Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 5, Oxford University Press, 1897.
In the name of the creator Ohrmazd.
The Zand-akas ('Zand-knowing or tradition-informed'), which is first about Ohrmazd's original creation and the antagonism of the evil spirit, and afterwards about the nature of the creatures from the original creation till the end, which is the future existence (tanu-i pasino). 2. As revealed by the religion of the Mazdayasnians, so it is declared that Ohrmazd is supreme in omniscience and goodness, and unrivaled in splendor; the region of light is the place of Ohrmazd, which they call 'endless light,' and the omniscience and goodness of the unrivaled Ohrmazd is what they call 'revelation.' 3. Revelation is the explanation of both spirits together; one is he who is independent of unlimited time, because Ohrmazd and the region, religion, and time of Ohrmazd were and are and ever will be; while Ahriman in darkness, with backward understanding and desire for destruction, was in the abyss, and it is he who will not be; and the place of that destruction, and also of that darkness, is what they call the 'endlessly dark.' 4. And between them was empty space, that is, what they call 'air,' in which is now their meeting.
Both are limited and unlimited spirits, for the supreme is that which they call endless light, and the abyss that which is endlessly dark, so that between them is a void, and one is not connected with the other; and, again, both spirits are limited as to their own selves. 6. And, secondly, on account of the omniscience of Ohrmazd, both things are in the creation of Ohrmazd, the finite and the infinite; for this they know is that which is in the covenant of both spirits. 7. And, again, the complete sovereignty of the creatures of Ohrmazd is in the future existence, and that also is unlimited for ever and everlasting, and the creatures of Ahriman will perish at the time when the future existence occurs, and that also is eternity.
Ohrmazd, through omniscience, knew that Ahriman exists, and whatever he schemes he infuses with malice and greediness till the end; and because He accomplishes the end by many means, He also produced spiritually the creatures which were necessary for those means, and they remained three thousand years in a spiritual state, so that they were unthinking and unmoving, with intangible bodies.
The evil spirit, on account of backward knowledge, was not aware of the existence of Ohrmazd; and, afterwards, he arose from the abyss, and came in unto the light which he saw. 10. Desirous of destroying, and because of his malicious nature, he rushed in to destroy that light of Ohrmazd unassailed by fiends, and he saw its bravery and glory were greater than his own; so he fled back to the gloomy darkness, and formed many demons and fiends; and the creatures of the destroyer arose for violence.
Ohrmazd, by whom the creatures of the evil spirit were seen, creatures terrible, corrupt, and bad, also considered them not commendable (burzishnik). 12. Afterwards, the evil spirit saw the creatures of Ohrmazd; there appeared many creatures of delight (vayah), inquiring creatures, and they seemed to him commendable, and he commended the creatures and creation of Ohrmazd.
Then Ohrmazd, with a knowledge of which way the end of the matter would be, went to meet the evil spirit, and proposed peace to him, and spoke thus: 'Evil spirit! bring assistance unto my creatures, and offer praise! so that, in reward for it, ye (you and your creatures) may become immortal and undecaying, hungerless and thirstless.'
And the evil spirit shouted thus: 'I will not depart, I will not provide assistance for thy creatures, I will not offer praise among thy creatures, and I am not of the same opinion with thee as to good things. I will destroy thy creatures for ever and everlasting; moreover, I will force all thy creatures into disaffection to thee and affection for myself.' 15. And the explanation thereof is this, that the evil spirit reflected in this manner, that Ohrmazd was helpless as regarded him, therefore He proffers peace; and he did not agree, but bore on even into conflict with Him.
And Ohrmazd spoke thus: 'You are not omniscient and almighty, O evil spirit! so that it is not possible for thee to destroy me, and it is not possible for thee to force my creatures so that they will not return to my possession.'
Then Ohrmazd, through omniscience, knew that: If I do not grant a period of contest, then it will be possible for him to act so that he may be able to cause the seduction of my creatures to himself. As even now there are many of the intermixture of mankind who practice wrong more than right. 18. And Ohrmazd spoke to the evil spirit thus: 'Appoint a period! so that the intermingling of the conflict may be for nine thousand years. For he knew that by appointing this period the evil spirit would be undone.
Then the evil spirit, unobservant and through ignorance, was content with that agreement; just like two men quarreling together, who propose a time thus: Let us appoint such-and-such a day for a fight.
Ohrmazd also knew this, through omniscience, that within these nine thousand years, for three thousand years everything proceeds by the will of Ohrmazd, three thousand years there is an intermingling of the wills of Ohrmazd and Ahriman, and the last three thousand years the evil spirit is disabled, and they keep the adversary away from the creatures.
