Prayers from the Avesta

Many prayers in the Avesta are in Avestan language. During Zarathushtra's time, Avestan was only a spoken language because it did not have any script. The Gathas, composed by Zarathushtra, were memorized by his followers and were passed down orally from one generation to the next. Several centuries later, Pahalavi became the religious language of Persia. Pahalavi had a script of 14 characters and the Avestan prayers were written down for the very first time in Pahalavi script. In the 6th century CE the Avestan script was invented and all scriptures were transcribed into the Avestan script. Even prayers composed in Pahalavi language were written down in Avestan script since it had an alphabet of 46 characters. This rewriting of the scriptures from the Pahalavi to the Avestan script is called Pazend.

Zoraostrians children are usually taught common prayers, such as Ashem Vohu and Yatho Vairyo, at a very early age. The youngsters learn the prayers by rote and the following audio version should help parents teach these prayers and their english translation to their children.

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