required in the ceremonial, all others are mentioned under that name. Just as the first word of prayers gave their names to the whole prayers (e.g. Yatha ahu vairyo or Pater Noster), so the most important and essential instrument or requisite gave its name to tbe whole set.

    (a) and (b) The Hâvanîm and the Lâlâ (mortar and pestle).

    As the principal ceremony in the Yasna liturgy is the preparation and celebration of the Haoma, Hâvanim, the mortar in which the twigs of the plant are pounded, and the pestle, with which they are pounded, form an important part of the liturgical apparatus. Hâvanîm is a kind of metallic mortar. It is the Hâvana of the 14th chapter of the Vendidad (XIV, 8) which gives a list of the religious instruments of a priest. The word comes from the Avesta root hu (Sanskrit su) to pound. Thus, it means an instrument in which the Haoma plant is pounded. It is spoken of as dâityô-kêrêta (Vend. XIV, 8) i.e. properly prepared. This refers to its proper preparation, so that it may give a proper metallic ringing sound when struck by the lâlâ or dasta, i.e., pestle. It appears from the Avesta, that it was made either of stone (asmana hâvana, Vend. XIV, 10) or of iron (Yasna., XXII, 2: Visparad, X,2). It is the metallic Hâvanîm that is now used in the ritual.

    The Lâlô or the pestle is the instrument with which the Haoma twigs are pounded in the Hâvanîm. It is also the instrument with which the Hâvanâna, i.e. the priest performing the Haoma ceremony, strikes the Hâvanîm and produces a ringing [276] metallic sound. The word seems to be the Persian lâla, i.e., a tulip. It is so called from its resemblance to the stem of the tulip flower. It is also called dasta, i.e., a handle, from the fact of its being held in the hand to pound the Haoma in the Hâvanîm.

    (c) Tashta.

    The word tashta is the Avesta (Vend., XIX, 8,) tashta (Fr. tasse, Germ. tasse, Eng. dish). It is a chalice, plate, or cup used in the ceremonial. The fourteenth fargard of the Vendidad and its Pahlavi commentary refer to some of these tashtas. There are two kinds of tashta: One is that known as rakâbi which is a Persian word for a plate. The other is that known as fuliun and is probably so called from Sanskrit fûl, i.e., flower, because it is hollower than the rakâbi or plate and looks like a full-blown flower.

    The tashta or plates used in the ritual are five in number. One is known as Hom nô tashtô (tashta Haomya: Vendidad, XIV, 8), i.e., the plate for holding the Haoma. The second is known as Jivâm nô tashtô, i.e., the plate for holding the Jivâm, i.e., the fresh milk. It is the gaoidhya of the Vendidad (Chap. XIV, 8). It is spoken of in Pahlavi books as Gosh-dân, i.e., the utensil containing kine-products. The third is known as surâkhdâr tashto, i.e., the plate with holes (Pers. surâkh, a hole). It is the plate through which the Haoma juice is made to pass down into a cup as through a sieve. It is the Raêthwishbajina (i.e., purifier of the drujs) of the Avesta (Vend., XIX, 8). The fourth is the plate that holds the dron (Draôna) or the sacred bread. The fifth is one for covering the cup holding some extra Haoma juice prepared by pounding the Haoma.

    The fuliâns or the second kind of cups are also five in number. One of these is for holding the Haoma juice after pounding the Haoma plant with the urvarâm. It is the Haomya of the Avesta (Visparad, XI, 2). The second is that for holding the zaothra or zor water. It is the Zashta zaothrô-barana (i.e., the chalice which carries or holds the zaothra) of the Avesta (Visparad, X, 2). [277]

    The third is for holding the varas ring. The fourth is for holding some extra quantity of the Haoma juice. The fifth is an extra one placed near the Mahrui for extra purposes.

    (d) Mârui.

    The Mahrui (lit. moon-faced) are two metallic stands about nine inches in height. They are so called because they have a moon-faced or crescent-shaped top. They are always used in pair, one placed in front of the other. They are also called Barsom-dân, because the Barsom twigs are placed upon them. They are the ceremonial instruments referred to as Mâh-ruyô in the Dadistan-i Denig (Chap. XLVII, 14).17 There, the Aurvis, or the stone slab of the Yazashna-gah is spoken of as the proper place for the mâhrui. They must always be metallic (shatvarin).18

    17. S. B. E., Vol. XVIII, p. 163.

    18. Ibid, p. 165. Dadestan, Chap. XLVIII, 17.

    (e) The Barsom.

    The Barsom forms an important part of the liturgical apparatus. In the modern ritual, the old vegetable Barsom has been replaced by metallic Barsom. As it is referred to by a classical writer like Strabo, and in the Old Testament, and as its ceremony has been referred to by Firdousi and others, I will speak of it at some length. The word Barsom is the Avesta word Baresman. It comes from the Avesta root barez, Sanskrit barh, to grow. The twigs of a particular tree used in liturgical ceremonies are spoken of as the Barsom. Later books say that the twigs may be of the pomegranate tree or of the tree known as the chini. But the Avesta itself does not specialize any particular tree. It speaks generally, that the Barsom must be of a tree (Yasna 25:3; urvarâm baresmanim). The Shayest Ne-Shayest (14:2),19 though it does not particularize the tree, says that only twigs of the proper tree must be used. But, now-a-days, instead of the twigs of any tree, metallic wires are used. They are generally of brass, but at times of silver. They are about nine inches long and one-eighth of an inch in [278] diameter. Each of such wires is called a tâê (Pers. tâî, i.e., a thin thread). The practice of using metallic wires seems to have come into force within these last 1,000 years, because the Dadestan refers to vegetable twigs.20

    19. S. B. E., Vol. V, p. 370.

    20. Dadistan-e Denig, XLVIII, 17. Vide S. B. E., Vol XVIII, p. 165, n.3.

    The number of twigs required differ in different services. The Shayest Ne-Shayest (14:2)21 enjoins, that neither more nor less than the requisite number should be used. The celebration of the Yasna requires 23 twigs of which 21 form a bundle. One twig is placed on the foot of the Mah-rui, i.e., the moon-faced or the crescent-like stand which is otherwise known as the Barsamdân. This twig is called zor-nô tâe, i.e., the twig of the saucer containing the zor or zaothra water. The other, i.e., the twenty-third twig is placed on the saucer containing the jivâm, i.e., the mixture of water and milk. The celebration of the Vendidad requires 35 twigs, of which 33 form a bundle and the other two are used as above. The celebration of the Visperad requires 35 twigs, that of the Yazeshna of Rapithwin 15, and that of the Baj 5. In the case of the ceremony of Nawar, i.e., the initiation into priesthood, the recital of the Mino-Navar baj requires seven twigs. The Sraosh Yasht (Yasna 57:5) speaks of the use of three, five, seven, and nine twigs by Sraosha. The greatest length of each of the twigs is spoken of here as that of the height of a knee, i.e., about two feet. According to the Nirangistan, the minimum number be used in the ritual is three, the minimum thickness of each twig to be equal to that of a hair, the maximum length to be one aesha and the maximum breadth one yava. The Vendidad (19:19) also gives the length of one aesha and the breadth of one yava. Darmesteter22 takes "aêsha" to be the length of a ploughshare and the "yava" to be the breadth of a barley-corn. According to English measures, three barley-corns make one inch.

    21. S. B. E., Vol. V, p. 370. For some varying numbers, vide the Nirangestan Bk. III, Ch. VII. Appendix A. (Mr. Bulsara's Translation, pp. 434. et seq).

    22. Le Zend Avesta II, p. 265.

    In the ritual, the Barsom twigs or wires are placed on the above-mentioned two crescent-shaped metallic stands made generally of brass or at times of silver, of which the Shayest Ne-Shayest (3:32; 10:35)23 speaks as Barsamdân, i.e., the holder of the Barsom. We will see later on, that the Barsom is the symbol of God's vegetable creation. As said above, the very etymology of the word suggests growth. The moon and its crescent (Lat. crescere, to grow, increase) give an idea of growth. Again, the moon is believed to have some influence on the growth of vegetation.24 So, Barsom, the symbol of the vegetable world of God has, for its stand, moon-shaped metallic stands.

    23. S. B. E., Vol. V, pp. 284, 333.

    24. Vide my paper on "The Ancient Iranian Belief and Folklore about the moon, etc". (Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. XI. pp. 14-39. Vide my Anthropological Papers, Part II, p. 302, et seq).

    The second chapter of the Yasna shows that the Barsom was considered to be an essential requisite in the liturgical service of the Yasna. This chapter is called the Barsom Yasht. The Vendidad (14:8) speaks of it as one of the requisites of an Athornan, i.e., a Fire-priest performing liturgical services. Being such &n essential requisite, the very tree whose twigs serve as Barsom is an object of praise (Yasna 25:3). All the religious rites of the inner liturgical service of the Zoroastrians are celebrated with Barsom (Zand-i Vohuman Yasht 2:57-58).25

    25. S. B. E., Vol. V, pp. 212.

    According to the Nirangistan, the Barsom ceremony existed in the time of Zoroaster, whose contemporary, Jamasp, is said to have celebrated it in a particular way (Fragments, 6. Nirangistan, Fargard III, 89).26 In many passages of the [280] Avesta, Niyayeshes, and Yashts, it is always associated with the Haoma and Jivam ceremonies (Haomayo gava baresma). So, as the Haoma ceremony27 is very ancient, it follows that the barsom ceremony also is as ancient as that. The Zand-i Vohuman Yasht (3:29, 37)28 speaks of it as celebrated by Peshotan, a contemporary of Zoroaster.29

    26. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 136. Vide the Nirangistan (B. II, Chap. V, Appendix A) by Mr. S. J. Bulsara. His Introduction may be read with advantage to have a brief view of what is said in the Nirangistan about the Barsom and about other articles of the alat (Airpatastân and Nirangistan by Sohrab Jamshedji Bulsara. Introd. p. XLIII-VII.)

    27. Vide below, p. 300.

    28. S.B.E., Vol. V, pp. 227, 229.

    29. It is this ceremony that Ezekiel refers to when he says: "Then he said unto me, 'Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger and lo they put the branch to their nose." Ezekiel 8:16-17). The Parsee priests even now hold the twigs up to their face. Hence it is that Ezekiel speaks of the branch as being held to the nose.

    Strabo also refers to this ceremony. He says: "They (the Persians) then lay the flesh in order upon myrtle or laurel branches; the Magi touch it with slender twigs and make incantations, pouring oil mixed with milk and honey, not into the fire, nor into the water, but upon the earth. They continue their incantations for a long time, holding in the hand a bundle of slender myrtle rods." (Strabo, Bk. XV, chap. III, 14. Hamilton and Falconer's Translation (1857), III, pp. 136-137.)

    The Flamines or the Fire-priests of the ancient Romans also carried bunches of such twigs in their hands in their ritual. Dino, a contemporary of Philip, is said to have referred to the Barsom, though not as a sacrificial instrument but as an instrument of Divination (Darmesteter Le Zend Avesta, III, p. LXIX). The Denkard (Bk. 8, chap. 19:83, chap. 20:12) seems to refer to this use of the Barsom when it speaks of its being used as an ordeal (Baresmok-varih) in judicial matters (S. B. E., Vol. XXXVII, pp. 48, 55).

    The Barsom used in the recital of grace before meals.

    The Parsees have three forms of prayers to be recited as grace before meals. One of these, which is the longest and in which certain chapters of the Yasna are recited, is used by priests on certain occasions when they officiate in continued inner liturgical services. In the recital of this form of grace barsom is a necessary requisite. But, it seems, that in ancient times, barsom was a requisite in even the simple forms [281] of grace recited before meals. The reciter held Barsom in his hand during these recitals. It was so in Sasanian times. We learn from Firdausi, that Yazdegird, the last Sasanian king, when he concealed himself during his flight in the house of a miller, asked for the Barsom to say his grace before the meals. This led to the discovery of the place of his hiding and he was treacherously killed by his general Mahui Suri. Again, we find, that in the reign of Khosro Parviz (Chosroes II), this custom of using the Barsom in the recital of grace before meals was on the point of leading to a war between Persia and Rome.30

    30. Rehatzek thus describes the incident: "On another occasion, the Persian monarch gave a banquet and had tables arranged for that purpose, in a rose garden. He had put on the royal diadem, and Nyâtus (the Roman ambassador) with the philosophers sat around the table . . . . . Bandvy, one of his (Khosru's) favourite magnates with the Barsom (or little twigs held by Mobeds when praying) in his hand arrived and stood near his sovereign, who muttered the Baj (i.e., the prayer of grace) . . . . When Nyâtus beheld this scene, he laid aside his bread, and was so annoyed that he left the table, saying that the Baj and the Cross together were an insult to the Messiah." (Journal of the B. B. R. A. Society, Vol. XIII, p. 88, note.) Firdausi refers to this subject at some length (vide Le Livre des Rois par M. Motl, Vol. VII, p. 183).

    Its similarity to a Hindu ceremony.

    The Barsom is "identified with the Barhis or sacred grass (Kusha grass) of the Brahmans, which they spread at their sacrifices as a seat for the gods who are expected to come."31 Dr. Haug differs from this identification, and says that it resembles "a peculiar rite at the great Soma sacrifices. . . . . . . At the time of the Soma libation (called Savana) which is to be performed three times on the same day, from 8 to 12 a.m. (morning libation), 1 to 5 p.m. (mid-day libation) and 6 to 11 p.m. (evening libation), the three Sâmaveda priests, the Udgâtâ, the Prastotâ, and the Pratihartâ, require a certain number of wooden sticks to be placed in a certain order when chanting the sacred sâmas (verses of the Sâmaveda.) They [282] use for this purpose the wood of the Udumbara tree, and call them Kusha, which name is generally given to the sacred grass. the Agnishtama, 15 such sticks are required at the morning libation, 17 at noon, and 21 in the evening; in other sacrifices, such as the Aptoryâma, even a much larger number of such sticks is required."32 The very fact, that the barsom is not spread on the ground but is enjoined to be held up in the hand — left hand according to the Vendidad. (XIX, 19) — as referred to in Ezekiel and by Strabo, and as practised at present, seems to show that its identification with the barhis of the Hindus is not correct and that Haug's identification seems to be more probable. Again, as we have seen above, as a symbol of vegetable creation, it is connected with the moon which helps growth of vegetatian. So, its identification with a rite of the Saoma sacrifice seems to be correct, because Saoma has some connection with the moon.

    31. Haug's Essays, 2nd edition, p. 283. Vide Journal B. B. R. A. Society, Vol. XIV. pp. 5-15.

    32. Haug, ibid, p. 283.

    The object of the barsom ceremony.

    It appears from the Vendidad (19:18, 19), that the object of performing the Barsom ceremony seems to be the payment of homage to the vegetable creation of God. There, in reply to the question of Zoroaster, as to with what kind af praise or ritual (Yasna) he should worship or laud the creation of God, Ahura Mazda replies, that he should go before a florishing growing tree, utter the words, "Praise be to thee, the good pure tree created by Ahura Mazda (nemô urvairê vanghuhi, etc.,)"! and then cut the Barsom out of the tree. This passage not only shows, that the Barsom represents the vegetable creation of God, but also that the Barsom ritual is intended as a means of celebrating the praise of God for the creation of the world, especially the vegetable world. The Vishtasp Yasht (Yasht 24:21-23) also gives a similar interpretation.

    In the ritual, the holy water (the zaothra or jôr water) is poured over the Barsom. Now, this zaothra or purified water [283] represents, or is the symbol of, rain through which the world receives the gift of water from God. Thus, the ritual of pouring this sacred water, which is the symbol of the drops af rain, upon barsom, which is the symbol of vegetable creation, signifies the celebration, or the worshipful commemoration of the process of the whole vegetable world being fertilized by rain. Prof. Darmesteter expresses this point very pithily and briefly in the following words: "Le symbolisme de ces opérations est transparent: Le Baresman représente la nature végétale, le zohr (i.e. the sacred water) représente les eaux: an met le zohr en cantact idéal avec le Baresman pour pénétrer toute la flore des vertus de l'eau et féconder la terre."33

    33. Le Zend Avesta, I, p. 397.

    The celebrant is enjoined to look continuously to the Barsom during the ceremony and to concentrate his mind upon it (Vend. 19:19), because, by looking upon what represents, or is the symbol of, the vegetable creation, he conceives in his mind the whole of the creation. The object aimed at by the ritual is not gained if the celebrant or worshipper is immoral and vicious (Mihr Yasht, Yt. 10:138). In the case of a righteous person (ashavan), even one single sincere performance of the Barsom ceremony is sufficient to exalt him and to put down the evil influences of the wicked (Fragments Tehmuras, XXIV, 40-41).34 According to the Menog-i Khrad (57:28),35 the celebration of this ceremony which symbolized the act of praising God for his creation, broke the power of the demons or of the evil influences. The Denkard (Bk. VIII, Chap. 26:24)36 says, that the celebratian of the praise of God with this ceremonial on a day of battle, helps the soldiers a good deal; it is something like throwing a well-aimed arrow. Firdausi refers to its use in the ritual in the Fire-temples in the time of Behramgour (Behram V).37

    34. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 61.

