Ashem Vohu

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Ashem Vohu (/ˈʌʃɛm ˈvɔːh/, Avestan: 𐬀𐬴𐬆𐬨 𐬬𐬊𐬵𐬏 aṣ̌əm vohū) is a very important prayer in Zoroastrianism. The Ashem Vohu, after the Ahunavar is considered one of the basic, yet meaningful and powerful mantras in the religion. It is considered a lesson and praise of those who embrace Asha, along with being a sacred blessing for the aforementioned. It is also at the end of most of the prayers in the Khordeh Avesta, except a certain few, most notably the Fravarane.[1]

Ashem vohu, Ahunavar, Yenghe hatam, and Airyaman ishya form four pillars of the Gathic canon, part of the group of Zoroastrian texts composed in the archaic dialect of the Avestan language.

Prayer[edit]

aṣ̌əm vohū vahištəm astī
uštā astī uštā ahmāi
hyat̰ aṣ̌āi vahištāi aṣ̌əm

IPA Transliteration:

aʃəm vohuː vahiʃtəm astiː
uʃtaː astiː uʃtaː ahmaːi
hjat aʃaːi vahiʃtaːi aʃəm

Translation:

There are many translations that all differ significantly due to the complexity of Avestan and the concepts involved.

For example:

"Righteousness is best (of all that is) good.
As desired, what is being desired
is truth for him who (represents) best truth."
or:
“Asha is virtuously magnificent,
And joy upon joy is what Asha provides
For thus is Asha Vahishta."
or:
"Truth is best (of all that is) good.
As desired, as desired, truth
is for him who (represents) best truth."[2]
or:
"Holiness (Asha) is the best of all good:
it is also happiness.
Happy the man who is holy with perfect holiness!"[3]
or:
"Righteousness is the best good and it is happiness.
Happiness is to her/him who is righteous
for the sake of the best righteousness."[4]

There is also a Sogdian version of the prayer: ]𐼺𐼴𐼶𐽁𐽂 𐼺𐼷𐽁𐽂𐼰𐼷 𐼴𐽁𐽂𐼰𐼰𐼷 𐼰𐽁𐽂𐼴𐼶𐼺𐼰𐼷 𐽂𐼴𐽀𐽂𐼰𐼷 𐼰𐼶𐼴𐽁𐽂𐼰𐼷𐽀𐽂𐼺‎.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boyce 2001, p. 38
  2. ^ The Heritage of Zarathushtra - A new translation of His Gathas, Humbach & Ichaporia
  3. ^ "AVESTA: KHORDA AVESTA: Part 1". www.avesta.org. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  4. ^ Kanga, Ervad Kawasji Eduljee. English Translation of Gujarati Khordeh Avesta. p. 1.

The main point to be noted in the translation is that the word "Holiness", can also be replaced with Righteousness and its main origin term "Asha".

Bibliography[edit]

  • Boyce, Mary (2001). Zoroastrians:Their Religious Beliefs and Practices. Routledge.