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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.


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Of the food which men eat, and the clothing which men put on, which are the more valuable and good?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Of the food which men eat, the milk of goats is produced good. 5. Because, as to men and quadrupeds, who are born from a mother, until the time when food is eaten by them, their growth and nourishment are then from milk, (6) and on milk they can well live. 7. And if men, when they withdraw from the milk of the mother, make thorough experience of the milk of goats, (8) then bread is not necessary for use among them. 9. Since it is declared, (10) that "the food of mankind, who are in Arezahi and Sawahi, Fradadhafshu and Widadhafshu, Wourubareshti and Wourujareshti, is the milk of goats and cows; (11) other food they do not eat." 12. And he who is a milk-consuming man is healthier and stronger, and even the procreation of children becomes more harmless.
'Of grains wheat is called great and good, (14) because it is the chief of grains, (15) and even by the Avesta its name is then specified in the chieftainship of grains.
'And of fruit the date and grape are called great and good. 17. When bread has not come, it is necessary to consecrate the sacred cake by means of fruit; (18) when the fruit to consecrate is the date or grape, it is allowable to eat every fruit; (19) and when those have not come, it is necessary to eat that fruit which is consecrated.
'Regarding wine it is evident, that it is possible for good and bad temper to come to manifestation through wine. 21. The goodness of a man is manifested in anger, the wisdom of a man in irregular desire. 22. For he whom anger hurries on (aushtavet) is able to recover himself from it through goodness, (23) he whom lust hurries on is able to recover himself from it through wisdom, (24) and he whom wine hurries on is able to recover himself from it through temper.
'It is not requisite for investigation, (26) because he who is a good-tempered man, when he drinks wine, is such-like as a gold or silver cup which, however much more they burn it, becomes purer and brighter. 27. It also keeps his thoughts, words, and deeds more virtuous; (28) and he becomes gentler and pleasanter unto wife and child, companions and friends, (29) and is more diligent in every duty and good work.
'And he who is a bad-tempered man, when he drinks wine, thinks and considers himself more than ordinary. 31. He carries on a quarrel with companions, displays insolence, makes ridicule and mockery, (32) and acts arrogantly to a good person. 33. He distresses his own wife and child, slave and servant; (34) and dissipates the joy of the good, (35) carries off peace, and brings in discord.
'But every one must be cautious as to the moderate drinking of wine. 37. Because, from the moderate drinking of wine, thus much benefit happens to him: (38) since it digests the food, (39) kindles the vital fire, (40) increases the understanding and intellect, semen and blood, (41) removes vexation, (42) and inflames the complexion. 43. It causes recollection of things forgotten, (44) and goodness takes a place in the mind. (45) It likewise increases the sight of the eye, the hearing of the ear, and the speaking of the tongue; (46) and work, which it is necessary to do and expedite, becomes more progressive. 47. He also sleeps pleasantly in the sleeping place, and rises light. 48. And, on account of these contingencies, good repute for the body, righteousness for the soul, and also the approbation of the good come upon him.
'And in him who drinks wine more than moderately, thus much defect becomes manifest, (50) since it diminishes his wisdom, understanding and intellect, semen and blood; (51) it injures the liver and accumulates disease, (52) it alters the complexion, (53) and diminishes the strength and vigor. 54. The homage and glorification of the sacred beings become forgotten. 55. The sight of the eye, the hearing of the ear, and the speaking of the tongue become less. 56. He distresses Hordad and Amurdad (57) and entertains a desire of lethargy. 58. That, also, which it is necessary for him to say and do, remains undone; (59) and he sleeps in uneasiness, and rises uncomfortably. 60. And, on account of these contingencies, himself, wife, and child, friend and kindred are distressed and unhappy, (61) and the superintendent of troubles and the enemy are glad. 62. The sacred beings, also, are not pleased with him; (63) and infamy comes to his body, and even wickedness to his soul.