    35. S. B. E., Vol. XXIV, p. 103.

    36. S. B. E., Vol. XXXVII, p. 89.

    37. M. Mohl, Le Livre des Rois, Vol. VI, p. 65.

    Preparation of the Barsom (a) gathering it and (b) tying it.

    The Denkard (Bk. VIII, Chap. 29:16),38 referring to the Husparum Nask, says, that one of the sections of the Nirangistan refers to the "gathering and tying the sacred twigs (Barsom)." In modern practice, the ceremony of the preparation of the barsom for liturgical purposes consists of only one part. But, at one time, it consisted of two parts:—(a) The first part, viz., the gathering or the collection of the twigs now-a-days is different from the old method, because, instead of vegetable twigs, metallic twigs are used now. (b) The second part, viz., that of tying the twigs or wires is performed even now. I will describe both the old ritual of gathering the twigs and the modern ritual of tying them.

    38. S. B. E., Vol. XXXVII, p. 96. Vide also Chapters. XIII-XVI, pp. 469-77 of the Nirangistan translated by Mr. S. J. Bulsara.

    (a) According to the old practice, a priest who had performed the Khub ceremony — either the small or the large Khub — performed the ceremony of preparing the barsom. He fetched pure water from a well and with it made a water-pot pâv, i.e., pure. With this pure water, collected in a ceremoniously purified utensil, he went before the tree whose twigs were to be used in the ritual as the symbol of the vegetable creation, and washed, with his right hand, the twig which he wanted to cut. Then, holding a knife (kaplo) in the right hand and the utensil of pâv water in the left, he took the Baj with the Khshnuman for urvara or trees, recited a formula of prayer, wherein the bountiful vegetable creation of God was praised (frasastayaecha urvarao vanghuyao mazdadhatayao ashaonyao) and cut off the twig he required for the ritual. He cut off the twig with the recital of an Ashem Vohu. With the word "Ashem," he cut off and rejected the partly dried tip or the end. With the word Vohu, he touched the stem and with the word Vahishtem, he cut it off. At the end of the recital, he thus paid his homage to the good vegetable creation of God, as enjoined in the Vendidad (Chapter 19:18): "Homage to thee, O good holy tree, created [285] by God! (Nemo urvaire vanguhi Mazdadhate ashaone). With the cutting of each twig the above ritual is repeated. He then retires to the Yazashna-gah. In the modern practice, a priest with the Khub makes the metallic wire pâv, i.e., pure, together with all the metallic utensils required for the Yazashne ceremony. The Shayest Ne-Shayest (14:2)39 enjoins that they all must be made pâv. He then holds the requisite number of wires, all but one, in his left hand. Then, holding the remaining one in his right hand, with the usual recital of three Ashem Vohus and Fravarane, takes the Baj with the Khshnuman of Khshathra-vairya or Shahrewar Ameshaspand who presides over metal. In the old practice, the Khshnuman was that for trees because the twigs used were those of a tree. Then, during the recital of the Ashem Vohu of the Baj, touching both the ends of the bundle of wires in his left hand with the zaothra or zor wire (so called because it is to be placed on the zaothra water cup) in his right hand, he finishes the Baj. While finishing the Baj during the recital of the Yasnemcha formula, with the mention of the name of Khshathra-vairya who presides over metals, he touches again both the ends of the bundle of the barsom wires in his left hand with the zor wire in his right hand.

    39. S. B. E, Vol. V., p. 370.

    (b) Having prepared the barsom the next process is that of tying the wires into a bundle. A strip of the leaf of a date-palm known as aiwyaonghana40 is used for the purpose. The priest takes the Baj with the Khshnuman of Ahurahe Mazdao. During the recital of this Baj, while uttering the words Ahurahe Mazdao (i.e. God), raevato (i.e., the Brilliant) and Kharenanghato (i.e., the Glorious), the priest, holding the barsom on the aiwyaonghana which lies over the crescent of the Mah-rui, ties the barsom with the strip of the leaf of the date-palm. He then dips four times the bundle of wires and the strip of the leaf in the water [286] of the Kundi or the vessel on his right hand side. While doing this, he recites four Ashem Vohus. He then recites two Ahunwars. During the recital of the first, he puts on two knots over the bundle of the wire. During the recital of the second, cuts off and polishes with a knife the ends of the strip of the leaf of the date-palm. The knife used in the recital for the purpose (the ashtra of Vendidad 14:8), known at present as the Kaplo, is spoken of at times as the Barsom-chin. The tying process being completed, the priest finishes the Baj.

    40. Vide below, the ceremony of preparing the strip of leaf for the Aiwyaonbana, p. 291.

    (f) Varas ni viti i.e., the ring with the hair of the sacred bull.

    The hair (vars, varç)41 of a sacred white bull, entwined round a ring, is a necessary requisite. The number of hairs used is three, five, or seven. The vars or the hair of a sacred white bull particularly kept for the purpose is used only as long as that bull is living. On the death of that bull, his vars or hair are rejected and that of a new bull, which in its turn is consecrated, are used. The ring with the hair is purified before being used in the ritual. This purification of the hair-ring takes place every time that it is used, i.e., at each performance of the Haoma ceremony. The ring with the vars or hair lies on the stone-slab before the priest in a small metallic cup. Before preparing the Zaothra water, the officiating priest makes the ring pav or purifies it. He takes one wire of the barsom in his right hand and places his left hand with the wire on two small metallic Zaothra cups which are placed in an inverted position on the stone-slab. Then holding the varas ring in his right hand he dips it in the Kundi on his right. He then utters in Baj or in a suppressed tone, the 101 names of God. This recital of the 10142 names is repeated ten times. This dipping of the ring with the recital of God's names purifies the ring for ritualistic purpose.

    41. Vide above p. 256 Varaçyô in the Consecration Ceremonies.

    42. For these 101 names of God, vide Darab Hormzdyar's Revayet; by Ervad M. R. Unvala. Yasna bâ Nirang by Ervad Tehmuras D. Anklesaria, pp. 24-26.

    When used in the Haoma ritual after the above purification, the ring is used with a Baj prayer, known as Varaç ni Bâj, i.e., the Baj for the use of Varas. The priest, who has to prepare the Haoma juice, holds in his left hand the barsom wire, known as the Zor wire (Zôr nô tâi) and in his right hand the hair-ring. Then holding both the hands together before his face, he takes the Baj with the Khshnuman of the Fravashi or Farohar of Zarathushtra Spitama, and then finally reciting an Ashem Vohu prayer dips it in the cup containing the Zor water. The ring thus consecrated is then used in the subsequent ceremony of straining the Haoma juice.

    In the ritual of preparing all the other requisites, the Baj with the Khshnuman referring to the particular requisite is recited. For example, (a) In the case of having the vegetable barsom twigs, the Khshnuman referring to trees (urvarayao vanghuya mazdadhatayao ashaonyao, i.e., the good holy trees created by Mazda) is enjoined to be recited. (b) In the case of tying the metallic twigs of the barsom, the Khshnuman relating to metal (Khshathrahe vairyehe ayokhshustahe, i.e., the Ameshaspend Shahrewar presiding over the metals) is recited. (c) In the case of Jivam or the milk of the bovine creation, the Khshnuman referring to the cow (geush tashne geush urune, i.e., the bovine creation, the soul of the bovine creation) is recited. (d) In the case of the preparation of the Zaothra or Zor water, the Khshnuman relating to water (aiwyo vaughubyo vispanamcha apam mazdadhatanam, i.e., good waters, all the good waters created by Mazda.) is recited. (e) In the case of the ritual of purifying the Haoma twigs, the Khshnuman referring to Haoma (Haomahe ashavazangho, i.e., Haoma giving the strength of piety) is recited. But in the case of the varas, i.e., the hair, the Khshnuman recited refers to the holy spirit of Zoroaster (Zarathushtrahe Spitamahe ashaono Fravashee, i.e., the holy Fravashi of Spitama Zarathushtra). The reason does not seem to be clear, but it is traditionally said, that in the early days of the foundation of the ritual in Zoroaster's times, the hair of the horse of Zoroaster were used as the varas (vide the Rivayats). [288]

    The haired ring, when placed in the perforated chalice (surâkhdâr tashta) and used in the Haoma service, seems to serve, as it were, as a strainer for the Haoma juice. This varas or hair is spoken of in the Avesta (Visperad 10:2) as Varesa Haoma angharezân, i.e., the Varas or hair for straining the Haoma juice.

    Ashtra or Kaplo, i.e. a knife.

    A knife with a metallic handle is another requisite. It is the 'ashtra' of the Vendidad (14:8). It is now called kaplo [kâplô], because it is used for the purpose of cutting (kapvûn) the aiwyaonghana or the leaf of the date-tree, and the urvaram or the root or twigs of the pomegranate tree. It is also used in cutting and smoothening the ends of the aiwyaonghana which fastens the twigs of the barsom. It is also spoken of as the barsom-chin, i.e., the instrument for picking and collecting the barsom twigs.

    (h)The kundi and other water vessels.

    As all the utensils and other requisites require purification, a quantity of water is always required in the Yazashna-gah. The first important vessel water for containing this is known as the kundi (Sanskrit kund, a basin or bowl), i.e., the water basin. It is a large metallic basin about 15 inches in diameter and 12 inches in depth. All the sacred utensils are, before being spread on the khwan or stone-slab, collected in this kundi. Instead of making each and every one of the utensils severally pâv or purified, they are all placed at first in the kundi, which is then made pâv. The process of making the kundi pâv makes all the utensils contained in it also pâv.

    The other utensils used in the Yazashna-gah are two or three water-pots known as karasyâ or kâhrnâ. They do not form part of the alat or the sacred utensils properly so called, but they form a part of the necessary requisites. The karasyâ is a small water-pot. The word seems to have come from Persian karsân, an earthen or wooden vessel. Two of these are generally used in the Yazashna-gah. They hold the water used for making the several requisites pâv. The other water-pot [289] is known as kâhârnoo. It is a large water-pot. It seems to have been so called from the word kâhrvun, i.e., to draw (water), because it is generally used for drawing water from the well.

    As a quantity of water is used in the Yazashna-gah for purification purposes, an outlet for the water is provided by the pavis.43 The pavis serve, both, as limits or marks within which certain ceremonies must be performed and which must not be encroached upon by others, and as conduits for the waste-water to get out.

    43. Vide the word pâvi in the Purificatiory Ceremonies, p. 115.

    (C) The Organic Requisites.

    We will now speak of the organic requisites. Though Haoma is the most important of these requisites and though the ceremony of pounding and preparing its juice forms an important part of the Yasna liturgy, we will first describe the other organic requisites, because they are required for the Haoma ceremony and their preparation and purification precede that of the Haoma.

    (a) The aiwyaonghana, a leaf of the date-palm.

    Aiwyaonghana is the strip of a leaf of the date-palm. The word comes from the Avesta aiwi (Sans. abhi, Gr. epi, round about) and yaôngha, (Sans. yâç) to put on, and means putting round about. The word literally means a bond or tie. The strip of a leaf of the date-palm used in the Yasna liturgy is called aiwyaonghana because it is put round the barsom to tie it.

    The date-tree (the aiwyaonghana), a symbol among the ancient Iranians.

    According to Pliny,44 the ancient Iranian kings had a special date-palm growing in their gardens. It was known as the "royal" date-palm. It was a native of Babylonia. Syagri was a species of that date-palm. Pliny45 says of this species, that no sooner did a tree die another [290] grew out of the old root. The story of the bird phoenix rising again from the ashes of its former self seems to have been taken from the story of this tree. The date-tree was for this reason held to be an emblem of immortality and of royalty among the ancient Iranians as among some other nations.46

    44. Bk. XIII, chap. 9. Bostock and Reiley's Translation, Vol. III, p. 174.

    45. Ibid.

    46. Among the ancient Chaldaians, the date-tree signified the tree of life. Its roots go far down below into the earth, and its top with its branches points high above towards the sky. So, it was considered as a proper symbol of the tree of life, signifying, that man has come from long unknown past and is advancing towards some unknown future. Its green branches symbolize the active element in our life and its trunk and root, the passive element. Among the ancient Assyrians, it was a symbol of fertility. Old Assyrian cylinders present pictures wherein a priest is represented as pointing to a date-tree. ("The Sacred Tree," by Mrs. Philpot, p. 88.)

    The ancient Egyptians knew the date-palm by the name "Bai," and as it was an emblem of the immortality of the soul, the soul also was known as "Bai" or "Ba." Again, as the leafy part at the top pointed to the heavens, the date-palm symbolized the scienoe of aatronomy among the ancient Egyptians. The Egyptian Thoth, who was "the Deity who superintended the life of man," held in his hands a palm, each branch of which represented a year. ("Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians," by Sir Gardiner Wilkinson, Vol. I, p. 256.) "Mercury, the Hermes of Egypt, was represented with a palm branch in his hand: and his priests at Hermopolis used to have them stuck in their sandals on the outside. The Goddess Isis was thus represented." (Bryant's New System, or Analysis of Ancient Mythology, (1807) Vol. II, pp. 3-4.)

    Owing to its straight and majestic appearance, it was held among the ancients as an emblem of honour. So, it was presented to triumphant persons as a symbol of a prize. "The ancients always speak of it as a stately and noble tree. It was esteemed an emblem of honour; and made use of as a reward for victory. Plurimarum palmarum homo (i.e. a man like many palms) was a proverbial expression among the Romans for a soldier of merit. Pliny speaks of the various species of palms; and of the great repute in which they were held by the Babylonians. He says, that the noblest of them were styled the royal palms, and supposes that they were so called from their being set apart for the king's use. But they were very early an emblem of royalty" (Ibid. p. 3).

    The ancient Hebrews also held the palm as a symbol of triumph and victory. They carried boughs of the palm in their hands in some of their festivals. At the celebration of the nuptial ceremonies, it was used as a symbol of joy and good luck. "It was thought to have an influence at the birth" (Ibid p. 4.) According to Leviticus (Ch. 23:40), among the ancient Hebrews, in the Feast of the Tabernacle, the Israelites were enjoined "to take the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm-trees . . . . and rejoice before the Lord." According to Ezekiel (41:18-20), the palm played a prominent part in the places of angels and holy men. In the Temple, "a palm-tree was between a cherub and a cherub . . . . . From the ground unto above the door were cherubims and palm-trees made, and on the wall of the temple." In later Hebrew coins it is found as a symbol of Judaea. The Blessed are represented as standing before the throne of God "clothed with white robes and palms in their hands" (Revelation, 7:9). Being an emblem of royalty, when Christ entered Jerusalem, the people welcomed him with branches of palm-trees in their hands. They "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried Hosanna; Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord" (John 12:13). On account of its straight growth, the Psalmist considered the palm to be a symbol of righteousness. He said: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree" (Psalm 92:12.) It rises and grows in spite of the great weight of its branches on its top or the head. Instead of being depressed by the weight of the branches, it thrives the more, the greater the number of branches. That fact symbolized the moral, that man must not be depressed under difficulties but try to rise to the occasion. (Bryant's Ancient Mythology, Vol. II, pp. 4-5.)

    The palm was a classical symbol of Victory and Triumph. The Christians then assumed it as the universal symbol of martyrdom. In many a picture of the martyrs, an angel is represented as descending with the palm. "Hence it is figured in the tombs of the early martyrs and placed in the hands of those who suffered in the cause of truth, as expressing their final victory over the powers of sin and death." (Sacred and Legendary Art, by Mrs. Jameson, p. 31.) In the Greek Church it is held as the emblem of the Victory of Faith.

    The date being their and their cattle's staple food and being a tree of which all the parts are utilized by them in one way or another, it is held by the Arabs in estimation and loved dearly, and they cultivate it and fructify it with religious fervour. Where Nature is not strong enough for the fructification of the palm, they at particular seasons cut off the male spathes and transfer the pollen to the female spathes. Bent thus describes the process: "It was just then the season at which the female spathe has to be fructified by the male pollen and we were interested in watching a man going round with an apron full of male spathes. With these he climbed the stem of the female palm and with a knife cut open the bark which encircles the female spathe. and as he shook the male pollen over it, he chanted in a low voice, "May God make you grow and be fruitful." (Southern Arabia, by Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Bent, London, 1900, p. 117). In the sandy part of Arabia, it is held as dear as a mother. There they say on the authority of their prophet Mahomed: "Honour the date tree, for she is your mother." (" Ibid p. 19). In the holy month of Ramzan, the day's fast is first broken by eating a date. So, the idea of one's duty is bound up with the date in their proverb, "At the same time a date and a duty." (Ibid, p. 20).

    The ceremony of preparing the Aiwyaonghana: Its signification.

