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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 the divisions of mankind. (111)

Be it known that, generally, the divisions of mankind are the four following. Of these the first is composed of the intelligent and the saved (from hell); the second of the intelligent, but imprisoned (in hell); the third of the innocent who are wanting in intelligence and years; and the fourth of those of a doubtful state of intelligence. Of these the intelligent and saved, and those who have died (soon) after birth are holy. Those who, possessing intelligence, become, notwithstanding, in life, the prisoners of hell, are the sinful men who have died. Those who are wanting in intelligence and in years, and who have died soon after birth, and who have not taken birth, are pure. And those who pass their lives without sufficient intelligence and in a doubtful condition, have (both) hopes of righteousness and fear of sin.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the cause of rain, its original mass, and the cause of its fall; the person who gives commands regarding it, the person who does work relating to it, and the person who superintends such workers; its innate power of dispelling danger to life, its benefits, its injuries, and its large and small drops; the causes of snow and hail; and those who cause their increase, diminution, advantages, and disadvantages. (112)

Be it known that, the cause of rain is the Creator. And He, through his opulence, is the averter of the miseries caused by various kinds of wants and by dryness, and is the developer of the world. And those who are the instruments of carrying up water from below by means of the force of heat and the power of wind, and who send it back below in its native force are the Yazads, who manage the bestowal of opulence. Its (of rain) whole original mass reaches from the sea to the limits of the vapor-formed clouds, and so long as its original mass goes again and again from the sea, so long it rains upon the earth. The giver of command regarding rain is Dadar Ohrmazd himself, and those who, by command of the Dadar, do the work relating to it, are the stars Tishtar and Satvesh, the Yazads Wohuman, Arduisur, Vad, Hom, Den, (and) Berejat, and the Farohars of holy men. And the chief that is highest in rank among all these managers is Tishtar, who performs, in conjunction with the star Satvesh, the work connected with his command, through those managers. And he performs the work of drawing water from seas, rivers, springs, and other places, by means of the power of the wind, and of giving it the form of clouds, and of taking it hither and thither as clouds in the shape of water-lifting vapor, and of taking it aloft; and, in conjunction with Wohuman, by means of the power of the wind, moves forward the beneficial vapors. And (his) associates in the work relating to rain, -- the being Den (i.e. Den Yazad); the wind; Arduisur, pure and of kingly majesty; and the force producing Fire, -- cause harm to devs, sorcerers, fairies [peris, Av. pairikas], and their chiefs Aposh Dev and Sapujgar Druj, who are preventers of rain. And owing to the removal of the obstructions to rain, Berejat, the principal lord of the central waters, and the Farohars of holy men, who do the work of conveying water, convey it, by distribution in due proportion, to (all) the continents, provinces, and places. Rain itself is water, and the instruments of rain are wind, clouds and vapor. The cause of small and large drops (of rain), of hail and snow is air in different forms. If the air contains heat, the drops that fall are small, and if it contains moisture, large drops fall: if it is cold, it snows; and if it is dry, hail falls. The stoppage of rain is owing to Aposh, Sapujgar, and many other Devs, and to harm-and-want-causing sorcerers (and) peris (fairies), and to the evil eye, of rulers who impose taxes and evil cesses and of injustice-doing judges, falling on the vapor of water: and thus rain does not fall. It is declared that the increase of rain owing to the increase-causing Yazads and to the invisible power of Atash Beheram and to other Yazads who are generous promoters of the creation, and to good kind-eyed men, pure women, and just judges casting their eyes on the vapor of water. The final benefits, conferred in limitless ways by rain, are from the bounty of the Creator. And the cry of damage in regard to it is owing to the connection with it of the Blemish-giver. The king who is superior in the strength of excellent commandments and justice, causes benefits (to his people) in numerous ways from rain and mitigates the cry of injury (from it). And the tyrannical king who possesses highly evil commandments and is without justice, adds to the cry from damage by rain, and is a diminisher of its benefits in various ways. The king who causes benefits (to his people) is a promoter of the power of rain-causing Yazads to cause rain, and is a diminisher of the power of Devs, who cause obstructions, to prevent rain from falling. Increased worship through the good religion makes the Yazads rejoice, and the Devs to grieve; and the worship of rain-obstructing Devs through idolatry enhances the force and violence with which they obstruct rain, and thereby great difficulty and labor is experienced by the rain-promoting Yazads in the work of causing beneficial rain to fall.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the acquisition of the great wisdom of the prescience-adorned religion by students of it. (113)

