Vohu Khshathr) GATHA
The Good Dominion of Choice
(22 stanzas — Days 211th to 232nd)
vohû xshathrem vairîm
shyaothanâish mazdâ vahishtem
tat nê nûcît vareshânê.
The good dominion is to be chosen.
It is the best dividend.
In fact, it is devotion for the dedicated,
who, Wise One, moves best
within righteousness by his deeds.
It is for this dominion that I am working for all of us now.
(Gatha: Song 16.1)
Summary Substance: A good government must be an elected one. It is then the best gain one can have. To serve a chosen government means to serve it best with devotion based on righteous deeds. It is for such a dominion, a world order that Zarathushtra rose to work for us, mankind. He founded the foremost democracy – mental and physical, spiritual and material.
Pondering Points: Choose a good chosen order, serve with devotion, gain the best.
tâ vê mazdâ paourvîm
ahurâ ashâ ýecâ
dôishâ-môi ishtôish xshathrem
xshmâkem vohû mananghâ
vahmâi dâidî savanghô.
I dedicate these deeds, Wise Lord, first of all to You,
then to Righteousness,
and then to you, Serenity.
Show me the desired dominion.
Grant me, through Your good mind,
the strength to glorify.
(Gatha: Song 16.2)
Summary Substance: Zarathushtra dedicates his deeds to Mazda, righteousness and serenity so as to established the ideal government. He then prays for strength acquired through good mind to glorify God in such a desired dominion.
Pondering Points: Deeds done wisely, properly and in a serene atmosphere establish the ideal order.
â vê gêushâ hêmyañtû
ýôi vê shyaothanâish sâreñtê
uxdhâish vanghêush mananghô
ýaêshãm tû pouruyô
mazdâ fradaxshtâ apî.
Let those, who have joined You in action,
assemble to hear You,
because You are the Lord of true speech
with words of good mind.
Of these words, Wise One,
You are the foremost promulgator.
(Gatha: Song 16.3)
Summary Substance: The Divine Dominion belongs to God, says Zarathushtra in his opening stanza of “Yatha Ahu.” Here he repeats his idea. He calls upon all those who have dedicated themselves since the operation started to come together to listen to the Divine Message, the message based on truth and good mind and promulgated by God and realized by Zarathushtra.
Pondering Points: Hear the Message, go in action, use wise words, promulgate truth.
kuthrâ ârôish â fseratush
kuthrâ merezhdikâ axshtat
kuthrâ ýasô xyên ashem
kû speñtâ âramaitish
kuthrâ manô vahishtem
kuthrâ thwâ xshathrâ mazdâ.
Where does felicity flow?
Where does favor take place?
Where is righteousness attained?
Where is the progressive serenity?
Where is the best mind?
Where? Through Your dominion, Wise One?
(Gatha: Song 16.4)
Summary Substance: True happiness, divine favor, righteousness, progressive tranquility, and best thinking, all are enjoyed in the Divine Dominion.
Pondering Points: Good, chosen order gives happy, progressive life.
Vîspâ tâ peresãs ýathâ
ashât hacâ gãm vîdat
vâstryô shyaothanâish ereshvô
hãs huxratush nemanghâ
ýê dâthaêibyô eresh-ratûm
xshayãs ashivå cistâ.
I ask these to know
how does a settler, by his proper actions,
strengthen the world with righteousness?
He is a humble intellectual
who is a true leader of the lawful
and is recognized as the ruler of the rewarded.
(Gatha: Song 16.5)
Summary Substance: As against a wandering parasite, a settled humble intellectual promotes the world through his righteous actions. In turn, such a person is recognized by the prosperous law-abiding as their true leader.
Pondering Points: Want to lead? Be wise, be humble, serve right, and promote society.
ýê vahyô vanghêush dazdê
ýascâ hôi vârâi râdat
ahurô xshathrâ mazdå
at ahmâi akât ashyô
ýê hôi nôit vîdâitî
apêmê anghêush urvaêsê.
The Wise God gives,
through his sovereignty,
much good to him
who succeeds for the sake of his conviction.
But he who does not strengthen it,
shall get much bad at the turning point of his life.
(Gatha: Song 16.6)
Summary Substance: He who is firm in his belief and acts accordingly, gains much good. But he who does not promote the Divine Dominion ends in a great loss.
Pondering Points: Believe, promote the world and gain or else badly lose.
dâidî-môi ýê gãm tashô
spênishtâ mainyû mazdâ
mananghâ vohû sêñnghê.