    As the date-palm is essential in the liturgical services, every Fire-temple or Dar-i-Mihr has one or more date-trees growing in its compound. The officiating priest who has observed the Khub goes before the tree with a potful of water, made ceremoniously or pure. He washes three times with [292] that water the particular leaf which he wants, reciting the usual formula of Khshnaothra. Then, with a knife which is also previously washed clean, he cuts off, at first, the top or the end of the twig, and rejects it, lest it may be a little dried and damaged, and then, he cuts off the leaf. He then once more washes it with the pav water and then placing it in the water-pot, carries it to the Yazashna-gah. There, he divides the leaf into six thin strips, which being divided at first into two groups of three each, are then twisted into one string and knotted at both the ends. It is then placed in a clean pav metallic cup and afterwards used for tying the barsom.

    We said above, that the barsom represents the creation of God. The separate twigs or wires of the barsom represent that the creation consists of various parts. The aiwyaonghana which binds or ties together the barsom signifies union or unity among these parts. It seems to signify that the whole Nature is one. We are one with it. We learn from the Pahlavi commentary of the Yasna47 (Chap. 9:26) where aiwyaonghana is referred to, that the idea or the main object seems to be that of ayokardgih, i.e., of unification. The word aiwyaonghana is also used in the Avesta for the Kusti or the sacred thread. One of the interpretations about the Kusti is, that it unites into a [293] circle of harmony all those who put it on. Similarly the aiwyaonghana or the strips of the leaf of the date-palm, when put round the separate twigs or wires of the barsom for the purpose of uniting them all into one bundle, signify the fact of the unity of the creation, the unity of Nature. On finishing the Yasna, while reciting the 72nd Chapter, the Zaota puts on further knots over the barsom with the strips of the aiwyaonghana signifying that the liturgical ceremony has led to or signified further unification.48

    47. Spiegel's Pahlavi Yasna, p. 76, sec. 81. Vide Mills' Pahlavi Text of Yasna 9:49-103 (Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. XXIII (1902). p, 11.

    48. Prof. Darmesteter, while translating this chapter has committed the mistake to say that the priest here unties the knots (dènoue deux nœuds], On the contrary, he goes on putting on five more knots. (Le Zend Avesta, I, p. 438).

    (b) The Urvaram. Its symbolism and the Ceremony of preparing it.

    The word comes from Avesta urvara, (Sanskrit urvarâ, Latin arbor, Fr. Arbre) tree. Originally, it means a tree. Then it has been applied specially to a twig of the pomegranate tree used in the liturgical service. The Dadestan-i Denig (Ch. 48:16) specializes the pomegranate as the urvaram or as "the tree." There, it is called hadanapag (Avesta hadhânaêpata), i.e., evergreen, from hadhâ = Sanskrit sadâ, i.e., "ever" and from nip or nap, to be green. "On a review of the whole evidence, botanical, literary and linguistic, Alphonse de Candolle (Origine des Plantes Cultivées) .......... decides in favour of its source in Persia and the neighbouring countries."49 . . . The fruit is frequently represented on ancient Assyrian and Egyptian sculptures, and had a religious significance in connexion with several oriental cults."50 Dâram, the Parsee name of the pomegranate fruit, comes from the Sanskrit name of the fruit dalim. It is the rimmon of the Bible.51 The plant known as hadhanaepata (or, as the word signifies, the evergreen) in [294] the Avesta and, at one time, considered to be a fragrant plant (Vend. 8:2), is considered to be the pomegranate tree. The pomegranate being an evergreen plant is considered to be an emblem of the immortality of the soul.52 It is also held as a symbol of plenty and prosperity, from the fact that it contains a number of grains within itself. For this purpose, when benedictions are recited upon a child during its investiture with the sacred shirt and thread, grains of pomegranate mixed with grains of rice and raisins, etc., are besprinkled over it. In the Afrinagan ceremony, where fruits and flowers are used as offerings, the pomegranate is often used. If other kinds of fruits are not available, a few grains of the pomegranate are supposed to serve the purpose. It is, as it were, taken as the representative of all kinds of fruit.53 From all these considerations, we see that the pomegranate served variously as [295] symbol: (1) It represented the vegetable creation and especially the fruit-growing trees. (2) It symbolized the immortality of the soul. (3) It symbolized the fecundity of nature. (4) It served as an emblem of plenty and prosperity.

    49. Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. XIX, p. 442.

    50. Ibid.

    51. "Rimmon" is the Hebrewnized form of Rammân, the Babylonian air, weather, and storm god assimilated by popular etymology to the word for pomegranate. (Dr. Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible).

    52. It took the same place among the ancient Iranians as the Acacia plant in the mythology of some other nations. Again, the pomegranate symbolized the "Ark" which was known as Damater or Demater (the mother) among the ancients and was looked as the "Mother of Mankind" or "The Womb of Nature." The Ark contained many seeds or rudiment. of men and other living creatures. The pomegranate also abounds with many seeds. So, "it was thought no improper emblem of the Ark, which contained the rudiments of the future world. From hence the Deity of the Ark was named Rhoia, which signified a pomegranate and was the Rhea of the Greeks. The ancient Persians used to have a pomegranate carved upon their walking-aticks and sceptres; undoubtedly on account of its being a sacred emblem." (Bryant, Analysis of Ancient Mythology, III, pp. 237-8). Here, Bryant attributes to the ancient Persiana a desire to have a device on their sticks, just as Herodotus (Bk. I, Chap. 195) attributes a similar desire to the ancient Babylonians.

    The pomegranate was held sacred in Syria and Egypt. In an ancient temple at Pelusium, the statue of a goddess carried this "mysterious fruit, in her hand" (Bryant III, p. 239). Pomegranates were "the universally accepted symbol of the female" (Pagan and Christian creeds. Their Origin and Meaning, by Edward Carpenter. p. 183). So, as such, they crowned the two pillars set up by Solomon in the front of his Temple—Jachin and Boaz—which pillars symbolized the male (Ibid.)

    53. It is said that Hera was the goddess presiding over fruit among the Greeks. In her pictures at Argos, she is represented as holding the pomegranate in her hand, because that fruit was held to typify all kinds of fruit.

    The ceremony of preparing the urvaram twig is similar to that of preparing the aiwyaonghana. The priest who has observed the Khub goes with a pot of water made pav and with a knife before the pomegranate tree, washes and purifies with the pav water the particulse twig which he wishes to have; and then, reciting three times the Khshnaothra formula, cuts it off. He then washes the twig 80 cut and returning to the Yazashna-gah places it in a metallic cup. It is then used with the Haoma and Jivam in preparing the Haoma juice.

    (c) The jivam. It preparation.

    Just as every Dar-e Mihr must have a date-tree and a pomegranate tree, it must have a she-goat for the use of its milk in the liturgical service Jivam [jivâm] is the abbreviated form of gâm jivyâm54 (lit. the living product of the cow), i.e., the fresh milk of the cow. Though the word gâo or gao (Sanskrit g&ograce;, German kuh, English cow) suggests that the milk must be that of the cow, the word includes the flock of goats and sheep, and the milk used in the ceremony is always that of the goat and not that of the cow. A milk-giving goat is fetched into the Yazashna-gah and generally made to stand with its face turned towards the east. A priest with the Khub goes before it with a pot of pav water and, reciting the Khshnaothra formula thrice, at first washes his own right hand and then the udder of the goat. He faces the south. He then takes the Baj with the Khshnuman of "geush tashne, geush urune," i.e., of the 14th Yazata Gosh or Dravasp who presides over the bovine creation. Then, while reciting the Ashem Vohu, he begins to milk the goat. The first stream of milk is allowed to be dropped on the ground. Then reciting the word "asha sara manangha," i.e., "with the mind uppermost in purity," lets a stream of milk pass into a [296] pot. Then while reciting another Ashem, lets a second stream drop on the earth. Then reciting the words "asha sara vachangha," i.e., "with words uppermost in purity," takes in a second stream in his pot. With the third Ashem, another stream is allowed to drop on the ground, and then, with the words "asha sara shkyothna," i.e., "with deeds uppermost in purity," takes in a third stream into the pot again. He then finishes the Baj. By the recital of the above words, he means to say, that the liturgical service he is going to perform is intended to be performed with a view to secure great purity of thought, word and deed. Then, patting the goat on its back, he recites twice the words "hazangrem baeshazanam, baevare baeshazanam," i.e., "thousand-fold health, ten thousand-fold health." These words are meant to signify that the milk of the bovine creation, drawn with all possible sanitary care when drunk by a person with purity of thought, word, and action gives a thousand-fold health to him. It is said, that formerly, at times, the milk of more than one she-goat or cow was drawn. The second person form of the recital, in which the she-goat or the cow was addressed varied, as tava, yavâkem and yûshmâkem i.e., according as the cow or goat was one or two or three or flock, i.e., more than three). Vide Westergaaard's text, fragment VI, p. 333).

    54. Yasna 3:3.

    (d) Dron [Darun]

    Dron is the later form of the Avesta word Draonangha (lit. that which makes us strong, from dru to be strong). It is a flat unleavened round bread made of wheat flour and ghee or clarified butter. It is a necessary requisite for the celebration of the Yasna, the Visperad, the Vendidad, and the Baj ceremonies. For the Yasna, Visperad, and the Vendidad ceremonies one bread is required. For the Baj the number varies. For the Baj in honour of all the Yazatas, four breads are required. For the Baj of Sraosha six are required. Out of these four and six, half the number are what is technically named nâm-pâdelâ, i.e., named and the other half are vagar-nâmnâ, i.e., unnamed. [297]

    The naming and the unnaming of the sacred breads is as follows: The sacred breads are required to be prepared by members — whether male or female — of the priestly class. While preparing them, the person mutters the words humata, hukhta, and hvarshta (i.e., good thoughts, good words, and good deeds) three times and while muttering them makes three marks at each recital. So during the three recitals he makes nine marks in the order as shown here:

    The sacred breads thus prepared with the marks are said to be "named." The others are said to be "without names." Those named or marked with the symbolic signs of "good thoughts, good words, and good deeds " are known as the dron proper. The others that are without name or are unmarked. are spoken of as the "frasast," from the fact, that during the recital of one of the chapters of the Yasna in the Baj ceremony (Ha 8:1), while uttering the word "Frasasty," i.e., praise, he lifts up the unnamed dron. In the third chapter of the Yasna, where most of the sacred requisites are named the sacred bread is not named specially as Draôna. but is referred to under the name of "Kharathem myazdem," i.e., the offered eatable food.55 The Nirangestan gives some detailed directions as to how the dron should be prepired (Bk. I, Chapter VIII, Appendix A, B. C. Mr. S. J. Bulsara's Translation, pp. 86-104.) It is forbidden that the consecrated drons may be eaten by non-Zoroastrians.

    55. The dron corresponds to the sacred bread of the Christians. When consecrated (technically said to be injelo, i.e., sanctified or consecrated), it corresponds to the consecrated bread of the Christians. (a) Like the "Host" of the Christians, it is required to be "round." (b) Like the sacred bread of the Christians it must be prepared by one of the priestly class. (c The "naming" of the drons corresponds to the mystic signs of the Cross over the "sacred bread" of the Christians. (d) Like the sacred bread, it must not be eaten by people of other religions.

    The chashni, i.e., the partaking of the dron and the haoma by the priest.

    Of all the requisites placed on the stone slab or table, two are what we may call edibles. They are the dron and the haoma. The eating and the drinking of these two is technically spoken of as chashni. The word comes from the root chash. (Persian châshidan) to taste, to eat, and literally means eating or tasting. The word is confined or limited to ceremonial eating or drinking. Again, it includes in itself the meaning not only of physical eating or tasting but also mental or spiritual eating. For example, we have the word din-chashidar, i.e., the taster of religion, which is applied to one versed in religious learning. The Nirangistan refers to at some length to the subject of this chashni.56 (Bk. I. Chapter VIII, Appendix C. Mr. Balsara's Trans., p. 96.)

    56. Le Zend Avesta, Vol. I, p. 75.

    Of the above two, the dron and the haoma, the chashni or the ceremonial tasting of the dron or sacred bread takes place first. As said above, the dron is prepared beforehand by a person of the priestly class, and is placed on the sacrificial table of the stone-slab. It is after the recital of the first eight chapters of the Yasna that the priest eats the sacred bread. In the first two chapters of the Yasna, the priest invokes God and the Divine Intelligences. The next six chapters are the chapters whose recital consecrates the sacred bread. They are known by the name of "Srosh dron," i.e., the chapters for the consecration of dron or the sacred bread in honour of Srosh. The 8th chapter is specially known by that name, because, it is while reciting this that the priest ceremoniously partakes of it. In the very commencement of the chapter the priest says: "I present with piety this appropriate food, water, vegetable, the product of the cow, haoma, para-haoma and the fruits." The food referred to here (kharethem myazdem) is the sacred bread. The other priest, the Raspi, then says to the assembled congregation: "Ye persons! who have been qualified by your righteousness and piety, partake of this consecrated food." By [299] these words he means to say, that only the righteous have a right to partake in the religious feasts. The Zaota or the officiating priest then considering himself worthy of the privilege breaks a portion of the consecrated bread and partakes of it. Then the other celebrants may also partake of it if they like.

    These chapters of the Yasna known as the chapters of the 'Srosh Dron' are also recited in the Baj ceremony. It is at the end of this ceremony that the assembled congregation makes the chashni, i.e., partakes of the consecrated bread. Prof. Darmesteter aptly calls this 8th chapter the "Communion."57

    57. Le Zend Avesta, Vol. I p. 75.

    (e) Goshudo.

    The word goshudo [gushûdo] is the Avesta geush hudhâo which literally means a product of the well-created cow. So, it may mean flesh as well as milk. But in the liturgical service of the Yasna, while jivam is the fresh milk, goshudo is the ghee or clarified butter which is a product of the milk of the cow. In the ritual, it always accompanies the dron or sacred bread, A small quantity of it is placed over the dron and is eaten as chashni with the dron.

    The Yasna of the Parsis and the Jyotishtoma of the Brahmans.

    Before proceeding to consider the other requisites of the Yasna ceremony, I will quote here what Dr. Haug says about some similarity between the Yasna of the Parsis and the Jyotishtoma of the Brahmans, so that, what is said above about some of the requisites and what will be said now about Haoma and the other requisites, may be properly understood. Dr. Haug says:— "The Yajishn or Ijashne ceremony, as performed by the Parsi priests now-a-days, contains all the elements which constitute the different parts (four or seven) of the Jyotishtoma cycle of secrifices, the prototype of all the Soma sacrifices. The Agnishtoma, (i.e., praise of Agni, the fire), which is the opening sacrifice of this cycle and indispensable for every Agnihotri to gain the [300] object wished for, viz., heaven, bears a particular resemblance to the performance of Ijashne. Of course, the whole ceremony is much shortened, and the rites changed in accordance with the more enlightened and humane spirit of the Zoroastrian religion. In the Agnishtoma four goats must be killed and their flesh is partly offered to the gods by throwing it into Agni, the fire, who is the mediator between gods and men, and partly eaten by the sacrificer and the priests. During the Ijashne ceremony no animal is killed; only some hair of an ox is placed in a small vessel and shown, together with other things, to the fire. This is now-a-days the only remnant of animal sacrifice on this occasion, but formerly they used a piece of meat besides. The Purodâsha. of the Brahmans, or the sacrificial cakes, which must be offered to different deities in a certain order, during the recital of two mantras for each deity, is changed into a flat kind of bread (similar to a very small pancake), called dron. The fresh milk required at the time of performing the Upasad ceremony, is to be recognised in the gaush jivya. Ghi, butter, etc., required for less important ceremonies at the time of the Agnishtoma (when making the so-called Prayajas for the six seasons) are represented by the gaush hudâo. The Zaothra or consecrated water is required at the commencement of the Brahmanical sacrifices also, where it is called udaka shânta."58

    58. Haug's essays on the Parsees, 2nd ed., p. 281.

    (8) Haoma.

    The last but not the least organic requisite of the liturgical apparatus of the Yasna ceremony is the haoma. The ceremony of preparing, pounding, and squeezing the haoma juice, which, when so prepared is spoken of as para-haoma, is an important function in the ritual. So we will speak of it at some length. The word haoma (Skr. soma, Pahl. and Pers. hom) comes from an old Aryan root hu — Skr. su, 'to pound' 'to squeeze.' Hâvana, the utensil in which the twigs of the Haoma plant are pounded, hâvan, the gâh, or the part of the day when [301] this plant is pounded, and hdvandna, the priest who pounds it, — all these words come from the same root.

    In the Avesta we meet with four Haomas:- (1) Haoma, whom for convenience sake we may call Haoma the prophet. Chapters 9, 10, and 11 of the Yasna speak of him as well as of the plant haoma discovered by him. Further allusions are found in Yasna 57 (19 and 20) and Yashts 10, (Mihr) 88-90 and 17, (Ashi) 5. (2) Haoma, the plant. Chapters 9, 10, and 11 of the Yasna especially speak of this Haoma, (3) Haoma, who may be called Haoma the hero (Y11:7; Yt. 9:17; Yt. 17:37, 38). (4) Haoma Khvarenangha (Yt. 13:116). In the Frawardin Yasht we have a long list of the departed worthies of ancient Iran who had rendered some service to the community. The group in which Haoma Khvarenangha is mentioned seems to be a list of the names of some of the immediate successors of Zoroaster. It appears, therefore, that this Haoma Khvarenangha, whose fravashi is invoked, was a great man of Iran, who had done some good deeds that commemorated his name.

