Yasht

Yasht

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Yasht'
Start a new discussion about 'Yasht'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The s are a collection of twenty-one hymns in Younger Avestan
Avesta
The Avesta is the primary collection of sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, composed in the Avestan language.-Early transmission:The texts of the Avesta — which are all in the Avestan language — were composed over the course of several hundred years. The most important portion, the Gathas,...

. Each of these hymns invokes a specific Zoroastrian
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 divinity or concept. Yasht chapter and verse pointers are traditionally abbreviated as Yt.

The word yasht derives from Avestan yešti, "worship by praise," and several hymns of the Yasna
Yasna
Yasna is the name of the primary liturgical collection of texts of the Avesta as well as the name of the principal Zoroastrian act of worship at which those verses are recited. The Yasna, or Izeshne, is primarily the name of the ceremony in which the entire book is recited and appropriate...

liturgy that "worship by praise" are—in tradition—also nominally called yashts. These "hidden" Yashts are: the Barsom
Barsom
A barsom is a ritual implement used by Zoroastrian priests to solemnize certain sacred ceremonies.The word barsom derives from the Avestan language baresman , which is in turn a substantive of barez "to grow high." The later form – barsom – first appears in the 9th–12th-century...

 Yasht
(Yasna 2), another Hom
Haoma
Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. The Middle Persian form of the name is hōm, which continues to be the name in Modern Persian and other living Iranian languages.Sacred haoma...

 Yasht
in Yasna 9-11, the Bhagan Yasht of Yasna 19-21, a hymn to Ashi
Ashi
Rav Ashi was a celebrated Jewish religious scholar, a Babylonian amora, who reestablished the academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud...

 in Yasna 52, another Sarosh Yasht in Yasna 57, the praise of the (hypostasis of) "prayer" in Yasna 58, and a hymn to the Ahurani
Ahurani
Ahurani is the Avestan language name of a Zoroastrian divinity associated with "the waters" . In scripture, the expression ahurani appears both in the singular and in the plural, and may - subject to context - either denote a specific divinity named Ahurani, or a class of divinities that are...

 in Yasna 68. Since these are a part of the primary litury, they do not count among the twenty-one hymns of the Yasht collection.

All the hymns of the Yasht collection "are written in what appears to be prose, but which, for a large part, may originally have been a (basically) eight-syllable verse, oscillating between four and thirteen syllables, and most often between seven and nine."

Most of the yazata
Yazata
Yazata is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept. The word has a wide range of meanings but generally signifies a divinity...

s that the individual Yashts are in praise of also have a dedication in the Zoroastrian calendar
Zoroastrian calendar
This article treats of the reckoning of days, months and years in the calendar used by adherents of the Zoroastrian faith. Zoroastrian religious festivals are discussed elsewhere, but have a fixed relationship to Nawruz, the New Year festival, whose timing is discussed below...

. The exceptions are Drvaspa
Drvaspa
Drvaspa is the Avestan language name of an "enigmatic" and "strangely discreet" Zoroastrian divinity, whose name literally means "with solid horses" and which she is then nominally the hypostasis of....

 and Vanant
Vanant
Vanant is the Avestan language name of a minor Zoroastrian divinity. The name literally means "conqueror", but in Zoroastrian tradition Vanant is the hypostasis of the "star of the west", variously identified with Altair, Fomalhaut, Vega, Sargas or Kappa Scorpii/Girtab.Vanant may have its origins...

.

The twenty-one yashts of the collection (notes follow):
Yasht #       title / nominally invokes   in praise of   extent
1.   Ohrmazd
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

 Yasht
  Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

 
  33 verses
2.   Hapt Amahraspand
Amesha Spenta
' is an Avestan language term for a class of divine entities in Zoroastrianism, and literally means "Bounteous Immortal" The noun is amesha "immortal", and spenta "furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy" is an adjective of it...

 Yasht
  the seven Amesha Spenta
Amesha Spenta
' is an Avestan language term for a class of divine entities in Zoroastrianism, and literally means "Bounteous Immortal" The noun is amesha "immortal", and spenta "furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy" is an adjective of it...

s
  15 verses
3.   Ardawahisht Yasht   Asha Vahishta of "Best Truth"   19 verses
4.   Hordad
Haurvatat
Haurvatat is the Avestan language word for the Zoroastrian concept of "wholeness" or "perfection." The hypostasis of that concept is the divinity Haurvatat, who is the Amesha Spenta of water , prosperity, and health....

 Yasht
  Haurvatat
Haurvatat
Haurvatat is the Avestan language word for the Zoroastrian concept of "wholeness" or "perfection." The hypostasis of that concept is the divinity Haurvatat, who is the Amesha Spenta of water , prosperity, and health....

 of "Wholeness" and "Perfection"
  11 verses
5.   Apan Yasht   Aredvi Sura Anahita of the waters
Aban
Apas is the Avestan language term for "the waters", which—in its innumerable aggregate states—is represented by the Apas, the hypostases of the waters....