Afterwards, Ohrmazd recited the Ahunwar thus: Yatha ahu vairyo ('as a heavenly lord is to be chosen'), &c. once, and uttered the twenty-one words; He also exhibited to the evil spirit His own triumph in the end, and the impotence of the evil spirit, the annihilation of the demons, and the resurrection and undisturbed future existence of the creatures for ever and everlasting. 22. And the evil spirit, who perceived his own impotence and the annihilation of the demons, became confounded, and fell back to the gloomy darkness; even so as is declared in revelation, that, when one of its (the Ahunwar's) three parts was uttered, the evil spirit contracted his body through fear, and when two parts of it were uttered he fell upon his knees, and when all of it was uttered he became confounded and impotent as to the harm he caused the creatures of Ohrmazd, and he remained three thousand years in confusion.
Ohrmazd created his creatures in the confusion of Ahriman; first he produced Vohuman ('good thought'), by whom the progress of the creatures of Ohrmazd was advanced.
The evil spirit first created Mitokht ('falsehood'), and then Akoman ('evil thought').
The first of Ohrmazd's creatures of the world was the sky, and his good thought (Vohuman), by good procedure, produced the light of the world, along with which was the good religion of the Mazdayasnians; this was because the renovation (Frashegird) which happens to the creatures was known to him! 26. Afterwards arose Ardwahisht, and then Shahrewar, and then Spandarmad, and then Hordad, and then Amurdad.
From the dark world of Ahriman were Akoman and Andar, and then Sovar, and then Nakahed, and then Tairev and Zairik.
Of Ohrmazd's creatures of the world, the first was the sky; the second, water; the third, earth; the fourth, plants; the fifth, animals; the sixth, mankind.
On the formation of the luminaries.
Ohrmazd produced illumination between the sky and the earth, the constellation stars and those also not of the constellations, then the moon, and afterwards the sun, as I shall relate.
First he produced the celestial sphere, and the constellation stars are assigned to it by him; especially these twelve whose names are Varak (the Lamb), Tora (the Bull), Do-patkar (the Two-figures or Gemini), Kalachang (the Crab), Sher (the Lion), Khushak (Virgo), Tarazhuk (the Balance), Gazdum (the Scorpion), Nimasp (the Centaur or Sagittarius), Vahik (Capricorn), Dul (the Water-pot), and Mahik (the Fish); 3. which, from their original creation, were divided into the twenty-eight subdivisions of the astronomers, of which the names are Padevar, Pesh-Parviz, Parviz, Paha, Avesar, Beshn, Rakhvad, Taraha, Avra, Nahn, Miyan, Avdem, Mashaha, Spur, Husru, Srob, Nur, Gel, Garafsha Varant, Gau, Goi, Muru, Bunda, Kahtsar, Vaht, Miyan, Kaht. 4. And all his original creations, residing in the world, are committed to them; so that when the destroyer arrives they overcome the adversary and their own persecution, and the creatures are saved from those adversities.
As a specimen of a warlike army, which is destined for battle, they have ordained every single constellation of those 6480 thousand small stars as assistance; and among those constellations four chieftains, appointed on the four sides, are leaders. 6. On the recommendation of those chieftains the many unnumbered stars are specially assigned to the various quarters and various places, as the united strength and appointed power of those constellations. 7. As it is said that Tishtar is the chieftain of the east, Sataves the chieftain of the west, Vanand the chieftain of the south, and Haptoring the chieftain of the north. 8. The great one which they call a Gah (period of the day), which they say is the great one of the middle of the sky, till just before the destroyer came was the midday (or south) one of the five, that is, the Rapithwin.
Ohrmazd performed the spiritual Yazishn ceremony with the archangels (amahraspand) in the Rapithwin Gah, and in the Yazishn he supplied every means necessary for overcoming the adversary. 10. He deliberated with the consciousness (bod) and guardian spirits (farohar) of men, and the omniscient wisdom, brought forward among men, spoke thus: 'Which seems to you the more advantageous, when I shall present you to the world? that you shall contend in a bodily form with the fiend (druj), and the fiend shall perish, and in the end I shall have you prepared again perfect and immortal, and in the end give you back to the world, and you will be wholly immortal, undecaying, and undisturbed; or that it be always necessary to provide you protection from the destroyer?'
Thereupon, the guardian spirits of men became of the same opinion with the omniscient wisdom about going to the world, on account of the evil that comes upon them, in the world, from the fiend (druj) Ahriman, and their becoming, at last, again unpersecuted by the adversary, perfect, and immortal, in the future existence, for ever and everlasting.
On the rush of the destroyer at the creatures it is said, in revelation, that the evil spirit, when he saw the impotence of himself and the confederate (ham-dast) demons, owing to the righteous man, became confounded, and seemed in confusion three thousand years. 2. During that confusion the arch-fiends of the demons severally shouted thus: 'Rise up, thou father of us! for we will cause a conflict in the world, the distress and injury from which will become those of Ohrmazd and the archangels.'
