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Cornell University Library 
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Comparative Legislations, Doctrines and Rites 

of Parseeism, Brahmanism and Buddliism ; 

bearing upon Bible, Talmud, Gospel, 

Koran, their Messiah^ldeals 

and Social Problems. 



Author of "Religious Rites and Views;" "Spirit of Biblical Legis- 
lation;" "Messiah-Ideal, Jesus' Ethics;" "Paul and New 
Testament;" "Mohammed and Koran," etc. 





Dedicated to the revered Scientist, Professor Dr. F. MAX 
MUELLER, of Oxford — Leipsic ; a distinguished Representative 
of Anglo-Germanic genius and erudition, initiative and untiring 
work; in token of my sincere veneration, and of my gratitude 
for his kindly encouragement. 

The Author. 


INTRODUCTION, PARSEEISM ; the Method ; Parallels i 

• Brahmanism and Buddhism, Growth of Religion, Encouragement. . 5 



Zoroaster, the Lawgiver, the Classics on him 12 

Zoroasterism outlined. His Doctrines 13 

^His Kingdom of Heaven and Mysticism 15 

His Writings. Modern Authors on the Avesta 17 

Zend-Avesta and its Several Redactions, Haug on that 18 

• Moses and Zoroaster, Gathas and Zend uncertainties 21 

Zoroaster's Epoch and Time of Composition of the Avesta 22 



^Dualism, Origin of Evil, Ameshas Spentas 28 

Ahura-Mazda. Fr. Spiegel 29 

— Daily gods and Shirozas, Yazatas 30 

Fravashis. Parallels elsewhere 32 

—Birth, Death, Menses, Ahriman's Creation 33 

—-Symbolic Vestments 34 

_^agian Priests, Future Life, Paradise, Hell, Kinvad Bridge 35 


• Holy Fires and the Sabbath. Magism and Mosaism on it 38 

Pentateuch and Avesta Contrasts. Talmud on it 39 

Fire- Worship Everywhere else ; . . 42 

Parsee Temple, Cult, Rites, Vessels, Analogies 44 

. Haoma and Draona. Mazza, Eucharist, Pythagoras 46 


• The Credoes of the Different Religions 50 

Zrvana Akarana and Dualism 51 

—Parsee Ideal of Virtue 52 

Confession of Faith of Parsee and Jew 53 

-Khorda Avesta. Typical Parsee Confession 55 

-Practical Virtue. Defilement 56 

,-Magian Burial, Purity, Child-Birth. Remarks 59 

Zend-Avesta Surveyed. Its Name and its Books 61 

Zend-Avesta. Its Later Literature 62 

• MUTUAL INFLUENCE OF PARSEE, Jew and Christian 63 

Shorr and Kohut on that Influence 64 

Parsee and Jewish Mysticism 65 



•• The Vedas. Brahman and castes 71 


Brahmanic Reformation. The World. New Doctrine of Athman. .. 74 

Brahmanism, Qabbala, Emanation, Transmigration, Nirvana 76 

Brahmanism and Virgil's Aeneis 78 

Pantheism, Ascetism, Evil , 79 

Brahnianic Casuistry. Its Ceremonial 81 

Brahmanism and Zoroasterism, Arian Reformation 83 

Evil in India and Eran 85 

Spinoza and Brahma-Somay, Ramohun Roy 87 


Hindoo Monotheism and Polytheism. East and West gt 




Indian and Judaean Scepticism. " Ecclesiastes " 97 

Buddha's Ethics, Human Fraternization. Buddha's Church 99 

Messiah in Buddhism and Brahmanism 102 

Avestean and Vedic Analogies, Ceremonies. Assyrian Inscriptions 103 

Parsees and Semites 105 

Prof. Max Mueller on Monotheism and Creation in Vedas arid 

Vedante 106 

Zoroaster's Impulse, Abraham's. Their Movement. Yazatas. iil 


Abraham and Zoroaster in Isaiah. Their Ethics 117 

Considerations on the Avesta 122 

Avesta Ideas, Rites and Messiah-Ideal Reviewed 128 



Its Doctrines. Mazda and Angro-Mainyu. Its 22 Chapters 149 



Yima's Vara and Noah's Deluge 161 

Airyana-Vaego. Eden 163 

Zarathustra. Temptation and Revelation 164 

Divine Service and Ceremonies. Baresma, Lulab i65 

Barashnum Purification 168 

The Kinvad-Bridge and the Hereafter, Everywhere else 170 


Pentateuch and Vendidad on that lyj 

Sound Views on Life, Purity, etc 174 

Zoroaster, Paul and Rabbis on that i-^j 

Purity, Priests, Physicians, The Unworthy Priest 178 


Hair, Nails and Purity. Lust Accursed i8i 

Woman and Purity 182 

Purity and Sickness , 184 


Dakhma and Burial Page 185 

Nasu and the Dead 186 

Holy Vestments 187 

Further Treatment of the Dead 188 



Pentateuch, Avesta, Mysticism, Talmud paralleled 192 

The Cock in Avesta and Elsewhere 193 

The Holy Bull. Hara-Berezaiti : Apis 194 

Arbor-Worship. Continuity of Rites 196 

Avesta Civil, Penal and Marriage Laws 199 

Capital Punishment 201 

• Estimate of Persian Laws. Legal Severities 203 

' Parsee and Rabbinical Justice 204 

Rabbis and Magi ; a " Kingdom of Priests " > 207 

"Eastern Religions and Talmud on Love of Study 209 


Tistiya and Elias. Ap-bri, Obrimos. Continuation 216 

Further Parallels. Parsees and Jews 217 

Daevas and Shedim in Talmud and Parseeism 219 

Sickness and Talismans 220 

Aggada and Avesta. Axioms, Proverbs, etc 221 

Legends and Myths compared 226 

Universal Messiah Ideal compared ; Talmud and Everywhere 227 

' Parsee Laws and Customs compared 230 



Dadabhai Naoroyi on that. Liberals' Catechism 235 

Recapitulation of the Volume 238 

Conclusion 241 

Misprints corrected , 244 

Comments on the Author's Publications 245 to 250 




Having treated in the preceding volumes of this series of the 
doctrines and legislations of the three great Western religions, 
Judaism, Christianity and Islam, we have now arrived at the dis- 
cussion of the Eastern Religions, those of Iran, India, Ceylon, 
China, Japan, etc. These are Parseeism, Brahmanism and Budd- 
hism. We shall treat here especially of Parseeism. The important 
doctrines, the social scheme and legislation of Eran or Iran, the 
bible of Zoroaster, the Zend-Avesta is the leading theme of this 
volume. Brahmanism and Buddhism, the religions of the Hindoos, 
Chinese, Birmans, etc., will be discussed as important corollaries. 
The bearing and influence of these Eastern systems upon the West- 
ern ones is the object of this study. To find out their relation to- 
wards one another, what affinities and what discrepancies, what 
analogies and what contrasts, what gain or loss, advance or retro- 
gression, these two leading religious sets exhibit towards each other, 
to find out the different phases of each of these groups and of every 
member of the group, how they represent but one continued chain 
of development, one ethical and social growth of the " Tree of life 
and of knowledge," termed religion, connecting all the races, creeds 
and systems into one unit of civilization and humanization — that is 
the final scope of this volume ; devoted principally to the study of 
the Zend-Avesta with its relation to and bearing upon the Western 
biblical religions. 

Parseeism. In far-away Hindustan, in the capital of British 
India, the magnificent and powerful commercial emporium of Bom- 
bay and its vicinity, there live among the native Hindoo and Mo- 
hammedan populations, the remnants of an ancient people, appar- 
ently of a bodily and mental type different from its neighbors. 
Though colonized there for many centuries, they nevertheless are 
not absorbed by, nor even amalgamated with the genuine natives, 
by whom they are outnumbered as ten thousand to one. They per- 
tinaciously cling to their own creed, nationality and ancient tongue ; 
to their own sacred books, laws, manners and customs. They form 
a distinct race and a sect. Debris of that same nationality, creed and 


race are, rarely enough, to be found also in old Iran and modern 
Persia. They are all chips and atoms of an ancient powerful nation, 
the once world-domineering Persians, the conquerors under their 
historical king of kings, the masters of Asia, Africa and Europe. 

In the middle of the seventh century, P. C, that once mighty 
people was subjugated and absorbed by the Islamic Arabians. 
Small remnants only have escaped the catastrophe and survived in 
some clefts, nooks and mountain-fastnesses of their own conquered 
and alienated country. Their comrades, after long disaster, reduced 
to a small remnant, have wandered away to Hindustan and settled 
there in and around Bombay, one of the great emporia of the 
Asiatic world. There they have joined the English masters, have 
learned their civilization and speech, their crafts and industries, and 
thus have become by far superior to the native Hindoos, bodily, 
mentally, and economically. 

These highly interesting last debris of an ancient, vanquished 
race and creed have, besides, many more titles to our interest, our 
curiosity and our sympathy, viz : their sacred books. These have, 
apparently, nothing in common with the Hindoo popular mythology. 
They inculcate to abhor idolatry and to believe in the One only God, 
eternal and incorporeal. Their ethical laws teach justice and virtue, 
work and charity. Studying these laws we find there so much akin 
to our own Western religions, our own morality and idealities, that 
we sometimes rub our eyes and ask whether we have not unearthed 
there the silent tombs of our own fathers, whether these Parsees have 
not once been a branch of our own race, creed and civilization, flesh 
and bone ol our own faith and culture ! No less kinship do we find 
with their mysticism and supernaturalism, their superstitions and 
notions, their hopes and fears, sayings and teachings ; as if a fraction 
of the Western races in by-gone ages had been torn away by some 
social upheaval, exiled into some other regions, and was now re- 
discovered and exhumed ; we feel as if we see the relics of Roman 
civilization found in the resurrected cities of Pompeii and Hercul- 

Now these remnants of an old race, with their fractions of a lit- 
erature, their creed, manners and notions are the last debris of the 
world-renowned ancient Medo-Persian people, now called Parsees ; 
and their remains of doctrines, laws and customs form the book, 
Zend-Avesta. Both, people and laws, have much that is strikingly akin 
to our Western races and Western biblical laws. That code, civili- 


zation, creed and people are the themes of our consideration in this 
present volume. Indeed, studying that theme, we shall not be a 
little surprised to see how much of Parsee doctrines and views we can 
retrace now among those of Christian, Jew and Moslem, for good and 
for bad. We shall discover there a deal of our own beliefs, hopes 
and aspirations ; of our own notions, cravings, fears and superstitions. 
We shall meet there, in rudiment, our metaphysics, our dogmas, our 
mysticism, our angals and demons, heaven and hell ; much of our 
dietary laws, much of our marriage, birth, death and funeral cere- 
monies. We shall find them there in their first stages, rudimentary, 
and shall recognize with surprise that we, in 1898, in Europe and 
America are but the continuators and successors of those once in 
Babylon and Persepolis, that we are their spiritual descendants, that 
they are our historical ancestors and that we are but developing a 
civilization which they have inaugurated; that Arian or Semite, 
Asiatic, European or American, Jew, Christian or Mohammedan, 
men and women, we are simply flourishing upon the graves of them, 
our predecessors ; so it is in geology and so in ethics. 

There is cause for glory in, not for shame of such a genealogy. 
To say that our Bible has many contrasts and many parallels with 
the Zend-Avesta ; that the Talmudic Pharisees were influencing and 
influenced by the Avestean Parsees and identified perhaps by that 
name ; that the new Testament was cradled by the lullaby of 
Persian- Essenian enthusiasm and hopefulness ; that the Koran has 
found there many of its views, its paradise with the black-eyed 
houris chanting in perfumed groves on elevated brocade divans, as 
also its hell with Eblis and his black fiends — to hint at that, would 
now not offend any rational being ; since Darwin has accustomed 
the thoughtful to the possibility that, at a much earlier period, man 
may have had the simian genus as his progenitor and hence, that the 
Parisian belle and the London fashionable may have descended even 
from the wolf and the monkey. It is not origin and descent, but 
degeneration which is disparaging. To improve upon our original 
status is our destiny, our glorious birthright. As long as develop- 
ment is improvement, man has done his duty and can glory in its 

The Method. In our copious selections and renditions from 
the Zend-Avesta, particularly the Vendidad, we have carefully 
collated the great masters of the Zend-science and chosen the best. 
Especially have we followed Darmesteter, Spiegel and Haug. We 


have often given, besides them, the translations of other leading 
Orientalists, so as to oflfer the reader an opportunity to judge for 
himself. But we have been independent in the interpretation of the 
texts. The prominent and distinctive feature of this volume and its 
predecessors is to adduce parallels and analogies at nearly every 
opportunity lent by the themes, taken from the other creeds, codes 
and doctrines. By this we believe to have substantially assisted the 
reader in elucidating the often enigmatical Zend-passages, in helping 
to penetrate deeper into their real meaning and scope. This may 
constitute perhaps the chief claim to usefulness and merit of this 
modest contribution to the literature on the Zend-Avesta. I do not 
pretend to rival any of my predecessors in that field of learning. I 
simply selected what I deemed the best among the translations al- 
ready extant. Nor do 1 claim to. have here brought forward any- 
thing better in the simple translations of the texts. There I follow 
scrupulously my predecessors and masters, after selecting the appar- 
ently best among them. But this treatise has one leading feature, 
new and useful, which I hope will render it a valuable contribution 
to the Zend-science, and this feature is constantly pervading the 
volume and giving it its real place and import, viz : 

The Parallels. It is its method ; it is its salient mode of pro- 
ducing the doctrines, it is not simply a translation of the Zend-Bible; 
it is comparative religious and social legislation. The Zend-doctrine 
is first produced, and next, many analogies from kindred domains. 
The reader has thus the opportunity to study each, by comparing 
them all. Adducing constantly numerous and striking parallels 
and analogies from other literatures, codes, bibles, sacred and lay 
books, mystic and rational, etc., above all by the hundreds of quota- 
tions adduced from the Talmud, the Bible and Aggadists, passages 
which are so strikingly analogous, yea often identical, that they 
evidently point to lasting mutual relations and influences of the two 
doctrines, — by such collations and juxtapositions of parallels and 
contrasts, I believe to have substantially contributed to the better 
understanding of the Avesta doctrine and literature, as also to that 
of the Talmud. When these pages suggest that the well-known 
Hebrew Credo (V. M. 6.4) was the protest of Mosaism against the 
dual principle of Zoroasterism ; that its reiterated insistance upon 
and emphasis of man's freedom of action and hence, his responsibil- 
ity, was the protest against the Zend-Avestic Ahriman doctrine ; that 
Isaiah (41-46) polemized against such views and their fatal conse- 


quences ; when I confront the Greek, Assyrian and Egyptian myth- 
ologies with the nobler views of the Avesta and the yet higher ones of 
the Biblical religions, etc., when I bring in parallel the doctrines of 
Zoroaster, of Abraham, of Sinai, of Brahma, Plato, Karmel, Nazareth, 
Tarsus and Mecca, — this confrontation will help the thoughtful read- 
er a great deal to find out for himself the real meaning and stand- 
point of the Zend- teachers. Such collations I believe will, besides, 
take away all the dryness and ambiguity of the abstruse theme and 
give it all the freshness and actuality of living and contempor- 
aneous studies and subjects. In thus connecting the past with the 
present, gray theory with green practice, Persian, Avestean para- 
graphs and legislations with those of our own codes, our own century, 
creeds and homes, we feel that we do not simply study dry, abstract 
matter of by-gone times, but concrete and live ideas, feelings, 
customs and practices, inaugurated long ago by our predecessors, 
but alive and potent among us and our contemporary neighbors. 
In thus combining the past with the present Brahmanic, Parsee and 
Buddhistic doctrines and legislations with those of Teutons, Latins 
and Slavs, the study is no longer dry and theoretical, but green and 
actual, present and close by ; and this, my method of parallelism 
may have contributed to bring about. 

Brahmanism and Buddhism. This volume is devoted to Par- 
seeism especially, to the analysis of the Zend-Avesta, its relation to, 
and its bearing upon, the present living religions. But besides the 
sacred books of the Magi, we have devoted considerable space and 
attention to the doctrines of the Brahmans and the Buddhists also, 
we have given here a comprehensive outline of these two great 
Eastern denominations. For a full understanding of Zoroaster, that 
of Brahma and of Buddha is absolutely necessary. The subject of 
this volume is, therefore, the bearmg of the systems of the East 
upon those of the West. It is a close comparison of the spirit of 
the religious legislations of the Orient with the spirit of the Biblical 
legislations of the Occident ; and the result of this examination is 
surprising and cheering to the extreme. As we have seen in the 
preceding volumes of this series, in the treatises on Bible, Gospel 
and Koran, so we shall find here too, in Zarathustra, Brahma and 
Buddha, the spirit of toleration and good-will to all, breathing in 
their doctrines. They, too, teach, as the quintessence of the law, 
the golden rule : " Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart and 
all thy might ;" and as its sequel : " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 


thyself."— Apparently the Brahma religion starts from many gods 
and many castes ; Buddha began with skepticism and the doctrine of 
despair; Parseeism with the admission and enthronement of the 
principle of evil. Yet all three at last coincide in Monotheism and 
altruism as the noblest faith and the best social base. All three 
declare in different words, but to the same point, that doing good to 
our fellowmen is the only way to self-improvement and universal 
happiness. We emphasize this as the result of this study, and this 
volume, viz : Brahmanism, Parseeism and Buddhism, just as Mosa- 
ism, Christianity and Islam stand upon the Biblical Monotheism and 
altruism. They all teach that doing good to our next is the highest 
homage to God and the nearest road to human salvation. That 
is their common platform, their messianic ideal, the last object of all 
sociology, the goal of man's destiny. This result is, no doubt, in- 
teresting and cheering, a worthy subject of meditation. 

The Growth of Religion. In the course of our studies on the 
great religious legislations of the world, we have now arrived at that 
of Zoroaster and Parseeism, the Zend-Avesta. That system stands 
nearest to the Western religions. It influenced them greatly. 
Zoroasterism in its turn was influenced by the doctrines of Brah- 
manism, etc. It is here critically shown by analogy that the several 
Eastern creeds as the Western ones are, each and everyone, no 
isolated phenomena. They did not rise suddenly as Minerva from 
the head of Jupiter. No, there are ever constant developments of 
ethical thought going on in the different divisions of the human 
species, each evolved from its predecessor, the outcome higher than 
the origin. Each succeeding religious phase is a growth from the 
root of the preceding one and necessarily presupposes it, as the 
offspring evidences its progenitor. Religion is thus not miraculous 
and inspired in the popular sense, but in the highest and noblest 
sense of the term. The divine spirit of human improvement 
termed religion, works from within, not without. As the steam is 
constantly propelling the locomative, etc., even so is that divine 
spirit ever impelling the human mind to nobler creations of religious, 
ethical and social models. This is religion, working in the myster- 
ious channels of man's ethical intelligence. The impulse is divine, 
the agent human. It is a wonderful process, yet a rational one. 

Having treated of the relation of the three religions of the 
West towards one another, we now have to consider the tenor of 
those of the East, the spirit pervading them, their doctrines, the 


laws, their ethics and their scheme of human destiny, termed the 
" Messianic-Ideal." We have to examine their bearing upon the 
Western religious codes and teachings. The reader will find here 
a full discussion of the Zoroastrian legislation and a succinct outline 
of the doctrines and the tenets of the two other great Eastern de- 
nominations. The Parsees are now but a bare remnant of a people ; 
while the Buddhists number a third part of mankind in their ranks, 
and the Brahmans some thirteen hundredths of the entire human 
race. Nevertheless we have devoted the largest space of this 
volume to Parseeism; because it stands nearest to the Western 
races, religions and civilizations. It influenced them more power- 
fully and more directly than India, China, Ceylon, etc. 

The ancient Iranians and Medo- Persians were actually absorbed 
by the Western denominations, hence, must they have influenced 
the latter greatly, in their blood, their thoughts, feelings and faith. 
Having absorbed such a vast contingent of Iranian blood and 
thought, Christianism and Islamism must be strongly colored and 
modulated by that amalgamation. This must be admitted a priori, 
on theoretical grounds ; and really we shall verify it practically in 
these pages, a posteriori. This will be shown in the numerous 
analogies of this volume, between the religions of the East and those 
of the West. We shall find it out when examining and comparing 
the tenor of their respective sacred books, etc. 

Encouragement. Our preceding treatises having met with kind 
approbation from the Press, leading scholars and earnest readers, we 
feel encouraged to come forth with this fifth volume of the series, 
requesting the same indulgence in its behalf as for its predecessors. 

Let me now tender my sincere and warm thanks to the press 
and the scholars, to my readers and my subscribers for their kind, 
continued encouragement in my labors, no doubt, necessary to sus- 
tain the perseverance of the writer. Especially grateful do I feel 
towards the great and revered Oxford Professor, Max Mueller, who, 
repeatedly honored me with his cheering letters ; Dr. Ad. Neubauer, 
of the same University, our friend and reviewer in the London 
Quarterly Review, who, correctly presumed and advised my treat- 
ment of the Zend-Avesta ; and the late, hoary savant, Ernest Curtis, 
Rector of the Berlin University, who sent me his kind word with 
his dying breath. Blessed be his memory. 

Last, not least, I feel happy to mention my dear and honored 
friend, Eduard Cohen, Esq., artist, of Frankfurt A. M. and his un- 


remitting, unflinching, warm interest in behalf of my publications- 
He is one of those rare, unselfish men who do good for its own sake, 
solely for the advancement of knowledge and useful literature. To 
him and to all my friends, close by and far away, may this volume 
bring my hearty greetings. 

Baltimore, January, 1898. 


Zoroaster and his Doctrines. 


In the preceding volumes, I have treated of the several bibles 
and their diverse contents, of the ethical, religious and social Legis- 
lations of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. 
There we were yet comparatively standing on firm, well known 
ground. Those venerable documents are within comparatively 
historical times ; preserved in languages which are yet fairly acces- 
sible to the present scholar. Their aspects and ideas, though not 
all of our times, are nevertheless not too far removed from our 
modern feelings and thoughts, We can yet grasp them, we can 
think and translate them into our own modes ; we feel yet to be 
standing upon solid ground when speaking of them Now we are 
about to approach a bible with a system which is far removed from 
us, far away in space and time, especially so mentally. Neverthe- 
less, since in A. 1700, Hyde of Oxford, published his attempt of a 
history of Parseeism, the modern mind feels irrisistably attracted 
towards that study. From the moment we became aware of the 
existence of that hoary phase of ethics, we felt as if we had met with 
the spirit of our long departed parents, as if we had discovered the 
genius of the past and the ancestor of the present ; as if we had 
found out the long searched for head of the religious Nile, the source 
of our own civilization. We feel charmed, surprised and delighted, 
as when the explorers of this American continent for the first time 
met here with terra firma, as when they first beheld the Gulf of 
Mexico, or that of Panama, the Magellan Route ; or on seeing the 
Pacific Ocean from the top of the Rocky Mountains. No less sur- 
prised and delighted feels the modern scholar on contemplating that 
vast ethical ocean, Parseeism. Groping in the dark at the immin- 
ent risk of error and delusion, we nevertheless feel irrisistibly 
attracted towards that Fata MorgavM. We feel as if there mur- 
mured the sacred well whence flow the world's ethical inspirations ; 
that there we contemplate the great religious Albert and Victoria- 
Nianza Lakes, from which came the first impulse by a circuitous, 
mysterious route, to the leading doctrines of Israel, of Christendom, 
of Islam and of the Reformation ; that from that fountain sprang 


forth those vast ideas, those humanitarian aspirations, those grand 
hopes and fears, and those efforts which are the essence of old Ju- 
daean prophetism, of later Essenian and now dominant Christianity, of 
ethical Mohammedanism, of the Protestant movement and of mod- 
ern humanitarianism. It is not without hesitation and misgiving 
that I approach this theme so gr^d and obscure, so irrisistibly 
attractive and so frowning and forbidding. As the Egyptian sphinx 
with a virginal, smiling face and cruel lion's paws, beckoning us to 
approach, yet remaining unriddled, even so is the impression of 
Zoroasterism upon the modern fancy. We are fully aware that we 
know so little of that oriental sphinx and that its masters hardly 
know more. The sacred books of that hoary system are written 
in idioms long ago mute and dumb, in letters hardly decipherable, 
in pictures, images and figures of speech entirely lost to us, written 
probably, expressly and on purpose, not to be understood by the 
laity, and to which but an exclusive priesthood held the key. Now 
that priesthood is extinct and that key is lost ! I shall therefore 
frankly premise to my kind reader that most of what is now affirmed 
of Parseeism is rather guesswork than real science and knowledge, 
and that the masters of that oriental discipline are far from being at 
one as to the result of their laborious researches. Each of them 
tries to study and unriddle the grim sphinx, all toiling in the sweat 
of their brow and bringing up to light a few pearls from the bottom- 
less deep, pearls which may turn out to be mere glittering pebbles' 
Nevertheless the little we know or guess is worth while studying and 
pondering over, because we correctly presume that from among 
these pebbles some genuine pearls may be sifted out, that from sur- 
mising we shall proceed slowly to positive knowledge and to accur- 
ate science. 

In the far away Asian East, in the South Eastern inaccessible 
Persian mountains, there are a few rare settlements of aborigines, 
remnants of an ancient, great people and a great creed, an oasis in 
the surrounding Mohammedan population, counting but a few thou- 
sands, all told, of poor souls in wretched bodies, ostracised by the 
present masters of the country. They go by the name of Parsees, 
Guebers, fire-worshippers. Further East, in N. W. India, in Guzer- 
ate, Surate, Baroach, but especially in Bombay, the principle debris 
of that interesting people have for centuries taken up their abode, 
driven thereto by conquest, long persecution and untold wanderings, 


exiled by the intolerant masters of present Persia and Afghanistan. 
In and around Bombay, their chief nucleus, the number of the 
Parsees may count now from one to two hundred thousand persons 
at the utmost. Since the occupation by the English of those vast 
Eastern regions, the Parsees have been following the settlements, the 
ascendency and the fortunes of sivilizing Albion. They have thriven 
by that alliance. Slowly they have acquired good repute, wealth, 
Western civiUzation with European industries, views, and habits. 
They are now occupying with commence and crafts. They are 
generally more cultivated than the native Hindoos. They are the 
preferred and trusted friends and allies of the Europeans. A few of 
them have established great industries at the side of the English, 
following them from Hindustan to China and to London. With all 
that, they cling to their own ancient faith which they understand and 
interpret so as to square with and assimilate to Western European 
monotheistic modes of religious thought. This is the small remnant 
of the once great people, creed and world-empire of Persia ; Persia 
that once under her illustrious princes, the Ackaemenides, 550-332 
B. C, was the mistress of the then known world. The Persians, 
after their subjugation by Alexander the Great, lived for centuries 
under the Greek Seleucides and the Parthian Arsacides, until in 226 
P. C, they regained their old dominion and ascendency, and for 
over four centuries longer were the rivals of Rome and Byzantium. 
So it was until the time of the fierce invaders from Mohammedan 
Arabia, who in 632 P. C, routed, subjugated and annihilated the 
Persians and compelled the rest of them to accept their own faith, 
Islamism, or to be exiled from the country. From that great race, 
dominion and creed, all that has remained is a few oases in the Per- 
sian mountains and the flourishing colony in and about Bombay. 

Studying the history, fate and status of the modern Parsees, the 
reader will recognize with wonderment that in the East they are, as 
described by numerous contemporaries, another edition of the people 
of Israel in the West. A proud past, centuries of long and bitter 
persecutions, exile and emigration; the acquisition of great elasticity 
of body and of mind, wonderful adaptation to circumstances com- 
bined with indomitable will power, tenacity and perseverance ; all 
is the outcome of the principle of " survival of the fittest and natural 
selection." But we shall see and be even more surprised to learn that 
that affinity is not new. It has been such from times immemorial; 
it is going on and may originally have been derived from a kinship 


of mind and a similar national psychology and history. We shall 
see that from hoary times onward, there was a parallel line between 
Persians and Israelites, between the followers of Zoroaster and those 
of Moses, and that Monotheism and an exalted morality is the es- 
sence of both the systems. So it was in Biblical times and so it is 
now. The Bombay Parsees tenaciously cling to their religion of old, 
which, nevertheless they rationally expound as pure Monotheism. 
Though parallel to Hindooism, and living fot centuries in Hindoo 
climes and surroundings, they yet feel akin rather to the Western 
English, because they assume Monotheism to be the essence and 
kernel of the religion of both, the English and the Parsees. So are 
their ethics derived from the same source, identical in both the 
creeds, their best result and their noblest aspiration. These Parsees 
or Guebers are the last debris of that ancient people, the Persians 
and of that great creed, Mazdaism or Zoroasterism. Their doctrines* 
sacred books and teachings are the objects of our study. 
The founder of that antique religion of the Persians is univers- 
ally accepted to have been Zoroaster, called in the sacred books of 
that creed, Zarathustra, in their later modern literature, Zerduskt, 
and by the Greeks Zwroastys. The meaning of the word is doubtful 
and differently interpreted ; by some, prosaically, as meaning " pos- 
sessor of old camels." I should venture to suggest it means " brilliant 
star," bright luminary. He is named and repeatedly designated in 
those sacred books as the prophet and the author of the old Iranian 
religion and bible. He was celebrated throughout antiquity by the 
leading classic writers as " The founder of the wisdom of the Magi." 
He was much better known to the Greeks and Romans of classical 
times than were Moses and David. Since the Persians were not so 
fiercely prominent in their antagonism to Polytheism, since they 
later admitted even some sort of idol-worship, Zoroasterism was 
more favorably appreciated than Mosaism by Greece and Rome. 

Already at the time of Socrates, Persia was well-known to follow 
the doctrines of that sage. He was claimed by some writers to hail 
from Media, by others from»Bactria, from the West, from the East, 
etc. He is respectfully mentioned by the leading masters of Class- 
ical literature Q). Plutarch compares him to Lycurgus and Numa, 

( )Xantus, Plato, Hermedatus, Hermippus, Trojus Pompejus, 
Diodorus, Pliny, Ctesias, Plutarch and others ; not by Herodotus. 


etc. As the place of his birth, so is the time of his existence most 
undetermined. Some suppose him as contemporaneous with Darius 
Hystasp, (500 B. C.) Hermippus thinks that 5000 or even 6000 
years before the Achaemenidean dynasty would not be too much. 
Others affirm him as having existed in the period between Moses 
and Abraham. Some call him even Ibrahim Zoroaster, a name 
suggestive of wonderful possibilities. Thomas Hyde almost identi- 
fies him with Abraham, believing at least that the Persians learned 
his doctrines from the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Others again take 
him for a mythical person, a personified force of nature, as the 
storm-god purifying the atmosphere by thunder. So do especially 
Darmesteter and E. Myer. No doubt in later Persian literature, he 
is claimed as having accepted the mission declined by fabulous Yima 
of the Golden Age of Iran and that he was a son to Purushaspa and 
born at Airyana-Vaego. He is depicted under mythic colors and 
with supernatural attributes. As of Jesus of Nazareth, so it is told of 
him that he smiled at his birth ; that in his youth he was dreaded 
and tempted by the evil spirit ; that at his advent, the devil and his 
hosts fled in dismay to hell. It is further beheved that he familiarly 
talked with the Deity and brought down the law from Heaven, etc. 
Soberer passages in the sacred books allude to Rhaga in Media, as 
his birth place. Others claim this as the later residence of the 
priestly chief, and that a place of Atropatene, in Media, or Balkh, 
was Zoroaster's residence. All seem to agree that whether he came 
from the West or the East, his main activity was in Bactria, East of 
Media, Iran and Persia. His protector, friend and partisan was 
Vistaspa, a half legendary king of Bactria. He died at a ripe old 
age, murdered at the hands of a horde of invading Turanians, at 
Balkh, after having firmly established his religion and his polity ! 
As his epoch, his birthplace and his writings, so is his doctrine 
not perfectly agreed upon by all the modern Zend scholars. 1 shall 
begin by giving here an outline of those features nearly acceded to 
on all sides. Zoroaster appears to have been the reformator of the 
former Eranian, or Iranian, pupular religion. Instead of the pre- 
ceding, material pantheism, nature worship and ancestor worship, 
he arrived at the new conception of mind, of spirituality, of God, 
Asura, Ahura, and he enthroned that principle in place of nature. 
The phenomenon of the bodily universe, suggested to him the ex- 
istence of a spiritual Deity. The diversity of forces behind the 


bodies united in harmony, suggested the Supreme power, Divine 
Intelfigence. He spiritualized and personified the universe ; its su- 
preme Rule is mind, not body. Thus he made a strong approach 
toward pure Monotheism to unify and enliven nature and its forces. 
The one God idea loomed up before him, slowly and dimly, instead 
of the infinity ;of bodies and agents. He taught Ahura Mazdao, 
the Divine Wisdom, as the Supreme Deity. 


He taught morality as the great object of religion and of state, 
of the church and of society. The highest religion to him is: 
" Purity of thought, word and deed." He thus was the forerunner 
of Judaean prophetism, of Gospel and Koran ethics. But finding 
also in the world, apparent, clashing disharmony, stupidity, wrong, 
vice, misfortune and ill, he concluded that there must needs be two 
Powers in existence, the principles of Good and of Evil, each work- 
ing with autonomy. These he symbolized as the genii of Light 
and of Darkness. Thus he taught instead of god-nature or gods- 
forces, dualism, the God-Holy-Spirit and the god-Unholy-Spirit. 
Here is the genesis of the Jewish and Christian holy-spirit and of the 
devil. His definition of the evil spirit is : Negation, destruction, lies, 
ignorance and ill. — Veracity, honesty, purity in body and in mind ; 
agriculture husbandry, breeding of domestic cattle, irrigation, all 
usefel activity and productive work, — not empty creed and cere- 
mony — were his ideals of humane life, virtue, happiness. His dual- 
ism was cosmic and ethical. Two Powers are in existence, not only 
in the universe, but also in history, in the human sphere. These two 
are ever in contention ; they are symbolized by Light and Darkness. 
Light is the power of goodness, happiness, truthfulness, etc. Dark- 
ness is the powei of negation, lies, destruction, sin. These two have 
been from the beginning, ever in contention. A virtuous, humane , 
life is ever in the service of the light- principle, helping to subdue 
and extirpate the evil principle by the annihilation of its creation 
and its worshippers. A vicious, beastly, selfish life is in the service 
of the daevas, and harms the good creation by meanness and fraud. 

Yasna XXX., 3, etc., is claimed by the Zend scholars to purport 
this dualistic-theory : "At the beginning of things there existed two 
spirits, Ahura, Mazda and Angro Mainyu ; they represent good and 
evil." According to Spiegel's translation, it reads literally : " These 
two heavenly beings, the twins, announced at first both, the good 
and the ill, in thoughts, words and deeds. These twq divine beings 

Zoroaster's doctrine. 15 

met to create life and mortality and all that the world was to be. 
The Evil One created for the wicked; for the pure ones, the Good 
One created (Ahura Mazda). The wicked chose the Evil One. 
The pure ones preferred the Good Spirit. " Yasna XXX., continues 
to say that man is free in his choice ; he can select the good or the 
bad ; hence is he responsible for his actions ;" a line of reasoning 
exactly as throughout the Pentateuch. (Deut. XXX. 19 and in 
many other passages). — " Reward and punishment for good or evil 
deeds are beyond the grave, in paradise and in hell. After death, the 
dead are interrogated, their conduct is strictly examined and sentence 
infallibly passed upon. If they have a surplus of merit, they easily 
pass the awful bridge of judgment and enter Garonmana, (paradise). 
If the exact scales show an overweight of guilt, they tumble down 
into the pit of burning hell beneath. There is no grace nor pardon ; 
sacrifice and offerings are of no avail." The Deity is therefore strict 
justice and intelligence, not love and grace, Jewish moralists are 
divided on this head. Paulinian Christianity, building upon faith 
without work, had to accentuate divine love, not justice. 

Zoroaster, as Jesus, expected the " Kingdom of God." This 
was his great message. Now is Ahura in bitter contention with 
Angro Mainyu. So it must be according to a decree of fate, such 
was the solemn agreement. Both are twins, sons of fate, infinity, 
Zrvana Akarana. For 12000 years, according to some and for 9000, 
according to others (}), that rivalship will continue. At the " End 
of Days," this world will be annihilated and the Kingdom of God — 
Ahura-Mazda's — will alone be established. This will take place 3000 
years after Zoroaster. Angro Mainyu and all the daevas will be 
vanquished ; the resurrection will take place, all by Soshiosh, the 
saviour, a descendant of Zoroaster. Here we see the exact meaning 
of the " Kingdom of God, Messiah, Saviour," later taught by the 
Essenians, etc. The Kingdom of God meant the triumph of the 
rule of light over the rule of darkness, to be brought about by the 
Soshiosh or Messiah, who would vanquish Angro Mainyu, establish 
the government of Light and resurrect the dead. The dead were 
the triumph of the Evil principle, and its destruction must be 
followed by resurrection. Parseeism thus claimed : Evil is inherent 
in this world. To eradicate evil, the world must be destroyed and 
a new one built up. The two opposing principles logically had two 

(i)Viz : Zoroaster was born 9000 A. M, 


full creations, one of good and one of evil, necessarily battling 
against each other. But this double world was of limited duration. 
Evil was destined to be destroyed and the creation of good alone 
eternally to be established. There is a hereafter following this life, 
and there is besides, the Messianic age at " the end of days " when 
the dead will be resurrected by the Messiah or Soshiosh. These are 
the dogmas of Parsee creed and the reader will easily see how far 
they influenced the dogmatics of the later creeds. 

The Pentateuch teaches : The world was good, but man's deed 
spoiled it and obedience to the revealed law is its remedy. Paul 
combined both the doctrines : The world was originally good, but 
Adam brought the curse, and the higher Adam, Christ, will restore 
it to its pristine condition. Jewish mysticism taught that of the 
Messiah, son of David. In Magism, it is the Soshiosh, son of Zo- 
roaster. Some Zend scholars believe to discover in the Ghathas — 
the most ancient part of the Yasna, containing the doctrines nearest 
to the original views of Zoroaster — that he, Zoroaster, taught abso- 
lutely one God, Ahura, to whom Ahriman was subordinated, just as 
Satan is to Ihvk in the Bible ; that all the other gods, Amshaspands, 
Yazatas and Genii are but divine attributes, or personified ideas, or 
natural forces ; that later priests gave to his doctrine the present 
expansion of dualism, and that still later arose the sect of Zervanists. 
These believed that originally Zrvana-Akarana — Eternal time and 
space — was supreme and that the two powers of Good and of Evil 
developed from the split of the first. This mysterious divinity, the 
very abstract of Pantheism, corresponds to the Greek fate or blind 
necessity, before which Zeus and the entire Olympos were trembling. 

One may be much inclined to assume that the doctrine of 
Zrvana-Akarana is of old Iranian stock, at first pushed into the back- 
ground and later resuscitated. It fits the oriental mode of reasoning. 
Pantheism and fate are inexorable. Hence was at first Zrvana, then 
ensued the split by which Good and Evil came out. In the future 
shall evil be vanquished and Mazda and Zrvana again be one. 

Even so Christology ; God is unknowable. His emanation, the 
Messiah and Satan rule the world. Christ is finally to vanquish 
Satan. Then Son and Father will be one again. This corresponds 
to Zrvana, Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu. This last one van- 
quished, Ahura alone will be omnipotent through the Soshiosh. In 
mysticism, Jesus has such a double role, Messiah and God. The 
Parsee doctrine of the " last things " and " Kingdom of God " ex- 


plain the real meaning of Christology. The Verd too, is to be found 
in the Avesta, it is called Honover, by which Ahura created the 
world. It is to be distinguished from the Manthra-Spenta, the 
" holy word," the Avesta Scriptures. Whether pure monotheist or 
dualist, at any rate and with all the fervor of his soul, did Zoroaster 
believe in the final triumph of Light over Darkness, of the principle 
of Good over that of Evil, of God over Devil. The uhimate triumph 
of God is the ethical postulate, the essence of his teachings. He 
placed that victory, not as heathendom, at the cradle of mankind, 
but as prophetism, at the " end of days" (i) in the far future, as the re- 
sult of all human experiences, struggles and efforts achieved by the 
Messiah ; the same Jewish and Christian Messiah- Ideal, the aspira- 
tion of moral and of social science. 

