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DENKARD (Acts of Religion), Book 3

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

Denkard, edited by Peshotun Dustoor Behramjee Sunjana, 1876 English translation by Ratanshah E. Kohiyar.

Exposition in the good religion regarding the heavenly principle of wisdom and the evil passions. (76)

Be it known, that all good qualities exist because of the heavenly principle of wisdom. And in it are comprised (those) six good qualities. Of these, one is the (quality) of consummate thought, which is free from (any) relation to immoral thought that has reference to faults; another is the quality of courage, which is free from the touch of sinful discord; the third is the quality of industry, which is free from avarice which is a fault; the fourth is the quality of contentment, which is free from the contact of idleness; the fifth is (the quality) of approbation of wisdom, which is free from the selfishness of faulty evil propensities; and the sixth is (the quality) that has reference to the increase of wisdom, which is free from faulty perverse desires. Whoever has in him the above six helpful qualities, he is possessed of heavenly wisdom. And, consequently, that (man) possessed of heavenly wisdom is enabled, among all defective men, to protect (himself) well and to attain superior rank. All the evil qualities that are in man are owing to the faculties of the evil passions. And they are these six law-breaking evil qualities: -- Of these, one is (the evil quality of) immoral thought which is devoid of consummate thought (and) which is sinful; the second is (the evil quality of) discord, allied to faults, (and) wanting in courage; the third is (the evil quality of) sinful, unindustrious avarice; the fourth is (the evil quality of) sinful, idle discontentedness; the fifth is (the evil quality of) sinful selfishness of the evil passions, which is devoid of the approbation of wisdom; and the sixth is (the evil quality of) sinful, perverse desires, unlearned in knowledge. He who, owing to evil passions, is possessed of these six perverse evil qualities, endures much hardship and his faith is the perverse path of evil passions. Owing to that he is, among men, a bad man and fit to be despised. (Therefore) the religion of those religious teachers who are disapprovers of the trouble (necessary) to virtuous honesty and are promulgators among men of a religion that is hurtful to them, causes hardship and injury of every kind to men by means of perverse conduct which is influenced by evil passions. (Such a religion) is, in accordance with the ways of wisdom, considered as obstructive to mankind, as also, inimical to them; therefore, it is not proper to call such a religion a religion.

Exposition in the good religion as to how to know the Lord Creator. (77)

It is said in the religion that, it is through the power and the assistance of the Yazads that man knows the holy Self-existent, fights with the Drujs and delivers his body and soul from them, and possesses the power of managing the other creation of this world. Under the design of the Creator, man is born, and has the power to direct himself, under the superintendence of the Yazads. The abode (in man) of the evil qualities of the evil passions is for the purpose of obstructing heavenly wisdom and for contriving to plunge man into sin. The power of the Blemish-giver reaches into man through the perverse principles, and owing to that such (men) give pain to the Yazads. That which procures friendship for people of this world among beings of the highest order is heavenly wisdom. Through it men know their Creator and live in confidence in the Lord: and know that the Yazads are (i. e. exist) for virtue; the Devs for vice; the Truthful for truth; the Untruthful for untruth; the Benefactor for benefit; and the Harm-doer for harm: And by means of the good religion (they) keep aloof from sin, acquire righteousness, carry on (the affairs of) the world, maintain their bodies, and save their souls (from hell). Evil passions are, owing to evil, mean and extremely hurtful, and they have reached among the people of this world from the Blemish-giver, for their destruction; owing to them men remain without the power to know their Creator and in want, and suppose that the Yazads are (i.e. exist) for vice, that the Devs are for virtue; that the Untruthful is for truth, that the Truthful is for untruth, that sin is for righteousness, that righteousness is for sin, and that benefits are for harm; and (thus) they are damned. And owing to the evil religion of the Blemish-giver they remain aloof from righteousness, run towards sin, do evil to people, and do not approve of the thoughts connected with the invisible Yazads. It is owing to the superior strength and the superintendence of heavenly wisdom that man keeps aloof from the perverse path and has the life of the good path. And it is owing to the superior strength and the superintendence of the evil passions that man remains aloof from the good path and passes his life in an evil manner. Therefore, those persons who are spoken of as religions teachers ought to impart the religion of heavenly wisdom to those among the living creation of God whose conduct, being without a proportion of heavenly wisdom, is that of the evil passions, that they might repent o£ the deeds done through the evil passions and pluck out the roots of sin. Not only that, but (they) ought to hold in contempt those among men who are thankless to God and are sinful.

