Divine Songs of Zarathushtra by Dr. Irach J. S. Taraporewala On FEZANA website


December 3, 2013

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Books | Heritage

Dear friend of Parsi Khabar and senior member of the Zarathushti community in North America, Ervad Soli P. Dastur writes in


Hello all FEZANA friends:

In 1951, Dr. Irach J. S. Taraporewala, an amazing Avesta, Pahlavi, Sanskrit, etc. scholar, published his opus – The Divine Songs of Zarathushtra – a 1166 page masterpiece. I was a student at that time in our beloved M. F. Cama Athornan Institute and Dr. Taraporewala was the second Principal of the Institute from 1930 to 1940. When his book was published, our Institute got a number of its copies and for standing first in the class and other achievements, we were given this 1166 pages opus as a prize and I had 3-4 copies of this book which remained in a big wooden “Petaaraa” (storage box) in the first floor storage in our home in Tarapur, little did I know its value at that time.


Few years ago, I was looking for a copy of this book and in 2003 someone gave me a copy of this book which actually was a personal copy of our Acting Principal, Mr. Framroze P. Patel, also our Avesta Pahlavi Teacher, as can be seen by his signature on the book cover and title, for which I am extremely grateful. In June 2003, I scanned the complete book together with 9 other books (some of them have been placed on www.avesta.org by my very good friend, Joseph Peterson) but did not do anything with it due to copyright restrictions.

In May 2013 FEZANA AGM, the subject of this book was brought up by Behram Pastakia and I just mentioned that I have scanned the whole book and is available to interested students. Behram just revived this AGM discussion last month and informed me that we in FEZANA may be interested in placing this book on FEZANA website and/or also publishing a new edition of the book. He requested me to inquire with the Taraporewala family to see if they were willing to grant us the right to place it on FEZANA website as well as to publish it.

My sister’s son-in-law, Nairyosangh (called Nehru) Taraporewala is a grand son of Dr. Taraporewala and I enquired with him about our intentions. He referred me to Ms. Soonoo Taraporewala, grand daughter of Dr. Taraporewala, who is the owner of the copyright of this and other books of Dr. Taraporewala. We also found out from Soonoo that her father under the auspices of the Hukhta Foundation, Bombay, had published the second edition of the book in 1993 which has a few copies left and can be obtained from the Parsiana Book Club (Rs. 900 plus postage) as well as from her. Lately, we have found that Amazon is selling a copy of this book for as much as $150. (about Rs. 7,500.!!) without the permission of the Hukhta Foundation.

Soonoo was very receptive and appreciative of FEZANA to place the book on Internet as well as to print an another edition of this book. I send a zipped folder of all the 1166 pages of the book to Behram and Soonoo and Behram then got our amazing FEZANA web master wizard, ArZan Sam Wadia to place it on FEZANA website which he did it in no time in PDF format! After that, we had some concerns from Soonoo about the copyright, logo of the Hukhta Foundation, etc. and among her, Behram, Arzan, Joseph Peterson and me, we came up with an agreeable solution of placing a water mark Hukhta Foundation Logo on each scanned page, a copyright declaration of the Hukhta Foundation, and a warning for not selling this PDF format file under any condition. The final result of all these emails and hard work is now on FEZANA website for all to use at:


Here is what Soonoo has to say about the final result:

“Hi Arzan

Thank you so very much for all the trouble and amendments made by you, in addition, of course, to the great work of uploading my grandfather’s book on the FEZANA site. I’ve noticed one more thing that needs an amendment: my grandfather’s name has been spelled ‘Taraporewalla’ whereas it should be ‘Taraporewala’. That needs to be changed And instead of writing it as ‘Irach Taraporewala’, please write ‘Irach J.S. Taraporewala’ (partly because my brother, who lives in New York, is also Irach Taraporewala). That done, it can be announced to the ‘world with seven rivers’ (Hafta Keshwar Zamin).”

“Hi all

First of all, on this Thanksgiving Day, let me express my thanks to all of you for this initiative that you have taken to help disseminate my grandfather’s great work. I know that anyone who has ever wanted to access it, and also future scholars, will be equally thankful. ……………………………………….

Considering all this, and not wishing to cause more problems and work for you, I think that the version of the watermark is fine as is.

