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DENKARD (Acts of Religion), Book 3

This digital edition copyright © 1995 by Joseph H. Peterson. All rights reserved.

Edited by Peshotun Dastoor Behramjee Sanjana, 1881.

Exposition in the good religion regarding men of the best and the worst desires (103)

Be it known that, that man has the best desires who is so anxious to obtain, in the next world, the reward of virtue, that he never rests content with doing virtuous deeds, even though he should spend all the wealth earned by him in this world upon doing (such) virtuous deeds. And that man has the worst desires, who thinks it right to amass the riches of this world.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the remedies for that illness of the soul which is owing to want of increase in knowledge and judgment (104)

Be it known that, illness of the soul is due to a deficiency of knowledge and of good qualities; and thereby two descriptions of vicious (men) are formed. Of these one is (called) Farehbut, and the other Aibibute. Of these, a Farehbute is (a man) given to pride, who thinks that no one (in the world) is greater than himself: and, an Aibebute is a scorner (of others); he has the vanity (to believe) that no one else knows as much as he does, and that others are behind him and inferior to him. The man who always has such an opinion of his own wisdom and good qualities that (he believes) that he is knowing and another is not, that he is superior to another and the other is inferior to him, such a man deforms and sickens his soul with these two vices. Therefore men should keep off from themselves these two kinds of maladies of the soul, one of which is pride, and the other, contempt of others. He whose soul is afflicted with these (maladies) should remain in obedience to some learned man and obtain instruction from him in knowledge and virtue, that thereby, his imperfect knowledge might be destroyed, just as a tree is dried up for want of water. The remedy for the malady of these two, proud men and scornful men, is by means of consummate thought: for, a man becomes possessed of just ideas about himself, by becoming a disciple of a highly thoughtful teacher; and thus, whatever learning and good qualities may be in others, whether more or less, or the entire absence of them, and the absence or the presence in a lower degree in himself of what learning or good qualities may be in others, become apparent to him. And when he finds another superior to himself he considers him to be higher in rank than himself, and believes himself to be lower in rank than that other, (and so) keeps (himself); and again whatever the other person knows more than himself, he, to learn what he himself does not know, and to acquire the knowledge and art of freeing his soul from the malady of pride and scorn, serves the other (who knows more than himself).

Exposition the good religion regarding invisible powers that are fit to be approved and are full of light, and invisible powers that are not fit to be approved and are full of darkness. (105)

Know that two invisible beings (i. e. powers) having relations with him accompany every living person; and through them people adorn their lives and hold two kinds of objects in view and perform two kinds of deeds. When mankind took its birth, through the Creator, in the invisible (world), it held no connection with objects and deeds of two kinds, but life-holding (men) have been enables to do so in this world through the (above mentioned two) guiding powers. And the manifestation of these (two kinds of) objects and actions (among men) has happened necessarily in this way, that when by means of the eyes and actions of this world, the presence of the things and actions of this world become manifest (to man), then two invisible powers, doing the work connected with the origin of life and having two kinds of objects and two kinds of actions, enter into his personality. Of these the shining invisible power is the power that gives the remedy-adopting faculty to the living (man). The separation (of man) from relations with this invisible power is owing to his turning at once towards the dark power connected with this world. The source of improvement of all man, through this world, in the present (life), is this invisible power (Spenta Mainyu).

The dark mino is of a deadly nature and miserable sinful kind; it is, therefore, not fit to reach life-possessing man to hold relations (with him). In like manner, whoever is born in this world is unfitted by his original nature to mingle with it (the dark mino); but that (mingling) happens through perverted nature. Again, men, in various ways turn themselves into the semblance of the dev-kind, and take the shape of wolves and other Khrafastras. This also is owing, not to their original disposition, but to the contact with it (the dark power); for men are of a light-bearing nature, (and) are inclined towards Frashegird (final improvement). It is declared in the good religion that through it (Spenta Mainyu) the Devs had become helpless and had disappeared in the time of Zartosht; that in the time of Ushedar, the bodies of wolves would be completely destroyed; and that, in the time of Ushedarmah the bodies of all (animals) that sting would be fully annihilated. Moreover, the diminution of whatever vices are current in the nature of light-descended man happens at the time of the separation of the souls of different kinds of men from their bodies, when (the things) of this world are returned to it, and, (the things) of the invisible world return to the invisible world. At the end of the time of Ushedarmah, owing to the advent of Soshyant the connection of drujs with the nature of man will be cleared away, broken and diminished.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the means which lead men to behave in the best and the worst manner. (106)

