Zarathushtra - (Zoroaster)

 

 

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Ahuna Vairya

 

Yatha ahu, vairiyo
atha ratush ashat chit hacha

Vangheush dazda manangho
shyaothananam angheush Mazdai

Khashathremcha Ahurai a
Yim drigubyo dadat vastarem

 

The Ahuna Vairya (Ahunavar, or yatha Ahu vairiyo) prayer has been hailed as the most fundamental of all prayers of Zoroastrians. It is claimed to declare the credo of Zoroastrianism, and show us the way one should live.

Whether this is the case or not, it is debatable, however, it is the second most highly repeated prayer in the Zoroastrian scripture, after the "Ashem Vohu" prayer.

Most translations of the Ahuna Vairya prayer focus on its communal and collective aspect, considering it to be a prayer about leadership and community building; about who should be chosen by the people and how that person can receive divine authority and blessing to teach and lead the people.

Below are some translations illustrating this point:

Literal translation:

Just as the Sovereign-Lord, all-powerful
     So the Spiritual-Teacher by reason of store of Asha
The gifts of Vohu Mano
     For works, for the Lord of Creation
And the Xshathra of Ahura, indeed
     Upon who becomes a Shepherd to the meek.

Free translation:

As lords-Temporal work their will on Earth,
     So by their gathered Asha Teachers Wise;
The gifts of Vohu-Man' come as reward
     For deeds done out of Love for Lord of Life;
Ahura's Xshathra surely cometh down
     On him who serves with zeal his brother meek.

Irach J.S. Taraporewala

 

Both the lord and the leader are to be chosen because of their righteousness. These two appointments are made with good mind, so that the acts of life are done for the Wise One, and the dominion of God is well established, in which the chosen person becomes the Rehabilitator of the rightful who are oppressed.

Ali A. Jafarey

 

 

Just as God is to be admired, so the prophet on account of his righteousness. Benefit of Good Mind is for those who work in the name of God. i.e. selflessly. That man develops moral courage who helps his fellow beings.

T. R. Sethna

 

O living God, even as you work your will (beyond the limits of Time and Space) so may the prophet (ratu) act by following Asha, your Truth, your Divine Law, for the love of Asha.

The riches of Vohu Mana, the Good Mind, come to him who dedicates every act of his earthly life to Mazda, and who strives to establish the Sovereignty of Ahura in the world by loving and serving the "Drighu", the homeless, the dispossessed, the afflicted of the earth.

Piloo Nanavutty

 

As the ruler-aspect of God (Ahu) is powerful through His will, so is also the teacher-aspect (Ratu) co-equal through righteousness. Those who dedicate their good deeds in this world to God deserve the benefit of Benevolent Mind. Those who offer shelter to the poor in this world would achieve authority in the Kingdom of God.

Khurshed Dabu

 

As the Ruler of the Universe is absolute in His Will, so is the spiritual teacher supreme through His purity (Asha).

The gift of Vohuman (i.e. good intellect, clear understanding and sharp memory) is for the person who fulfils the wishes of God.

Whoever helps the needy, shall receive authority from Ahura Mazda.

Mobed Firuz Azargoshasb

 

The next translation which is by Mobed Fariborz Shahzadi puts less emphasis on the authority issues, but maintains the emphasis on the communal aspect of this prayer:

 

Just as God is powerful, so is Asho Zartosht,
because of His power of Asha (
righteousness/truth).

The gift of Vohuman (the good mind)
is for the person who serves Ahura Mazda (
God).

Any person who helps the needy
shall receive help from Ahura Mazda (
God).

Mobed Fariborz Shahzadi

 

 

While this communal and leadership aspect of the Ahuna Vairya prayer is quite valid and important, on its own, it would not be sufficient to serve as a fundamental credo and a way of living.

What if we look upon this prayer as a very personal credo, one that applies not only to our relationships with others, but also to our relationship with ourselves and our Creator. how would it look then, and what would it mean?

The following may act as a free translation which personalizes this prayer, as well as in a very general way turns it into a life credo:

Just as the righteous Creator of the world is powerful, in the same way any person will be powerful according to his/her righteousness.

The gift of the Good Mind is both the effect and the cause of serving God's Will.

One who dedicates ones life to serving the needs of the world, will have the help of God's powers and glory.

 

In other words, this prayer is in three parts:

  1. The Law:         Model after God.
  2. The Purpose:   Serve God's Will.
  3. The Way:        Godliness through service.

In more detail we may explain the Ahuna Vairya prayer as:

 

1. The Law of Life:

We should model our ways after our Creator. God who is the Righteous Creator of the world is all powerful. Any pious person will also be powerful according to his/her level of righteousness.

 

2. The Purpose of Life:

Those who choose to serve God's Will, will have the gift of the "Good Mind", and those who tap into their "Good Mind" will choose to serve God's Will.

 

3. The Way of Living:

Those who choose to serve God's Will, will do so by doing what needs to be done in this world, by serving the needy, both human and other creations. And by doing so, they wont need to just rely on their own resources because they will benefit and receive the help of God's powers and glory.

Shahriar Shahriari
February 1997,
Vancouver, Canada.


Also see the following for another interpretation of this prayer and others:

 


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