Severally they twice recounted their own evil deeds, and it pleased him not; and that wicked evil spirit, through fear of the righteous man, was not able to lift up his head until the wicked Jeh came, at the completion of the three thousand years. 4. And she shouted to the evil spirit thus: 'Rise up, thou father of us! for I will cause that conflict in the world wherefrom the distress and injury of Ohrmazd and the archangels will arise,' 5. And she twice recounted severally her own evil deeds, and it pleased him not; and that wicked evil spirit rose not from that confusion, through fear of the righteous man.
And, again, the wicked Jeh shouted thus: 'Rise up, thou father of us! for in that conflict I will shed thus much vexation on the righteous man and the laboring ox that, through my deeds, life will not be wanted, and I will destroy their living souls (nismo); I will vex the water, I will vex the plants, I will vex the fire of Ohrmazd, I will make the whole creation of Ohrmazd vexed.' 7. And she so recounted those evil deeds a second time, that the evil spirit was delighted and started up from that confusion; and he kissed Jeh upon the head, and the pollution which they call menstruation became apparent in Jeh.
He shouted to Jeh thus: 'What is thy wish? so that I may give it thee.' And Jeh shouted to the evil spirit thus: 'A man is the wish, so give it to me.'
The form of the evil spirit was a log-like lizard's (vazak) body, and he appeared a young man of fifteen years to Jeh, and that brought the thoughts of Jeh to him.
Afterwards, the evil spirit, with the confederate demons, went towards the luminaries, and he saw the sky; and he led them up, fraught with malicious intentions. 11. He stood upon one-third of the inside of the sky, and he sprang, like a snake, out of the sky down to the earth.
In the month Frawardin and the day Ohrmazd he rushed in at noon, and thereby the sky was as shattered and frightened by him, as a sheep by a wolf. 13. He came on to the water which was arranged below the earth, and then the middle of this earth was pierced and entered by him. 14. Afterwards, he came to the vegetation, then to the ox, then to Gayomard, and then he came to fire; so, just like a fly, he rushed out upon the whole creation; and he made the world quite as injured and dark at midday as though it were in dark night. 15. And noxious creatures were diffused by him over the earth, biting and venomous, such as the snake, scorpion, frog (kalvak), and lizard (vazak), so that not so much as the point of a needle remained free from noxious creatures. 16. And blight was diffused by him over the vegetation, and it withered away immediately. 17. And avarice, want, pain, hunger, disease, lust, and lethargy were diffused by him abroad upon the ox and Gayomard.
Before his coming to the ox, Ohrmazd ground up the healing fruit, which some call 'binak,' small in water openly before its eyes, so that its damage and discomfort from the calamity (zanishn) might be less; and when it became at the same time lean and ill, as its breath went forth and it passed away, the ox also spoke thus: 'The cattle are to be created, and their work, labor, and care are to be appointed.'
And before his coming to Gayomard, Ohrmazd brought forth a sweat upon Gayomard, so long as he might recite a prayer (vaj) of one stanza (vichast); moreover, Ohrmazd formed that sweat into the youthful body of a man of fifteen years, radiant and tall. 20. When Gayomard issued from the sweat he saw the world dark as night, and the earth as though not a needle's point remained free from noxious creatures; the celestial sphere was in revolution, and the sun and moon remained in motion: and the world's struggle, owing to the clamor of the Mazendaran demons, was with the constellations.
And the evil spirit thought that the creatures of Ohrmazd were all rendered useless except Gayomard; and Astwihad with a thousand demons, causers of death, were let forth by him on Gayomard. 22. But his appointed time had not come, and he (Astwihad) obtained no means of noosing (avizidano) him; as it is said that, when the opposition of the evil spirit came, the period of the life and rule of Gayomard was appointed for thirty years. 23. After the coming of the adversary he lived thirty years, and Gayomard spoke thus: 'Although the destroyer has come, mankind will be all of my race; and this one thing is good, when they perform duty and good works.'
And, afterwards, he (the evil spirit) came to fire, and he mingled smoke and darkness with it. 25. The planets, with many demons, dashed against the celestial sphere, and they mixed the constellations; and the whole creation was as disfigured as though fire disfigured every place and smoke arose over it. 26. And ninety days and nights the heavenly angels were contending in the world with the confederate demons of the evil spirit, and hurled them confounded to hell; and the rampart of the sky was formed so that the adversary should not be able to mingle with it.
Hell is in the middle of the earth; there where the evil spirit pierced the earth and rushed in upon it, as all the possessions of the world were changing into duality, and persecution, contention, and mingling of high and low became manifest.
