Hormazd Yasht is the first Yasht. Like other Yashts in the Khordeh Avesta, it is in the Avestan language with Pazand introduction and conclusion. It starts with a dialogue between Ahura Mazda and Zarathushtra, in which the latter asks as to which Manthra Spenta (words of prayer) are the most powerful. Ahura Mazda replies that the names of Amesha Spentas are the most powerful.
In the following dialogue Zarathushtra asks Ahura Mazda as to which of His names is most powerful and which can protect against all types of evil. Here Ahura Mazda gives His 20 chronologically numbered names, which assure protection from Angra Mainyu, as much as one man can be protected by a thousand men. These 20 names are:
- nāma ahmi – The Self-existent.
- vāthwyō – The Protector.
- avi-tanyō – The Omnipresent.
- asha vahishta – The Best Righteousness.
- vīspa vohu mazdadhāta asha-chithra – Having all-goodness of pure origin.
- khratush – Prudent.
- khratumāo – One endowed with Prudence.
- chistish – Wisdom.
- chistivāo – The Wise.
- spāno – The Prosperer.
- spananghāo – The giver of prosperity.
- ahurō – The Lord.
- sevishtō – The most Benevolent.
- vīdvaeshtvō – One without harm.
- avanemna – The Unconquerable
- hāta marenish – The Reckoner
- vīspa hishas -One who sees everything
- baeshazya – The Health-giver
- dātō -The Creator
- mazdāo -The Omniscient
Thereafter Ahura Mazda gives an assurance to the devotees that whoever recites these 20 names during the day or night, He Himself, Sarosh Yazad, Fravashis and divine forces of nature come to their help and support. Such a person will not be harmed by evil.
Then follows a list of about 50 other names of Ahura Mazda, each name suffixed by the words …. nāma ahmi “I am ….. by name.” We are told that if we continuously recite these names through the day and night, we will not be harmed by evil.
Thereafter Ahunavar, Asha Vahishta, Kayanian Khoreh, Aredvisura Anahita, Airyana Vaejah and the Intelligence (Raya) and Energy (Khvarena) of Ahura Mazda are invoked. Here the first part of Hormazd Yasht comes to an end.
A unique aspect of this Yasht is that after Yasnemcha vahmemcha, when most Yashts come to an end, a big section of Avestan text re-appears. In no other Avestan prayer, leave alone a Yasht, do we have this peculiarity. Some scholars believe this section to be a part of the lost Avestan Bahman Yasht.
In this portion, Ahura Mazda instructs Zarathushtra to always protect good friendly men from unfriendly enemies. After this, Ahura Mazda introduces Zarathushtra to his “cabinet of ministers” – the other six Amesha Spentas, calling them mana dāmi “My creations.”
Thereafter Spenta Armaiti is remembered as the smiter of evil ones and an assurance is again given that “righteous men will always defeat evil and wicked men” (ashava vanat drujim, ashava vanat dravantem).
Then comes an interesting passage in which different faculties of Ahura Mazda are invoked for particular reasons:
|Ushi||intellect||For holding Manthra Spenta|
|khratu||wisdom||For remembering Manthra Spenta|
|hizu||tongue||For better recitation of Manthra Spenta|
Interestingly, portions from quite a few of our daily prayers are found in the Hormazd Yasht:
Ke verethrem.……kahmāichit from Kem Na mazda.
The first half of Jasa me avanghe (amahe hutāshtahe).
The entire Hazanghrem prayer (twice).
Part of the Hoshbam prayer.
After the Hormazd Yasht, we have the short Pazand Nirang of Hormazd Yasht, in which the devotee declares his faith in Ahura Mazda and opposition to Ahriman, and then professes unflinching faith in two of the phenomena which will occur at the end of time – Ristakhez and Tan-i-pasen.
There is a misconception that the Hormazd Yasht is part of our obligatory prayer (Farajyāt), and that no other Yashts can be recited before reciting this Yasht. This is not so. It should be recited especially on Hormazd roj and its hamkārs – Dae-pa-adar, Dae-pa-meher and Dae-pa-din roj.
As a prayer, Hormazd Yasht should be recited for developing one’s personal divine energy (khvarenah) and seeking divine knowledge (raya). It is also useful for seeking protection against all sorts of evils and overcoming enemies. Having personal energy and seeking protection are very much inter connected. If one has strong divine energy, one can do good things. If one does good things, one becomes more vulnerable to attacks of evil, and then one needs more protection from evil.
Hormazd Yasht is also efficacious in curing seemingly incurable diseases. From an astrological point of view, the planet Jupiter is referred to as Hormazd, and hence Hormazd Yasht can be recited to strengthen the effects of the planet Jupiter in one’s horoscope.