    These four different Haomas have one or more special names In the Avesta. Haoma the prophet is called Haoma Duraosha. The plant haoma is spoken of as haoma zairi (e.g. Ys. 9:17, 30 32). Haoma the hero is known as Haoma Frâshmi in the Yashts. The fourth Haoma, as we have said above, is named Haoma Khvarenangha.

    Haoma the prophet is called frâshmi as well as duraosha The Haoma Frâshmi of the Gosh and Ashi Yashts is quite different from the Haoma Frâshmi of the Yasna and of Yashts 10 and 11. The reason, why these two Haomas, who lived at different times — one in the time of the Peshdgdian dynasty, and the other in that of the Kayanian — are called Frâshmi, seems to be that they both belonged to the same family stock.

    Just as Haoma the prophet had, besides his special designation of Duraosha, that of Frashmi, so Haoma, the plant, had, besides [302] the special appellation of zairi, also that of dûraosha and frâshmi (Y10:21; Y42:5). It was called zairi, on account of its yellow or gold-like colour. The other appellations were due to the fact of its being discovered by Haoma Duraosha, who was also known as Haoma Frashmi.

    Haoma the prophet

    It appears from the Avesta, that there lived in ancient Iran a pious man named Haoma. He belonged to the early times of the Peshadadian dynasty, before the time of Vivanghant (Vivasvat of the Vedas), the father of Yima (Yama of the Vedas). He was a very learned man (vaêdhyâ-paiti).59 versed in the old religious literature. He had passed a good deal of his time in divine meditation on the Hukairya peak of the lonely mountains of the Alburz.60 Before Zoroaster, he was the first man or prophet to proclaim to the world the Mazdayasnian religion.61 As Zoroaster had his own religious compositions, so had Haoma.62 He had his Gathas63 (imâosê tê haoma gâthâo), and had as an opponent one Keresani.64 It was this Haoma who gave his name to the plant, which he seems to have discovered, and to the Haoma ceremony, which he is said to have introduced. According to Yasht 10, he was the first man who produced the juice in the mortar (hâvana) on the Alburz mountain. It appears, that, while absorbed in deep divine meditation in his retreat in the mountains, he discovered this plant growing on the heights, and found it to be nutritious. health-giving, and invigorating. He introduced it to the world as such; but, in order to make it doubly efficacious, he instituted a form of ritual, designed to absorb the mind of the people in holy and religious thoughts. A plant, in itself health-giving and vigorous, when partaken of under a partial inspiration of divine thoughts, was likely to be beneficial to the mind as well as to the body.

    59. Yasna 9:27.

    60. Yasna 9:26. Yt. 10:88; Y57:19

    61. Y9:26.

    62. Yt. 17:5.

    63. Y10:18.

    64. Yt. 10:90.

    The haoma plant.

    Haoma is a medicinal plant which grows in Persia and Afghanistan. It is a species of Ephedra (Nat. Ord. Gnetaceœ65). Mountains and mountain-valleys are mentioned as places where the plant grows luxuriantly. In some passages, Mount Alburz (called in the Avesta. Hara Berezaiti) is specially mentioned as its habitat. But it must be borne in mind that the name Alburz not only denoted the present Mount Elburs, a peak of the Caucasus, but was applied to the whole range of mountains extending from the Hindu Kush in the East to [304] the Caucasus in the West. The haoma is described as a plant with branches and sprigs,66 as possessing medicinal properties, and as golden-coloured.67

    65. Dr. Aitchinson, who accompanied the English Afghan Boundary Commission of 1885 as a Naturalist, and to whom I had sent for identification and inquiry in Afghanistan a few twigs of the Haoma plant used by the Indian Parsis in their ritual, with an account of the plant as given in the Avesta, said in his reply:— "The specimens you sent me are the twigs of a species Ephedra (Nat. order Gnetaceœ). A species grows all over this country — Beluchistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Western Thibet — which seems to be identical with the species received. This species is here, in all this country, called hum (pronounced as the English word whom, also huma). In Beluchistan, it as well as a totally distinct plant, Periploca aphylla is called hum. It grows equally on exposed hills and valleys consisting of 'branches and sprigs,' one mass of upright twigs, each twig, if you notice, being made up of joints like the joints of the fingers. When covered with male flowers, the bush (from 1 to 2 feet) is golden coloured, and the twigs are more or less so. . • • This plant has no leaves. It is all twigs and jointed. Amongst the Pathans of the Khyber Pass and all over that country the twigs are with water made into a decoction and employed very largely as a household remedy in sickness, and are considered as possessing health-giving and healing properties. Owing to a general likeness between the stiff rod-like growth, upright and erect of the two plants, in Beluchisten, the natives equally give both the same name. No one would mistake the jointed and true hum for the non-jointed falae hûm, Periploca. The latter does not exist here at all. The Ephedra here is only employed to mix with snuff, being first of all burnt. The ashes cause the snuff to be more irritating, whether applied as a sternutatory or to the upper gum under the front part of the lip as is the habit here . . . . . Before your letter and specimens came, I had made up my mind that the Ephedra was the nearest to the 'Soma' plant that I had got to, but as it was stated that the Parsis employed the twigs of Periploca it rather put me out. Your specimens are all on my side."

    66. The Avesta word for this is frasperega, in which fra is a prefix, and sperega is the same as English 'sprig.'

    67. The Avesta word is zairi-gaona, which some Orientalists take to mean "green-coloured." But as green is the usual colour of vegetation, there was no apparent necessity to say so. The writer seems to mean 'yellow' or 'gold-coloured,' in which sense the word is also used elsewhere.

    The religious or spiritual properties attributed to the haoma plant are described in a rich poetical style, and in a tone overflowing with heartfelt admiration and praise. Haoma, prepared and drunk in a state of pious, spiritual inspiration, is believed to give wisdom, courage, success, health, increase, and greatness.68 In such a state, the devotee becomes as powerful as an independent monarch, and is able to withstand many dangers coming from ill-disposed persons.69 Heaven, health, long life, power to contend against evils, victory against enemies, and fore-warnings against coming dangers from thieves, murderers, and plunderers, are the six gifts bestowed by haoma when adequately praised and prepared.70 Haoma is specially sought for by young maidens in search of good husbands, by married women desirous of being mothers, and by students striving after knowledge.71 It affords special protection against the jealous, the evil-minded, and the spiteful.72 It is a check upon the influence of women of loose character, who change their affections as frequently as the wind changes the direction of the clouds.73 For all these reasons, haoma is called nmâna-paiti, vis-paiti, zantu-paiti, danghu-paiti, i.e., 'Lord of the house, the village, the district, and the country.'74

    68. Yasna 10:17.

    69. Ibid. 18.

    70. Ibid. 19, 21.

    71. Ibid. 22, 23.

    72. Ibid. 28.

    73. Ibid. 32.

    74. Ibid. 27.

    The qualifications which are required of the man who would drink haoma with advantage are good thoughts, good words, [305] good deeds, obedience to God, and righteousness.75 On the other hand, Haoma curses thus those who are sinful and evil-disposed: "I, Haoma, who, am holy and keeper away of death, am not a protector of the sinful."76 "May thou be childless, and may evil be spoken of thee."77

    75. Y10:16.

    76. Y11:3.

    77. Y11:1.

    Antiquity of the Haoma ceremony.

    It appears from the Avesta that the Haoma ceremony was in existence es early as the time of the Peshdadian dynasty. It is as old as the time when the ancestors of the Parsis and the Hindus, and even of the ancient Romans, dwelt together. It seems to have been always accompanied by the Barsom ceremony, as it is even at the present day. Now, it appears that the ancient flamines, who were Roman fire-priests, and many of whose practices resembled those of the athravans, or Iranian fire-priests, used twigs of a particular tree, whenever they went before the sacred fire. This practice resembles that of the Parsi priests, who also, as said above, used twigs of a particular tree when performing the Yasna ceremony before the fire. The twigs are now replaced by metallic wires.

    The plant used after purification.

    We said above that the twigs of the plant are brought from Persia. They are not used directly in the ceremony. On being taken to a temple, or Dar-i Mihr, they are washed and purified, and then laid aside for a period of at least thirteen months. A qualified priest takes a quantity of these twigs, and washes and purifies them with water, reciting the formula Khshnaothra Ahurahe Mazdao, Ashem Vohu, etc., which means "Pleased be Ahura Mazda. Piety is the best good and happiness. Happiness to him who is pious for the best piety." After being thus purified with water, the twigs are kept in a metallic box, similarly washed and purified, for at least thirteen months and thirteen days before being used in the ceremony. When so prepared and purified, they can be used several years afterwards.

    The Vendidad (6:42, 43) enjoins the purification of those haoma twigs which have come into actual contact with filth and impurities; but the present custom, which is designed to make assurance doubly sure, demands the purification of all haoma twigs intended for use in religious ceremonies. Again, the Vendidad requires the twigs to be laid aside for one year; but the present custom prescribes a period of thirteen months and thirteen days.

    Description of the Haoma ceremony.

    This falls under four heads:—(1) the preliminary preparations; (2) the ceremony of purifying or consecrating the haoma twigs; (3) the ceremony of preparing and straining the haoma juice; (4) the ceremony of drinking the haoma juice.

    (1) Preliminary preparations.

    Two priests take part at this stage, as in the whole of the Yasna ceremony. One of them with the khub (i.e., ritual for qualification); either small or great, duly observed, first prepares the aiwyaonghana (strips of date palm), the urvaram (twigs of pomegranate tree), and the jivam (fresh goat's milk). All the alat (the necessary sacred utensils) are emptied, washed, and put into the kundi (the large water vessel on the stone slab). The fire is kindled in the censer or vase, and the aêsma (fragrant wood) and boy [bui] (frankincense) are placed on the two adjoining small stones. Two water-pots — one small and the other large — are placed on the khwan or stone slab for the alat. The cup containing the aiwyaonghana and the urvaram is placed on a small stone by the side of the stone slab on which the priest sits. The haoma twigs are also ready by his side in a cup. The officiating priest (zaota) now takes his seat on the stone slab, which is covered with a carpet. He makes pav (ceremonially pure) the smaller of the two waterpots, and with the water of that pot makes the kundi containing all the utensils pav. He then prepares the zaothra water and ties the barsom wires. Having done all this, he next proceeds to make the haoma twigs pav. [307]

    (2) The ritual of purifying the Haoma twigs.

    The priest takes a few pieces of twigs of the haoma plant out of a cup, and, holding them between the fingers of his right hand, washes them thrice with the pav water. While doing so, he recites the Khshnaothra formula three times. He then commences the baj and the khshnuman of Haoma ashavazangha, wherein he says, that he does this for the homage, glory, pleasure, and praise of Haoma, the giver of the strength of purity. Then, reciting the Ashem four times, he dips both his hands, together with the twigs, in the kundi on his right hand. He dips them four times into the water — thrice in the direction pointing from his position to the opposite side (i.e., from north to south), and once in the opposite direction. Having thus made the twigs pav, he finishes the baj, and dips the purified twigs in the zaothra water. Then, drawing the havana before him, he inverts it and places on it three pieces of the consecrated haoma twig; the rest are placed over the foot of the mah-rui (the two crescent-like stands). He next places a piece of the urvaram by the side of the haoma twigs.

    (3) The ceremony of (a) preparing and (b straining the haoma juice.

    (a) The priest begins by saying: "I invoke all the belongings (i.e., the requisites for the performance of the ceremony) of the haoma, for the sake of Ahura Mazda." Then he enumerates some of the important requisites which lie before him on the stone slab. While reciting their names, he looks at them. The requisites which he enumerates are: haoma, myazda, (i.e., the dron, or sacred bread, which is spoken of as kharethem myazdem, 'appropriate or sacred food'), the consecrated water (zaothra), the twigs (barsom), some product of the cow such as fresh milk (goshudo or geush hudhao), a twig of the pomegranate tree (urvarâm hadhânâêpatâm), pure good water (aiwyô vanguhibyô), mortar for pounding the haoma (havana), fragrant wood (aesma) and frankincense (baoidhi or boy [bui]), and fire (âthra). [308] The prayer, in which he invokes or enumerates the requisites, and in which, while reciting their names, he looks at each of them as they lie before him on the stone slab, forms a part of the 24th chapter of the Yasna. He recites the chapter from section 1 to section 12, omitting therefrom, in sections 1 and 6, the words, imâmchâ-gâm jivyâm ashaya uzdâtâm ('this jivam, or fresh milk, held up with righteousness'), because, at the time when he recites this prayer, the jivam is not yet placed on the stone slab. Sections 9 to 12 of this 24th chapter are the same as sections 4 to 7 of the fourth chapter.

    The Haoma ceremony may be performed either in the hawan gah or in the ushahin gah, i.e., during the morning or the midnight hours. So, after reciting the first twelve sections of the 24th chapter, the priest recites the 13th section, if he prepares the haoma juice in the hawan gah, or the 17th section, if he prepares it in the ushahin gah. Having thus recited the khshnuman of the particular gah, during which the ceremony is performed, he recites the khshnuman formula of the particular day of the month and the particular month of the year on which he performs the ceremony. Then, he proceeds to recite the prayers contained in the fourth chapter of the Yasna from sections 17 to 25 up to the word vahishtât, omitting the portions which refer to rathwô berezato and sraoshahê ashyehê (in sections 22 and 23). Next, he recites the prayers contained in the 25th chapter of the Yasna, from sections 1 to 3, omitting the reference to gâm jivyâm (fresh milk) in section 1. On reciting the words, Ameshâ spentâ (chapter XXV, section 1 of Spiegel), the priest holds between the thumb and the forefinger of his left hand the twigs of the haoma and pomegranate plants which were on the foot of the inverted havana and, lifting the latter with his right hand, knocks it thrice in its inverted position on the stone slab, and places it in its proper position. Then, reciting the words imem haomem, etc., (ibid., sec. 2, Spiegel), and taking the haoma twigs into the right hand from his left hand, he places them in the havana, or mortar. Next, reciting the words imâmchâ ûrvarâm, etc., (ibid. sec. 4), he similarly [309] places the urvaram, or pomegranate twigs, in the mortar. Reciting the words aiwyovanguhibyo, etc., (ibid., sec. 5 to 11, Spiegel), he pours into the mortar, with his right hand, a few drops of the zaothra water which lies before him. He now invokes the Fravashi, or Guardian Spirit, of Zoroaster by reciting Yasna 26:11 (Spiegel). Then, reciting the words iristanam urvâno (ibid, 35) and the yenghe hatam prayers, he takes out of the kundi, the surâkhdâr tashta (i.e., the plate with holes which serves as a strainer), and places it on the haoma cup at the foot of the mah-rui. Reciting athâ ratush ashâtchît hachâ, etc., he removes the lâlâ, or pestle, from the kundi, passing it round in a circle within the vessel, and touching its rim from within, The circle begins from the north and passes in the direction of west, south, and east. Then, reciting the words aêtat dim, etc. (Y27:1, Spiegel), he lets the lower end of the pestle, and while reciting the words ratûmcha yim, etc., (ibid., sec. 1), the upper end of the pestle, touch the stone slab. As he recites the words snathâi, etc., (ibid., sec. 2, Spiegel), which signify that the Daevas, or evil influences, may be beaten or struck, he strikes the metallic mortar with the pestle, which produces sonorous sounds. At first, he strikes from without, i.e., strikes the pestle on the outer rim of the mortar. The sonorous strokes are given in the order of east, south, west, and north. When striking on the north side, he gives three more strokes. Then both the priests say, Shekastê Ganâminô, etc., in baj, i.e., "May the Evil Spirit be broken! May 100,000 curses be on Ahriman!" The priest then recites Fradathâi Ahurahê Mazdâo (Y27:3-7, Spiegel). Next he recites four Yatha ahu vairyos. While reciting the first three, he pounds the haoma and the urvaram twigs in the mortar; and while reciting the fourth, he strikes the havana on the outside with the pestle. In like manner, he recites Mazdâ at môi (ibid., 8, Spiegel; or Y35:15) four times, to the accompaniment of a similar pounding during the first three recitals and a striking of the havanim during the fourth. This is followed by a recital of Airyema ishyo (Y27:9, Spiegel; [310] or Y54:1) with like poundings and strokes.

