THE GATHAS – Least known facts

THE GATHAS  – Least known facts

The Gathas were most fragmentarily comprehensible even to the more intelligent among Zarathustra’s lay contemporaries, and long before the restoration of the Mazdayasnian Religion in the Sasanian period, the priestly tradition seems to have lost a reliable knowledge of the contents of these holy texts, of their poetical style, of their syntactical and morphological rules, and of lexical meanings of numerous words.  It is the power of these holy texts and their recitations which continue to be relevant to this day.  The interpretation of the Gathas as a religious textbook or a code of laws, or even as collective Sermons is likely to be rather recent.


A great many of modern scholars start out from the premise that the Gathas are a systematic though complicated exposition of the basic tenets of the religion preached by Zarathushtra but this does not tally with the facts. Just a glance at the statistics of the use of the vocative case in the Gathas makes evident that these  holy texts are invocations of Ahura Mazda and philosophical conversations with Him, the initiated one par excellence, whereas humans are apostrophized only occasionally in sort of rhetorical digression.


Often enough it happens that adherents or scholars refer to Gatha passages quoted with assertion that “the prophet teaches.” Without any regard to the correctness or incorrectness or fancifulness of the respective translation proposed by those authors such assertions basically erroneous.


The Gathas are composed to be used for ritual purposes. They are cryptic texts of an archaic kind of spirituality, documents of a ritual philosophy, full of deliberate ambiguities and metaphorical expressions, behind which the details of their ritual, religious, and historical backgrounds and together with them, Zarathustra’s place in the development of human thought that can be easily made out to be far superior than the later sages of other religions who followed him … …


Best wishes,

Dr. Pallan Ichaporia, Ph.D.,

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