MANTHRA SPENTA (Holy Spells) An Anthology Hymns of Avesta selected and rearranged By Ali Shahbazyar Photography By Ali Shahbazyar; Pinhole camera: 4.5 & 6.9 Inches format. Nikon D800, iphone 4s, Hasselblad. Design By Ali Shahbazyar Copyright Â© 2014
Cover photo: Mulholland Pyramid.
Based on Translations of James Darmesteter And L.H. Mills Oxford University Press 1880-1887 And Maneckji Nusservanji Dhalla, Ph.D. High Priest of the Parsis of Northwestern India New York 1914
‘ARZHANG OF THE TREES’ The word Arzhang has a unique story throughout the history of Iran. The Artist-Prophet Mani in 3rd century Persia, tried to pass his understanding of life and the universe to his people through painting as well as in writing. Even though the anonymous people of history burned the sacred art works in fire, we know that Mani’s drawings were the pages of a book named Arzhang, meaning worthy. I would like to name these Images after Arzhang. What I try to achieve as a photographer, with my pinhole camera, is to expose the soul of my subject. I see it as a perfect harmony and balance between light, color and shapes, as well as its inertness and motion as it stands in the wind. I used a pinhole camera to create these images for its unique quality and function such as long exposure times and the infinite depth of field. Since this is a lens-less camera, there is no real medium between the subject and the film, or in other words, Nature and it’s Image.
â€œThere is a short and unaligned storyline through the entire Zend Avesta in which that the prophetâ€™s journey is in progress. I have selected and organized some fragments referring to the order and the nature of life; from birth to the battle.â€? -Ali Shahbazyar
-II invoke the glory of the Aryan regions. I invoke the glory of the bright Yima, the great shepherd. Offer up the sacrifice to the holy Sraosha, that the holy Sraosha may smite down the fiend Kunda, who is drunken without drinking. He will fall upon the men of Druj, the slothful ones, the wicked, Daeva-worthippers, who live in sin. ‘I invoke the Kara Fish, who lives beneath waters in the bottom of the deep lakes.’ ‘I invoke the ancient and sovereign Merezu (Milky Way), the greatest seat of battle in the creation of the two spirits.’ ‘I Invoke the seven bright Sravah (Big Dipper) with their sons and their flocks.’ They run about to and fro, their minds waver to and fro, Angra Mainyu the deadly, the daeva of the daevas; Indra the daeva, Sauru the daeva, Naunghaithya the daeva, Taurvi and Zairi, Aeshma of the wounding spear, Akatasha the daeva, Zaurva, baneful to the fathers, Buiti the daeva, Driwi the daeva, Daiwi the daeva, Kasvi the daeva, Paitisha the most daeva-like amongst the daevas. And he said, the guileful, the evildoing daeva, Angra Mainyu the deadly: “What ! let the wicked, evil-doing daevas gather together at the head of the Arezura (Hell).” They rush, they run away, the wicked, evil-doing daevas; they run away with shouts, the wicked, evil-doing daevas; they run away casting the evil eye, the wicked evil-doing daevas; “Let us gather together at the head of Arezura ! “For he is just born the holy Zarathustra, in the house of Pourushaspa. How can we procure his death? He is the stroke that fells the fiends: he is a counter-fiend to the fiends; he is a Druj to the Druj. Down are the daeva-worshippers, the Nasu made by the daeva, the false-speaking Lie ! “ They run away, they rush away, the wicked, evil-doing daevas, into the depths of the dark, horrid world of hell.