    Next comes the recitals of three Ashem Vohus, during which the priest pours a little of the zaothra water into the mortar three times. Then, while reciting the words haoma pain-hare-shyantê (Y27:10, Spiegel), he gives a little push to the pestle which is within the mortar, and causes it to turn a circle in the direction of north, west, south, east.78 While reciting the words athâ, zinê, humâyô-tara, which form the last part of the passage, he takes up the twigs of the haoma and the urvaram from the mortar between his thumb and fingers, and, holding the pestle also, he touches, or brings these in contact with the barsom, the plate of jivam, the haoma cup at the foot of the mah-rui, and the stone slab. At the last word anghen, he places the twigs and the pestle in the mortar again. He then recites four Yatha aha vairyos, during the recital of the first three of which he pounds the twigs. He strikes the havana during the recital of the fourth. During each of the first three recitals and poundings, he pours a little of the zaothra water into the mortar with his left hand at the recitals of the words athâ, ashât, and hachâ. At the end of each Yatha ahu vairyo, he pours the haoma juice so pounded over the pestle, which is held with the left hand over the strainer. From the strainer the juice passes into the haoma cup below. The recital of the fourth Yatha ahu vairyo is accompanied by the striking of the mortar. At the end of this, the whole of the haoma juice is passed into the cup, as described above. If any particles of the twigs still remain unpounded, they are removed from the mortar and placed in the strainer, where they are rubbed with the hand to make all the extract pass into the cup below. During this process of rubbing, the priest recites thrice yê sevishtô, etc. (Y27:11, Spiegel, or Y38:11). The strainer is then washed and placed over the mortar. The particles of the twigs still left unpounded or [311] undissolved are removed and placed in an adjoining clean corner. The pestle il! washed and placed in the kundi.

    78. This part of the ritual is a relic of the old practice, when, after being pounded, the haoma twigs were regularly rubbed in the mortar with the pestle to extract the juice further — a process now known as gûntvû.

    (b) The next ceremonial process is that of straining the haoma juice with the help of the varas ni viti, i.e., the ring entwined with the hair of the sacred bull. The varas is put over the strainer (surâkhdâr tashta, 'perforated plate'). The priest holds the cup containing the zaothra water in his left hand, and places his right hand over the knotty part of the varas in the strainer. He recites us môi uzâreshvâ, Ahurâ, i.e., O God purify me, etc. (Y33:12-14), at the same time pouring the zaothra water over the varas, and rubbing the knots of the varas. He recites two Ashem vohus, the second of which is recited in baj. He then holds the strainer with the varas in his right hand, and the cup containing the haoma juice in his left hand; and repeating humata, hukhta hvarshta thrice, pours the haoma juice into the strainer, which is held in different positions over the khwan, or stone slab, as the different words of the triad are repeated. While reciting the word humata each time, he holds the strainer over the right hand of the stone slab, so that the haoma juice falls over it through the strainer. On each recital of the word hukhta, the haoma juice is similarly dropped into the cup of the zaothra water, which has just been emptied into the mortar through the strainer, and the varas with it. At each recital of the word hvarshta, the haoma water is allowed to drop into the mortar. The haoma juice cup is now put back in its proper place on the stone slab, and the strainer with the varas is placed over it. Then all the juice in the mortar — a mixture of the zaothra water and the haoma juice, or, more properly speaking, the juice of the haoma and the urvardm twigs — is poured into the strainer, through which it passes into the haoma cup below. After its contents have been emptied, the mortar is once more put in its proper place. The milk-plate (jivâm no tashtô) is placed at the foot of the mah-rui. The priest also puts the other cups and saucers in their proper places. He deposits in their proper plate some of the spare twigs of the haoma and the urvaram which are at the foot of the mah-rui. He places some [312] of these in a spare cup and lets fall over them a few drops of the haoma juice prepared and collected in the cup, as described above, It is at this stage that the other priest who is to join him in the recital of the Yasna, and who is now to act as the Zaota, enters the yazashna gah. Reciting an Ashem vohu and a certain number of Yatha ahu vairyos, the number of which depends on the particular kind of Yasna to be performed, he goes before the khwan of fire and purifies or consecrates the fire (Y9:1). The priest who has performed the ceremony of straining the haoma now takes the zaothra wire of the barsom in his left hand, and the varas ring in his right hand, and finishes the baj of the varas which he had commenced some time before. To do this) he recites two Yatha ahu vairyos and the Yasnemcha with the khshnuman of the Fravashi of Zoroaster. He next dips the varas ring in the zaothra water cup and places it in its own cup. He then rises from his seat, and, taking the haoma cup which contains the juice prepared and strained, as above, places it in a niche of the adjoining wall. He brings the jivam and pours it into its saucer (jivam no tashto). In a plate on the stone slab he now places the dron, or sacred bread, which was up till now in another vessel in the yazashna-gah. He then recites an Ashem vohu and Ahmai raeshcha, etc., finishes the baj, and performs the kusti.

    This closes the ceremony of preparing the haoma juice, more properly spoken of as the ceremony of straining the haoma (Hom gâlvô). With its completion terminates the paragna, i.e., the first of the preliminary preparatory ceremony of the Yasna. The second priest, who has now entered the yazashna-gah and who is to recite the whole of the Yasna, mounts the stone slab or platform which serves as a seat. As he does so, he recites two Yatha ahu vairyos. While uttering the word shyaothananam of one Yatha he places the right foot over it, and, while reciting the same word of the second, his left foot.

    Symbolism of the ceremony.

    The Dadestan-i Denig (48:30-33) tries to explain part of the symbolism of the above ceremony of preparing and straining the [313] haoma juice. For example, the four poundings of the haoma twigs during the recital of four Ahunwars symbolize the coming of Zoroaster and his three future apostles. "The pure Hom, which is squeezed out by four applications of holy water (zorih) with religious formulas, is noted even as a similitude of the understanding and birth of the four apostles bringing the good religion, who are he who was the blessed Zaratusht and they who are to be Ushedar, Ushedarmah and Soshyant."79 The striking of the metallic havana while pounding and straining the haoma reminds one of the triad of thought, word, and deed on which the ethics of Zoroastrianism rests. The Dadestan says on this point: "The metal mortar (havan) which is struck during the squeezing of the Hom, and its sound is evoked along with the words of the Avesta, which becomes a reminder of the thoughts, words, and deeds on the coming of those true apostles into the world."80 The three ceremonial processes of pouring the zaothra water into the haoma mortar for the preparation of the juice are symbolical of the three processes of the formation of rain in Nature, viz., (1) evaporation, (2) formation of clouds, and (3) condensation as rain.81

    79. S. B. E. Vol. XVII, p. 170.

    80. Ibid.

    81. Ibid., 170-171.

    The juice, prepared as above, by pounding the haoma twigs together with the urvaram in the zaothra water, is called para-haoma.

    (4) The Ceremony of drinking the Haoma.

    The last ceremony in connexion with haoma is that of drinking it. We saw above that its preparation and straining formed a part of the paragnâ, i.e., the ceremony preparatory to the performance of the Yasna. The ceremony of drinking it forms a part of the Yasna itself. It begins with the recital of the ninth chapter, and finishes with the recital of the 11th. In these three chapters, the priest sings the praises of Haoma. The Zaota describes in a highly poetical strain [314] the good qualities of the haoma juice which lies before him. On his finishing the description and the praises of haoma, at the eighth section of the 11th chapter, his colleague, the raspi or atravakhshi, makes his hand pav, and, coming to the zaota, lifts the cup containing the haoma juice from the stone slab, and carries it round the sacred fire burning on the censer on the slab opposite, at the same time taking the aesma boy (sandalwood and frankincense) from their stone slabs and placing them on the fire. He then comes back to the Zaota, and, holding the cup over the barsom-dân, says to the Zaota: "May the haoma juice be of twofold, threefold, ninefold efficacy to you." Next, he hands the juice-cup to the Zaota, who, holding it in his hand, looks into it, again addresses a few words of praise, and prays, that the drinking of it may bring spiritual happiness to him. Finally, he holds up his padân, or cloth veil, away from his mouth and drinks the haoma. He does not drink the whole quantity at once, but in three draughts. In the interval between each of the three draughts the rathwi recites an Ashem vohu.

    During the recital of the Yasna, the haoma juice is prepared and strained twice. As described above, at first it is prepared and strained by one priest in the preparatory pargana ceremony. It is drunk by another priest during the recital of the 11th chapter of the Yasna. Then the priest who drank it prepares it a second time during the recital of the three chapters of the Yasna from the 25th to the 27th. The process of pounding the haoma twigs and striking the mortar continues during the recital of the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th chapters, with which the second preparation terminates. Though the ceremony proper commences for the second time during the recital of the 25th chapter, it may be said to begin with the 22nd chapter, because all the requisites of the ceremony are enumerated and invoked at its commencement. These two preparations and poundings are spoken of in the Avesta (Yasna 10:2) as fratarem hâvanem and [315] uparem hâvanem, i.e., the first and the second squeezing of the haoma.82

    82. For an analysis of the three chapters of the Yasna on Haoma (Chapters 9 to 11), etc., vide my paper on Haoma in the Journal of the Bombay Anthropological Society, Vol. vii., No.3 (1904), p. 203. Vide my Anthropological Papers Part I, pp. 225-43.

    Dr. Haug on the preparation of the haoma juice among the Parsees and the soma juice among the Brahmans.

    Dr. Haug thus compares the Iranian haoma and the Brahmanic soma ceremonies. "The most important part of the offerings in both the Jyotishtoma sacrifices and the Ijashne ceremony, is the juice of the Soma plant. In both, the twig of the plant itself (the Brahmans use the stalks of the Pûtika, which is a substitute for the original Soma, and the Parsis use the branches of a particular shrub which grows in Persia) in their natural state are brought to the sacred spot, where the oeremony is to take place, and the juice is there extracted during the recital of prayers. The contrivances used for obtaining the juice, as well as the vessels employed, are somewhat different, but on closer inquiry, an original identity maybe recognised. The Brahmans beat the stalks of the plant, which are placed on a large flat stone, with another smaller stone till they form a single mass; this is then put into a vessel and water is poured over it. After some time this water, which has extracted the greenish juice, is poured through a cloth, which serves as a strainer, into another vessel. The Parsi priests use, instead of stones, a metal mortar with a pestle, whereby the twigs of the Haoma plant, together with one of the pomegranate tree, are bruised, and they then pour water over them to obtain the juice, which is strained through a metal saucer with nine holes. This juice (para-haoma) has a yellow colour and only very little of it is drunk by one of the two priests (the zaota) who must be present. whereas all the Brahmanical priests (sixteen in number), whose services are required at the Jyotishtoma, must drink the Soma juice, and some of the chief priests (such as the Adhvaryu and Hotâ) must even take a very large quantity. The Parsi priests [316] never throw any of the juice into the fire, but the Brahmans must first offer a certain quantity of the intoxicating juice to different deities, by throwing it from variously shaped wooden vessels into the fire, before they are allowed to taste 'the sweet liquor.' The Parsi priests only show it to the fire and then drink it. Afterwards the juice is prepared a second time by the chief priest Zaota and then thrown into a well. These two preparations of the Hama juice correspond to the morning libation (prâtah savana) and mid-day libation (maidhyandina savana) of the Brahmans; for the third, or evening libation, there was no opportunity in the Parsi ritual, because no sacrificial rites are allowed to be performed in the evening or night time."83

    83. Haug's Essays on the Parsis, 2nd ed., pp. 281-3.

    With reference to what is said above by Dr. Haug, we must note, that it appears from the Avesta, that at one time, even the Parsis had stone mortars. Again, as to the last part of Dr. Haug's statement, we must note, that the Parsis also have an evening libation, and that in the rare exceptional case of the performance of the Nirangdin ceremony. In this case the Haoma juice is prepared late in the afternoon preceding the night when the Vendidid is recited at midnight.

    D) Zaothra Water: its purification or consecration. Object of the ceremony.

    Zaothra or zor is the water that is consecrated for the purpose of being used in the liturgical services of the Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad. The word comes from Avesta zu, Sanskrit hu, meaning "to perform religious ceremonies." Literally, it means any sacrificial offering over which a religious ceremony is performed. Then it is restricted to the water which is consecrated for the ritual.

    The priest has before him the two cups or chalices that are to hold the zaothra water. He then recites the Baj with the Khshnuman of "aiwyô vanghubyô vispanâm apâm Mazdadhâtanâm," i.e. of all the good waters created by Mazda." [317] Then, uttering the word "ashem," i.e., righteousness, he holds the empty zaothra cups over the surface of the water in the kundi or water-vessel, and then, reciting the formula of "Frâ-tê-staomaidê," etc., and at the recital of the different parts of the prayer step by step, he gradually fills the cups with water from the kundi. The water thus consecrated is the zaothra water fit to be used in the haoma ceremony and in the Yasna. The priest then finishes the Baj.

    Symbolism of the ritual.

    The Bundahishn indicates what the symbolic signification of this ceremony was. We know from the Avesta and Pahlavi books and from the classical writers like Herodotus (I., 138) and Strabo (Bk. XV, 3), that the ancient Persians were very careful to preserve the purity of water. This ceremony seems to have been intended to inculcate that idea. This appears from the following passage of the Bundahishn (21:3) which refers to the zaothra or zor ceremony.84 "This, too, they say, that of these three rivers, that is the Arag river, the Marv river and the Veh river, the spirits were dissatisfied, so that they would not flow into the world owing to the defilement of stagnant water (armesht) which they beheld, so that they were in tribulation through it until Zaratusht was exhibited to them, whom I (Ohrmazd) will create, who will pour sixfold holy water (zor) into it and make it again wholesome; he will preach carefulness."

    84. S. B. E., Vol. V, p. 84. Vide also the Nirangistan on this subject.

    Thus, it seems that this ritual was intended to inculcate the lesson that man must try to keep the sources of drinking water pure. There must be no stagnation of water anywhere. The Bundahishn in connection with this matter refers to the process of evaporation and says that in the case of perfectly pure water, the water that evaporates from it returns to its source in three years. In the case of water which has pollution, or impurity and purity in equal proportions, it takes six years, and in the case of that wherein impurities predominate over purity, [318] it takes nine years. Then, in order to give a moral advice, it adds: "So, likewise, the blessings (afrin) which the righteous utter, come back in this proportion to themselves." What it means is this, that the purer a man is in his thoughts, the earlier he gets the return of these thoughts. The result of his thoughts and also the result of his words and actions re-act upon him. So, the greater the necessity of preserving purity in life. If a man prays even for some one else, that prayer re-acts upon him and does him good. The purer his thoughts, the purer his mind and head, the greater the return, the greater the re-action.

    Zor-melavvi, i.e., the ritual of mixing the zor (zaothra).

    At the completion of the Yasna ceremony, both the officiating priests go to the well whence they had brought the water for the liturgical consecration and carry with them in the hâvanim the consecrated water. There, standing before the well and saying short formulse of prayers, the Zaota pours that water back into the well in three parts. He gives back to the well, a part of the water which he had taken from it, and that in a much more purified form. This ceremony is called zor-melavvi, i.e. to unite the zaothra or zor water with the original source of the water whence it was taken. The zor ceremony, then, is intended to impress, that it is one's duty to keep the sources of water pure, and to learn from its ritual the lesson, that it is his duty to keep his mind, which is the source of all his actions, also pure.

    (E) Fire and its requisites.

    Under the heading of Fire and its requisites fall (a) fire (âtar), (b) the metallic censer (afrinagan or afarganiun) on which it burns, with its accompaniments, the ladle (chamach) and the tongs (chipyâ) with which the fuel is arranged over the fire and (c) the fuel (aêsma bûi).

    (a) No Zoroastrian ritual or religious ceremony can be complete without the presence of fire. For the celebration of the Yasna, Visperad, and the Vendidad, any household fire may [319] be used, but all temples or Dar-e Mihrs generally keep a fire for the purpose burning day and night in the Yazashna-gah. Like all the alats or instruments used in the ritual, the fire used in the ritual is also purified for the time being.

    This ceremony of purification consists in cleaning and washing with water the square stone slab (âtash no khwân) on which the afrinagan or the fire-vase stands. It is in the midst of the Haoma ceremony that it is made pâv or religiously pure. The ceremony of making this slab pâv is referred to in the Haoma Yasht (Yasna 9:1, âtarem pairi yaozdathentem) and is performed as follows: The zaota or the chief officiating priest holding a water-pot containing the pâv water in his right hand, makes his left hand pâv, reciting the Khshnaothra formula. Then putting the hand thus made pâv or purified into the pot so as to hold and lift it, makes his right hand pâv. Then, he goes near the khwân on which the fire-vase stands and faces the east and looks towards the fire. He then recites the nemâz, i.e., praise or homage to fire (nemase te Atarsh Mazdao, i.e., Homage, to thee, O Fire of God). He then takes the Baj with the Khshnuman of Fire. Then, reciting at the end three Ashems, he washes with the pure water of the water-pot in his hand the khwân or the slab on which the fire-vase stands. He turns round the slab proceeding at first to the south, then to the west, then to the north and then back to the east and washes it from all sides. In the Pahlavi Dadestan (Chap. 48:15),85 this stone slab for the fire-vase is called âtashto, (âdashto or âdosht) i.e., the place for the fire to stand upon. The Pahlavi Yasna speaks of it as âtashgâs, i.e., seat of fire.86

    85. S. B. E., Vol. XVIII, p. 164.

    86. Amatash âtashgâs kamist shustan (Spiegel's Pahl. Yasna IX 2).

    (b) The afrinagan is a metallic censer or vase over which the fire is made to burn on ceremonial occasions. It is so called, because its presence is necessary in the recital of Afrins, i.e., [320] religious benedictions or prayers. Its size varies. In the case of Izashna-gah, the size varies from about 15 inches to 18 inches in diameter and 18 to 30 inches in height. In the Fire-temples, its size is about three to four feet in diameter and about three to four feet in height.