Be it known that, it is owing to his conducting himself carefully by means of his innate intelligence that man, notwithstanding some admixture (of evil), behaves in the best possible manner: and, it is owing to the sinful power that he behaves in the most wicked manner. Therefore, among (men) of these two courses of conduct, the teacher who teaches them knowledge, what to do, and what not to do, these three things, is their friend. And the ruler who, by means of his rule, prevents them from committing sin, nourishes the soul, and helps them in distress, is considered their overseer. In all places, the thing which is the highest in rank and the best for man is, innate intelligence: and for him who is inferior in innate intelligence the best thing in the second grade is learning: and for him who is without learning, the best thing in the third grade is a friend who teaches him what to do and what not to do always. Similarly, for him who is without these (three things), the best thing in the fourth degree is a ruler who prevents him from (committing) sin. If this had not been, how could he have become one who passes his life in the best possible manner? Nor would he have been able to live long, but, wanting these excellent things, would have been ruined, and would have approached the sinful power that makes one walk in the greatest wickedness.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the way to keep close to the Self-existent. (107)

Be it known that, the way to remain in the presence of the holy Self-existent is through the two things of high degree, wisdom and faith; and it is by keeping these two things aloof (from them) that (men) remain apart from good in this world, and from good in the coming world. (The universe is divided into abodes of three kinds: of which) one is the abode known by the name of hell, where the devs and drujs, who strive for the contamination of sin, and the souls of sinners, are driven. The second is the abode of light and darkness, of good and evil, and of joy and sorrow, and is known by the name of geti. This abode is midway between the two (hell and heaven), where the movements of mental darkness proceeding from satanic relations, of evil, and of sorrow, enter into men. Therefore, among the creatures of this world, those men, who are the best of all, are the fighters (against such movements) and the instructors of the other people in the world who do not possess the divine power of fore-knowledge. It is through the strength of the superior-work-doing invisible Yazads that men have happy lives, good rule, success, the clearance of darkness from among the people of this world by means of light, the removal of evil by the force of goodness, and the suppression of sorrow by the power of gladness. And thus, in this middle abode, men always obtain adequate goodness and joy, through light. The abode of the highest rank, (the third), is paradise and Garothman, possessing all light, perfect goodness and good joy; and, lest Ahriman might injure the strength of this abode or his contamination might enter therein, he has been driven out from the heavens into the abyss below. In the heavens is all light, all fragrance, all goodness and all joy, and there prevails the superior and prescient rule of the Dadar [Creator]. Therefore, those religious teachers who cause men to pass their lives in that religion which deserves eternal punishment, are really of hell, and their religion is calculated to give entirely evil help, and immoral relations (to men), and to cause them great torment in the invisible world. For; an imperfect religion can never be called perfect and holy, but is considered as connected with all impurity.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the nature of the habitation (in men) of the Yazads and Devs. (108)

Be it known that, those men with whose souls the Yazads hold relations, are, owing to the nature of the Yazads, like them, possessed of pure majesty, of wisdom unconnected with evil understanding, of goodness unmixed with evil, of some of the power of the message-bearers (the Yazads) and, owing to glory unalloyed with darkness, are extremely beautiful, of superior appearance, of a good disposition and like unto the good-eyed sun: such is a religious teacher, the giver of ease (prosperity) to the world, and a ruler. Men, by walking unobservantly in this world become to some extent of an alloyed nature; but when they observe perfectly, with wisdom that is unmixed with evil understanding and with their invisible eye, they clearly understand the nature of the path of life. Notwithstanding the existence in man of a certain degree of alloy, the invisible power of thought can enter into him, and thereby such men promulgate among men (God's) commands by means of the invisible power of inspiration. That is, the Yazads being well inclined towards the salvation of the people of this world, and being good-natured in every way, introduce into the minds of men superior things related to the light which they (the Yazads) possess, and to the high power for good unalloyed with evil; and thus make them glorious and renowned among men. For example, it is owing to the connection of the Yazads within him that a ruler or king, wise, fully gifted, holy, (and) excellent, renders the people of the world happy, by causing prosperity through justice; similarly, (it is that) a pure-souled religious teacher, through the instrumentality of a superior religion, with qualities like those of the Yazads, becomes the remover of the blemishes (vices) of men.

