What is Bundahishna? (TMY Jame-Jamshed of 4-12-16)


  1. The word Bundahishna means “origin of creation.” This word denotes two things. The first is the name of a very important Pahlavi book which contains the story of creation. Te second is the Zoroastrian story of creation. A detailed account of the Zoroastrian story creation had come in a previous TMY under the question “What is the Zoroastrian story of creation?”. Today we will just talk about the book Bundahishna.
  2. The book Bundahishnais to the Zoroastrians, what the Biblical ‘Book of Genesis’ is to the Christians. It is the Zoroastrianaccount of the origin of the creations of the spiritual and material worlds, their nature, characteristics, and functions. The book also deals with ancient Iranian history, geography, traditions, astronomy, astrology, natural science and a number of other subjects. There are two versions of the text.  The shorter version, which is generally known as ‘Indian Bundahishna’ and the longer version, which is generally known as ‘Iranian Bundahishna’.
  3. The Bundahishna has thirty four chapters. The main story of creation is contained in the first chapter, from which the book gets its name. The first chapter of this book allegorically states that the entire period of creation is for 12 hazāra or 12000 years, and this is further divided into four parts, each of 3000 years. The Hindu idea of Yuga is similar to the Zoroastrian idea of four fold division of created time. According to the Hindus there are 4 YugasSat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvāpar Yuga and Kali Yuga.
  4. The rest of the book of Bundahishna covers topics like creation of 12 Zodiac signs and 28 constellations,

the attack of the Evil Spirit on the seven creations, 7 planets, Mount Alburz, solstices, defense of the creations against the attack of the Evil Spirit, the different lands (seven Keshvars), mountains, seas, species and types of animals (including birds), men (the first human pair of Mashya & Mashyane), the five different types of physical and spiritual fires, the three spiritually created fires, main rivers, mountains and lakes.

4. The full translation of Bundahishna, done by Professor Eugene W. West, can be found in the fifth volume of the Sacred Books of the East, which may be available in most prestigious Oriental libraries.

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