    The fire censer or vase has always as its accompaniment a chamach (Persian chamcheh, a spoon or a ladle) i.e., a ladle and a chipiô (from Persian chapânidan, to squeeze, to compress) i.e., tongs.

    (c) The ceremonial fire requires to be fed during the liturgical services at stated parts of the recital of the Yasna, the Visperad, and the Vendidad. The fuel required for the purpose is known as aêsma-bui. The pieces of sandalwood and frankincense that are arranged on small stone slabs set apart for the purpose are especially known by that name.

    The word aâsma is the Avesta word aêsma (Sanskrit, idhma, Persian, hizam) meaning fuel. In the Vendidad (8:2), four kinds of fuel are generally spoken of. They are Urvâsna, Vohûgaona, Vohû-Kereti, and Hadhânaêpata. The first, viz., Urvâsna, is generally taken to mean sandalwood; the second, Vohûgaona, to mean olibanum, the third, Vohû-Kereti, to mean agar,87 a kind of fragrant shrub; the fourth Hadhânaêpata, to mean the wood of the pomegranate tree.

    87. Perhaps Arab. aqar white bright, noble, i.e., the brightest or noblest of fuel.

    The word boy [bui] is the Avesta word baodha, Persian bui to smell.

    In modern practice, sukhad, i.e., sandalwood serves for aêsma and loban (Arab. lobân, lebonah, olibanum) i.e., frankincense for boy. Olibanum is a special product of Arabia, and we learn from Herodotus (Bk. III, 93) that the Arabs used to give to the Persian king Darius, as tribute, frankincense worth about 1,000 talents, i.e. about Ł2,43,000. It was the trade of incense [321] that brought the ancient Arabs of Yemen into contact with the then civilized world. Frankincense was one of the three things which the three Magi from Persia are said to have presented to infant Jesus (Matt. 2:11). It was taken to be the symbol of Divine power.88

    88. As in the Avesta, so in the Old Testament, four kinds of fragrant fuel are spoken of Stacte (nataph), onycha (sheheleth), galbanum (heelbenoh), and pure frankincense (lebonah zaccah). Frankincense Is referred to in Exodus (30:7 and 8) as being burnt in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Leviticus (16:12) refers to it when it speaks of "sweet incense beaten small." The Parsis also use it after pounding it to a state of powder.


    We have described, at some length, the requisites necessary in the performance of the Yasna ceremony, and, while describing these requisites. described also at some length the preliminary paragna ceremony. We will now speak of the celebration of the Yasna proper. Most of the ritual is performed during the performance of the paragnd ceremony. The Yasna proper mostly consists in the recital of the 72 chapters of the Yasna with some ritual here and there. We will describe the main outlines of the ritual while describing the several component parts that make up the Yasna.

    The Paragnâ prepares and the Yasna consummates.

    In the paragna ceremony, we find, what we may call the laying out or preparation of certain principal or essential requisites, such as the dron, the haoma, the zaothra. In the Yasna proper, we find, what we call the consummation. In the paragnâ, we described the following six ceremonies:— (1) the Barsom, (2) the Aiwyaonghan, (3) the Urvaram, (4) the Jivam, (5) the Zaothra, and (6) the Haoma. All these ceremonies, though separate, may be said to be accessories to the Haoma ceremony. The Aiwyaonghan, after its preparation and consecration, was associated with the barsom. The urvaram or the pomegranate plant twig, after its preparation and consecration, was pounded with Haoma twigs. The Jivam or the milk, [322] after its preparation and consecration, was added to the juice of haoma and urvaram. The zaothra water, after its preparation and consecration, was used in preparing the haoma juice. All these four, (1) the haoma, (2) the urvaram, (3) the jivam, and (4) the zaothra water went to form the para-haoma. So, the main function of the paragnâ may be said to be to prepare and consecrate the haoma juice or the para-haoma.88 Then, it is in the Yasna proper that it is consummated. So, what the Paragnâ prepares, the Yasna proper consummates.

    88. "The whole of the grander ritual of the Mazdayasnas centres round that holy idea" of "the Everlasting Life" .... represented in Mazdean Theology by Haoma." (Vide S. J. Bulsara's Nirangistan. Introduction p. XL.)

    The Yasna (a) prepares, (b) consecrates and (c) consummates.

    But it is not the consummation of the Haoma alone that we find in the Yasna proper, but we also find therein the consummation of the dron. But the dron (draona) or the sacred bread ought to be consecrated before being consummated. This consecration takes place in the Yasna itself, in its early part. So, taking into consideration these questions of preparation, consecration, and consummation, the Yasna proper can be divided into several parts. We will describe these divisions, and while doing so, refer to the ritual observed therein.

    Chapers 1-2 invoke and offer.

    On the Zoti taking his stand on his stone-slab, as referred to in the Paragna ceremony, both the priests recite in baj the Pazend Dibache (preface, exordium), reciting the name of the particular Yazata with whose Khshnuman the Yasna is to be celebrated, and the name of the person (living or dead zinda-rawan or anosha-rawan) for whom the ceremony is to be performed. On finishing the recital of the Dibache, each of the two priests joins together his two feet. This they do by placing the thumb of their right foot on that of their left foot. The idea is, that the first chapter, which is the chapter of invocation and which begins with the invocation of God, must be recited by [323] them standing on one foot. The belief is that the prayer said standing on one foot or straight foot is a good form of prayer recited in all humility. So the two feet are in the above process united, as it were, into one. Again, another form for prayer often referred to in the Avesta is that of raising up the two hands (ustana-zasto). So, both the priests join their two hands together and raise them up towards their face. In this position, they recite the prayer of Ferastuyê (Yasna 11:17-18), known as the Patet (i.e. penitence) of the Avesta and the prayer of the particular gah with the proper Khshnuman. Then they commence the Yasna proper.

    In the very first chapter of the Yasna, the celebrant invokes in the very beginning "Ahura Mazda, the Creator, the radiant and glorious, the greatest and the best, the most beautiful (to our conceptions), the most firm, the wisest, and the one of all whose (spiritual) body is the most perfect, who attains His ends the most infallibly, because of His Righteous Order, He, who disposes our minds aright, who sends His joy-creating grace afar, who made us, and has fashioned us, and who has nourished and protected us, who is the most bounteous Spirit."89 (Yasna 1:1). Then, he invokes the Amesha-spentas. He invokes them and submits his offerings to them. He tenders his homage to the grand divisions of time and space, which all go to make up the grand Nature, and even to the different grades of society.

    89. S. B. E., XXXI, pp 195-96.

    Then, in the second chapter, he specially refers to the zaothra and the barsom, and repeats his former invocation and offerings. In the early part of this chapter, he makes several passes with the barsom held in his hands through the crescent curves of the mah-rui, i.e. the crescent-shaped stands of the barsom, The Zoti then takes his seat on his khwan.

    Most of the chapters of the Yasna are recited by the Zoti, the Rathwi or the second priest joining him in the recital [324] occasionally. The latter's principal business is to feed the fire by placing on it the aêsma boy (the sandalwood and frankincense) at the recital of particular portions of the Yasna. He is therefore also spoken of as the Ataravakhshi, Atravakhshi, or Athravakhshi, i.e., one who increases the brilliance of the fire by feeding it (atar and vahsh — to wax). Thus, the first two chapters are the preliminary chapters for Invocation and offerings.

    Chapters 3-8. The Srosh-Dron chapters.

    With the recital of the third chapter begins the portion which is intended for the consecration of the dron, i.e., the sacred bread. Chapters 3-8 are known as the chapters of Srosh-Dron, i.e., (the consecration of) the sacred bread in honour of Srosh. At particular portions of the recital of these chapters and of other chapters, the Zoti occasionally takes a handful of water from the kundi, or the water-vessel on his right hand, and drops it on the barsom and on the aiwydonghan which ties the barsom wires. This is a relic of the old times, when, instead of metallic wires used now, twigs of trees were used as barsom. It was to keep these vegetable twigs fresh and green that the water was sprinkled over them formerly. Latterly, though the custom of using vegetable twigs ceased, the ritual of keeping them green and wet continued.

    The consecration of the dron finishes at the seventh chapter. Then, in the eighth chapter,90 each of the two celebrants says, "I offer these things, this dron, water, haoma, etc., through righteousness" (ashaya dadhemi Yasna 8:1). The Atravakhshi places sandalwood and frankincense over the fire and says; "O ye men! Ye who have deserved it by your righteousness and piety! eat of this Myazda, the meat offering." Thereupon, the Zoti, who thinks himself to have been qualified to eat it, recites the formula of Baj or the prayer of grace and eats a bit of the sacred [325] bread (dron) and then finishes the Baj. The dron then can be passed out of the Yazashna-gah and may be eaten by other members of the congregation if present. This is said to be the Dron-chashni or the ceremonial eating of the sacred bread.

    90. Vide above p. 298.

    The Haoma chapters. 9-11.

    The ceremonial eating of the consecrated bread being finished, the drinking of the haoma juice begins. The juice has been already prepared and consecrated in the paragnâ ceremony. So, it requires no consecration in the Yasna proper The priest continues his recital of the Yasna. The Haoma juice is there before him on the Alat-gah. So, looking to it, he recites the Haoma chapters (chaps. 9-11) which form the Haoma yasht (the chapters in praise of Haoma) and then drinks it. We have described this process above, under the head of Haoma.

    Chapters 12-18. The Declaration of Faith, Invocation, and Dedication.

    After the ceremony of eating the consecrated bread and drinking the consecrated haoma juice, the Zoti recites the 12th chapter which contains the articles of the Zoroastrian faith. Then follows the recital of Chapters 13-18 which contain prayers of invocation and dedication of the sacred things still standing on the Alat-gah.

    Chapters 19-21. Praise of the three best prayers.

    The next three chapters contain praises of, and form a sort of commentary on, the three most important and old prayers of the Avesta, (1) the Ahunwar or the Yatha Ahu Vairyo, (2) the Ashem Vohu, and (3) the Yenghe Hatam.

    Chapters 22-27. Second preparation of haoma.

    From chapter 22 may be said to begin the recital for the second preparation of haoma juice. The celebrant refers to the haoma, the jivam, the urvaram, the zaothra (the Holy Water), the havanim, the barsom, etc., before him (imem haomem ... gâm jivyâm, etc., .... Yasna 22:20-22), [326] and says, that he desires to have them with the recital of their praise. They are again referred to in the 24th chapter. Then the recital of Chapters 25-27 is accompanied by the preparation itself, i.e., the haoma is pounded, squeezed, and strained. The juice thus prepared for the second time is not drunk by the priest but set apart for the requirements of the congregation.91 The 26th chapter of the above group is that which forms the kardeh (section) of Satum and it recited with the Dibache in the Satum ceremony.

    91. As said in my papers on the Birth and Funeral Ceremonies, there is a custom, though not generally observed now, to give a few drops of the haoma juice to a newly born child and to a dying man. These drops were given from the juice of the second preparation.

    Chapters 25-34 and 43-51 and 53. The Gatha chapters.

    With the 28th chapter begin the Gathas, believed to be the oldest writings in the Avesta and to be the compositions of the Prophet himself. The following chapters make up each of the five chapters. Gathas: Gatha Ahunawad - Chapters 28-34; Gatha Ushtawad - Chapters 43-46; Gatha Spentomad - Chapters 47-50; Gatha Wohukhshathra - Chapter 51; and Gatha Wahishtoisht - Chapter 53.

    Chapters 35-42. The Yasna Haptanghaiti, and Chapter 52. The Hoshbam.

    The intervening eight chapters 35-43 are known as the Yasna Haptanghaiti. These chapters though they do not form the Gathas proper, are written mostly in an older Gathic dialect. Of these, the first seven chapters, 35-41, form, as the name haptan (Greek hepta, Lat. septem, Fr. sept, German seiben) implies, the Yasna Haptanghaiti proper. The remaining eighth chapter, the 42nd, forms a supplement or appendix to the seven chapters. These chapters are also known as Haptan Yasht and are recited by the laity also as one of the Yashts. The 52nd chapter forms the Hoshbam or the prayer of Dawn. [327]

    Chapter 54 and 55. Praises of certain prayers.

    The 54th chapter contains the prayer of Airyema-ishyo which forms a part of the recital in the Ashirwad or the nuptial ceremony. The 55th chapter is in praise of the Gathas and the Staota Yasna prayers. As to what chapters form the 33 Chapters of the Staota Yasna, which literally means the Yasna of praise, there is a difference of opinion.92

    92. Vide Dr. West (S. B. E. Vol. XXXVII. Denkard Bk. VIII. Chap. XLVI, n. 1. Darmesteter (Le Zend Avesta, Vol. I Introduction Chap. IV, s. IV, pp. 87-88) Bulsala (Aerpatastân and Nirangastan, p. 47, n. 10.)

    Chapters 56-57, the Srosh Chapters.

    The 56th and the 57th chapters are in praise of Sraosha, Of these the 56th chapter is called Srosh Hadokht, because it is believed to have come down from Hadokht Nask, the 20th book of the original 21 books of the Avesta. The 57th chapter forms the Srosh Yasht proper and is known as Srosh Yasht vadi i.e., the larger Srosh Yasht. It forms the principal night-prayer of the Parsees.

    Chapters 58-59. Praise and invocation.

    The 58th chapter contains the prayer known as Fshusha manthra, which is often referred to in other parts of the Yasna. A large part of the 59th chapter (1-27) is a repetition of two former chapters (22:1-17 and 26:1-10) and consists of invocation and praise. That part which is new consists of some blessings.

    Chapter 60. Chapter for blessing a house.

    The 60th chapter contains the well-known prayer known as the Kardeh or section of the Tâo ahmi nmâne, which is recited in the performance of the Afringan ceremony. It invokes beautiful blessings upon the house of the celebrant. It is an excellent prayer to be recited at the moorat or the house-warming ceremony of a new house. It is a kind of tan-dorosti and man-dorosti prayer in the Avesta language.

    Chapters 61-69. Prayers against the evil-minded and in praise of fire and water.

    The 61st chapter is a prayer desiring ability to stand against evil-minded persons and evil influences with the help of the tenets preached by the above referred-to three celebrated prayers, viz, the Ahunwar, the Ashem, and the Yenghe hatam. The 62nd chapter forms the Atash Niyayesh in praise of fire. The Zoti stands upon his khwan, holds the barsom in his hand, and looking to the fire opposite, recites this prayer with the Atravakhshi. The seven chapters from 63 to 69 refer to water and its consecration. The 63rd praises the waters. The 64th is, to a large extent, a repetition of the 50th chapter (The Spentomad Gatha) which praises Ahura Mazda who has created the health-giving waters, The 65th forms the Avan Ardvisura Niyayesh and refers to the waters of the river Ardvisura, supposed to be the modern Oxus.93 The Zoti holds the cup of the Zaothra water in his right hand, gets down from his seat or his khwan, and looking to the water in the kundi by his side, recites this chapter. Chapters 66-69 continue the ceremony of further consecrating the zaothra water.

    93. Vide my Paper in Gujarati on the Geography of the Avesta.

    Chapters 70-72. The finishing chapters.

    The last three chapters finish the Yasna ceremony by invoking the Amesha Spentas and praising the good creation of Ahura Mazda. The recital of the 72nd chapter finishes the Yasna proper. The Zoti gets down from his seat and exchanges a Hamazor, a kind of Zoroastrian kiss of peace,94 with the Raspi or Atravakhshi. Both then finish the Baj. They had begun the ceremony by taking up or holding the Baj and finish it by laying down or completing the Baj. They then perform the kusti.

    94. Vide my Paper on 'The Kiss of Peace among the Bene-Israels of Bombay and the Hamazor among the Parsees.' Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay Vol. VIII, pp. 84-95. Vide my Anthropological Papers Part I, pp. 283-94.

    The concluding ceremony — Zor-melavvi.

    Both then go before a well which is indispensably necessary in a Fire-temple, the Zoti holding the Havanim containing the zaothra water in his hand. They face the sun and perform, as said above, what is called Zor-melavvi, i.e., to mix the zaothra consecrated water with the water of the well whence the water was first drawn. This they do by pouring the water from the Havanim into the well.

    The antiquity of the Yasna ceremony.

