Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": AHURA MAZDA TEACHES YIMA

HOW TO SAVE THE ALL THE BEST AND FAIREST IN THE WORLD


('Vivavdat,' Fargard II)

A terrible winter is approaching, a winter which is to destroy every living creature. Yima, the first man and first king, is advised to build a well-defended enclosure (vara) in which he is to keep the finest representatives of every kind of animal and plant. They live for a life of perfect happiness there.

(46) And Ahura Mazda spake unto Yima, saying,

'O fair Yima, son of Vivanghat! Upon the material world the evil winters are about to fall, that shall bring the fierce, deadly frost; upon the material world the evil winters are about to fall, that shall make snowflakes fall thick, even in aredvi deep on the highest tops of the mountains.

(52) 'And the beasts that live in the wilderness, and those that live on the tops of the mountains, and those that live in the bosom of the dale shall take shelter in underground abodes.

(57) 'Before that winter, the country would bear plenty of grass for cattle, before the waters had flooded it. Now after the melting of the snow, 0 Yima, a place wherein the footprint of a sheep may be seen will be a wonder in the world.

(61) 'Therefore make thee a Vara (enclosure), long as a riding-ground on every side of the square, and thither bring the seeds of sheep and oxen, of men, of dogs, of birds, and of red blazing fires.

Therefore make thee a Vara, long as a riding-ground on every side Of the square, to be an abode for men; a Vara, long as a riding-ground, on every side of the square, for oxen and sheep.

(65) 'There thou shalt make waters flow in a bed a hathra long; there thou shalt settle birds, on the green that never fades, with food that never fails. There thou shalt establish dwelling-places consisting of a house with a balcony, a courtyard, and a gallery.

(70) 'Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of men and women, of the greatest, best, and finest on this earth; thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every kind of cattle, of the greatest, best, and finest on this earth.

(74) 'Thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every kind of tree, Of the highest of size and sweetest of odour on this earth; thither thou shalt bring the seeds of every kind of fruit, the best of savour and sweetest of odour. All those seeds shalt thou bring, two of every kind, to be kept inexhaustible there, so long as those men shall stay in the Vara.

(80) 'There shall be no humpbacked, none bulged forward there; no impotent, no lunatic; no one malicious, no liar; no one spiteful, none jealous; no one with decayed tooth, no leprous to be pent up, nor any of the brands wherewith Angra Mainyu stamps the bodies of mortals.

(87) 'In the largest part of the place thou shalt make nine streets, six in the middle part, three in the smallest. To the streets of largest part thou shalt bring a thousand seeds of men and women to the streets of the middle part, six hundred; to the streets of smallest part, three hundred. That Vara thou shalt seal up with golden seal, and thou shalt make a door, and a window self-shining within.'

(93) Then, Yima said within himself: 'How shall I manage to make that Vara which Ahura Mazda has commanded me to make?

And Ahura Mazda said unto Yima: 'O fair Yima, son of Vivanghat! Crush the earth with a stamp of thy heel, and then knead hands, as the potter does when kneading the potter's clay.'


Translation by James Darmesteter, The Zend-Avesta part 1, in Sacred Books of the East, IV (2nd ed.; Oxford 1895), pp. 15-18

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