With thanks once again, and warm regards


So, after all the hard work of Arzan, we have this wonderful book on FEZANA website for which personally I am very thankful to Soonoo, Behram, ArZan and Joseph, for their help and guidance.

Let me give you a short Bio of this amazing scholar, Dr. Irach J. S. Taraporewala, from the book cover as well as a short account of the book contents:

Dr. Taraporewala’s short Bio:

“DR. IRACH J. S. TARAPOREWALA is well-known as a profound scholar of Oriental and other languages. He has had a brilliant academic career and passed the Cambridge Tripos in Oriental Languages. He received his Ph. D. from the University of Wurzburg in 1913. While he was in Germany, he took the opportunity of studying under famous scholars of Avesta-Pahlavi and of the religion of Zarathushtra and of learning their methods of painstaking and accurate scholarship and research. The many testimonials of these savants bear ample evidence of Dr. Taraporewala’s erudition. On his return to his own country he has been professor and principal of various colleges and Universities. He is also a Barrister-at-Law.

Besides Oriental languages. Dr. Taraporewala is also acquainted with other Eastern and European languages. He has a sound grasp of Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, English, French, German, Sanskrit, Pali-Prakrit, Greek, Avesta, Pahlavi and Persian—surely a very impressive list. Further, he is the author of many scholarly books and articles on various subjects, which have been acclaimed as brilliant in many parts of the world. He is also the author of authoritative books on Zoroastrian religion and on the Science of Language. His writings bear the stamp of versatility and patient scholarship, qualities which are to be expected from one of Dr. Taraporewala’s qualifi­cations.”

Short Summary of the book content:


“Read the things of the flesh with the eyes of the Spirit, not the things of the Spirit with the eyes of flesh”


The only documents of proved authenticity on the teachings of Zarathushtra—the prophet of Ancient Iran—are the Gathas, which embody his beliefs and basic religious experiences and his Message to humanity.

The Romanized text of this work follows the standard text of Geldner. For each verse is given first the Text, with a word for word translation, in which each word is numbered to correspond with the Text. After this literal translation is given a “Free English Rendering”, in blank verse, which strives to reach the thought and spirit underlying each verse. The variant readings differing from Geldner’s text are fully discussed in the notes. The author has also dealt with the grammar and derivations of words, and has quoted parallel passages conveying the same or similar ideas from other scriptures.

Scholars will be interested in the Appendix on Gatha meter. There is also a special metrical index giving the scansion of every line. Another useful feature is the glossary which is not only very complete, but which is in fact a Gathic dictionary giving the grammar and derivation of all the words. This will prove very valuable to students of the Gathas.

This fine work is the result of over twenty years’ labor. In the past, the Gathas have often been translated by foreign scholars, but as the author says elsewhere, “I have always felt that these renderings have somehow lacked the inspiration that should form their chief characteristic.” He feels that only a Zoroastrian can supply that inspiration, based upon that deep reverence for the sublimity of the teachings of the Gathas. And there could not have been a better person to have undertaken this difficult task than Dr. Taraporewala, a noted student, Oriental scholar, and linguist. “So far Parsi scholars have been content to be led by our western gurus and to accept all that they have taught us. A few of us have been privileged to sit at their feet and to learn their methods of painstaking and accurate scholar­ship and research. And we possess what our gurus never had—a living, ardent faith in the Message of Zarathushtra. To us the Gathas are not mere interesting documents of Ancient Iran, but the eternal foundations of Spiritual Life.”

This is a work for every true student of this ancient religion. Here is the perfect union of meticulous scholarship and deep faith. Not only has the author given the literal meaning of the words, but has tried to catch the spirit of the Gathas, giving to the world a masterpiece worthy of a true devotee. Here we can feel the beauty, the power and the sublimity of the original.

“Read the things of the flesh with the eyes of the Spirit, not the things of the Spirit with the eyes of the flesh.” How well these few words express the spirit in which the author has carried out his task, filled with the sublimity of the Message that Zarathushtra preached, far above all earthly knowledge, a Message for all humanity and for all time.

PRICE: Rs. 25 “

Price of this amazing book in 1951 was Rs. 25!! WOW!!

Hope you all enjoy using this masterpiece.

Love and Tandoorasti, Soli