The vision of Ahura Mazdā’s poet

Image © Euromazdean Traditional Reader

Panaino, Antonio. 2015. The vision of Ahura Mazdā’s poet. Notes on Y. 31,5. In M.C. Pelevin (ed.), «НА ПАСТБИЩЕ МЫСЛИ БЛАГОЙ» Сборник статей к юбилею И. М. Стеблин-Каменского [Collection of articles for the anniversary of Steblin-Kamensky], 47–62. St. Petersburg: Контраст.

Y.31,5 is a very intriguing O.Av. stanza, which presents some interesting problems centered on the pivotal role of ərəšiš “seer, inspired poet”, corresponding to Ved. r̥ṣi-, whose insight should be connected not only with the Manah who was Vohu, but also with the inner manah- of Ahura Mazdā himself by means of a word-game played around the stem manah- evoked in its compositional form (mə̄ṇ°). The “better” (vahiiō) rule assigned by the Gods to the poet and priest (Zoroaster) opens his eyes offering the Av. ərəši– a new power of discrimination and comprehension of the world (probably both in the ritual dimension and in reality) so that he might actually impress in his own mind what does not exist and what is really existent. In this respect the text by means of the direct opposition between two subjunctives (yā nōit̰ vā aŋhat̰ aŋhaitī vā) of the root ah (very interestingly, one with a secondary ending, the latter with a primary one), shows how the idea of “existence” and “inexistence” — in this very case deeper than that of “being” or not “being” — was fittingly formulated already in the earliest Mazdean framework.
Antonio Panaino is professor of ancient Iranian philology and hitory of religion at the University of Bologna.