You, Wise One, Who have fashioned the world,
the waters, and the plants
by Your most progressive mentality,
grant me, in accordance with good mind’s doctrine,
steadfast strength, and endurance.
(Gatha: Song 16.7)
Summary Substance: To serve the living world, the waters and the plants better, Zarathushtra breaks into a short prayer addressing Mazda who has created these very objects through his creative faculty, the most progressive mentality. He prays that he, guided by his good mind, enjoy endurance, lasting energy, perfection, and eternity.
Pondering Points: Enjoying complete competence, makes one serve the environment better.
at zî tôi vaxshyâ mazdâ
vîdushê zî-nâ mruyât
hyat akôyâ dregvâitê
ushtâ ýê ashem dâdrê
hvô zî mãthrâ shyâtô
ýê vîdushê mravaitî.
Now, I shall speak, Wise One, for You.
Let one tell the wise
that evil is for the wrongful
and radiant happiness is for him who upholds righteousness.
Truly, he who tells this thought-provoking message to the wise,
will thereby become happy.
(Gatha: Song 16.8)
Summary Substance: Zarathushtra’s Divine Message is for the wise because they can better comprehend it. He wants the wise to know that evil has evil as its consequence and radiant happiness is for the righteous. Radiant happiness means that it also enlightens its surrounding. A happy wise person who spreads the message to others, radiates happiness by sharing his wisdom, and consequently people become wiser and wiser. The Zarathushtrian religion does not thrive on simple people’s blind faith. It demands attention, comprehension, discretion, conviction, and action.
Pondering Points: Want to understand Truth, acquire wisdom.
ýãm xshnûtem rânôibyâ då
thwâ âthrâ suxrâ mazdâ
ayanghâ xshustâ aibî
ahvâhû daxshtem dâvôi
You grant happiness to both factions
through Your bright Fire, Wise One,
as well as through the purifying test.
This is the established principle of existence:
Sufferings for the wrongful,
and blessings for the righteous.
(Gatha: Song 16.9)
Summary Substance: The Divine Fire – light, warmth and energy – leads both the righteous and the wrongful to happiness. However, since the righteous are on the right path, it is easier for them to reach the goal but the wrongful suffer the consequences of their actions, the purifying process, to reach the same place.
Pondering Points: The righteous easily pass the test. It is harder for the wrongful.
at ýê mâ-nâ marexshaitê
anyâthâ ahmât mazdâ
hvô dâmôish drûjô hunush
tâ duzhdå ýôi heñtî
maibyô zbayâ ashem
vanghuyâ ashî gat tê.
Now, Wise One, the person who wants to destroy us,
is indifferent to this doctrine.
He himself is the child of a wrong world,
and is one of the malefactors.
I invoke righteousness for mine,
so that it comes along with good reward.
(Gatha: Song 16.10)
Summary Substance: Although assured of his mission’s success, Zarathushtra and companions have their enemies. These persons are aliens to his Divine Message. They are the products of a wrong world. They are harmful. However, adhering fast and firm to the Universal Law of Righteousness, Zarathushtra knows that in spite of some difficulties, the final success is his.
Pondering Points: Adherence to right makes wrong fail.
kê urvathô spitamâi
zarathushtrâi nâ mazdâ
kê vâ ashâ âfrashtâ
kâ speñtâ âramaitish
kê vâ vanghêush mananghô
acistâ magâi ereshvô.
Wise One, which person is a friend of mine,
Who, indeed, consults righteousness?
With whom is the progressive serenity?
Who, indeed, considers himself rightful
to belong to good mind and to the Fellowship?
(Gatha: Song 16.11)
Summary Substance: Questions point to the type of person whom Zarathushtra considers a companion. He is the person who consults righteousness, lives a life of progressive tranquility, uses his good mind, is a member of the Zarathushtrian Fellowship, and considers himself a rightful person.
Pondering Points: Want to befriend Zarathushtra? Be wise, righteous, progressive, self-possessed, decent, and social.
nôit tâ-îm xshnâush vaêpyô
kevînô peretô zemô
hyat ahmî urûraost ashtô
hyat hôi îm caratascâ
aodereshcâ zôishenû vâzâ.
The sagacious prince did not satisfy me,
on this wide earth
when he obstructed me in my gain there,
because I have been quick and conveying
in my walks and talks.