-IIFrom the region of the north, from the regions of the north, Forth rushed Angra Mainyu, the deadly, the Daeva of the Daevas. And thus spake the guileful one, he the evil-doer Angra Mainyu, the deadly: Druj, rush down upon him! Destroy the holy Zarathustra! The Druj came rushing along, the demon Buiti, the unseen death, the hell-born. Zarathustra chanted aloud the Ahuna-Vairya: ‘The will of the Lord is the law of holiness; the riches of Vohu Mano shall be given to him who works in this world for Mazda, and wields according to the will of Ahura the power he gave to him to relieve the poor. And the Druj, the guileful one, said unto Angra Mainyu: ‘O baneful Angra Mainyu! I see no way to kill him, so great is the glory of the holy Zarathustra.’ Zarathustra saw all this from within his soul: ‘The evil-doing Daevas and Drvants thought he take counsel together for my death.’ Up Started Zarathustra, forward went Zarathustra, unshaken by the evil spirit, by the hardness of his malignant riddles, swinging stones in his hand, stones as big as a house, which he obtained from the maker, Ahura Mazda, he the holy Zarathustra. ‘At what on this wide, rounded earth, whose ends lie afar, at what dost thou swing (those stones), thou who standest by the river Darega upon the mountains, in the mansion of Pourusaspa?’ Thus Zarathustra answered Angra Mainyu: ‘O evil-doer, Angra Mainyu! I will smite the creation of the daeva; I will smite the Nasu, a creature of the daeva; I will smite the Pairika Knathaiti, till the fiend-smiter Saoshyant come up to life out of the lake Kasava, from the region of the dawn, from the regions of the dawn.’ Again to him said the guileful one, the maker of the evil world, Angra Mainyu: ‘Do not destroy my creatures, O holy Zarathustra ! Thou art the son of Pourusaspa, just born of thy mother. Renounce the good law of the worshipers of Mazda, and thou shalt gain such a boon as the Zohak, the murderer, gained, the ruler of the nations.’
Thus in answer to him said Spitama Zarathustra: ‘No! Never will I renounce the good law of the worshipers of Mazda, though my body, my life, my soul should burst.’ Again to him said the guileful one the Angra Mainyu: ‘By whose Word wilt thou strike, by whose word wilt thou repel, by whose weapon will the good creatures (strike and repel) my creation who am Angra Mainyu?’ Thus in answer to him said Spitama Zarathustra: The sacred mortar, the sacred cup, the Haoma, the words taught by Mazda, these are my weapons, my best weapons ! By this Word will I strike, by this Word will I repel, by this weapon the good creatures (will strike and repel thee), O Angra Mainyu ! To me Spenta Mainyu gave it, he gave it to me in Zrvan Akarana the boundless Time; to me the Amesha Spentas, the All-ruling, the all-beneficent gave it.’ Zarathustra asked Ahura Mazda: ‘ O Ahura Mazda, thou Holy One! [he was sitting by the Darega, [a river] on the mountain, praying to Ahura Mazda, to the good Vohu Mano, to Asha Vahista, khshathra Vairya, and Spenta Armaiti;] ‘How shall I make the world free from that Druj, from the evil doer Angra Mainyu? Ahura Mazda answered. ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! The good law of Mazda. ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! The Amesha Spentas who rule over the seven Karshvares of the earth. ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! Thwasha The sovereign Heaven, Zrvan Akarana the boundless Time, and Vayu, Whose action is most high. ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! The powerful Wind, made by Mazda, and Spenta Armaiti, the fair daughter of Ahura Mazda. ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! My Fravashi, who am Ahura Mazda whose soul is the holy Word! ‘Invoke, O Zarathustra! This creation of mine, who am Ahura Mazda.’ And Zarathustra said: ‘I invoke the holy creation of Ahura Mazda.’ ‘I invoke the most glorious holy Word.’ ‘I invoke the Thwasha The sovereign Heaven, Zrvan Akarana the boundless Time, and Vayu whose action is most high. ‘I invoke the mighty Wind made by Mazda, and Spenta Armaiti; the fair daughter of Ahura Mazda. Zarathustra asked Ahura Mazda: ‘O Mazda ! With what manner of sacrifice shall I worship and forward this creation of Ahura Mazda?’ Ahura Mazda answered: ‘Go, O Spitama Zarathustra ! towards that tree that is beautiful, high-growing, and mighty amongst the high-growing trees, and say thou these words: “Hail to thee O good, holy tree, made by Mazda ! §
-IIIZarathustra asked Ahura Mazda: ‘O Ahura Mazda, thou Holy One ! ‘What of the Holy Word is the strongest? What is the most victorious? What is the most glorious? What is the most effective? Ahura Mazda answered: ‘Our Name, O Spitama Zarathustra! Who are the Amesha-Spentas, that is the strongest part of the Holy Word; that is the most victorious; that is the most glorious; that is the most effective; ‘My name is the One of whom questions are asked, O holy Zarathustra! ‘My second name is the Herd-giver. ‘My third name is the Strong One. ‘My fourth name is Perfect Holiness. ‘My fifth name is All good things created by Mazda, the offspring of the holy principle. ‘My sixth name is Understanding; ‘My seventh name is the One with understanding. ‘My eighth name is Knowledge; ‘My ninth name is the One with knowledge. ‘My tenth name is Weal; ‘My eleventh name is He who produces weal. ‘My twelfth name is AHURA the Lord. ‘My thirteenth name is the most Beneficent. ‘My fourteenth name is He whom there is no harm.‘My fifteenth name is the unconquerable One. ‘My sixteenth name is He who makes the true account. ‘My seventeenth name is the All-seeing One. ‘My eighteenth name is the healing One. ‘My nineteenth name is the Creator. ‘My twentieth name is MAZDA the All-knowing One. ‘Offer up a sacrifice, O Spitama Zarathustra! Unto this spring of mine, Ardvi Sura Anahita . . . .
