On Good Name and a description of sins

On Good Name and a description of sins

On Good Name and a description of sins

The man that in this world obtaineth salvation (from Hell), and in the next world a recompense for good deeds, and who in both the worlds secureth good name by the excellent means of performing the laborious (i.e. meritorious) work for Tane-pasin, is the obtainer of the best recompense, is everywhere held in noble estimation and respect, is devoid of any sinful resolve, and has a longing for the doing of righteous deeds.

(This is) a description of the sins that (according to the Zoroastrian religion) are productive of much suffering. These (i.e. the undermentioned sins) involve antagonism to God, to the Yazads, and to the other good beings, and are, moreover, the source of encouragement to the Devs. Their names are given in this section,: — e.g., animosity towards the master, not regarding the master as one’s Chief, not obeying the commands of the King, not having due regard for the authority of the chiefs, and not acknowledging their lordship over oneself. Other sins besides these, worth noting, that lead to wretchedness and are pertaining to disobedience towards God, are:

Contempt for the religion, speaking ill of it, disobeying the dictates thereof, and self willedness. Similarly other offenses are: thinking of matters pertaining to a wicked religion, accepting anything from those professing a wicked religion, not fighting with the Devs and the wicked persons, becoming related to unbelievers by giving them children in marriage, not giving good help to other people in the virtuous pursuit of their callings in the world, disloyalty to partners, sordidness, doing wrongful acts, harboring enmity towards the good people who constantly invoke God, pleasing the wicked; also, worshipping the Devil, doing harm to pious men, impairing (their) sanctity, committing sodomy, practicing sorcery, highway robbery, committing adultery, decreasing the progeny, (i.e. not caring to increase one’s progeny by timely marriage), and impairing the other Dominion (i.e. that pertaining to the next world), doing injustice, false teaching, depriving the adopted son or the heir of his rights, depriving a family of its guardian, loving the wicked, giving false evidence, helping the untruthful, &c. — also putting out the Atash Behram [= Warharan] fire, eating of putrefying animal matter, throwing the same into fire or water, burying the dead under the ground against the law (of the religion), not within the distance prescribed by the religion), and single-handed, which is a sin deserving of death.

Every sin that is not repented of (i.e. which is not expiated by countervailing good deeds) entails a condemnation to punishment. Other capital offenses are: killing the water-dog and other species of dogs, prostitution, sexual intercourse with women during menstruation, Avarun Marzi (i.e. unnatural intercourse with a woman), drunkenness, theft, oppression, sordidness, back-biting, deception, doing dirty acts, eating or drinking without the Vaj (i.e. saying grace), moving about without the Sudre and the Kusti (the sacred shirt and girdle), making water in a standing posture) obscene speech, doing every sort of immoral deeds, and other such acts.

In like manner mention is made of the meritorious deeds involving noble thought, which are all of great worth. These deeds of great worth are of the following description: Acquiring the friendship of God and of the Yazads and the Amahraspands (by invoking and worshipping them), obtaining the favor of the master, that is the employer under whose orders one works, obedience to the master, submissiveness to the ruler, behaving respectfully towards everyone, becoming virtuous through religion (i.e. through observance of religions precepts, gaining the goodwill of the virtuous, and winning the affections of the people.

Other meritorious deeds of noble thought, antagonistic to sin, that are mentioned (in the good religion) are as under: One should remain staunch (i.e. with firm faith) in the good religion. This is attainable through the worship (of God and of the Yazads and the Amahraspands); and the worship is through three kinds of conscientious regulation — (firstly) having belief in God, (secondly) obedience to the good religion, (thirdly) worshipping God and the Yazads and the Amahraspands by the recital of the Avesta, with a view to putting oneself into relation with them. One should perform, with the object of giving gratification to the good Yazads and the pious people, the ceremonies pertaining to the Gahambars and pertaining to the celebration of other festivals about the respective chiefs (of the creation.) One should smite, oppose and restrain the Devs, the noxious animals, and the wicked men. One should repent of each sin separately. The instruments of salvation from hell consist of liberality, truthfulness, thanksgiving to God, and of attending to the essential purity of the soul.

(Holy Denkard, Book V, Chapters 10 & 11, English translation by Peshotan Dastur Behramjee Sanjana, 1900 )

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