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Menog-i Khrad ('The Spirit of Wisdom')

Translated by E. W. West, from Sacred Books of the East, volume 24, Oxford University Press, 1880.


Through the name and power and assistance of the creator Ohrmazd, the archangels who are good rulers and good performers, and all the angels of the spiritual and the angels of the worldly existences, by a happy dispensation (dahishn) and well-omened we write the Opinions of the Spirit of Wisdom through the will of the sacred beings.

In the name and for the propitiation of the all-benefiting creator Ohrmazd, (2) of all the angels of the spiritual and worldly creations, (3) and of the learning of learnings, the Mazda-worshipping religion, (4) forth from which this, which is such a source of wisdom, is a selector. 5. Through the glory and will of the creator Ohrmazd who is promoting the prosperity of the two existences -- (6) and of all the greatly powerful angels, (7) and through the completely calm repose of the sacred beings, the princely, purpose-fulfilling sages, (8) presentations of various novelties for the appropriation of wisdom, (9) through largely acquiring reasoning thought, are most wholesome for the body and soul in the two existences.
As in the pure marvel of marvels, the unquestionable and well-betokened good religion of the Mazda-worshippers, by the words of the creator. Ohrmazd, and Zartosht the Spitaman, it is in many places decided, (11) that he, who is the all-good creator, created these creatures through wisdom, (12) and his maintenance of the invisible revolutions is through wisdom; (13) and the imperishable and undisturbed state, in that which is immortality for ever and everlasting, he reserves for himself by means of the most deliberative means of wisdom. 14. For the same reason it is declared, (15) that there was a sage who said, (16) that 'if this be known, that the religion of the sacred beings (yazdan) is truth, and its law is virtue, and it is desirous of welfare and compassionate as regards the creatures, (17) wherefore are there mostly many sects, many beliefs, and many original evolutions of mankind? 18. And, especially, that which is a sect, law, and belief, causing harm to the property (khel) of the sacred beings, and is not good? 19, 20. And this, too, one has to consider, that, in border to become a chooser in this matter, trouble to be undergone; (21) and it is necessary to become acquainted with this matter, (22) because, in the end, the body is mingled with the dust, and reliance is on the soul. 23. And every one is to undergo trouble for the soul, (24) and is to become acquainted with duty and good works; (25) because that good work which a man does unwittingly is little of a good work, (26) and that sin which a man commits unwittingly amounts to a sin in its origin. 27. And it is declared by the Avesta (28) thus: "Nothing was taken by him by whom the soul was not! taken (29) hitherto, and he takes nothing who does not take the soul (30) henceforward likewise; (31) because the spiritual and worldly existences are such-like as two strongholds, (32) one it is declared certain that they shall capture, and one it is not possible to capture."'
After being replete with those good actions of which it is declared certain that it is not possible to capture, (34) and when he surveyed the incitement for this, (35) he started forth (fravafto), in search of wisdom, into the various countries and various districts of this world; (36) and of the many religions and belief of those people who are superior in their wisdom he thought and inquired, and he investigated and came upon their origin. 37. And when he saw that they are so mutually afflicting (hanbeshin) and inimical among one another, (38) he then knew that these religions and beliefs and diverse customs, which are so mutually afflicting among one another in this world, are not worthy to be from the appointment of the sacred beings; (39) because the religion of the sacred beings is truth, and its law is virtue. 40. And through this he became without doubt that, as to whatever is not in this pure religion, there is then doubtfulness for them in everything, (41) and in every cause they see distraction.
After that he became more diligent in the inquiry and practice of religion; (43) and he inquired of the high-priests who have become wiser in this religion and more acquainted with the religion, (44) thus: 'For the maintenance of the body and preservation of the soul what thing is good and more perfect?'
And they spoke, through the statement from revelation, (46) thus: 'Of the benefit which happens to men wisdom is good; (47) because it is possible to manage the worldly existence through wisdom, (48) and it is possible to provide also the spiritual existence for oneself through the power of wisdom. 49. And this, too, is declared, that Ohrmazd has produced these creatures and creation, which are in the worldly existence, through innate wisdom [asn khrad]; (50) and the management of the worldly and spiritual existences is also through wisdom.'