It is owing to the passions of wolves and Khrafastras that men are like Devs; and Hesham, the invisible power of the perverted path, prevailing in them, they become the source of darkness unconnected with light, of evil intelligence unconnected with wisdom, and of evil unmixed with good. It is owing to darkness unconnected with light that men, like highly filthy Khrafastras, become the obtainers of the evil help of highly sinful conduct. And it is owing to evil intelligence unconnected with wisdom that they become the hearers of falsehood and the preachers of falsehood to people; and as they themselves are harmed thereby in a base manner, so they teach others to do evil deeds; and owing to the coursing in them of the invisible power, Hesham, they are like thieves and highwaymen. And, it is owing to the wicked strength obtained from evil unmixed with good, that they become injurers of the creation, destroyers of life, wicked sorcerers, and, like sinful destructive rulers of the world and deceiving religious teachers and wolves and Khrafastras, destroyers of the virtue of the world. And as these sinners are, owing to (their) state of being aloof from good qualities and full of blemishes, like Devs and Drujs in this world; so, after the death of their bodies, the souls of these sinners are, owing to the connection with wickedness and vice and to deeds of sin, akin to Devs.

Exposition in the good religion regarding that which benefits the good creation of men in this world and in the invisible world, preserves it from harm, redeems it from sin, raises it to a higher position through righteousness, and encourages every other class of men to return to good. (109)

Be it known that, that which carries most benefit to the good creation in this and the coming world, and preserves it from harm, redeems it from sin, and makes it superior, is wisdom; for through it, a wise man becomes the source of qualities relating to works of the good religion, which are liberality, truth, fidelity, obedience, gratitude, contentment, patience, virtue, and others for improving the world and making man righteous and holy. And thus, through wisdom, a ruler becomes a preserver of the world and its protector and a doer of works of improvement appertaining to rule.

Again, that which causes most injury to the good creation in this world and the coming world, arrests its benefits, brings harm, keeps back men from righteousness and holiness, and much imprisons them through the sin of wickedness, is evil intelligence; for, owing to this evil intelligence, man becomes possessed of the evil religion, miserliness, falsehood, ingratitude, covetousness, tyranny, sin, mercilessness, instruction opposed to the good religion, deceitfulness, blindness, deafness, wickedness, and other world-harming blemishes: and man's falsehood and his sin, are the cause of the world being harmed: in the same way, the manifestation of the power of tyranny is through evil intelligence.

The source of wisdom is Asn khrad (natural reason), and the source of evil intelligence is the evil passion of the perverse path. The source of the qualities of natural reason Asn khrad) is Ohrmazd, the Creator himself, and he who is gifted with them (the qualities), has them that he might fully improve his soul and pass his life perfectly to a good end. And the Dadar is the preserver of that man through His perfect knowledge about the Minoyan mino, perfect strength, perfect dominion, and perfect goodness. And obtaining a knowledge, through these qualities, of what is virtuous, we are able to improve ourselves in the world accordingly. Again, life-holding man obtains in this world all the knowledge regarding with what and how he can improve himself, from the first of two kinds of eyes. And by means of the mature purpose (of that eye, man) knows the nature of his first and last life; and, it (the eye) enjoins what appears to it lawful, and turns back (man) from what does not appear (lawful). He who is capable of distinguishing moral matters, keeps away from such as are injurious. Again, if the object of anything cannot be understood, that thing will be incomprehensible in this life, but we shall be able to know its object when we shall have passed away from this world; for, (if) in any life anything is imperceptible, that thing in that life is isolated; therefore, how can the purpose of it be understood in that (life)? Thus, if no horses are found in a city, and if a person there say, that he knows horses, and that man is such that he has no knowledge whatever of horses, he cannot know what sort of creature is a female horse and a male camel: what explanation can he give regarding the hard skin on the feet of such animals?

