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Zoroastrian Pre-Islamic Texts; Zadspram
The Selections of Zadspram
Translated by: W. E. West

Chapter 4: The reason why he was unable to destroy the primeval man for thirty years

  1. This was the highest predominance of Ahriman, for he came on, with all the strength which he had, for the disfigurement of the creatures; and he took as much as one-third of the base of the sky, in a downward direction, into a confined and captive state, so that it was all dark and apart from the light, for it was itself, at the coming of the adversary, his enemy among the struggles for creation.
  2. And this is opposing the renovation of the universe, for the greatest of all the other means of the fiend, when he has come in, are of like origin and strength this day, in the sleep of the renovation, as on that when the enemy, who is fettered on coming in, is kept back.
  3. Amid all this struggling were mingled the instigations of Ahriman, crying thus: 'My victory has come completely, for the sky is split and disfigured by me with gloom and darkness, and taken by me as a stronghold; water is disfigured by me, and the earth, injured by darkness, is pierced by me; vegetation is withered by me, the ox is put to death by me, Gayomard is made ill by me, and opposed to those revolving are the glooms and planets arranged by me; no one has remained for me to take and pervert in combat except Ohrmazd, and of the earth there is only one man, who is alone, what is he able to do?'
  4. And he sends Astwihad upon him with the thousand decrepitudes (auzvarano) and diseases which are his own, sicknesses of various kinds, so that they may make him ill and cause death.
  5. Gayomard was not secured by them, and the reason was because it was a decree of appointing Time (zurvan) in the beginning of the coming in of Ahriman, that: 'Up to thirty winters I appoint Gayomard unto brilliance and preservation of life.'
  6. And his manifestation in the celestial sphere was through the forgiveness of criminals and instigators of confusion by his good works, and for that reason no opportunity was obtained by them during the extent of thirty years.
  7. For in the beginning it was so appointed that the star Jupiter (Ohrmazd) was life towards the creatures, not through its own nature, but on account of its being within the control (band) of the luminaries; and Saturn (Kevan) was death towards the creatures.
  8. Both were in their supremacy (balist) at the beginning of the creatures, as Jupiter was in Cancer on rising, that which is also called Jivan ('living'), for it is the place in which life is bestowed upon it; and Saturn was in Libra, in the great subterranean, so that its own venom and deadliness became more evident and more dominant thereby.
  9. And it was when both shall not be supreme that Gayomard was to complete his own life, which is the thirty years Saturn came not again to supremacy, that is, to Libra.
  10. And at the time when Saturn came into Libra, Jupiter was in Capricorn, on account of whose own lowness, and the victory of Saturn over Jupiter, Gayomard suffered through those very defects which carne and are to continue advancing, the continuance of that disfigurement which Ahriman can bring upon the creatures of Ohrmazd.


Chapter 5: The first battle, that of the sky with Ahriman

  1. When in like manner, and equally oppressively, as his (Ohrmazd's) creatures were disfigured, then through that same deterioration his own great glory was exhibited; for as he came within the sky he maintains the spirit of the sky, like an intrepid warrior who has put on metal armor; and the sky in its fortress spoke these hasty, deceitful words to Ahriman, thus: 'Now when thou shalt have come in I will not let thee back;' and it obstructed him until Ohrmazd prepared another rampart, that is stronger, around the sky, which is called 'righteous understanding' (ashok akasih).
  2. And he arranged the guardian spirits of the righteous who are warriors around that rampart, mounted on horses and spear in hand, in such manner as the hair on the head; and they acquired the appearance of prison guards who watch a prison from outside, and would not surrender the outer boundaries to an enemy descended from the inside.
  3. Immediately, Ahriman endeavors that he may go back to his own complete darkness, but he found no passage; and he recapitulated, with seeming misgiving, his fears of the worthiness which is to arise at the appearance of the renovation of the universe at the end of the nine thousand years.
  4. As it is said in the Gathas, thus: 'So also both those spirits have approached together unto that which was the first creation -- that is, both spirits have come to the body of Gayomard. Whatever is in life is so through this purpose of Ohrmazd, that is: So that I may keep it alive; whatever is in lifelessness is so through this purpose of the evil spirit, that is: So that I may utterly destroy it; and whatever is thus, is so until the last in the world, so that they (both spirits) come also on to the rest of mankind. And on account of the utter depravity of the wicked their destruction is fully seen, and so is the perfect meditation of him who is righteous, the hope of the eternity of Ohrmazd.'
  5. And this was the first contest, that of the sky with Ahriman.