And when, in that manner, he saw the great advantage and preciousness of wisdom, he became more thankful unto Ohrmazd, the lord, and the archangels of the spirit of wisdom; (52) and he took the spirit of wisdom as a protection. 53. For the spirit of wisdom one is to perform more homage and service than for the remaining archangels. 54. And this, too, he knew, that it is possible to do for oneself every duty and good work and proper action through the power of wisdom; (55) and it is necessary to be diligent for the satisfaction of the spirit of wisdom. 56. And, thenceforward, he became more diligent in performing the ceremonial of the spirit of wisdom.
After that the spirit of wisdom, on account of the thoughts and wishes of that sage, displayed his person unto him. 58. And he spoke to him (59) thus: ' O friend and glorifier! good from perfect righteousness! (60) seek advancement from me, the spirit of wisdom, (61) that I may become thy guide to the satisfaction of the sacred beings and the good, and to the maintenance of the body in the worldly existence and the preservation of the soul in the spiritual one.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'How is it possible to seek the maintenance and prosperity of the body without injury of the soul, and the preservation of the soul without injury of the body?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Him who is less than thee consider as an equal, and an equal as a superior, (5) and a greater than him as a chieftain, and a chieftain as a ruler. 6. And among rulers one is to be acquiescent, obedient, and true-speaking; (7) and among accusers [or associates] be submissive, mild, and kindly regardful.
'Commit no slander; (9) so that infamy and wickedness may not happen unto thee. 10. For it is said (11) that slander is more grievous than witchcraft; (12) and in hell the rush of every fiend [druj] is to the front, but the rush of the fiend of slander, on account of the grievous sinfulness, is to the rear.
'Form no covetous desire; (14) so that the demon of greediness may not deceive thee (15) and the treasure of the world may not be tasteless to thee, and that of the spirit unperceived.
'Indulge in no wrathfulness; (17) for a man, when he indulges in wrath, becomes then forgetful of his duty and good works, of prayer and the service of the sacred beings, (18) and sin and crime of every kind occur unto his mind, and until the subsiding of the wrath (19) he is said to be just like Ahriman.
'Suffer no anxiety; (21) for he who is a sufferer of anxiety becomes regardless of enjoyment of the world and the spirit, (22) and contraction happens to his body and soul.
'Commit no lustfulness, (24) so that harm and regret may not reach thee from thine own actions.
'Bear no improper envy; (26) so that thy life may not become tasteless.
'Commit no sin on account of disgrace; (28) because happiness and adornment, celebrity (khanidih) and dominion, skill and suitability are not through the will and action of men, but through the appointment, destiny, and will of the sacred beings.
'Practice no sloth; (30) so that the duty and good work, which it is necessary for thee to do, may not remain undone.
'Choose a wife who is of character; (32) because that one is good who in the end is more respected.
'Commit no unseasonable chatter; (34) so that grievous distress may not happen unto Hordad and Amurdad, the archangels, through thee.
'Commit no running about uncovered; (36) so that harm may not come upon thy bipeds and quadrupeds, and ruin upon thy children.
'Walk not with one boot; (38) so that grievous distress may not happen to thy soul.
'Perform no discharge of urine (peshar-var) standing on foot; (40) so that thou mayst not become a captive by a habit of the demons, (41) and the demons may not drag thee to hell on account of that sin.
'Thou shouldst be (yehevunes) diligent and moderate, (43) and eat of thine own regular industry, (44) and provide the share of the sacred beings and the good; (45) and, thus, the practice of this, in thy occupation is the greatest good work.
'Do not extort from the wealth of others; (47) so that thine own regular industry may not become unheeded. 48. For it is said (49) that: "He who eats anything, not from his own regular industry, but from another, is such-like as one who holds a human head in his hand, and eats human brains."
'Thou shouldst be an abstainer from the wives of others; (51) because all these three would become disregarded by thee, alike wealth, alike body, and alike soul.