(Gatha: Song 16.12)
Summary Substance: Against his companions, Zarathushtra has his antagonists, and one of them is an unnamed learned prince. He was working against him wherever he went. The reason: Zarathushtra was quite a quick success in his going around to meet and to talk to people.
Pondering Points: Success wins loyal friends and creates jealous enemies.
tâ dregvatô maredaitî
daênâ erezâush haithîm
ýehyâ urvâ xraodaitî
cinvatô peretå âkå
xvâish shyaothanâish hizvascâ
ashahyâ nãsvå pathô.
Thus the conscience of the wrongful tramples
the truth on the straight line.
His soul openly upbraids him
in front of the sorting bridge,
because it is his deeds and words
that make him lose the path of righteousness.
(Gatha: Song 16.13)
Summary Substance: The conscience of the wrongful destroys the truth as he tramples forward. When he reaches the bridge where the righteous are distinguished from the wrongful, his perplexed soul becomes angry because it is his words and deeds which made him go astray and now face the consequences.
Pondering Points: Clear conscience leads in the right direction, evil conception makes one regretfully miss the path.
nôit urvâtâ dâtôibyascâ
karapanô vâstrât arêm
gavôi ârôish âsêñdâ
xvâish shyaothanâishcâ sêñghâishcâ
ýê îsh sêñghô apêmem
drûjô demânê âdât.
The mumbling priests are not friends.
They are sufficiently far from laws and from the settlement.
They take delight in injuring the world
with their deeds and teachings, a doctrine that ultimately places them
in the house of wrong.
(Gatha: Song 16.14)
Summary Substance: The priests who mumble away and perform rituals are not friends and well-wishers. They do not honor laws and are not productive members of the human society. They harm the world by their actions and by their religiosity. Their wrong doctrine keeps them in a state of wrong.
Pondering Points: Religiosity prolongs wrong, harms human world.
hyat mîzhdem zarathushtrô
magavabyô côisht parâ
garô demânê ahurô
mazdå jasat pouruyô
tâ vê vohû mananghâ
ashâicâ savâish civîshî.
The prize, I, Zarathushtra
have promised my fellows in the future
is the House of Song,
in which the Wise One came first.
I have promised it to you
through gains of good mind and righteousness.
(Gatha: Song 16.15)
Summary Substance: Should one adhere to the guidance given by good mind and proceed according to the Universal Law of Righteousness, one will surely reach the goal of perfection and immortality, a divine state foremostly attained by Mazda. It is this serene state that Zarathushtra promises his companions.
Pondering Points: Good mind and righteousness lead to godliness, the Zarathushtrian prize goal.
tãm kavâ vîshtâspô
magahyâ xshathrâ nãsat
vanghêush padebîsh mananghô
ýãm cistîm ashâ mañtâ
speñtô mazdå ahurô
athâ nê sazdyâi ushtâ.
Kavi Vishtaspa has attained this
through the power of the Fellowship
and the songs of good mind.
It is the wisdom the progressive Wise God has thought
so that to teach us radiant happiness.
(Gatha: Song 16.16)
Summary Substance: Successful in his divine mission, Zarathushtra speaks of his best companions. First is Kavi Vishtaspa, the king who was, once, proud of his physical power that had won him a large territory. Now he has converted to the Good Religion by listening to the Gathas, the songs composed by Zarathushtra through his meditation with good mind. He has also realized that true power lies in a Fellowship established on the Primal Principles of Life, and not brute force ruling people. These principles are based on the divine wisdom and therefore when translated into life, they teach us how to radiate happiness to others by serving the Fellowship.
Pondering Points: Want true happiness, join the Divine Universal Fellowship.
berexdhãm môi ferashaoshtrô
hvô-gvô daêdôisht kehrpêm
ýãm hôi ishyãm dâtû
xshayãs mazdå ahurô
ashahyâ âzhdyâi gerezdîm.
Ferashaoshtra Hvogva has shown me
a precious plan
for the Good Conscience.
May Sovereign Wise Lord grant him
power to attain the possession of righteousness.
(Gatha: Song 16.17)
Summary Substance: Ferashaoshtra, another active companion, presents a valuable plan for the promotion of the Good Religion. Zarathushtra prays for power for him to progress in his righteous mission.
Pondering Points: Present a precious plan to promote the Good Religion and see the progress it provides.
tãm cistîm dêjâmâspô
hvô-gvô ishtôish xvarenå
ashâ vereñtê tat xshathrem
mananghô vanghêush vîdô
tat môi dâidî ahurâ
hyat mazdâ rapên tavâ.