  132 verses
6.   Hwarshed
Hvare-khshaeta
Hvare.khshaeta is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of the "Radiant Sun."Avestan Hvare khshaeta is a compound in which hvar "Sun" has khshaeta "radiant" as a stock epithet. Avestan hvar derives from the Indo-Iranian root *svar "to shine," from which Vedic Sanskrit Surya - again...

 Yasht
  Hvare-khshaeta
Hvare-khshaeta
Hvare.khshaeta is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of the "Radiant Sun."Avestan Hvare khshaeta is a compound in which hvar "Sun" has khshaeta "radiant" as a stock epithet. Avestan hvar derives from the Indo-Iranian root *svar "to shine," from which Vedic Sanskrit Surya - again...

 of the "Radiant Sun"
  7 verses
7.   Mah Yasht   Maonghah of the "Moon"   7 verses
8.   Tishtar
Tishtrya
Tishtrya is the Avestan language name of an Zoroastrian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. Tishtrya is Tir in Middle- and Modern Persian...

 Yasht
  Tishtrya
Tishtrya
Tishtrya is the Avestan language name of an Zoroastrian benevolent divinity associated with life-bringing rainfall and fertility. Tishtrya is Tir in Middle- and Modern Persian...

, the star Sirius
Sirius
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The name "Sirius" is derived from the Ancient Greek: Seirios . The star has the Bayer designation Alpha Canis Majoris...

 
  62 verses
9.   Drvasp
Drvaspa
Drvaspa is the Avestan language name of an "enigmatic" and "strangely discreet" Zoroastrian divinity, whose name literally means "with solid horses" and which she is then nominally the hypostasis of....

 Yasht
  Drvaspa
Drvaspa
Drvaspa is the Avestan language name of an "enigmatic" and "strangely discreet" Zoroastrian divinity, whose name literally means "with solid horses" and which she is then nominally the hypostasis of....

, guardian of horses
  33 verses
10.   Mihr
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

 Yasht
  Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

 of "Covenant"
  145 verses
11.   Srosh
Sraosha
Sraosha is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of "Obedience" or "Observance", which is also the literal meaning of her name....

 Yasht
  Sraosha
Sraosha
Sraosha is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of "Obedience" or "Observance", which is also the literal meaning of her name....

 of "Obedience"
  23 verses
12.   Rashn
Rashnu
Rashnu is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian yazata of justice. Together with Mithra and Sraosha, Rashnu is one of the three judges who pass judgment on the souls of people after death...

 Yasht
  Rashnu
Rashnu
Rashnu is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian yazata of justice. Together with Mithra and Sraosha, Rashnu is one of the three judges who pass judgment on the souls of people after death...

 of "Justice"
  47 verses
13.   Fravardin
Fravashi
A fravashi is the guardian spirit mentioned in the Avesta of an individual, who sends out the urvan into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil...

 Yasht
  the Fravashi
Fravashi
A fravashi is the guardian spirit mentioned in the Avesta of an individual, who sends out the urvan into the material world to fight the battle of good versus evil...

s
  158 verses
14.   Warharan Yasht   Verethragna, "Smiter of resistance"   64 verses
15.   Ram
Raman
In the Indo-Iranian world Raman is:*one of the names of the Hindu God Rama*an important divinity in Zoroastrianism----Raman may refer to*Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Indian physicist and Nobel laureate, discoverer of Raman scattering...

 Yasht
  the "good" Vayu   58 verses
16.   Den
Daena
Daena is a Zoroastrian concept representing insight and revelation, hence "conscience" or "religion." Alternately, Daena is considered to be a divinity, counted among the yazatas.-Nomenclature:...

 Yasht
  Chista, "Wisdom"   20 verses
17.   Ard
Ashi
Rav Ashi was a celebrated Jewish religious scholar, a Babylonian amora, who reestablished the academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud...

 Yasht
  Ashi
Ashi
Rav Ashi was a celebrated Jewish religious scholar, a Babylonian amora, who reestablished the academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud...

 of "Recompense"
  62 verses
18.   Ashtad
Arshtat
Arshtat is the Avestan language name of a Zoroastrian principle and signifies either "justice" or "honesty." As a substantive, arshtat designates the divinity Arshtat, the hypostasis of "Rectitude" and "Justice"...

 Yasht
  khvarenah
Khvarenah
' or ' is an Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept literally denoting "glory" or "splendour" but understood as a divine mystical force or power projected upon and aiding the appointed. The neuter noun thus also connotes " royal glory," reflecting the perceived divine empowerment of kings...

, the "(divine) glory"
  9 verses
19.   Zam
Zam
Zam is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of "earth", in both the sense of land and soil and in the sense of the world...

 Yasht
  see note below   97 verses
20.   Hom
Haoma
Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. The Middle Persian form of the name is hōm, which continues to be the name in Modern Persian and other living Iranian languages.Sacred haoma...

 Yasht
  Haoma
Haoma
Haoma is the Avestan language name of a plant and its divinity, both of which play a role in Zoroastrian doctrine and in later Persian culture and mythology. The Middle Persian form of the name is hōm, which continues to be the name in Modern Persian and other living Iranian languages.Sacred haoma...