'With enemies fight with equity. 53. With a friend proceed with the approval of friends. 54. With a malicious man carry on no conflict, (55) and do not molest him in any way whatever. 56. With a greedy man thou shouldst not be a partner, (57) and do not trust him with the leadership. 58. With a slanderous man do not go to the door of kings. 59. With an ill-famed man form no connection. 60. With an ignorant man thou shouldst not become a confederate and associate. 6I. With a foolish man make no dispute. 62. With a drunken man do not walk on the road. 63. From an ill-natured man take no loan.
'In thanksgiving unto the sacred beings, and worship, praise, ceremonies, invocation, and performing the learning of knowledge thou shouldst be energetic and life-expending. 65. For it is said (66) that: "In aid of the contingencies (jahishno) among men wisdom is good; (67) in seeking renown and preserving the soul liberality is good; (68) in the advancement of business and justice complete mindfulness is good; (69) and in the statements of those who confess (khustivan), with a bearing on the custom of the law, truth is good. 70. In the progress of business energy is good, (71) for every one to become confident therein steadfastness is good, (72) and for the coming of benefit thereto thankfulness is good. 73. In keeping oneself untroubled (anairang) the discreet speaking which is in the path of truth is good; (74) and in keeping away the disturbance of the destroyer from oneself employment is good. 75. Before rulers and kings discreet speaking is good, and in an assembly good recital; (76) among friends repose and rational friends are good; (77) and with an associate to one's own deeds the giving of advantage (suko) is good. 78. Among those greater than one (ajas masan) mildness and humility are good, (79) and among those less than one flattery and civility are good. 80. Among doers of deeds speaking of thanks and performance of generosity are good; (81) and among those of the same race the formation of friendship (humanoih) is good. 82. For bodily health moderate eating and keeping the body in action are good; (83) and among the skilled in thanksgiving performance is good. 84. Among chieftains unanimity and seeking advantage are good; (85) among those in unison and servants good behavior and an exhibition of awe are good; (86) and for having little trouble in oneself contentment is good. 87. In chieftainship to understand thoroughly the good in their goodness and the vile in their vileness is good; and to make the vile unseen, through retribution, is good. 88. In every place and time to restrain oneself from sin and to be diligent in meritorious work are good; (89) and every day to consider and keep in remembrance Ohrmazd, as regards creativeness, and Ahriman, as regards destructiveness, is good. 90. And for dishonor not to come unto one a knowledge of oneself is good." 91. All these are proper and true and of the same description, (92) but occupation and guarding the tongue (pat-huzvanih) above everything.
'Abstain far from the service of idols and demon-worship. 94. Because it is declared (95) that: "If Kay Khosraw should not have extirpated the idol-temples (aujdes-char) which were on the lake of Chechast, then in these three millenniums of Hoshedar, Hoshedarmah, and Soshyant -- of whom one of them comes separately at the end of each millennium, who arranges again all the affairs of the world, and utterly destroys the breakers of promises and servers of idols who are in the realm -- the adversary would have become so much more violent, that it would not have been possible to produce the resurrection and future existence."
'In forming a store of good works thou shouldst be diligent, (97) so that it may come to thy assistance among the spirits.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through any happiness of the world; (99) for the happiness of the world is such-like as a cloud that comes on a rainy day, which one does not ward off by any hill.
'Thou shouldst not be too much arranging the world; (101) for the world-arranging man becomes spirit-destroying.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through much treasure and wealth; (103) for in the end it is necessary for thee to leave all.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through predominance; (105) for in the end it is necessary for thee to become non-predominant.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through respect and reverence; (107) for respectfulness does not assist in the spiritual existence.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through great connections and race; (109) for in the end thy trust is on thine own deeds.