This also is said, that when the primeval ox passed away it fell to the right hand, and Gayomard afterwards, when he passed away, to the left hand. 2. Goshorun, as the soul of the primeval ox came out from the body of the ox, stood up before the ox and cried to Ohrmazd, as much as a thousand men when they sustain a cry at one time, thus: 'With whom is the guardianship of the creatures left by thee, when ruin has broken into the earth and vegetation is withered, and water is troubled? Where is the man of whom it was said by thee thus: I will produce him, so that he may preach carefulness?'
And Ohrmazd spoke thus: 'You are made ill, O Goshorun! you have the illness which the evil spirit brought on; if it were proper to produce that man in this earth at this time, the evil spirit would not have been oppressive in it.'
Forth Goshorun walked to the star station (payak) and cried in the same manner, and forth to the moon station and cried in the same manner, and forth to the sun station, and then the guardian spirit of Zartosht was exhibited to her, and Ohrmazd said thus: 'I will produce for the world him who will preach carefulness.' 5. Contented became the spirit Goshorun, and assented thus: 'I will nourish the creatures;' that is, she became again consenting to a worldly creation in the world.
Seven chieftains of the planets have come unto the seven chieftains of the constellations, as the planet Mercury (Tir) unto Tishtar, the planet Mars (Warharan) unto Haptoring, the planet Jupiter (Ohrmazd) unto Vanand, the planet Venus (Anahid) unto Sataves, the planet Saturn (Kevan) unto the great one of the middle of the sky, Gochihr and the thievish (dujgun) Mushpar, provided with tails, unto the sun and moon and stars. 2. The sun has attached Mushpar to its own radiance by mutual agreement, so that he may be less able to do harm (vinas).
Of Mount Alburz it is declared, that around the world and Mount Terak, which is the middle of the world, the revolution of the sun is like a moat around the world; it turns back in a circuit owing to the enclosure (var) of Mount Alburz around Terak. 4. As it is said that it is the Terak of Alburz from behind which my sun and moon and stars return again. 5. For there are a hundred and eighty apertures (rojin) in the east, and a hundred and eighty in the west, through Alburz; and the sun, every day, comes in through an aperture, and goes out through an aperture; and the whole connection and motion of the moon and constellations and planets is with it: every day it always illumines (or warms) three regions (karshwar) and a half, as is evident to the eyesight. 6. And twice in every year the day and night are equal, for on the original attack, when it (the sun) went forth from its first degree (khurdak), the day and night were equal, it was the season of spring; when it arrives at the first degree of Kalachang (Cancer) the time of day is greatest, it is the beginning of summer; when it arrives at the sign (khurdak) Tarachuk (Libra) the day and night are equal, it is the beginning of autumn; when it arrives at the sign Vahik (Capricorn) the night is a maximum, it is the beginning of winter; and when it arrives at Varak (Aries) the night and day have again become equal, as when it went forth from Varak. 7. So that when it comes back to Varak, in three hundred and sixty days and the five Gatha days, it goes in and comes out through one and the same aperture; the aperture is not mentioned, for if it had been mentioned the demons would have known the secret, and been able to introduce disaster.
From there where the sun comes on on the longest day to where it comes on on the shortest day is the east region Sawahi; from there where it comes on on the shortest day to where it goes off on the shortest day is the direction of the south regions Fradadhafshu and Widadhafshu; from there where it goes in on the shortest day to where it goes in on the longest day is the west region Arezahi; from there where it comes in on the longest day to there where it goes in on the longest day are the north regions Wourubareshti and Wourujareshti. 9. When the sun comes on, it illumines (or warms) the regions of Sawahi, Fradadhafshu, Widadhafshu, and half of Xwaniratha; when it goes in on the dark side, it illumines the regions of Arezahi, Wourubareshti, Wourujareshti, and one half of Xwaniratha; when it is day here it is night there.
On the conflict of the creations of the world with the antagonism of the evil spirit it is said in revelation, that the evil spirit, even as he rushed in and looked upon the pure bravery of the angels and his own violence, wished to rush back. 2. The spirit of the sky is himself like one of the warriors who has put on armor; he arrayed the sky against the evil spirit, and led on in the contest, until Ohrmazd had completed a rampart around, stronger than the sky and in front of the sky. 3. And his guardian spirits (farohar) of warriors and the righteous, on war horses and spear in hand, were around the sky; such-like as the hair on the head is the similitude (anguni-aitak) of those who hold the watch of the rampart. 4. And no passage was found by the evil spirit, who rushed back; and he beheld the annihilation of the demons and his own impotence, as Ohrmazd did his own final triumph, producing the renovation of universe for ever and everlasting.