Of the way of the Mazdyasnian religion being the law of Him who has the power of forbearance (78)

Be it known that, as bright light is an exemplar of light of a higher kind and as true wisdom typifies all wisdom and truthfulness; so the law of the Mazdyasnian religion of the Forbearer points out the way of the religion for His worship. And so in the scheme of the good religion there are three doctrines. One of them has reference to life in this world in the flesh; the second is about the invisible world which is to succeed the bodily state; and the third has reference to the work of Frashegird at the End. The scheme as regards the present world consists in remaining aloof from hurtful objects and in alleviating human misery. Therefore, he who is a worshipper of God, acts properly according to law, keeps aloof from causing pain or harm, and, having knowledge of the ills and pains affecting his body, keeps himself happy; and he through every object that gives happiness, knows his Creator. For man to know his Creator, is for the purpose of knowing Him of the evil religion. The pure, by living according to the law (and) committing no transgression, and by not breaking their word with others, become fit for the work of the religion. The (second) doctrine, (that) relating to the immortality of the coming world, after the bodily state has been ended, has reference, to the purchase of the merchandise of righteousness for the purpose of remaining pure, as far as possible, while living in this world, by means of every wish and conception regarding the soul; and to the removal of sin. The last doctrine, about the Frashegird, has reference to the well-meaning design of the Creator regarding the End. It contains excellent precepts regarding the purification of the good dispositioned creation, and the plucking out from among mankind and breaking the powers of the Blemish-giver which render (men) sinful as well as untruthful, and the imparting of complete purity from the pollution of sin to the souls of transgressors which have been rescued from hell, and improving their enfeebled condition into the eternal immortal nature of the souls of holy men and making them highly lustrous: (so that) no one from among the creation of the Self-existent might render himself greedy through greed. Among the people of this world his work is not in accordance with the law, whose business it is to wound and to give pain. For, to do harm and to give pain is the work of perverse, (and) irreligious persons and of those who are disobedient to God. Therefore, if there be religious teachers, who, being of the religion with the doctrines about the coming world and the redemption at the time of the Frashegird, do not adopt means to deliver other persons ill whom all desires and ideas have reference to the source of sin, and if, in consequence, a great many men, being eternally damned, are thrown into hell unredeemed; their religion, although from God, is calculated to make (the men of) their race (fitted) for the evil End, owing to their not making people act according to the law, giving them evil assistance, and not imparting to them knowledge regarding the End. And as much a wolf is said to be the destroyer of its young, owing to the influence of greed which is connected with idleness; (so much destructive are such religious teachers).

Exposition in the good religion regarding that in respect of which the soul is finally judged. (79)

Be it known that the final judgment of the soul bears a relation to its desires and capacities. And men in this respect are essentially of five kinds. One (kind) is (composed of men) whose desires are conscientiously (set) on (their) Creator and His religion, and who possess the requisite intelligence to make inquiries respecting them (both) with the object of knowing them: hence, if such a man makes inquiries regarding the good religion and acquires knowledge about it, and putting faith in it, does righteous deeds as is enjoined by the good religion, and keeps aloof from sin, he, according to the religion is a holy man. But if (he), being possessed of the power to make inquiries, is unable to obtain knowledge regarding the good religion, and, notwithstanding (every) possible effort, is disappointed in (his) inquiries; he (yet) has hopes of delivering (his soul) from hell, by doing any righteous deeds in accordance with practice made current by conscience which is from God. Another (kind) is (composed of men) who love (their) Creator and His religion cordially but who do not possess intelligence enough to obtain by inquiries, as much knowledge as is necessary, concerning the good religion, and who so far as they know, keep aloof from sin, and do as much righteousness as they know of; such men, owing to (their) loving (their) Creator and His religion and to the strength of that righteousness and of the keeping aloof from sin, have hopes of being delivered from hell. The third (kind) is (composed of men) who love the holy God and His religion with their hearts, and are eager to make inquiries, but have not intelligence to understand the good religion, and who are such men as are unable themselves to understand the design (thereof) owing to lack of wisdom. The salvation of such men is possible through the power of (directing) their hearts towards the self-existent Creator and the wisdom of His religion. The fourth (kind) is (composed of men) who love the Creator and His religion with their hearts, but have not the intelligence to understand the good religion by making inquiries regarding it, and who are such men as are unable by means of the faculty of intelligence to obtain a knowledge (through others) of what is not in their possession. For such men there is a means of salvation through their hearts being with the holy Self-existent and His religion. The fifth (kind) is (composed of men) who have not the heart to love (the) Creator and His religion: for such men, notwithstanding the connection with sin, there is a reason for their deliverance from hell, owing to the desire (for love) having been taken away from their hearts.

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