Those religious teachers who claim to understand religion and who deceive men into doing sinful and tainted deeds of hell, by means of that religion which is the root of evil, which is sinful in its ways and is calculated by its taint-giving (quality) to harm the world, thereby render themselves fit to have their souls running in deepest hell and to remain there for eternity, without any mercy being shown to them. They should not be recognized as the Dasturs of the religion who are of the root of goodness, righteous, preservers of the people and who, liberating the people of the world (from hell), render them pure and ever virtuous; but they should be considered to be of the religion of Ahriman who is full of sin, all-wicked (and) an injurer of the world. Just as the man who does not know horses, gives a description of a horse which is the reverse (of the true one), so religious teachers of this description are considered ignorant of the divine religion.

Exposition in the good religion regarding persons whose way it is to purchase righteousness and obtain the (reward) for it, and persons whose way it is to commit sin; and the different commandments relating to them. (110)

Be it known that, there are four ways of purchasing righteousness and obtaining the reward for it, and of not purchasing righteousness and not obtaining the reward for it: (one is) purchasing righteousness and obtaining reward thereby, (the other) purchasing righteousness and obtaining no reward thereby, (the third) not purchasing righteousness and obtaining the reward for it, and (the fourth) not purchasing righteousness and not obtaining the reward for it. The explanation of this is that just as a man obtains wealth and increases his income, (and) obtaining wealth, he is comfortable, and by increasing this income he obtains honor, so the purchaser of righteousness is redeemed (from hell), and, owing to his acquisition, he obtains high rank there (in the other world). (Secondly) as a man, who acquires wealth, but whose income from that wealth is not greater than (his expenses), is easy in his circumstances, but, his income not exceeding, he does not acquire greatness (in this world), so the purchaser of righteousness (owing to his righteousness and sin being in equal proportions) is an obtainer of liberation (from hell), but the income (of his righteousness) not being in excess, he does not obtain eminence (in the next world.) (Thirdly) the man who, without purchasing righteousness, acquires income-bearing righteousness, obtains, liberation (from hell) owing to his aspiration to be liberated, and eminence (in heaven.) (Fourthly) he who is not a purchaser of righteousness, nor the increaser of its income, neither obtains liberation from hell nor enjoys eminence in paradise.

Again, the ways of committing sin and the (people) connected with them (i. e. the ways) are (also) four in number: (one) hurtful from commission of sin, but calculated to procure liberation from hell; (the other) hurtful from commission of sin, and not procuring liberation from hell; (the third) without hurt notwithstanding commission of sin, and procuring liberation from hell; and (the fourth) without hurt notwithstanding commission of sin, but without liberation from hell. Of these, (the first way) which is hurtful from commission of sin and which procures liberation (from hell), is that of men having relations with the Blemish-giver, who suffer pain because they willingly commit sin; and they will be liberated at the time of the Tanpasin, for in them is created, through the instigation of Ahriman, a liking for sin and oppression, and enmity (of Ohrmazd) and the contamination of sin. Again, it is declared (in the religion) that even the Devs will be freed, from the highly sinful blemishes that are in them, at the time of the End. The beings who are sufferers of pain (in hell) through sin and who will not be liberated therefrom, are the Devs. They are by their nature harm-causing, and unredeemable because of unworthy deeds; and they cause darkness in light-bearing beings. Again, it is declared (in the religion) that Afrasiab, though a man, had become a Dev, and that, therefore, he will not, at the End, be redeemed from the punishment of sin. Children under eight years of age, and men without intelligence, are harmless and safe (from hell). Every child not being of age and small in proportion, and imbecile men, owing to want of intelligence, do not deserve to be punished, and their souls, in addition to being saved from hell, are destined to return to the Khorshedpaya (paradise). Among men, those who are sinless are free from pain and imprisonment. And similarly the pure Mino Yazads are without the necessity for pain and imprisonment.

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