Sage Jamaspa Hvogva has,
in his desire for illumination,
chosen that sovereignty,
the acquisition of good mind,
He says: “Wise Lord, grant me
the supports which is Yours.”
(Gatha: Song 16.18)
Summary Substance: Possession of good mind through righteousness makes one sovereign, self-reliant. This is how Jamaspa Hvogova, Zarathushtra’s another companion, wants to enlighten himself. He prays for Ahura Mazda’s support.
Pondering Points: Want self-reliance, acquire good mind through righteousness.
hvô tat nâ maidyôi-månghâ
spitamâ ahmâi dazdê
ýê ahûm ishasãs aibî
mazdå dâtâ mraot
gayehyâ shyaothanâish vahyô.
that person dedicates himself
in comprehending it by his religion,
and in desiring it for life
who says that the laws of God
are better for living them through deeds alone.
(Gatha: Song 16.19)
Summary Substance: Maidhyoi-mâha, Zarathushtra’s senior cousin, was the first person to have chosen the Good Religion. Appreciating his services, Zarathushtra says that Maidhyoi-mâha understands the Divine Doctrine and desires to implement it in his practical life because he says that the Divine Principles of Life are better only if one does not stop at thinking and speaking about them but also puts them in practice.
Pondering Points: For better results, belief in thoughts and words must be translated into deeds.
tat vê nê hazaoshånghô
vîspånghô daidyâi savô
ashem vohû mananghâ
uxdhâ ýâish âramaitish
mazdå rafedhrem cagedô.
Here, all of you,
who are of one will with us in giving goodness:
Righteousness is through good mind
and through words which stem from serenity.
While humbly worshiping,
ask for the help of the Wise One.
(Gatha: Song 16.20)
Summary Substance: Mentioning four of his closest companions, Zarathushtra turns to all those who have chosen his Divine Doctrine. He states that the proper conduct of precision and righteousness can only be achieved through good mind and in a serene and tranquil state. He advises us to humbly pray to our Mazda and ask for help and guidance.
Pondering Points: Good mind and serenity, accompanied by earnest prayers, lead to righteousness.
âramatôish nâ speñtô hvô
cistî uxdhâish shyaothanâ
daênâ ashem spênvat
vohû xshathrem mananghâ
mazdå dadât ahurô
têm vanguhîm ýâsâ ashîm.
The person who belongs to progressive serenity,
with his intellect, words, deeds, and conscience.
The Wise God grants him
dominion through good mind.
I too shall pray for such a good reward.
(Gatha: Song 16.21)
Summary Substance: In order to emphasize the subject of the preceding stanza, Zarathushtra paraphrases his statement. A person who enjoys progressive serenity and increasing tranquility promotes precision and righteousness with his thoughts, words, deeds, and above all, with his conscience. He acquires sovereignty and self-reliance through his good mind. It is for such a noble cause that Zarathushtra offers his prayers.
Pondering Points: Enjoy peace and possession of mind and body, and promote the living world with thoughts, words and deeds.
ýehyâ môi ashât hacâ
vahishtem ýesnê paitî
vaêdâ mazdå ahurô
ýôi ångharecâ heñticâ
tã ýazâi hvâish nâmênîsh
pairicâ jasâi vañtâ.
The Wise God knows best
any person of mine for his or her veneration
done in accordance with righteousness.
I shall, on my part, venerate such persons,
passed away or living, by their names,
and shall lovingly encircle them.
(Gatha: Song 16.22)
Summary Substance: Finally, Zarathushtra is paying tribute to the people promoting righteousness. He says that Mazda Ahura knows best the good acts of veneration and service done according to precision and righteousness. Zarathushtra, on his part, venerates all such persons, dead or alive, by mentioning their names and by lovingly embracing them. What a touching scene to see a Master mentioning each of his followers, those who have passed away and those who are with him, by name, and then loving and encircling them! Teacher venerating pupils! Only one like Zarathushtra could do it.
This stanza is paraphrased in “Yenghê Hâtâm (Yenghe Haataam)” prayer, so often repeated in daily prayers. It is a unique tribute paid to every man and woman for the “Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds” done by him/her. It says: “Indeed Mazda Ahura, the Wise God, knows better any person among men and women for his or her veneration. We, on our part, venerate all such men and women.”
Pondering Points: Appreciation of good services is good but with love from the Master Mentor is the best.