Praise of Ingenuity, the truth of Immortals, second holiest mantra

According to the varšt-mánsar ancient commentary, aṣ̌em-vohü, the second holiest mantra of Zoroastrianism is about counsel to praise and worship aṣ̌á, “excellence, right order, truth.” 

(Avestan aṣ̌á or arthá is the “ingenuity, artistic skill,” to arrange into the “right order,” and establish the “effective rites and formulas.” aṣ̌á or arthá comes from reconstructed Proto-Indo-European *h₂er– “to fit precisely, put into right order, and proper sequence.” The ancient commentaries translate the term as ahrái: “godly virtues-powers, luminosity, authentic, and true nature of the Immortals.” In Zoroastrian vernacular ašöi refers to “excellence, goodness.” Aṣ̌em-vohü, mantra is also a wordplay on what is “superb, good, and the best,” vohü, vahištem, vahištái.) 

Accordingly, the quality of “excelling” is the true awe of Ahûrá Mazdá, 

The creation of the best existences, 

(existences here refer to astî, “what is,” in the original poetry,) 

The best state of wishes or prayers, 

(wishes refer to uštá “fulfillment of wishes” in the Avestan original, uštá comes from the root vas, “wish, desire,”) 

The great fellowship of “excellence, truth,”

Procreation of good offspring, and good family lineage, 

(offspring, lineage here refers to napát in the Avestan original. Old Norse nefi, Old English nefa, Old Persian napá, Modern Persian navæ are cognates,)  

Good passage into the realm of minö, “spirit, mind, ideas,” 

Evermore Joyfulness, 

(Again, “delight, great joy in what one desires” alludes to uštá in the Avestan original,)

Ease, comfort, and radiance of the soul, 

(Word play is common in Avestan poetry. Here uštá “fulfillment of wishes” is compared to radiance of dawn ušá, Indo European áusōs.)

Also, aṣ̌á “ingenuity, truth of Immortals” is the qualifying virtue of a ratü whose “task” is to be a wise counsel, 

(“task,” varez in Avestan, Old Norse verk, Old English weorc, English work are cognates.)   

aṣ̌em-vohü is the adoration and prayer to the ménos, “spirit, mind power” of “excellence, truth, and superb order.”


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