Be it known that, by a study of the good religion for the love of the soul and of the purity of the religion, the student fully understands everlasting wisdom and knowledge; and, owing to the knowledge of the wisdom of the good religion, the man, who is fond of the good things, the power, and the renown of this world, keeps aloof from attending (to these things) from ambition. The knowledge regarding the riches, the power, and the renown of this world, which he, who for the love of his soul devotes attention to the good religion, obtains, is full of perfect wisdom. He who looks at the riches of this world with the eye of covetousness, does not obtain a knowledge of this estimable wisdom. Therefore, whoever does not possess suitable knowledge, and possesses the inclination to prefer this world, should improve his disposition under the teachership of accomplished religious teachers for the sake of the redemption of Frashegird, and should acquire, as their disciple, the wisdom relating to it, and instruct others regarding it.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the redemption of the creation at the time of the final improvement and the destruction of Ahriman (114)

Be it known that, the vital principle is incapable of being cut or of dying. Similarly, no one can obtain life without the existence of the soul. But by the separation of the soul from the thing in connection with which it worked, the body (thing) which had connection with it becomes useless, owing to the separation of the soul; and, therefore, the soul itself must be held to kill its related body and to render it useless. As the body becomes lifeless and useless by the separation of the soul, so, at the time of Frashegird all the baser powers of Ahriman will be destroyed (from among men): and he himself, not finding any abode, and no one being drawn towards him notwithstanding his efforts to draw them, will in the end despair: and his assistance and invocation being entirely put a stop to, he will become distressed and perpetually sorrowful. (The following) declaration is made in the religion regarding the imprisonment in hell with fetters of Ahriman, and his end:

"In that thy Kingdom, O Ahura Mazda, his (Angra Mainyu's) end, in every way, will come." [Y34.10]

Whoever, through Ahriman's misleading, causes harm (now) will, at the End, be adorned with light for the new life; and those Devs (and) Drujs who stand ready (at present) to send wrongheadedness (into man) will (at that time), owing to his being possessed of light, he dissociated from the thought of having any thing to do with him. Then (man), of the two, will be of the side of the shining one (Spenta Mainyu). And thereby he will be a great harmer of the lightless, and will render the chief of the evil tribe (Ahriman), dominionless. And he (Ahriman) will be taken to be covered up and imprisoned, owing to there being no way of entering into (man) from the sides. There is a prophecy (in the religion) about people remaining aloof from the painful knowledge of the boundless path-losing of Ahriman; and (about) their walking within bounds; and (about) his remaining within bounds, at the End, among limitless people, and thereby becoming a prisoner, owing to limitless related beings not partaking in his wrong-doing; and (about) his influence being unable to remain (in men); and (about) the non-improvement of his condition.

Exposition in the good religion that it is through (his) deeds that (man) will obtain a better life at the End. (115).

Be it known that, the obtaining of the better life of the End is especially owing to the doing of ease-giving works; and these works are connected with, of two lords (Spenta Mainyu and Ahriman), the one who is the protector and preserver. For owing to such works, good remedies and good riches for the people of the world do not remain covered up. And, therefore, people do not go beyond bounds. That is, mankind do not separate in any way from their original source. And obtaining knowledge of sinful deeds, they oppose deeds that cause harm, and adopt means to prevent and ruin such deeds, and perform every work immediately, at the proper time; that such time may not pass away without the work being done. For, should the work remain undone they might remain aloof from their Creator, and might thereby be considered to be of the belief of the Untruthful (Ahriman).