-IV‘Unto her did the holy Zarathustra offer up a sacrifice in the Airyena Vaegah, by the good river Daitya; with the Haoma and meat, with the Baresma, with the wisdom of the tongue, with holy spells, with the speech, with the deeds, with the libations, and with the rightly-spoken words. ‘He begged of her a boon, saying: “ Grant me this, O good, most beneficent Ardvi Sura Anahita! That I may bring the son of Aurvat-aspa, the valiant Kavi Vistaspa, to think according to the law, to speak according to the law, to do according to the law.” ‘Ardvi Sura Anahita granted him that boon, as he was offering up libations, giving gifts, sacrificing, and entreating that she would grant him that boon. And Zarathustra spake unto king Vistaspa, saying: ‘bless thee, O man! O lord of the country! With the living of a good life, of an exalted life, of a long life. May thy men live long! May thy women live long! May sons be born unto thee of thy own body !
‘Mayest thou have a son like Gamaspa, and may he bless thee as (Gamaspa blessed) Vistaspa (the lord) of the county ! ‘Mayest thou be most beneficent, like Mazda ! ‘Mayest thou be fiend-smiting, like Thraetaona ! ‘Mayest thou be strong, like Gamaspa ! ‘Mayest thou be well-armed, like Takhma-Urupa !
‘Mayest thou be glorious , like Yima khshaeta, the good shepherd ! ‘Mayest thou be instructed with a thousand senses, like [Azi Dahaka,(Zohak)] of the evil law ! ‘Mayest thou be awful and most strong, like Keresaspa ! ‘Mayest thou be a wise chief of assemblies, like Urvakhshaya ! ‘Mayest thou be beautiful of body and without fault, like Syavarshana ! ‘Mayest thou be rich in cattle, like Athwyanide ! ‘Mayest thou be rich in horses, like Pourus-aspa ! ‘Mayest thou be holy, like Zarathustra Spitama !
‘Mayest thou be swift-horsed, like the Sun ! ‘Mayest thou be resplendent, like the Moon ! ‘Mayest thou be hot-burning, like Fire ! ‘Mayest thou have piercing rays, like Mithra ! ‘Mayest thou be freed from sickness and death, like king Husravah ! ‘May it happen unto thee according to my blessing !
“Let us embrace and propagate the good thoughts, good words, and good deeds that have been done and that will be done here and elsewhere, that we may be in the number of the good.”
Greenlandâ€™s early morning. 2012.
‘I invoke the ancient and sovereign Merezu (Milky Way), the greatest seat of battle in the creation of the two spirits.’ ‘I Invoke the seven bright Sravah (Big Dipper) with their sons and their flocks.'
Tehranâ€™s fire temple, 2012.
‘I invoke the glory of the Aryan regions.’ ‘I invoke the glory of the bright Yima, the great shepherd.' ‘I invoke the Kara Fish, who lives beneath waters in the bottom of the deep lakes.'
â€œI invoke the Thwasha The sovereign Heaven, Zrvan Akarana the boundless Time, and Vayu whose action is most high.â€?
â€œI invoke the mighty Wind made by Mazda, and Spenta Armaiti; the fair daughter of Ahura Mazda."
Tehranâ€™s fire temple, 2012.
â€œI invoke the most glorious holy Word."
Following photographs; Bishapurâ€™s Anahita temple, Iran, 2014.
â€œThe study of the history of Zoroastrianism is a discipline involving great efforts of speculation and imagination.â€? -Albert de Jong.