Avan Yasht – I (The Yasht Series)

Daisy P. Navdar is a teacher by profession and a firm believer in the efficacy of our Manthravani. She is focused on ensuring that the deep significance of our prayers is realized by our youth. She credits her learnings and insights, shared in her articles, to all Zoroastrian priests and scholars whose efforts have contributed towards providing light and wisdom for all Zarthostis.

I invite you to join me as I journey through the wonderful teachings shared in a Khordeh Avesta, which was printed in 1902 – more than a 100 years ago! Authored by Dinbai Sohrabji Engineer, the teachings, stories and notes in this book speak about the various powers of our prayers, while sharing anecdotes of people who have used these prayers and the tremendous achievements that each has accomplished.

‘Water is life’s matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.’

– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

The entire world as we know it, and all the creations within it, were created by Ahura Mazda with the power of His spoken word. Isn’t it wonderful to know that our great creator, the one whom we revere, the highest of the high, our Lord God Ahura Mazda also used the power of His Manthra to fashion all of creation! However, the only creation that He did not create from the Manthra was Avan Ardvisur – the Waters. He created Avan Ardvisur by the dint of His hard work. It is said that the First Waters were sourced from the stars themselves and came down to us from the 4th Heaven in the form of the Oxus river.

Here is a small brief on the Oxus River, taken from Wikipedia: The Amu Darya – also called the Amu river and historically known by its Latin name Oxus, is a major river in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Rising in the Pamir Mountains, north of the Hindu Kush, the Amu Darya is formed by the junction of Vaksh and Pani rivers in the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve on the border between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and flows from there north-westwards into the southern remnants of the Aral Sea. In its upper course, the river forms part of Afghanistan’s border. In ancient history, the river was regarded as the boundary of Greater Iran with Turan, which roughly corresponded to present-day Central Asia.

Avan Ardvisur comes with her own pure blessings. The source of all Avan Ardvisur is from a place of many stars (it could mean it came from the skies). The special blessings that Avan Ardvisur bestows on us are those of growth and progress. It also helps in enhancing the faith of the follower. Water has the unique ability to purify all that it touches. 

It is said that the entire womb of a woman, with all the blood and grist within, is purified merely by the waters created by Ahura Mazda. Avan Ardvisur cleanses the seed of man and fills ample milk in the breast of the woman so that her children are well nourished and strong. Hence lactating mothers must pray with reverence to Avan Ardvisur. Women who bear 2 or 3 children, do so with the grace of Avan Ardvisur. However, those that bear more, do so with the blessings of Ardibehest Ameshaspand. Just for this reason, I feel the entire community must pray the Avan Yasht or at least the Avan Nyaish in conjunction with the Ardibehest Yasht, daily – perhaps it’s the one solution to our dwindling numbers.

I leave you with these thoughts on water by Margaret Atwood:

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” 

Daisy P. Navdar
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