It is generally assumed that the writings of Zoroaster were very 
numerous, that he has left behind, some two millions of verses at 
least, in hymns and meditations ; Darmesteter thinks that, latest, at 
the time of the Achaemenides they were all and fully written, 
Parsee tradition affirms that the sacred, old, Persian literature was 
written in golden letters upon twelve hundred cowhides, some claim 
even upon 100,000 cowhides, left in the palace library at Persepolis, 
the first capital of the Persian Great-kings, and destroyed by fire at 
the express order of Alexander, or at least connived at by him in the 
conflagration of that capital. At any rate, upon the conquest of 
Persia by the Greeks, these writings were either destroyed by fire, or 
neglected and scattered, and soon definitely lost. Later in the 
second epoch of the Persian Empire under the Sasanidean princes, (2) 
they were re- written in 21 nosks or books. Then with the last catas- 
trophe of that empire brought about in 632 P. C, by the Moham- 
medans, that second edition of the sacred books was lost again and 
later gradually re-written by fugitive Magian priests, from memory 
and only in fragments, most imperfectly, just what was necessary 
for worship and for practical religious life. These fragments make 
up the present sacred books, debris of the once Zend-Avesta, the 
bible of the present Parsees. Most of the parts now extant of the 
collection are of later date, but they generally bear the stamp and 
leading features of Zoroasterism, though strongly altered, containing 
later adulterations, borrowings from surrounding nations and 

1 Isaiah II. and Micha IV. n»D'n finnxa 
s Ardeshir Babegan and his son Shahpur I, 


creeds, with but rare passages coming down, genuine from their 
hoary originator. The Ghaihas alone, a notable portion of the 
Yasna, one of the books of that bible, are excepted. These are 
claimed and actually may be more or less the identical ideas and 
sentences of that Eastern prophet, since they appear to be prior to 
the later Persian mythology and better to reflect the beginning of a 
national religious period. The Vendidad, too, is claimed by some 
to be one of the original books of the 21 works restored under the 
reign of the Sasanides. It is the priestly book, corresponding to 
Leviticus of the Pentateuch and has been preserved better than the 
rest, because it is the code of Parsee practical religion. Having 
given a short and succinct outline of the system of Zoroaster as far 
as pretty generally known and accepted on all sides, we can now 
enter upon a closer analysis of the system, the sacred books and the 
several doctrines of that hoary oriental prophet and his legislation. 

Here we must not expect unanimity among the many writers 
on that comparatively new branch of science and Persian philology. 
Nearly every prominent writer has his own opinions about that. I 
shall follow here the train of ideas and views of leading masters, 
especially of Fr. Spiegel, M. Haug, James Darmesteter, etc., cor- 
roborated, interspersed and revised by, the opinions of others, as 
Windishman, Klauker, Roth, Bopp, Geiger, Oppert, E. Meyer, etc.; 
everywhere carefully accompanied by my own independent, frequent 
remarks, elucidations and analogies, setting forth the scope of this 
book, the biblical legislations, their parallelism and original univers- 
ality in their leading features, all pointing to the same humanitarian 
goal, termed the " Messianic Ideal," viz : the last issues and aspira- 
tions of human history and social improvement. 

Zend-Avesta is a collection of the sacred writings of different 
contents and epochs, persons and countries, containing religious 
hymns, invocations, psalms, prayers, confessions, supplications, laws, 
moral precepts, sacred reminiscences and myths, compiled and 
classified, pretty much unsystematically, hurriedly, almost confusedly, 
in great variety and mixture ; composed during a long period of 
time, according to some, many thousand years, and according 

1 In many passages of these pages, I followed Dr. Martin Haug's 
Zend-Studies in Zeitschrift d. Dfjiutsch-morgenl-Gesellshaft, IX., Vol, 
Leipzig, 18^5, 


to Haug, Spiegel, etc., during at least one thousand years B. 
C. In the shape these writings are now before us, they con- 
tain some very old parts and some of less ancient date. They 
are the debris of antique sacred writings now lost twice, probably, 
since the times of Alexander the Great, after the conquest of Persia 
and the burning of Persepolis, as mentioned, when these Zoroas- 
trian books too, according to Parsee tradition, were burnt along with 
the rest of the great library, 331 B. C. Historiansjustly doubt that a 
conqueror so jealous of his fame and so kind that he wept at Darius' 
death and tenderly took care of his family, should have committed 
such a brutal incendiarism. Nevertheless he may have done it. 
He may have ordered or at least tolerated that brutal incendiarism 
of the capital and the sacred writings of the Achaemenidean Great- 
Kings, either from exuberance of triumph and wanton pride, or 
perhaps from political reasons, viz : to show and convince the world 
that the great Persian house, nation and creed were no more, and 
that his own, Greek family, people and ascendency were to take their 
place ; as Belshazzar of Khaldea, he was little dreaming what mis- 
fortunes were in store for himself and his own nearest and dearest. 

Haug says substantially the following : " The author of the 
Zend-Avesta and the founder of that religion, the Parsees claim to 
be Zoroaster. Looking closely at the many and various fragments 
of the book and its doctrines, we are not disposed to adhere to that 
opinion. There are besides, wide discrepancies in the language of 
the several parts of the book which witness to the diversity of hands, 
ages and countries of its composition. The doctrines taught there, 
too, show evident signs of slow development and of diverse stages, 
requiring centuries for their successive formations. Thus, the book 
cannot be the work of one person. To all appearance, Zoroaster is 
not the originator of Jthat Iranic religion, but he has developed , 
shaped it and brought it to a higher degree of perfection and spiritu- 
ality." These propositions are generally assented to. He continues : 
" That spirituality is the leading trait of Zoroaster's creed, though he is 
not its originator, as little as he is of the Zend-Avesta in general ; but 
undoubtedly his hand and mind are predominant everywhere." 
This last part of Hang's opinion, finds its adherents and its oppon- 
ents. James Darmesteter " is in doubt whether Zoroaster is a man 
apotheosized to a god, or a god later converted into a man." To 
him, he is rather the latter. He says : ** Haug erroneously con. 

20 Zend-Avesta and eastern religions. 

verted Mazdaism into a religious revolution against Vedic polythe- 
ism. (Vend p. XXIX). According to Darmesteter, Zoroaster 
dwindles into a myth, the purifying storm-god ; and Mazdaism is 
not a revolution, but an independent development of Hindooism, 
the dualistic and the monotheistic ideas being at the bottom of both 
the systems, seemingly polytheistic. Agreed to that Zoroaster is 
not the founder of the Avesta religion, he is no doubt its reformator 
and a historical person. The preceding Hindoo nature-force-and 
ancestor-worship he spiritualized and refined. He gave it a soul, he 
breathed life into it. He added a higher God-conviction : the 
spiritual God-idea and with it a higher man- idea. He thus made a 
great approach to spiritual Monotheism ; as an important, necessary 
result and logical sequence, he taught a purer morality, the One 
Ahura-Mazda could not teach the many Hindoo castes, but 'one 
law and one right.' Since this is generally attributed to Zoroaster, 
I see no reason to question his person and his influence in Mazda- 
ism. I cannot see why certain writers, otherwise great and illustrious 
scholars, are so quick in declaring every extraordinary historical 
personage to be a myth and fiction. As if only the vulgar are real 
and existent! To some, are Nimrod and Semiramis, Abraham, 
Moses and Macabeus but myths. I believe if even many attributes 
of such persons are exaggerated and legendary, yet in each there is 
a solid nucleus, a kernel of historical fact, hence they existed and 
were the forces of their times. I am inclined to believe that even 
myth was originally history, reality apotheosized. I recognize that 
in the domain of critical history, what is not proven is not to be 
posited and affirmed. But I think what is assumed by universal 
consent and is not positively contradicted by reason and fact, is en- 
titled to credence. Here we find in hoary times a great religion 
rising, impregnated with new, startling and truthful elements, hav- 
ing their reverberations, to this day in the leading religious systems 
of the world. By common consent, they are attributed to Zoroaster, 
why doubt it ? Cui bono ? Must not somebody be their author ? 
Why not Zoroaster ? By one method of unreasonable doubt the 
existence of Moses, of Homer and of Jesus is doubted ; and by an- 
other way of arguing I conclude that they are real historical persons. 
Whether they have written all that is attributed to them, criticism 
could not affirm. But that they existed, acted and gave the impulse 
and start to the creations and literatures bearing their names, that is 
fairly acceptable ; even so Zoroaster. 


In many respects, indeed, is Zoroaster comparable to the He- 
brew Lawgiver. Whether Moses wrote every word and scroll of that 
Pentateuch, criticism may differ. But his genius and his impulse 
are visible everywhere there. Even so, is that of Zoroaster, in the 
Avesta system. His mind, person and hand are visible in its best 
parts. He is surrounded by a halo of sanctity. His epithet is (i) 
" Spitama." all holy, sanctissimus. As in the ancient, cosmic phil- 
osophies, each species of creation had its prototype and ideal, rep- 
resenting that genus in its superlative perfection, even so was Zoro- 
aster the supreme type of the human kind ; he was later half and 
half divinized ; he was the mediator and prophet between God and 
man, bearer of divine revelations, head and patron of this sublunar 
world. He occupied among the Parsee masses of the East a posi- 
tion much akin if not superior to that of Moses with the Jews. 
" There never arose a man like Moses who spoke with God face to 

-face. (2) But the Parsees claim more of Zoroaster, the Yazata. 
With the Jews Moses was never divinized. His grave is not 
known. But he died and was buried. Later legend says " Moses 
died not." (3) Zoroaster is in later Persian myth fully apotheosized 
with all the paraphernalia. His role is therefore even more com- 
parable to that of the Essenian Messiah, or even with Jesus in 
Christology. Indeed the supernatural Messiah Ideal, as we find it 
in the Apochryphae, the Talmud, Targums and later in the Qab- 
bala, is Zoroastrian ; that type especially which was elaborated as a 
State religion by the Gentile Christians in the Christ-idea, as a 
hypostasis and a person of the Triune Deity. The type of that idea 
and the pattern of that ideal appears to have been taken from Zoro- 
aster, the mediator between Ormazd and man, between heaven and 
earth, the opponent of Ahriman. At any rate, Moses, Homer and 

Jesus are historical persons and no myths. They are the heads and 
authors of the systems bearing their names. Even so is Zoroaster 
the leading author of the Mazda religion. 


A strikmg example of the uncertainty in the Zend-studies are 

the various explanations of the very name Zoroaster. According to 

Haug, the meaning of Zoroaster or Zarathustra is : "Praise- Singer," 

a chanter of divine hymns Others say it means " Possessor of old 

1 Some think Spitama or Cpitama was his family name. 
8 D»3B ^>« o'j9 3 no th rvim 


camels." (i) I suggested that it may be a metaphor, meaning : Bril- 
liant star, starry luminary. (2) It strikes me that when Moses de 
Leon of the Thirteenth Century, P. C, the presumptive author of 
the Zohar, the Bible of the Jewish mystics, called his book Zohar, 
light, lustre, he may in his mind have alluded to Zoroaster and to 
his doctrines, there being great affinity between his theories and 
Zoroasterism, as shown by Professor Frank (3) of the Paris Sor- 
bonne and as I shall corroborate later. It is pretty nearly agreed to 
by all Zend scholars that the Avesta contains many parts, chapters 
and passages which may well be derived directly from the Bactrian 
ethical Teacher. One notable portion of the Yasna, denominated 
the Gathas, meditations, may well be so verbatim, or at least in ideas 
and expressions. They bear the stamp of genuineness and reality, 
without that pomp of myth and exaggeration which is usually the 
sign of later ages, when the hero has passed into a state of legend 
and myth, surrounded by the halo of smoke and of incense, of ad- 
miration and adulation, as we see among other races, as Hercules 
and Theseus among the Greeks, Romulus and Bacchus among the 
Latins, etc. In the more ancient parts of the Avesta, Zoroaster 
figures as the author of religious song, the greatest poet of hymns ; 
poet and prophet and religious teacher being yet synonymous in 
those infantine times. These old poems claim that " he has shaped 
the words into song, has advanced godliness and purity by his 
hymns ; upon whom Ahura-Mazda has bestowed the gift of oratory ; 
who took the tongue into the service of the intelligence ; who was 
the only one who listened to the teachings of the highest God and 
was able to hand them down to men." His powerful friend, co- 
worker, and zealous adherent was Kava Vistaspa, King of Bactria. 
Many more friends of his religious initiative are mentioned in the 
Avesta. It is immaterial whether Vistaspa, etc., are history or myth. 
No doubt his movement must have been supported, or it would have 

As to the age when he flourished, as hinted at above, the opin- 
ions of historians greatly vary. Some believed that he lived 400 or 

See Spiegel Comment, Avesta, Vol. II., VIII. 6. 

2 From Zohar, light, lustre, nn? and astyp, Stella, sterna, sitara, Scr. : 
stri, stara ; Zoroaster is later described almost mythically, and his 
name, too, bears probably such a character of myth. 

3 LaJCabale. 

Zoroaster's epoch. 23 

500 years, and some 5,000 or 6,000 befbre the present era. Dr. 
Haug, whom I often follow in these pages, presumes that he flour- 
ished 1,500 to 2,000 years before the Christian era. " Since in 400, 
B. C, the verv latest doctiine of Parseeism is already developed, 
viz : that of the resurrection of the dead ; that is mentioned for the 
first time in one of the youngest fragments of the Avesta and is fully 
described in the late Bundehesh. Theopomp, a contemporary of 
Alexander the Great, mentions that doctrine as belonging to the 
Magi. It would therefore not be too much, says Haug, to assume 
that at least 1,000 years had elapsed since the dawn of that religion, 
as described in the oldest poems and hymns of the Avesta, to the 
resurrection doctrine, its latest development." Some objections have 
been raised to that, from the fact that in many passages in Herodotus 
and other early Gr^ek writers, we see that burying of the dead was 
the general practice of the Persians under the Achaemenian kings ; 
a practice which is most rigorously denunciated in the Avesta as now 
before us. Some claim therefore that this is an evident proof that 
the Avesta is posterior to that dynasty. But Darmesteter and others 
have justly shown that those passages in Herodotus prove only that 
in the Achaemenian times the practice of destroying the dead bodies 
by beasts of prey, on the Dakhma's, was not yet accepted by the 
people, but it was law and practice with the Magian priests. It was 
the law, but later, under the Sasanides, with the full ascendency of 
the Magi, the people, too, conformed to it. It takes a long while 
until certain theories become practice, and this was the case with sub- 
stituting the Magian mode of disposing of the dead to that of bury- 
ing them, as universally practiced. 

The idea of the immortality of the soul that sweetened the death 
of Socrates and the life of Plato, is but the rational kernel and con- 
tents of that other, more popular conception of the resurrection 
of the body. Neither of them is yet to be found in the earlier 
parts of the Hebrew canon. They are faintly alluded to as a prob- 
lem, by Ezekiel and the sacred writers after the Babylonian Exile. 
That double idea of the immortality of the body and the soul must 
be derived from later developments of Zoroaster's doctrines, but 
hardly did it originate with that Teacher himself. The Pentateuch 
and I. Isaiah, 38.18 has it not, though Egypt taught it. But the 
post- exile canonical books, some later psalms, Daniel, the Maccabees, 
Apochraphae, Mishna, Aggadah and Halacha set it forth promin- 


ently. The New Testament and the Koran are brimful of that doc- 
trine. Now since the Pentateuch has it not, and Isaiah I. expressly 
declines it, that proves it is a later idea and hence must the dawn of 
Zoroasterism be placed earlier, much earlier than i,ooo years B. C. 
We shall elucidate that. The immortality or resurrection idea is not 
taught in the five books of Moses, but is in the later parts of the 
Hebrew canon, viz : of the post- Babylonian epoch ; hence it must 
have been a growth upon Parsee soil and accepted later by the 
Sacred Writers. But since the Pentateuch itself is contemporaneous 
with Zoroasterism, as we shall clearly show in a large number of its 
regulations, positive and negative, running in parallel lines with, or 
in express opposition to, Avesta doctrines, therefore are we bound to 
admit many and long phases in the development of the Zend-books. 
We have to allow them a commensurate space of time for development. 
They must have existed, not only contemporaneously with, but even 
prior to the Pentateuch, and their unfoldings must have continued 
during post-Pentateuchal times. Zoroasterism seems therefore to 
be older, in part at least, than Mosaism, and that proves the Avesta 
to date back further than a thousand years prior to the Achaeme- 
nides. The claim that Zoroaster has lived during the century of 
the Persian Darius Hystaspes, about 550 B. C, is decidedly errone- 
ous, justly agree all the writers on our subject. That opinion rested on 
the false identification of that name with the Bactrian legendary king, 
Kava Vistaspa. Now " it is against all probability that from 550 to 
400 B. C. the Zend religion received all those vast developments in- 
tervening between its venerable origin, the hoary hymns and songs, 
down to its latest and full dogmatic completion as found later in the 
Bundehesh" says Haug ; that is conclusive. It is by some (i) as- 
sumed that the whole religious system of Iran has been elaborated 
in its antagonism against Hindooism. The Vedas, India's sacred 
books, represent simply a system of poetic personifications of the 
forces of the cosmos ; they are a poetic divinization of nature. Yet 
in rudiment, the leading theories of the Iranian religion are to be 
found in the Vedic ones. Haug continues : " There we find the ru- 
diments of later Parseeism, Dualism, the good gods, gods of light, 
as half-way spiritual beings, and in opposition to them are the wicked 
demons who try to hinder the efforts of the good spirits and to harm 
man. But as yet these gods are mere natural forces personified, 

1 By Haug and others, but contradicted by Darmesteter, who denies 
any such revolution, but admits a slow evolution (Vend. p. 38.) 


good and bad ones. They are as yet really no free agents. In place 
of that nature-cult, the sages of Iran, and more so of Bactria, labored 
to refine and spiritualize the divine conception. These sages were 
called : fire-priests, holy men who lighted the sacred fires, " Saosky- 
anto." The later Parsee dogmatics made of their chief sacred func- 
tioner the Messiah, Soshiosh. They worshipped the good spirits with 
kindling pure fires. But since they conceived them as moral, spir- 
itual powers, greatly repugnant to the ideas of the old Hindoo 
sages, that was considered as heresy, apostasy. A fearful religious 
war was kindled between Iranians and Hindoos, the religious split be- 
came permanent. Zoroasterism and his new sect arose from that 
momentous difference." 


Haug closes : " Now came the far-reaching reform of the great 
Zoroaster. He was one of the fire-priests. His merit consisted in 
having reduced the many good spirits into one, and the many bad 
spirits, also, he reduced into unity. He spirituahzed both these sets 
of agents. Naturally, he denominated the Good principle of the 
universe : the Holy Spirit, Spento-mainyu ; Supreme Wisdom, 
Ahura-Mazda; light was his first-born Son or great attribute. 
Whilst the evil principle he called Angro-Mainyu, the wicked spirit 
of darkness, Drukh, lie, fraud, etc." Here we see the original mean- 
ing of Holy Spirit, so prominent in Hebrew Aggada as " Ruah 
haqodesh " and in Christology as a divine person of the trinity. It 
is perfectly plain in Parseeism : The entire creation was pervaded 
by two spirits, the holy one and the unholy one, and the holy one 
was the highest God. There was a real perfect identity, the Holy 
Spirit was Ahura-Mazda. The Holy Spirit-idea in Judaism may 
have come from there, but it had another meaning. There Elohim 
or Ihuh was the reality, essence, creator of the universe, and his 
Holy Spirit was but an attribute designating prophesy, the divine in 
communion with the human. In Christology it had both the mean- 
ings, it was an attribute and a substance, hence independent, yet one 
with God. Zoroaster introduced Monotheism in the far East. Cur- 
ious, his name was Ibrahim ! — Especially did he understand that 
opposition of the good and the evil principles rather to be such 
morally than physically, inwardly than outwardly ; more in the hu- 
man consciousness, in the heart, than in the objective world, in the 
brute forces contending in nature. Even so do we find, throughout 
the Aggada, among all the Hebrew moralists, after the Babylonian 
Exile, prevalent the doctrine of a good and an evil spirit (yezer 
hara and yezer hatch) inducing men to do good and evil. 
" The 30th chapter of Vasna, probably derived from Zoroaster, em- 
bodies that doctrine. It teaches : " Two original spirits exist in the 
universe, a good and a bad one, in thoughts, words and deeds.. 
Both these spirits have joined ; the one created existence, the other 
caused the annihilation of existence. Wickedness is of the godless ; 
goodness is of the pious. Choose one of these two spirits ; the ly- 
ing, mischievous one, or the pure and holy one. Either choose the 


worst lot or worship Ahura-Mazda with good and truthful deeds."0) 
Both these spirits have revealed their doctrines and laws. The one 
is a speaker of truth, the other an orator of Hes. The name of the 
good one is Spenta-Mainyu, i. e., the Holy Ghost, Ahura, living, 
and Mazdao, dispenser of wisdom, both together gradually form 
God's proper name. They are really but attributes of the Supreme, 
Holy Spirit. Both these words go together in the Avesta literature 
and form the name of the Supreme Being. At first, the epithet of 
Mazdao belonged to maky good spirits. It is the merit of Zoroaster 
that at last it became the special designation of the only One Su- 
preme Being. Thus, in Parseeism, the Holy Spirit was declared the 
Supreme God. In Christology, the Supreme God was given the 
attribute of Holy Ghost, but which attribute is at the same time an 
independent, divine Being. This double meaning is the result of its 
double derivation, Parsee and prophetic. 

According to the " Sacred poems " this is Ahura Mazda, the Su- 
preme Intelligence, the Omniscient, the Creator of Good, the truth- 
ful, the omnipotent, under whose dominion stands the universe. 
Sun, moon and stars have their orbits prescribed by Him, and all 
the forces of nature are under his control. So also is the earth 
created and ruled by him, and surrendered to man as his dominion 
and inheritance. The earth is termed his daughter. Everything 
good he created. He is the author of life. He is wisdom and in- 
telligence, author of good conscience, purity and truth. He rewards 
the good ones with happiness, and the wicked with evil. He is 
gracious and merciful and allows existence even to the wicked, await- 
ing their repentance. Opposed to Ahura is the Evil Spirit, Ako- 
mano, (2) or Drugh, Drukh, the lie, fraud, " Angro- Mainyu," the 
wicked, harmful, angry Spirit, commonly abbreviated into Ahriman, 
a later appellation of the Evil principle. He is the creator of the 
daevas, devils or bad spirits, he murders life. The safest means to 
annihilate his creation is wisdom and knowledge. His essence is ly- 
ing. Doubt too, is his work. Both of these, the lie and the doubt, 
produce all human perverseness. He taught his wicked doctrines to 
oppose the pure creation. Do not trust him. He renders the fields 
barren and harms the pure ones. 

1 This is the approximate sense of the verses. 

2 The Talmud designates by Di3j? all idol worshippers, it alludes to 
the Parsee principle of Evil, ako-Mano. 



Some Zend expounders claim that there is also another version 
concerning the origin of Evil. According to a passage in Yasna 48, 
I, Ahura Mazda created the good and the Evil Spirits. Hence is 
the Evil one subordinated to the Supreme Ahura Mazda. He alone 
is the Supreme Ruler, (i) This is the Jewish view, as in Bible, Tal- 
mud and Moralists. Again, another version is : The Evil comes 
from wickedness and lust ; wicked men create the daevas by their 
evil deeds. Hence are impure spirits the result of bad men's deeds. 
Such too, we find in Hebrew Aggadas, " Every sin committed, cre- 
ates an evil spirit." 

The court of Ahura Mazda is supported and graced by a Coun- 
cil of grandees or peers; the Amesha's Spenta's, Amshaspands, viz : 
the sanctified immortals. They are six in number. The older poems 
do not mention them. They are of later development. At first they 
appear to have been mere attributes of the Supreme Deity, his ben- 
efactions and emanations. Gradually they assumed personality and 
self- existence as leading genii, angels, assistant companions of Ahura 
Mazda. They are at the same time personifications of virtues and 
types of special creations. Vohu-Mano is the good intention; 
Ashem-Vohu is purity and holiness ; Khashairem is possession, 
property, earthly power, good luck and material blessing ; Armaiti 
or Spendarmat is the earth and its spirit, the home, the hearth, also 
the genius of devotion. So are all the Ameshas Spentas and the 
rest of their colleagues, peers of Ahura, his attributes and agents, 
symbols of moral virtues, patrons and lords of special parts of the 
bodily or moral world. They are in reality but personified forces, 
raised by the vulgar into independent, divine entities. The Church 
transferred that patronage to the Saints. Thus also the Hebrew Ag- 
gadah gave a Court of six or seven grandees to the Deity, called the 
"Pamalia-shel-male^'(^) heavenly Council. In the later Parsee myth- 
ology, they assume more personality, more body and become more 
independent, peers of Ahura. The six Ameshas Spentas are the fol- 
lowing with their full names : Vohu-mano, Asha-Vahista; Khshathra- 
Vairya ; Spenta-Armaiti ; Haurvatat, Ameritat. Sometimes Ahura 
Mazda figures as one among them, they make thus together seven 
Ameshas. This may give the clue to the question : Why in the en- 
tire Orient the number seven is considered holy ; why the simple utter- 
1 Haug, p. 689, Zend studies. 2 nSyo bv »h\iB 

ameshsa's spenta's. ahura. 29 

ance of that number was an oath. The Semitic Sheba (i) means seven 
and oath. It was commonly explained because they believed that 
the heavenly bodies were seven. More probably, it is on account of 
the seven Amesha's Spenta's. Of course the Persian Great-King had 
a Council of seven grandees. Whether the court was the model for, 
or the imitation of, heaven, cannot be decided. Of course Ahriman, 
too, had his court of six wicked peers and his long retinue of im- 
pure spirits. 

Fr. Spiegel thinks Ahura means master, lord, — as in German 
Herr. Maz is great and das is knowledge. The whole meaning, 
the omniscient Master. The same writer in his " Commentary on 
the Avesta, p. 2, says : Ahura Mazda, written in one word or in two, 
according to Burnouf and the unanimous tradition of the Parsees, 
means : The very wise Lord. . . Ahura may also designate other 
masters. It is nearly akin to ahu, meaning both, world and master, 
sometimes also soul. In Sanskrit Asura, asu corresponds to it ; the 
root is undoubtedly Ah, as, to be ; Ahu, Ahura is thus : the really 
existing one, as the Hebrew Ihvh. (2) Of the word Mazdao, Bur- 
nouf has uncontrovertably proven that it consists of maz, great and 
dao knowledge. . . He is depicted as the highest Spirit, the most 
holy light. Ahura may mean light, akin to Orah. (3) He is spirit- 
ual, yet in later Avesta writers he is corporeal, too. He is also 
called Spenta Mainyu, the Holy Ghost, opposing the Unholy one. 
Before Jews and Christians the Parsees had their " Holy Ghost," the 
opponent of the Wicked one. He is the highest, not the only one. 
He is corporeal, too; he his wives and children. In later myth he is the 
protector of men. Creator of the light-universe, Lord of the hosts, of 
creation, corresponding to Ihvh Zebaoth, Author of the Ameshas, of 
earth, water and good genii. His residence is in Gara-nmana or 
heaven. Angro Mainyu, the wicked spirit, is the counterpart of the 
above, and he too, has his own full creation. Amesha's Spenta's means 
the holy immortals, the perfect and increasing ones ; Ahura, their 
creator in one of them, the first. He is the central sun, they are his 
rays, really his attributes. Philo's Emanations too, were one with 
the Creator. The Mishna Aboth and Talm. Babli. Hagiga (12. a) 
substituted ten instead of seven, because it was assumed that the first 


chapter of Genesis contains ten times : " God spake," hence was 
creation effected with ten fiats, (i) 

• The Qabbala borrowed from both : God Supreme created the 
ten Sephiroth. The ten were all contained in the first Sephirah, and 
this first one is one with God Supreme. Christology built further 
out the same idea. The first Emanation is Adam Qadmon, and he 
was one with God and the holy spirit, hence tri-unity. So the ten 
are equal to three and the three contained in one. (**) Fr. Spiegel (^) 
gives the following attributes to the Ameshas Spentas, the holy Im- 
mortals, the Emanations and peers of the Supreme : I. Vohu-mano ; 
Good spirit, Intelligence, Prince of peace, Sar Shalom, the attributes 
of the Messiah in Prophetism and Christology. He is the patron of 
men, hence Anglo-Saxon, " woman" probably, the genius of man. 
Plutarch calls that genius Oeos eunoios. II. Asha Vahista, Patron 
of fire, purity, holiness, light, opponent of Angro Mainyu and daevas. 
He is Oeos Alydeias. III. Khashathra-Vairya, Shahrivar, genius 
of empire, dominion, Oeos eunomios, charity, The Hebrew "■Rah- 
man" also of metal and of many more attributes. IV. Spenta Armaiti, 
holy mother, earth, wisdom, good and useful things, Oeos sophias, 
V. Haurvatat, genius of water, plenty, blessing, Oeos Ploutou. VI. 
Ameretat, genius of vegetation — epi kalois ydewn. — Both preside 
over earthly enjoyments. Inclusive of these six or seven Ameshas, 
the Persian Pantheon has some thirty to thirty-three greater and 
smaller deities, as many as days in the month ; further, a larger 
number of minor grandees and princes, called Yazatas, holy and 
pure ones, dwellers of both, heaven and earth, companions and 
creatures of Ahura, who is the supreme Yazata. The patron-saints 
for every day of the Roman calendar have their model there. 

But the parallels go even farther. The thirty days of the Per- 
sian month are each presided over by a god, beginning with Ormazd 
and the six Ameshas Spentas, each presiding over one of the first 
seven days of the month and followed by other genii. For each of 
the thirty days, a god is detailed as the special patron. Now when 
we ponder over the names of our present seven week days, we justly 
surmise that this was the case too, in the diverse mythologies of the 
Greek and the Saxon pantheon. Sunday was devoted to the Sun- 

1 myjs ,ni33 ,nyia ,nai3r;a ,na3na ,n'7iyn nisj dhst mts-ya Hagiga t2. a, 

2 See Qabbalah, by M. Fluegel. 

3 Spiegel, III, vol., page 8, etc., Avesta, 


god, Monday to the moon-god, etc. Each day of the week or the 
month had its special protecting genius or god. Scanning the ritual 
of the present cults, we find the same holds good to this day, as far 
as the present theologies admit of it. The Parsee Vasna, contains 
thirty Shirozas or hymns and devotions for each day of the month, 
addressed to its respective patron genius, superscribed by that name, 
Ormazd, Vohu-Mano, Mithra, etc. Scanning the Hebrew common- 
prayerbook, we find its analogy in past and in present times. First 
we find the hymns (Shir Mismor) used by the Levites in the ancient 
Moriah Temple. Each day of the week had its special psalm. For 
the first day came the Ps. 24 ; for the second day Ps. 45, etc. The 
Sabbath had Ps, 92, bearing yet the name oi Shir of the Sabbath day.(}) 
That group of hymns has the superscription: "The disciples of 
Art — the known Qabbalist Luria — have recommended such psajms 
to be said daily, (^) Qabbala being in part a derivation from Parsee- 
ism. The Synagogue has besides extra hymns for each day, called 
Shir-hajichud, hymus of unification ; viz : While the Persian Shir- 
ozas addressed each day another deity, the Hebrew sang day by 
day, but to the only one God. These pieces are among the finest of 
Hebrew philosphic hymns, combining depth of metaphysics with 
beauty of poetry. The church, too, has such special songs appro- 
priated to each day, besides its particular saint, patron of the day. 
Thus the Shitozas praise the Persian Pantheon, the Church chants 
trinity ; and the synagogue, unity. Here are the parallels and con- 

The dignity of Yazata pervading the Avesta corresponds, I pre- 
sume to the sober Semitic epithet of the "just and righteous, the 
humble, the poor, the pious, the friend of God, the servant of 
God."(3) By that the Hebrew designated a human being who by 
his piety stood nearer to God than the common mortal given to 
worldliness. While the Parsee Yazata implied something divine, of 
the superior nature of the gods ; Ahura was the highest of Yazatas. 
As everywhere in ancient mythology the' boundary-line between 
God and man was indefinite, as the shades of colors in the rainbow, 
even such was the undetermined nature of the Yazata, human and 
divine. II. Isaiah in chapters 41, 42, 44, 45, may allu d e to that, 

1 Ps. 92". nsB-n Di'^ Tr •nam 

8 Derech Hahai Vienna, 1862. oniDtDO nnx noN' ni> 'psat? '"iNn »To^n una 


speaking of Cyrus, Abraham, Israel, etc.(i) In later Psalms and Es- 
senism, the "righteous, poor, indigent and pious " take that place ; 
so in the Mount Sermon and in Christology, the " poor in spirit " 
and in purse, are the preferred ones of God, alone worthy of the 
kingdom of Heaven. Such a person, human and divine is the mes- 
siah in the later Qabbala. Even in the present Jewish Hasidaism 
there is the Zaddiq, the pure and holy one ; he is as in former Par- 
seeism, the trusted friend and confident of the Deity, participating in 
omnipotence ! So became Zoroaster himself in later myth, such a 
Yazata, the highest on earth, friend of Ahura, the highest in Heaven; 
the vehicle of the revelations of Mazda and author of the Mazda- 
yasnian religion and Law, God's Spenta Manthra or holy Word. 


Remnants of the hoary ancestor worship have left their traces 
in the Avesta. The souls of the distinguished departed were im- 
agined to continue their existence in heaven. These souls were 
termed Fravashi. They were the genii of the past protecting the 
present generations by their vigilance, their occasional warnings, 
principally by the surplus and superabundance of merit which they 
carried away from earth and kept in store ever available for their 
living posterity. That idea and term, the over-merit of the ancestors, 
available for the skort-comings of the descendants, came from the 
Parsees into the Synagogfue and to the Church. It was not want- 
ing in Greek and Roman conceptions, and is yet potent in our to- 
day's notions of birth-aristocracy and blue blood. To such a feel- 
ing of pride and duty, of ancestral worth imposing severer tasks 
upon the descendant, alludes ^Eneas, the Trojan prince, when he 
pleads his imperious duty to abandon Dido, the Queen of Carthage, 
and go in search of new dangers and of Italy, i^) The idea there is, 
that Anchises had such a surplus of goodness that it came down to 
his weak son who was now on the point of forgetting his glory for 
the sake of love for a woman. This was the Fravashi of Anchises. 

There is nevertheless this difference there : The Classic mer- 
itorious ancestor imposed upon the descendant superior duties, be- 

1 See below on Abraham and Zoroaster. 

2 Et nos fas extera querere regna. 

Me patris Anchisae, quoties humentibus umbris, 
Nox operit terras, quoties astra ignea surgunt, 
Admonet in somnis et turbida terret imago. 
(Virgil Aneis, liber IV., v. 530.) 


cause " nobility obliges." The Parsee and Semitic one condoned with 
the weakness of the offspring, since the ancestral over-merit came 
good to him. Such Fravashis were always at hand to help a poor 
sinner found wanting in the scales of the severe judge and on the 
point to go to hell. This idea is often to be found in Jewish legend- 
ary and as Sekhuth Aboth, (}) the surplus merits of the ancestors, 
particularly of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs, invoked in 
daily prayer and on days of special import. Such a specially mer- 
itorious soul is called in Zoroasterism : Fravashi. The soul of Zoro- 
aster was continually invoked in prayer by the pious Mazdayasnian 
to come to his rescue and protect him against the wicked attempts 
of the daevas. This great Fravashi-Soul of Zoroaster seems to me 
to be the pattern of the legendary and mystic messiah-soul in 
heaven, sheltered beneath the divine throne, ever ready to come 
forth and deliver mankind from the clutches of Gog and Magog and 
of the Anti-Christ. This latter one again is no other personage 
than our Parsee genius of Evil, Angro Mainyu. Fire, too, was such 
a protecting genius, we shall later see, against the Evil one, used on 
critical occasions. In holy places, it was eternally kept up. It was 
the chief cult of Parseeism. It was so with the Vestals in Rome 
and the Druids in Gaul, etc. So in the Moriah Temple, ordained 
Levit. 6. 6 : " An eternal fire shall burn there, never to be quenched." 
The Parsee festivals, in parallel with the Sabbath of Genesis II. 2, 
were instituted to remember the creation of the world, etc., by 
Ahura, against Angro Mainyu, ever inculcating to be a Mazda-Yas- 
nian, an opponent of the daevas, etc., and ever reminding that the 
good creation is by Ahura. Ahriman's wicked creation had its full 
corps of spirits and genii. They were called daevas, drukhs or 
drughs, pairikas, led on by Angro Mainyu the angry spirit, the 
wicked unholy one, or Gano-Mainyu, the smiting, destructive and 
denying one. Their habitation was in hell, Duzhaka or Acesta Aku, 
the evil place. Darkness was there such that one could grasp it 
with the hand. The death-angel, Ahsto- Vidotus, is one of them, 
so is Aeshma, a specially wicked devil. The Hebrew Azazel(^\ 
the " satyr " of Greek mythology, is not mentioned by that name, 
except perhaps the Arezura, which will be spoken of later. 
Women in their periodical sickness, the menstruation, are 
under the influence and in Imminent danger of the evil spirits. 
Altogether that clumsy mode of human propagation is a device of 

ni3N npi 2 Stuty 


Ahriman. Women in their menses must be separated from man's 
society (Vendidad XVI). Nor must they look to the sun, nor 
approach the fire ; that would be defilement to the holy light. That 
period lasts nine nights. A woman in child-bed is 41 days 
unclean. Her purification is with cow-urine and water. She is in 
special danger of the wicked daevas, and a lighted candle is the 
proper remedy recommended to her. In the same danger are the 
dead of the wicked drukhs. Nasu is the spirit of uncleanness, 
of dead persons. At once when death occurs he jumps upon his 
prey. There is an "evil eye " much to be dreaded.(i) Light, or a 
chapter of the Avesta, renders it harmless. Later on when treating 
of the Vendidad, we shall show the above in their proper signifi- 
cance. According to the Avesta did Ahura create the pure universe 
in the course of 365 days, a Parsee year. He did his work suc- 
cessively. He selected a time when Angro Mainyu was careless or 
dissipated, and did not interfere with the good creation. Each kind 
of creation had its prototype or model in heaven. The first man 
and woman are called Meshia and Meshiana, in Genesis, (2) Ish, 

The Mazdayasnian or Mazda-believer must be distinguished by 
his dress. He continually wears a cap on his head, a Sadder or 
short wrap over tlie upper body with a pocket In it, the Penum over 
his face and the Kosii or girdle with four mystic knots. This is a 
parallel to the attire prescribed to the Jewish ritualist. He, too, 
wears the infallible skull-cap, the dress with the mystic fringes and 
the girdle around the waist. (3) The mystic pocket of the Parsee 
dress reminds of the breast-ornate(*) of the high-priest on Moriah. 
Little sleep is recommended ; to watch the night or rise at least 
with the crow of the cock is meritorious. So do rise the Jewish 
and Christian pietists. Many times daily are prayers prescribed, 
and benedictions at any enjoyment. Before falling asleep, the pious 
shall recount his actions and say his prayers. Such, too, are for 
any and each human action. Especially are good deeds recom- 
mended. To wrong an animal is sin. Dogs were particularly 
recommended to man and holy to God. Most of these laws on 
purity, prayers, manners, etc., are in the Vendidad, the sole rem- 
nant of the 21 nosks or books of the ancient Avesta, of which later 
more. Then come the Vispered and the Yasna-ritual, meditations 

3 See M. Fluegel's ' Religious Rites,' p. 39. * BBBian Jlfin 


and hymns. Later were added the Bundehesh, systematizing and 
«xpounding the doctrines of the Avesta. 


