The Gathas
1:54 h Zoroastrian
The Gathas are 17 Avestan hymns that are believed to have been composed by Zoroaster himself. This is in contrast to all other Zoroastrian texts, which are known to have been composed later. The Gathas form the core of the Zoroastrian liturgy, the Yasna, in which they are the oldest and most sacred sections. These hymns and a few others among the older sections of the Yasna are composed in Old (or "Gathic") Avestan language, whereas the rest of the Yasnas as well as other Zoroastrian texts are composed in younger Avestan. This translation is by L. H. Mills, and was published in 1887 as volume 31 of the Sacred Books of the East series edited by F. Max Müller.

The Gāthas.

Yasna XXIX.


(Homage to you, O Sacred Gāthas!)

Unto you (O Ahura and Asha!) the Soul of the Kine (our sacred herds and folk) cried aloud: For whom did ye create me, and by whom did ye fashion me? On me comes the assault of wrath, and of violent power, the blow of desolation, audacious insolence, and (thievish) might. None other pasture-giver have I than you, therefore do ye teach me good (tillage) for the fields (my only hope of welfare)!

Ahura speaks.

Upon this the Creator of the Kine (the holy herds) asked of Righteousness: How (was) thy guardian for the Kine (appointed) by thee when, as having power (over all her fate), ye made her?(In what manner did ye secure) for her, together with pasture, a cattle-chief who was both skilled and likewise energetic? Whom did ye select as her (life’s) master who might hurl back the fury of the wicked?

Asha answers.

To Him the (Divine Righteousness) answered with his sanctity.(Great was our perplexity); a chieftain who war capable of smiting back (their fury), and who was himself without hate (was not to be obtained by us); among such things as these, those things are not to be known (by beings such as we) which are the influences which approach (and move) the lofty fires (revealing the favour and the will of God).

Of beings He is the mightiest to whom those who have performed their actions approach with invocations.(He has no need to ask!)

Zarathuśtra intervenes.

The Great Creator (is himself) most mindful of the uttered indications which have been fulfilled beforehand hitherto in the deeds of demon-gods and (good or evil) men, and of those which shall be fulfilled by them hereafter. He Ahura is the discerning arbiter; so shall it be to us as He shall will!

Therefore it is that we both, my soul and (the soul) of the mother Kine,(are) making our supplications for the two worlds to Ahura, and with hands stretched out in entreaty, when (we pray to the Great Creator with questions in our doubt;(and He will answer).

Not for the righteous liver, not for the thrifty (tiller of the earth), shall there be destruction together with the wicked!


Upon this the Lord, the Great Creator, He who understands the mysterious grace by His insight, spake thus. Not in this manner is a spiritual master found for us, nor a chieftain moved by Righteousness and appointed (in its spirit); therefore Thee have I named (as such a head) to the diligent tiller of the ground!

The Ameshōspends.

Mazda has created the inspired Word-of-reason which is a Mãthra of fatness (for the offering), the (Divine) Righteousness consenting with Him in his deed. Food he has prepared for the Kine and for the eaters, He the one bountiful with his (saving) doctrine; but whom hast Thou, endowed with the Good Mind, who may give forth those (doctrines) by word of mouth to mortals?


This man is found for me here who alone has hearkened to our enunciations, Zarathuśtra Spitama! Our mighty and completed acts of grace he desires to enounce for us, for (Me), the Great Creator and for Righteousness; wherefore I will give him the good abode (and authoritative place) of such an one as speaks!

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