ARDWAHIŠT (ORDĪBEHEŠT) YAŠT, the third in the series of Avestan hymns addressed to individual divinities. It is devoted to one of the greatest of the Zoroastrian Aməša Spəntas, Aša Vahišta (see Ardwahišt); yet it appears to be one of those yašts composed at a late date, presumably in an attempt to bring the number of these hymns into closer correspondence with the number of the divinities of the month (see Sīrōza). The evidence for its lateness is three-fold. First, the yašt is not among those listed in the Avestan nask Bagān Yašt, according to the summary of this nask given in the Pahlavi Dēnkard (8.15). Then the language in which it is composed is very degenerate Avestan; and finally the contents are trite and appear to have been patched together. Only the first four verses are devoted to Aša and to a glorification of the prayer in his honor, the Ašəm vohū (q.v.). The rest of the hymn consists of repetitive phrases, incantational in effect, in praise of another great prayer, the Airyə̄mā īšyō (see Airyaman išya). This prayer is addressed to the yazata of healing, Airyaman (q.v.), who is a helper of Aša, and it is here declared to be the most potent of all utterances against sickness. The Ardwahišt Yašt is itself accordingly recited in rituals to cure the sick.



E. W. West, SBE XXXVII, pp. xlv, 34-5.

J. Darmesteter, Le Zend-Avesta II, Paris, 1892, pp. xxvii-xxviii.

K. Geldner in Geiger und Kuhn, Grundr. Ir. Phil. II, pp. 19-20.

H. Lommel, Die Yästs des Awesta, Göttingen, 1927, pp. 1-2.

(M. Boyce)

Originally Published: December 15, 1986

Last Updated: August 11, 2011

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