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Home > Sacred Scriptures > The Zoroastrian Scriptures
The Zoroastrian Scriptures
The oldest Parsi scripture is known as Gatha. Later on it came to be written in Zend meaning commentary and Avesta which is the language in which it was later written. Thus it is now known as Zendavesta. Zendavesta is divided in two parts.

The first part contains the Vendidad, the Visperad and the Yasna. Vendidad is a compilation of religious laws and stories; Visperad contains litanies pertaining to sacrifice, and, Yasna also has litanies and five hymns or Gathas in a special dialect.

The second part contains prayers and is known as Khorda Avesta or `small Avesta`.

Zendavesta was a language which could not be understood by the people, then the priests of Parsi religion translated it into Pahlavi which is the ancient form of Persian language.The Zoroastrian Scriptures French, German and British scholars tried to understand the language of Gatha and Zendavesta. Slowly and gradually it dawned upon them that the language of Gatha and Zendavesta has very great kinship with Sanskrit language.

Initially the Gatha was not understood by the Westeners nut later Katyayana and Patanjai were applied and then the Gatha and Zend-Avesta came to be understood by the westerners. From this it was later assumed that once the Iranians of the Gatha and the Zendavesta and the Indo-Aryans of the Vedas formed one single race, speaking language akin to Sanskrit.

In the Zendavesta, from the very beginning deva is a general name of an evil spirit and the Zoroastrianism is against the Devas (vidaevo). As against the devas, Zoroastrianism is the religion of Asura (Ahura) or Ahura Mazda. `Mazda`.is the same as `medha`. In the older portions of the Rgveda, `asura` is used in good sense. Indra, Varuna and Agni are all called asura which means living, for asu means breath. In the later Vedic literature Devas were taken to be creatures of light who were at war with the Asuras.

The key to the Avesta is not the Pahlavi, but the Veda. The Avesta and the Veda are two echoes of one and the same voice, the reflex of one and the same thought: the Vedas there-fore, are both the best lexicon and the best commentary to the Avesta.
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