The priests belonged to a caste and claimed to be of one origin 
and family, as in the Pentateuch were the Kohanim, Ahronids. 
That caste was called the Magi, well known already to the classics. 
The Avesta knows not that name yet. Commonly, a priest is 
designated there as kaikara, later as mobed, herbad and destour 
May be Magus meant originally : great, akin to magnus, grandee, 
noblentan, just as in Hebrew, Kohen meant nobleman, and but 
later became synonymous with priest. According to stray Aggadas, 
the tribe of Levi, of the twelve Israelitish clans, was distinguished 
from the brother tribes by superior freedom and education even in 
Egppt The Ahronids, its noble family were later designated as 
Kohanim, noblemen, freemen ; and " Kohen " became the synonym 
■of priest, religious teacher. Something akin to that were the Magi. 
First but a clan, later a priestly denomination. Chardin IIL 130 
Ed. Amsterdam, says : " Later mobeds interpret their name. Magus, 
as meaning : men without ears, claiming that their teacher, Zoroas- 
ter, learned all in heaven, not from men." Herodotus and Marcel- 
linus say that the Magi were one of the six or seven tribes, originally 
inhabiting Media. They were a clan devoted to religion, as the 
tribe of Levi. Later they emigrated to other countries and gained 
those populations over to their own creed. Darmesteter believes 
even that Magus may originally have implied their foreign origin, 
hence something inimical. Later when naturalized, it may have 
become a title of honor and akin to priest, which originally it was 
not. Herodotus and Marcellinus claiming the Magians as one 
•of the several Median tribes, make them a striking parallel to the 
clans of Levi and Ahron. The Avesta mentions three estates ; the 
first is called Hathara ; Warriors and Tillers come as IL and IIL 
■estates. Magus was simply a tide, as in Hebrew Sar, Asura, Herr, 
Ahura and Magus corresponded thus to the contemporaneous 
Aramaic title : Rabbi, Rab. In Jerem. 39 : 3, we find both com- 
bined, Rub-Mug. Later on both came to designate priests exclu- 

The belief in a future life beyond the grave is old, yet it received 
but later its fuller developments. There is the life terrestrial and 
the life in the far future. This latter is not the life beyond the 
grave, after death, but a future period of bodily reawakening and 


existence on earth. In Yasna (34 : 8) is mentioiled : " Those not 
pure in thought, etc., are far from the good heavens. To Garo- 
demana or nmana, the happy, holy heaven, Ahura Mazdao brings 
those that are pious and wise. The place of the wicked is Drukhs 
demana, " lieng house," in the later Zend-books. Hitherto come 
and stay forever all the impure ones in thought, word and deed, 
and those of a bad creed." — Such we find in Daniel(i) alluded to 
the resurrection, life hereafter and eternal hell." At that time 
Michael will rise, the great lord, the genius of thy people. It will 
be a time of anxiety and trouble. . . . Thy people will escape . 
. . many of those sleeping in the dust will awaken; some to 
eternal life, and some to horror and eternal' darwon, (hell). The 
same is in Revelation XII. 7, etc.: Michael fighting the dragon. 
The bridge leading to paradise or heaven, and passing over 
hell, is called Kinvad. Later Persian legend mentions it. It is the 
bridge of judgment. The pure, the just and those of good faith 
will pass it safely and enter heaven. The godless will fall, deep 
below, into the precipice of hell, the abode of torment. There 
stand Mithra and his colleagues and pass summary judgment over 
the dead. If preponderantly good, they pass on to heaven ; if sin 
has the surplus, they at once tumble down to hell. " To fall into 
hell" "Nophel le-Gehenim," is also the expression in Jewish and in 
Christian legendary, no doubt borrowed from the same notion of 
the bridge over it. As to the method of Mithra, that was prompt 
aud exact. According to later legendary, expounded further, this 
expeditious judgment was rendered easy and close by the money- 
scales used there ; viz.: Each sin and each merit had their exact 
valuation in money. The debit and credit of the defendant were 
thus exactly reckoned out to the cent and farthing, and the balance 
struck. If it is in his favor, at once he goes to heaven ; if not, he 
drops into hell. But what of our "Silver Question ?" Poor Mithra 
would be puzzled had it existed at his time. The souls of the pious 
departed, the spoken of Fravashis, are protecting genii ; they, too, 
make their appearance in later Persian literature. Earlier they are 
termed urvano, souls, with the genetive, askaonam, of the pure. As 
in life, they continue lighting against the wicked, m untired array 
against the prince of evil. They are the remnant of ancestor and 
hero-worship, practiced at an earlier date. The four elements are 
holy. Fire and earth are especially revered. Fire is the noblest 
1 XII. 1-3, \Mm. So, too, Isaiah 66:24. 


emblem of Ahura Mczdco. He is worshipped by kindling and 
keeping up eternal fires. One of the old hymns mentions: "In 
thy honor, we pray near the great fire," etc. 

The sole external cult of the Parsees consists in holy fires. 
Parsee or Persian has the original meaning of fire-worshipper. 
They did not worship fire, indeed, for its own sake, but as the most 
worthy symbol of the Supreme Deity. Possibly, etymologlcally, 
the word Ahura may, too, mean, Light, corresponding to the He- 
brew words : Or and Orah. We must remember that the worship 
of Light, in Magism, was no new invention there. It was 
derived from Brahmanism, or rather from their common religious 
source. Ahura may thus be akin to the Semitic word Orah, dating 
back to times when Arian an4 Semitic Were yet one speech, Ahura 
may thus vtean especially, God of Light. Zoroaster divided all 
existence into good and bad, pure and impure. That dualism he 
metaphorically and symbolically designated as light and darkness. 
Entire creation, bodies and minds, he thus subdivided in two halves, 
one of liight and one of darkness, effected respectively by the Holy 
Spirit and the unholy one. The cult consisted therefore in keeping 
up holy fires, to remember this leading distinction. Such fires were 
burning in the temples, on heights and in dwellings. Prayers were 
offered in presence of these fires. They were invoked as protecting 
genii, as the " son of Ahura." Priests were devoted to eternally 
and carefully entertain such with pure, best wood, several times 
daily, as the leading feature of the entire Parsee cult. I clip from 
the daily Prtss the following : 

" Temple of Zoroaster, Mecca of the Guebres, or Fire- Worship- 
pers of Asia. For 2,500 years the Guebres, or fire worshippers of 
Asia, were in the habit of making pilgrimages to the celebrated 
temple of Zoroaster, their prophet. This holy shrine, although 
deserted by the Parsees, is still in existence. Formerly a flourishing 
monastery, it has come into the hands of the Russian Government, 
which preserves it as an interesting relic. It is situated in the mineral 
oil district of Baku, on the Caspian, and the religion to which it is 
dedicated seems to have taken its rise from the mystery of the 
hydro-carbon gas which impregnates the soil of the region and 
readily ignites. The temple as it is to-day, consists of a large, 
square courtyard, surrounded by small chambers, formerly the cells 
of the monks. The square tower in the centre,, from the four 
corners of which flames ascended, was a crematorium, where the 


remains of the faithful devotees were consumed, and a larger tower 
was the residence of the chief priest, and inclosed a chapel cell, 
where the eternal fires burned on rude stone altars." 

That was by no means the crematorium for Parsee dead, for 
the plain reason that Magians forbade cremation as the most hein- 
ous of crimes. But those fires may well have served as a fire-altar 
for their worship, and later, by the ignorant, believed a crematory. 
Nor would a Parsee priest take up his residence in such a proximity, 
that was an abomination to him. 


Thus originally, fire was the symbol of the Deity, and this is 
idolatry ! All idols never were more than symbols, at least to the 
initiated, of course not to the masses. The reader will now remem- 
ber and feel the import of the pregnant verse, Exodus 35 : 3, " Ye 
shall not kindle a fire in all your dwellings on the Sabbath day." 
This verse the Talmud literally and cunningly interprets as pro- 
hibiting the kindling of fire on penalty of death or of stripes.(i) 
Now it may be the verse has a greater import: it refers not to 
kindling, but to entertaining a fire on the Sabbath ; viz.: Many 
are the speculations about the real meaning and object of that 
interesting verse. As the most plausible one, it is affirmed : That 
in ancient times fire was the chief tool and means of work ; hence 
its emblem ; and since the Mosaic Lawgiver rigidly prohibited all 
such menial work, even preparing food on the Sabbath, he peremp- 
torily forbade all kindling of fire. Now let me here suggest that, most 
probably, there may be a deeper meaning hidden in the verse : It 
was a practical protest, a public demonstration against the surround- 
ing Parsees as fire worshippers. They used to kindle on their 
Sabbaths for devotion specially bright fires at home, in temples and 
on sacred hills, as the most becoming worship of the Deity and 
pray not to, but in the very presence of such fires, the only divine 
symbol allowed, all other forms of idols being prohibited. 

The Pentateuch, by such verses, took good care rigorously to 
prohibit that idolatrous practice, to discredit the belief in the special 
sanctity of fire, and practically to oppose the doctrine of Dualism, 
of one God of light and another God of darkness. Mosaism 
rigorously insisted on Monotheism and on harmonious creation ; 
the only One God created both light and darkness, the apparently 
good and evil, the life and death, etc. Hence, there are no two 

1 lebamoth 6 b. and Sanhedrin. .■^hrh ID'S jna I 'd' 1 nan nns' NiS"? mvan 


creations, no special God of Light and God of Darkness; hence, no 
fire- temple, no fire- kindling and no praying in presence of holy 
flames ; hence, the rigid prohibition : " Thou shalt not kindle a fire 
in all your dwellings on the Sabbath day," a day celebrated by the 
Parsees, too, especially by the renovation of their " eternal fires." 
How did Mosaism account for evil in the creation of a God, good 
and omnipotent ? God's creation has no evil. But man's freedom 
and the abuse of his freedom create it. Disobedience to the laws 
of nature and God, presumptuous curiosity, frivolity, reckless 
desires, ambition, crime, folly, ignorance, etc., create evil. Let us 
acknowledge that view is known to the Avesta, too, but it was not 
acted upon, it was an isolated view. — Practically, Zoroaster estab- 
lished his system upon the idea that originally there were two 
opposing principles. Good and Evil. According to Ovid — Meta- 
morphosae liber XV. v. 237-269, Pythagoras has correctly realized 
that in nature there is nothing bad and low. There is no life and 
no death, no birth and no decay, but all is constant change, each 
wave of existence is followed by another wave.(^) 

The Pentateuch had especial cause to guard against exag- 
gerated idolatrous Parsee doctrines. For there run often strong 
parallel lines between both. The serpent in Paradise (Gen. IIL), 
his seduction of Eve and Adam, the consequent entailment of 
death, loss of Eden and innocent happiness, the curse of the earth 
to produce " thistles and thorns ;" trouble, labor and disgrace for 
Adam ; menstruation and pregnancy, child -labors and subjection 
for Eve ; eternal war of both against the offspring of the Snake, 
Angro Mainyu, the principle of Evil — that is a Parsee parallel. A 
large section of the dietary and the ceremonious laws, the sending 
away of the "kid of the leper" in Numbers, of the scape-goat 
to ^^■a^'i?/ (Levit. 16), the Red-heifer rite paralleled in th.e Persian 
" barashnum," certain " unclean " animals — of Ahriman's creation — 
and especially the innumerable enactments concerning menstrua- 
tion, birth, death and Levitical impurity, sprinkling with water and 
ashes, etc., all that is partly sanitary, but partly, too, in striking 
parallel with Parseeism. As often in history, the cause was 
removed, the effect remained. Dualism gave way to Monotneism, 

1 "Nee species sua cuique manet, rerumque novatrix ex aliis alias 
reparat natura figuras, necperit in tanto quidquam mundo . . nascique 
vocatur, incipere esse aliud quamquod fuit ante, morique, desinere 
illud idem. . . . 


but dualistic feelings and views remained. They are parriy reflexes 
of current Eastern popular opinions, remnants of polytheistic times, 
accommodations and adaptations to surroundings. But as often, 
such prescriptions are solid, sanitary, wise measures of public 
hygiene, pervading both the Parsee and the Biblical Legislations. 
To declare that all so-called, ceremonious, levitical, dietary, etc., 
Mosaic Laws, are mere remnants of ancient, vanquished, childish 
views, is rash and unscientific. That is often but the mask for the 
ignorance of the presumptuous critic. I conscientiously believe 
that a good deal of such enactments have a solid basis in fact, and 
are wise measures of purity, cleanliness, hygiene and chastity; 
preventive of crime, sickness, irregularity and dissipation ; meas- 
ures grown out of the circumstances and surroundings ; in part 
superseded by,and in part in full consonance with, our times and with 
human nature in general. In studying the ancient legislations and 
meeting with such enactments, apparently " ludicrous and supersti- 
tious," let us not be hasty and fall in with that vulgar cry of " supersti- 
tion!" but carefully weigh and ponder whether the lawgiver had 
not weighty, cogent reasons for his statement, hidden behind a 
customary, popular screen, but in reality aiming at some great 
boon, physical or ethical, of society. In one word, I am not much 
inclined to assume a great lawgiver to be either a fool or a knave. 
So we shall later see the Vendidad prohibiting the throwing 
about of pared nails and cut-off hair, as " creating devils and 
harmful to the crops." In reality, it was a wise measure of 
cleanliness and orderliness. So the Magian lawgiver recommended 
as meritorious, intermarriage between near relations. The Mosaic 
Legislator forbids it as an abomination. Was either motive super- 
stition? No! Zoroaster, legislating for poor, rare, scattered clans, 
declared it a great virtue to take care of a relation. Mosaism, 
legislating for a comparatively dense population, wished to break 
family egoism and clanishness, so it bade intermarriage of tribes and 
deprecated " incest." Hygienic and ethical causes besides are at the 
bottom thereof, too. In one word, we must discriminate and try 
to get at the hidden sense and the Spirit of Legislative command- 
ments or prohibitions, not frivolously and hastily shout at super- 
stition or priestly knavery. 

The Pentateuch, as also the Prophets, contain many passages 
that are intently aiming at contrasting Monotheism with Persian 
Dualism. So is the Talmud, too. Indeed, the parallels and the 


contrasts there to Magism are legion. We shall later treat of that 
largely. Here we shall offer but one example of rabbinical, inten- 
tional opposition to Parsee doctrine, practice and views. At the 
first glance the critical reader will recognize that that is a piece of 
legislation intending to oppose Parseeism. Here is such a Mishna 
and Gemara : " Whosoever prays : ' To a bird's nest, O God, 
Thou extendest Thy mercy ;' for. the good Thy name shall be 
thanked. ' We thank Thee, thank Thee ! he shall be bid to hold 
his tongue." The teachers now discuss this Mishna : " Who repeats : 
' We thank Thee, thank Thee,' shall be interrupted because that 
appears to acknowledge two divine powers (Ormazd and Ahriman). 
The same who prays : " For the good Thy name shall be thanked," 
that sounds as if one God were the author of good and another 
God (Ahriman) is the author of bad, whilst indeed we have learned : 
" We must thank God for good and for bad, all being derived from 
One God ;" but when one prays : " Thy mercy reaches out to the 
bird's nest," why should he be stopped ? The rational answer is : 
Because he intimates that the attribute of God is love, while that is 
really justice, fitness. In Mazdaism, Jewish Mysticism, Gnosticism 
and the Trinitarian Church, the claim is that there is a God of jus- 
tice and another God of mercy. Our Mishna holds there is but 
One God, embracing both and many more attributes. Many 
examples that same passage quotes, where the official reader used 
such phrases and others, reminding of Mazdayasnian tautology, 
perhaps also of Gnostic one, and he evet was silenced by his 
monotheistic superiors. The discussion concludes : " By no means 
to allow any such phrase- in the ritual which might imply a divine 
plurality ."(1) So we read in Babli Sanhedrin, 38 a: " Let no one 
say there are many powers in heaven." We read again there, page 
46, b: "King Shapur asked R. Hama: Where does the Law 
ordain burial in the earth ? R. Hama remained silent. R. Aha 
indignantly exclaimed : The world is delivered over unto fools ! 
He, R. Hama, should have quoted : " Thou shalt indeed bury 
him" (v. M. XXL 23) (^). King Shapur was the known restorer 
of the Persian empire, in 226 P. C. Then the Parsee custom was in 
full force, not to bury the dead but to have them devoured by 
wild birds, in order not to defile the earth by a corpse. The 
Jews had the custom of burial. Hence the controversy ' between 
both ; the question of the king : " Where does your law ordain 

.1 Berakhoth 33 b. WN 'a «'0B' 'b'js Kfinan 

•2 'NtyDBT NT3 kbSv idh'n .pTits-K I'jH mifin 10 mi3p 


burial ?" the prudent silence of R. Hania and the indignant reply 
of R. Aha ; the Jews later had to endure bitter persecutions on 
account of burial. Hence also the discussions among the Rabbis- 
That passage quotes many more instances of burial in Sacred Writ. 
But it concludes that it is but a custom, minhag, not a positive Law, 
thus holding open the door for reconciliation with the Persian, 

Remnants of fire-veneration, if not of worship, are to be found 
among nearly all nations and sects, in all climes and regions, as 
previously alluded to. That fire-worship, impersonated in god 
Agni, is older than Magism. It pervaded ite kindred religion, 
Brahmanism. To all appearance have both inherited it from their 
common religious parent, be it in their later seats, Iran and India, or 
in their original ones, beyond the Hymalaian mountains from whence 
they had emigrated. Fire-worship is of most hoary antiquity. 
Agi, Ignis, was one of the supreme gods ; and the kindling of holy 
fires during worship was one of the leading rites of Brahmanism. 
Hence, we find it in Zoroasterism, and gradually in nearly all the 
other cults. At last it lost its character as a deity and assumed 
that of a sacred symbol, emblematic of some spiritual idea, known 
and utilized even in our own times and cults. So we read in the 
first hymn of the Rig- Veda : "Agni, thou art worthy of the praises- 
of ancient and living poets." (Rig- Veda III. 120). Again: "I 
have proclaimed, O Agni, these thy ancient songs. These great 
libations have been made to him who showers benefits upon us : the 
sacred fire has been kept from generation to generation.''' So (Max 
Mueller Sanscrit Literat. 492). " Then the sacred fire was kindled 
by friction. It was lighted at the full moon and the new moon, 
and likewise at each of the great natural divisions of the year." So- 
in R. V. III. 29, 10 : " Sit, thou Agni, and make our prayers prosper. 
This wood is thy mother every season." In the first hymn of the 
II. (i, 9) Mandala, Agni receives the epithets of the very supreme 
deity ; he is called : " Ruler of the universe, lord of men, wise 
king, father, brother and friend of men ;" all the powers and names 
of other gods are attributed to the god of fire. In other hymns he 
is described more humanly : as the priest administering to the 
sacrifices and rites. So in Reg- Veda VIII. II. : "Thou Agni art 
the guardian of sacred rites ; thou art to be praised at the sacrifices 
and the festivals. Like a charioteer, thou carriest the offerings to 
the gods. Fight and drive away the fiends, the ungodly enemies." 


Thus we find that the kindling of fires was a leading ceremony on 
New-Moons 'and holy seasons. The offering of wood was consid- 
ered as a sacred sacrifice. So it was in the Talmud, offered to the 
ever-burning fire on the Altar of the Moriah Temple. The pre- 
scriptions there are very minute. The Hindoo priests considered 
it as propitious to prayer. It was called forth by friction, and was 
originally the only fire kept up in the community for the benefit of 
every household. Hence, hs importance and its sanctity, for in 
primeval times men worshipped everything that was beneficial ta 
them. Fire is no doubt the greatest benefactor of men, hence it 
was considered a great deity, and the kindling of fire a sacred 
ceremony. That kindling done by friction of dry wood or flint is 
also expressly mentioned by Virgil in the Aneid, etc. The vestal& 
in the Roman and Greek world kept up such eternal, holy fires. 
The leading temples of antiquity had an altar with eternal fire. 
Such had the Druids in Gaul and Britain. Such burned in the holy 
groves of Germany. Such a fire flamed on the altar of the Taber- 
nacle and the Moriah-Temple. "An eternal fire shall burn on the altar, 
never to be extinguished." (Levit. VI. 6). God appeared in Burning^ 
busk, and on Xhe flaming S'mah.. He is a consuming fire, (II. M. iii. 2— 
xix. 18-V. M. 4:24-i8:3-Is. xxix. 6-xxx. 30-xxxiii, 14, etc. Such was 
the fire-censor carried by Aaron in the wilderness to drive away the 
raging pestilence from the camp, that " stood between the dead and 
the living and stopped the plague." (4 M. X VII. 1 1). Such was 
the fire-censor swung daily in that ancient Moriah-Temple. Such 
burnt on the golden chandelier before the holy screen, Parocheth. 
(1). Such was the fire-vase brought into the Holy of Holies on the 
atonement day by the officiating high-priest. It was the very 
central act performed on that solemn occasion, with his most solemn 
supplication, to bring down from the Deity forgiveness and recon- 
ciliation. That fire is continued now in the Eternal Lamp(J), Ner 
Tamid, in the Synagogue of to-day, in the church and the mosque 
of to-day, just as in the Parsee temples at Bombay and Guszerate. 
The many other holy usages of fire and light to-day, the tapers in 
day-time in Church and Synagogue ; the use of a lighted candle in 
the house of mourning, at child-birth, at wedding ceremonies, at 
festivals, public, judiciary oaths and many other solemn occasions 
among all sects and creeds, proves the tenacity of the instinctive 
belief that light is beneficent and holy. We must not forget primi- 

1 Ton 13 2 nais muo 


tive times. Fire was indeed the greatest benefactor of man. With- 
out fire, man would be yet a brute, at the mercy of the elements 
and the beasts of prey. To keep up fire, ready for use, was in 
hoary times no doubt the first care of society. It was kept up as 
the dearest treasure of the community. They had no matches nor 
electric wires to strike fire at will. It was therefore kept up in one 
public place, in the temple, ready for all ; guarded by the magis- 
trate, the priest, on the altar. Thus utility and veneration were 
linked together in the mind of the people, light and holiness as 
identical, remained a kind of category, a standard idea of primitive 
man. Therefore, was Light accepted as the noblest emblem of the 
Deity, calling forth holy thoughts, earnestness and solemnity; 
striking terror and inspiring awe, discarding frivolity, bringing cheer 
to the despondent, calling forth to human mind the thought of 
divine presence, of deity on earth, its earthly image, the mystic 
Schechinah. Erom Zoroaster to Moses, from Ezekiel to the hum^ 
blest worshipper of to-day, wishing to picture to himself the Divine 
Presence, the pious will realize it under the emblem of a " bush in 
flames — ever burning and never consumed." (Exod. III. 4). One 
may say that is idolatrous, heathen, foolish, sacriligious ; vain sen- 
timentalism ! It is human, it is effective, solemn and worshipful. 
The fancy, the heart, the animal man needs such crutches to uplift 
himself to the presence of the Deity. Hence, all churches and 
lawgivers have used emblems of the divine and will continue so. 
It is a category of the human mind. True,(i) Herodotus claims the 
Persians had no temples ; true, fanes were not so important there as 
in other creeds ; but they had, at any rate, places of worship where 
the holy fires were ever flaming. 

Such temples are mentioned by the Arabian Scharastani, and 
affirmed to be older than Zoroaster. Firdosi mentions such shrines 
as a matter of course. The most celebrated temple of that kind, 
often mentioned in Shah-name, is Azar Gushasp, not far from Balkh. 
The name of such houses of worship Jsesne Khane, Yasne-'h.ovs,^, 
house of celebrating prayers, the Yasne. None are allowed to enter 
there except the priests and their assistants ; there burns the holy 
fire. It is the sole emblem of the deity in their Holy of Holies. 
Two Mobeds, ministers, are ever guarding that sacred flame, bring- 
ing wood to it five times daily, never allowing it to be quenched, 
having their mouth and face carefully covered with the Penom, a 
1 See Fr. Spiegel, IL Vol. p. 64. ~~~ 


kind of veil or mask and their hands muffled up in sacks to guard 
against all defilement. They pray ever with their faces turned to- 
wards that fire and the sun, and no shoes on their feet. So the Jew- 
ish priest had his head covered ; no shoes on ; his face turned to- 
wards the holy of holies, veiled face and bare feet being the sign of 
solemnity, (i) 

The leading sacred objects and pharaphernalia of the cult, are 
the holy fire-flame, symbol of the Light of Ahura, the only visible 
cult-object and the Baresma, bundle or branch of green twigs, em- 
blem of opposition to Evil, Light and Darkness being the two 
principles of Parseeism. There are further some more utensils for 
the performance of the cult of that worship, viz : The Atashdav-t 
fire-vase. It is in the form of our pottery or marble flower-holders 
in parks and gardens, a large pot of brass, broad above, slowly nar- 
rowing down below with a foot as in a goblet. It is filled with ashes, 
the burning coals on the top and incense lit in the flames. That 
vessel stands upon a stone pedestal called: Adosht. The cleansing 
of that stone is one of the most holy ministrations reserved for the 
priests. A great deal of legend clusters around that stone. It is 
believed to be the foundation and rock of the world. So used the 
high priest of the II. Jewish Temple, bringing the fire-pan, on the 
Atonement, into the Holy of Holies, to place it upon the stone in its 
midst, pour the incense thereon and pronounce his prayer ; that 
stone was called " Eben Shethia,"(2) and " considered the center of 
the earth " by priests and laity. So in the principal mosque now, 
at Jerusalem, such a rock forms its center and is revered as the one 
of Isaac's sacrifice and the " center of the world." That hyperbolical 
figure of speech is easily explained. In the Parsee cult as in the 
Mosaic one, that was the center and leading feature of worship, and 
worship was the great business of Jew and Parsee, hence its import. 
Whether the words Adosht and Shethia have not a kindred sense, 
philology may determine. Shethia in Hebrew means undoubtedly 
foundation ; and both, Parsee and Hebrew legendary, claim those 
stones as the corner-stones of the universe. An apparently kindred 
and similar word : Ashdoth, (*') is often mentioned in Sacred Writ 
aud may everywhere mean a hill, ridge, rock, where such Heathen 
fire-cults were kept up, for we have seen, that such forms of worship. 

1 See my ' Religious Rites,' p. 12, 27, 35, etc. 

3 n'nB" p» as p«n ion 

8 n;iDBn nne'N Deut. III. 17, IV. 49, Joshua XII. 3, XIII. 2, etc. 


have been universal and not confined to the Parsees. With them it 
was the unique mode of cult ; with others it stood side by side with 
more idolatrous practices ; that may have been all the difference. 
The Baresma or Barsemon, was a green twig chiefly from palm or 
date trees. It was cut with great ceremony by the priests. Such 
was the " mistletoe " cut down by the Druid priests on Yule festival. 
In the synagogue, the palm-tree-branch occupies that place. But 
the Pentateuch took care that it never obtained any idolatrous im- 
port akin to the Persian baresma which, there, was almost divinized. 
This Baresmon symbohzed the battle of the Mazdayasnian against 
-wicked Ahriman. I believe that the striking, of the " hoshanoth " or 
branch of twigs on the last day of Booth at the Synagogue, and 
perhaps the shaking of the palm-tree-branch, (lulab,) during the en- 
tire Booth festival, may have some kinship with the use of the 
Baresmon in the Parsee-cult, viz : "to drive away the evil spirits." 
Such hints are thrown out by some Aggadas ; whilst oftener it is 
■claimed to symbolize the divine omnipresence. (^) Besides there 
were several vessels for administering the Haomo-rite ; the Lavan, 
a mortar to grind that plant ; the Tali, a plate for the flowers and 
fruit of the offering ; the tasta, a cup of gold with nine holes for 
pressing out the juice of the haomo ; a bottle for the milk of the of- 
Jering and many minor utensils and ingredients for that fire and 
haoma Cult. 

We have seen that the fire-cult symbolized the worship of the 
God of Light, principle of Good, Ahura Mazda. Now the leading 
sacrifices offered are the Draona^s and Haomo. The first were small, 
round, flat, white flour-cakes, of the size of a dollar. These cakes 
are called. Draona, damn. Such are offered on frequent occasions, 
€aten by the priests with the solemn benediction : " I am ready to 
eat this at the command of Ahura." Some are in the shape of the 
sun ; and some of the moon. On some special occasions, a slice of 
meat is added to the cake. As a rule, Parseeism does not allow any 
bloody sacrifices. Later on when men were generally eating 
meat, an animal was slaughtered with a benediction, by a special 
man and a slice was offered to the deity. Originally flesh-meat was 
forbidden. So Pythagoras deprecated on Parsee principles, the use 
of flesh for human food. He rediculed the idea that the gods rel- 
ished bloody sacrifices. So Ovid Metamorphoses liber. XV. v. 
1 See my ' Thoughts on Religious Rites," p. 36. 


1 lo: (1) With these draonas was offered a sacrificial beverage. It is the 
Haoma. It is identical with the Hindoo Soma. The white haoma 
is a fabulous herb, growing in the fabulous lake Vurukasha, conferr- 
ing immortality, as mythological nectar does. The real Parsee 
Haoma is yellow, growing on the summit of mountains, known al- 
ready to Plutarch and well-described by Anquetil Duperron, as 
found near Yezd in Kirman. A certain kind of it is searched for 
and culled under solemn ceremonies. From that plant, the juice 
is pressed out, called Para-haoma, and drunk by the priest with 
certain ceremonies. That juice is semi-intoxicating. Closely look- 
ing at that Draona and Haoma-offering, we are strongly tempted to 
take it as the Parsee version of the Hebrew Passover cake, the 
" Show-bread," the " Aphikoman," and the sacred " wine-cups." 
It is the version of the Christian " mass," hostia and eucharist.(2) 
Both haoma and draona are imagined to be things and offerings, as 
also divinities, deities hidden in bread and drink, much akin to the 
mystical '■'■Real Presence '' in the church ! — Thus have we seeji that 
a large number of religious fo-'ms and ideas are common to Parsee 
and Biblical systems, Jewish, Christian and Mohammedan branches. 
A greater number yet might be added. The Pentateuch, therefore, 
had to be on its guard concerning forms and ideas that are down- 
right idolatrous. It therefore, entrenched itself behind many bul' 
warks, against Parsee doctrines of which we shall speak soon. So, 
too, it stated emphatically : " Ye shall not kindle a fire on the Sab- 
bath-day in all your dwellings," private or public. The lawgiver 
knowing that many forms of cult in Bible and Mazdaism are com- 
mon to both, he, the more rigorously set his face against its many 
remnants of rank idolatry ; hence, his prohibition of Sabbath-fires. 
Showing in these pages such striking similarities between ideas and 
forms of the modern religious systems, the intention is not to dese- 
crate them, but on the contrary to render them more venerable by 
showing their universality and therefore our duty of broad tolera- 

1 Nee satis est quod tale nefas committetur, ipsos, Inscripsere deos 
sceleri, numenque supernutn. Caede laboriferi credunt gaudereju- 
venci. Victima labe carens et prsestantissima forma (Nam placcuisse 
nocet) vittis insignis et auro, Sistitur aute aras, auditque ignara precan- 
tem, Imponiqui suss videt inter cornua fronti. Quas coluit, fruges, 
percussaque sanguine cultros. Inficit in liquidapraevisos forsitan unda. 
Protinus ereptas viventi pectore fibras Inspiciunt, mentesque deum 
scrutantur in illis. 

8 See my ' Messiah Ideal,' vol. i, p. 55, etc. 


Isaiah (the second) frequently alludes to Parsee views and doc- 
trines, sometimes approvingly and sometimes disapprovingly. Is. 
45-46 is especially of that nature. The prophet of the eKile an- 
nounces the advent of Cyrus of Persia, with great rejoicing and 
hopefulness. No doubt that the leading features of Zoroasterism 
were established long before the dynasty of the Achaemenides. 
Because in that chapter, the prophet alludes, as long established 
things, to both, the great affinities and the discrepancies of Zoroas- 
terism and Mosaism, of pure monotheism and qualified dualism of 
the Parsees. There were great and striking affinities between the 
two systems, yet no identity. The Persians conquoring Media, 
Babel and Assyria, Bactria, Syria, Egypt, etc., may have yielded in 
some points, yet on the whole, they have brought about for the con- 
quered a purification of worship, less idolatry and more exalted 
ideas about Deity, One God, Ahura, Spiritual, Eternal and Sole 
Creator, no images, few temples or none, no human sacrifices, one 
human race, little of castes, one duty and one right for all. With a 
higher God-idea, the Persians brought no doubt a purer morality. 
On the whole they were nearest to Mosaism among the nations then 
extant ; hence their salient sympathy towards Israel, their lack of 
jealousy, their assistance towards a reconstruction of the Hebrew 
nationality, as a strong bulv/ark against the idolatrous Assyrians, 
Egyptians, etc. This alone explains the reason, why broken Judaea 
found such powerful patrons among the Persians ; why it clung to 
them to the very last of their fortunes. With all that was the Per- 
sian dualism strongly clashing with monotheistic, prophetic Moasism. 
At first it taught two' supreme principles with two creations ; that of 
Good and that of Evil, instead of one God and one creation. It is 
not impossible that the II. Isaiah, so often inveighing against dual- 
ism, alludes distinctly to the Persian Ahriman. He says (Chapt. 
42 : 6-8) : " I, Ihvh^ have called thee and made thee, O Israel, a 
light to the nations, ... to open the eyes of the blind and release 
the imprisoned ones from the dungeon, those dwelling in darkness. 
Ihvh is my name, and to 'Aher' I shall not yield my honor, nor 
my glory to the idols," (Persian and Babylonian). The usual 
translation is : " and to another " ( Aher). But it may well be a 
verbal equivocation, a hit upon Ahriman, whose by-names were 


Ughra, Aghra, Aghar, Aher, etc., as will be seen below. To the 
Persian belief in the principle of darkness, the prophet may sarcas- 
tically allude by : " To release those imprisoned, from their dun- 
geon," " the dwellers of darkness."(i) Alluding to this Aher in 
Isaiah, the Talmudists call Elisha ben Abuja "Aher," since he held 
to dualism.(3) Next, the Persian dualism embodied a long crowd 
of subordinate deities, perhaps not seriously meant, but popularly 
idolatrous, genii associated with the Supreme Deity. Apparently 
it boasted of allowing no idols ; only few sacrifices, no human, and 
hardly any animal bloody, offerings. Yet really it had the fire-cult, 
Mithra, the ^'Sun chariot with horses" and a whole mythology of 
gods and idols. The Parsee morality, no doubt, was infinitely 
purer than elsewhere, indeed purity and cleanliness in body and 
soul, or as the Avesta expresses it : " Purity in thought, word and 
deed," was the essence of their ethics. The system represented 
the highest evolution of ancient Polytheism. It was a strong reform 
and a decided gain over Greek and Hindoo Asian sensualism and 
worship of beauty. Yet it was not entirely beyond it. It was but 
a refined, vast, mythic allegory. The coarser mythological element 
was eliminated, not so its more hidden errors and sores. They 
were the nearest to, still not identical with Mosaism. Indeed, soon 
idol-worship crept in again. This position towards prophetic 
Mosaism is expressed in Is. 45, etc., " Thus speaks Ihvh to Cyrus, 
whom I have taken hold of by his right hand, and before whom I 
have weakened the loins of kings, submitted nations to him and burst 
open their bolts and gates ... I shall walk before thee. 1 shall 
demolish and nivelate to the ground their fortresses, break down 
their gates and yield to thee their hidden treasures . . . That thou 
shalt learn that I, Ihvh, have called thee by name ... for the sake 
of my servant Jacob and on behalf of Israel, my chosen one. I 
have called thee by name, I have established thee,(3) though thou 
knowest me not : I am the Supreme Being (Ihvh). There are no 
other gods besides me. I have armed thee, and thou dost not 
know me . . . That they shall all know, from the rise of the sun 
to his setting that there is none besides me. I am Ihvh, there is no 
other Power, (Evil, Angro Mainyu). I have formed the light and 
created the darkness. I make for peace and create the (apparently) 

— — ~ . '\ — 

(Isaiah 4216 8.) inx )ih inN"; niaai 'n 'jn 

(Bab. Hagiga 14 a, etc.) in nvci 'ntc .ni'Qja }>s'p int* 

3 Or I denominated thee I33t( 


evil. I, Ihvh, have made all. The dew from heaven, the fruit of 
the earth, justice and salvation, I, Ihvh, have created them all, (not 
the Ameshas Spentas, etc., etc., the assistants and peers of Ahura 
Mazda). Woe to the clay opposing its maker. Woe to the creature 
rebelling against its creator, (alluding to the antagonism of Ahri- 
man in the Parsee dualism). Thus spake Ihvh, the holy One of 
Israel. You question my creation ? I have made the earth and 
man upon it I have called forth ; I have created the heavens and all 
their hosts. I have bidden all. (Not the myriads of genii or crea- 
tive types and patrons pervading the Parsee Olympus, where each 
kind of being, from the fly to the mounts, suns and stars, each con- 
crete thing or abstract idea claimed to have its celestial type, its 
protecting genius or god in heaven). Even so, I have awakened 
him, Cyrus — I shall make even his path. He will build my city 
and free my captives, without ransom or price. Thus spake Ihvh, 
Lord of the universe." . . . The chapter goes on setting forth the 
coarse myths and follies of the idolators of Egypt and Ethiopia, 
of Assyria, Babel, etc., just as the more refined idolatry of Persia. 
It closes with the superiority of Israel's Monotheism (45: 20); 
" Gather around and let us be confronted, ye remnants of nations. 
You, carrying your wooden idols, invoking gods that cannot help. 
. . . Who has announced that from time immemorial, who but I, 
Ihvh, the onlv One ; besides me there is no saviour. Behold Baal 
and Nebo, they are wandering into exile." 

The credo of Israel, that word to which the faithful are bound 
from the cradle to the grave, appears, also, to be intended erQphat- 
ically to confess Monotheism and to protest against the [dualistic 
Mazdaism. Zoroaster (Gathas) aflSrms that from the beginning of 
existence there were Two Principles in the universe. The Avesta 
teaches that from the dawn of Creation the universe split into two 
dominions, two opposing principles, one supreme in the creation 
of Light and the othei supreme in the creation of Darkness. It 
thus breaks the all of existence into two halves, in eternal deadly 
antagonism to each other. It posits that all human goodness is 
resumed in man's honest struggle against the principle of Evil. 
The Pentateuch, therefore, as the prophets, teach with all solemnity 
and emphasis, and with a great display of circumstantiality, the unity 
of Deity and the harmony of creation. This is the great Credo : 
" Hear, O Israel ; Ihvh is our God, Ihvh is one." (Deut. 6 : 4). 
This Credo is expressly instituted as the motto of Mosaism. It is 


the Credo and the dividing line of Mosaism, in contradistinction 
from Polytheism and Mazdaism ; in place of the many gods, the 
ancestor and hero-worship, the star-worship, the sun-worship, the 
physical nature-worship, the Assyrian, Babylonian and Egyptian 
triads and the dualistic Parseeism in special. The first were simply 
force and body-cult. Parseeism was an approach to spirit-worship, 
yet splitting the universe in two, from an imperfect understanding 
of the natural phenomena. Prophetism, better grasping the perfect 
harmony of the universe, correctly postulated the unity of the 
divine plan and the object of existence. It, therefore, formulated 
its Credo : " God is the Eternal Being, and Being is one." From 
the Monotheistic Credo Christianism derived its own leading 
formula. It adopted the God-One Symbol with its own mystic 
development, viz : the One God under three aspects, as were all the 
triads of those times, inclusive of the Philonian : The Unknowable 
God-father, the Logos-Son and the Holy Spirit, viz: the spirit 
of prophecy or communion with men; the Persian Holy Ghost 
epithet of Ahura ; the Greek Theos Demiurgos, and the emanated 
universe, the created world. Even so Mohammedanism. It adopted 
the Hebrew Credo, God-One, with its own variation : " There is 
but one God (not trinity or plurality) and Mohammed is his last 
Prophet, (Jesus and Moses being abrogated) ; He is Messiah. 
Those different views on existence and its cause, pantheism, poly- 
theism, dualism and Monotheism were not accidental and arbitrary. 
Nothing is accidental in the universe of matter or mind. Panthe- 
ism and polytheism were the rudimentary views of the poetic youth 
of man. As many forces and bodies as there are, so many free 
agents or gods. Riper manhood grouped and reduced the number 
of free forces. It reduced them from pantheism to a few supreme 
powers. Mazdaism made then the great step of reducing polythe- 
ism to dualism : Two supreme powers explain all existence with its 
conflicts. Mosaism and prophetism made the further advance in 
showing that the two powers are inadequate, and that one Supreme 
Intelligence answers best the phenomenon of the universe and of 
history. Thus there is a logical sequence in these diverse Views 
of the world's religions. 