Chapter 6: The second battle, that of the water

  1. And as he (Ahriman) came secondly to the water, together with him rushed in, on the horse Cancer, he who is the most watery Tishtar; the equally watery one, that is called Avrak, gave forth a cloud and went down in the day; that is declared as the movement of the first-comers of the creatures.
  2. Cancer became a zodiacal constellation (akhtar); it is the fourth constellation of the zodiac for this reason, because the month Tishtar is the fourth month of the year.
  3. And as Tishtar begged for assistance, Vohuman and Haoma are therefore cooperating with him in command, Burj of the waters and the water in mutual aid, and the righteous guardian spirits in keeping the peace.
  4. He was converted into three forms, which are the form of a man, the form of a bull, and the form of a horse; and each form was distinguished in brilliance for ten nights, and lets its rain fall on the night for the destruction of noxious creatures.
  5. The drops became each separately like a great bowl in which water is drawn, and as to that on which they are driven, they kill all the noxious creatures except the reptiles, who entered into the muddiness of the earth.
  6. Afterwards, the wind spirit, in the form of a man, became manifest on the earth; radiant and tall he had a kind of wooden boot (mukvo-ae-i darino) on his feet; and as when the life shall stir the body, the body is advancing with like vigor, so that spirit of the wind stirs forth the inner nature of the atmospheric wind, the wind pertaining to the whole earth is forth, and the water in its grasp is flung out from it to the sides of the earth, and its wide-formed ocean arose therefrom.
  7. It (the ocean) keeps one-third of this earth, and among its contents are a thousand sources and fountains, such as are called lakes (var); a thousand water-fountains, whose water is from the ocean, come up from the lakes and are poured forth into it.
  8. And the size of some of all the lakes and all the fountains of water is as much as a fast rider on an Arab horse, who continually compasses and canters around them, will attain in forty days, which is 1900 long leagues (parasang-i akarik), each league being at least 20,000 feet.
  9. And after the noxious creatures died, and the poison therefrom was mixed up in the earth, in order to utterly destroy that poison Tishtar went down into the ocean; and Apaosh, the demon, hastened to meet him, and at the alarm of the first contest Tishtar was in terror (pard).
  10. And he applied unto Ohrmazd, who brought such power unto Tishtar as arises through propitiation and praise and invoking by name, and they call forth such power unto Tishtar as that of ten vigorous horses, ten vigorous camels, ten vigorous bulls, ten mountains when hurled, and ten single-stream rivers when together.
  11. And without alarm he drove out Apaosh, the demon, and kept him away from the sources of the ocean.
  12. And with a cup and measuring bowl, which possessed the diligence even of a guardian spirit (farohar), he seized many more handfuls of water, and made it rain down much more prodigiously, for destruction, drops as large as men's heads and bulls' heads, great and small.
  13. And in that cloud and rain were the chastisement and beating which Tishtar and the fire Vazisht inflicted on the opposition of Apaosh; the all-deciding (vispo-vicir) fire Vazisht struck down with a club of fire, all-deciding among the malevolent (kebarano).
  14. Ten days and nights there was rain, and its darting was the shooting of the noxious creatures; afterwards, the wind drove it to the shore of the wide-formed ocean, and it is portioned out into three, and three seas arose from it; they are called the Puitik, the Kamirid, and the Gehan-bun.
  15. Of these the Puitik itself is salt water, in which is a flow and ebb; and the control of its flow and ebb is connected with the moon, and by its continual rotation, in coming up and going down, that of the moon is manifested.
  16. The wide-formed ocean stands forth on the south side as to (pavan) Alburz, and the Puitik stands contiguous to it, and amidst it is the gulf (var) of Sataves, whose connection is with Sataves, which is the southern quarter.
  17. In the activity of the sea, and in the increase and decrease of the moon, whose circuit is the whole of Iran, are the flow and ebb; of the curving tails in front of the moon two issue forth, and have an abode in Sataves; one is the updrag and one the down-drag; through the up-drag occurs the flood, and through the down-drag occurs the ebb.
  18. And Sataves itself is a gulf (var) and side arm of the wide-formed ocean, for it drives back the impurity and turbidness which come from the salt sea, when they are continually going into the wide-formed ocean, with a mighty high wind, while that which is clear through impurity goes into the Aredvisur sources of the wide-formed ocean.
  19. Besides these four there are the small seas.
  20. And, afterwards, there were made to flow from Alburz, out of its northern border, two rivers, which were the Arvand -- that is, the. Diglat, and the flow of that river was to those of the setting sun (val frod-yehevundano) -- and the Veh was the river of the first-comers to the sun; formed as two horns they went on to the ocean.
  21. After them eighteen great rivers came out from the same Alburz; and these twenty rivers, whose source is in Alburz go down into the earth, and arrive in Xwaniratha.
  22. Afterwards, two fountains of the sea are opened out for the earth, which are called the Chechast -- lake which has no cold wind, and on whose shore rests the triumphant fire [Adar] Gushnasp -- and, secondly, the Sovar which casts on its shores all turbidness, and keeps its own salt lake clear and pure, for it is like the semblance of an eye which casts out to its edges every ache and every impurity; and on account of its depth it is not reached to the bottom, for it goes into the ocean; and in its vicinity rests the beneficial fire [Adar] Burzin-Mihr.
  23. And this was the second contest, which was with the water.

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