Exposition in the good religion regarding the (power) which protects sense and intelligence. (116)

Be it known that, the invisible power that preserves sense and intelligence (in man) is Vohuman, and his manifestation in man is through contentment. He, in whom is this wealth (Vohuman) is possessed of the power that is the source of sense and intelligence; and he is possessed of the riches of contentment because of the continuous assistance rendered to him by Vohuman; and, doing perfect deeds relating to sense and intelligence, he obtains praise and greatness in both the worlds. But when a man (withdrawing his) sense and intelligence from under the control of the one (Vohuman), places it under that of the three (Vohuman, Akoman, and Hesham), and when Akoman and Hesham prevail upon him more than Vohuman, then his intelligence is blunted through Akoman, and his sense is dispelled through Hesham. And if by their intelligence the Devs prevail over his sense and intelligence and do harm (to them), the man becomes of the disposition of the Devs. If wanting contentment, the evil seed of the riches of this world and the poverty of the coming world is sown (in man), he becomes perverted of mind and bereft of intellect.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the dwelling (in man) of the understanding power that keeps sinless. (117)

Be it known that, the dwelling in man of the understanding power that keeps him sinless is owing to these two excellent desires: One of them is the desire to remain pure from sin, and the other is the desire for approving deeds relating to such (understanding). Again, for the man who is aloof from such thoughts (desires) there is no purification from sin. The man whose heart is the dwelling place of the Yazads in a greater degree, is better fitted to remain sinless and to approve co-related deeds, through the assistance of the excellent understanding power, (derived) from Ohrmazd, that is possessed of knowledge. And owing to that man thus remaining pure of sin and approving co-related deeds because of his (possession of) this understanding, he becomes worthy of inspiration and of obtaining (all) due desires from (the Yazads); just as the holy herbad Bakhtafrid, by remaining sinless and preferring the purity of his soul, owing to the suggestions of the conscience given by Ohrmazd, became renowned for obtaining his wishes and inspiration from the Yazads.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the possibility of obtaining dominion by those who are fond of dominion (118)

Be it known that the possibility of obtaining dominion by a person fond of rule depends upon these causes: Owing to the power of God descending upon him, the ruler finds men and military chiefs: (and) as to this, if a king, by means of his rule, is for maintaining men, and is very anxious to secure intercourse with (his) subjects, and keeps off harm from the people, and performs good work, for them, the people remain under his rule, and, loving his rule, remain united with him. And about this there are the following Avesta:-

"nôit zî dî ýâ pasu vîra xshathrâ ahmât ashâunô mazishtya dî shâtôish mãnayât dasishtem uzyâthramayâ." (Surely, a ruler of beasts and men assures to himself extremely little greatness by his wisdom until he secures great happiness for them by means of his rule.)

Exposition regarding the irregularity of the roots (Elements) that cause earthly things to grow. (119)

Be it known that, it has been ascertained that the cause of the roots (elements), that make earthly things to grow, acting contrary to their original law (constitution) is the alteration in their forces. For, if water is in excess, it alters the force of air and also that of earth; and if air is in excess, it alters the force of water and also that of fire; and if fire is in excess, it alters the force of air and earth; and if earth is in excess, it alters the force of fire and also that of water. And, owing to the alteration in their original regulated forces, they that by their mutual union are the formers of living things, instead, owing to the perverted forces and in accordance with the principles of the possessor of perverse force (Ahriman's), become the injurers of body-possessing things and the destroyers of the structure of body-possessing things and the harmers of the creation and the means for its being rendered unfit to exist. (The elements) themselves, owing to the principle of wisdom (Spenta Mainyu) and to the relation with beneficent beings (Yazads), are naturally fitted to succeed in forming things; and it is owing to the relation with harm-causing beings (Devs and Drujs) and to the injury done to them that they are known as destroyers of creation and as connected with misfortune. The cause of this being done by the Devs is the Principle connected with illness (Ahriman). Again, the originating (elements) are, owing to the help of the Yazads and the increase of the things of this world caused (by them), declared to be the benefitters to the productions of this world; and, they are (also) reckoned as harm-doers, owing to the injury (done to the production of the things of this world) in a like manner to the attacking and overpowering of the sheep by the wolf, and the prevailing of man over man in evil designs. Just as among men there is a severance of relations owing to the tyranny of ill-conducted men, so the (separation) of the elements, which are connected with each other is owing to their injuring the products of each other And hence they are, among men, immoral instead of moral; and, among things, the producers of harmful, perverse products and the means of non-suppression of harm. And being beneficial to production and helping it, they are, among men, like unto the means for the performance of moral work, for, it is owing to them that men are enabled to do righteous deeds. and thereby become possessed of righteousness. And it is owing to their perverted action that men do sinful deeds, and thereby become sinners. And the happening thus is declared to be owing to the One, whose principle is pain (Ahriman).

