The Bundahishn

Knowledge from the Zand

1897 | 25,140 words

A collection of texts related to Zoroastrian cosmogony and cosmology. The contents focuses on the Zoroastrianism's creation myth, and the first battles of 'Ahura Mazda' and 'Angra Mainyu'. Most of the chapters of the compendium date to the 8th and 9th centuries. The Bundahishn ("Creation"), or Knowledge from the Zand. Translated by E. W...

Chapter VII - The Battle With Water

The second conflict was waged with the water, because, as the star Tishtar was in Cancer, the water which is in the subdivision they call Avrak was pouring, on the same day when the destroyer rushed in, and came again into notice for mischief (avarak) in the direction of the west. For every single month is the owner of one constellation; the month Tir is the fourth month of the year, and Cancer the fourth constellation from Aries, so it is the owner of Cancer, into which Tishtar sprang, and displayed the characteristics of a producer of rain; and he brought on the water aloft by the strength of the wind. Co-operators wlth Tishtar were Vohuman and the angel Hom, with the assistance of the angel Burj and the righteous guardian spirits in orderly arrangement.

Tishtar was converted into three forms, the form of a man and the form of a horse and the form of a bull; thirty days and nights he was distinguished in brilliance, and in each form he produced rain ten days and nights; as the astrologers say that every constellation has three forms. Every single drop of that rain became as big as a bowl, and the water stood the height of a man over the whole of this earth; and the noxious creatures on the earth being all killed by the rain, went into the holes of the earth.

And, afterwards, the wind spirit, so that it may not be contaminated (gumikht), stirs up the wind and atmosphere as the life stirs in the body; and the water was all swept away by it, and was brought out to the borders of the earth, and the wide-formed ocean arose therefrom. The noxious creatures remained dead within the earth, and their venom and stench were mingled with the earth, and in order to carry that poison away from the earth Tishtar went down into the ocean in the form of a white horse with long hoofs.

And Apaosh, the demon, came meeting him in the likeness of a black horse with clumsy (kund) hoofs; a mile (parasang) away from him fled Tishtar, through the fright which drove him away. And Tishtar begged for success from Ohrmazd, and Ohrmazd gave him strength and power, as it is said, that unto Tishtar was brought at once the strength of ten vigorous horses, ten vigorous camels, ten vigorous bulls, ten mountains, and ten rivers. A mile away from him fled Apaosh, the demon, through fright at his strength; on account of this they speak of an arrow-shot with Tishtar's strength in the sense of a mile.

Afterwards, with a cloud for a jar (khumb) -- thus they call the measure which was a means of the work -- he seized upon the water and made it rain most prodigiously, in drops like bull's heads and men's heads, pouring in handfuls and pouring in armfuls, both great and small. On the production of that rain the demons Aspenjargak and Apaosh contended with it, and the fire Vazisht turned its club over; and owing to the blow of the club Aspenjargak made a very grievous noise, as even now, in a conflict with the producer of rain, a groaning and raging are manifest. And ten nights and days rain was produced by him in that manner, and the poison and venom of the noxious creatures which were in the earth were all mixed up in the water, and the water became quite salt, because there remained in the earth some of those germs which noxious creatures ever collect.

Afterwards, the wind, in the same manner as before, restrained the water, at the end of three days, on various sides of the earth; and the three great seas and twenty-three small seas arose therefrom, and two fountains (chashmak) of the sea thereby became manifest, one the Chechast lake, and one the Sovbar, whose sources are connected with the fountain of the sea. And at its north side two rivers flowed out, and went one to the east and one to the west; they are the Arag river and the Veh river; as it is said thus:

'Through those finger-breadth tricklings do thou pour and draw forth two such waters, O Ohrmazd!'

Both those rivers wind about through all the extremities of the earth, and intermingle again with the water of the wide-formed ocean. As those two rivers flowed out, and from the same place of origin as theirs, eighteen navigable rivers flowed out, and after the other waters have flowed out from those navigable streams they all flow back to the Arag river and Veh river, whose fertilization (khvapardarih) of the world arises therefrom.

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