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 XX - The Nature Of Rivers

On the nature of rivers it says in revelation that these two rivers flow forth from the north, part from Alburz and part from the Alburz of Ohrmazd; one towards the west, that is the Arag; and one towards the east, that is the Veh river. After them eighteen rivers flowed forth from the same source, just as the remaining waters have flowed forth from them in great multitude; as they say that they flowed out so very fast, one from the other, as when a man recites one Ashem-vohu of a series (padisar). All of those, with the same water, are again mingled with these rivers, that is, the Arag river and Veh river. Both of them continually circulate through the two extremities of the earth, and pass into the sea; and all the regions feast owing to the discharge (zahak) of both, which, after both arrive together at the wide-formed ocean, returns to the sources whence they flowed out; as it says in revelation, that just as the light comes in through Alburz and goes out through Alburz, the water also comes out through Alburz and goes away through Alburz. This, too, it says, that the spirit of the Arag begged of Ohrmazd thus:

'O first omniscient creative power! from whom the Veh river begged for the welfare that thou mightiest grant, do thou then grant it in my quantity:!'

The spirit of the Veh river similarly begged of Ohrmazd for the Arag river; and on account of loving assistance, one towards the other, they flowed forth with equal strength, as before the coming of the destroyer they proceeded without rapids, and when the fiend shall be destroyed they will again be without rapids.

Of those eighteen principal rivers, distinct from the Arag river and Veh river, and the other rivers which flow out from them, I will mention the more famous: the Arag river, the Veh river, the Diglat river they call also again the Veh river, the Frat river, the Daitya river, the Dargam river, the Zondak river, the Haroi river, the Marv river, the Hetumand river, the Akhoshir river, the Navada river, the Zishmand river, the Khvejand river, the Balkh river, the Mehrva river they call the Hendva river, the Sped river, the Rad river which they call also the Koir, the Khvarae river which they call also the Mesrgan, the Harhaz river, the Teremet river, the Khvanaidis river, the Daraja river, the Kasik river, the Shed ('shining') river Peda-meyan or Chatru-meyan river of Mokarstan.

I will mention them also a second time: the Arag river is that of which it is said that it comes out from Alburz in the land of Surak, in which they call it also the Ami; it passes on through the land of Spetos, which they also call Mesr, and they call it there the river Niv.

The Veh river passes on in the east, goes through the land of Sind, and flows to the sea in Hindustan, and they call it there the Mehra river.
The sources of the Frat river are from the frontier of Arum, they feed upon it in Suristan, and it flows to the Diglat river; and of this Frat it is that that they produce irrigation over the land. It is declared that Manuschihar excavated the sources, and cast back the water all to one place, as it says thus: 'I reverence the Frat, full of fish, which Manuschihar excavated for the benefit of his own soul, and he seized the water and gave to drink.'
The Diglat river comes out from Salman, and flows to the sea in Khujistan.
The Daitya river is the river which comes out from Eranvej, and goes out through the hill-country; of all rivers the noxious creatures in it are most, as it says, that the Daitya river is full of noxious creatures.
The Dargam river is in Sude.
The Zend river passes through the mountains of Panjistan, and flows away to the Haro river.
The Haro river flows out from the Aparsen range.
The Hetumand river is in Sagastan, and its sources are from the Aparsen range; this is distinct from that which Frasiyav conducted away.
The river Akhoshir is in Kumish.
The Zishmand river, in the direction of Soghd, flows away towards the Khvejand river.
The Khvejand river goes on through the midst of Samarkand and Pargana, and they call it also the river Ashard.
The Marv river, a glorious river in the east, flows out from the Aparsen range.
The Balkh river comes out from the Aparsen mountain of Bamikan, and flows on to the Veh river.
The Sped river is in Ataro-patakan; they say that Dahak [Zohak] begged a favor here from Ahriman and the demons. The Tort river, which they call also the Koir, comes out from the sea of Giklan, and flows to the sea of Vergan.
The Zahavayi is the river which comes out from Ataro-patakan, and flows to the sea in Pars.
The sources of the Khvarae river are from Spahan; it passes on through Khujistan, flows forth to the Diglat river, and in Spahan they call it the Mesrkan river.
The Harhaz river is in Taparistan, and its sources are from Mount Damawand.
The Teremet river flows away to the Veh river.
The Vendesesh river is in that part of Pars which they call Sagastan.
The Kasak river comes out through a ravine (kaf) in the province of Tus, and they call it there the Kasp river; more- over, the river, which is there the Veh, they call the Kasak; even in Sind they call it the Kasak.
The Pedak-miyan, which is the river Chatru-miyan, is that which is in Kangdez.
The Daraja river is in Eranvej, on the bank (bar) of which was the dwelling of Pourushasp, the father of Zartosht.

The other innumerable waters and rivers, springs and channels are one in origin with those; so in various districts and various places they call them by various names.

Regarding Frasiyav they say, that a thousand springs were conducted away by him into the sea Kyansih, suitable for horses, suitable for camels, suitable for oxen, suitable for asses, both great and small; and he conducted the spring Zarinmand (or golden source), which is the Hetumand river they say, into the same sea; and he conducted the seven navigable waters of the source of the Vachaeni river into the same sea, and made men settle there.