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The texts became available to European scholarship comparatively late, thus the study of Zoroastrianism in Western countries dates back to only the 18th century. He published a set of French translations in , based on translations provided by a Parsi priest. Anquetil-Duperron's translations were at first dismissed as a forgery in poor Sanskrit , but he was vindicated in the s following Rasmus Rask 's examination of the Avestan language A Dissertation on the Authenticity of the Zend Language , Bombay, Rask also established that Anquetil-Duperron's manuscripts were a fragment of a much larger literature of sacred texts.
Other large Avestan language manuscript collections are those of the British Museum 'L'-series , the K. In its present form, the Avesta is a compilation from various sources, and its different parts date from different periods and vary widely in character. Only texts in the Avestan language are considered part of the Avesta.
According to the Denkard , the 21 nask s books mirror the structure of the word-long Ahuna Vairya prayer: each of the three lines of the prayer consists of seven words. Correspondingly, the nask s are divided into three groups, of seven volumes per group. Originally, each volume had a word of the prayer as its name, which so marked a volume's position relative to the other volumes.
Only about a quarter of the text from the nask s has survived until today. The contents of the Avesta are divided topically even though the organization of the nask s is not , but these are not fixed or canonical. Some scholars prefer to place the categories in two groups, the one liturgical, and the other general.
The following categorization is as described by Jean Kellens see bibliography , below. It consists of 72 sections called the Ha-iti or Ha. The 72 threads of lamb's wool in the Kushti , the sacred thread worn by Zoroastrians, represent these sections. The central portion of the Yasna is the Gathas , the oldest and most sacred portion of the Avesta, believed to have been composed by Zarathushtra Zoroaster himself.
The Gathas are structurally interrupted by the Yasna Haptanghaiti "seven-chapter Yasna " , which makes up chapters 35—42 of the Yasna and is almost as old as the Gathas , consists of prayers and hymns in honour of Ahura Mazda, the Yazatas , the Fravashi , Fire, Water, and Earth. The younger Yasna , though handed down in prose, may once have been metrical, as the Gathas still are. The Visparad is subdivided into 23 or 24 kardo sections that are interleaved into the Yasna during a Visperad service which is an extended Yasna service.
The Visperad collection has no unity of its own, and is never recited separately from the Yasna. The Vendidad includes all of the 19th nask , which is the only nask that has survived in its entirety.
The Zend Avesta, Part I (SBE04) James Darmesteter, tr. , at sacred-texts. com. The Zend Avesta, Part I (SBE04) James Darmesteter, tr. of Mohammed overthrew the Sassanian dynasty 1, and which has been called Dualism, or Mazdeism.
The text consists of 22 Fargard s, fragments arranged as discussions between Ahura Mazda and Zoroaster. The first fargard is a dualistic creation myth , followed by the description of a destructive winter on the lines of the Flood myth. The second fargard recounts the legend of Yima. The remaining fargard s deal primarily with hygiene care of the dead in particular [ fargard 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19] as well as disease and spells to fight it [7, 10, 11, 13, 20, 21, 22].
Fargard s 4 and 15 discuss the dignity of wealth and charity, of marriage and of physical effort, and the indignity of unacceptable social behaviour such as assault and breach of contract , and specify the penances required to atone for violations thereof.
The Vendidad is an ecclesiastical code, not a liturgical manual, and there is a degree of moral relativism apparent in the codes of conduct. The Vendidad ' s different parts vary widely in character and in age. Some parts may be comparatively recent in origin although the greater part is very old.
The Vendidad, unlike the Yasna and the Visparad, is a book of moral laws rather than the record of a liturgical ceremony. However, there is a ceremony called the Vendidad , in which the Yasna is recited with all the chapters of both the Visparad and the Vendidad inserted at appropriate points. This ceremony is only performed at night. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end.
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