A Swedish translation of the Gathas

Dahlén, Ashk. 2023. Zarathustra. Sånger: Den äldsta iranska diktningen. Umeå: h:ström – Text & Kultur.

Zarathustra pursued a life as a poet, priest, and spiritual teacher in northeastern Iran about 3,500 years ago, several centuries before the Vedic poets and Homer. He is thus the earliest known writer in any Indo-European language. That his poems can be read in the condition in which they were sung and speak directly to us through the millennia must be considered a veritable miracle.

The Gathas is a hymn in praise of timeless wisdom and with its aphoristic exposition the work resembles a didactic philosophical poem. Zarathustra wants to present a true picture of reality, of the imperishable archetypes of the world of thought as well as of the role of the individual in the material world. More than anything else, he urges us to value our free will, to listen to the voice of our conscience and contribute to the good renewal of the world.

In this translation, the Old Avestan literature is presented for the first time in Swedish in direct translation by Ashk Dahlén, docent of Iranian languages at Uppsala University, who also has provided the book with an introductory preface as well as comments, and a glossary.

Table of contents:

  • Förord
  • Upptakt
  • Fyra mantran
  • Sånger
  • Livets sång
  • Glädjens sång
  • Det livgivande medvetandets sång
  • Den goda kraftens sång
  • De mest älskandes sång
  • Hyllning i sju delar
  • Appendix
  • Kommentarer
  • Ordförklaringar
  • Stavning och uttal av avestiska ord
  • Avestiska beteckningar
  • Litteraturförteckning