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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Yenghe hatam is one of the four major mantras, and one of the most important prayers in Zoroastrianism.[1] It is interpreted as a call to pray specifically to the Amesha Spentas,[2] or generally to all Zoroastrian divinities.[3]

Jointly with the Ahuna vairya, the Ashem vohu, and the Airyaman ishya; the Yenghe hatam forms the four mantras that enclose the Gathas in the Yasna and form the linguistically oldest part of the Avesta.[4] It is furthermore found throughout many other parts of the Avesta, where it often marks the transition from one portion of the text to the next.[1]

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Text and interpretation

The Yenghe hatam reads as follows

yeŋ́hē hātąm āat̰ yesnē paitī vaŋhō
mazdå ahurō vaēθā aṣ̌āt̰ hacā
yåŋhąmcā tąscā tåsca yazamaidē

A Pahlavi and Parsi Avestan translation would be:

That one (masculine or neuter singular) of the beings indeed is for worship
who Mazda Ahura knows as better according to righteousness from the female beings also
These ones (masculine) and these ones (feminine) we worship.

Starting with the early exegesis of the Yenghe hatam in the Young Avestan period, the beings (hātąm) in the first line are generally interpreted to refer to the Amesha Spentas.[2] However, some scholars have opined that it may refer to living men and women.[5] The latter interpretation has become more influencal in modern interpretations of the mantra.[1]


The Yenghe hatam is generally considered to have been derived from Yasna 51.22, i.e., the 22nd verse of the Vohukhshathra Gatha. It reads as follows:

yehiiā mōi aṣ̌āt̰ hacā vahištəm yesnē paitī
vaēdā mazdā̊ ahurō yōi ā̊ŋharəcā həṇticā
tą yazāi xvāiš nāmə̄nīš pairicā jasāi vaṇtā

The main difference is to whom the worship is addressed. In the Gathic verse, the first line can be translated as "At whose sacrifice Ahura Mazda knows the best for me according to righteousness." In the Yenghe hatam, however, this is changed to "At whose of-the-beings [masc.] and of whom [fern. pl.] therefore Ahura Mazda knows the better for worship according to righteousness."[6]


The Yenghe hatam is part of a series of texts, which are linguistically distinct from the other parts of the Avesta. These texts are the four major mantras, the Gathas and the Yasna Haptanghaiti. The language in these texts is considered to be more archaic and is therefore referred to as Old Avestan vis-a-vis the Younger Avestan of the other texts.[7] However, among these texts, the language of the Yenghe hatam has been labelled pseudo-Old-Avestan, due to a number of idiosyncracies.[8]

One example is the relative pronoun yeŋ́hē (whose), which seems closer to the Young Avestan form yeŋ́he than the Old Avestan yehiiā as used in Y. 51.22.[9] Such changes have been interpreted such that the mantra originated during the early Young Avestan period but was composed to make it appear more ancient.[10]


There is no consensus on the authorship of the Yenghe hatam. Tradition identifies Zarathustra as its authors and scholars like Gershevitch have affirmed that identification.[11] On the other hand, some scholars like Boyce have pointed to the linguistic idiosyncracies of the mantra and concluded that it was composed by his early followers, who used the Gathic verse Y 51.22 as a model.[12]


Like the other mantras, the Yenghe hatam can be diffucult to translate due to its brevity, complex grammatical forms and poetic ambiguity.[1] As a result, a number of different translations exist. For examples, Skjaervo translates it as follows:

Thus, he among those that are, as well as the women,
in return for whose sacrifice the better good is to be given,
him (and them) Ahura Mazdā knows
to be according to Order
to those men and those women we sacrifice.[13]

Vazquez's liturgically inclined translation is:

They that are,
Who are of any gender,
Ahura Mazda knows through Asha of their glorious sacrifices
Thus we offer them worship!.



  1. ^ a b c d Brunner 2015.
  2. ^ a b Gershevitch 1967, p. 164.
  3. ^ Kotwal & Kreyenbroek 2015, p. 337.
  4. ^ Humbach 1991, pp. 13-15.
  5. ^ Nyberg 1938, p. 270.
  6. ^ Boyce 1996, p. 262.
  7. ^ Skjaervø 2009, p. 46.
  8. ^ Hoffmann 1996, p. 34: "Doch sind einige zusammenhängende jav. Textstücke vor allem durch die Durchführung auslautender Langvokale (§5,2) dem Aav. oberflächlich angeglichen; man kann die Sprache dieser Stücke pseudo-altavestisch (=pseudo-aav) nennen.".
  9. ^ Gippert 2003, pp. 167-169.
  10. ^ Humbach 1991, p. 7.
  11. ^ Gershevitch 1967, p. 163.
  12. ^ Boyce 1996, pp. 262-263.
  13. ^ Skjaervø 2012, p. 219.


  • Boyce, Mary (1996). A History Of Zoroastrianism: The Early Period. Brill. ISBN 9789004088474.
  • Brunner, Christopher J. (2015). "YEŊ́HĒ HĀTĄM". Encyclopædia Iranica. Iranica Foundation.
  • Gershevitch, Ilya (1967). The Avestan Hymn to Mithra. Cambridge University Press.
  • Gippert, Jost (2003). "The Avestan language and its problems". Indo-Iranian Languages and Peoples. Oxford: Oxford Academic. ISBN 9780191753961.
  • Hoffmann, Karl (1996). Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre (in German). Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck.
  • Humbach, Helmut (1991). The Gathas of Zarathustra and the Other Old Avestan Texts. Carl Winter Universitätsverlag.
  • Kotwal, Firoze M.; Kreyenbroek, Philip G. (2015). "Prayer". In Stausberg, Michael; Vevaina, Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw (eds.). The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Zoroastrianism. Wiley Blackwell.
  • Nyberg, Henrik Samuel (1938). Die Religionen des alten Iran. Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-Aegyptischen Gesellschaft. Hinrichs. doi:10.25673/33282.
  • Skjaervø, P. Oktor (2009). "Old Iranian". In Windfuhr, Gernot (ed.). The Iranian Languages. Routledge. ISBN 9780203641736.
  • Skjaervø, P. Oktor (2012). The Spirit of Zoroastrianism. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17035-1.

External links

Other texts on the religion of Ahura Mazda
This page was last edited on 4 February 2024, at 08:50
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