Avesta: Creation

The Avestan world

Not unlike the Babylonian creation stories, in which order is threatened by chaos, but completely different in structure, Zoroastrian dualism implies a creation and a counter-creation. From the Vendidad, a collection of prose texts on ritual purity and myth that was codified in the Parthian age, is this beautiful creation myth. The final line proves that the text was also meant as an introduction to the world's geography.

Fargard 1 was translated by James Darmesteter, L.H. Mills and Max Müller.


The Zoroastrian Creation Myth

[1] Ahuramazda spake unto Spitama Zarathustra, saying:

[2] I have made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it: had I not made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had no charms whatever in it, then the whole living world would have invaded the Airyana Vaêgo.note

[3] The first of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the Airyana Vaêgo, by the Vanguhi Dâitya.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the serpent in the river and winter, a work of the Daevas.note       

[4] There are ten winter months there, two summer months; and those are cold for the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there, with the worst of its plagues.

[5] The second of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the plains in Sughda.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the fly Skaitya, which brings death to the cattle.

[6] The third of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the strong, holy Môuru.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft sinful lusts.

[7] The fourth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the beautiful Bâkhdi with high-lifted banners.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the Bravara.note

[8] The fifth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was Nisâya, between which and Bâkhdi Môuru lies.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the sin of unbelief.

[9] The sixth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the Harôyu with its lake.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the stained mosquito.

[10] The seventh  of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the Vaêkerta, of the evil shadows.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the Pairika Knãthaiti, who clave unto Keresâspa.

[11] The eighth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was Urva of the rich pastures.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the sin of tyranny.

[12] The ninth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the Khnenta in Vehrkâna.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft a sin for which there is no atonement, the unnatural sin.note

[13] The tenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the beautiful Harahvaiti.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft a sin for which there is no atonement, the burying of the dead.

[14] The eleventh of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the bright, glorious Haêtumant.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the evil witchcraft of the Yâtus.note

[15] And this is how the Yâtu's nature shows itself: it shows itself by the evil eye; and then, whenever the wizard goes and howls forth his spells, most deadly works of witchcraft go forth.

[16] The twelfth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was Ragha of the three races.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft the sin of utter unbelief.

[17] The thirteenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the strong, holy Kakhra.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft a sin for which there is no atonement, the burning of corpses.

[18] The fourteenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the four-cornered Varena, for which was born Thraêtaona, who smote Azis Dahâka.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft abnormal issues in women and the oppression of foreign rulers.

[19] The fifteenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the Seven Rivers.note

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft abnormal issues in women and excessive heat.

[20] The sixteenth of the good lands and countries which I, Ahuramazda, created, was the land by the floods of the Rangha,note where people live without head.

Thereupon came Angra Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft winter, a work of the Daevas.

[21] There are still other lands and countries, beautiful and deep, desirable and bright, and thriving.