The sky, the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars are known, by their work, to be possessed of the principles connected with the formation of the creation; and the formation of the creation happened after its Creator. The sky up to the limit of the stars is as a fortification round the earth, and the space between is a field for the rivalry of the Rivals in fight. And there the Rivals permeate from within the bodies (of men) to the limits of the stars. And in the Testarpaya is a superior light-bearing creation, whereby harm is done to the work of those who are by nature hurtful. The Creator himself is not capable of harming his creation, or of promoting mutual conflict in his creation. In the same way, the creation itself is not formed capable of mutual rivalry, but the cause of that happening is declared to be the One possessed of the principle of pain (Ahriman).

Exposition in the good religion regarding the greatness of Dadar Ohrmazd being due to life of all kinds (120)

Be it known that, just as we see that from what is a little grain a large tree grows; and with what is a little piece of wood a large house is built; and that a little eye is capable, with the great light of the sun, to see the earth and the ends thereof; and that a little thought about the soul is held precious above all things: so, the power of the promoters (of the world) acquires such ample strength for its work that in all things in heaven or earth, -- whether possessed of growing, or feeble, or diminished or ruined strength, -- a highly shining (and) great force becomes manifest through their powers. Owing to this we are unable to imagine the invisible greatness of the holy Dadar [Creator]. And this great power of His shows us that the possessor of such greatness is, with his wisdom, able to perceive all the powers that move the world, and, the highest strength of his (world) guiding wisdom gives us an idea of his still more mighty wisdom. Again, we perceive from his Mazdayasnian religion that that religion is the source of (all) wisdom: hereby is made manifest to us the highest superiority of the Mazdayasnian religion. When we find that in every place He rules by religion, we perceive the immense superiority of his rule. Again, when it appears to us that the holy Ohrmazd, the creator, is primeval and is the birth-giver, maker and mover (of the world), we perceive uniformly thereby that the holy Self-existent is the best governor. To perceive the greatness of the Creator, this fact is alone sufficient, that He is omnipotent to watch over all his creation.

Exposition in the good religion regarding Ohrmazd's desires being associated with reason. (121)

Be it known that, it is owing to his all-comprehending reason that the designs of the holy Ohrmazd are worthy of approval. And he himself is like by reason of his improving in various ways, and continuing the march of, His creation, through the desires of his all comprehending reason. Therefore, he is connected with the desires of Ohrmazd who, while promoting the Mazdayasnian religion, is a doer of the highest deeds connected with its rule; from whose sufficing deeds the people of the world derive everlasting benefit, the perpetual continuance of which causes adequate improvements, enables the Blemish-giver to be fully driven out, and always secures righteousness for the people of the world.

3. Those religious teachers, who with (their) evil-intentioned religion always injure the works of people connected with the End, and with the ideas of (their) evil-intentioned religion always render many men deserving of hell, do multiform harm to the world; for, the effect of their religion is that it acts as the source of liking for hurtful deeds by believers in that religion. Hence, such a religion is said to be false in doctrine and connected with evil in relation to the End: it, therefore, should not be styled a religion.

Exposition in the good religion regarding good and evil religions, their origin, and the beneficial and hurtful results arising from their promulgation and currency. (122)

2. Be it known that, the good religion, Asnekhrad (innate reason), and the Being possessing the quality of Asnekhrad (i.e. the good power known as Vohuman) were born together.

