Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": A MAZDEAN (ZOROASTRIAN) SACRIFICE TO THE SUN


('Khorshed Yasht,' 1-5)

1. We sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.

When the light of the sun waxes warmer, when the brightness of the sun waxes warmer, then stand up the heavenly Yazatas, by hundreds and thousands, they gather together its Glory, they make its Glory, they make its Glory pass down, they pour its Glory unto the earth made by Ahura, for the increase of the world of holiness, for the increase of the creatures of holiness, for the increase of the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun.

2. And when the sun rises up, then the earth, made by Ahura, becomes clean, the running waters become clean, the waters of the wells become clean, the waters of the sea become clean, the standing waters become clean; and the holy creatures, the creatures of the Good Spirit, become clean.

3. Should not the sun rise up, then the Daevas would destroy all the things that are in the seven Karshvares, nor would the heavenly Yazatas find any way of withstanding or repelling them in the material world.

4. He who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swifthorsed Sun-to withstand darkness, to withstand the Daevas born of darkness, to withstand the robbers and bandits, to withstand the Yatus and Pairikas, to withstand death that creeps in unseen- offers it up to Ahura Mazda, offers it up to the Amesha-Spentas, offers it up to his own soul. He rejoices all the heavenly and worldly Yazatas, who offers up a sacrifice unto the undying, shining, swift-horsed Sun,

5. 1 will sacrifice unto Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, who has a thousand ears, ten thousand eyes.

I will sacrifice unto the club of Mithra, the lord of wide pastures, well struck down upon the skulls of the Daevas.

I will sacrifice unto that friendship, the best of all friendships, that reigns between the moon and the sun.


Translation by James Darmesteter, The Zend-Avesta, part II in Sacred Books of the East, XXIII (Oxford, 1883), PP- 85-7

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