  3 verses
21.   Vanant
Vanant
Vanant is the Avestan language name of a minor Zoroastrian divinity. The name literally means "conqueror", but in Zoroastrian tradition Vanant is the hypostasis of the "star of the west", variously identified with Altair, Fomalhaut, Vega, Sargas or Kappa Scorpii/Girtab.Vanant may have its origins...

 Yasht
  Vanant
Vanant
Vanant is the Avestan language name of a minor Zoroastrian divinity. The name literally means "conqueror", but in Zoroastrian tradition Vanant is the hypostasis of the "star of the west", variously identified with Altair, Fomalhaut, Vega, Sargas or Kappa Scorpii/Girtab.Vanant may have its origins...

, the star Vega
Vega
Vega is the brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere, after Arcturus...

 
  2 verses


Notes:
a.  The Yashts did not originally have titles. These were assigned at some time during the Common Era
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

, and hence reflect the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 forms of the divinities' names.
b.  Several Yashts are—despite their names—hymns to other divinities or concepts.
  • Yasht 5 is nominally to the waters
    Aban
    Apas is the Avestan language term for "the waters", which—in its innumerable aggregate states—is represented by the Apas, the hypostases of the waters....

     but primarily addresses Aredvi Sura Anahita, who is (also) a divinity of the waters.
  • Yasht 15 is nominally to Raman
    Raman
    In the Indo-Iranian world Raman is:*one of the names of the Hindu God Rama*an important divinity in Zoroastrianism----Raman may refer to*Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Indian physicist and Nobel laureate, discoverer of Raman scattering...

     (Rama Kshathra) but praises the "good" Vayu
  • Yasht 16 is nominally to Daena
    Daena
    Daena is a Zoroastrian concept representing insight and revelation, hence "conscience" or "religion." Alternately, Daena is considered to be a divinity, counted among the yazatas.-Nomenclature:...

     "insight, revelation" but actually invokes Chista "Wisdom". Chista and Daena are very closely associated with one another.
  • Yasht 18, nominally to Arshtat
    Arshtat
    Arshtat is the Avestan language name of a Zoroastrian principle and signifies either "justice" or "honesty." As a substantive, arshtat designates the divinity Arshtat, the hypostasis of "Rectitude" and "Justice"...

    , is actually an ode to khvarenah
    Khvarenah
    ' or ' is an Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept literally denoting "glory" or "splendour" but understood as a divine mystical force or power projected upon and aiding the appointed. The neuter noun thus also connotes " royal glory," reflecting the perceived divine empowerment of kings...

    , the "(divine) glory".
  • Yasht 19, nominally to Zam
    Zam
    Zam is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of "earth", in both the sense of land and soil and in the sense of the world...

    , the "Earth", has very little to do with the earth. See Zam
    Zam
    Zam is the Avestan language term for the Zoroastrian concept of "earth", in both the sense of land and soil and in the sense of the world...

     for details.
c.  Yashts 1–4 are "mediocre, meaningless texts, composed in incoherent language; they probably result from a very late expansion of the Yašt collection."
d.  Yasht 9 to Drvaspa
Drvaspa
Drvaspa is the Avestan language name of an "enigmatic" and "strangely discreet" Zoroastrian divinity, whose name literally means "with solid horses" and which she is then nominally the hypostasis of....

 has a number of verses that are originally from Yasht 5, the hymn to the waters.
e.  Yashts 11 and 12 are respectively hymns to Sraosha
Sraosha
Sraosha is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of "Obedience" or "Observance", which is also the literal meaning of her name....

 and Rashnu
Rashnu
Rashnu is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian yazata of justice. Together with Mithra and Sraosha, Rashnu is one of the three judges who pass judgment on the souls of people after death...

, but are to some extent also an extension of Yasht 10, the hymn to Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

. Sraosha and Rashnu are both attendants of Mithra.
f.  There is also a "hidden" Yasht to the waters
Aban
Apas is the Avestan language term for "the waters", which—in its innumerable aggregate states—is represented by the Apas, the hypostases of the waters....

 at Yasna 38.
g.  Yasht 5 (in praise of Aredvi Sura Anahita) and Yasht 17 (to Ashi
Ashi
Rav Ashi was a celebrated Jewish religious scholar, a Babylonian amora, who reestablished the academy at Sura and was first editor of the Babylonian Talmud...

) share a number of verses. It is not possible to determine which of the two is the original.
h.  The Avesta has two hymns that were later titled Hom Yasht. The original is part of the Yasna
Yasna
Yasna is the name of the primary liturgical collection of texts of the Avesta as well as the name of the principal Zoroastrian act of worship at which those verses are recited. The Yasna, or Izeshne, is primarily the name of the ceremony in which the entire book is recited and appropriate...

liturgy and hence not counted as a Yasht. The other, Yasht 20, is a duplicate of the three verses of Yasna 9-11.
h.  Vayu, divinity of wind and atmosphere, is a dual divinity: part benevolent and part malign.

Further reading