    While speaking of the Barsom and the Haoma ceremonies which form the component parts of the Yasna ceremony, I have referred to their antiquity. The antiquity of these ceremonies which form the component parts leads us to infer that the whole of the Yasna ceremony may be very ancient. The materials of some of the requisites required in the ceremony also suggest its antiquity. For example, (1) the Havanim or the mortar in which haoma is pounded in the paragna of the Yasna ceremony is said to be either that of stone or iron (asmana ayanghaena: Yasna. 22:2; Visperad 10:2). Now-a-days, the metal generally used is bell-metal. Iron is never used. So, the words stone and iron suggest that possibly the ceremony must have first been introduced when the use of stone and iron was greatly prevalent and when other metals were rarely used. (2) Again, the use of the twigs of a tree for barsom, instead of metallic wires also suggest a remote antiquity. (3) The use of the varas or the hair of the bull in the plate (tashta), which serves as a sieve for the haoma juice to be passed through for purification, leads us to infer that the times of the introduction of the ceremony were very old when other materials to serve as a sieve were less known. Now-a-days though a metallic plate with holes (surâkhdâr tashta) serves as a sieve, the Varas ring is still used with it as a relic of the old usage.




    Derivation and the different renderings of the word.

    The word Visperad is formed from the Avesta words vispa ratavo which have two signfications, viz. (1) all seasons and (2) all lords or chiefs. So, Visperad is a form of prayer intended to celebrate the season festivals, and, it is also a form of prayer, wherein all the 'rads' or chiefs or the best of the creations are invoked. The word ratu or rad is too technical to be properly translated. Dr. Mills1 says: "The word Visperad means 'all the chiefs,' referring to the 'lords of the ritual' ........... Lords, because ruling as chief objects of attention during their mention in the course of the sacrifice, also, as in this case, genii guarding over all of their class." Anquetil2 translates the words in the text as 'Destours' or chief priests, and in a note, as 'Chefs,' i.e., chiefs. He uses the word' chef' in the sense of 'premier.' So every species of creation has its ratu or rad, i.e., its best type or prototype. Burnouf3 translates the word as 'grand' and 'maitre' or master. Dr. Haug4 translates it as 'chief or head.' He says: "The name Visperad (Avesta vîspê ratavô) means "all chiefs or heads' ......... The primary type of each class is its respective ratu or chief." Darmesteter follows Burnouf and translates it as 'maître' or master. He says:5 "Ce mot de ratu ... est un des termes les plus importants de la langue religieuse. Il signifie proprement maître, au sens de maître spirituel ......... Il désigne le chef qui est supposé placé à la tête de chaque [331] classed'êtres." Harlez6 translates the word as 'chef' or chief. He says: "L'esprit de systématisation des mages avait fait diviser l'universe entier en catégories d'êtres, et assigner à chaque catégorie un chef président, à l'action générale des êtres de cette classe." Spiegel7 translates it as 'All lords.' Geiger8 and Kanga9 translate it as 'master' and as 'leader' or 'chief.'

    1. S. B. E., Vol. XXXI, p. 335, ns. 1 and 3.

    2. Zend Avesta, Vol. I, partie II, p. 87.

    3. Commentaire sur le Yaçna, pp. 4 and 17.

    4. Essays on the Parsees, 2nd edition, pp. 191-192.

    5. Le Zend Avesta, I, pp. 6-7.

    6. La Zend Avesta, p. 225, n. 5.

    7. Bleeck's Translation, II, p. 2, Introduction.

    8. Civilization of the Eastern Iranians, translated by Dastur Darab P. Sanjana, Vol. I, Introduction, p. XXXIX, l. 10.

    9. Avesta Dictionary, p. 439.

    The word 'rad' is a form of the Avesta word 'ratu,' which comes from Avesta areta = Sanskrit rita, which means, 'to be straight, to say the truth.' This word areta is the same as English 'right.' Now, in a species, that which is straight or perfect, that which is true, correct or well-formed, enjoys superiority over others. So the word ratu or rad has come to mean 'a chief'.

    From the fact of the division of beings into two classes, the spiritual and physical, and from the fact of their having their own ratus or chiefs, and from an insight into the different writings on the subject, we find, that, like the words fravashi [farohar] and khwarenah [khwarrah], the word ratu has a broad special signification. Every member of the animal creation has its own fravashi. Creatures of both, the physical and spiritual, worlds. have their fravashis or guiding spirits. Again all bodies have their khwarenah or glory or splendour. All bodies, both of the spiritual and the physical world, have their khwarenah. Similarly, all bodies both of the spiritual and the physical world have their ratus. Even substances of inanimate creation have their ratus. But, there is this difference, that while individual bodies have their fravashis and khwarenahs special to themselves, it is not the individual bodies that have each a ratu [332] for itself, but it is each class or species that has a ratu of its own. The priestly class has its own ratu. The military class has its own ratu, and so on. So, each member of these classes also has a ratu but that is not a separate ratu for himself. Every member has a common ratu, to whom he or it can look as his or its chief, as his or its best type, as a high ideal worth imitating. For example, the Athornans or the priestly class must have a ratu or chief — both physically and mentally pure — to whom they can look for guidance, whom they may hold before themselves as a 'High Ideal' for imitation and guidance.

    The texts which treat of the ratus or rads and the classes of the ratus.

    Of the different parts of the Avesta that treat of the ratus, the principal are the following:—(1). The Gahs; (2) Yasna, Has 1 to 4, 6, 7, and 12, 13; (3) Visperad, Kardeh 1 to 3; (4) the Ahunwar or Yatha ahu vairyo. The 24th chapter of the Bundahishn specially refers to the subject of rads. We can classify the beings — both spiritual and physical — of which the ratus or primary types are referred to in the Parsee books, as follows:—

    1. The spiritual beings. Ahuramazda and his Amesha Spentas and Yazatas. Ahuramazda stands at the head as ratum berezantem, i.e. the Exalted Chief.
    2. Mankind. The different grades and professions of men have their own rads or chiefs. Zoroaster (Zarathushtrem ashavanem ashahe ratum) stands at the head of mankind as the best type of mankind. Then, the different professional grades of the priests, the warriors, the husbandmen, the artificers (Athornan rathaêshtarân, etc.), have their own rads or chiefs. Then, the different constitutional divisions of the country—the house, the street, the village, the country (nmâna, visa, zantu, danghu)— have their own rads or chiefs. Then, the priests performing the different functions of the priesthood—the Havanan, Atarvaksh, Fraberetar, Aberetar, etc.—have rads of their own. [333]
    3. Animal creation other than men. (a) Animals living in water, (b) living on land, and (c) living in air have their rads or chiefs.
    4. Inanimate creation. Even objects of inanimate creation have their rads or chiefs. For example, Arus-i-Razur is the rad or principal type of all forests. The Hukairya mountain is the best principal type of all the mountains.
    5. Religious abstractions. Even religious abstractions have their ratus. For example, the prayers of Ahunwar and Yenghe Hatam are the ratus or the best primary types of the prayers of Ahura Mazda (Âhuirim tkaêshem).

    Connection between asha and ratu.

    There is one thing which must be remembered in the consideration of the meaning of the word ratu. It is this: Wherever the word ratu is used, it is used with the word asha, i.e., righteousness, piety, purity. The ratu is always spoken of as "ashahê ratûm," i.e., the chief of righteousness. As the word Fravashi is always connected with the word "ashaunam," i.e., of the righteous, so the word "ratu" is always connected with "ashahê," i.e., of righteousness. Again, the very roots of the words" ratu" and "asha" are the same. Both the words come from "aret" (right) to be straight, to be righteous. Thus, the word ratu carries with it the idea of straightness, perfection, excellence, righteousness. Among men, one who is straight-forward, righteous, perfect, becomes the ratu or rad or chief of his class, to whom others look as a leader, worthy to be followed. Among things, that thing which is perfect, complete, pure, unblemished, beautiful, etc., is the ratu or rad or chief of the whole class, and is looked to as the best type.

    The signification of the word and the object of the ceremony.

    Thus, the meaning of the word rad or ratu enables us to understand, what the prayer known as the Visperad is. In the word Visperad, "vispa" means "all." So, the Visperad is a prayer or collection of prayers or religious wrltings [334] which treat of, and praise, all the ratus, rads or chiefs of the different creations of God. It signifies, that every person must have before him a high ideal (ratu) which he must do his best to reach. An agriculturist must have before him the ideal of a ratu of his class, i.e., of the best type of agriculturist. He must try to imitate and follow him. Not only that, but in the matter of his business materials, he must use the ideal or the best type of materials. In the matter of the seeds that he uses, he must use the ratu or the chief or the best of the seeds. In the matter of his implements, he must use the best available.

    The 24th chapter of the Bundahishn speaks of the different ratus of the different classes of creation. Therein, at the end, we read the following sentence, which sums up, as it were, the object of the celebration of the Visperad; It says: "Hangard denman, âigh kolâ mûan kâr-i-mas vâdûnêt, adinash kasich veh,"10 i.e.; "The conclusion is this: that he, who does a great work, has the best individuality or personality," or, as Dr. West puts it "The conclusion is this, that every one who performs a great duty has then much value."11 In other words, the celebration of the Visperad should suggest to the celebrant the idea of "Excelsior." How is that state of "excelsior" to he attained? We find the reply in the 15th chapter (s. 1) of the Visperad which says:

    10. Vide my Bundehesh, p. 112. [Modi, Jivanji Jamshedji. Bundehesh. Bombay: Education Society's Steam Press, 1901.]

    11. S. B. E. V., p. 91, Ch. XXIV 30.
    "O Zoroastrian Mazdayasnians! Keep your feet, hands, and understanding, steady for the purpose of doing proper, timely, charitable works and for the purpose of avoiding improper, untimely, uncharitable works. Practice good industry here. Help the needy and relieve them from their needs."

    Recital of the Visperad.

    The Visperad is divided into 23 Kardas (Av. karêta) or sections. It is never recited alone but is always recited with the Yasna. The Visperad is preceded by the paragnâ which is the same as that of the Yasna. In fact, the celebration of [335] the Visperad is the celebration of the Yasna. with the additional recital of the 23 chapters of the Visperad. Ordinarily, the Visperad is recited whenever the Vendidad is recited. But there are special periods of the year when the Visperad is specially recited. These periods are known as the Gahambars (season festivals), and the Visperad then recited is known as Gâhambâr ni Visperad, i.e., the Visperad of the Gahambars. It is specially celebrated on the occasion of the Gahambars, because the Gahambars are the "ratus" of time. The furtherance, progress, development, and improvement of everything in the world depends upon time, upon the due succession of seasons at their proper times. It is the due observation of time (gah), that enables a man to do his best in all his different walks of life, whether he be an agriculturist, trader or a professional man. Nature holds forth, before men, the Gahambars or the seasons as the best type, as the best ideal, for all work to be done at the proper time. Such being the case, the Gahambars are specially considered to be the proper times for the celebration of the Visperad ceremony.

    The eight priests referred to in the Visperad. A plan showing their positions and functions.

    It appears from the Visperad (3:1), that, at one time, more than two priests were required for the celebration of the Yasna ritual. The Uzerin gah (Gah 3:5) and the Vendidad (5:57) also refer to them. The priests enumerated in the Visperad, besides the Zaotar himself, are the following:—(1) Hâvanân, (2) Âtare-vakhsh, (3) Fraberetâr, (4) Âberetâr, (5) Âsnatâr, (6) Rathwishkara, (7) Sraosha-varez. In the modern ritual, the Zaotar or the senior officiating priest calls for their presence (âstâya). He is, as it were, calling out a roll-call. Instead of the above different priests answering to their names, it is only the Âtravakhshi or Rathwi who replies and says "I am here" (azem vîsâi). He shifts his position as the names are called out one after another and he takes hill stand in the different corners and sides of the Yazashna gah before giving replies to the calls. [336] The different positions occupied by him now in the ritual show the positions occupied at one time by the different priests when they all took a part in the ceremony. The positions are the following, the Zaotar himself sitting on his khwan in the north:—

    The designation of the priests

    Their positions in the Yazasha-gah.

    1. Zaotar ... North, facing the fire-vase before him in the south.
    2. Havanan ... On the right side of the Zotar or Zoti, in the north-west corner of the Yazashna-gah.
    3. Atravakhsha ... On the right side of the Zoti and facing the fire, i.e., on the south-west corner.
    4. Fraberetar ... On the left side of the Zoti, on the north-east corner.
    5. Aberetar ... On the left side of the Zoti and facing the fire, i.e., on the south-east corner.
    6. Asnatar ... On the right side of the Zoti and between the Zodgâh (i.e., the seat of the Zoti) and the Atash-gah or the slab on which the fire-vase stands, i.e.; on the west in the middle of the Yazashna-gah.
    7. Rathwishkara ... On the left side of the Zoti and between the Zôd-gah and the Atash-gah, i.e., on the east.
    8. Sraoshavareza ... Opposite to the Zoti and in front of the fire-vase, i.e., on the south of the Yazashna-gah.

    A diagram of the positions as observed now.

    I give below a diagram to show the positions of the eight priests in the Yazashna-gah as pointed out now, by the different positions occupied by the Atravakhshi in the Visperad ceremony, when responding to the call of the Zaotar for the presence of the different priests.

    positions of the priests

    The positions as determined by the Nirangistan.

    The Nirangistan12 seems to be the authority on which the positions for the different priests are determined. The modern practice tallies with the description of the Nirangistan except in the case of the positions of the Âsnatar and the Rathwishkara. The Âsnatar's position in the modern ritual is on the right hand side of the Hâvanân who is represented as facing the barsom. But the Nirangistan gives it on the left. The same is the case with the position of the Rathwishkara whose position now is on the left of the Fraberetâr and not on the right as said by the Nirangistan. I think the words haoyât and dashinât (left and right) may have been interchanged by mistake by the original copyist. The Pahlavi Nirangistan13 also briefly refers to the functions (kairya) of these eight priests. Their functions are as follows:—

    12. The Photo-zinco text, folio 155a to 157b; Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, pp. 130-31.

    13. Le Zend Avesta par Darmesteter III, pp. 128-30. Mr. Sohrab Bulsara's Aerpatestan and Nirangstan, Chap XXVII.

    1. The Zaota. The word zaotar means one who performs the ceremony from zu, Sanskrit hu, to perform the ceremony. He [338] corresponds to the Haotar of the Brahmins. He is the principal officiator. He stands first in the list, and in the Bundahishn (30:30). Ahura Mazda himself is allegorically spoken of as officiating as zaotar in the Yasna ceremony with the Yazata Sraosha as the Raspi. The Dadestan-i-Denig (XLVIII, 13), which describes some parts of the ritual of the Yasna, refers to the Urvis-gah as his proper place. According to the Nirangistan, his principle function is to sing the Gathas (gâthâoscha frasrâvayâiti).14 This is a reference to the fact that it is the Zaotar who has to recite all the chapters of the Gathas in the performance of the Yasna ceremony.

    14. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 129. Bulsara, p. 392 n. 1a. Ibid.

    2. The Hâvanân. It appears that in ancient times, there was a priest whose special function was to pound the Haoma (haomemcha a-hunavat) in the Havanim (mortar) in the Hawan gah (the morning hours), to drink its juice ceremonially, and to do all the needful for the Haoma ceremony.15

    15. Ibid.

    3. The Âtravakhsha. As the word itself shows, his function was to feed (vakhsh, English wax, to grow, to increase) the fire (âtra). The Nirangistan further says that one of his functions was to purify the fire (âthrascha ......... yaozdathat).16 This refers to the ritual in the Yasna ceremony, wherein, before the commencement of the Yasna proper, the stone-slab (khwan) on which the fire-vase stands is washed by the priests. Dr. Haug17 compares his functions with those of the Agnîdhra (who holds the fire) of the Brahmans.

    16. Ibid.

    17. Essays on the Parsees, 2nd edition, p. 281.

    4. The Fraberetâr. The function of this priest was to carry (bar, English bear) forward (fra, English forth) all the requisites of the ceremony. Out of these requisites, the Nirangistan specializes the barsom and the Fire (barêsmãncha frâkem athraêcha).18

    18. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 129; Bulsara, op. cit., p. 393, l. 8.

    5. The âberetâr. The function of this priest is to carry (bar) water (ap). for the ceremony (apem abarat). The Nirangistan points out this as his only function.

    6. The Âsnatâr. His function was to wash or clean (snâ, Fr. nâger) the ceremonial utensils and requisites. The Nirangistan specially refers to the process of purifying the haoma twigs and of straining the haoma juice (haomemcha â-snayât, haomemcha paiti-harezât).19

    19. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 130; Bulsara p, 393.

