Gatha Prayers

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This festive season, we are very happy to have with us, with the kind permission of Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia and the M J Wadia Agiyari Trust (courtesy Mr. Kersi Limathwalla), the audio of the entire Gatha prayers recited by Dr. Ramiyar Karanjia. English text is also available for ease of singing along. Click Here for a wonderful, uplifting experience.

The Gathas are in verse, metrical in the nature of ancient Iranian religious poetry, which is extremely terse, and in which grammatical constructs are an exception.

The 17 hymns of the Gathas consist of 238 verses, of about 1300 lines or 6000 words in total. They were later incorporated into the 72-chapter Yasna (chapter: ha or had, from the Avestan ha’iti, ‘cut’), which in turn is the primary liturgical collection of texts within the greater compendium of the Avesta. The 17 hymns are identified by their chapter numbers in the Yasna, and are divided into five major sections:

28–34 Ahunavaiti Gatha (cf. Ahuna Vairya), 100 stanzas, (3 verses, 7+9 syllable meter)
43–46 Ushtavaiti Gatha ‘Having Happiness’, 66 stanzas (5 verses, 4+7 syllable meter)
47–50 Spenta Mainyu Gatha ‘Bounteous Spirit’, 41 stanzas (4 verses, 4+7 syllable meter)
51 Vohu Khshathra Gatha ‘Good Dominion’, 22 stanzas (3 verses, 7+7 syllable meter)
53 Vahishto Ishti Gatha ‘Best Beloved’, 9 stanzas (4 verses, two of 7+5 and two of 7+7+5 syllables)

With the exception of Ahunavaiti Gatha, which is named after the Ahuna Vairya prayer (Yasna 27, not in the Gathas), the names of the Gathas reflect the first word(s) of the first hymn within them. The meter of the hymns is historically related to the Vedic tristubh-jagati family of meters.[1] Hymns of these meters are recited, not sung. Click Here for more information from Wikipedia.

Thanks to my friend Soli Dastur for the tip !

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