ĀZŪITI-, an Avestan word (cf. Skt. āhuti-) meaning “oblation of fat.” It occurs twice in the Gāθās, once together with ižā- (Y. 49.5), once, it seems, with particular reference to the ritual offering to fire (Y. 29.7; see ātaš-zōhr). In the younger Avesta milk and āzūiti- are reverenced together as the two offerings which make the waters flow and plants grow (Y. 16.8; cf. Y. 68.2).
Āzūiti- (rendered in Pahlavi simply by čarbīh “fat”) is also used for fat in an ordinary sense, as forming, with milk and flesh, suitable food for dogs (Vd. 13.28).
The word is grammatically feminine and from it there evolved the concept of a divine being representing Fatness or Plenty. In Yasna Haptaŋhāiti she is invoked among a group of female divinities who, with the Waters, represent the sustaining, fecund aspect of creation (Y. 38.2); and in Vd. 9.53 she is venerated with Ižā and other “abstract” divinities. She does not appear, however, to have had an active role in later Zoroastrianism as attested from the Sasanian period onwards.
AirWb., cols. 343-44.
I. Gershevitch, JRAS, 1952, p. 178.
H. Humbach, IF 63, 1957, pp. 50-51.
Idem, Die Gathas des Zarathustra, Heidelberg, 1959, I, p. 82 and II, p. 17.
R. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism, London, 1961, repr. 1975, p. 34 with n. 8 p. 325.
M. Boyce, BSOAS 33, 1970, p. 32.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
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