There is in Tarseeism, no doubt, a great monotheistic phase. 

Professor Max Mueller, in his recent researches on Hindoo thought, 

showed there the dawn of monotheism. This is expressed in two 

different ways. One is : Ahura Mazda is the One and only God, 


but, from the begin, he created two subordinate deities, of Good 
and of Evil. The other mode is : From all eternity there existed one 
Supreme Zrvana Akarana, Eternal Time and endless Space ; in his 
attributes he is akin to the Greek Fate — before whom even Zeus 
and Olympos tremble. At the rise of the universe out of Chaos, a 
differentiation took place. The neutral Chaos split into two distinct 
worlds. One was created by Ahura Mazda the God of Light, the 
other by Angro Mainyu, God of Darkness. When twelve thousand 
or nine thousand years of their simultaneous rule will close, the 
latter will be vanquished and thrown into hell, and Ahura alone 
will rule supreme. Jewish and Christian mystics borrowed, con- 
sciously or not, from such views. It is usually assumed that the 
Zrvana -system is of later date, when the Zoroastrians tried to 
simplify their dualism and bring it nearer to Monotheism, as the 
present Hindoo- Parsees do. It is not entirely impossible that the 
Zrvana-doctrine is older, akin to the Ihvhistic one (Gen. 4 : 26), 
but limited to a few priests. It may have long been the lucid kernel 
of hoary mythology and n^ature-worship, which, ostensibly panthe- 
istic, have Monotheism as their nucleus. It supplies a necessary 
link in the development of original religious thought. Dualism 
must have sprung from pantheistic unity, Zrvana, as Greek Poly- 
theism did from ancient grim fate and absolute, inexorable neces- 

The earth is especially holy ; her patron and her name is Ar- 
maiti. She must be kept in purity, without any defilement. There 
was not to be allowed on her bosom any graves, scattered dead 
limbs, morasses, stagnant water, useless debris, increase of obnox- 
ious animals, insects, vermin, etc. To kill such "■' Kharafstras " is 
virtue, a sacred duty of the pious ; it atones for sins : the baresma 
or bundle of rods in the hand of the Magian priests symbolized that 
duty. Another of man's most sacred duties is tilling, cultivating and 
increasing the arable land, hedging it in and rendering it useful to his 
species, by irrigation, culture of trees, etc. Between the Good 
Spirit and the Evil One there is ever waged a war of life and death. 
Such a war, too, is going on between the worshippers of the two 
great Opponents. The duty of the servants of Ormazd is to keep 
pure in thought, word and deed and to fight Evil in any shape. To 
kill the worshippers of Ahriman, obnoxious beasts, snakes and in- 
sects, to dig wells, render rivers navigable, drain swamps and mo- 
rasses, fill up pits, build bridg^es, clear woods, etc., that is virtue. 


To tell lies, practice fraud, commit murder, adultery, theft, etc., 
that is worship of the Evil Spirit. The A vesta Laws and Ethics are 
couched in metaphorical and mythic language, peculiar to those 
times and surroundings. But their hidden kernel proves a high de- 
gree of rationality and goodness. Here are a few specimens : 


(From Khorda Avesta after Spiegel and Bleek :) " I praise the 
good thoughts, words and works. I curse the wicked thoughts, 
words and works. I praise the best purity, I chase away the Devs. 
I confess myself a Mazdayasnian, a follower of Zertusht, an oppon- 
ent of the Uevs ; devoted to the faith in Ormazd. Of all manners 
of wrong whereby men become sinners and go to hell, I repent with 
thoughts, words and works. Pardon !" . . . Such short specimens 
of devotion seem to have been in the daily use of the Parsee. They 
combined both profession of faith, deprecation and confession of sin 
and promise of improvement. They are couched in'mythic, sectar- 
ian language. But their sense is plain and sound. The confessor 
deprecates the bad and devotes to good. A standing phrase in 
Avestian religious terminology is : "/« thoughts, words and deeds." 
It is very remarkable that this phrase is expressly used in the He- 
brew confessions on similar occasions. The Atonement Confessions 
contain literally that sentence and in the same place : Pardon all 
sins, transgressions and rebellions committed in " thought, word 
and deed." i 


" My sins which I have committed against father, mother, sister, 
brother, wife, child, relation, friend . . if I have broken the whis- 
pered prayer, or eaten without prayfer ; if I have gone without KosU, 
or defiled my feet, or practiced deceit, contempt, idol-worship, told 
lies, etc. — I repent vi'vAxpatet. Pardon !" 


"Thou God knowest all secrets ; Thou/searchest the mysteries 
of the heart, nothing is hidden from Thee. May it please Thee to 
pardon my sins, transgressions and rebellions. . . . Sins committed 
with or without freedom of will ; sins of hard-heartedness, ignorance, 
inchastity, fraud, deceit, over-reaching, disrespect of parents and 
teachers, sin of violence, blasphemy, impure speech, lying, bribery, 
dishonest dealings, immoderate drinking and eating; sins of usury 
and illicit gain, pride, idle talk, hood-winking, impudence, shirking 
of duty, simulated love, envy, frivolousness, obstinacy, tale-bearing, 


perjury, dishonesty . . . and all other sins, pardon, forgive and wipe 
off, O God of forgiveness." (from the Atonement ''Al hei" Prayer.) 
The prayer-books of all other modern creeds will furnish like speci- 
mens. Jewish fervent and tender prayers of confession, etc., are 
those destined for the Ten days of repentance before the Atonement 
day,(i) and those for Mondays and Thursdays.(2) But most thril- 
ling is the daily confession of sin and the prayer for political and 
social redemption : (3) " Pity and mercy ! I have sinned, God miser- 
icordious ! Have pity upon me and receive my devotions. Do not 
punish me in thine anger, grant me mercy, for I am weak, do for 
thy mercy's sake. (*) .... Lord, God of Israel, forego thine ire and 
consider the evil fate of thy people. Look down from on high 
and see : We have become the laughter and scoffing of nations ; 
doomed, like sheep to the slaughter, the object of derision, maltreat- 
ment, ruin and death. The barbarians say : There is no hope for 
them. Be Thou gracious to the nation hoping in thy name. Pure 
One, hasten our redemption. Protect us in thy mercy. God de- 
liver us not into the hands of those tyrants. They scoff: " Where 
is their God !" — Withal we have not forgotten Thy name. God re- 
member us ! Listen to our plaints. Forsake us not to the power 
of our enemies blotting out our name. We are but few now, 
nevertheless we remember thy name ; O God forget us not !" — Thus 
prayed Israel of yore and recently, too, in the East; thrilling to the 
utmost ! 

"I believe in the purity of the good Mazdayasnian faith, in the Cre- 
ator Ormazd, in the Amshaspands, in the furthering of righteousness, 
in the resurrection of the new body ... As Ormazd has imparted it to 
Zertusht, his successors and the Desturs have brought it down to us." 
Here we have a model of the Credo. Mark also : " Written Law " 
and "traditional Law " as among the Rabbis of the Talmud. It is 
not easy to determine when the above passage of the Khorda- A ves- 
ta has been composed. It was surely, at any rate, long before the 
Gemara ; perhaps even before the Mishna — hence then already the 
Zoroasterians distinguished between written and traditional laws. 
That no doubt, is interesting in the extreme. It runs in line with 
the Talmudical Halachath of Moses from Sinai.(^) Let us quote 
here a parallel to that Persian profession of faith, vaguely ascribed to 
Maimonides and commonly called " The ij principles," (^) to be re- 

1 wa'jo i3a« 2 Dim sini 3 pni mm * Ps. 6, and prayer-book. 
5 '3'Da nvah ns'jn 6 nnpj? vrvsy rwhv and i»aNO 'jx 


Cited daily after the prayers: " I believe with perfect faith that the 
Creator, His name be blessed, creates and rules all creatures, He 
alone is the Maker in the past, present and future. I believe in per- 
fect faith that the Creator is One, the Only One without any com- 
parison. He alone is God in the past, present and future ; He is in- 
corporeal, incomprehensible by any bodily being and without any 
comparison; He is the first and the last; He, alone is to be wor- 
shipped and none besides Him." Follows next the faith in the 
prophets and in Moses as teacher and the greatest prophet; in the 
Thorah as coming from him ; never to be changed nor substituted ; 
the omniscience of God ; reward and punishment for good and evil ; 
the coming of the messiah and the resurrection." Closely examin- 
ing this Credo or declaration of faith of the Talmudic Israelite, we 
find that it originated as a protest against Mazdaism. But more, we 
at once see it contains elements and verses of olden date and of more 
recent date. Part of its verses are ostensibly directed against an- 
cient polytheism and against Mazdean dualism ; part is against 
trinitarian and Mohammedan claims ; and part even against modern 
infidelity of " The higher criticism." It states : " I believe with per- 
fect faith that the Pentateuch as now in our hands, is identical with 
the one given to Moses, our teacher." It rejects both, Christology 
and Mohammed's supreme prophecy, but declares its firm belief that 
the messiah will come. It emphasizes the Unity and uncorporeality 
of God, and confirms the belief in resurrection, as in Mazdaism, 
Christianity and Mohammedanism. It might well be said of it that 
it represents rather a religious mosaic than the Mosaic religion. 
Some elements of that Credo must be very old as in opposition to 
hoary Parseeism, and some very young, deprecating, modern in- 
fidelity and rash conclusions. 

" I have this paiet as an atonement for sins. I have a share in 
the reward for good deeds, joy for the soul, to close for me the way 
to hell and open for me the road to paradise." The mentioned, 
well known, Hebrew profession of faith and the confession of sins on 
the Atonement day, "Ani mamin" and " Al-het," may well have taken 
their models from such instances, conception and expression are strik- 
ingly alike, but differently executed, according to the theologies and 
morals of the respective creeds and nations. There was here no 
plagiarism, no servile imitation. The parties borrowed and rejected 
consciously, with eyes wide awake. The Credo was a need of the 
times ; each pahy formulated it jiccording to its own genius and con- 


form to its doctrines. Each Credo represented its partial adhesion 
and partial opposition to its neighbor-Creed, corroborating what it 
accepted and contrasting what it repudiated. 


" If I have sinned against any kind of cattle, if I have beaten 
it, slain it wrongfully, given it no fodder, no water, or castrated it, 
not protected it from robber and wolf, I repent ... of all kinds 
of sins, theft, lies, false witness, pride, thanklessness, revenge, envy, 
wilfulness, spiteful hostility to Yazatas (disrespect to the priests), 
inchastity, intercourse with menstruous women, adultery, walking 
with one shoe, going without the Kosti (girdle), neglect of prayer, 
enjoyment without the proper benediction ... if I have made 
water standing upright ... if I have honored the Devs. etc. I 
repent." It is not allowed to have any sort of enjoyment, bodily 
or mental, even satisfying the natural necessities, without giving a 
benediction to Ahura. Just the same is the case with Hebrew 
moralists and casuists. Their standing maxim is : "A man owes a 
hundred benedictions daily to his maker." Such benedictions in 
the customary three to five daily standing devotions, with grace at 
meals, minor enjoyments, religious duties, natural needs, etc., made 
up the full hundred. Magian and Rabbi could truly say : " Ye 
shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." As to 
the Devs or Daevas they were, according t« Haug, the old gods 
of the Eranians and Hindoos, and after Zoroaster's reformation 
they were declared devils and degraded to hell. Just so were the 
Greek gods after the rise of Christianity. The people continuing 
to believe in them, the priests had to declare them Evil spirits ; 
history repeats itself 


Vendidad farg. IH. 76. "Who rejoiceth the earth with the 
greatest of joy ? He who fills up holes, cultivates the fruit of trees 
and grass on the fields, provideth for water, tills the ground, etc. — 
He promotes the Mazdayasnian Law . . . When there are thick 
ears of corn, then the Daevas fly." This remarkable paragraph 
shows the lawgiver as by no means befogged with the notions of 
spirits and drughs, but simply using the popular language better to 
impress his hearers. Virtue is simply to do good, to be useful to 
his fellow-men, to create things for their comforts. Such a man is 
pleasing to God. " Where there is plenty the devil flies." Viz : 
temptation loses its opportunity. It is excellent, common sense 
popularly expressed : or, as the Talmud has it : " The law speaks 
in human language." 


" Creator ! If one buries in the earth dead dogs or dead men 
and does not dig them up and remove them . . . what is his pun- 
ishment ? Five hundred blows !" (Ibidem, j After man, is the dog the 
hoUest creature and his dead body defiles the holy earth. A grave 
contaminates the soil. The Magian custom was that the dead were 
exposed to be devoured by carnivorous beasts and birds. The dog, 
the companion of the Persian shepherd and farmer, plays an im- 
portant part in the Avesta. He is a good omen for man in life and 
in death. A four-eyed dog (?) or a two eyed one with yellow ears, 
or at least with two spots above the eyes, was brought into the 
room where the dead was. The dog looked into his face. The 
ceremony was called "Sag-did," and by this look the evil spirit 
JVasu, who was about taking hold of the corpse, was frightened 
away to hell. Apparently this was a remnant from aboriginal times 
when the faithful dog was man's keeper and screened him even in 
death from the devil, his enemy. So we read in Virgil (Aenis liber. 
VII. 150), "Alas! thou knowest it not, one of thy faithful com- 
panions lies inanimate on the shore, and defiles thy entire fleet by 
the presence of his corpse, while thou art here . . . "(1) The 
belief that a dead body defiles the living was universal. It intended 
probably to inculcate the sacred duty of decently burying the dead; 
the more respectable the man, the greater was that duty. This will 
also explain another strange-appearing idea in Parseeism and in 
Rabbinism. According to both only a co-religionist defiles ; a 
stranger does not ! Why so ? The foregoing makes it plain : The 
pious wish of burying a dead fellow-man contrived the notion that 
his unburied corpse defiles the surroundings. Such a duty was the 
burying of a /eilozv-reltgztmtsi ; for a stranger such a duty did not 
exist ; hence, did not the claim either, that his corpse defiles. The 
above Virgil passage concludes therefore with an injunction to 
Aeneas to " bring his dead companion to an honorable grave and 
offer him black sheep as an expiatory sacrifice." These ideas were 
thus universal, with Greek, Persian and Hebrew. So the Prophet 
Jeremiah threatens the Judaean princes, etc., with obtaining no 
burial,(2) but to rot on the ground. Even more pathetic, yea, harrow- 
ing is that feeling expressed by Ezekiel 24 : 16 :• " Behold, O man, 
in a pestilence I shall take away the delight of thine eyes (thy wife). 

1 " Jacet exanimum tibi corpus amici, heu ! nescis, totamque incestat 
funere classim." 

8 Jeremiah XVI. 4 ; XXV. 33. 


Yet shalt thou suppress all tears and sighs nor wear any mourning 
• . . . Even so Israel shall I desecrate thy sanctuary your eyes' 
delight, and your tender sons and daughters will perish by the 
sword, and you shall not mourn, nor weep, nor wear any mourning 
apparel." To die and not obtain the customary funeral honors was 
the height of ignominy. In other regions and environments the 
motive of that same custom may have been a hygienic one, viz • 
the desire of the Lawgiver to moderate the excessive filial piety 
which induced the relatives of a beloved person to keep the corpse 
too long for the health and the cleanliness of the surviving. In 
some countries they kept it so long until it passed into decay. 
Hence, the legislator stated that dead bodies, unburied, are under 
the sway of the Evil principle, impure and defiling, and declared 
that true piety is not to keep the body, but to give it an honorable 
burial. Thus diametrically opposite reasons may underlie one and 
the same legislative enactment and religious funeral rite. The 
above quoted chapter of the Aeneis gives us the narrative of a 
model burial of hoary, mythological times, which in some respects 
contrasts, but mostly coincides with what we have seen concerning 
funeral ceremonies, (Virgil Aeneis liber VI. 213 to 229,(1) " In the 
meantime the Troyans mourn over Misenus lying dead on the 
shore, and render to his insensible remains their last duty. They 
raise an enormous pyramid of oak and resinous woods, rising to 
the clouds. The edges are garnered with lugubrious, dark leaves, 
and cypress trees stand in front. Brilliant arms decorate the top 
of the pyramid. The body is carefully bathed and washed in warm 
water and embalmed. Shouts of regret and loud lamentations are 
widely echoed and tears abundantly shed. The corpse is placed 
upon the funeral bed and costly purple garments thrown over it. 
Torches are then applied to the pile, the faces turned away. Oil is 
poured thereon, sacrificial meats and costly spices added. When 
the whole has burned to ashes, the bones are picked out, washed 
in wine and piously placed into a metal urn. An olive-branch in 
hand, the priest walks around ; he dips it into holy water ; he 
sprinkles with it the entire funeral cortege and assembly, throwing 
over them a thin spray of pure water and pronounces the last 

1 " Nee minus interea Misenum in littore Teucri flebant, et cineri 
ingrato suprema. ferebant. Principo . . . Ingentem struxere pyram. 
Idem ter socios pura circumtulitunda Spargens rore levi et ramo felicis 
olivae, Lustravitque viros, dixitque novistima verba," . . . That was 
no doubt a solemn closing prayer, as the modern requiem and Kaddish, 


funeral prayer. This is termed the expiation or purification. 
Aeneas then raises a lofty monument to his friend, affixing thereto 
his arms and insignia." — ^Jeremiah 8 : 2 undoubtedly alludes to the 
same funeral rites in Judaea. They were also Roman and Greek, 
but later the Magians changed them greatiy, forbidding both, 
cremation and burial. They also forbade the waste of costly gar- 
ments upon the funeral occasion. Virgil, too, reminds of the 
sprinkling with pure water and an olive-branch, corresponding to 
the Baresma and the water purification of Parseeism, and the 
hyssop of the Biblical " Red-heifer- rite." (IV M. 19, 6). Thus 
we see the belief in defilement, the duty 01 burial, purification, 
raising a monument, mourning and tears, lustrations of the funeral 
cortege, even the Baresma or green twig, etc., ane to be found 
among Parsees, Judaeans, Roman and Greek mythologists. And 
the same ideas are yet it the bottom of our own funeral rites to-day. 
Mosque, Church and Synagogue have preserved them under differ- 
ent names and claims. So are the notions that the dead defile ; the 
public burial, sprinkling water, lustrations, incense, eulogies and 
closing rites corresponding to our requiem, mass and Kaddish. 
The above Aeneis passage concludes as follows, illustrating our 
theme: "Aeneas, wondering, asks the Sibyl : "Tell me what means 
the crowd at the stream (to the nether world)? What do these 
souls desire, some being allowed to pass the river Styx and some 
being discarded ? She replies : This crowd are the unfortunates 
who had no burial . . . Only those are allowed to pass who were 
buried. Without that honor they m ust flutter about a hundred 
years before they are permitted to cross the boundary-river."(i) 

As said, the dead could not be cremated by fire, nor buried in 
the earth, nor deposited in the sea. All the elements were holy ; 
they were defiled by the contact of the dead, who belonged to 
Ahriman. This was Magian doctrine, and since the Sasanidean 
domination it had become the custom of the people. According 
to Herodotus, during the Archaemenidian period, the Persians 
buried yet their dead in the earth. Only later the people con- 
formed to the Magian custom of having them devoured by beasts 

1 Aeneas miratus . . " die quod vult concursus ad amnem? Quidve 
petunt ? . . . Haec omnio quam cernis inops inhumataque turba est . . 
. Nee ripas datur horrendas et raura fluenta transportare, prius quam 
sedibus ossa quierunt . . . Centum errant annos . . . Turn demum 
admissi stagna exoptata revisunt . ." (Virgil Aeneis liber VI 216-330). 


and birds of prey. This took place in the following way : Far 
awaj'- from the city, a desolate, isolated, barren height was selected. 
A tower twenty feet high was built, called the tower of silence, 
Dakhma ; beneath it was a deep pit ; on the top of the tower iron 
cross-bars were laid. The corpses were placed thereon, formerly 
naked, now in plain, clean clothes, the face turned to the sky, the 
body tied to the bars, thus exposed to the birds of prey to be 
devoured. Their clean bones then fell down, washed and purified 
by the rain, to await resurrection. Certain mystic, golden wires or 
threads were used in that construction to ideally or symbolically 
represent the isolation of the tower from the earth as if it hung in 
the air and thus did not contaminate the holy earth on which the 
tower really, stood.(i) That ritualistic or symbolical fiction of ideally 
representing the contrary of the really existing, is well known to 
the Talmudist. By such a wire he surrounds the whole street and 
town and imagines them as private property. (°) We shall later 
come back to this theme. 

Vendidad farg XVI. (After Spiegel, by Bleek). "Creator! 
when a woman is affected with blood marks, how to act ? She 
must be removed from trees made for fire-wood (that being holy) 
to some dry hill, isolated, away from fire, water, baresma and pure 
man — " (not to defile them). The law prescribes the manner of 
feeding her to be isolated, very plainly and sparingly. The theory is 
that woman during her menses is under the authority of Ahriman, 
and that in the Messianic age the mode 'of human propagation will 
be otherwise than by conception, birth, etc. Gen. III. i6, may 
contain a reflex of this ancient, oriental view concerning woman 
having yielded to the temptation of the Principle of Evil, the 
snake, etc. In Gen. III., too, the allegory represents Eve as being 
doomed to increased pain, pregnancy and child-bearing, to yearn 
for her husband and be subject to him. This may well be an echo 
of the hoary idea that man was born for immortality, and by sin 
and obedience to Ahriman he became subject to death and to 
propagate by conception and pain. 

We have thus far given a general outline of Zoroaster, the 
lawgiver and prophet of the Magi and the Mazdian religion, of his 
doctrines and ethics, etc. We shall later give copious specimens 
from the Vendidad, the leading book of his bible. There he will 

1 See Spiegel page 91 and D. Pramjee, Modern Parsees. 

2 TH'n ruts'"! 


speak for himself, and the reader, fully prepared by our remarks, 
will easily follow him. It is not easy to determine which of these 
mentioned doctrines belong to Zoroaster and which to his predeces- 
sors and his successors. But undoubtedly it was he who spiritualized, 
moralized and purified the original cult of nature of the Iranians. 
He broke the power of idolatry and superstition and introduced 
nobler ideas about divinity, humanity, duty, human dignity and 
worthy aspirations. As to the superstitions of his times he had to 
reckon with them. Many he no doubt abrogated. Many others, 
stronger than his civilizing influence, he had to spare and let alone. 
As the ancient Rabbis on similar occasions he said : The Thora 
uses human language. He taught virtue in the name of God, 
holding up the serpent Ahriman as a stimulant for virtue and 
wisdom, just as the coachman holds up his whip for the lazy 
horses ; or as the nurse frightens the child into obedience by the 
story of the goblins. Dualism was his cosmic philosophy. But 
the Daevas and drughs were but the whip of the schoolmaster, an 
educational means, a fiction. 

Anquetil Duperron, the Frenchman who first attempted a trans- 
lation of that collection of books, renders Zend-Avesta by "Living 
Word." Burnouf, the first scientific translator of it, claims its 
meaning to be " city-speech, the language of cities." I. Mueller, 
Fr. Spiegel and others explain it as denoting : knowledge, wisdom, 
gnosis. Hang takes it as expressing " intuitive knowledge," science 
reached by direct tradition, from mysterious sources, by a higher 
revelation; " Zend " meaning conscious or intuitive, and "A vesta" 
being, knowledge; hence, Avesta is : direct higher science, divine 
revelation : Zend denoting expounding and knowledge, Zend-Avesta 
means thus the explanation of the divine revelation. The philolo- 
gist Oppert has his own opinion and definition. So have other 
philologists. The language, the grammar and mode of writing of 
the debris of the Avesta now extant, are far from being accurately 
known and definitely settled. That writing, language and meaning 
are rather guessed than really known. The learned expounders of 
those themes are therefore not at one in their opinions. Indeed, the 
key to the handwriting, the alphabet of the Avesta collection is far 
from being found. Next the idioms in which its several parts are 
composed have been forgotten ; their etymology and grammar are 
rather guessed than known. But the greatest difficulty is the mean- 
ing of the technical words and of the figures of speech. It is all 


expressed in sectarian formulae, in religious poetry, in hyperboles, 
in metaphors, probably with the express intention to be unintelligi- 
ble to the uninitiated. It is full of religio-technical terms which the 
stranger can not easily master. Thus it is a sealed book. Read 
any of the renditions of the Avesta, and you feel the translator gave 
you the words, not its soul, not its inner meaning. The inner sanc- 
tuary was not accessible to him. Indeed, let a Mohammedan attend 
a Roman Catholic service, it will be a riddle to him. A university pro- 
fessor reading the Talmud, though ever so good a Semitic philolo- 
gist, knows the words, never does he grasp its inner sense. It will 
remain to him a " sealed book." A born Parsee with a cosmopoli- 
tan education and modern speech, could alone, perhaps, unlock the 
full sense of the Avesta. 


A well known Persian dictionary, the Burhan-i-gate, says on 
our subject : " The Avesta, Abesta or Asta is the exegesis oi the 
book Zend. This is a book of the Magi which Zertusht has com- 
posed on the fire-worship ;" and further : " Zend is the name of a 
book which Ibrahim Zertusht has claimed to have come down to 
him from heaven. Pazend is the expounding of the Zend. Again, 
others believe Zend and Pazend are two works composed by Ibra- 
him Zertusht on fire-worship. Mohammedan writers contradict the 
opinion that the Zend is the original text of the revelation and 
Avesta is its expounding. They claim the very contrary, viz : that the 
Zend is the expounding and Avesta the text."(^) Professor Haug 
concludes essentially as follows : Avesta, Zend and Pazend are the 
names of sacred books which legend refers to Zoroastec ; viz : Aves- 
ta is the most hoary one originated by Ormazd. Zend is its exegesis 
and Pazend is a further expounding of that doctrine. According to 
the Pahaleve translation, Avesta is the denomination principally of 
older sacred songs, verses, prayers, laws, and statutes now mostly 
lost. They contained among others also dietary laws. The Bun- 
dahesh is a later treatise containing an outline of the Zend doctrines. 
Pazend is a further commentary on the Zend. The books of the 
Avesta proper are : the Vendidad, Yasna and Vispered. The 
Khorda- Avesta may also be counted to it. 

In the Third Century P. C, the Persians reconquered their in- 
dependence and soon, too, their old religious ascendency under the 
dynasty of the Sasanids. Their king Ardeshir and his son Shah- 

1 See Haug Zend Studien, ' Deutsche-Morgenlaendische Gesellshaft,' 
p. 702. 


poor raised the monarchy and the Zoroastrian religion to their 
pristine lustre. Two great religious teachers collected and re-wrote 
the ancient books. They added a commentary and a translation in 
the Huzvaresh language, an idiom standing between the Avesta, the 
New- Persian dialects and the surrounding Semitic tongues. At that 
time the Avesta seems already to have been in part unintelligible. 
Later on, a new literature arose on the Parsee religion. The most im- 
portant work is the mentioned Bundehesh, a theological work, a com- 
pendium on the Avesta. The Ardai- Viraf-name brings mystic doc- 
trines ; further, the Minokhired is a book of polemics against other 
religions ; the Bahmen Yeshi is of the seventh century P. C. Then 
came the Sadder, Zertusht-name and some modern works. (Spie- 
gel Vend. 18-23.) 

In that Sasanidean Period the Talmud was compiled in the 
several Babylonian Academies, those of Nahardea, Sora, Pumba- 
dita and Machusa, while the Romano-Judaean schools were decaying. 
Babylon became Israel's center. Jews cultivated Persian jurispru- 
dence and learned the Persian language. There was naturally a 
frequent intercourse and mutual influenre between the several sects 
living all at peace. The Talmud brings a great many narratives 
witnessing to that intercourse. Forms and ideas in state, science 
and worship were interchanged between them. Leading Jews were 
received at court. Many had high military posts. It is not quite 
easy to determine who was the borrower. Apparently that was 
mutual. The same was the case between the Christian sects and 
the Persians. There, too, was no doubt an adaptation of religious 
forms' and ideas going on. On the whole, Jews were well treated 
by the adherents of the dominant creed. The Christians of Roman 
faith were less so, from jealousy. For dissident Christian sects 
found hospitality in Persia and thrived there tfll the advent of the 
Mohammedan conquerors in the seventh century. From the Sa- 
sanian period on, the third to the seventh century P. C, date the mu- 
tual influence and the numerous parallels between the three denom- 
inations, the Persian, Christian and Jewish. There was a constant, 
though silent process of adaptation, assimilation and accommoda- 
tion going on. When several sects live together under a wise and 
just government, which allows no mutual oppression or coercion, such 
a process will be the inevitable result. The several sects having an 
opportunity to collate, compare and choose, there will result a con- 
stant improvementi a purifying and chastening of ideas and forms 


in the entire ethical and social domain, " the law of natural selection 
and survival of the fittest" will prevail and a certain similarity, if not 
identity, will be the outcome. This was the case in Persia under the 
Sasanids. Hence, came the striking similarities in the views, doc- 
trines and customs of these three leading denominations. The 
Talmud is full of such pai allel ideas and usages in the domain of re- 
ligion, worship, jurisprudence and social ways. Sometimes one is 
puzzled to guess which party was original and which copied. The 
best answer probably would be that in each instant the most rational 
party was prevalent, without any regard to whether that was the 
dominant creed or not, the fittest survived. 

The late distinguished scholar and keen- eyed critic, O. H. Shorr, 
published in a Hebrew Periodical called, He-Halus, in the years 
1865-1869, Frankfurt A. M., a monograph on parallels between the 
Mosaic Bible, Targums, Talmud and the Avesta-books. He showed 
there striking identities and contrasts in many doctrines, views and 
customs, in religion, worship, marriage, mourning, jurisprudence, 
etc. He pointed out surprising likenesses between their views con- 
cerning paradise and hell, creation, deluge, angels, ghosts, good 
and evil spirits, resurrection, immortality, social hopes and issues ; 
the Messiah, last end of things and other views of the Talmudists, 
which he assumed as borrowed from the Parsees. Casuistical Prin- 
ciples of Law, jurisprudence and religious customs were coming 
from the same source. These parallels in juxtaposition are ex- 
ceedingly interesting and pointed, sometimes striking and offering 
much food for reflection. Shorr's range of reading and thought was 
immense and his critical acumen sharp and bold, deep and vast. It 
is an intellectual delight to read him. Withal that I think that he 
was onesided and exaggerated in his criticism. I believe it is far 
from safe to assume that in all his quoted instances there, the Tal- 
mudists were ever the borrowers and the Parsees ever the lenders. 
There was a mutual borrowing and lending rather, I think. The 
late Rev. Dr. A. Kohut, of New York, took up the theme after 
Shorr, evidently having utilized preceding works on that subject. 
In 1 87 1, he published a tract on " Angelology and Demonology in 
the Talmud dependent upon Parseeism." I could not get hold of 
that pamphlet and cannot judge of its merits. Shorr felt aggrieved 
that Kohut did not mention him, (^Shorr) and others as his authorities 
on that subject and was occasionally very sarcastic on that score. 
No doubt ke published , first his monography, and that with an un- 


paralleled wealth of thoroughness, wit and learning. But as he 
published it in Hebrew, it was passed over unnoticed. On the con- 
trary the treatise of his younger and later competitor, being a thesis 
on a public occasion, at a German University and written in German, 
received all due attention, publicity and applause, the previous He- 
braic Shorr being passed in silence in spite of his just and loud pro- 
test. Both the wi iters and compeers are now in paradise I am sure, 
and have cordially settled their difficulty about priority to fame. 
In the halls of eternity they have heartily shaken hands and in the 
best of colleagueal humor, remembered a Mishna, amicably settling 
their controversy, (i) Peace be to their ashes and a wreath to their 
blessed memory! Let the controversy be closed. As to the result 
of their tracts practically, I think the question whether the Jews 
were ever the recipients and the Persians the constant lenders is not 
yet settled. The Talmudists hailing from prophetic, monotheistic Mo- 
saism were fully equipped to evolve new forms and ideas and to pay 
their full share towards the progress of their time. Proof thereof 
is Hillel, that humble Babylonian, yet keen Judaean reformer ; he 
knew how to make the most important innovations and ingraft them 
pleasantly upon the old Thora-parchments, simply by methods of 
pliable hermaneutics. Nay, those ancient rabbis were abreast with 
the Persian doctors, and if they ever borrowed, they fully repayed 
their donors. We shall in the course of these pages bring more 
parallels illustrating the above. 

But I coincide with Shorr and Kohut, that mysticism has its 
primary source in Parseeism,(a) spreading its white wings and its 
ghostly shadows to all parts of the world, to all creeds, peoples, 
ages and regions ; to Christian, Jew and Mohammedan. (**) There 
is no doubt that Parseeism has been teaching, as long as Mosaism, 
that God is pure Spirit, a bright spirit of light and intelligence. 
This is a great acquisition to mankind : the idea of spirituality. 
That was a new religious departure. Whether this idea came simul- 
taneously into the human brain, in Hindustan by one man, in Media- 
Bactria by another and in Chaldea-Haran by a third ; or whether 
this was but one intellectual movement, starting from one impulse 
and as the sunlight, spreading its rays from East to West, is hard to 

1 ipi^n' n'nxsn '3« nam nti n'fi«sa 'jk nn'« n? fi'^iaa inni« ate 
(Babli Baba Meziah i, a.) ^ Conjointly with Brahmanism. 
* See my ' Gedanken ueber relig. Braeuche, p. 62. 


determine. At any rate, Parseeism has the great merit of being 
among the first to, have started the One-God-Spirit idea, which is 
now pervading the intellectual world. On the other hand did Par- 
seeism teach a second principle, that of Darkness, and this became 
a source of darkness indeed to the intellectual world at large. Pos- 
sibly Zoroaster meant by the Evil Spirit just the same as the He- 
brew moralist, viz : the inborn evil passions against which man has to 
contend. Unfortunately that figure of speech created the idea of an 
• external personal Evil one, which potion increased the evil, in place 
of diminishing it. Instead of subduing our own passions, we tried 
to exorcise and ban the imaginary devil, thus wasting our force in 
fighting not the ill, but merely its shadow. Mazdaism announcing 
side by side with the One God of Light, another sovereign Princi- 
ple of Darkness, has created an inexhaustible source of superstition 
not closed to this day ; a real intellectual darkness not yet overcome 
in the face of the closing nineteenth century. A thousand obser- 
vances perpetuate to this day the bright and dark sides of Magism. 
Christian, Jew and Modammedan light, to this day, candles, perpet- 
ual lamps; chandeliers, torches and funeral piles in death, mourning, 
child-birth, etc., to cheer the patient, to invoke the protection of God 
and chase away the Evil one. Parseeism has created hell and devil, 
angels and carnal paradise. Parseeism teaches, the dead are 
conquered by Ahriman who springs upon them in the shape of a fly 
" Nasu." This explains our modern fears, superstitions and prac- 
tices in cases of death and mourning, to guard against the devil. 
When the Pentateuch enjoins to use water with the ashes from the 
Red-heifer for purification against contact with defilement and death, 
Parseeism gives the cue to that : cow-urine was used there for lus- 
trations. When the Vendidad warns against the throwing about of 
hair and nails cut oif from the human body, as defiling,(i) this ex- 
plains similar usages in present times and creeds, well known to the ac- 
ute observer. When Parseeism taught : God of Light, Ahura, and an- 
other God of light, Mithra, his son, or Supreme Intelligence, Logos, 
emanation — that doctrine is not extinct even now. When the 
most powerful sect among the Judaeans, sticklers to exaggerated 
rules of purity and godliness, authors of hair-splitting casuistry 
about artificial cleanliness and uncleanliness, allowed and not allowed, 
are termed Parashim, Pharisees, we see whence they hail. When the 
Pentateuch forbids the kindling of fires on the Sabbath I see that 
was a protest against fire-worship. When Isaiah insists upon "God 

I Spiegel Vendidad p. 27. Brahmans used cow-dirt for sinners. 


Creator of good and evil, of light and darkness," I see it was in op- 
position to dual Zoroasterism. When we read of that system ad- 
vancing seven gods, seven Ameshas Spentas, we know why seven is 
a holy number and an oath. When I read :{}) " The righteous are 
met in Paradise by their own goodness, in the shape of a beautiful 
madien," I find out whence hail Mohammed's houris. Again there 
I read :(2) " To it offered Haoshyano with Baresma bound to- 
gether with overflowing fulness. . . Grant me that I may smite the 
daevas, sorcerers and pairikas and subdue Agro Mainyu . . " I re- 
cognize in that rite and water-prayer of Parseeism its kinship to the 
known synagogal rite and service on the seventh day of Booth 
" hoshyano-Rabba " with shaking of the palm-branch and smiting 
the green rods called, ('') Hoshyanoth and invoking Hoshyano. 
Khorda-Avesta ordains prayers with washed hands and uplifted 
Haoma at the shining fire.(*) Here is "hand washing" and "hostia," 
its formula was : " I am about to prepare to do as ordained by Maz- 
da." Exactiy the same is the Hebrew formula :(5) The Avesta had 
a benediction for each enjoyment; especially so after meals ; so the 
Hebrew ritual, so the Roman Catholic and Mohammedan ones. 
Khorda-Avesta teaches a judgment-day at the bridge Kinvad and 
hell beneath; three judges there administering prompt justice. (r) 
The same legends are current to-day about awful doomsday, hell- 
fires, judge and saviour, etc.; and Parseeism gives the best cue. 
The Parsee used to write in the legal marriage contract "according to 
the laws and customs of the good Mazdayasnian Law."(''') Just such 
a phrase is in rabbinical notary acts.(^) The same source mentions 
the seventy-two letters of God's name ; or even seventy-two divine 
names. (^) The numbers one, three and seven were sacred to Mag- 
ism. So it is in modern mysticism. " Charity is the noblest vir- 
tue " is a Hebrew-Persian maxim. The Hebrew had Tqiath Kaph. 
The right hand pledged the faith ol Parsees, Greeks and Romans. 
Truth was an epithet of Mazda " so Aggada : " The seal of God is 
truth." The Destur or Magian high-priest was dressed in white. 
So was the Hebrew one. So is the bride now. So was the Esstn- 
ian puritan, so the Hassidean Zaddik now. So are the dead 
among modern Parsees and orthodox Jews now. The Khorda- 

1 Spiegel Bleek Khorda-Avesta, 137. 

a Khorda-Avesta p. iii, Spiegel Bleek. 

