THE PRIMAL PRINCIPLES OF LIFE
Ali A. Jafarey
Zarathushtra uses some twenty abstract terms to prescribe the way of promoting mental and physical faculties of soul to achieve perfection and immortality. He calls them “the primal divine laws of life.” They are described as “divine names” in Haptanghaiti, the “Seven Sections” in the Gathic dialect. In the Farvardin Yasht, it is “the progressive thought-provoking message, the very spirit of God,” which gives these abstracts “beautiful, active forms,” and God the Creator is their “guardian and guide.” The context of the Gathas shows them as divine emanations, which are sometimes poetically personified. They are the universal laws of nature, the natural way of living.
Of these asha, precision, has been mentioned more than 150 times and merezhdika, compassion, only once. We shall only briefly define the ones mostly mentioned in the Gathas:
Spenta Mainyu, the progressive mentality stands for the creative faculty of God. It creates, sustains, and promotes the creation. It leads to perfection and immortality.
Vohu manah, the good mind is the source of all that is good and wise. It was through his own good mind that Zarathushtra discovered, understood, and reached the Godhead. Good mind leads to refined speech, which, in turn, turns into noble actions. Zarathushtra’s doctrine rests on three pillars–Humata, Hûkhta, Hvarshta--Good thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds. Good mind helps one to discriminate between good and bad. It defines the sources of happiness and sorrow. In fact, it is the bliss some call “heaven.” Two other cognate abstracts are khratu, intellect, and chisti, comprehension which enhance one’s knowledge for better work.
Asha or arta is the old Indo-Iranian law of “truth, precision, righteousness” that governs the universe-sun, moon, earth, seasons and all. It is precision and order in the universe that points to the Creator, Maintainer, and Promoter. It has been enacted to maintain the creation. It is the road to perfection. In human society, asha is the right thing, done at the right time and right place, and with the right means to obtain the right result. This promotes a society to perfection. It ensures justice for all. It safeguards the rights of every member of society. It provides every individual with what he or she has contributed to society. Asha in a society sees that neither the society nor any individual exploits any person. And, above all, asha gives freedom of thought, word and deed to every member.
Seraosha is the divine voice one gets in tune with after one is fully in conversant with good mind and righteousness. It is the guiding inner self of a person. It is divine inspiration.
Âthra, fire in the Gathas is mental light, warmth, and energy, three qualities that help one become as creative as one can. The physical fire, used as the best of altars, represents the mental âthra, a sublime object to observe and mentally to see the light, feel the warmth and enjoy the energy to translate Good Thoughts into Good Words and Good Deeds.
Ushtâ is enlightenment that comes through meditation, concentration of mental faculties. It is the true happiness that radiates happiness to others without any discrimination, social or otherwise.
Daênâ is clear conception. It is “conscience” in an individual and “religion” for a fellowship of individuals who actively join to promote the living world in accordance with the Primal Principles of Life.
Good mind, precision and other principles create perfect order. Zarathushtra calls it khshathra. It means sovereignty, rule, settlement, and dwelling. It is the “desired,” the “good,” and the “chosen” government of the righteous, yet it belongs to God. It is the “ideal” order on the earth established by human beings who are wise, enlightened, experienced, sincere, and above all devoted to the promotion of the living world.
Âramaiti, serenity and tranquility, thrives under a good order. A tranquil order promotes health and happiness, and mind and body grow together evolving to:
Haurvatât, wholeness, perfection. Evolution to wholeness means continuity, and continuity stands for immortality–ameretât. Wholeness and immortality make human beings godlike and make them live in eternal bliss, the ultimate goal of the Zarathushtrian doctrine.
Zarathushtra uses more principles among abstract qualities that could help mankind to make the world an ideal place to live in peace and harmony with every living being, and to achieve the divine eternity ordained by God.