'Of the dress which people possess and put on, silk is good for the body, and cotton for the soul. 65. For this reason, because silk arises from a noxious creature, (66) and the nourishment of cotton is from water, and its growth from earth; and as a treasure of the soul it is called great and good and more valuable.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Which is that pleasure which is worse than unhappiness?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Whoever has acquired wealth by crime, and he becomes glad of it thereby, then that pleasure is worse for him than unhappiness.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Wherefore do people consider these very little, these four things which it is necessary for them to consider more, as warnings (dakhshak), (3) the changeableness of the things of the worldly existence, the death of the body, the account of the soul, and the fear of hell?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (5) thus: 'On account of the delusiveness (niyazanih) of the demon of greediness, and of discontent.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Is living in fear and falsehood worse, or death?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'To live in fear and falsehood is worse than death. 5. Because every one's life is necessary for the enjoyment and pleasure of the worldly existence, (6) and when the enjoyment and pleasure of the worldly existence are not his, and fear and even falsehood are with him, it is called worse than death.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'For kings which is the one thing more advantageous, and which the more injurious?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'For kings conversation with the wise and good is the one thing more advantageous, (5) and speaking and conversation with slanderers and double-dealers are the more injurious for them.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'What is the end of the world-arranging and spirit-destroying man? 3. What is the end of him who is a scoffing man? 4-6. What is the end of the idle, the malicious, and the lazy man? 7. What is the end of a false-hearted one, (8) and the end of an arrogant one?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (10) thus: 'He who is a world-arranging and spirit-destroying man is as injured, in the punishment of the three nights [i.e. the final judgment], as a raging fire when water comes upon it.
'Of him who is a scoffing man there is no glory in body and soul; (12) and every time when he opens his mouth his wickedness then increases. 13. All the fiends, too, become so lodged in his body, that they leave no goodness whatever for his body; (14) and he makes mockery of the good, and glorification of the vile. 15. Also in the worldly existence his body is infamous, and in the spiritual existence his soul is wicked. 16. And, for effecting his punishment in hell, they deliver him over to the scoffing fiend; (17) and that fiend inflicts a ridicule and a mockery upon him with every single punishment.
'As to him who is an idle man, yet devoid of wickedness, mostly when death comes on in the worldly existence, he thereupon (ajash) begets pleasantly for the sake of another.
'The bridge [Chinwad] which is for the soul of him who is a malicious man is more difficult than for the other wicked who are in hell. 20. For this reason, because malice proceeds by lineage; (21) and it is possible to manage every sin better than malice, (22) because malice will abide in a lineage. 23. There are instances when it adheres until the renovation of the universe; (24) for it is clearly declared by the pure revelation, (25) that the origin of the estrangement (aniranih) of the Arumans, and even the Turanians, from the Iranians, was owing to that malice which was generated by them through the slaughter of Airik; (26) as it always adheres until the renovation.
'He who is a lazy man is said to be the most unworthy of men. 28. Because it is declared by revelation, (29) that the creator Ohrmazd produced no corn for him who is a lazy man; (30) for him who is a lazy man there is then no giving of anything in gifts and charity, (31) and lodging and entertainment are not to be provided for him. 32. For this reason, because that food which a lazy man eats, he eats through impropriety and injustice; (33) and, on account of his laziness and unjust eating, his body then becomes infamous and the soul wicked.
'He who is a false-hearted man is as dubious in good things as in bad; (35) he is dubious as to the treasure of the spiritual and worldly existences, and also as to the ceremonial, invocation, and service of the sacred beings. 36. And, on account of these circumstances, the angels and archangels shall accept little of the ceremonial and invocations which he performs, (37) and give unto him little of the gain, too, which he seeks. 38. And in the mouth of the good man he is always infamous, (39) and his soul becomes wicked.