8 «3jrB»in * Ibidem p. 144, Spiegel Bleek. 5 pjjo, pa ,33-, 

6 Spiegel Khorda-Avesta, 171. 

7 Ibidem, 173. » HvfWi rvDn ma D'ipi nnts* 'jsn ^ Ibidem, 199. 


Avesta brings specimens of Mazdean confessions of sins,(') a veritable 
Al-het.(^) They resemble similar confessional prayers in the com- 
mon Hebrew prayer-book, as two eggs do each other. They espec- 
ially mention the sin of " walking with one shoe," or " without a skull 
cap," or "without the kosti," or neglecting the priestly purity-rules, 
or omitting saying grace after meals, evacuation, etc." Confession 
of wrong done to animals('*) is unique in Magism. There is one 
thoughtful remark there which should be supplemented in our mod- 
ern prayer-books. It reads (lb. 136): "Which is the best prayer, 
worth all that is between heaven and earth ? That when one re- 
nounces all evil thoughts, words and deeds." We shall later adduce 
more parallels and illustrations. A religion with such a high God- 
ideal, truth and virtue-ideal, man-wonian-and-work-ideal, devoted to 
purity, usefulness, diminishing of evil with vice, and practicing charity, 
etc., such a religion is a glory to humanity, worthy to be remem- 
bered and studied as one of the great inspirations of mankind. But 
we must not overdo. We must not flatter and extol. We must not 
be slow in frankly adding, that it contained a great deal of supersti- 
tion and extravagance which it would be desirable to see eliminated 
from human thought and practice, by meting out impartial justice 
to its bright and its dark sides, we shall render justice to the past and 
to the future. We are the heirs of the past for good, we should 
discard harm from the future by eliminating eifete usages of the 

1 Spiegel Khorda-Avesta, 154-156. 2 Kon h'3 
8 Spiegel Khorda-Avesta, 164-167. 


For a full understanding of Parseeism, the doctrines of Zoro- 
aster, the religion and legislation of Eran or Iran, it is absolutely 
necessary that the reader's attention should be called to the group 
of its sister-religions of Asia, the cults which preceded it, which 
had their simultaneous developments with it, which even outstripped 
and survived it. Such are the Arian denominations, and Brahman- 
ism in its earlier and later forms especially. Brahmanism had the 
same origin as Magism ; it departed from identical premises, from 
the same geographical, historical, ethnical, etc., surroundings, it 
necessarily had, in part at least, the identical evolutions. The 
march and unfoldings of both these great creeds and legislations 
are at first analogous ; until later and gradually with the change 
of circumstances, geographical, physiological, political and social, 
their ethical differentiation became more and more marked ; until 
at last they stand as diverse religions, systems and sociological 
schemes. From that high, heaven-towering mountain-chain, 
stretching about 350 miles in length and 40 to 50 in breadth, called 
the Himalaya, the Snow-Palaces of southeastern Asia, flow down 
its two mightiest streams, the Indus and the Ganges, amidst vast, 
highly fertile plains, forming the great peninsula of Hindustan or 
East India, the " country of the seven rivers," of the Indus and the 
Ganges with their five tributaries, the Pentjab and Hepta-Sinth. 
These great rivers give it its special and salient character, climatic 
and geographic, its flora, its fauna, its wealth, its advantages and its 
drawbacks, its races, castes, political, social and religious, peculiar 
traits and physiognomy. This is the scene and patrimony of Brah- 
manism, the great rival and sister-religion of Zoroasterism. Its 
dawn is gray with age, lost in past ages of prehistoric times. At 
the begin of the sixth century, B. C, it had to contend against a 
great secession, Buddhism, the Protestantism of the East. But it 
vanquished it and remained victorious on that congenial soil, until 
in modern times it has to divide its dominion with Islam, recendy 
with the Gospel, and at last with rationalism (Brahma Somaj, etc). 

In prehistoric epochs, a great impulse started from among the 
Arian tribes, roaming on the numerous habitable hills, in the vast 
valleys and oases of the mighty Himalayan mountain ridges. One 


of the most powerful races of history, the Arians, began to emigrate 
in search of new homes, as did later the Teutonic tribes invading 
Europe. On one side that emigration wended its way to the coun- 
tries southeast of Asia, intersected by the Indus and its five auxili- 
aries, the Pentajab. After long centuries of invasion, having 
conquered that most fertile country, the same tribes of Arias, or 
Arians, spread further and further eastwards, and invaded the even 
more luxuriant shores of the Ganges and its ^subsidiaries. That 
entire, vast region was conquered after long, bloody and hard 
fighting against the aborigines, who were compelled to recognize 
the Arians as their masters and submit to their rule. And while 
one branch of that mighty Arian stock descended from the Hima- 
layan Mounts and subjugated the vast and wealthy regions of the 
Indus and the Ganges, another tribe of the same family emigrated 
in the opposite direction, the less sunny and less fertile highlands, 
geographically denominated as Iran, Eran, a name derived from 
the same root, Aria, Arian. Fighting and advancing, this tribe 
of Arias gradually occupied the vast and varied western regions. 
Some parts were then already peopled, some were so rarely, and some 
had no aborigines at all. These Eranians, or Western Arians, grad- 
ually gained the many, varied countries stretching west of Hindustan 
and occupying the whole of central Asia, from Bactria, Arachosia 
and Mount Paropamisos to Armenia and Colchid, having the Scythes 
or Massagets, the Caspian and the Black Seas as their Northern 
frontier; the kmgdom of Lydia and Cappadocia as their western 
limits ; Arabia, the Persian Gulf with the Erythrean and Indian 
Ocean as their southern boundaries. Now these vast countries 
of Iran became for long centuries the patrimony of the Magi and 
the Zoroastrian doctrine. Whilst east of that vast region in the 
southeast of Asia, all the countries situated between and beyond 
the powerful rivers of the Indus and the Ganges, covering now the 
possessions of English Hindustan, with the empires of Birman, 
Siam, etc., remained to this day the inheritance of Brahmanism, 
its daughter religion. As hinted at, for some time the religion of 
Buddhism had created a vast secession in India. But, soon it was 
overpowered, driven beyond the frontiers and compelled to take 
refuge in Birman, Ceylon, Thibet, China, etc., and Brahmanism 
remained sole mistress of the seven rivers' country. Until in com- 
paratively modern times as mentioned, Mohammedanism conquered 
and religiously encroached upon it ; and at last the Dutch and now 


the English have mostly subdued and made it tributary to the 
nations of the Cross. Nevertheless is Brahmanism as yet the domi- 
nant religion of India. 

Long before the Christian Era, began those mighty migrations 
and invasions of the Arias from the Himalayan Mountains down 
to the Indus and the Ganges on one side and towards the West, 
from Bactria to Parthia, etc., on the other side. Not only that 
history cannot designate the exact epoch of that powerful move- 
ment, but hardly can the century when it began be determined. 
Nor has history unraveled the extent of time during which that 
impulse continued, how long it lasted before the Arias invading 
those vast plains, those " regions of the seven rivers " conquered 
and subdued them. It took many long centuries of strenuous, 
bloody fighting to accomplish that work. That is the heroic epoch 
of the East-Indian Arias. The Vedas, the holy writings of Brah- 
manism seem to have been the records inspired by those heroic 
deeds of the prehistoric Arias of Hindustan. The Vedas are the 
epic and religious poems of the Hindoo Arians. As the Greeks 
have their Homeric, etc., songs, as the heroic poetries of Ossian, 
Edda, Niebelungen, etc., of the Teutons; as the Hebrews had their 
epics of the wars of Ihvh,(^) even so are the Vedas the heroic 
legends of the Arians of the East. They narrate under a mytho- 
logical guise those supernaturally colored deeds of heroism which 
gave to the valorous Arias dominion over the rich valleys of India 
and Bengal. The stories of the gods, the spirits, the heroes, the 
mythology, the fabulous achievements and the gigantic batdes, the 
triumphs, the disasters, etc., are narrated, sublimized and apotheosized 
there with all the naivity, the faith, the -fervor, the sincerity and the 
admiration of proud and pious descendants, recounting the great deeds 
and the valor of the ancestors who gave them a country, a home, a 
hearth, wealth and dominion. The original Vedic mythology of 
both, India and Iran, is akin to the Greek and Roman mythologies 
of even later times ; the same views and ideas, naive notions about 
gods, men, world and virtue, as the Greeks and Romans hailing 
from the same Arian stock. Such mythologies are nature, hero 
and ancestor worship. Such gods are forces of nature personified ; 
or heroes, leaders, patriarchs, chieftains of dynastic families and 
tribes, later apotheosized. Such gods are half-men and such heroes 
are demi-g ods. The earth is the center of the universe and heaven 
1 nin' ty\iirh'a it!"n isd 


is but the residence of the brave, the great, the good ones. These 
Vedas seem to have been composed by Arian sages, holy men, 
Rishis, later claimed to have been supernaturally inspired. They 
chanted the gods, taught the religion, presided over the worship, 
the sacrifices and, sometimes also, the councils of their tribes, clans 
and hamlets. There were several such groups and nuclei of sages, 
families of priests, poets and leaders in worship. Each tribe had 
its stock of priests and singers. When the Indian conquest was 
achieved and fully established, the several cults, inspired poems and 
sacred rituals were sifted and revised, settled and harmonized all 
alike. Those writings became the Vedas, the knowledge, the 
Scriptures, and those families of priests became the Brahmans, the 
legitimate leaders in worship and sacred lore. 

The etymological meaning of the word Brahman, is not 
definitely cleared up. Having nothing positive on it, I shall venture 
a mere suggestion which criticism may adopt or reject. Brahm, 
Brahma, Brahman, the Supreme godhead of the Hindoo-Arian 
mythology and the only One of reformed Brahmanism, may be akin 
to the Greek word obrimos, powerful, its root is : brim bri, heavy, 
weighty. Obrimos is an epithet of the leading gods of Hellas, the 
great divine powers. Even so in the Shemitic tongues, in Bible, 
Koran, etc., God is termed, Elohim, El Eloah, viz : Power.(i) 
Among primitive peoples, the deities were conceived as the personi- 
fied forces of nature, and the leading Deity was the Power. Hence, 
Obrimos, El, Eloah ; power being the highest spiritualization of 
nature, in the primitive, human mind. It may be even that the 
name of the Semitic patriarch, Abraham, originally Abrahm, is 
connected with the same root, bri, brim, power. As that patriarch 
was the first to conceive an All-power, the highest power, "El 
Elyon, owner of heaven and earth," so he, too, was called by that 
name, just as the Hindoo priest, teaching God-Brahman, was 
himself called Brahman. Gen. 17: 4, 5: deduces that name from 
the Shemitic Ab-ram, " High-father," enlarged to " father of many 
nations." But even Ab-ram is rather an epithet of God than of 
a man, and a synonym of El Elyon, the highest God, the greatest 
Power. Thus Ab-ratn also comes near to the Greek Obrimos, the 
mighty One, and to the Hindoo, Brahm and Brahman, the name 
of the highest god and of the priest teaching that god. 

Brahman, the creator of all, of course, is the origin of the 
castes. From his mouth came the Brahman-priests ; from his arms 

1 hAk h» 


the military ; from his body the laboring class ; and from his feet 
the Soudras and all the subjugated masses. To all appearance, 
Brahman meant in the Vedas a worshipper — one who leads in 
prayer, a priest. For a long time Brahman was identical with a 
priest who offers prayers. The leading tribes of the Aria had each 
their own Brahman family. These united later and became a caste, 
the first caste of the Arian society, the spiritual class. The con- 
quering Arias were subdivided into three classes, which settled 
down as castes. The first and highest was that of the Brahmans, 
priests, devoting their lives to religion, worship, study, teaching 
and educating. The second caste was the Kshairya, the militia, the 
soldiers. Their head was the king; they alone wielded the sword 
as the military aristocracy, defending and ruling the people. The 
third caste was the Vaisya, the tillers of the soil, the traders, me- 
chanics, dealers, etc. Thereupon followed 'a fourth recognized 
caste, the Soudras. That class embraced originally the remnants 
of the conquered tribes and races which had made peace with and 
submitted to the Arian masters. They were the '• Gibeonites" of 
the Indian society, " its hewers of wood and drawers of water." 
But beneath them soon sprang up a host of conquered peoples, 
forming separate castes, that were rightless and considered as far 
below even the humblest Soudras. These corresponded to the 
European Gypsies. They outnumbered by far the above four 
recognized castes. It is claimed that India counted over thirty such 
subdivisions, and that the Farias were as ten to one to the said four 
categories recognized by law. Their names were many. Each 
variety of conjugal alliance of two castes or of two sub -castes, 
constituted a new denomination, with its own position, treatment 
and craft in society. All mixed marriages were either forbidden or 
at least constituted a mesalliance, a degradation of caste, a descent 
in social rank. Whilst any matrimonial aUiance of the first four 
classes with those beneath them was considered a defilement and 
constituted the offspring as outcasts, out of the law, and forming a 
new Variety of sub-caste. The law of Manu alludes to them as 
outcasts, Tchandala, Paria, etc. There were in all, some forty castes 
remaining hereditary, from parent to offspring. So were their 
diverse rights and duties, social standing and occupations. After 
the eqclesiastical despotism of the Brahmans, and after the political 
despotism of the military class, came that social despotism of the 
forty castes. It was the most crushing and baleful, the greatest 
obstacle to improvement. That accumulated tyranny, accounts for 


the enfeeblement of that numerous Indian people, their yielding to 
the Mongols, the Mohammedans, the Dutch, the English, etc. 
Many long centuries have passed since the invasion of India 
by the Arias. More centuries have elapsed since their conquest 
and firm establishment in those regions. Many more have closed 
since the definite settlement of the upper strata, the classes over 
the masses, since the surrender and submission of the Soudras, the 
Tchandalas, etc., to be the "hewers of wood and drawers of water" 
of the three reigning castes. All that may have taken thousands 
of years. At last the Ana-Hindoo State and Society were firmly 
settled. The Brahmans, the top of the social scale, took the lead. 
They presided at the temple, school, justice, worship, the palace, and 
at public festivals. As a class, they were not too glaringly ambi- 
tious, not too eager for wealth, dominion and sensual enjoyments. 
They really devoted themselves to the study of religion, the Vedas, 
the cult, to teaching, meditation, sciences and public improvement, 
as far as understood then and there. As a body, the Hindoo priest- 
hood were indeed a spiritual and ethical aristocracy. Study and 
meditation, thinking and improving others was considered the most 
worthy occupation for them ; it was so even above the cult and 
above deeds. Earnestly meditating over their myths, their gods 
and their worship, ceremonies and purifications, their heaven and 
hell, etc., they began to rise above these and soar up to the purer 
realms of religion and philosophy, to a nobler conception of nature, 
deity, man and cosmogony. Gradually they elaborated a great 
reform, the new Brahman religion. That is a great epoch in East- 
ern history, just in our times being recognized in the West. It was 
no less important than the advent of Abraham, Moses, Elijah, 
Isaiah, etc., is for the Shemitic races of Western Asia. It appears 
a new wave of thought and ethics swept over the world, revolu- 
tionizing mankind, renovating church and state, called by different 
names and with different leaders, but the movement is identical. 
It was the advent of a higher religious and social phase, the advent 
of monotheism ; monotheism of course with a certain popular 
allowance, with formal, external concessions to the customary, 
hereditary polytheism of the Arians. 

That doctrine was : There is really but one God, Source of all 
existence, of the spiritual and the material worlds. He is pure 
spirit and immaterial, infinite, everlasting and unchangeable. His 


own cause and Supreme cause of all that is. He is perfect and all- 
holy. He is the Vedic Brahman. He is without will, desire or 
external object, impassible, immovable, unaffected by any prayer 
or sacrifice. He is self-existent and self-sufficient. He is the essence 
of all the souls and bodies, of mind and matter ; He pervades all 
space and time. He is the Athman, the breath and life of the 
universe, hovering over and pervading the chaotic elements of 
existence. (^) He is impersonal, Tat, the universe lies undifferen- 
tiated in His bosom. Behind the sensual earth, sky, ocean, stars, 
etc., behind all that is visible to our eyes, there is the reality of 
being ; behind the screen of nature, there is its essence, the prin- 
ciple, the veritable being, the mysterious source of existence. That 
source is immaterial, purely spiritual, beyond the senses. It can be 
grasped or rather guessed as through a veil, by the human mind 
alone. Nature is but the shroud of deity. The Deity is veiled in 
the magnificent robe of the universe. 

Let us follow a while Max Dunkar.(2) As in man, so in entire 
nature, there is a visible, sensual body, and an immaterial soul. 
Even so behind this perishable, external, visible universe, there flows 
the internal source of being, there lives the divine soul, pervading 
all individual existences. Behind all these changeable appearances, 
there is but one breath, one life, one soul, Athman, Param-athman, 
the universal soul. This must be the creative, the conserving, the 
divine power, the principle and the bearer of all phenomena of life, . 
nature's life, soon rising and flowing, soon ebbing and sinking. 
This soul of the universe was identified with Brahman. Brahman 
is its name in the Vedas. As the priests had found behind the 
prayers and the holy ceremonies an invisible spirit which really and 
alone gave to these their energy and effectiveness ; as it was that 
holy spirit who swayed the national deities and compelled them 
to listen to the prayers of man ; as behind and above those gods 
was the saint, the power behind the throne, that being the most 
divine, the highest divinity, — hence that self-same spirit should be 
looked for, too, behind the great and various phenomena of nature's 
activity. It must be the same spirit who reigned here as there ; 
who is, in heaven and on earth ; who gives efficacy to the prayers 
of the Brahmans, who called into life the manyfold creations of 
nature and causes them to move in their prescribed orbits ; He who 

1 So Gen. I. 3. The Spirit of God hovered over the waters. 

2 Max Dunear, 'Geschichte des Alterthums,' II., 94. 


is at the same time the highest God and the Master of the gods. 
Thus the Holy Spirit reigning over the gods, grew and expanded 
into the world-soul, pervading all the phenomena of nature, breath- 
ing life into them and maintaining them. From prayer and devotion, 
mightier than the might of the gods, from that inner fervor and 
concentration which, according to Hindoo belief, reaches over to 
heaven, the priests had thus arrived at the conception of one God, not 
represented any longer by any phenomenon of nature, and he was 
accepted as the Holy One. And this Supremely Holy One was 
also the world-soul, the emanator of the universe, or rather its 
principle, its efficient cause, its spring. The universe emanated from 
Him as the stream does from its source. Brahman, the Tai,{i) the 
impersonal being, say the expounders of the Vedas, is no antithe- 
sis, no contrast to the essence and the specific nature of the world. 
No, it unfolded itself as the universe. Brahman is the undevoloped 
world ; the world is the Brahman revealed. " It was neither being, 
nor non-being " — so it reads in one of the latest hymns of one of 
the youngest books of the Rigveda — it was not the world, not air, nor 
anything above it, nor the differentiation of day and night. This 
universe was shrouded in darkness, it was neutral, undifferentiated 
fog or water. But Tat — the impersonal Being(3) — breathed without 
breath, alone, positing his own Self, the Self- Existence, being and 
essence. Desire (to unfold and create the world), kama, arose first 
in his mind. This desire, kama, became the original creative seed. 
One sees how side by side with the pure, spiritual potency. Brah- 
man, the original matter, too, is postulated : At the side of non- 
being, the undifferentiated Brahman, the fructifying water from 
heaven is presupposed to have existed, and this claim is maintained 
altogether illogically." Thus far, Dunkar. 

In our later stndies(3) on Neo-Platonism and Qabbala, we shall 
see that the mystics teach God, the Unknowable and Infinite, Ain- 
Soph, exactly as the Vedante does its impersonal Brahman, viz: 
that the Infinite emanated first the spiritual world containing the 
material one, Adam Qadmon and Sephiroth. So here, Adam Qad- 
mon is the personal Brahman of the Vedante ; the Self- Existent, 
the undifferentiated Brahman unfolded the world under the guise 
of the personal Brahman, who created the material world. The 

1 Tat in Sanscrit is identical with the English that. 

2 Akin to the Biblical Ihvh, being in the abstract. 

3 See Fluegel's Philosophy and Qabbala, following this volume. 


Qabbala designates God also as Ain. So, too, the Vedante calls 
him non-being. The analogies are in other respects also most 
striking. In the Qabbala, the Unknowable God, Ain-Soph, creates 
Adam Qadmon. In the Vedante and Veda, the impersonal Brah- 
man, Tat, the Self- Existent, creates Brahman the personal one. 
According to either, is God the infinite substance, not the immediate 
Creator of the universe. The incongruities of Brahmanic meta- 
physics adhere to their latest offspring, the Qabbala and also in 
some sense to Neo-Platonism. Let us explain : 


How does the Vedante, the philosophic commentator of the 
Vedas explain the existence of this sensual world ? By emanation. 
The pure and holy spiritual Brahman, emanated Brahman the 
second, the personal God who created bodies and souls, mind and 
matter, the gods, the spirits, man and the world. For these 
emanations are the more deteriorating, the further they are from 
their divine Creator, the personal Biahman and his sire, the imper- 
sonal one, the original, incomprehensible, Self-Existent. Matter is 
thus nothing else but spirit condensed and darkened. The material 
world is the dim and obscured opposite pole of the spiritual world, 
the immediate development of the personal Brahman, who thus 
contains in potency, both mind and matter. This doctrine, too, 
Brahmanism entailed upon all the mystics and the Qabbalists also. 
The human soul is a spark from the divine mind. As the fiery 
forge gives forth light-chips, so the divine world -soul radiates souls 
which are its own parts and elements. They are destined once to 
return to their source, Brahman, after their earthly pilgrimage. 
The human soul, contaminated by its shell, the earthly evil, is 
purged by hell-fire and then by innumerable transmigrations and 
wanderings. It assumes temporarily many new shapes and bodies, 
of the several castes, the animals, from the elephant to the vermin, 
the plants and the minerals, according to its merits and demerits. 
After long and painful metamorphoses, it is purified, restored to its 
pristine effulgence, ascends to and is absorbed in Brahman, its 
original source. It becomes one with him. It is lost and assimi- 
lated in his divine being. This is termed Nirvana in the Brahmanic 
sense, meaning absorption in the deity. Buddhism, too, teaches 
this Nirvana doctrine. But, being atheistic, it means there simply 
annihilation, ceasing to exist. Brahmanic Nirvana means ascension 
to and absorption in the divine Essence. These latter doctrines, 
divine absorption and transmigration of the soul are also entailed 


upon modern mystics. Indeed, Brahmanism as the Qabbala con- 
ceives, is a most rigorous monism, which leads to pantheism : There 
is but one substance. That substance is undifferentiated : it is self- 
existent ; it is its own Cause and Cause of all. As the sun-light, it 
splits into several rays, into mind and matter, into the spiritual and 
material worlds. Gods, angels, spirits, bodies, men, animals, plants, 
minerals, good. and bad, are all its emanations. The further and 
later the emanations are, the less spiritual, the less pure and lightful 
they are ; until at the other extreme end they are matter, dark, 
bad, devilish. As the aether becomes air, says the Brahman, as 
air condenses into water, into snow, into hail and ice ; then again, 
the same process is reversed ; ice becomes water, air, aether, etc., 
even so do from Brahman emanate the gods, spirits, souls and 
bodies. They amalgamate with bodies and are brutalized. Then 
again, they are purified, spiritualized and returned to the bosom of 
Brahman, their source. 

We have seen how the leading reformed Brahman doctrines of 
grey antiquity are identical with the Qabbalistic ones, especially with 
those of the Zohar, of comparatively modern date, the thirteenth 
century. But we shall find them squaring also with Romano Greek 
philosophy, as expounded by Virgil in his Aneis, book VI. The 
very same views are reflected there about the universe being one 
body, animated by one divine mind ; that world-soul permeates the 
universe in all its single parts and governs it from within, as the 
human soul does the body ; the human soul is a divine spark, wan- 
dering in this darkened world of matter, attached to some of its 
individual bodies for a special time ; it becomes badly contaminated 
by this forced contact and is cleansed and chastened by fire, suffer- 
ings and new transmigrations into other bodies ; until at last it is 
purified from all its stains and earthly dross and enters its highest 
condition of apotheosis. When the Roman courtiers imagined the 
dying emperor becoming a god, this was later but a flattery ; in 
earlier naive times it was a doctrine, a religious assumption, a phil- 
osophy in full earnest. The emperor was the highest and last 
transmigration of the wandering soul. In that imperial shape it had 
attained at all its pristine purity and lustre ; thus freed by death 
from its body, it re-assumed its original condition, it became again 
a part of the god-head in elysium or in heaven. This doctrine 
which is first Brahmanic, which we find again in later Jewish mys- 
ticism, we meet also in Virgil as a philosophem and creed of the 


Romano-Greek mythology. Here are Virgil's words (Aneis VI., v. 
724) which Anchises addresses to his son Aeneis in Hades: 
" Learn, my son, that from begin, the heavens, the earth, the liquid 
planes, the lustrous globe of night and the brilliant luminary of day 
are vivified and nurtured by one soul common to them all. Pen- 
etrating and permeating the limbs of the world, the soul imparts the 
movement to the universe and infuses itself into that entire mass. 
It forms thus the diverse species and kinds of individual beings. 
The flame animating these is never dying and ever proving its cel- 
estial origin as long as it is not burdened with the admixture of the 
gross clay, as long as it languishes ftot, imprisoned in the earthly 
senses subject to death. From this gross association are derived 
all the imperfections and passions of men. The spirit entangled in 
that dark prison of the senses, cannot pierce their obscurity and 
look up to heaven. Even then when death has freed the soul from 
its earthly bonds, it cannot free itself entirely of the stains necessar- 
ily contracted during its union with the body. The inveterated 
spots of vice ever leave their profound impressions. These are 
purged only by punishment and sufferings, by blasts and fire. We 
have all to undergo such expiations. At last we arrive at elysium, 
but only for a short time mostly, and after long purgations, freed 
from all earthly admixture and having recovered all our original 
purity. After a thousand years have elapsed, these souls are led to 
the river Lethe, in order that drinking oblivion in its waves, they 
begin to wish again to re-enter a body and return to the earth, with- 
out any remembrance of the past.'' Anchises now shows his son their 
own posterity, souls about to return to earth and vivify human 
bodies, successively to be kings of Latium. Thus we find here the 
hoary, Bramanic ideas about God and world-soul creation, govern- 
ment, Hades, human soul, its struggles, destination, sin, transmigra- 
tion and redemption — all that we meet among the Greeco-Roman 
mythologists and the modern Jewish mystics. This is another 
proof of the essential identity of leading popular views and doc- 
trines.(i) Also Bab. Sanhedrin mentions the millenium.(2) 

Brkhmanism thus conceives all existences as an infinite scale or 
chain of beings, from the impersonal, supreme. Self- Existent, Brah- 
man, down to the mineral bodies ; and from the stone upward to the 
highest and holiest, the world-soul. First emanated the personal 
Brahman ; from him emanated all the national gods of the Arias. 

1 Virgil, Mnis VI., verses 724-751. ^ ain ini ttahy iin 'sir «'?« n'lP 97 a. 


They are the appointed governors and patrons of the several parts 
of creation. There were eight such gods in the first line, superin- 
tending the eight regions of the world— according to the notion of 
the Hindoos. They had to protect them from the evil spirits,, etc. 
Such were Indra, Yama, Varuna, Surjah, etc. Of course gods Agni 
and Soma (fire and Ahoma) were not missing. Soon their number 
rose to twelve, as the months in the year ; to thirty-three as the 
monthly days ; as found also among the Parsees ; soon rising to 
3i339 ; to 33,000 and even to 330,000,000 of gods. Of course that 
divine host needed their food and praises, and the ancient sacrificial 
cult was continued in their behalf. After the gods, Brahman 
created the spirits, the several castes of men, the animals, the plants, 
lifeless, dumb matter came last, the disspirited and lightless, final and 
farthest emanations, the darkest condensations of spiritual Brahman. 
The entire material world, spiritless, lightless, impure, imperfect and 
unholy, was thus of evil. It was so already with the Hindoo Brah- 
mans, not only with the Magi. It was even worse. The Magi dis- 
criminated in the material world between a creation of good and one 
of evil, that of Ahura Mazda and that of Angro Mainyu. Nature, 
the bodily universe was originally created by Mazda for good, as is 
the biblical view. Ahriman spoiled it by counter-creations. Hence, 
there was according to Mazdaism, a holy and an unholy nature. 
Worse in Brahmanism ; all nature, the sensual world, is Brahman 
dimmed, imperfect, perishable, ephemeral and transient, as the bub- 
bles on the water appearing and disappearing. It is impure and 
sinful. It is essentially evil, has no right to exist and is to be anni- 
hilated. The soul is therefoie to get rid of the body by all the 
means at its disposal, even by fire, sword, exposure, slarvatioh, ac- 
tual suicide. Hindoos are to spare their neighbors and the animals, 
even the flies, flesh-meat was forbidden on that score. All was to be 
spared except one's own body. Ascetism invented the most ex- 
cruciating torments to shorten one's life, to get rid of existence, for 
then only could the soul return to Brahman. Of course the Hindoo 
philosophers were not ever consistent in that view. It was yet a 
partially accepted duty to build a house, raise a family, defend 
society, etc. But this was done but half-heartedly. The best of 
mankind, the Brahmans, at a ripe age, were to leave the world, go 
into the forest to become dvidshcCs, hermits in the forest, live on roots, 
on alms, exposed to the inclement weather, to cold, rain and heat, 
to wild beasts and starvation, and devote to meditation and prayer, 

Maurice Fluegel. Zend-Avesta and Eastern Religions, 


to the severest forms of ascetism and self-torment and die in (the 
contemplation of deity. Having seen children and grandchildren, 
they retired from the world, renounced country, family, home, 
friends and all comforts and wilfully sacrificed health and life. Nay, 
they renounced at last even prayer, and thinking, and all mental oc- 
cupation, spontaneously interrupting their brains in any and all in- 
stinctive activity, mechanically muttering but Om, a symbolical 
recognition of Brahman, and a few other corresponding holy words — 
Bhur, Bhuvus, Svar ;(}) till they at last perished from inanition, 
alone in the forest, or drowned in the sacred waves of the Ganges, 
in order to get rid of their own hateful Hfe, of this sinful world, of 
impure nature ; martyrizing thus the flesh to free the soul from its pri- 
son and to return after long and wearisome regenerations to Brahman, 
the only place of refuge from odious, sinful, degrading and brutaliz- 
ing existence. The absorbtion into Brahman was the only paradise, 
Nifvana, the unification with God. That was the final Hindoo ideal 
of a saint, a dvidsha, a hermit, a sage. 

Transgressions of morality, of purity, of the dietary laws, of the 
religious duties and observances are punished in this world and here- 
after. Transmigration, repeated births in different bodies, is the 
great resource of priestly rewards and punishments. A good life in 
one body will be rewarded by regeneration in a nobler body, a 
higher caste, or a finer animal. A mean life will have to pass into a 
lower body, even myriads of times ; into that of a wolf, a rabbit, a 
mouse, a frog, a plant, a thorn. All individual bodies are but the 
shells and temporary habiliments of souls. Yonder cow, ass or 
snake may be the residence of the soul of some one's parent, brother 
or friend. Hence, comes the prohibition of killing animals for food, 
from fear it may be one's own father one slaughters. Ovid, the 
Roman poet, puts that plea into the mouth of the philosopher 
Pythagoras himself. (2) Some of such ideas are characteristic : The 
slanderer is punished with stinking breath(^) in this life, besides hell 

1 Manu. II., 76-78. 3 Manu. IX., 47-54. 

2 Ovid Metamorphos, XV., 75. Parcite, mortales, dapibus temerare 
nefandis Corpora ! sunt fruges, sunt deducentia ramos Pondere poma 
sua, tumidaeque in vitibus uvae ; Prodiga divitias alitnentaque mitia tel- 
lus Suggerit, atque epulas sine csede at sanguine prsebet, Carae ferse 
sedant jejunia. 

Take care mortals, not to soil your bodies .with abominable food. 
You have grain and fruit weighing down their branches. Liberal earth 
furnishes sweet nourishment in abundance, offering food without mur- 
der or blood. Wild beasts appease their hunger with flesh. . . . 


and innumerable mean transmigrations after death. Prayers, fasting, 
self-castigation and suicide may mitigate misdeeds committed. To 
chant one thousand times certain prayers can atone for crime. Who 
uproots uselessly a plant, should in atonement follow and tend for a day 
a cow, the favorite animal in India. He who ate something forbid- 
den shall for a month eat but rice, beginning the first day with 
fifteen mouthfuls, going down to one, and after fifteen days take 
each day one mouthful more up to fifteen mouthfuls.(^) Such 
crimes are also atoned by eating cow-dirt, mixed with cow-urine, 
drinking water boiled in Kussa-grass and alternating that with fasting. 
When we wonder at the minute prescriptions of Christian or of 
Talmudical casuists, in medieval times, their endless litanies, bene- 
dictions, prostrations, self-castigations, fastings, hair-splitting crimes 
and atonements, we may find here in this curious repulsive casuistry 
and petty ritualistic prescriptions of the Brahmans, the models of 
such rigorism and futility. Partaking of intoxicating drinks is pun- 
ished with especial severity. Whosoever contravenes intentionally, 
shall so long drink boiling rice-water or cow-urine, until his bowels 
are burned. Murder was punished most severely, but diiferently, 
depending upon the caste of the murderer and of the murdered 

The Braman is to rise before dawn; he shall bathe and sing a 
hymn to the sun-god ; he prays long at morning and evening ; he 
offers sacrifices five times daily to the gods, the spirits and the 
ancestors, invoking Brahman with repeated exclamations of Om /(2) 
His garments must be ever clean and white, never worn by any 
other person ; his hair, nails and beard must be clipped. He wears 
golden ear-rings and a wreath on his head; he holds in one hand 
the Bamboo-staff, in the other the kussa-grass, (corresponding to the 
Magian Baresmon) and a water-pitcher, emblem of poverty and puri- 
fication. He shall not play dice. He must never sing or dance, ex- 
cept as a part of the ritual. He should not gnash his teeth, nor 

1 Manu. IX., 212-216. 

2 This Om exclamation is a solemn affirmation, true 1 sure ! It is to 
all appearance akin to the Hebrew pN, the Greek amyn ; latin and all 
modern languages, amen ; hence omnomi, omniw, omosw, I swear, the 
root of which is the nearest to the Brahmanic Om. It must be of hoary 
antiquity, identical in Arian, Eastern and Western languages, as well 
as in Semitic ones. I am inclined to think omen to be a derivative from 
the same root, not from osmen as believed by others. 


scratch and cut his head nor any other limb. He must not step upon 
ashes, hair, bones, nor on growing corn-stalks. He shall not in any- 
way damage the soil, nor the plants, nor hurt man or animal, es- 
pecially a cow, the favorite animal there. Morning, midday and 
evening, he shall notlook ipto the sun. When at the altar, or reading 
the sacred writ, or when eating his meal, he is to bare his right arm. 
This corresponds to the covering and uncovering of the head during 
prayer, in the church, mosque and synagague. Fire must ever be 
sacred to him. Kindling the fire is the beginning of worship. He 
shall not stir it up with his breath ; nor otherwise treat it as a mere 
tool ; nor throw into it anything rotten, offals, etc. Nothing impure 
must be thrown into the water either, as blood, unclean water, spittal, 
etc. (1) The dietary laws are very severe and elaborate, especially 
minute for the Brahman. The Catholic church distinguishes, too, 
between layman and priest concerning the diet. The Pentateuchal 
dietary laws were also intended mostly for the priests. It was not 
so exacting concerning the common Israelite. This we can espec- 
ially recognize in the suggestions of the prophet Ezekiel on that 
head. The later Pharisees nivelated that point, extending these 
privileged priestly observances to all the Israelites ; all are realizing 
the ideal of a " kingdom of priests and holy nation," expressed 
already in II. Moses ig. 6. 

We have thus attempted to offer a short and succinct outline of 
Brahmanism, no doubt a very imperfect one, a mere sketch, to the 
end of enabling the inquisitive student to gain a correct view of 
Zoroaster's doctrines as found in the Zend-Avesta. The intelligent 
reader will see at once that between the two doctrines there are 
strong parallel features and a community of physiognomy. He will 
easily recognize that both are daughters of the same mother. The 
ancient ancestral religion or mythology had been entailed from the 
pristine Arian stock ; it spread from the regions of the Himalaya, on 
one side, East to the plains of the Indus and Ganges, and on the 
other. West, to the Iranian countries from Bactria to Media and Par- 
thia ; after centuries of battling against the aborigines of both these 
great divisions of the land, the Arian mythology at last had to yield 
and mould itself to the new circumstances and surroundings, to the 
new populations and times, to its new and vaster home, to the new 
social features and arrangements ; above all to its own new genera- 

1 Parallel to Parseeism, its sister religion. 


tion of Arian children. From rustic, humble, marauding, poverty- 
stricken nomads, these had become proud conquerors, owners of 
vast territories and great wealth, masters of a population far ad- 
vanced in the arts of refinement and of luxury. That original, gray, 
naive, Himalayan religion, of primitive nature, interfused with hero 
and ancestor-worship, had now to submit to great reforms, to start- 
ling innovations, nay, to radical changes, especially in its philosoph- 
ical, metaphysical aspects. The Brahmans in India as the Atarvans 
or Magi in Iran, spared as much as they could, the popular mythe, 
conceptions and observances. But the inner sanctum, the kernel of 
the system and cult had to give way. West and East, the new 
Arian generation adopted new views and ideas about world, man, 
worship, God, objects of life, etc., and these created here Brahman- 
ism and there Zoroasterism. 

In India these new views and ideas arrived essentially, though 
not formally, at a real, spiritual monotheism. Brahman, the Athman, 
the life and breath of the universe, the Supreme Intelligence, the 
world-soul was the unique substance of all existence. He was the 
Supreme God. All the popular gods were but his subordinates, 
agents, messengers, or perhaps simply his attributes, his phases, 
divine aspects from a human standpoint. While among the West- 
Arian races, in the Iranian countries, Zoroaster or the Magi brought 
about their own reformation of the same Arian mother creed. 
They, too, postulated a qualified monotheism, the religion of Ahura 
Mazda, who came even nearer the Shemitic Elohim, Ihvh. He was 
the only one, supreme, spiritual God, Providence and Creator. — But 
at his side the Magi gave somewhat more prominence to the princi- 
ple of evil than the Brahmans did. They admitted thus a formal 
dualism. Opposite to the one, supreme God of Light, of goodness 
and truth, sat Angro Mainyu, the dark, wicked spirit, the author of 
lies, evil and sin. The Magi were decidedly monotheists. But rec- 
ognizing the stern fact of evil in the world, they did not slip over it, 
they emphasized it boldly. They put their finger upon that clash- 
ing hiatus in the universe. They declared that there must be a 
pretty independent principle of Evil, too. Hence, human virtue 
means not so much as to pray, meditate and offer sacrifices, but a 
deal more, viz : fighting evil, making efforts for good, and assisting 
actively Ahura Mazda in his good creation, co-operate with him and 
help forwarding good and resisting evil. This they termed virtue, wor- 

arian reformation. 8s 

ship, wisdom, serving Mazda and battling against Ahriman. Theirs 
was a religion of deeds, less of creed and prayer. This view of ac- 
tive religion, assisting the deity in doing good, we find also among 
Jewish moralists : " by such deeds, man becomes a partner of 
God."(^) This Persian doctrine is termed dualism, in contradistinc- 
tion with monotheism. Yet this distinction is really without a differ- 
ence. The Zoroastrians or Magi, did not worship two gods. They 
were really monotheists. They described Ahura Mazda nearly as 
the Bible does Ihvh. They worshipped not Angro Mainyu, they 
feared him, abhorred him and fought him. The very emblem of a 
Magi was the Baresmon, a bundle of rods to destroy the creations 
of Ahriman. Just as the Brahman bore in his hands a bamboo-staff 
and a bundle of kussa-grass. Thus we see that both the branches of 
the Arias; East and West of the Indus, reformed their former naive 
polytheism to a qualified but essential monotheism. Both revered 
but one God, though they allowed the ancient mythology a place, 
for popular purposes. 

