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Chapter Summary

The most extensive book is the Yasna ('Liturgical Prayer'), which is in turn divided into 72 chapters or hāitis; the book principally contains texts for the yasna liturgy, i.e., prayers and mantras that were recited during the celebration of the religious ceremony. In the middle of the Yasna lie the gāӨās ('Gathas, songs') of Zarathustra and the Yasna haptayhāiti ('the Yasna of Seven Chapters'), the only texts in Old Avestan. Later, the book turns to the enumeration of religious rules and laws that a believer must observe in order to be a good Mazdayasnian. The book is composed in prose with some small poetic remnants. Given that Zarathustra speaks in the first person in some poems, and on account of the special religious content of the texts, it is thought that the Gathas may have been composed by the prophet Zarathustra himself.

Keywords: gāӨās; texts in Old Avestan; Yasna; Zarathustra



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