Introductory poem to the poetic gathas

Copyright: @2013 Ardeshir Farahmand. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Bounteous, full of goodness; (been) the spirit/mind, voice/words, endeavors

Of excellent, virtuous Zarathushtra

First and foremost through the “auspicious, splendid immortals;” grasp, understand the sacred verse/gathas

Regards to you brilliant songs/gathas


ýáním manö, ýáním vačö,  ýáním shyaöthanem

Yán mínishnö, ud yán göbishnö, ud yán künishnö

Bounteous, full of goodness; (been) the spirit/mind, voice/words, endeavors

Ýáním from ýán; “yield, gain, bounty, abundance”

Manö; “mind, spirit, intention, passion”

Vačö; “voice, word, speech”

Shyaöthanem from shyaö; “to come to pass, action, endeavor,” Old English scēon, Old Frisian schia, German geschehen, schehen: Farsi shodan comes from the same root.

ashaónö zarathushtrahæ,

büd í aharübö Zarathúshtrö, [mínishnö ud göbishnö ud künishnö í frárünö ráí, pah nádükí arjáník büd]

Of excellent, virtuous Zarathushtra (his spirit/mind or intention, his speech and action been always in forward progress, delightful and remarkable)

Ashaónö from asha/arta; “excellent, virtuous, luminous” It is the same as Greek arête and aristos.  The word gives the sense of “the best that can be” or the notion of “becoming ever better and better.”  The ancient commentary translates it as ashö or aharübö, “excellent, of ahuric virtues.” Early Western Scholars have translated ashö erroneously as “holy,” of course not in its original pre-christian sense of “healthy, vibrant;” but holy as “consecrated, set apart, wholly other.”  In the original; ashaónö means only “excellent, virtuous, luminous, ahuric, brilliant.”

ferá ameshá speñtá gátháv géurváin

Fráz ameshö-spendánö gásánö girift, [kü pah sti fráz dáshtö]

First and foremost through the “auspicious, splendid immortals;” grasp, understand the sacred verse/gathas

Ferá; “first, foremost, forefront”

Ameshá or amertá; “immortal, deathless, indestructible”

Speñtá; “auspicious, splendid, bright” Lithuanian šventas, Proto-Baltic-Slavic swęntŭs, Old Prussian swentas; the Ancient Commentaries translate Speñtá as fzünik. Middle Persian fzünik comes from Avestan fshü. Compare with the rune fehu, the rune of prosperity. It has the exact same meaning in Middle Persian “prosperous, of good fortune, flourishing.”

Gáthá; “song, sacred verse” Lithuanian giedoti “to sing”

Géurváin; “grab, grasp understand”

nemö vé gátháv ashaönísh

Níyáyishnö avö shümá, gásánö í aharübö!

Regards to you brilliant songs, gathas     

Nemö; “turning the focus of mind/thoughts onto something, reflection, giving regard to,” Compare Greek noesis, “thought, mental focus” also Greek neuein, Latin numen from nuere “to nod,” Proto Indo European neu; “nod, give regard to, assent” Persian namáyesh, nemu-dan “beholding, looking at, exhibit to view” and Persian namaz come both from the same ancient Avestan root in the poetic gathas.

Vé; French vous “you”

The introductory verse is a short but profound verse. It has a poetic style like that of haptan or the seven chapters. It points out that the genuine understanding and grasp of the poetic gathas is through “the auspicious, splendid immortals” the self manifestations or aspects of the brilliant thoughts of mazda. Hence, the gathas in each of their inspired verses are a reflection on mazda’s genial mind/spirit, a display of ahuric virtues, formulas and powers, and a bringing out of divine possibilities to become godlike.


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1 Response to Introductory poem to the poetic gathas

  1. Behram Deboo says:

    dear Ardeshir: it has been more than 30 yrs that I came in contact with 2 Lithuanians who came to the Vedanta center. From them I learnt some words and sentences. we had a Lithuanian girl who was working in our clinic. she was surprised when I greeted her in her language. since then I bought the books on the History and language. In Lith, God is Dievas, holy is Shventaas. Saint is Shventasis (long i). Spenta could be translated as holy. I have some books on Indo-European languages. Your translation is good but sometimes is carried away.

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