Hom and Vanant Yashts

Hom Yasht

 

The word Haoma in the Iranian tradition refers to: A Yazata, a plant and a Saoshyant. The Sosyant Hom was a saintly man who devoted much of his time to prayers and single handedly helped King Kae Khushru to capture the evil Turanian king Afrasiyab. Since he furthered the cause of religion, he is recognised as the ninth and the last Saoshyant.

 

 

Haoma the yazata isthe giver of several boons, especially of health, long life and illustrious progeny. He presides over herbs which heal and ensure good health. In the Indian Vedic tradition, there is a divine being and a plant by the name Soma.

 

 

The Yasna ritual includes the Haoma ritual in which haoma twigs are pounded and part of its juice is partaken by the priests, part of it poured back into the well and part is partaken by the Zoroastrian laity. Till Sasanian period, a ritual accompanying the chapters connected with Haoma (Ha 9,10,11) was done separately. The beginning of Ch. 9 where Zarathushtra is invoking Haoma, who reveals himself to the prophet and where the fathers of 4 illustrious people invoke haoma’s blessings illustrate this point.

 

 

 

Hom Yazad keeps away diseases as he keeps our body fresh and healthy. He also keeps away death (duraosha).

 

 

 

Haoma the plant was a herb used for healing. It is identified with “ephedra.” In Avesta it is referred to as haoma zāiri, “the golden/yellow hom.” Its qualified by the adjective duraosha, “keeps away death.”

 

 

In the Indian Vedic tradition, priests used to prepare a ritual drink with Soma. According to both traditions, this plant grows on mountains and is believed to have descended from heaven for healing men.

 

 

Hom Yasht:

 

Hom Yasht is not a typical yasht. It has just 2 large Kardehs, structured around Haoma the plant and Haoma the Yazata. There are poetic pieces in between. Larger Hom Yasht consists of Yasna Ha 9 and 10. It has 54 paragraphs. The shorter Hom Yasht is only about 5% of the larger Yasht.

 

 

The content of the first chapter (Ha 9):

 

1,2: Haoma appears before Zarathushtra, who is preparing fire-stand for a ritual.

 

3-15: The first four men who invoked Haoma – Vivanghat, Athwya, Thrita and Pourushaspa and were blessed by illustrious son/s: Jamshid, Faridun, Urvakhsh & Kersasp and Zarathushtra.

 

16: Zarathushtra enumerates 10 Qualities of Haoma – good, well created, healing, of good body, highly invigorating, desirable, victorious, golden coloured, having tender shoots, excellent for the soul.

 

17-18: Zarathushtra requests 11 powers from Haoma: Knowledge, strength, victory, health and healing, prosperity, increase, strength for the body, knowledge of all kinds, overcoming hostility and vanquishing lie. (Para 17 is the only paragraph of the Moti Hom Yasht prayed in the nani Hom Yasht).

 

19-21: Six enumerated wishes are requested from Haoma: 1. The Best Existence (heaven), 2. health for the body, 3. ushtana (life-force) for long life 4. Strength to overcome hostility and vanquish lie 5. victory against hostility 6. We may be the first to see and be aware of the evil, before they detect us (Pahlavi translation says moderation is the remedy).

 

22-23: Haoma also gives: 1. Speed and strength to those who go into battle, 2. Excellent sons, 3. Spiritual power and knowledge to those who study religion, 4. Husbands to unmarried women.

 

24: Haoma took away the power of robber Kersani who used to harass priests.

 

25-26: Haoma has special knowledge about religion and the holy word. He is invested with star-studded girdle.

 

27-29: Haoma protects the 4 regional lords (nmana, visa, jantu, dakhyu), by making evil ones ineffective in body and mind.

 

30-32: Haoma destroys five types of evil: 1. Poisonous serpent 2. Blood thirsty powerful robber, 3. liar and tyrant 4. heretic who speaks about religion but does not act accordingly 5. Evil sorceress.

 

 

The content of the second chapter (Ha 10):

 

1: May Sraosha and Ashi stay and demons go away from the house

 

2. Praise of mortar and pestle

 

3. Praise of rain and mist which helps Haoma grow on mountain tops

 

4. Praise of the earth where Haoma grows.

 

5. Praise of Haoma the plant.

 

6. The praise and pressing of Haoma gives a thousand blows to the demons.

 

7. Haoma has health and healing powers and removes defilements.

 

8. Other similar herbs are intoxicants and bring wrath, haoma plant brings spiritual ecstasy and healing for the body.

 

9. Haoma is a giver of remedies, he gives victory and is a friend.

 

10-12. God created Haoma and swiftly placed him on Mt. Haraiti, from where birds carried it in different directions (dispersing seeds), where Haoma of many kinds, with good sap and golden colour, grow.

 

13. By granting the wishes of the poor man, Haoma makes his mind as strong as that of the rich man. He also makes men more attractive and insightful.

 

14. Life is dedicated to Haoma.

 

15. Haoma denounces women who deceive priests.

 

16. The five things that one must accept: Good thoughts, good words, good deeds, obedience and truthfulness.

 

The five things one must not accept: Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds, disobedience and wickedness.

 

17-18. All Haoma plants on mountain-tops and valleys which are collected in bundles, are revered. No part of it should be wasted.

 

19. Haoma is praised in the Gathas.

 

20. The cattle are praised.

 

21. All types of Haoma are remembered: Golden haoma, Haoma Frashmi and Haoma that keeps death away. The Fravashi of Zarathushtra is remembered.

 

 

Nirang:

 

With the help of Hom, barsom and the good Mazdayasni religion, may I destroy the forms/bodies of all evils, sorcerers and sorceresses.

 

 

 

 

Vanant Yasht

 

Vanant Yazad is one of the co-workers of Tishtar Tir Yazad. Like Teshtar Tir, it is also identified with a star – either with Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra in the west, or with Fomalhault in the South.

 

 

Vanant helps to overcome negative vibes from others. It helps against moral and mental evil of all kinds like black magic, chants, sorcery, charms, spells and potions.

 

 

Vanant is one of the smallest Yashts. Almost half of it is in Pazand and hence recited in Baj (silence).

 

 

In the first part the star Vanant is praised as he is victorious over evils and noxious creatures and is also help giving. In the Pazand part, the mouths of noxious creatures like rats, cats, snakes and wolves are bound in the name of Ahura Mazda and Faridun, so that these creatures do not cause harm. While praying these paragraphs, one is supposed to clap, which is an audible expression of warding off evil.

 

 

Nirang:

 

May all types of evils (bala, dev, daruj, sorceress), physical maladies like gas, bad wind, stomach ache, body ache, joint pain, heart problems, brain problems as well as maladies arising out of evil spirits be defeated and far removed.
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