21Nasks of Avesta: By Er Dr Karanjia 


21 Nasks of Avesta:
21 Nasks are the 21 Volumes which prophet Zarathushtra brought with him and presented to king Vishtaspa. It is reported that the king had two copies made of the Nasks on tablets in an ancient script and deposited it in the Royal archives. These copies were transmitted in the royal till the time of Achaemenian king Darius III.
We get the information about the 21 Nasks from Denkard Bk. VIII & IX, Persian Revayat of Bahman Punjia, Vichitakiha i Zadsparam and Vazrakard-i-Denig. They contained 1200 Chapters having about 2 million lines, having about 4,39,700 words. Out of these the extant Avesta has only about 83,000 words. Vendidad is the only Nask which has survived in its entirety.
A summary of the contents of 19 Nasks, and their Pahlavi translation is found in the VIII and IX books of the Denkart. On the basis of Vendidad’s summary, we can conclude that the rest of the summaries are trustworthy.
Each Nask is connected to a word of Ahunavar, which is regarded as the source and basis of Zoroastrian teachings (Dnk. Vol. XV, p.4, Vol. XVIII, p. 2)
The 21 Nasks are further sub-divided into three groups Gathik (G), Datik (D), Hadha-manthrik (H). The Gathik group of Nasks dealt with subjects leading to the spiritual world, the Datik related to subjects relating to laws related to the material world, and the Hadha-manthrik group contained matter which connected the material to the spiritual, like rituals, prayers etc.
The Nasks covered all conceivable topics, like creation of spiritual and material worlds, praises of God and the Yazads, knowledge about God, prayer, good-works, life and miracles of Zarathushtra, life and kingship of King Vishtaspa, teachings of the religion, arts and crafts of the world, astronomy and medicine.
The existing body of texts like the Yashts, Yasna and Visperad have been taken from other Nasks such as Bagho, Baghan Yasht and Staot Yasna.

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