Why was the principle of Evil more prominent with the Magi 
than with the Brahmans ? This question is best answered, I think, 
by interrogating the surroundings of either, by examining the 
climatic, political, social, economical, etc., circumstances of India 
and of Iran. In India, the climate is generally very mild and often 
unbearably hot ; hence, it is effeminating, weakening, predisposing 
men to inactivity, despondency, submission, contemplative habits, 
averse to all exercise, inclined to religion, given to dreaming, 
supernaturalism, looking up to superior, all-dominating forces, 
political or spiritual. Nature is there mostly spontaneous, rich and 
luxuriant, producing men's food and clothing in abundance, with 
very little effort on the part of the cultivator. On the other hand 
the heat is so all-conquering and so enervating, that usually man is 
passive, listless, little ambitious, little capable of continued effort, 
and soon tired of existence. Add now to these climatic, physio- 
logical, economic and psychic factors, the political, social and 
ethical ones. A foreign race had conquered the children of the 
soil and placed upon them an eternal, crushing yoke, coupled with 
ignominy. The Arias declared themselves an everlasting aris- 
tocracy, sanctioned by the Supreme God himself. The vast 
majority of the inhabitants was declared to be born to serve and 
tremble, contaminating even by their looks. The higher classes, 

1 n'tfKia nipvoa n'opn"? sinitf nifs?: 


the Brahmans and Kshatryas, the priests and the soldiers of these 
Arian conquerors, have subordinated their own kinsmen, the 
Vaisyas, subjugated the native aboriginal races and forever dis- 
franchised them. The Brahmans were to be considered as the 
expounders and oracles of the Supreme God. Every Brahmanic 
priest was himself a living embodiment, an incarnation of the god- 
head. He was himself a deity. The Kshatrias were the next born 
lords. They were the custodians of the national force, the born 
rulers, a military aristocracy, divine blue blood, living for dominion 
and bloodshed. The native was forbidden to touch them, to look 
at them, to draw his breath in their presence. In their presence he 
had to fall on his knees, fold his hands, drop his eyes. Calculate 
now the psychical effect of all these features and factors together ; 
enervating, weakening, inert climate; slight inclination for work 
and for enterprise ; crushing, racial, foreign dominion ; abject pros- 
tration of the vast majority of natives ; more crushing and over- 
bearing despotism of castes and crafts ; the State coercing every 
social member to follow in the limits of his guild ; at last the most 
abominable religious despotism ever recorded in the annals of man- 
kind; pretending almost a divine homage and prescribing a 
worship, a ceremonial, a ritual, etc., most exacting, cruel, minute, 
interminable, extending over the entire life and hereafter ; sacrifices, 
endless litanies, genuflexions, cruel fastings, self-castigation and 
self-murder ; prescribing on all occasions and at each moment, a 
host of petty observances and rites, as means to escape the wicked 
spirits, devils, a future of terror, etc., and to come nearer to Brahman 
and the good gods. Such interminable observances and forms 
made it impossible for even the most conscientious stickler not to 
sin. And the threatened punishments were cruel and lasting, ex- 
tending to myriads of new births under the most repulsive shapes. 
Combining now this multiple despotism of climate, soldier, priest, 
caste, etc., we shall find the solution to the Brahmanic religion, st'ite 
and society to this day. We shall learn why the Hindoo loathed 
life and declared all existence to be of evil ; why virtue is not work, 
effort, building up houses, families, farms, riches, ambitions. For 
nature and society had crushed out all such sense of enterprise, had 
robbed man of all force and energy, and handed him over, hand 
and foot bound, to the blasting clime, to weakness, to despotism 
and to superstition He therefore despaired of nature and of earthly 
happiness ; he declared existence a curse, a cruel dream, an illusion ; 


there is nothing real but Brahman ; man's soul is a spark of God 
driven into exile ; rid yourself of life, of the body, then the soul 
returns to the Supreme, is again united to its source, and enjoys 
rest ; rest in God is the only beatitude, the only paradise, only 
heaven. That is Brahmanic faith, philosophy, sociology. The 
unfortunate Brahmanic society created the pessimism of the Brah- 
manic religion. 

That reminds of Spinoza's fate, of his philosophy, and their 
inter-connection. Hated by the priests for his independent, sharp 
thinking ; disliked by the rich for his proud, honest poverty ; gen- 
erally neglected by the masses for his ethical and intellectual 
superiority, he was ostracized as Aristides in old Athens. He had 
to live out of their reach, in his ethereal atmosphere of mentality, 
virtue and dignified modesty. The silken mob and the cotton mob 
could not follow him there to that sublime, isolated height of 
thought and goodness. Reduced to himself, standing in the world 
as a lighthouse amidst the raging sea waves, he lost sight of that 
world and saw everywhere nothing but deity. Everything else was 
but accident, ephemeral, a bubble, a wavelet on the raging ocean. 
Everything was passing, yet necessary, inexorably prescribed by 
inexorable law. He, himself, was but a paragraph there, once to be 
united to the Code. That was his Nirvana in his Brahman and 
world-Substance. Had he lived in more congenial environments, in 
a kind and respectful community, with loving persons surrounding 
him, with sweet family ties entwining round his heart, with thinking 
compeers rising to his intellectual level, with social leaders aiming 
at the public good and revering mentality and virtue as great social 
factors, Spinoza might have otherwise perfected his philosophy. 
He would have recognized that as the epithets of deity are infinite, 
so are the manifold sides of sweet, humane existence, and that 
besides mentality, there are also many other beatitudes than hard 
logic, cold thinking. Even so the Hindoo society. Should England 
succeed in really bettering that country, improving the climate, 
mitigating fanaticism, enlightening superstition, softening military 
egotism and moderating the race and caste pride, then the Brah- 
manic religion would lose its austerity, its pessimism. Life would 
become worth living ; existence no longer be a curse ; the sage 
would no longer suicide ; the widow not ascend the funeral pile, 
and Nirvana not be the sole hope. That is the task of the present 
rising reform in India, the Brahma-Somay. Rajah Rammohun 


Roy, its first founder, and Keshub Chunder Sen, its continuator, 
have correctly guessed the intrinsic monotheism and essential 
rationality of Brahmanism of 2000 years B. C. They coming nearly 
2000 P. C, justly reconnect their social and religious movemeot 
with that hoary date. Their predecessors of 4000 years ago, may 
have had their reasons for retaining, at the side of their monotheism, 
the castes and parias, the myriads of observances, with polytheism 
and ascetism. The leaders of the present Brahmanic reformation 
can safely afford to drop the old Arian gods, castes, sacrifices and 
the pessimistic Nirvana. They can securely teach the biblical One 
God in spirit, one human race, equality of sexes, one right and one 
homogeneous society with "pure thoughts, words and deeds as 
cult," and the hope for education, happiness and freedom for all 
peoples and individuals, as the goal of human history. 

Though starting from the same, original creed and the same 
premises as the Indian Arias, Zoroaster's reformation arrived at 
other theological aspects and other sociological, etc., conclusions. 
That vast conglomeration of countries and peoples of Iran, from 
Bactria to Parthia, from the Caspian Sea and the Oxus river to the 
Erythrean and Persian Gulfs, exhibited the most varied, yea, oppo- 
site climates, soils, vegetations, political formations and societies 
imaginable ; the extremes of cold and heat ; of blooming, rich, 
luxuriant oases, and of arid steppes and sand-deserts ; howling 
winds and blizzards coming from the northern seas, lakes and 
mountain-ridges, alternating with the vast, intermediate transitions 
and extremes, with sunny valleys and earthly paradises, as in Persia, 
Susa, Media, etc., contrasting so abruptly with the dreary steppes, 
the snow and sand deserts often close by. These startling contrasts 
of soil, clime, vegetation and living growth ; the formations of 
mounts and adjacent valleys, of peaks over 20,000 feet high and of 
bottomless precipices, of gardens and steppes, paradises and deserts — 
that gives the first clue to the religion, the philosophy, the polity 
and the sociology of the Magian religion. Dualisni was here im- 
printed on the face of nature and man. The icy winds, the scorch- 
ing sun-rays, the avalanches of sand and of snow, the miasma of 
swamps, and the chills of vast pools and dark forests, clashed 
horribly with the frequent oases of green, lovely, cultivated lands, 
busy, flourishing cities, industrious and thriving husbandmen and 
craftsmen. Here were paradise and hell side by side, staring the 
beholder in the face. Here the helpful hand of man was all impor- 


tant ; laziness was the greatest crime. Activity, draining swamps, 
cultivating orchards and vines, raising crops, extirpating the wolf, 
the bear and the tiger from the entangling woods, were great vir- 
tues. It helped the good creation of Ormazd. It annihilated the 
mischief of the wicked drughs. Labor, effort, solid work, building 
cities, draining, clearing, irrigating, opening wells, planting fields, 
raising breeds of dogs, horses, cattle, sheep, storing up provisions, 
developing crafts and tools, paving streets, opening roads and 
canals, restraining lawlessness, theft and murder, protecting life and 
property, erecting homesteads, rearing families, establishing govern- 
ment and order — that was virtue, that had sterling meaning, a scope 
fully worthy of man. Here that was possible and desirable; it 
required strenuous efforts and continuous labor, but it was meri- 
torious and useful. Hence, the leading doctrines, the principles 
of good and evil were more salient in Iran and less so in India. 
Man could cope with nature in Iran ; he was powerless in India. 
The blasts of cold and heat, storm and steppe could be overcome 
there ; heat and pestilence and tyranny could less be vanquished 
here. India induced despair and ascetism, Iran effort and perse- 
verance. Hence, virtue and religion in India meant resignation, 
self-mortification, passiveness, renunciation of happiness and of life, 
desiring nothing but Nirvana, absorption in God. Hence, the 
Hindoo philosophy : The world is but an illusion, existence and 
life are a curse and a punishment ; body and nature are lies, sin 
and impurity ; really there exists nothing but Brahman ; from 
Brahman man's soul was derived and to him it is destined to return ; 
that was religion, virtue, social science, the messiah- ideal. While 
in Eran, man could subsist only by will-power, work and effort ; 
therefore, religion was not resignation, contemplation, a hermitage 
in the forest, and starvation. No, in Eran, Zoroaster taught : There 
are two contending powers in the world, life and death, light and 
darkness, truth and falsehood, creation and destruction. These he 
personified as Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu. He called upon 
his adherents to follow the one and to abhor the other ; to do this 
not by prayers, ' meditations and observances solely. No, he em- 
phasized deeds, works, and efforts daily and continuous, as the 
most efficacious divine service, as the most acceptable to Ahura 
Mazda. He associated man in the work of creation. He made 
him the companion of God. By useful work, by creating arable 

Zend-Avesta by Maurice Fluegel. 


lands, gardens, houses, bridges, wells, by drying marshes, draining 
swamps, extirpating wild beasts, he fulfilled his duty, he prolonged 
life, he built up paradise on earth and earned heaven here and 
hereafter. That was practical holiness ; for God was practical good. 
That was Zoroaster's version of (Levit. 19) : " Holy shall ye be, for 
holy am I your God." The Mosaic lawgiver had a ready-made 
country in view, and holiness meant to him morality and charity. 
Brahmanism had an unhappy clime with castes, and holiness meant 
resignation, submission and ascetism. Zoroaster legislated for wild 
territories ; so religion to him was to conquer savage nature, brutal 
man, the fierce tiger, and build up a civilization. Thus the one and 
same original Arian mythology, called forth monotheism in sub- 
stance in both, India and Eran. While physical and political causes 
brought out in India the ethics of resignation and ascetism with 
contemplation and pessimism. In Iran, monotheism was accom- 
panied and explained by dualism, a recognition of the existence 
of evil and the duty of man to fight it. Religion and morality 
there, meant help thyself, work for good, be active, resist manfully 
the evil, evil physical, ethical, social and intellectual. Ormazd and 
Ahriman were the personifications of the two poles of human exist- 
ence, of happiness and its reverse, of the battle for existence, of the 
bright and the dark sides of nature, from a human standpoint. 
Essentially, religion meant for Zoroaster the active contribution of 
moral and rational man to the triumph of good and the defeat 
of evil. Thus is Brahmanism a metaphysical monotheism, based 
upon monism, one only substance in the world, and ascetism is its 
ethical ideal. Zoroasterism is a practical monotheism, based upon 
a dualistic, cosmic view, and its ideal is practical virtue, useful 
activity. This dualistic view of Parseeism is not original with the 
Magi and Zoroaster. It is to be found even as a fundamental aspect 
among the Hindoo Brahmans. It may hail from the ancestral 
mythology of both. Yet they differentiated ; vanquished by phys- 
ical and social diflSculties, the Hindoos despaired, lost heart, gave 
up the fight against evil and took refuge in resignation and Nirvana, 
declaring life a curse and nature an ugly dream. While the Eran ■ 
ians did not despair of nor resign life. They acknowledged the 
principle of Evil, and declared it to be man's great duty to fight it. 
It became there the leading feature in the worship of Ahura, the 
author of good, to resist actively Ahriman, the author of evil. As 
the ostrich hides its head from its pursuers when in danger ; while 
rational animals face the enemy and fight him ; even so the Brah- 

Zoroaster's reformation. gi 

mans denied the world and took refuge in ascetism and Nirvana. 
The Magi faced Ahriman and grappled with him, making an effort 
to assist Mazda and convert the earth into paradise. 

Hindoo Brahmanism and Eranian Zoroasterism are monotheism 
essentially and really ; while formally and ostensibly they are both 
polytheistic ; both have a substratum of their respective mytholo- 
gies, their popular myths. Nay, when we closely examine, we find 
the mythologies of India and Eran to be identical ; a proof that 
both started from the same religious stock. The undifferentiated 
Self- Existent of the Vedas is the Persian Zrvana-Akarana. The 
personal Brahman, creating the world, is the Avestean Ahura 
Mazda. The nature-illusion of the first is the Ahriman-lie of the 
latter. The " despair " of India is softened in Persia into " fighting 
evil and finally vanquishing it." The Hindoo closes with Nirvana, 
" absorption in God ;" the Parsee with the victory of the messiah 
and the defeat of evil. The former despaired of happiness and 
took refuge in heaven. The latter hoped for happiness at the " end 
of time," as Isaiah (i) The dualistic conception of good and evil, 
of bright and dark spirits is identical in both. In both was Soma- 
Haoraa the high form of worship ; in both it became itself one of the 
highest gods. In both was Agni among the chief deities, and fire- 
worship among the chief features. Brahmanism counted eight 
leading gods ; Parseeism had seven. Thirty-three deities, as the 
monthly days, were counted in both. Most of the names of the 
gods were in both creeds identical or nearly so. A few names were 
controverted. So Ahura identical with Asura, was the god of good 
in Eran ; Asura was the god of evil in India. Daevas were here 
the bright ones, the good spirits ; there they were devils, the evil 
spirits. Haug believes to find here intentional opposition ; other 
scholars doubt that. In both cults these several gods were retained 
as subordinated to the purer God-idea, of Brahman there and of 
Ahura Mazda here ; because the people would not let them go ; 
because the unthinking learn but slowly. It is at great intervals 
only that they rise to higher, purer and more rational conceptions ; 
because in popular religion, names and forms count for much ; 
hence it was deemed prudent to continue the mythology of the 
national pantheon. So were retained in both the creeds the pre- 
scriptions on diet and cleanliness ; the three yearly harvest festivals ; 
the leading three castes of priests, warriors and agriculturers ; the 

1 B'la'n finn»3 Isa. II. 2. Micha IV. i. 


entire formalism of the ancient cults, with sacrifices, purifications, 
litanies, incantations and charms, observances and ceremonies ; with 
the Soma-Haoma and fire-worship on top. The mythology of the 
Himalayan Arias was thus purified and chastened in both India and 
Eran, and enriched with a nobler theology and purer ethics as its 
real essence and kernel. Yet the popular myths were retained to 
please the people and to substantiate the claims of priest, soldier 
and wealthy j for all goes by compromise and concession in the 
practical world. 

It thus appears that more than fifteen centuries B. C, Arian 
peoples in India and Eran had dimly guessed God behind existence; 
that behind the forces and bodies of nature, there resides the great 
Soul of nature ; that the popular gods were but rays, forces, mes- 
sengers, agents or perhaps mere attributes of the Universal Spirit. 
Thus both, Brahmanism and Zoroasterism, with all their apparent 
polytheism, are really monotheistic ; and this no doubt is very in- 
teresting to ponder over. Now while this was going on in Eastern 
Asia, a similar movement took place in the West, in Ur of the 
Chaldees in Haran, in Hebron, perhaps in Egypt and Arabia, too ; 
surely so in Israelitish Canaan fused in Judaea. Were these rays ac- 
cidental and scattered, coming from different suns and different 
motors? This is not probable indeed. At any rate the impulse 
must have started from one great center, from the Sun of suns, the 
mysterious Central Intelligence behind and above the screen of 
nature. It would be stupidity to accept here a mere accident and 
hazard. No, these several movements were directed by one Su- 
preme Intelligence, monotheism. Israel's monotheism, the Shemit- 
ic reformation began with Abraham. The Western mythology 
paled and yielded to the " Highest Power, owner of heaven and 
earth." Gradually that Abrahamic, timid, qualified monotheism 
proceeded ever bolder under the guidance of the phophetic school, 
to expunge the remnants of the mythologic gods and worships, 
notions and practices, which outside of Israel kept their ground yet 
for 2000 years, to the advent of the Nazareth and Mecca initiators. 
While in Israel, monotheism became fully victorious with Esra and 
the return from the Babylonian exile. With Abraham, commenced 
the aggressive policy of monetheism. It grew with Moses, Joshua, 
the prophets, the psalmists, the scribes, the Pharisees and the Mac- 
cabees. These defied and vanquished mythology and enthroned 
pure and unalloyed monotheism. Having gained a firm hold in 



Israel, it resumed its conquest over the Greek, Assyrian and Arian 
myths. It achieved there its victory fully one thousand yeais after 
the Babylonian exile, under the forms of Christianity and Islamism. 
Modern sects, especially the Brahma-Somay, are establishing it in 
India and Japan.(i) 

The Hindoo Reformation had, in theory, dethroned the gods 
in favor of Brahman, the one God in spirit. It had disestablished 
the universe and postulated God as the only reality. It had de- 
clared nature, matter, bodily existence but a dream and illusion. 
Hence, was the human body so, too ; the human soul is to return to 
its source, to Brahman. Kapila in his philosophy, called '^ Sankhya" 
viz : considerations, meditations, doubted all that. The existence of 
Brahman was to him as doubtful as that of the mythic, gods. But 
the reality of the bodies, of nature appeared to him beyond any 
doubt. The bodies, the individual, sensual beings do exist. Next 
exists the human soul, the inteUigence. It cannot be derived from 
the body, since light cannot come from darkness. Hence, must in- 
telligence, too, be self- existent, uncreated and eternal. There are 
thus two self-existent things, nature or bodies, and intelligence or 
souls. Every effect has its cause ; so all created things are the effect 
of nature. Nature creates blindly, unconsciously, mechanically, eter- 
nally and endlessly, in time and in space. At the side of nature, there 
is the other great factor which is undeniable, viz : intelligence ; and 
its cause can be but the soul of beings. Nature, matter is desig- 
nated as Prakrite, and soul or intelligence as Purusha. The soul 
has an ethereal shell which ever accompanies it and is immortal as 
itself, termed Unga, original body, elementary, Ahankara. This 
arch-body accompanies the' soul on all its wanderings and transmig- 
rations, while its material body changes at each birth. The 
Qabbala (2) and generally mystics speak also of the several ele- 
ments or the composite nature of the soul. There is a multiplicity 
of souls, they are the reflective parts of beings, ever in connection 
with these beings. The material body belongs to nature, is perish- 
able and changes with each new birth of the soul. The soul is eter- 
nal, uncreated ; it is uncreative but reflective and perceptive ; 
it is the mirror of nature. The misfortune of the soul is its 
fancied identity with the body, derived from its connection with, 

1 See on that the Classical historians, Colebrook, Wilson, Muir, 
Spiegel, Dunker, Lassen, Benfay, Roth, etc. 

2 See Fluegel's Philosophy and Qabbala on it. 


and its intimate adherence to, that body. The liberation of the 
soul and its happiness require it to free itself of this intimate com- 
panionship. Unfortunately after the decay of the body termed 
death, the soul assumes another body by the law of transmigration. 
What should the wise man do ? He should but find out that he is de- 
ceived, that he himself is the soul, the soul alone and not the body ; 
that his real being, his ego is spirit not matter ; he should realize that 
his body is hardly his ; still less is it his real self; it is simply an in- 
voluntary, external connection, a clumsy, brute parasite, his tem- 
porary dark shadow, or his dismal prison.(i) By that mental divorce, 
by dint of such stern reasoning, by thus repudiating the body, man 
will accustom himself to the fact that he has no concern in his 
material shell, that his body is simply a stranger and a burden to 
his real self. Hence, true wisdom and virtue consist in solving men- 
tally that imagined union, in disrupting the intimacy of the soul 
with its coil even during life-time, not actually sever it by suicide, 
but by indifference, by the logical process of absolute differentiation 
of soul from nature or body, not mortify, starve or kill the body, but 
let it go and vegetate instinctively, hold it on sufferance, until it is de- 
cayed ; in the mean time fully realizing that our true self is uncon- 
cerned in our material garb. That is liberation, beatitude, the 
highest at which the sage can attain. Such knowledge is redemp- 
tion ; its ignorance is enslavement and hell.(^) — Thus Kapila denied 
the popular gods, the priesdy, only one Brahman, the supernatural 
authority of the Vedas, the entire cult, heaven and the ascension of 
the soul to Brahman. He acknowledged the fact of nature and 
sensual existence, yet he declared them a burden to man who is con- 
demned to transmigration, which can be overcome only by repudiat- 
ing that clumsy comrade, and realizing existence as purely intel- 

1 The body as a prison is assumed by all mystics, Hindoo, Jewish and 

2 See Weber, Roor, Kepper, Burnouf, Max Dunkar, St. Hillaire and 
others on this. 


In the North of India, near present Napaul, in Kapilavas- 
tu — City of Kipila — Buddha, a great ■ ethical initiator arose in the 
latter part of the seventh century, B. C. He started apparently 
from the doctrines just outlined. At least his theory, his abstract 
doctrines were in the wake of the just delineated, sceptical philos- 
ophy of Kapila. The Brahman priests had declared life and exis- 
tence to be of evil; natuie with all its bodies but an illusion; human 
life a torture ; best to end by any means ; to escape from it and 
from transmigration, there is but one way. Nirvana, extinction of 
self and absorption in Brahman, the world-soul, the divine Sub- 
stance. Kapila started from that same theology after a strong and 
essential modification. He denied not only the gods, but even the 
existence of Brahman. He accepted the many, individual, rational 
souls instead of the World- Soul. On the other hand he fully ad- 
mitted the sad reality of nature with its individual bodies. But he 
advocated the separation of the soul from nature as the only way of 
escape from tribulation and disappointment. He recommended to 
men the mental divorcement of the soul from the body, and thus es- 
cape regeneration, that widespread scare and bug-bear of the Hindoos 
and other races, curious indeed, of entire ancient mysticism. It 
meant perpetual torments in different bodies. Now, Buddha, started 
from that philosophy after a considerable modification for the worse, 
viz : Sakya-Muni, the Buddha, the knower of truth, the Enlightened, 
was, with all the Brahmans, thoroughly convinced of the vanity, the 
futility and the misfortune of existence. He rerecognized and be- 
wailed the fact of the renewed births, of the continued existences of man 
by transmigration. He denied with Kapila, the existence of Brahman, 
of Providence, of the inspired Vedas, of the utility of religious ob- 
servances and of all the popular worship. He acknowledged with 
both that.human life is but a string of disappointments. But more 
distinctly he affirmed that birth, the desire to live and love, to enjoy 
and propagate the race is the root of misfortune ; that existence is pure 
evil, and that the only escape from it is total extinction of body and 
soul, annihilation. To annihilate the body and the soul, to 
cease existing in nature and in spirit, that is the only rest, the only 

1 We follow Burnouf, Dunkar, Koppen, etc., on this subject. 


mode of happiness. Nirvana to him meant thus : total annihilation, 
blowing out the flame of life, putting an end to our being in any and 
every sense. There is neither world-soul nor Brahman, neither God 
nor gods. But unfortunately there is nature and the individual 
souls, and both are the source of disappointment and tribulations. 
Different from Kapila, he placed the gravity center of existence, not 
in nature, but rather in min^, in the soul with its perceptions and de- 
sires. Hence come its longings for life, or union with th'e body. 
Hence the curse of transmigration, the fact of its assuming a new 
body again and again. This continuity of regeneration, this inter- 
minable existence is a misfortune. " All that is should be de- 
stroyed." This is the only remedy for the prevailing world-evil, 
to be. Indeed all is vanity and disappointment under the sun. (i) 
Birth is followed by weakness, helplessness, dependence, want and 
sickness. With youth and manhood come error, vice, ambition, 
struggle, rivalry, evanescent triumph, alternating with real defeat, 
disappointment and heart-chilling uncertainty. Then steal upon us 
age, dotage, death — to be born and live again and pass through 
the same cycle of pain and tribulations, with all the sharp edges of 
constant change, cutting deeply into our flesh, ever hoping for the 
better and finding the worse. So is birth ever accompanied by 
helplessness, childhood by dependence, youth by desires and wants, 
manhood by struggle, age by decrepitude, and death is followed by 
myriads of regenerations. And this career is not an exception ; it 
is the rule ; it is for all ; kings and saints are not exempted. Men 
and animals are subject to the same fatality, because life and all ex- 
istence is the evil. Existence and evil are controvertible terms. 
Who lives must suffer and bear. Suffering ceases only with annihil- 
ation. The only possible way to happiness, viz : rest, is non-being. 
Nirvana. — The orthodox priests arguing on the same line, closed 
with the hope of Nirvana, meaning life and absorption in God. 
Buddha, the skeptic, in the wake of Kapila, denied the existence of 
Brahman. He acknowledged the sad reality of nature, he empha- 
sized the superior import of the soul. The soul is the mind-power, 
faculty of thinking, perceiving, desiring. There is the evil. T)ie 
soul's hankering after the world is the cause of the continued heart- 
throbbing, of the ever recurring disappointments. Here Sakya- 
Muni transcended Kapila. , That skeptic advised the sage to disen- 
gage himself from nature, to dissolve all the ties with matter, to 
alienate his soul from his body, and by this e-strangement, he may 

1 Buddha's Philosophy found its translation in Ecclesiastes. 


hope to escape any and all new births and continue to exist as pure 
mind, as an individual soul. Hence, Brahman priests, as Kapila, 
held out some hope for a happy existence, the first in Brahman, 
the other, independently, as mind-power. Not so did Buddha. He 
offered nothing. He said, not nature, but the soul is preponderant. 
The root of the evil is in the soul, in its perceptions, its longing for 
the world, its covetousness. As long as these exist, the new births, 
the desire after the body will continue ; and even so will the misfor- 
tune of existence. Hence, the wise man must tear up the evil by 
the root. All existence is evil. The soul, too, must cease to be. 
Only then will the misfortune, life, stop. The sage should do both, 
divorce his body and kill his soul. He must give up all contact 
with the world. He must not perceive, not think, not see, not de- 
sire; he must become indifferent to his matter and to his mind; he must 
mortify all and everything, his body and his soul. This is the only 
beatifying Nirvana, annihilation, total extinction, the lamp dies from 
want of oil, its flame then is fully and forever extinguished. Then 
follow rest, quiet, the beatitude of no more to be, the only one pos- 
sible and true. Here was a radical cure for all the tribulations of 
existence. The priests left yet the existence of the soul in Brahman, 
with Brahman as a reality ; Kapila denied Brahman and repudiated 
the body, but left the soul to depend upon itself and exist intellect- 
ually, divorced from its body. Buddha declared war against all, 
God and nature, mind and matter, being in any shape. All exist- 
ence, body and soul, is evil. The soul is constantly striving and 
longing for the world and for the body. This is her inborn instinct, 
her native law is to unite with a body. As soon as one coil is worn 
out and decayed, she immediately assumes and clothes herself in 
another shell, and this fatal longing is the cause of the eternal re- 
generations. All existence being an evil, its only and radical 
remedy is extirpating all existence. The evil is in both, in the 
soul and in the body. Destroy then the soul with the body ; 
stop all thinking, refuse all perceptions, shut out the world, kill 
all desire, eject all food for reflection, then you will annihilate the 
soul, the thinking power. Then you shall have rest. Rest is alone 
in annihilation, that is the only Nirvana, the only heaven. 


This bold and unmitigated war declaration to all and every 

existence, God and nature, body and soul, here and hereafter, is 

the more interesting when we remember the romantic career of 

that atheistic and radical philosopher. His soldier blood is visible 


even in his friar philosophy. Gautama Siddhartha Sakya-Muni 
was a Kshatrya of the princely military caste. He was the heir- 
apparent to a Hindoo monarch. His father loved him, was 
proud of him and conceived great hopes of that gifted young man. 
Being thoughtful and of a serious turn of mind, he was surrounded 
by a doting fkther, with all the pleasures and luxuries of an Asiatic 
court to cheer and beguile his time. " Palaces and paradises,(i) a 
host of servants and courtiers, charming wives and other beauties, 
singers, dancers, and sooth-sayers were attending his orders — all 
in vain ! ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity !' All his eyes could 
see, all his heart could desire was at his disposal, ready at a nod to 
do his bidding. But he found that all is vanity and cheating his 
while. Play is foolish, joy is fleeting, wisdom and folly meet with 
the same fate. — He hated life, work and all effort. For that brings 
no advantage nor improvement. Whatfore all work to leave its 
fruit to an idle successor ! All men's days are woe, tribulations 
and disappointments. Buddha finished with desponding of life and 
despairing of happiness. His heart bled at the sight of the suffer- 
ings of the common people ; at the ravages of nature, castes and con- 
quests ; at the misery of the surrounding majority, the nine-tenths 
of his human fellow beings, the Tchandalas, the Farias, etc., grov- 
eling in mire and dirt, victims of the arrogance of the priest, of 
the insolence of the soldier and of the over-reaching of the trad- 
ing class. The inequality, the poverty, the ignorance, the super- 
stition, the weakness and the wretchedness of the degraded out- 
casts filled him with pity and dismay. The surreptitious claims, 
the hypocrisy, the brutality and the mean cunning of the upper 
classes disgusted him and aroused his indignation. Then the 
young, luxurious royal prince determined to cast away all his social 
advantages, to give up crown and palace, beauties and flatterers 
and devote himself to the regeneration of his country and his fel- 
low-men ; to break with the priestly, the military and the plutocratic 
associations and devote himself to alleviate the wrongs and the 
wretchedness of the victims of social and of natural arrangements. 
His reformation embraced Church and State. It was an emanci- 
pation at once religious, political, economic and social. With a 

1 That is a translation from Ecclesiastes, in matter and spirit cor- 
responding to prince Gautama's scepticism. It is a reflection from 
Buddhism, not Egypt. A later hand tried to mitigate it and confused 
it. ■ 


self-sacrifice rare in human history, he devoted his energies to the 
improvement of his fellow-men. No pedestal is too great for his 
grandeur and no crown too lustrous for his brow. 

This proposition of acquiring rest through self- mortification, 
of giving up thinking, perceiving, desiring, and thus to gain the 
panacea of self-annihilation, is philosophy, mysticism ; it appealed 
only to the few, the select ones. For the masses, Buddha taught a 
system of morality which had a practical, real, value, which contrib- 
uted indeed toward making life more bearable, less irksome. His 
ethics made life more humane and suave. The divinity which was 
missing in his theology, we find again in his ethics. The fact that 
he taught such goodness and purity proves him worthy of his 
mission. He taught to moderate passion and egoism, to live 
humbly, modestly and peaceably ; [^to do right and be altruistic ; to 
live and let live, and feel with one's fellow-men ; to be compassion- 
ate and sympathetic ; not to be ambitious, to shun ostentation and 
pride, to avoid the world as much as possible, worldhness being the 
door to sin ; to curb one's own passions, moderate one's desires, 
for they really are our worst enemies ; to be chaste, unostenatious, 
and simple in one's apparel ; not to be too greedy for acquisition, 
nor too eager for enjoyment, nor for outward distinctions. Those 
evils that are unavoidable in life should be patiently borne ; then 
they will be least molesting. We must bear equanimously even 
injustice and wrong ; not be revengeful, not hate our enemies. 
Even assaults depriving us of life and limb are hardly worth 
avenging, since life and limb are perishable and all existence is but 
an evil. Since all that happens to us is a reward or a punishment 
for our deeds, good or bad, done by us in this or in a preceding 
existence. It is hardly worth while to pine over and regret our own 
misfortunes ; but we should regret those of our fellow-men. Thus 
he taught, no doubt, a noble morality. It contributed greatly to 
soften the character of his adherents and improved them individually 
and collectively, by mitigating the sting of egoism, avarice and 
ambition, and inculcating duty, altruism and love of next. Of his 
disciples and fellow-workers, he asked but a comparatively mild 
ascetism, viz: to renounce the world and its vanities, to live in 
chastity and in poverty as he himself had lived, humbly dressed, 
begging their bread, studying, thinking and preaching modesty and 
purity to the people. 


He did not expressly abolish the castes. But with his new 
theology and his new ethics, they lost their base, their reason to 
continue. For with him the castes originated not in Brahman's 
head and feet, nature linked them all alike to one fate and destiny, 
whether priest, warrior or pariah. All men were an unhappy 
brotherhood, suffering from the tribulations of existence. Their duty 
is to alleviate and mitigate these by mutual sympathy and helpfulness. 
Hence, the equality, the fraternity of all races and their equal 
claims to the love of each other. Justice, sympathy and charity 
are to render life less intolerable ; hence, universal justice, forbear- 
ance and altruism. What good we can do for others, we should do 
as if for ourselves. We must be liberal to our relatives, charitable 
to the poor, the sick, the weak, the lonely, and hospitable to 
strangers. We must be kind to animals also. No animal should be 
killed and no flesh-meat used as food ; we shall give them no pain, 
and nurse them when sick. Nor shall we be ostentatious with good 
deeds. But we must openly acknowledge any wrong committed 
by us ; sincere repentance and confession will mitigate them. 
Buddha's ethics are resumed in chastity, patience and charity. To 
moderate one's passions ; calmly to bear the ills inseparable from 
earthly existence ; to be sympathetic, and actively assist in relieving 
the wants and pains of our next ; not to commit wrong, to do good 
and curb our passions, such are the truly noble ethics of Buddh- 
ism. (■^) In Buddha's spirit his successors added :(^) "Nofireisso 
consuming as hate and passion, and no stream rapid as cupidity. 
Desire yields little joy and much pain. He who conquers his own 
self is truly happy. Contentment is the best of treasures." So we 
read, too, in the Rabbinical morality :('^) . " Who is a hero? He 
who curbs his passions. Who is rich ? He who is satisfied with 
his lot." Further proverbs of Buddhist Bhikshu (monks) are of the 
same caliber: "He who broods forever over wrongs sustained, 
will never come to rest. The avaricious will not go to heaven. 
Even the humble-fortuned should be charitable. The liars go to 
hell. The duties are best dictated by the heart. It is useless to 
kindle the sacred fires even for a century, or to offer sacrifices 
even for a millennium. A month of expiations and an entire year 
of sacrificial offerings will not change the nature of one wicked 

1 In most of that we have followed Buraouf especially. 

3 Dhama padam v. 251. 

3 Abboth. •ip'jna nDiB-n Ttry int'N ,ns' n« ifsisn maj int'N 


deed. Crime ever follows the perpetrator ; there is no place in the 
universe to escape from its pursuit. Only good deeds may atone 
for it. Good is that deed which is followed by no remorse." The 
Buddhists were extremely tolerant towards other sectarians ; peace- 
ful and chaste ; tender and respectful to parents. The privilege 
of caste and birth yielded to personal merit and behavior. The 
high- born were more humane, and the low-born were lifted up in 
the social scale. Ceremonies yielded to convictions and deeds ; 
moral self-restraint and personal responsibility were considered 

Thus Buddha may have created a system of philosophy of 
doubtful value. But he sketched and practiced a doctrine of moral- 
ity highly meritorious. He lived a life of the grandest import and 
became thus one of the great teachers of mankind. No doubt he 
followed in the steps of Brahmanic, perhaps, too, of Zoroastrian 
moralists. IMany of his sayings are common to him, to them, and 
to the Hebrew Aggadic ethics. He denied Brahman, the gods, the 
authority of the Vedas and the saving power of Hindoo worship 
and observances. He slighted the state-religion and created no 
substitute. Soon his successors found out that the people need 
more than metaphysics and negation. His was an ethical system, 
not a positive religion. The Brahmans raised the cry of atheism 
and nihilism ; a social war ensued and his followers were expelled 
from Hindustan. They took refuge in Birman, Siam, Ceylon, etc. 
They fled and gained to their doctrine Thibet, Mongolia, China and 
Japan. But they had to yield to the demands of the people for a 
God, a religion, a worship, a church. They created that. They 
established a church, a positive cult and creed, wrote a bible, Sut- 
ras, etc., a ritual, introduced ceremonies, created saints and 
angels ; above all, they found their God-ideal, to whom the people 
should turn in their devotions and their longings for heaven. The 
life of Buddha was so great, it had made such a deep impression 
upon the Asiatic world, that it became the base and the material 
for one of the greatest religions of mankind. His followers raised 
the ascetic and begging monk into a semi-deity. Gautama Sid- 
dhartha Sakya-Muni became the ideal of divinity. With thinking 
Buddhists he was and remained but a holy man, a great and noble 
mortal. But in the eyes of the masses, he assumed a mystic role, 
the part of the highest ideal of manhood ; the divine principle of 
holiness and goodness was incarnated in him. He is looked up to 


and revered by the East-Asian peoples as the highest object of hu- 
man contemplation and imitation. He became the Buddha, the 
enlightened, the inspired, the divine. He corresponds there in 
some sense to the Messiah-ideal of the Western nations. 

Brahmanism already taught that the holy men, the great Rishis 
and Manu especially, were above the gods ; nay, that the glow 
of devotion, the force of penance and goodness is superior to , and 
more potent than, the gods ; that fervent prayer and holiness com- 
pel the gods to do the will of the saint, an idea often met with in 
the Qabbala, too. Here I find the elements of the messianic focus, 
the rays which later developed into the messianic ideal. The 
Brahmanic first Manu and the Rishis were primordeal, they were 
instrumental in creating the world, the gods and the spirits. They 
were the first emanations of the Supreme Self-existent. These are 
the powers, the position and the grave import, later vindicated to 
the messiah. That is Manu in Bramanism and Sakya-Muni in 
Buddhism. That mystic, supernatural force of devotion and holi- 
ness was personified in India by the Brahman-idea. Brahman was 
the impersonal force of holiness. It was further embodied there in 
Manu, and with the Buddhists in Gautama-Sakya. He became the 
Buddha, the concrete emblem of the divine, of the holy element in 
the universe. With him, as the messiah and lawgiver of the new 
sect and religion, was inaugurated a church, a cult, a hierarchy, 
ceremonies, holidays, and all the paraphernalia of a great sect, just 
as Brahmanism had ; less the castes, the sacred despotism of priest 
and soldier ; less the burning of widows ; less the Tshandalas, and 
parias, and all the social usurpations yet now dominant in Hindo- 
^stan. This revolution was accomplished under the impulse of the 
great life of Gautama, of the apotheosized Buddha. Undoubtedly 
it was a clear gain for human advance, a historical era. We thus 
find the Messiah-ideal not only in Judaism, Christendom and 
Islamism, we find it also in the Eastern religions, in Zoroasterism, 
Brahmanism and Buddhism ; everywhere it means the same, the 
ideal made real, the divine incarnated in the human, the " kingdom 
of heaven " on earth, the deity engrafted upon man. This it means 
for the philosopher, at least for the thinking mystic. But the people 
have no room for such abstruse idealism. The people everywhere 
I have translated it into plain, concrete terms. To the mass of votaries, 
I Buddha is God incarnate. At every great historical turn-point, at 
every millennium such a miraculous divine incarnation is to appear 


upon the earth, to redeem mankind and lead it upon the path of 
virtue and holiness. Practically Buddha is the top of his own 
Church. Buddha had left his principality at the age of thirty years. 
He lived to the age of eighty as an ascetic, a student, a mertdicant, 
a teacher of humility and goodness. — He died(i) revered as a sage 
and a saint. Parts of his body are claimed to have been conveyed 
to different East and South-Asiatic countries, where they are 
receiving now almost divine adoration, in golden shrines and mag- 
nificeut temples. Nearly a third part of the human race belong to 
that denomination. They care little for his philosophy. But they 
are attracted and subdued by his morality, by his noble life, his 
goodness and self-sacrifice. They look up to him as the highest / 
pattern of human wisdom and purity. He is their messiah-idealj 
the Christ of the Eastern world. His noble code of morality is 
their " Sermon on the Mount." With the Christian founder, with 
the Hebrew prophets, with the Pentateuch, he practiced and taught, 
" Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself!" What is asked of thee, 
man? but to be just, kind and modest! King Asoka(2) of India 
appears to have been the Constantine of that sect. He made 
Buddhism the state-religion. In the spirit of Buddha — of broad 
religious toleration, one of Asoka's inscriptions reads : " The 
ascetics (teachers) of all creeds teach the essential rules of conduct. 
A man should honor his own faith. But he ought never to abuse, 
that of others." So the Pentateuch: " Do not insult the (foreign) 1/ 
gods." So Mohammed : "All my prophets have taught the same;; 
religion." — Having given an outline of Brahnwnism and of Buddh-| 
ism, let us now return to Zoroaster's doctrines and study the analo- 
gies of the Eastern and of the Western religions. 