'Thou shouldst not become presumptuous through life; (111) for death comes upon thee at last, (112) the dog and the bird lacerate the corpse, (113) and the perishable part (sejinako) falls to the ground. 114. During three days and nights the soul sits at the crown of the head of the body. 115. And the fourth day, in the light of dawn with the cooperation of Srosh the righteous, Vae the good, and Warharan the strong, the opposition of Astwihad, Vae the bad, Frazishto the demon, and Nizishto the demon, and the evil-designing action of Eshm, the evil-doer, the impetuous assailant it goes up to the awful, lofty Chinwad bridge, to which every one, righteous and wicked, is coming. 116. And many opponents have watched there, (117) with the desire of evil of Eshm, the impetuous assailant, and of Astwihad who devours creatures of every kind and knows no satiety, (118) and the mediation of Mihr and Srosh and Rashn, (119) and the weighing of Rashn, the just, (120) with the balance of the spirits, which renders no favor (hu-girai) on any side, neither for the righteous nor yet the wicked, neither for the lords nor yet the monarchs. 121. As much as a hair's breadth it will not turn, and has no partiality; (122) and he who is a lord and monarch it considers equally, in its decision, with him who is the least of mankind.
'And when a soul of the righteous passes upon that bridge, the width of the bridge becomes as it were a league (parasang), (124) and the righteous soul passes over with the cooperation of Srosh the righteous. 125. And his own deeds of a virtuous kind come to meet him in the form of a maiden, (126) who is handsomer and better than every maiden in the world.
'And the righteous soul speaks (128) thus: "Who mayst thou be, that a maiden who is handsomer and better than thee was never seen by me in the worldly existence?"
'In reply that maiden form responds (130) thus: "I am no maiden, but I am thy virtuous deeds, thou youth who art well-thinking, well-speaking, well-doing, and of good religion! 131. For when thou sawest in the world him who performed demon-worship, then thou hast sat down, and thy performance was the worship of the sacred beings. 132. And when it was seen by thee that there was any one who caused oppression and plunder, and distressed or scorned a good person, and acquired wealth by crime, then thou keptest back from the creatures their own risk of oppression and plunder; (133) the good person was also thought of by thee, and lodging and entertainment provided; and alms were given by thee to him (134) who came forth from near and him, too, who was from afar; and wealth which was due to honesty was acquired by thee. 135. And when thou sawest him who practiced false justice and taking of bribes, and false evidence was given by him, then thou hast sat down, and the recitation of truth and virtue was uttered by thee. 136. I am this of thine, the good thoughts, the good words, and the good deeds which were thought and spoken and done by thee. 137. For when I have become commendable, I am then made altogether more commendable by thee; (138) when I have become precious, I am then made altogether still more precious by thee; (139) and when I have become glorious, I am then made altogether still more glorious by thee."
'And when he walks onwards from there, a sweet-scented breeze comes then to meet him, which is more fragrant than all perfume. 141. The soul of the righteous inquires of Srosh (142) thus: "That breeze is this, that never in the world so fragrant a breeze came into contact with me?"
'Then Srosh, the righteous, replies to that righteous soul (144) thus: "This breeze is from heaven, which is so fragrant."
'Afterwards, on his march, the first step is set on the place of good thoughts, the second on that of good words, the third on that of good deeds, (146) and the fourth step reaches up unto the endless light which is all-radiant. 147. And angels and archangels of every description come to meet him, (148) and ask tidings from him (149) thus: "How hast thou come, from that which is a perishable, fearful, and very miserable existence, to this which is an imperishable existence that is undisturbed, thou youth who art well-thinking, well-speaking, well-doing, and of good religion?"
'Then Ohrmazd, the lord, speaks (151) thus: "Ask ye from him no tidings; for he has parted from that which was a precious body, and has come by that which is a fearful road. 152. And bring ye unto him the most agreeable of eatables, that which is the mid-spring butter [Maidyozarem roghan], (153) so that he may rest his soul from that bridge of the three nights, unto which he came from Astwihad and the remaining demons; (154) and seat him upon an all-embellished throne."
'As it is declared (156) that: "Unto the righteous man and woman, after passing away, they bring food of the most agreeable of eatables -- the food of the angels of the spiritual existences -- that which is the mid-spring butter; and they seat them down on an all-embellished throne. 157. For ever and everlasting they remain in all glory with the angels of the spiritual existences everlastingly."