'The friends of him who is an arrogant man are few, and his enemies many. 41. And even of the gifts which he gives to any one, and the ceremonial, too, which he performs for the sacred beings, they shall accept little, on account of his arrogance, (42) and give little of the gain, too, which he seeks. 43. And in hell they deliver him to the fiend of arrogance, in order to inflict punishment upon his soul; (44) and the fiend of arrogance inflicts punishment of various kinds upon it, and is not pacified.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Is it possible to provide, for one's own hand, the treasure and wealth of the worldly existence through exertion, or not?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'It is not possible to provide for one's self, through exertion, that benefit which is not ordained; (5) but a morsel (kazd) of that which is ordained comes on by means of exertion. 6. Yet the exertion, when it is fruitless in the worldly existence, through the sacred beings not being with it, still comes, afterwards, to one's assistance in the spiritual existence, and outweighs in the balance.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus; 'Is it possible to contend with destiny through wisdom and knowledge, or not?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Even with the might and powerfulness of wisdom and knowledge, even then it is not possible to contend with destiny. 5. Because, when predestination as to virtue, or as to the reverse, comes forth, the wise becomes wanting (niyazan) in duty, and the astute in evil becomes intelligent; (6) the faint-hearted becomes braver, and the braver becomes faint-hearted; (7) the diligent becomes lazy, and the lazy acts diligently. (8) Just as is predestined as to the matter, the cause enters into it, (9) and thrusts out everything else.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'On account of the begging of favors, and the practice and worthiness of good works, do the sacred beings also grant anything to men otherwise, or not?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'They grant; (5) for there are such as they call thus: "Destiny and divine providence." 6. Destiny is that which is ordained from the beginning, (7) and divine providence is that which they also grant otherwise. 8. But the sacred beings provide and manifest in the spiritual existence little of that grant, on this account, because Ahriman, the wicked, through the power of the seven planets extorts wealth, and also every other benefit of the worldly existence, from the good and worthy, and grants them more fully to the bad and unworthy.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Of the rich who is the poorer, and of the poor who is the richer?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (4) thus: 'Of the rich he is the poorer who is not content with that which is his, (5) and suffers anxiety for the increase of anything.
'And of the poor he is the richer who is content with that which has come, (7) and cares not for the increase of anything.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Is a blind eye worse, or a blind mind (dil)? 3. Is the ill-informed worse, or the bad-tempered?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (5) thus: 'He who is blind-eyed, when he has understanding in anything, and accomplishes learning, is to be considered as sound-eyed. 6. And he who is sound-eyed, when he has no knowledge and understanding, and even that which they teach him he does not accept, then that is worse than even a blind eye.
'The ill-tempered is less evil than the ill-informed; (8) because the ill-tempered, except by a decree, is not able to seize anything away from any one; (g) and as to the ill-informed man, his desire of every kind is then for oppression and plunder. 10. Concerning him who is ill-informed it is declared that, apart from predestination, he is born free from fresh understanding.'


The sage asked the spirit of wisdom (2) thus: 'Wherefore have the people who were from Gayomard, and those, too, who were lords and monarchs, from Hooshang, the Peshdad, even unto Vishtasp, the king of kings, been such doers of their own wills? 3. Much benefit was also obtained by them from the sacred beings, (4) and they have been mostly those who were ungrateful unto the sacred beings, (5) and there are some even who have been very ungrateful, promise-breaking, and sinful. 6. For what benefit then have they been severally created, (7) and what result and advantage proceeded from them?'
The spirit of wisdom answered (9) thus: 'That which thou askest concerning them, as to benefit, or as to the reverse, thou shouldst become aware of and fully understand. 10. Because the affairs of the world of every kind proceed through destiny and time and the supreme decree of the self-existent eternity (zurvan), the king and long-continuing lord. 11. Since, at various periods, it happens unto every one, for whom it is allotted, just as that which is necessary to happen. 12. As even from the mutual connection of those ancients, who are passed away, it is manifest (13) that, ultimately, that benefit arose which was necessary to come from them to the creatures of Ohrmazd.
'Because the advantage from Gayomard was this, (15) first, the slaying of Arzur, and making delivery of his own body, with great judiciousness, to Ahriman. 16. And the second advantage was this, (17) that mankind and all the guardian spirits of the producers of the renovation of the universe, males and females, were produced from his body. 18. And, thirdly, this, that even the metals were produced and formed from his body.
'And the advantage from Hooshang, the Peshdad, was this, (20) that, of three parts, he slew two parts of the Mazendaran demons, who were destroyers of the world.
'The advantage from Tahmurasp, the well- grown, was this, (22) that the accursed evil one, the wicked, was kept by him thirty years as a charger. 23. And the writing of penmanship of seven kinds, which that wicked one kept in concealment, he brought out to publicity.