3. Of these, Asnekhrad and the Being Vohuman possessing that quality (of Asnekhrad) are born of the Spenamino. 4. And Akoman (the power with the evil mind), which is a being possessed of the blemish of Varun (perverse reason), was born together with hurtful Varun. 5. And hurtful Varun and Akoman of the evil nature of the hurtful Varun are born of the Ghanamino, who does not belong to the Original Source. The good religion is from Spenamino who is related to the Original Source. And the evil religion is from the Ghanamino. 6. And of the (two), one belonging to the good religion is known by reason, the help of reason, ways according with reason, nature according with reason, deeds according with reason (and) the light of reason that gives strength to the wise. -For, the pure reason born of the Spenamino is the doer of every benefit to good men. 7. And one belonging to the evil religion is known by unreason, the help of unreason, unreasonable conduct, unreasonable nature, unreasonable deeds (and) the darkness that gives evil strength to the unwise. For, all unreason, born of the Ghananimo, is a doer of harm of various kinds to good men. 8. And the continuance of these two (good and evil religions) is owing to them (Spenta Mainyu and Anghra Mainyu). 9. The good and pure Ameshaspands have their holy habitation in a person of the good religion so long as there is in him the full sway of Asnekhrad, and the weakening sway of destructive unreason is at an end. 10. The tempting Devs have their unholy abode in a person of the evil religion so long as their is in him all the unworthy sway of destructive unreason, and where Asnekhrad is entirely non-existent. 11. And where in the world Asnekhrad and destructive unreason are both (united), there is mixed rivalry for sway by both. And in proportion to the strength of the sway of Asnekhrad is goodness, belief in religion, confidence in and spread of religion, the rule of the Yazads, greatness to the good and well-being to the world. And in proportion to the prevalence of the strength of destructive unreason is belief in the evil religion, the communication of its usages, the oppression of Devs, greatness to the bad, and 12 evil to the people. 12. The fruit of benefit (results) from the prevalence of the good religion. And the consequence of harm (result) from the continuance of the evil religion.

13. The fruit of benefit that results to the world from the good religion is owing to the continuance of the holy assistance of the Ameshaspands for the protection in this world of God's people from destruction by Ahriman, and to the prevalence of the good strength of the Yazads for the purpose of keeping man pure. For, men obtain liberation from hell and are improved, by human defects being put away from them. The increase in the world of the superior good qualities is owing to its (the world) being adorned with excellence. With reference to the prevalence in man of mixed powers, owing to there being in man the strength of the good attributes of virtuous disposition, the Drujs are broken and removed from him. The prevalence of sufficient righteousness among men is the cause of harm reaching to the army of Drujs, and of the Blemish-giver being made uneffulgent, and of the whole of the good creation becoming immortal in accordance with its desire.

14. The reason of the hurtful result to the world of the evil religion is this, that owing to it the Devs dwell in men, whereby all evil prevails among them, and there is death in the world, and destruction and harm to people. And owing to the prevalence of its admixture among men there is acquisition of strength by evil attributes, enfeeblement of good attributes, removal of the light of humanity from man, and the bowing of (the seeds of) evil in them for the doing of sinful deeds, and the becoming sinful of (their) souls, and the rendering the world desolate and hurtful by vice. Owing to the destruction of humanity, and the acquisition of the correlative evil and the increase of vice, the Devs acquire great strength for harming the world. The hopes entertained in the world from obedience to Devs, are related to evil that has no connection with good. The reason why the world is incapable of remaining permanent as superior creation is that it is filled with all secret evil that has no connection with good. 15. Therefore, those religious teachers who give instruction in the religion of the Original One, keep the believers in, that religion in communion with the Original Source, and owing to the relation with the Original Source they remain aloof from the evil religion: consequently, people should consider the precepts of such religious teachers virtuous. And he whose precepts are not of the Spenamino but of the source connected with the Ghanamino, such a religious teacher is said to be the source of all sin, and the chief of all sinners, and the most wicked among the wicked.

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