According to Max Dunker, Windishmann, Fr. Spiegel and 
others, is the Avesta but an evolution of the Vedas, as everywhere 
the succeeding is a development of the preceding. While, accord- 
ing to James Darmesteter, both Avesta and Vedas are parallel 
developments of their common parent, the creed of the Arians, the 
predecessors of Hindoos and Iranians. Many of its leading ideas 
and forms are common to both the systems. The Haoma ot the 
Parsees, as the Soma of the Brahmans, is a leading conception 
and rite of both the systems. It is alike assumed in both that a 
god holds therein his " real presence^ We have in former pages 
alluded to the Aphikomen-rite of the Hebrew Passover-banquet, 

1 Probably in 543 B. C. % Died in 226 B. C. 


and to the Eucharistia, the hostia, the wafers and the wine of the 
Christian Church, claiming the real presence, or at least the sym- 
bolical one, of the remembered messiah. But such parallels are 
legion between the religions of the East and those of the West. 
The reception of the novice into the religious Community takes 
place among Parsees and Brahmans at the age of 8 to 13, even to 
24 years on some occasions. Then the novice is solemnly invested 
in both creeds with the sacred cord or girdle, which is never to be 
rpmoved, for it is a vestment, as the Soudra, of ominous import, 
provided with mystical knots. 

At that age the youth has to learn, respectivelv, the Vedas 
or the Avesta. Till that time he is properly irresponsible of sin ; 
his faults and transgressions are imputed to his father. Something 
analogous we find in the rites of the church and the synagogue. 
The Church has its confirmation^ initiation, white robes, penance, 
religious instructions with numerous customs and preparations con- 
nected therewith. The Synagogue has its Bar-mizevah ceremony 
at twelve or thirteen years, when the boys become accountable for 
their own behavior, when the father thanks God " for no longer 
being responsible for his son," when the latter attains at his re- 
ligious majority. He then gets his philacteries and talith, or sacred 
scarf, even his girdle with the "small talith" Q^') its four knots and 
fringes — just as Parsee and Hindoo. — We have spoken of the 
diverse interpretations of Ahura, the highest God of Mazdaism. 
According to Spiegel, is Ahura indentical with Asura in the 
Vedas, Herr, Sar, Sire, Sir. It is akin to Ahu, viz : world, exist- 
ence, being ; in Sanskrit Asura, asu as, ah, viz : being ; Ahu and 
Ahura mean the existing, the Hebrew n' nirr. (Spiegel Com- 
mentar Avesta I., page 3). Now it has been justly remarked that 
Ahura, identical with the Hindoo Asura, is the highest God of the 
Parsees, and the Devil with the Hindoos. As an offset, the daevas 
are the Bright ones of the Hindoos and the creatures of Darkness 
of the Persians. Even so is Indra the highest God of the Arians 
of the Indus and Ganges, known among the Parsees as Andra, 
dwelling in hell. The same it is with Sarva or Civa — there an 
honored Deity and here a follower of Ahriman : what was sacred 
there is unholy here. This fairly goes to show that in hoary antiqui- 
ty, a religious secession had taken place, so argues Haug, between the 
two kindred peoples and creeds, the Iranians and the Hindoos. 
Both are of the original stock of the great Hindu-Germa nic race 


that has been since prehistoric times to this day, jj^radually migrating 
from Hindostan and Bactria to West Asia, North Africa, Europe 
and America North and South, and AustraHa. The Arians or 
Iranians wandered away from Eastern Asia further and further 
towards the West, and gradually evolved their new religion, Maz- 
daism. Just as in modern times English dissenters, etc., emigrated 
to America. The oldest monuments of the Persian people are the 
cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenian Great kings Darius, 
Xerxes and Artaxerxes. There the Parsee religion in its outlines,' 
appears to be identical with that one we find in the Avesta as now 
extant. Ahura Mazda is the highest God, Creator of heaven and 
earth. Mithra, too, is mentioned there. (i) Fr. Spiegel thinks the 
dialects of the Avesta and of the cuneiform inscriptions are 
decidedly identical and much akin to the idiom of the Vedas. 
From this similarity of language, as also of mythology and 
religious customs, Spiegel argues that the Avesta must have been 
composed at an early, prehistoric epoch, its failings, difficult and 
unintelligible passages belonging to later redactions. He opines 
that " in historic fl-mes the Persians have undoubtedly borrowed 
from their more cultivated Semitic neighbors. Much is to be 
expected from the decyphering of the Assyrian inscriptions. But 
even now the architectural monuments of Nimroud, Khorsabad and 
Persepolis show the art-connection between these diverse peoples." 

To all appearance have the Persians learned from the Semites. 
The delineations and traits of Ahura Mazda on the Behistun monu- 
ments and those of the Supreme God of the Assyrian sculptures seem 
to point to a kinship in their theologies. Another proof of Semitic 
influence upon Eranian religious thought, Fr. Spiegel finds in the 
old Persian mode of writing. All the alphabets of the Persians, the 
cuneiform inscriptions inclusive, have a Semitic shape. The Avesta 
is as old as, if not older than,' the epoch which goes back to our in- 
formation about Persia ; and Zoroaster seems to have been con- 
sidered by the classics as its author. A hoary age is attributed to 
him ; so ancient as almost to make of him a mythical person.(2) 
He thus argues that Zoroaster is the author, not of the Avesta, but 
of the religious system embodied there ; that that collection of re- 
ligious teachings, etc., can in no wise be later than 600 B. C, or the 
age of the Achaemenides, but probably it is of much earlier date. 
Haug thinks at least by a 1000 years, Zoroaster must be earlier than 

1 Fr. Spiegel Vendidad, p. 11. 2 Spisgel, Vendidad, p. 12. 


that dynasty. This he deems to be the least space of time necessary 
for the natural development of that system from its origin to the 
shape as now extant ; and a thousand years is rather too short. 
That would bring up the time of Zoroaster to at least 1500 to 2000 
years B. C. 

Now Professor Max Mueller of Oxford, in his "History of An- 
cient Sanscrit Literature" shows that, in the Vedic hymns, the 
poets dimly guessed the one supreme, ruling Power behind the 
forces of nature, and that the fabled gods of Hindoo mythology 
were nothing but the several attributes of that one supreme, invisi- 
ble Deity. Groping in the darkness of hoary polytheism, they 
sometimes expressed that yearning for One divine Father, faint- 
heartedly and ambiguously, and sometimes with all the clearness 
and boldness desirable. He says (p. 559 and 567) : " There is a 
monotheism that precedes the polytheism of the Veda, and even 
in the invocations of their innumerable gods, the remembrance of a 
God, one and infinite, breaks through the mist of an idolatrous 
phraseology, like the blue sky that is hidden by passing clouds. . . 
In Rig Veda, I. 164, 30, the poet chants : Breathing lies the quick 
moving life, heaving, yet firm in the midst of its abodes. The 
living One walks through the powers of the dead. The immortal 
is the brother of the mortal. (Then in Ibid, verse 37) : " I know 
not what this is that I am like. Turned inwardly I walk, chained in 
my mind. When the first-born of time comes near me, then I 
obtain the portion of this speech." ... At last boldly the poet 
declares that there exists but one Divine Being, though invoked 
under different names. (Ibid. v. 46): "They call Him Indra, 
Mitra, Varana, Agni ; then he is the well-winged heavenly Garut- 
mat, that which is One, the wise call it many ways." The Rishi 
(Vedic poet) designates here the Supreme Ruler of the universe as 
the : " Quick moving life breathing " through nature. Another 
passage adds even : " breathing, breathless," viz : the Deity 
breathes without the need of air. It is itself the breath of life per- 
meating all existence. He depicts it as the " living one walking 
through the realms of the dead," as the life-principle of inert 
matter, the " immortal allied ta the mortal." He feels dimly his 
own double nature of soul and body, and staggers at the riddle. 
Until at last dawns upon him the natural revelation of one God 
spiritual under the many attributes and names of the popular creed ! 


The '^first-bom of time " may be identical with the ^'^ Ancient of 
Days " of the prophet Daniel and of mediaeval Qabbala. 

Zoroasterism being either a development of Brahmanism or its 
younger sister doctine, both evolved from the same mother religion, 
it will be interesting to learn something more on the above subject, 
viz : The dawn of the pure God-idea in India and the Veda, on the 
Infinite, Substance, existence, mind, creation, etc., there. We shall see 
how at the very hearth of polytheism, India,monotheism was evolved. 
Gradually the one-God in spirit dawned there. He loomed up 
clearer and brighter with the sister branch of the Arianrace, among 
the Persians, as Ahura Mazda, to find its highest and noblest 
expression as Ikvk One in the Abrahamic family. To watch the 
beginning of that great religio-philosophical movement in India, 
let us follow Prof. Max Mueller on this theme in that same thought- 
ful and learned work on Sanscrit Literature, p. 559 : " There is a 
hymn of pecuhar interest in the loth Mandala, full of ideas which 
to many would seem to necessitate the admission of a long ante- 
cedent period of philosophical thought. There we find the con- 
ception of a beginning of all things, and of a state previous even 
to all existence. " Nothing that is was then," the poet says ; and 
he adds with a boldness matched only by the Eleatic thinkers of 
Greece or by Hegel's philosophy, "even what is not (Jo my on) 
did not exist then." He then proceeds to deny the original exist- 
ence of the sky and of the firmament, and yet, unable to bear the 
idea of an unlimited nothing, he exclaims : " What was it that hid 
or covered the existing ?" Thus hurried on, and asking two ques- 
tions at once with a rapidity of thought which the Greek and the 
Sanscrit languages only can follow, he says, " What was the refuge 
of what ?" After this metaphysical flight, the poet returns to the 
more substantive realities of thought, and throwing out a doubt, he 
continues, " Was water the deep abyss, the chaos, which swallowed 
everything?" Then his mind turning away from nature, dwells 
upon man and the problem of human life. " There was no death," 
he says, and with a logic which perhaps has never been equalled, 
he subjoins, " therefore was there nothing immortal." Death, to 
his mind, becomes the proof of immortality. One more negation, 
and he has done. " There was no space, no life, and lastly there 
was no time, no difference between day and night, no solar torch 
by which morning might have been told from evening." Now 
follows his first assertion : " The One," he says, and he uses no 


Other epithet or qualification — " The One breathed, breathless, by 
itself; other than it, nothing since has been."(^) This expression, 
" It breathed breathless," seems to me one of the happiest attempts 
at making language reflect the colorless abstractions of the mind 
" That one,"' the poet says, " breathed and lived ; it enjoyed more 
than mere existence ; yet its life was not dependent on anything 
else, as our life depends on the air which we breathe. It breathed 
breathless." Language blushes at such expressions, but her blush 
is a blush of triumph. After this the poet plunges into imagery. 
" Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled in gloom profound, 
as ocean without light." No one has ever found a truer expression 
of the Infinite, breathing and heaving within itself, than the ocean 
in a dark night without a star, without a torch. It would have been 
easy to fill out the picture, and a modern writer would have filled 
it out. The true poet, however, says but a single word, and at his 
spell, pictures arise within our own mind, full of a reality beyond 
the reach of any art. But now this One had to be represented as 
growing — as entering into reality — and here again nature must 
supply a similitude to the poet. As yet the real world existed only 
as a germ, hidden in a husky shell ; now the poet represents the 
one substance as born into life by its own innate heat. The begin- 
ning of the world was conceived like the spring of nature, one 
miracle was explained by another. But even then this being or 
this nature, as conceived by the poet, was only an unconscious 
substance without will and without change. The question how 
there was generation in nature, was still unanswered. Another 
miracle had to be appealed to in order to explain the conscious act 
of creation : This miracle was Love, as perceived in the hearts of 
men. " Then first came love upon it," the poet continues, and he 
defines love, not only as a natural, but as a mental impulse. Though 
he cannot say what love is, yet he knows that all will recognize 
what he means by love — a power which arises from the unsearch- 
able depths of our nature — making us feel our own incompleteness 
and drawing us, half conscious, half unconscious, towards that far- 
off and desired something, through which alone our life seems to 
become a reality. This is the analogy which was wanted to explain 
the life of nature, which he knew was more than mere existence. 
The One Being which the poet had postulated was neither self- 

1 God, the One, is the only Substance," thus anticipating Spinoza's 


sufficient nor dead ; a desire fell upon it — a spring of life, manifested 
in growth of every kind. After the manifestation of this desire or 
will, all previous existence seemed to be unreal, a mere nothing as 
compared with the fulness of genuine life. A substance without 
this life, without that infinite desire of production and reproduction, 
could hardly be said to exist. It was a bare, abstract conception. 
Here then the poet imagines he has discovered the secret of crea- 
tion — the transition of the nothing into something — the change of 
the abstract into the concrete. Love was to him the beginning 
of true reality, and he appeals to the wise of old who discovered in 
love, " the bond between created things and uncreated." What 
follows is more difficult to understand. We hardly know into what 
new sphere of thought the poet enters. The growth of nature has 
commenced, but where was it ? Did the piercing ray of light come 
from below, or from above ? This is the question which the poet 
asks, but to which he returns no answer, for he proceeds at once to 
describe the presence of male and female powers, nor is it likely 
that what follows is meant as an answer to the preceding inquiry. 
The figure which represents the creation as a ray entering the realm 
of darkness from the realm of light, occurs again at a much later 
time in the system of Manichaeism, but like all attempts at clothiog 
transcendental ideas in the imagery of human thought, it fails to 
convey any tangible or intelligible impression. This our poet also 
seems to have felt, for he exclaims : " Who indeed knows ? Who 
proclaimed it here, whence, whence this creation was produced ? 
The gods were later than its production, therefore who knows 
whence it came ?" And now a new thought dawns in the mind 
of the Rishi, a thought for which we were not prepared, and which 
apparently contradicts the whole train of argument or meditation 
that preceded. Whereas hitherto the problem of existence was 
conceived as a mere evolution of one substance, postulated by 
human reasoning, the poet now speaks of an Adhyaksha, an over- 
seer, a contemplator, who resides in the highest heavens. He, he 
says, knows it. And why ? Because this creation came from him, 
whether he made it or not. The poet asserts the fact that this 
overseer is the source of creation, though he shrinks from deter- 
mining the exact process, whether he created from himself or from 
nothing, or from matter existing by itself." Prof. Max Mueller 
concludes (Ibid 569) : " I add only one more hymn, in which the 
idea of One God is expressed with such power and decision that 
it will make us hesitate before we deny to the Arian nations an 


instinctive Monotheism : (R. V. X. 121), " In the beginning there 
arose the Source of Golden light. He was the only born Lord of 
all that is. He established the earth and the sky. Who is the 
God to whom we shall offer our sacrifices ? He who gives, life and 
strength; whose blessings all the bright gods desire; whose 
shadow is immortality ; He is the King of the world, who governs 
all ; whose power mountain and sea proclaim ; who established 
heaven and earth, air and light; He to whom heaven and earth 
look up, trembling inwardly ; He, the God above all gods, to Him 
we offer our sacrifices !" This is a most happy discovery in philo- 
sophical history. It is no small claim to glory for that venerable 
scholar and sage to have shown that monotheism was dimly guessed 
by the Arians, just as by the Semites, and most probably at about 
the same time. He is now writing on Hindoo philosophy, and 
most assuredly will bring out many more pearls in proof of the 
parallel thoughts between Arian and Semite, and thus show the iden- 
tity of the human mind and its categories. Thus we see that the Vedic 
hymns contain often enough, a faint glimpse of the idea of One God, 
Cause of all existence. 

So again Max Mueller, in his recent work, "Origin of the Ve- 
dante," p. 25, states that about 1500 to 3000 years B. C, in Hindo- 
stan, a great movement toward Monotheism took place. He says : 
" We see in the Vedic Hymns the first revelation of Deity, the first 
discovery that behind this visible, perishable world, there must be 
something invisible, imperishable, eternal and divine. . . . We see 
how the individual, dramatic deities, ceased to satisfy their early 
worshippers, and we find the incipient reasoners postulating One 
God behind all the deities of the earlier pantheon. . . . We see in 
the ancient hymns already, say 1500, B. C, incipient traces of this 
yearning after One God. . . . The gods, though yet several indi- 
vidualities, become really but phases of the same being . . . the 
Great Divinity. . . . These steps we can watch clearly in the Vedas, 
from the simple invocations of the unknown agents behind the 
cosmic bodies, to the discovery of One God, the maker of heaven 
and earth, the Lord and Father, the One Divine Essence, Brah- 
man." — Curious ! The Aggadas about Abraham, his doubts about 
the native gods and his discovery of the highest God, sound exact- 
ly like Prof. Max Mueller's striking reasonings about the Hindoo 
theosophers. Did the Oxford Professor give here a sketch from 
Hindoo Vedas or from Palestinian Midrashim F Is it not possible 


that the One-God meditations were going on simultaneously in 
Chaldea and Haran, Hindostan and Bactria? These reflections 
of the Oxford Professor throw some other important side-lights on 
interesting subjects. He says : " The gods, though yet several indi- 
vidualities, become really but phases of the same great divinity. Now 
this accounts for the otherwise wonderful biblical expression, Elohim, 
as identical with Ihvh. The plural Elohim, no doubt, is a polythe- 
istic term meaning the 'Gods;' we see that slowly it merged into 
Ihvh, the Supreme Being. He further defines the Hindoo Brahman 
as ' One God,' maker of heaven and earth, the Lord and Father, 
the One Divine Essence.' Now this is the very definition of Ihvh. 
(1) We saw before, too, Spiegel showing that Ahura, Ahu, means 
the existing One, corresponding, too, to Ihvh. Thus the same 
Supreme Being Israel denominates Ihvh, the Parsee called Ahura 
and the Hindoo Brahman ! This may point to a simultaneous 
monotheistic movement in the East and in the West. 


At any rate, there is a strong possibility, that the monothe istic 
or spiritualistic phase in the far off East India and Bactria, as that in 
Chaldea and in Canaan, was identical with that of Zoroaster. There 
was a religious commotion in the Arian world, starting from whereso- 
ever, Media or Bactria, etc., which lasted long enough, so as to make 
its incipient trials. Its first rays are hazy and obscure, except the 
salient and chief fact, viz : that Arian thinkers began to come out of 
the choas of mythology and to vindicate all the phenomena of nature 
to one single Cause, an immaterial omnipotence, mind, spirit, intelli- 
gence, located in one single living Supreme Center ; hence came 
monotheism with Ahura Mazda ; and the name of the man who 
gave that new impulse to Media or Bactria was Zoroaster, the 
"bright era," the "brilliant star." 

We have seen that Zoroaster is claimed by the Avesta to have 
come from the West, Persia, Media, Ragae, Airyana, (Haran ?). 
He was the head of the priestly tribe, called the Magi, who are 
affirmed to have spread to Persia and Bactria from Media, Ragae, 
Balkh. . .On the contrary the classics speak of that Lawgiver as hail- 
ing from the East, Bactria and Iran. What does that prove ? It evi- 
dently proves that he had lived very long before the Classics and 
very long before the Avesta, as now extant, was written ; hence the 
uncertainty of his place and his time. Now from unimpeachable 
Semitic sources, it is known that 2000 or 2200 years B. C, a similar 

1 rwvf root irn 


monotheistic movement took place in the West of Asia. Abraham 
is afBrmed to have lived in Ur of the Chaldees, that he left his 
country and his people and wandered in different directions, Q) har- 
anguing and disputing and everywhere battling against the idols, 
discussing theology with princes and peoples and proclaiming the 
" highest Power, El-Eljon, owner of heaven and earth." He was 
teaching and practicing rational and pure morality, moving to and 
fro, to Haran, Canaan, Philistia, Egypt, etc. There are numerous 
legends and midrashim claiming him to have publicly taught in 
Egyptian Academies. Other legends, Hebrew and Arabian (3) have 
him wander to Arabia and to Eastern Asia, ever preaching the 
" highest God, Owner of heaven and earth." Abraham is affirmed 
by the Sacred Scriptures to have founded a monotheistic people, 
and that one of his descendants, Moses, centuries after him, elabor- 
ated that idea of the highest God ; he formulated and brought it up 
to the Ihvh conception, the Supreme and Eternal Being, the only 
One God. On the other hand, some of the most trustworthy au- 
thorities claim Zoroaster's name to have been Ibrahim Zoroaster. 
Arabian tradition too, knows the Biblical Abraham as Ibrahim. His 
first emigration to Haran may be identified too, with Airyana 
Vaega, the mysterious City where some Avesta passages place the 
Bactrian prophet. 

Would not all this tend to show that the BibUcal movement to- 
ward pure monotheism united to morality, justice and equity, going 
on among the Semites and led by Abraham and Moses — is identical 
with that of Zoroaster, of the Avesta in Media, Persia, Irania and 
Bactria ? May not, furthermore, that be identical with the one spoken 
of by Prof Max Mueller, as going on among the Hindoos about 
1500 to 2000 years B. C. (a) I am far from pushing this mere hint 
to a hypothesis of the personal identity of Abraham of Chaldean 
Ur and Haran, with Ibrahim Zoroaster of the Avesta and the 
classics. The data are not enough for a personal identification of 
them. Such data are too few, too vague and too discrepant to war- 

1 Gen. 12 and Midrashim thereat. 

2 Midrash Yalkut, Abraham and Nimrod to Lech Lecha, etc. See 
the Koran on that. 

3 Dr. Fr. Spiegel's 'Eran. . Beitraege zur Geschichte,' 1863, brings 
forward not an identical but a parallel line of considerations on Zoroas- 
ter, Abraham, Haran, etc. It is discussed by Prof. Max Mueller, in his 
' Chips from a German Workshop,' p. 143. Genesis and Avesta. 


rant any certainty about the personal identity of the Biblical 
Abraham with the Avesta Zoroaster. But I think that the co- 
incidence of facts and persons, that the outline, the silhouette of 
times and ideas is great enough to call the attention of scholars 
to it, viz : that there may well be a connection between the several 
religious movements that took place some 1500 to 2000 years B. 
C, (1) simultaneously in Hindostan, Bactria and Media ; in Chaldea, 
Haran and Hebron, etc., all going to the same assumption, that be- 
hind nature there are not only forces, but also one concious. Cen- 
tral Intelligence guiding all, called Ahura Mazda in Bactria, and 
Brahman in Hindostan, while in the West that same Central Intelli- 
gence was termed, El-Eljon, the highest Power Divine, Creator of 
heaven and earth, and at last Ihvh, Supreme Essence. All these 
doctrines have the same social morality, as the result of the same view 
of the Cosmos (Weltanschauung). Is that startling coincidence not of 
great interest, worth while to be carefully examined into ? Thus we 
have seen that in far off Eastern Asia, as in Western Chaldea, 
Persia and Palestine, about 2000 B. C, the reigning nature and 
Star worship began to pale among thinkers, and that Zoroaster in 
the East and Abraham in the West, began to spiritualize their cosmic 
ideas and worship. 

Let us compare the data about these two men, stars of the 
East and of the West of Asia. Both taught that behind nature 
there is mind, behind force there is intelligence and behind auto- 
matic activity there is spontaneous direction. The same ethical 
phase and movement appeared in Hindostan, the bold assumption, 
" that behind the visible, perishable bodies, there is something eter- 
nal and divine." This spiritualization was carried on by Zoroaster 
in the East and by Abraham in the West. There the Supreme 
Deity was called, Ahura Mazda, Supreme Intelligence, Omniscient 
Master ; and here. Highest Divine Force, Creator of all. After- 
wards, some 2 to 4 centuries (^) later, deity was elucidated as : Ihvh, 
Supreme, Eternal Being. Much later a similar movenient went on 
among the Persians, in the times of the Sasanides, when Ardai-Viraf 
rejuvinated Mazdaism, bringing it nearer to Mosaic monotheism. 
Pondering over both these ethical initiators, Abraham and Zoroaster 
we shall find many more parallels between them. — Fr. Spiegel says : 

~i:'Max Mueller, 'Origin of Vedanta,' p. 28. 

2 The Pentateuch speaks of 430 years. The Talmud reduces it to 
some 300 years. 


" Unanimously it is accepted that the founder of the Persian relig- 
ion is Zoroaster. He announced to King Vistaspa his Law which 
he accepted. From him it came down to three successors who an- 
nounced it to the world. It was then propagated in the family of 
Aderbat Maresfand who purified it and taught it."(i) Here too, is an 
interesting parallel with the three biblical patriarchs continuing the 
doctrine of Abrahm, viz: Isaac, Jacob and Joseph; and finally a 
Moses and his Levites who restored the Abrahamic tradition and 
taught it to regenerated Israel. Another striking analogy is : that Zo- 
roaster taught but qualified monotheism. Ahura Mazda was really not 
the Only God, but the highest one; that he had his peers and assistants, 
the Ameshas Spentas, Yazatas and other genii. Even so did Abraham 
not teach : Ihvh is one, but he is " the highest God, owner of heaven 
and earth,"(") just as Ahura Mazda was. At the side of the "Highest 
God" there were yet numerous subordinate genii and assistants, an- 
gels and messengers the highest. It is but centuries afterwards that, 
in place of the " highest," the " only One," the Supreme, Eternal 
and Only Being, was taught-C**) Even so did Aderbat Maresfand 
purify and finally formulate Mazdaism. As that same doctrine was 
further expounded in the III. century P. C, was purified by Ardai- 
Viraf, and the Husvaresh Commentary added to it, even so came 
after Abraham and Moses, later, Ezra, the Mishna and the Gue- 
mara, or Talmudical tradition, which expounded, elaborated and 
elucidated the Thora. These teachers are also called Parashim, 
Commentators, with the additional meaning of Puritans, Separatists 
and perhaps, too, Parsees, because there may have been a certain 
parallel in their purity doctrines and their logical methods derived 
from there, Persia, etc. 

The chapters in Genesis narrating the intercourse of the deity 
with men, as Adam, Kain, Henoch, Noah, Abraham, Loth, etc., 
have yet much of polytheistic coloring. There is there a certain 
familiarity between the divine and man, an exchange of opinions, 
a persuading and disuading, an offering and accepting of food and 
drink, entering into a covenant or agreement, on one hand to worship 
God, only, on the other to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. 
God promises and repents, acts and regrets, is pleased and pleases 
others, is indignant and thunders, or is gracious and pardons for the 

1 Vendid., p. 41, by Spiegel ; also in Yasna, Patet. 

2 Genesis 14, 19. jv^y S« 3 Exodus vi. 2, (and Deuteronomy vi. 4) 
Moses taught : on"? 'nyiu \ih nin' 'oipi .nns nw 


sake of the fathers, or for the consideration of a sweet smell and 
sacrifice. Quite another phase looms up in later parts of Exodus, 
Leviticus and Deuteronomy. There God is the Only One, incom- 
parable, above all creatures. The Anthropomorphic and anthropo- 
pathic elements are mostly, if not totally, obliterated. This process 
goes on in Deuteronomy, later in Psalms, Targums and Talmud. 
Now these same phases are striking in Zoroasterism. Ahura Maz- 
da, in the Avesta, is the highest in the creation of Good. But there 
is another creation, that of Evil, and its chief is Angro Mainyu, 
almost the peer of Ahura. There are the Ameshas Spentas, Yaza- 
tas, and innumerable other genii, all holding a certain independence 
in their respective spheres. So Zoroaster confers with Ahura on 
almost familiar terms. Ahura treats him with the utmost kindness 
and respect, almost on terms of parity, as one of the gods in the 
hierarchy. This hierarchy and Dualism of Parseeism reacted upon, 
or, at least, was re-echoed in Judaism. There, too, we find soon 
Satan, angels, spirits, etc., good and evil, the heavenly Council.(i) 
Comparing the later developments of Judaism and Zoroasterism, 
we find between both systems, a constant interchange of ideas and 
customs, attraction and repulsion, befriending and antagonizing. So 
Is. 45 terms Cyrus " Ihvh's anointed." He describes a man as 
(41 : 1-8) "friend of Ihvh." He designates him (41: 2) as Zedek 
or Zaddik which may very well be identical with the Avesta Yaz-. 
atas, both meaning, at any rate, venerable and pure beings, chiefs 
in the hierarchy, types and genii of their respective classes. Thus 
we see clearly the systems reciprocally influencing each other. 

1 nSyB bv N"^DB 


Even so are the last issues of history and the messiah-ideas 
alike, yea, almost identical in both the systems. Ahura Mazda has 
to contend against Angro Mainyu during the existence of this 
world. But at last the kingdom of heaven will come, and Angro 
Mainyu will be vanquished and annihilated. A prophet will arise 
at the end of time, Saoshyance, by name, sprung from the loins 
of Zoroaster, who will fight and subjugate the spirit of Darkness 
and his hosts, (i) The Avesta describes the messiah enthusiastically, 
as the great, the victorious, etc., almost identical with Is. IX. 8: 
" The wonderful, councillor, divine hero, eternal father, prince of 
peace." Compare the following with present Christology, and you 
will wonder, indeed, at the, almost, identity of the idea and the 
ideal environments, persons and ornamentation in the several creeds. 
Concerning the Parseean Messiah,(2) Fr. Spiegel says: "From 
Vendid. Farg. XIX. i8, etc., we see that the Parsees expect at the 
end of days a prophet, Saos||yance, and according to others, even 
two more such prophets, by other names. Each of these prophets 
will reign looo years, hazare, millennium. Towards the end of the 
world, great calamities and wars will befall mankind. Human gore 
will flow so abundantly as to drive the mills. Some respite will 
follow. But evil will be uppermost again. Man and beast will 
emulate to render life wretched. The dew from heaven will be 
blood. Plagues and pestilence will ensue and all will be defiled. 
A prophet, Oshedar-Bami, will appear. He will add a book to the 
Avesta and restore pure faith. He will do wonders. Then will a 
horrible winter come on, and all creatures will perish. The garden 
of Jemshid will be thrown open to re-people anew the world. An- 
other prophet, Oshedar-mati, will appear and all wicked creatures 
will vanish. Again comes irreligion, and Saoshiosh will appear. 
The right faith will be accepted and wickedness disappear. Then 
follows resurrection and mankind will be like angels. A new book 
will be added to the Avesta." Here is the epitome of all the 
messiah-dreams of Parsee, Christian, Jew and all mysticism, the 
messianic wars and calamities, regenerated men and rebuilt 
cities, resurrection with spiritual bodies, renovated laws, triumphs 
and untold hallelujahs with peace and happiness for all the pious. 

1 Fr. Spiegel Vendid. i6. 8 Pr. Spiegel Vendid. 32, 


Since the Jews re-echoed the doctrine of the Evil principle, they 
most naturally reflected this view, too, that Satan, the Semitic Ahri- 
man, will be vanquished by the messiah at the end of days. So have 
Daniel, the Apochryphae, the Talmud, Qaballa, etc. Christianity, 
that even more emphasized the power of Satan, had to give even 
greater import to the messiah theory. All this shows the mutual 
influence of the seve'"al religious doctrines. Parsee, Jew and Chris- 
tian postulate the Messiah-idea to square the anomaly of evil in the 
creation of the God of Goodness; the several periods or millenniums 
in that process of salvation ; the great commotions to bring it about ; 
the renovation of the world, of law and faith ; the annihilation of 
wickedness, of death and tears ; the resurrection of the dead, and 
the establishment of the kingdom of God — that means the undi- 
vided dominion of the Principle of goodness, peace and wisdom. 

We have tried to interpret some chapters of Isaiah the II., the 
interesting chapters 45 and 46 in his harangues and discussions 
concerning the religions of Cyrus and Zoroasterism, of Bable and 
polytheism, of Judaea and monotheism. Close by, there is by the 
same prophet, another passage throwing further interesting light 
upon our subject. It is in chapter 41, i, etc., which reads thus: "Be 
silent, ye maritime lands, and ye nations step nearer by and let us 
reason: Who has from the East awakened " Zedek " ( justice , 
equity), who called on him to follow and to wander ? (i) He pros- 
trated nations before him and kings he subdued to him ; his sword 
renders them like dust and his bow does as chased stubble. He 
pursued them and passed in safety a road he never came by. Who 
has caused that ? He who called forth the generations from begin, 
I, Ihvh, the first and the last, the omnioresent."' — He goes on dis- 
cussing the merits of monotheism, of Israel " the seed of Abraham, 
my friend," their struggles and their hopes in the battle against 
paganism. Now is the question, to whom does the inspired poet- 
patriot allude by: "Who aroused from the East Zedek, the 
Righteous one ? — Some Commentators think it is Cyrus, the Great- 
king of Persia, a worshipper of Ahura Mazda, half a monotheist, a 
friend, a protector of Israel, just on account of that religious affinity. 
But I believe talmudical tradition hits better the mark than that. 
The Commentators, Rashi, Kimchi, Abarbanel, etc., follow that 
better .inspiration. They refer those verses with Zedek not to Cyrus, 
but to Abraham. Indeed discussing the merits of the doctrine and 

1 ■hirh alluding perhaps to ^s^Nl^ "^ •{}, Genesis. 12. 


the ethical fitness of monotheism and of polytheism respectively, 
Abraham appears justly to him a greater hero than even Cyrus. 
Especially so is verse 8 df that chapter, enthusiastically exclaiming : 
" And thou Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, seed of 
Abraham, my friend .... fear not, I am with thee !" — That shows 
to all appearance that the prophet was alluding throughout that 
chapter, not to Cyrus, but to Abraham, who first of all taught the 
doctrine of mind and intelligence as the Supreme Power, owning 
heaven and earth. Abraham, he assumes " to have been aroused 
from the East." He gives him the epithet of Zedek, justice and 
equity, to him he subjects dominions and kings, whom his sword 
and bow have reduced like chased stubble, and who passed in safety 
the road of bloody war. Verses 2 and 3 show the entire chapter 41 
as alluding to Abraham's victory over the five kings as in Genesis 
14. He calls him the " friend of Ihvh," as often leading teachers 
and initiators are termed by the Hebrew prophets, alternating with 
"servant of Ihvh." Now does not this description of Abraham also 
describe Zoroaster, " awakened in the East " of Judaea, Media or 
farther Bactria, whom Western Greek classics too assume as hav- 
ing come from the East ? Are there not current about Zoroaster 
similar legends as those about Abraham ? Zoroaster too was the 
friend of Gustasp, King of Bactria and his active ally in war, no 
doubt, since he at last perished at the hands of Turanian invaders. 
There can be no doubt that in hoary times, eastern Asia enter- 
tained about Zoroaster similar reminiscences and traditions as west- 
ern Asia did about Abraham, viz : that he had subdued nations and 
vanquished kings, with worldly and with spiritual arms ; that he was 
called up by the Supreme, whose friend and prophet he was ; that 
God revealed to him his Law and made him emigrate to Airyana, 
etc. Closely looked at those Isaic verses, it seems they vaguely 
describe a half legendary and half historical person, revered by pos- 
terity as the patriarch, the pride and strength of the Judaean nation, 
appealing to, and relying upon his merits, (i) as their Sire and 
inaugurator of a new socio-ethical order, teaching the Supreme God 
as the object of worship ; peace, justice and morality, as the rule of 
conduct. This prophetic picture is as vague as the nucleus of a halo, 
as a hazy transparent, as a historical kernel surrounded by the neb- 
ulae of legend. Isaiah calls him : "Zedek — righteousness " and 
" friend of God-" Such fits well to both, to Abraham in the West 
and to Zoroaster in the East. These two antique traditions, he may 



have identified as one and the same, the first movement in the dir- 
ection of monotheism and moraHty, hence : " God's friend, servant 
and Zedek."(i) The Avesta gives such titles to Zoroaster, the 
Hebrew Bible to Abraham, Moses, Job, etc. Both those initiators 
were no full historical persons, both were looked upon through the 
haze of legend and veneration. May not Isaiah, in chapter 41, 
have identified both, as one and the same nucleus of a similar 
phase of religious thought, and without naming either, have alluded 
to both, as one great illustrious era in the past influencing the pres- 
ent ? ... I do not wish to be understood as advancing here the 
positive theory of the identity of both these intellectual phases, but 
simply as hinting at the mere possibility that the nucleus of the 
Semitic tradition about Abraham and that of the Arian legend 
about Zoroaster may be but one center of the same constellation; a 
possible hypothesis awaiting more substantiation from future studies 
on these weighty themes. Another remark concerning Isaiah's 
Zedek is the following : Besides the long list of supreme, assi»tant 
and subordinate gods, Mazdaism taught a longer hierarchy of 
transcendently holy beings : Yazatas. Ahura was the highest 
Yazata in heaven, and Zoroaster the highest Yazata upon earth, 
patron and type of the human kind. Yazata in the Avesta means 
the venerable, pure and holy spirit or person. To the. soberer 
Semitic, monotheistic Judaean, the Parsee Yazata may have been 
the Zaddik, the later Chassid. Isaiah applies this epithet to the 
initiator of monotheism and morality, called Abraham in the West 
and Zoroaster in the East. It may be the same conception apothe- 
osized in the East, humanized in the West, myth in the Avesta ; 
tradition in the Bible ; there a demi-god, here a social and ethical 
reformator, a sage. 