'And when he who is wicked dies, his soul then rushes about for three days and nights in the vicinity of the head of that wicked one, and sobs (159) thus: "Whither do I go, and now what do I make as a refuge?" 160. And the sin and crime of every kind, that were committed by him in the worldly existence, he sees with his eyes in those three days and nights. 161. The fourth day Vizaresh, the demon, comes and binds the soul of the wicked with the very evil noose; (162) and with the opposition of Srosh, the righteous, he leads it up to the Chinwad bridge. 163. Then Rashn, the just, detects that soul of the wicked through its wickedness.
'Afterwards, Vizaresh, the demon, takes that soul of the wicked, and mercilessly and maliciously beats and maltreats it. 165. And that soul of the wicked weeps with a loud voice, is fundamentally horrified, implores with many supplicating entreaties, and makes many struggles for life disconnectedly. 166. Whom -- when his struggling and supplication are of no avail whatever, and no one comes to his assistance from the divinities (bagan), nor yet from the demons -- moreover, Vizaresh, the demon, drags miserably to the inevitable hell.
'And then a maiden who is not like unto maidens comes to meet him. 168. And that soul of the wicked speaks to that evil maiden (169) thus: "Who mayst thou be, that never in the worldly existence was an evil maiden seen by me, who was viler and more hideous than thee?"
'And she speaks in reply to him (171) thus: "I am not a maiden, but I am thy deeds, thou monster who art evil-thinking, evil-speaking, evil-doing, and of evil religion! 172. For even when thou sawest him who performed the worship of the sacred beings, still then thou hast sat down, and demon-worship was performed by thee, (173) and the demons and fiends were served. 174. And also when thou sawest him who provided lodging and entertainment, and gave alms, for a good person who came forth from near and him, too, who was from afar, (175) then thou actedst scornfully and disrespectfully to the good person, and gave no alms, and even shut up the door. 176. And when thou sawest him who practiced true justice, took no bribe, gave true evidence, and uttered virtuous recitation, (177) even then thou hast sat down, and false justice was practiced by thee, evidence was given by thee with falsehood, and vicious recitation was uttered by thee. 178. I am this of thine, the evil thoughts, the evil words, and the evil deeds which were thought and spoken and done by thee. 179. For when I have become uncommendable, I am then made altogether still more uncommendable, by thee; (180) when I have become unrespected, I am then made altogether still more unrespected by thee; (181) and when I have sat in an eye-offending position, I am then made altogether still more really eye-offending (chashm-kah-ichtar-ich) by thee."
'Afterwards he enters, the first step on the place of evil thoughts, the second on that of evil words, the third step on that of evil deeds, (183) and the fourth step rushes into the presence of the wicked evil spirit and the other demons. 184. And the demons make ridicule and mockery of him (185) thus: "What was thy trouble and complaint, as regards Ohrmazd, the lord, and the archangels, and the fragrant and joyful heaven, when thou approachedst for a sight of Ahriman and the demons and gloomy hell, (186) although we cause thee misery therein and do not pity, and thou shalt see misery of long duration?"
'And the evil spirit shouts to the demons (188) thus: "Ask ye no tidings from him (189) who is parted from that which was a precious body, and has come on by that which is a very bad road. 190. But bring ye unto him the foulest and vilest of eatables, the food which is nurtured in hell."
'They bring the poison and venom of the snake and scorpion and other noxious creatures that are in hell, (192) and give him to eat. 193. And until the resurrection and future existence he must be in hell, in much misery and punishment of various kinds. 194. Especially that it is possible to eat food there only as though by similitude.'
The spirit of innate wisdom spoke to the sage (196) thus: 'This which was asked by thee, as to the maintenance of the body and concerning the preservation of the soul, is also spoken about by me, and thou art admonished. 197. Be virtuously assiduous about it, and keep it in practice; (198) for this is thy chief way for the maintenance of the body and preservation of the soul.'