    7. The Rathwishkara. He was the priest whose proper function was to do (kar) the work of arranging all the requisites in their proper (rathwya) order. The Nirangistan specializes his work as that of properly mixing the jivâm (gava, the milk) with haoma juice, and then of dividing the mixture (bakshayâtcha). This seems to refer to the present practice of the Zaotar dividing the haoma juice and dropping it in different places.20

    20. Ibid.

    (8). Sraosha Vareza. Sraosha Vareza was a priest, who, to a certain extent, corresponded to a 'confessor.' He made the people act (varez) in obedience (sraosha) to certain rules of penances, etc. If a person did a wrongful act, and if he wanted to do something to atone for that wrongful act, he (the sraosha vareza) asked him to do certain good deeds, which could, to a oertain extent, go to wipe off the effects of the previous wrongful deeds. Dr. Haug21 thinks that the Zoroastrian Sraosha vareza corresponds to the Brahmanical Pratiprasthâtâ. Sraosha, whose functions, the Sraosha-vareza represents to a certain extent in the superintendence of the ritual, holds an uplifted weapon (êrêdhwa snaithisha, Srosh Yasht; Yasna 57:16) in his hand. The Pratiprasthâtâ holds "a wooden sword" in his hand. The Nirangistan22 specializes his work at the Yasna ceremony as that of a general supervisor (aiwyâkhshayât: aiwi, about, and akhsh, to watch).

    21. Essays on the Parsees, 2nd edition, p. 280.

    22. Darmesteter, Le Zend Avesta, III, p. 130. Bulsara, op. cit., p. 394.

    The Visperad's list of the best typical (rad) prayers.

    The Visperad (1:3-9) gives us a list of the prayers which were held in great veneration at the time when it was written. It enumerates the following prayers:— (1) Staota Yasna, (2) Ahunwar, (3) Ashem Vohu, (4) Yenghe Hatam, (5) Gatha Ahunawad, (6) Yasna Haptanghaiti, (7) Gatha Ustawad, (8) Gatha Spentomad, (9) Gatha Wohukhshathra, (10) Gatha Wahishtoyisht, (11) Dahm Afriti, (12) Airyema-ishyo, (13) Fshusho Mathra, (14) Hadhaokhta, (15) Ahuiri Frashna. I will here briefly refer to the first four which are held to be very important among the best (rad) prayers.

    1. The Staota Yasna.

    Among the list of prayers enumerated by the Visperad, the Staota Yasna stands first; but scholars differ as to which chapters of the Yasna form the Staota Yasna referred to by the Visperad. I think by this prayer the whole of the Yasna is referred to. I give below a list, showing which chapters are referred to by various scholars as forming this prayer.

    [Staota Yesnya (Phl. Stud-Yasht, Stot Yasn) is the name of the 21st Nask of the ancient canon of the Avesta, and constituted the earliest fixed liturgy. Malandra (Encyclopaedia Iranica, "yasna" entry) gives it as Yasna chapters 19-58. See also Boyce, History of Zoroastrianism vol. 1., p. 265, Bartholomae, Air. Wb. 1589; Geldner G I P II, 25-6. -JHP]
    Scholars.Chapters of the Yasna.
    Harlez (Le Zend Avesta, p. 226, n) .... The last chapters of the Yasna.
    Mills (S. B. E., XXXI, p. 294) "That part of the Yasna which begins with the Sraosh Yasht." Chapter 57, et seq.
    Darmesteter (Zend Avesta, I, Introduction, LXXXIII) .... Chapters 14 to 59.
    K. R. Cama (Zarthosht Nameh, 2nd edition, p. 232) .... Chapters 55 to 59 or 57 to 71.
    Sheriarji D. Bharuoha (Zarthoshti Abhyâs, No. VIII, p. 457) .... Chapters 58 to 60.
    Khurshedji E. Pavri (Zarthoshti, I, No. 4, p. 318) .... Chapters 58 and 59.

    Among the prayers enumerated by the Visperad, three require a special mention. They are the Ahunwar, the Ashem, and the Yenghe Hatam. I will describe them at some length.

    2. The Ahunwar.

    The prayer is called Ahunwar (Ahuna vairya, Yasna, 19:3) from its second and third words, and because it speaks of the Lord (ahu) whose desire (vairya) is supreme, and who is independent. From its three first words; the prayer is more properly known as "Yatha Ahu Vairyo." This prayer corresponds somewhat to the "Word" of the Christians. It is spoken of as being uttered by God before the very creation (Yasna 19:1-3, 8). The Yasna further says that if this prayer is recited by one perfectly and right sincerely, its meritoriousness is worth the recital of 100 Gathas. If one recites it, understands it, and praises it, i.e., right sincerely acts up to its dictates, he goes to heaven (Ibid., 5 and 6). Of all the prayers of Ahura Mazda, it is the best (Ibid., 10; Srosh Hadokht, Yasht 11:3). He who recites it and properly understands it, acknowledges Ahura Mazda as his Lord and sets an example to others to so acknowledge Him. Its recital helps a man in all difficulties and calamities (Yasht 11:4). Hence, it is a custom, even now, for an orthodox Parsee to recite one or more Ahunwars or Yatha Ahu Vairyos, when starting on a journey, or going out for business, or on leaving his house for ordinary daily business.23 According to the Vendidad (19:9), when Ahriman, the Evil Spirit, tried to tempt Zoroaster, it was with the recital of the Ahunwar that the Prophet, emboldened himself, rejected his (Ahriman's) proposals, opposed him, and withstood the Temptation. There, Zoroaster speaks of this prayer as one taught by God himself (Mazda-fraokhta) and calls it an excellent weapon to defend himself.

    23. Vide Mr. M. R. Unwala's Rivayat with my Introduction, Vol. I, pp. 13-15.

    The Ahunwar is the very first prayer which a Zoroastrian child is taught to recite. There is hardly a prayer, small or great, which does not include in itself the recital of the Ahunwar once or more than once. On account of the importance and efficacy and sanctity attached to it, the Shayest Ne-Shayest [342] (Chap. 19:15) says, that religion is as much connected with it as the hair is connected with, and gives glory or beauty to, one's face.24 The Ahunwar and the Ashem are, to a certain extent, to a Zoroastrian, what the Pater Noster is to a Christian. If a person does not know his other daily prayers, or if he does not know to read them from the prayer book, he is required to recite a cerain number of Ahunwars in the plaoe of each of these prayers. He holds a chaplet or string of beads [rosary] in his hand and turns a bead at the recital of each Ahunwar.25

    24. S. B. E., V, p. 393.

    25. Vide my paper on Rosaries (Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, Vol. of 1913).

    List of (a) the recital of the Ahunwars in place of certain prayers and (b) on particular occasions.

    The following list gives the number of Ahunwars which one can recite instead of different prayers.26

    26. Vide Darab Hormuzdyar's Rivayat by M. R. Unwala with my Introduction Vol. I, pp. 13-15. Vide [guj.] Avesta... Rustamji Jamasji Dastur (1896). pp. 14-15. Vide K. E. Kanga's Khordeh Avesta. 8th ed. p. 149.

    Prayers.Number of Ahunwars.
    Khwarshed Niyayesh, i.e., the prayer in praise of the Sun ....103
    Mihr Niyayesh, i.e., the prayer in praise of Mithra ....65
    Mah Niyayesh, i.e. the prayer in praise of the Moon ....65
    Ardvisura Niyayesh, i.e., the prayer in praise of Water ....65
    Atash Niyayesh i.e., the prayer in praise of Fire .... [342] 65
    The five Gahs, i.e., the prayers for the five periods of the day ....65
    The Patet, i.e., the repentance prayer (with twelve Ashem vohu prayers)121
    Ahura Mazda Yasht (with 12 Ashem Vohus) ....103
    Ardwahisht Yasht .... 65
    Srosh Hadokht ....75
    Srosh Yasht vadi (Yasna 57) ....103
    The Afrinagan (with 12 Ashem vohus) ....121
    Each of the five Gathas to be recited on each of the five intercalary days at the end of the year ....1,200

    The Ahunwars for these Gathas are recited with a particular Baj, i.e., a small introductory prayer, and a prayer recited at the end.

    The Shayest ne-Shayest (Chap. 19)27 gives the following list of the Ahunwars to be recited by a Zoroastrian on particular occasions to withstand difficulties, to have courage and help, and to win success:—

    27. S. B. E., V. pp. 390-92.

    Occasion of business.No. of
    1. When "one goes forth to an assembly or before grandees and chieftains, or on any business; or when he goes to ask for what he wants, also when he quits any business" ....1
    2. On the recital of some blessings upon somebody (It is for this reason that the recital of the Tandorosti prayer invoking blessings upon somebody and the recital of the Ashirwad blessings upon a marrying couple begin with two Ahunwars) ....2
    3. On the recital of thanksgiving prayers at season-festivals. So, the Afrinagan of the Gahambars or the season-festivals begin with four Ahunwars) ....4
    4. On the occasion of atonement or repentance for sins. (Thus, the Patet or the Repentance prayer begins with the recital of five Ahunwars) ....5
    5. When one "goes to seek power" or to win a battle ....6
    6. When one recites the praises of the Yazatas. (The recital of the Afrinagans with the Khshnumans of the Yazatas or angels begin with seven Ahunwars) ....7
    7. On the occasions of remembering and invoking the Fravashis of the dead. (It is for this reason that the Afrinagan of Ardafarosh, recited in honour of the dead, begins with eight Ahunwars) ....8
    8. When one goes to sow corn in his field (The corn was believed to take, in all, nine months from the time of its being sown, to be fit for use) ....9
    9. When one goes to seek a wife ....10
    10. When one begins the work of breeding cattle ....10
    11. When one climbs up a mountain ....11
    12. When one goes to low districts or valleys ....12
    13. When one loses his way and wants to find his way back. (The Srosh Hadokht specially refers to the recital of Ahunwar on such occasions (Pathâm vâ paiti vîcharanâo: Yasht 11:4) ....13
    14. On crossing a bridge or a river. (The Srosh Hadokht also refers to the recital of Ahunwars on crossing rivers and bridges (apâm vâ nâvayanâm paiti peretush) implying that the process involves some danger and difficulty on dark foggy nights (Khshapo vâ tânthryâo aipi-dvânarayâo) ....13

    The list according to the Rivayats.

    The later Rivayats give a list, slightly different from that of the Pahlavi Shayest Ne-Shayest.28 We give the list below:—

    28. The Gujarati Rivayet of Darab Hormuzdyar by Ervad Rustomji Jamasj Dastur, pp. 11-12. Vide M. R. Unwala's Text with my Introduction, pp. 13-15.

    1. (a) When leaving the house for business....
    (b) When entering the house on return from business....
    (c) When beginning a new work....
    (d) On finishing a work....
    (e) When beginning an important conversation with somebody....
    (f) On going before a ruler, or governor, or a great man....
    (g) On entering a river, lake, or any such great reservoir of water....
    (h) On lending money to somebody....
    (i) On borrowing money from somebody....
    2.On blessing somebody....2
    3.On removing nails from one's fingers....3
    4. On the recital of the Gahambar Afrinagan....4
    5. On the recital of the Patet or Sraosh Baj or Afrinagan....5
    6. When attending a marriage....6
    7. When going on a battle or to fight a cause....7
    8. On the recital of the Afrinagans of (a) Ardafarosh and (b) Gatha....8
    9. (a) On sowing seeds, (b) on planting fruit trees, etc.....9
    10. (a) On purchasing cattle, (b) on bringing cattle home....10
    11. On fixing a nail or peg into the ground to tie the cattle, (b) on cohabitation, (c) on carrying messages for betrothal, etc.....11
    12. On going over a mountain, a fortress, a bridge, or on climbing any lofty place and on going into a subterranean room, into a cave, or into a stepped reservoir or well of water....12
    13. (a) On missing the road, (b) on entering a new village or city....13
    14. On entering into the heart of a great city....14

    The 21 words of the Ahunwar and the 21 books (nasks) of the Zoroastrians.

    This sacred prayer is made up of three metrical lines each containing seven words. So, the whole prayer contains 21 words. The names of the 21 books (nasks) which formed the ancient Avesta literature are said to have corresponded to the 21 words of this sacred formula. The following [347] is the list of the words that make up this passage and of the names of the books that correspond to them:29

    29. The names of the books and even the order vary a little according to different authorities. The two great compilations of the Rivayets by Darab Hormazdyar and Barzo Kamdin give the names and contents. The Denkard (Bks. VII and IX) and the Dini Vajarkard give fuller contents (vide S. B. E. Vol. XXXVII). For a brief account of the contents prepared by me, vide Mr. Dosabhoy Framji's History of the Parsees, Vol. II, pp. 157-64. Vide M. R. Unwala's Riv. with my Introduction pp. 3-4.

    Words of the Ahunwar.Names of books which correspond to these words.
    Yatha Studkar [sudgar]
    Ahu Varshtah-manthrah [wahishta-mansr, warsht-mansr]
    Vairyo Bagh [bag, bago]
    Atha Damdad (or Duazdeh Hamast]
    Ratush Nadur [nadar]
    Ashat Pazun [pazag, Pajako Pajeh, Pajam]
    Chit Ratushtayid [ratushtaiti]
    Hacha Barish
    Vangheus Kashsrob [kishsrub, kishkisrub, kashkisrob, kashasrob]
    Dazda Vishtaspad [gushtaspad, wishtasp-sast, Vishtasp Yasht]
    Manangho Dad [washtag, Dadok]
    Shyaothananam Chidrasht [chihrdad, Chithradad, Chidrast]
    Angheus Spentah [spenta, spand, Spend]
    Mazdai Bayan-yasht [bagan yasn]
    Khshathremcha Niyadam [nigadum, Nikadum]
    Ahurai Duvasarojit [dusrujid, duwasrud, Dubasrujd]
    A Husparam [husparum]
    Yim Sakadam [sagadum, Sakadum]
    Drigubyo Jud-dev-dad [jud-dew-dad, vendidad, Videvdad]
    Dadat Hadokht of the Dvazdah-hamaspah [hadokht]
    Vastarem Yasht [stud-yasn]

    The substance of the Ahunwar prayer.

    Though it is a small prayer, scholars differ in their translation of it. The substance of it runs thus:-

    As Ahu (Ahura Mazda or the spiritual Lord) is an independent ruler (because He rules) according to Order (asluU, i.e., according to fixed laws), so, should a Ratu, (i.e., the temporal Lord) (rule according to fixed laws). The gift of good mind is for the work of the world for (the sake of) Mazda. He who gives (himself up) as the nourisher of the poor (or he who gives nourishment to the poor) gives kingdom to Mazda (i.e., acknowledges him as king).

    The Ashem.

    The prayer of Ashem Vohu is next to Ahunwar in importance and sanctity. It is the prayer in praise of Asha which can be said to be the watchword of the Zoroastrian religion. According to the Hadokht Nask (Yasht Fragment 21), if there is any one prayer which can be said to be the prayer of praise of all the good creation, — of all the good creation that has for its main principle, Asha or Order, — it is the prayer of Ashem Vohu, because it is the prayer which praises Asha, (i.e., Order, Harmony, System, Righteousness, Law). He who praises Asha from the inmost of his heart praises God himself. Not only that, but he praises some of the best things of his creation, e.g., water, earth, vegetation, animal creation, etc., in the evolution and growth of which we see Order and Law. The prayers of Ashem and Ahunwar give courage and victory to those who recite them and follow their teachings (Yasht 21:4). Such being the efficacy of this prayer which praises Order and Righteousness, its recital on certain particular occasions or periods of one's daily work or life, have greater advantages than its recital at ordinary times. One Ashem Vohu recited at such particular occasions is worth several recited at other ordinary times. For example, it is said that one Ashem Vohu recited at meals is worth ten Ashem Vohus recited on other occasions. An Ashem recited while going to bed is worth 1,000 Ashems recited at other [349] times. An Ashem recited on getting up from bed is worth 10,000 recited at other times. An Ashem recited by a person at the time of his death is worth the price of the whole continent of Xwaniratha (Khanirath). What is intended to be conveyed is this: If a man has led his whole life in a pious and righteous way, following the path of Asha, i.e., Order, Harmony, Righteouness, Law, and if he can conscientiously recite at the end of his life one Ashem Vohu, i.e., if he can conscientiously say "I have led a righteous (ashô) life," then the spiritual wealth of that righteousness is worth the material wealth of Xwaniratha, which, of all the seven karswars or regions spoken of in the Avesta, was the best and the richest. On account of this reference to the Ashem Vohu in connection with the end of the life of a man, it is a custom among the Parsees, that when one hears the news of the death of a friend or relation, he recites or mutters in a low voice the Ashem Voha prayer.

    Such being the importance attached to this prayer, it is the second prayer taught to a Zoroastrian child after the Ahunwar. The Ashem Vohu prayer, small though it is, is differently translated by different translators. But the substance seems to be the same. It can be thus translated:

    Piety is the best good and happiness. Happiness to him who is pious for the best piety.

    The prayer of Yenghe Hatam.

    This is the third of the three short but most important prayers or formulae of the Zoroastrians. There is hardly a prayer which does not contain this formula. The Gahs, the Niyayeshes, the Yashts, the Yasna, the Visparad, the Vendidad all include its recital which in some cases is repeated more than once. Like the two prayers of Ahunwar and Ashem, it is variously translated. It can be translated thus:

    Ahura Mazda knows (lit., is the knower of), who among the living is the best in prayer through righteousness, (i.e., says his prayer in the best way possible by observing asha, i.e., righteousness). We praise them (those recognized as above by Ahura Mazda) whether male or female.

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