Skip to main content

Gāthās

GĀTHĀS

The hymns of zoroaster preserved as part of the Avesta, are short poems, comparable to those of the Rig-Veda in India. Although their language is fairly intelligible, being closely akin to Vedic Sanskrit, their style and contents make them excessively difficult to understand and translate. Their burden is the praise, untiringly repeated and varied, of the god Ahura Mazda and of his court or family of Entities, who bear abstract names and are, at the same time, human (moral and social) qualities

personified. On the other hand, the cult of the ancient gods or daevas (cf. Sanskrit deva "god") and of the Evil Spirit [see ahura mazda (ohrmazd) and ahriman] and his entourage is unrelentingly combatted. It is not clear whether the sacrifice of the sacred liquor (see avesta) and the bull sacrifice were prohibited as such, or only special, repulsive forms of them. Anyhow, a destiny of woe in a dark hell with nauseous food is promised to the daevas-worshipers, whereas the followers of Ahura Mazda and his Holy Spirit, i.e., all those who rally to Truth, Justice, etc., against the forces of evil, will hereafter enjoy bliss, either in heaven or on a renovated earth. This renovation, entailing a resurrection of the body, will be brought about by coming saviors.

Bibliography: j. duchesne-guillemin, The Hymns of Zarathustra, tr. m. henning (London 1952); La Religion de l'Iran ancien (Paris 1962).

[j. duchesne-guillemin]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gāthās." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gāthās." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gathas

"Gāthās." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gathas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.