'The advantage from the well-flocked Yimshed [Jamshed], son of Vivangha, was this, (25) that an immortality of six hundred years, six months, and sixteen days is provided by him for the creatures and creation, of every kind, of the creator Ohrmazd; (26) and they are made unsuffering, undecaying, and undisturbed. (27) Secondly, this, that the enclosure formed by Yim [Jamshed] was made by him; (28) and when that rain of Malkos occurs -- since it is declared in revelation that mankind and the other creatures and creations of Ohrmazd, the lord, are mostly those which shall perish' -- (29) one shall afterwards open the gate of that enclosure formed by Yim [Jamshed], (30) and the people and cattle, and other creatures and creations of the creator Ohrmazd, shall come out from that enclosure, (31) and arrange the world again. 32. Thirdly, (33) when he brought back the proportion of the worldly existences, which that evil-producing wicked one had swallowed, from his belly. Fourthly, when a goat (gospend) was not given by him to the demons in the character of an old man.
'And the advantage from Azi Dahak [Zohak], the Bevarasp, and the accursed Frasiyav of Tur was this, (35) that, if the dominion should not have come to Bevarasp and Frasiyav, the accursed evil spirit would then have given that dominion unto Eshm; (36) and when it would have come unto Eshm, it would not have been possible to take it away from him till the resurrection and future existence, (37) for this reason, because he has no bodily existence.
'And the advantage from Faridoon was this, (39) such as the vanquishing and binding of Azi Dahak [Zohak], the Bevarasp, who was so grievously sinful. 40. And, again too, many Mazendaran demons were smitten by him, and expelled from the region of Xwaniratha.
'And the advantage from Manuschihar was this, (42, 43) that, in revenge for Airik, who was his grandfather, Salm and Tuj were kept back by him from disturbing the world. 44. From the land of Patashkhvargar unto the beginning of Dujako, such as Frasiyav had taken, by treaty (patmano) he seized back from Frasiyav, and brought it into the possession of the countries of Iran. And as to the enlargement of the sea of Kansai [Kyansih, i.e. Hamun], such as Frasiyav supplied, he also expelled the water from it.
'And the advantage from Kay Kobad was this, (46) that he became a thanksgiver unto the sacred beings. 47. Dominion, also, was well exercised by him, (48) and the family and race of the Kayanians proceeded again from him.
'And the advantage from Sahm was this, (50) that the serpent Srobovar and the wolf Kaput, which they also call Pehino, the watery demon Gandarep, the bird Kamak, and the deluding demon were slain by him. 51. And he also performed many other great and valuable actions, (52) and kept back much disturbance from the world, (53) as to which, when one of those disturbances, in particular should have remained behind, it would not have been possible to produce the resurrection and future existence.
'And the advantage from Kay Us was this, (55) as Siyavakhsh was produced from his body. 56. Many other actions also proceeded from him.
'And the advantage from Siyavakhsh was this, (58) such as the begetting of Kay Khosraw, and the formation of Kangdez.
'And the advantage from Kay Khosraw was this, (60) such as the slaying of Frasiyav, (61) the extirpation of the idol-temples which were on the lake of Chechast, (62) and the management of Kangdez. 63. And he is able to do good through his assistance of the raising of the dead by the restorer of the dead, the triumphant Soshyant, which is in the future existence.
'And the advantage from Kay Lohrasp was this, (65) that dominion was well exercised by him, (66) and he became a thanksgiver unto the sacred beings. 67. He demolished the Jerusalem of the Jews, and made the Jews dispersed and scattered; and the accepter of the religion, Kay Vishtasp, was produced from his body.
'And the advantage from Vishtasp was this, (69) such as the acceptance and solemnization of the good religion of the Mazda-worshippers, (70) through the divine voice (bakan aevaz) of the Ahunwar, the word of the creator Ohrmazd; (71) the annihilation and destruction of the bodies of the demons and fiends; (72) and the pleasure and comfort of water and fire and all the angels and spirits of the worldly existences. 73. And he was full of the hope of the good and worthy, (74) through a virtuous desire for his own determination, (75) the compensation (nosh dashno) and gratification of Ohrmazd, with the archangels, (76) and the affliction and destruction of Ahriman and the miscreations.'