Holy Denkard, Book V, Chapter 2 on Parentage, birth, and life of Zartosht. Future apostles

Holy Denkard, Book V, Chapter 2 on Parentage, birth, and life of Zartosht. Future apostles:


6. [1] Furthermore, God, in order to give joy to the good creation, had, from the beginning of the world, created, in pure and luminous essence, the holy Zartosht as an associate of the Amahraspands, endowed with all their good qualities, thoughtful, and fully attentive. And his essence was made in the Spiritual World fitted for (the task of) proselytism, and of propagating the religion throughout the world. And at the right time he was sent down to the world as a man, invested with the earthly body. At that time (i.e. when the pure Spirit of Zartosht entered this tenement of clay), a superior kind of light and effulgence began to flash forth from his house, through the medium of a star (in the heavens). And he was born of his father Pourushasp — a descendant of (the Peshdadian King) Jamshed — and of his mother Dukdaub. Further, when he (the prophet) was born, there was a light like the blaze of fire-a glare and a twilight –irradiating from his house in all directions, high in the air, and to great distance on the earth, as a token of his greatness and exaltation. And there (in the house of the holy Zartosht) were (gathered together) the sorcerers, the paris [i.e. pairikas, fairies], the teachers of the religion of Ahriman, those that turned their eyes and ears away from the Divine Religion, and other evil-doers, desiring to do him mortal injury at his birth and in his infancy, and to cause harm (to his pure soul). So much so that the evil doers collected there wanted by any means to make his soul inefficacious through death, or to disable him otherwise, and to obscure the dawning intellect in him. And for the purpose of contriving the destruction of Zartosht, they sent (to the house of Pourushasp), in the forms of wolves and other beasts of prey, such of Pourushasp’s relatives as were addicted to sorcery and devil-worship. In reference to this it is mentioned (in the religious books) that as (the Amahraspand) Vohuman had an abode in the heart of Zartosht, the latter laughed at the time of birth. And when he (the holy one) went into the presence of Ohrmazd to crave for an insight into and to accept the faith, Ahriman, and many devils, and evil spirits came to him to frighten him, to trouble him, and, by fighting with him, to crush his aspirations about the religion. But he defied them all, and they retired routed and overcome by that weapon — the chanting of the sacred Avesta (of the Ahunwar), embodying the sublime goodness pleasing to Ohrmazd.2
And he won the final victory in the cause of God. And he became worthy of the manifest good recompense, and a wielder of the power pertaining to God’s Dominion. And he showed to the people the way to mar the blemish-giver, (Ahriman), and he kept in progress the work pertaining to the final triumph of God. He destroyed the material frames in which the evil spirits before his time used to move about openly. And thus harm was done to their bodies (i.e. their physical manifestations in this world), and the evil spirits being enfeebled lost their power of visibility. And owing to the holy Zartosht they became helpless, vanquished, despairing of misleading (the people), and incapable of assuming a visible shape.3

7. When (the holy Zartosht) after having thoroughly received his mission from Ohrmazd went to the Kayanian King Vishtasp for the purpose of winning over the people of the world to the belief in the religion, for the sake of their own happiness, he wrought many glorious deeds of smiting the evil spirits:4 and he enlightened the mind of Vishtasp by unfolding to him many of the sublime mysteries. And he brought his august person into unison with the good of the people of the created world; while with his own animated body he withstood the antagonism of the various sorcerers, devil-worshippers, devil-seekers, demoniacal impostors, and stubborn fighters.
8. To him came all wise men versed in the prognostication of events from the twelve zodiacal signs, that is those who were called astrologers; (they came) with the evident desire (of attaining to truth), sent by the rulers of Khwaniras [= Xwaniratha] to put to him certain questions. He convinced them by explanatory arguments, by making everything clear to them with logical evidence exoteric and esoteric, and by illustrating the same with similar tenets from the previous religion of (king) Jamshed. Moreover, Vohuman (the Amahraspand) connected with him, Ardwahisht, Adar, and other good Heavenly Yazads, becoming manifest, finally came to the court of King Vishtasp to testify to (the truth of) the religion of Ohrmazd, to instill (into the minds of men) the comprehension of it, to express their views about it, and to expound it.5
9. Further, debaters of the highest class, who entered into discussion with the prophet Zartosht, acknowledged him, from the way in which he confuted their contradictory arguments, to be (a possessor) of transcendent qualities and a giver of wonderfully excellent judgments.6 In the same way the holy Zartosht, by means of his glorious deeds came safely out from all conflicts. In him were manifest all the traits and characteristics of the prophets and of the glorious messengers (the Yazads). And owing to this supreme testimony and evidence, the people acknowledged him to be the prophet of God.

(English translation by Peshotan Dastur Behramjee Sanjana, 1900)

2. See an account of it in the holy text, Vendidad 19.1-10.
3. Before the time of Zartosht, evil spirits used to come into this world in the form of men, and this power of assuming human form was destroyed by Zartosht by means of the glory of his prophetic mission. The evil spirits were thus disabled from coming into this world in visible shapes. This is borne out by Yasna 9.9.]
4. That is he performed in the presence of King Vishtasp and his courtiers, for the purpose of convincing them of the truth of the Mazdayasnian Zoroastrian Religion, many sublime miracles and stupendous marvels, superhuman, awe-inspiring, and influenced by spiritual agencies.
5. See the Srosh Yasht for the night, 10.23 and 24.
6. Changranghas and Vias, two Hindu savants had come to the court of Vishtasp to discuss religious subjects with the prophet. Ere the pandits announced what questions they had to ask, the holy Zartosht, who had already got the questions and their answers written out beforehand, got the same read out to them by Maidok-mah. Changranghas was so much struck with this that he apologized to the prophet Zartosht, and adopted the Mazdayasnian Zartoshti religion. For authority relating to this see the Persian Changranghas Nameh of Dastur Zartosht Behram, wherein these lines occur: (Persian quote omitted).]


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