We have seen above that the Greek classics assume unani- 
mously Zoroaster to have come from the East. So has Abraham, 
Genesis XL 31, etc. So Isaiah 41: 2, "Who aroused from the 
East Zedek, Yazata.^' This verse Jewish tradition justly refers to 
Abraham. The Pentateuch calls him Ebri, from beyond. East, 
coming from Ur of the Chaldees. The Avesta, on the other hand, 
assumes Zoroaster as hailing from the West, alluding to Airyana- 
Vaega, which may well be the Biblical Haran (Genesis XI. 31). So 
as we have seen above, Dr. Spiegel, Prof. Max Mueller, Shorr, and 
many others, hold Airyana to be identical with Haran. The Abbe 

1 pn an'N lajf 


Bannier, a century ago, hinted at the latter place whereto Abraham 
emigrated, " as the capital of Sabism, whilst Magism was followed 
in Ur of the Chaldees." (Mythology and History I. 3, 3). Here 
may have been the point of contact between the two leaders of 
monotheistic thought. The best date presumed of Abraham and 
Zoroaster is over 2000 B. C. The description of Abraham by 
Isaiah 41 suits perfecdy well to that of Zoroaster by the Avesta and 
the classics. According to both, he was a man of theory and of 
action, of doctrine and of practical initiative. He is surnamed by 
some Ibrahim. So is Abraham remembered in Arabian legends 
and the Koran. By the Parsees Zoroaster is known as a priest 
and itinerant teacher, head of the Magi, a priestly tribe. The 
Chaldees, or " Chasdiim," seem to have been just the same, a tribe 
devpted to religion and science, and Abraham was one of them. 
As Zoroaster gave a new impulse to his clan, so did Abraham to 
his. Zoroaster left Medea, may be, as a persecuted reformer, 
even as such Abraham left Chaldea (Genesis 12 and Midrashim). 
There is a well-known Midrash that the tribe of Levi in Egypt was 
a free and learned class, even under the Pharaohs, hence the intel- 
lectual superiority of Moses. Thus the Levites among the Hebrews, 
the Magi among the Medes, and the Chaldees in Babylon were the 
priestly clans producing respectively Moses, Zoroaster and Abra- 
ham. Abraham is thus a " Chasdi," a Chaldean priest and wan- 
dering preacher in Hebrew legend. Zoroaster announced Ahura 
as the highest Spirit and Creator. Abraham taught the " highest 
Power, owner of heaven and earth." Zoroaster inculcated the duty 
of man to fight Angro Mainyu. The peaceful Abraham did not 
hesitate to surprise and route the aggressive marauders, Kudur- 
Legomer and his allies (Genesis 14); a practical illustration of com- 
bating wrong and evil, Zoroaster taught Ahura as the "Highest" 
not as the only one. Abraham taught the highest Power and Crea- 
tor, allowing room for assistant, subordinate, divine beings (Genesis 
18), simultaneously. No doubt Abraham is spoken of in Genesis 
as a real, substantial, historical person ; while Zoroaster is almost a 
myth with a nucleus of truth. But this difference is not personal 
to them. It is characteristic of the Arian and the Semitic litera- 
tures. The Hebiew scriptures are mostly sifted, sobered out mat- 
ters of fact, the real nucleus of the traditional story. The Arian 
one is juvenile, poetical, mythical, given to apotheosis and exag- 
geration. The Heathen myth has a historical kernel, too. Even 
the Bacchus Saga may have a true nucleus. But that nucleus is over- 


grown and stifled by poetry, juvenile tales and laudation. The 
Hebrew writ contains the kernel cleansed of its halo of lies, poetry 
and ancestor-worship. The Hebrew heroes claim an honest father 
and mother and are born in wedlock. The Greek or Roman one's pre- 
tend to be demi-gods, descendants from gods and godesses. The 
first go to " sleep with their fathers ; the latter ascend to Olympos 
after death; Compare Samson and Hercules, David and Augustus, 
etc. More illustrations we have seen in my Messiah Ideal, Vol I-, 
Parallels. — Dr. Fr. Spiegel, in his "Eran . . Beitraege" mentioned 
before, follows a similar line of parallelism between the Aryan and the 
Semitic leaders of monotheism. This parallelism, on the whole, coin- 
cides with ours. He sums up his argument as follows : A very 
early intercourse seems to have taken place between Aryan and 
Semitic tribes; a common belief in One spiritual and eternal 
God ; a striving after purity in thought, word and deed, or practical 
morality ; a paradise at the sources of the Oxus and Yaxartes ; 
Haran as the common dwelling-place of both the reformers. The 
Biblical Haran is identical with the Avesta Airyana. Semitic and 
Aryan tribes lived then, as now, in close contact ; and from that 
ancient hearth of civilization they started towards the East and 
West. — Our remarks on Abraham and Zoroaster do not yet amount 
to a full hypothesis, less so to a theory, that Abraham and Zoroas- 
ter are one and the same person in fact and in deed. But they go 
fairly to show that the same ethical movement and impulse which 
the Arian East referred to Zoroaster, the Semitic West did to Abra- 
ham. In both cases there is a solid nucleus of historical fact with a 
halo of poetry. In Zoroaster only is the myth predominating, in 
Abraham is the historical one preponderant. The inner nucleus of 
both the constellations is the same, the halo is strongly reduced in 
the Bible, it is a blaze in the Avesta. Divest it of the mythology 
and both the movements may be identified, perhaps the persons 
too, after future maturer studies of the theme. At any rate I be- 
lieve there is fair ground for presuming that the ethical movement of 
Irania is a full parallel to that of Haran and Judaea, that the move- 
ment of Zarathustra, Abraham and Moses has been continued by 
Judaean prophetism ; and that this impulse has been propagated 
in the West by Christianity, in the East by the Koran, in modern 
times by the reformation and in present times by the humanitarian- 
ism of Rousseau, Mirabean, Lessing, Mendelsohn, etc. The present 
Parsees of Bombay identify Zoroasterism with Monotheism. So is 
and has been, from begin, Mohammedanism ; and the drift of the 


Reformation and present liberal thought points in the some direc- 
tion. The countless parallels between Mazdaism on one hand and 
on the other Christolqgy, Talmud, Islam and Qabbala are not nec- 
essarily one-sided ; these latter were not always the borrowers, nor the 
Parsees ever the lenders, as assumed by Shorr and others. But I 
agree that there was reciprocal influence. I feel inclined to assume, 
judging the past from the present, that in all rationalistic movements, 
Christians and Jews were the originators ; in all mystic movements, 
the Parsees gave the impulse. And since Zarathustra or at least 
the Avesta, started with the hypothesis that from begin the universe 
was ruled by two sets of spirits, holy and unholy ones, I think with 
many writers preceeding me on this topic, that a great deal of our 
present exaggerated supernaturalism, and that nearly all the super- 
stitious practices and notions yet current in our days, are derived 
from Parsee and Brahmanic spiritualism. 

In the preceeding pages, we have seen that the Sacred Books 
of the Parsees are not yet perfectly accessible to the modern 
scholar. Their mode of writing, their idioms, figures of speech, 
hyperboles, metaphors and technical terms, allow us rather to 
guess than exactly to know their meaning. For long centuries, 
they were probably handed down orally, by tradition. When later 
they were entrusted to parchment, they were but epitomized as mere 
helps to memory, intelligible only to the sacerdotal class, but not 
accessible to laymen J and a sealed book especially to foreigners. 
Then they were repeatedly lost and re- written in idioms and a hand- 
writing not yet fully deciphered. Therefore will it take yet a good 
while before modern scholarship will be enabled fully and correctly 
to interpret them. The estimate one may now be able to make, 
and even that with great hesitation, would be the following, viz : 
The Avesta represents that phase of religion just appearing after 
nature-hero-ancestor-and fetish-worship ; just after man issues from 
barbarous life. A small fraction of society having provided for the 
necessaries of life, find time and leisure for contemplation and ob- 
servation. The surroundings inspire them chiefly with wonderment 
and with fear ; with admiration and gratitude on one hand, with mis- 
givings and deprecation on the other, with the feeling of dependence 
upon external, superior powers who can do them good or harm. 
Hence come worship, cult, supplications, deprecations, offerings, 
sacrifices. In the first stage of civilization, we fear and venerate 
natural bodies and fetishes, as mountain, river, sun, star, father, 


hero, chieftain, etc. We gradually advance to worship forces; 
storm, fire, lightning ; next abstractions, divinity, victory, beauty, 
goodness ; we then personify : These things, bodies and abstrac- 
tions, become living beings, couscious, free agents. At last we 
spiritualize and apotheosize them. This is the stage of polytheism. 
Each object of our love or of our fear, of admiration or horror, becomes 
a god. Gradually we begin to discriminate, to group these forces, 
to subordinate and superpose them. So all mythologies had a few 
superior gods and many subordinate ones. Each object in nature 
had its prototype, its genius and divine patron. As such a divine 
' type and patron, are yet imagined the messiah in Jewish mysticism 
and Christology, Buddha in eastern Asia; primordeal man or Adam 
Qadmon in Talmud and Qabbala, is such an old reminiscence, an 
old idea with another name. Contemplation went on, pantheism 
slowly became polytheism, then reduced to a few duties, to three, to 
triads in Hindostan, Assyria, Egypt, etc.,* until it arrived at the 
Dualism of Persia. This is the Mazdean doctrine. The teachers of 
that philosophy placed themselves upon the simple, human, person- 
al standpoint. As the author of the Mosaic Genesis contemplated 
creation from his own point of view, the earth, even so the author of 
the Avestean scheme : Everything in this world bears some influence 
on man, a good or bad influence, pleasing or displeasing, desirable 
and useful, or not. Hence he divided all existence into two such 
antagonistic creations, presided over by two opposing, inimical 
Powers. And these two are supreme. They have an infinitude of 
subordinate agents; they alone are supreme. The principle of 
Good was symbolized by Light ; that of Bad by Darkness. That 
explained all the phenomena of human conditions. Light, good- 
ness, happiness, growth, beauty, all things useful and agreeable to 
man, belong to the creation of Ahura Mazda, the Spirit of Good. 
Darkness, pain, death, fraud, lies, crime, toil and misfortune come 
from Angro Mainyu, the Spirit of Evil. Let us illustrate. The 
prophet Ezekiel (33. 10) of the early Babylonian exile, upholds the 
prophetic conception that morality and practical happiness are linked 
together, as cause and effect : " Son of Adam tell to the house of 
Israel : Never do 1 wish the death of the wicked ; let him repent of 
his evil ways, and he shall live. The goodness of the righteous will 
not save him as soon as he sins ; nor will wickedness harm as soon 
as it is abandoned." — Now the Magi philosophers were neither so 
naive, nor so sagacious as the prophets. They believed to find out 
that the wicked may ba happy and the good be unfortunate — hence 


did they postulate the presence from begin of two Principles ; and 
Ahriman accounts for the presence of Evil in the human world. 

This division into good and evil spirits is discernable in the 
Hindoo Vedas too. But there it was not developed. There nature 
consists of bodies and forces. The Avegta ushered in the new 
postulate of mind. It made the important step of spiritualizing, of 
breathing in life, personality, divinity into nature ; of dropping 
polytheism, star, hero, force and fetish worship and ascending to two 
Supreme Principles, one the Power for Good and one for Evil. The 
human mind advances but by small steps. These two principles in em- 
bryo are in the Vedas. In the Avesta, they but gained prominence ; 
they became the pivot of the system. On the other hand polythe- 
ism was far from being entirely abolished. The Avesta retained six 
Ameshas Spentas, in all some thirty or more divine peers, a large num- 
ber of venerable Yazatas, and a host of other subordinate good 
spirits. Then came Ahriman's hierarchy. Each and all were invoked, 
prayed and sacrificed to as deities. Each object in nature 
had its prototype in .heaven, it was its genius and patron. 
Each body in the universe was spiritualized and personified. 
Even abstract qualities, as each force and each phenomenon in the 
world was personified ; it was a thing and a genius, a bodily object 
and a spiritual person. If useful to man on earth, it was ranged 
under the creation of Ahura, if hurtful, disagreeable, ugly, it be- 
longed to Ahriman's dominions. This dominion of Evil was in 
every respect a counterpart of Mazda's creation. So had the 
Ameshas Spentas, the other peers and entire hierarchy of Mazda 
their corresponding compeers and magnates in Ahriman's realm of 
Darkness. The Avesta has also a strong inclination towards pure. 
Mosaic, prophetic monotheism. Ahura Mazda there is often de- 
scribed with all the attributes of Ihvh, as the only one, omnipotent, 
omnipresent, omniscient, eternal, all-just, benign holy Creator and 
sustainer of all. The many other gods are really, merely his attri- 
butes or his agents, angels, messengers. Nevertheless is Ahura 
limited and antagonized by his compeer, Angro Mainyu, who as 
seen, has his full creation, with his court of grandees and hosts of 
subordinates. All well weighed and counted, there is yet in the 
inner scheme of the Avesta, a clear balance of preponderance for 
monotheism ; viz : it teaches : In the end of days, after the nine 
thousand or twelve thousand years, (}) of the simultaneous reign of 

I The original compact was for 12000 years. But Zoroaster arrived 
3000 years later. 


the Two Principles will be closed, a prophet will appear and engage 
in battle with Ahriman. He will route, vanquish and send to hell 
him and all his hosts. Then Ahura Mazda will be finally and for- 
ever supreme ; then the kingdom of heaven will be inaugurated and 
vice and tears abolished among men. Thus is monotheism held up 
as the goal of all history. It is monotheism with ethical and social 
improvement in combination with the messiah-ideal. So it is in 
Judaism and in Christianity. It is the philosophy that monotheism 
is yet antagonized by idolatry, that the messiah " at the end of 
days," (1) at the close of this wicked epoch, will come and 
make God triumphant and man pure and happy. The Avesta has 
little of external cult, pompous temple worship and sacrifices, no 
trace of idols, except fire. It emphasizes everywhere spirituality, 
purity and good works ; a worthy parallel to prophetism. Yet side 
by side with that, it teaches the dominion of Evil, the Devil and his 
hosts. Gradually it introduced mithra-worship, the Sun-god with 
the " quick horses and chariot," with loooo eyes and wide fields ; 
the six Ameshas Spentas adored with their chief, Ahura, and often 
depicted as real sensual personalities. Many more gods are wor- 
shipped in idolatrous shape, so are Ardvi-Sura and Tistrya, genii 
of water and fructification. They are represented as endowed with 
corporeality, just as the Greeks painted or sculptured their full 
idolatries. So is Ahura sometimes spoken of as having wives and 
children, as Zeus is. His first born son is fire, the greatest Yazata. 
The emblem of deity was fire. Reading such divine descriptions, 
we are puzzled whether they are but metaphors or meant in real 
earnest, and this is halfway idolatry. All those- gods, genii, frav- 
ashis or departed spirits are worshipped ; prayers were addressed to 
them as protectors and their help was invoked. Nay, we find some- 
times Mazda himself recurring to their help, and offering them sac- 
rifice ; as we shall see later. Thus we find in those fragments of 
the Avesta real remnants of worship from all stages and grades, 
from fetishism to monotheism, from nature to spiritualism ; from the 
cult of fire, haoma, stars, gods, genii, ideals of man and things to 
Ahura Mazda, described with all the sublimity of Isaiah's "Ihvh Lord 
" of the universe," (niKas nin») all powerful, all present, and all know- 

The Avesta appears therefore to be a complication not only of 
books*from different periods but of systems and doctrines, that have 
been successively reigning during long periods of ages. Their origin 
J Isaiah II. and Micha IV. D'Dn nnn83' 


may go back to thousands of years before Socrates, Lycurgus, 
Moses and Abraham ; indeed as believed by the Classics, they may 
date from prehistoric times and hoary antiquity ; hence the diver- 
sity of idioms, theories and standpoints. From many gray parts of 
the Avesta, we may be justified in fairly assuming that its starting 
chapters describe a time when Iran had but a rare thin population 
scattered in the mountains, leading the primitive life of shepards 
and tillers of the ground, in small groups of families and clans, oc- 
cupying huts in villages, happy in their honest poverty. The 
dog was the faithful companion and friend of man ; the ox, cow, 
sheep and horse his housemates ; living on roots and fruits, without 
flesh ; water and milk being the only drink, and haoma the only 
intoxicant; with a naive world-conception and an Arcadean sim- 
plicity ; with love and veneration for deity, horror of crime and evil 
genii ; their worship was the fire-cult on free heights and bare rocks. 
Gradually the population increasing, advancing, and spreading 
westwards, they formed into principalities and conquered their 
neighbors. A new period began. They refined, altered, developed, 
speculated, eliminated and fused their own, with their adopted for- 
eign ideas, and gradually brought about that variegated mosaic, the 
doctrines of the Avesta now extant. It embraces the entire religious 
scale, from the naive fairy-tales about family-gods and tutelary 
genii ; the fetishes of nectar-haoma and ambrosia- draona; the fire, 
brilliant Son of the Supreme ; Mithra with quick horses ; the 
Fravashis, bright souls of departed heroes and ancestors ; — to the 
sublimest conceptions of Ahura Mazda, the Only One, Supreme 
Being, Omniscient Intelligence, sole Creator and Providence, who 
in course of time, in the far future, will eliminate Evil and bring 
about the kingdom of wisdom and justice on earth, the goal of all 
human history. Thus in the Avesta as in other sacred books of old, 
we find the law of development going on. Really we meet yet 
there pantheistic nature-worship spiritualized. The worshipper in- 
vokes all to appear and receive their share of homage, all the parts 
of existence, bodies and spirits ; all the gods and the genii ; every 
real and ideal thing is personified and divinized. It proceeds to 
polytheism ; it advances to the triads of Ahura, Ahriman and 
Mithra ; it arrives at dualism, the Two Powers of Good and of Evil ; 
it nearly approaches the precincts and halo of monotheism, the 
Ineffable, Eternal One, the all holy Ahura, the Essence of 'Being. 
As seen, Ahura, Ahu means existence, being ; the same is 
expressed by Ihvh. And Brahman, too, designates that in Hindoo 


terminology. That goes to say : That the priests of Semites, 
Arians and Hindoos really worshipped the same deity, they did so 
consciously and deliberately. While the masses, catching at words, 
hated and fought each other, believing to stand in opposite camps. 
It is not easy to say which of these phases Zoroaster represented. 
The general opinion is that he conceived the doctrine of mind above 
body, that behind nature there is God, not simply force. But this 
is understood differently, again. Some believe that he taught Two 
Spirits, those of Light and of Darkness ; hence is he the actual 
author of dualism, that the universe, as it is, is governed by two 
supreme principles, emanating two antagonistic creations. While 
others opine that the only Avesta fragments derived from him are 
the Gathas,(y) and that these have no trace of dualism, of an inde- 
pendent God of Evil ; nor of the entire hierarchy of gods and 
genii ; nor of two creations of light and of darkness. Hence they 
think that Zoroaster really taught monotheism with purity and 
useful activity. Should that prove correct, then is Zoroaster the 
Eastern Iranian type and parallel of the Western biblical Abraham. 
If such be the case, then would Zoroaster be but one of the many 
composers of the Persian Bible, he would be its reformator. The 
construction would then be : that he had been preceded by poly- 
theism, that he had a glimpse of monotheism and was followed by 
dualism ; that was the result of subsequent wars, conquest and 
crude amalgamation ; that Zoroastrian religious fusion compromised 
upon actual dualism and the vague doctrine of the future saviour, 
who, at the end of days, was to bring about full monotheism by the 
annihilation of Evil and the inauguration of the "kingdom of God." 
It is not altogether impossible that Zoroaster was but the reformator 
of the Iranian religion, and that he taught not dualism but qualified 
monotheism ; that after him, his doctrine degenerated again into 
dualism, Mithra-worship and even idolatry. That seems to contend 
against the theory of evolution, but not against proven historic 
facts, as shown elsewhere. Long peace, well-being, a few great 
men, etc., will bring about progress. Wars, famine, wretchedness 
will cause retrogression. Even so may Zoroaster's epoch have been 
one of enlightenment and advance, and after him came collapse and 
deterioration, since he himself died at the hands of Turanian ene- 
mies. The Biblical traditions of Genesis narrate a similar fact : that 
once tkere was established the worship of Ihvh, and then again 
idolatry broke in with war and corruption. (Genesis IV. and VI.) 
1 Hymns and meditations of the Yasna prayer-book. 


But more : There is no doubt that Abraham initiated an ethical and 
reUgious reform ; " proclaiming the highest God, owning heaven 
and earth." Nevertheless deterioration came on with the Egyptian, 
Canaanite, and Assyrian, etc. epochs ; and Moses and Ezra had to do 
over the work of Abraham. Even so may Zoroaster have taught 
Ahura, without dualism ; Ahura as the Supreme Being, sole Lord of 
entire creation; as seen above, Zoroaster in the Gaihas may be but 
the version of Eastern Asia, of that same monotheistic movement 
which the soberer Semitic Bible of the West attributes to Abraham 
and Moses, with the "sacrifice of Moriah" and the "burning bush 
of Horeb." It may be the same historical era, and the difference be 
only in name, place and display of sacred poetry. 

In this and my foregoing treatises we have seen that a great many 
ideas and ceremonies are common to our Bible and the Parsee Avesta. 
My book,(i) often quoted in these pages, enumerates a large num- 
ber of such parallels. In further illustration, I shall mention here but a 
few. Of course the custom of covering, or rather muffling up, 
head, face and shoulders at divine service, was most rigidly 
adhered to among the Parsees. The impurity of the human body 
was there even a more saliently established doctrine than in the 
Bible. The ostensible claim there was, that the evil spirits haunt 
the flesh. The probable cause was the desire to enforce, through 
superstitious fear and threats, strict cleanliness uponprimitive and 
not over refined peoples. The uncleanness of the dead body ol 
man was, in both Avesta and Bible, equally accentuated. As 
ancient nations carried filial piety to the excess of idolatry, as they 
practiced hero and ancestor-worship, and no doubt long retained in 
their homes decayed corpses, the legislator was compelled, as a 
salutary reaction against that excessive piety, to declare dead bodies 
impure and defiling, " belonging to Ahriman and the evil spirits." 
Hence comes the idea in Avesta, and practically among all ancient 
peoples, that the dead are haunted by the demons.(^) On the same 
grounds were, later, " penates, lares, teraphim," and all idols de- 
clared impure, haunted by the Evil one, and defiling the living, 
because they were remnants of hero and ancestor-worship. 
Wherever I see a religious enactment that at first sight, and to the 
modern mind, appears nonsense and superstition, I am inclined to 

1 Thoughts on Religious Rites. 

2 "The nasus takes hold upon the dead." n«ac3n nn 


the more charitable view that there must have been a solid, tangi- 
ble, reasonable and useful cause for enacting such a law, as, for 
instance, burial, dietary and sexual discriminations. And of that 
nature is the claim that the dead bodies are defiling the living ones, 
and must be quickly removed. Such, too, is my view about the 
causes why all ancient peoples and religions discriminated between 
clean and unclean animals, as allowable or not allowable for human 
food, among quadrupeds, birds and fishes. No great lawgiver ever 
acted from superstition, selfishness or vulgar over-reaching the 
ignorant. Any real legislator, outliving his century and his district, 
must have been a superior man, and his motive must have been 
good and noble ambition. Now the noblest and highest ambition 
is to be useful to one's people and race. Such discrimination 
between clean and unclean is therefore not ignorance, nor priest- 
craft, but the real desire to teach people correct hygienics and good 
habits ; to secure to them sound bodies and by that, sound souls> 
which condition was termed holy, and when corroborated by science, 
it is holy. The doctrine of the impurity of the dead human body 
was in Parseeism carried to the last extreme ; this, no doubt, by the 
blind zeal of the followers of Zoroaster. That over zeal carried 
the original sound notion to a facetious excess ; a trait which 
we often find repeated in the Talmud in its treatment of the 
enactments of the Bible. In Mazdaism it was equally for- 
bidden to bury the dead from fear of defiling the earth; or to 
cremate them or bury them in the sea, for these were even more 
holy elements ; or to let them decay for the air, too, was holy to 
Ahura Mazda. How then dispose of the dead ? We have seen it. 
In an isolated place, far away from town, a high tower was erected 
called Dakhtna. By fictions and rites, it was presumed to be so con- 
structed as to be isolated from all the surrounding elements, the 
earth inclusive ! In such a manner it was thought the holy creation 
of Ahura was screened against pollution. On the top of that tower, on 
crossing iron bars, the corpses were deposited and left to be 
devoured by birds of prey. At the advent of the messiah, such 
bodies would be reclaimed by the triumphant Ahura Mazda. 

The Parsees prayed a great deal, several times daily. They 
pronounced benedictions by the scores, at every act of life, at each 
meal, at enjoyments and at bereavements, just as in the Synagogue. 
They insisted upon (levitical or) priestly purity, declaring the. 
common people habitually impure, as we find, too, in the Talmud, (i) 
1 There the p«n oy, the commoner, is habitually impure. 


They were austere of manners, of puritanic simplicity and habits, 
in dress and in meals, and of the highest morahty. They celebrated 
the New-moons and the. Seventh day, Sabbath. They abstained 
from wines presumably idolatrous; they discriminated between clean 
and unclean in sexual intercourse, animals and food. They ab- 
horred all kinds of idols and material representations of the deity. 
The deity was a pure spirituality, depicted with all the lofty 
expressions of goodness, greatness and holiness, as the Bible attri- 
butes to Ihvh himself. Indeed Ahura Mazda was the Parsee 
version of Ihvh, with the sole difference, by no means a small one, 
that Ihvh was and remained One and unique ; while Ahura Mazda 
had a formidable rival, Angro Mainyu, the biblical Satan, the well- 
known Anti-Christ of Church dogmatics. The Parsees further had a 
priestly caste and a supreme pontiif, as the Biblical "Kohanim" and 
the highpriest. Such has the Christian Hierarchy.(i) They had also 
especially holy men, as the later Hebrew Hassidim, the Catholic 
hermits and saints. They taught the immortality of the human 
soul and the resurrection of the body, paradise and hell, and tlie 
advent of the messiah, when the God of Evil, Angro Mainyv, will 
be vanquished with all his hosts, by the messiah, and the Only God 
Ahura Masda, will remain supreme here and hereafter. Just so is 
in the church the victory of Christ over Satan at his second 
advent. Even that is the popular version concerning the 
advent of the Jewish Messiah, while the philosophical mean- 
ing is only the reign of political and social justice among 
mankind at large. As the Rabbinical pietist wears a skull cap, 
a four-cornered vestment with fringes and mystic knots close to his 
body, a girdle around his waist and over all his garments, an ample 
sacred scarf (talith) enveloping him entirely, especially during 
prayer, from his 13th year onwards ; even so the true Mazdayasnian. 
From early boyhood he wore the skull-cap, the Kosti, or sacred 
girdle, over his garments, with the four mystic knots, perfectly 
answering to the Arba Kanphoth(^ of the Hebrew Hassid. The 
Parsee had besides another piece of sacred cloth perfectly corre- 
sponding to the Rabbinical sacred scarf. That vestment was called 
Soudra, often mentioned in the Talmud by the same name. It 
was a large veil, covering mouth, face and shoulders, with most 
of the body. He constantly wore the sacred girdle around his 
waist. It was accounted frivolous to put it aside, and of ill omen 
to lose it. Just so it is with the girdle and the fringes of the Hebrew 
1 A pontiff, but no priestly caste, no hereditary priests, ^nisas yaiN 


Hassid. That kosti had the four mystic knots of Mazdaism. The 
one was to remind him of the One only God, Ahura. The second 
knot should remember the truths of the Parsee-religion ; the third 
bring to mind that Zarathustra is the only true prophet ; the fourth 
cause the believer to resolve upon keeping God's commandments. 
Similarly reads, Numbers XV., 38 : " They shall make fringes to 
the corners of their garments . . . and contemplating them, 
you shall remember thecommandments of Ihvh . . . and be holy." 
Here is a striking instance of the parallelism of religious rites. 
But this analogy is not only in rites and forms, it is in doctrines and 
conceptions too. The Pentateuch teaches God as the Supreme 
Being, the pure spirituality, eternal and omnipresent. In later 
biblical books we find an additional, subordinated power looming 
up, viz : Satan, the evil personified. In the New Testament and 
the Rabbinical literature, this dark power assumes ever grander 
proportions, to such an extent, as if the original Divine Omnipotence 
had suffered a split. In ancient Greek mythology, we read of cel- 
estial wars and usurpations, Ouranos, Chronos and Zeus' dissentions ; 
then of the latter one's civil struggle with the Titans in the aethereal 
realms. Qabbalistic and Aggadic mystics turned these mythic 
revolutions into philosophic evolutions. They speak of God, the 
Ancient of Days, the unknowable, the infinite — Ain Soph — unfold- 
ing into Ten Sephiroth, or divine Emanations ; ■ the Messiah born 
before Creation with hosts of angels, to conquer Satan, God's for- 
midable rival, with his myriads of demons defying creation. In 
Christian later dogmatics, those ideas take even vaster proportions 
and become the very base of a new creed. That course of thought 
with demonology and angelology found their place in Mohamme- 
danism too ; and even so do we find these same mystical ideas and 
conceptions in Parseeism, running along in certain parallel lines with 
Brahmanism. Thus after the streams of the Brahma, Zoroaster, 
Abraham and Bible-religions have been spreading the vast world 
over in different channels, we are enabled to retrace their steps to 
their original source and starting point, not only in their rites and 
forms, but even in their ideas and doctrines. As the Biblical relig- 
ions had their phases of monotheism struggling against idolatry, 
even so did Parseeism, according to the Ghaihas in Yasna. It 
originally started with pure, lofty, uncompromising monotheism, 
God's name is Ahura Mazda, meaning : " Being Supreme, and In- 
telligence." Later, possibly with the Persian conquest of Parthia 
and Medea, etc., when brute force and war, the devil, the principle 


of 6vU became more potent, it seems as if a deterioration took place; 
viz : Ahura Mazda, the pure, the just, the holy one is not alone 
reigning. No, the good is not absolute in this world. Side by side 
with that, there is also the evil : hate, selfishness, rivalries, the brute 
forces with which we have to reckon. Ahura Mazda has a counter- 
part, a formidable rival ; it is the principle of Evil, Angro Mainyu. 
Both are the offspring of the primordeal power, the Homeric fate, 
necessity, Zrvana Akarana, Eternity of space and of time. As long as 
the universe was not differentiated and continued under the shape 
of boundless space and eternity, good and evil were one. But 
with creation and with man, the two were rent assunder, as light 
and darkness, life and death, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. 
Ahura Mazda represents the principles of good ; Angro Mainyu, 
that of evil. The world is divided between them. 

Thus some claim Zoroaster as a pure monotheist, and dualism 
as a later deterioration, he being a pioneer and forerunner of mon- 
otheism — as Abraham. This is inferred from the Gathas, by one 
set of Zend-interpreters. Other scholars understand the Ghathas 
and Zoroaster as teaching at once the two opposing principles, 
dualism, and nothing but dualism ; monotheism and Zrvana-Akar- 
ana being later phases. But they say that the Avesta holds out the 
victory of the good principle as the coming millennium. At the 
end of I2O0O years, agreed to by the two powers, the descendant of 
Zoroaster will appear and fight Ahriman, who will yield ; and Ahura 
will be victorious ; he and Zrvana- Akarana will be one again — at last. 
Both these ways of constructing Zoroaster and the Gathas may well 
be reconciled. Monotheism is final, dualism is intermediate ; the 
last evolution is the principle of good. The dualist acknowledges 
that evil is self destroying ; the monotheist confesses that evil is hard 
to reconcile with an omnipotent, all-wise Ruler. The reconciliation is 
made by the fact that evil is but temporary and apparent, considered 
from a human standpoint and in the divine plan, viz : to bring out 
final good. It is apparently this way of bridging over the difficulty, 
to which Rabbinical moralists allude by the doctrine of " Trial ;"{}) 
Evil overtakes man in order to chasten him and make him better 
and stronger, that means : evil is the means of good. Such is the 
Zoroastrian millennium. That is the Parsee Messianic Ideal. It is 
identical with " the advent of the kingdom of Heaven " of the 
Christian. It is one with the Biblical hope : " When all nations 
will stream to the mount of the Lord, when justice will reign su- 

i;i»n: "God tried Abraham," Genesis 22: 8. " with ten trials." 


preme and war be forever undone ; for wisdom will cover the earth 
as the waters fill the ocean's abyss." — Surveying the vast field of 
mysticism, from hoary antiquity to our own times, mysticism in an- 
cient, in mediaeval and in present times, from the domain of popular 
notions, to that of living religions, and of abstract philosophy ; 
mysticism in Talmud, New-Platonism, Christology, Mohammedan- 
ism down to Qabbala, Jewish Hassidaism and American Spiritualism, 
the source of all that mysticism may be clearly retraced to Bramo- 
Parseeism. (See "Thoughts on Religious Rites,'" p. 99.) The 
host of ceremonies, rites, litanies, benedictions, charms, perfunctory 
lip-services, penances, confessions, fasts, monastic self-abnegations, 
etc., all hail from that quarter. Nearly everyone and each of our 
modern mystic observances in church, mosque and synagogue may 
find their parallels in the fire-temples of the ancient eastern 




In the foregoing pages we have seen that Avesta, in old Per- 
sian : Abasta, means the Law ; Lex. nomos, min- It is a collection 
of fragmentary works representing the remnants of the sacred books 
of the most ancient and venerable creed, doctrines and mythology 
of the religion of ancient Persia, for many centuries a world-empire, 
mistress of half of Asia and part of Africa and Europe. That 
religion is known as Parseeism, Mazdaism, or fire-worship. Popul- 
arly it is attributed to Zoroaster, Zertusht or Zarathustra, the East- 
Asiatic Lawgiver of gray antiquity. The foremost book of that 
Avesta-collection is called, the Vendidad, the subject of these pages. 
Concerning that, the present Parsee priests assert(i) that there were 
anciently 21 nosks, 21 complete books containing their sacred Law- 
collection, which books mostly have been lost, or destroyed during 
and after the conquest of ancient Persia by Iskander the Rumi, or 
Alexander of Macedonia. They affirm that the Vendidad is the 
only book that has remained entire from that conflagration of Per- 
sepolis, and that it has come down intact to our own period ; after 
a lapse of time of more than 2000 years, the ruin of the people, the 
devastation and loss of the country, and the long migrations of the 
ancient Persians, down to the present homes of their few descend- 
ants, the now Parsees or Guebers in Hindostan. But when we closely 
examine the Vendidad, we find it hard to accept that book as one 
integral whole. As the Avesta, so is the Vendidad rather a com- 
pilation of diverse fragments of different treatises, compositions 
and hands, put together with a rough view to general order and 
continuity. The Vendidad, as now before us, consists of twenty-two 
chapters or Fargards, and treats of the following subject matter 
and themes : The first and second chapters appear to be remnants 
of an ancient cosmogony or creation of the then known world, land, 
heaven and water ; of the first man, a version of the biblical Adam, 
the human race and their fortunes. There are some attempts at a 
description of innocence in paradise, of a relapse and universal 

1 See Vendidad by James Darmesteter, p. p. 32 and 83 ; Ravaets, by 
Anquetil. Memoires de I'Academie des Inscr. at Belles Lettres 38, 216 ; 
Spiegel Zeitschrift d. Deutsch-Morgenlaendishen Geselshaft 9, 174. 
So, too, Haug and others. 


destruction, and a salvation according to the pattern of Noah's 
deluge, his ark and restoration of the animal kind. Chapter III. 
shows the dualism in the creation ; the good and the evil world, the 
action of Ahura Mazda, the Holy Spirit, the Genius of good, the 
Lord Omniscient God ; and the counter action of Angro Mainyu, 
the Evil Spirit, the Genius of bad, literally the wicked spirit, the 
devil ; thus dividing the universe into a pure and an impure realm, 
two dominions in the same universe, two absolute masters, each in 
array against his peer. Chapter V. may correspond to the Exodus 
21-23 of the Pentateuch. It gives an outline of the Iranian Code 
of hoary times, the civil and criminal codes, civil transactions, dam- 
ages for breach of contract ; mutual responsibility and solidarity 
of relatives ; penalty for outrages, perjury, assaults, wounds, mur- 
der, etc. It is a code of justice, human and divine, on earth, in 
heaven and in hell. Chapters V-XII. teach the Iranian theology : 
The leading feature of Zoroasterism is dualism ; there are two 
powers, two masters, two creations and two worlds in this one 
universe, and it is the paramount duty of every rational believer to 
further the dominions of the holy Principle, Ormazd, arid to destroy 
that of the wicked one, Ahriman. The major part of the Vendi- 
dad treats of the criteria of these two halves of the universe, and 
of the means how to further the holy half, and to annihilate, or 
curtail at least the fiendish one ; the laws of cleanliness and holiness 
in body and in soul ; of defilement and of purification, in thought, 
word and deed, by lay means and by religious means. Ahura 
Mazda is the God of life, light and happiness ; and Ahriman is the 
God of death, darkness and misfortune. Sickness and death are 
accounted, therefore, the triumph of the latter. Death is fraught 
with danger for the entire living creation, and for that of healthy, 
pure matter. Hence all possible precautions are taken for isolating 
the sick, the defiled, and especially the dead persons, that they 
should not become a source of contamination, contagion and fresh 
deaths. So, too, the elements are holy, and must be kept pure from 
dead matter. These means of purification are again human and 
divine, hygienic and ceremonious, rules of health and mystic spells, 
right living, with lustrations, prayers and sacrifices. The conditions 
of men, and especially of women in their menses and their sickness, 
claim a large share of legislative and priestly care, hygienic and 
ceremonious, placed side by side. There we find many and 
striking parallels with the Laws of Mosaism and of Rabbinism on 
the defilement by dead matter, especially sexual and dietetic laws. 


The Chapter IX. is particularly devoted to the leading Parsee 
ceremony of Barashnum, viz : Cleansing from contracted defilement 
by man or woman. There we shall feel struck by its parallelism 
with the Mosaic lustrations and the Red- Heifer -rite, which appear 
to have been widely pervading the ancient priestly ceremonies in 
Judaea as in the Hindoo-Iranian countries. The Chapter X. treats 
of mystic spells, prayers and recitations of mostly salient, sacred 
Avesta-passages, especially from the Gathas, hymns from the Parsee 
ritual and service, Yasna (miay). They were used as probate 
cures and means to chase away the legion of evil spirits, the 
death impurities, the devil or Drugh, and to help restore the health 
and purity of the " haunted " patient. Parallels to such usages, 
some recognize in the Rabbinical " phylacteries, the fringes with 
their knots," the inscriptions on " the door-posts and the city gates," 
and such other talismans as enlarged upon in the Talmud, but oftener 
rejected there as idolatrous (nin« 'an). The Parsee ritual calls 
them Taavid,(}) evidently the Totuphoth of V. M. VI. 8, a venerable 
custom first, soon degenerated into a spell. Chapter XII. continues 
the above subjects on the treatment of the uncleanness of the 
relatives and of those in contact with the dead ; of the forms of 
mourning, of the condition of the house, where the person died. 
The idea was, as mentioned, that death, the triumph of evil, is 
unlucky to all the surroundings, living beings or lifeless, pure 
matter. All have fallen a prey to Ahriman and are a source of 
danger to their environments. People were afraid to enter such a 
house or even into its neighborhood. The house and its inmates 
were in mourning, isolated from other beings, and in need of a 
thorough purification before they were released from that ban. J. 
DarmesteterC^j remarks, that even nowadays, in Mohammedan 
Persia, that superstition has not disappeared : " The house where 
a person has died is looked upon with tremulation. The son 
deserts' the house of his dead father ; " the unlucky step, bad qadim, 
is in it." " Every man's house should die with him." The heir 
lets it go to ruin and builds another one further off". Certain Rab- 
binical mourning laws, and especially many mourning usages every 
where, may depart from such gray oriental premises. To my 
personal recollection, such superstitions, such dim, unconscious 
misgivings, such secret terrors and fears to be harmed by the dead, 

1 Much used formulae, exorcising evil spirits and sickness, mystic 
3 Darraesteter Vendidad 145. 


are still pervading the Jewish Ghetto, and no doubt other sects, 
too, among the uneducated. To watch alone with and near a 
corpse, to be alone in a room where a recent death has occurred, to 
touch a corpse or his clothing, to be' alone in the cemetery especially 
on a dark night, was something unconsciously horrifying. It made 
the young ones shiver and shake. It comes from an unavowed 
fear of the departed ghost, dread of the evil one haunting him who 
might overtake and harm the living. Among the Parsees, to be 
alone with the dead was actually a crime. Of course everything 
in the mourning house was unclean in Parseeism, so, too, in Rab- 
binism, and must be cleansed if at all possible. The Vendidad is 
very explicit on that. All fires were to be removed from the house. 
This may have given rise to the Rabbinical custom : that the 
mourners partook of a meal tendered by the neighbors ; since fire 
and cooking was discarded in the house of mourning. While a 
candle was lit in the Jewish house just in opposition to the Parsee 
usage of removing all fire. Chapters XIII. and XIV. treat of the 
dog, so important in primitive times in a village and shepherd-com- 
munity, upon which interesting subject we shall enlarge later. The 
same theme is continued in a part of Chapter XV. This Chapter 
XV. treats chiefly of the most heinous misdeeds, according to the 
Zoroastrian Code, that which constitutes a Peshotanu, an unpardon- 
able criminal. Chapters XVI., XVII. and part of XVIII., are a 
continuation of the laws on purification, completing Chapters V. to 
VII., concerning the things coming from the dead body, and how 
to be removed ; also in impure men, spirits, lusts, etc. Chapter 
XIX. treats of the temptations of Zoroaster by Ahriman, finding its 
parallel in Christology ; of Zoroaster's victory and subsequent revela- 
tions by Ahura. The revelations are delivered by Ahura in the 
shape of replies to Zoroaster, who asks and receives an answer. 
Chapter XX. deals with the chief rite of Mazdaism, the Haoma, the 
mystic plant and genius of salvation, corresponding on one hand to the 
biblical "tree of life" and on the other, to the mythologic nectar and 
ambrosia. The Haomn, confers eternal youth, heals diseases. loooo 
healing herbs are growing around that plant of life. Thrita and 
kindred mythological genii in Avesta and Rig-Veda are its priests, 
ordained to administer to health and combat sickness. Sickness is 
there assumed as coming from the poison of the serpent, which ser- 
pent is killed by the god Thrita, the priest of haoma, hence is he 
the first healer. There may be here a parallel with the Greek 
Asklepios and his snake wound around his staff — as also with the 


serpent of the Biblical Paradise persuading man to rebellion, in con- 
nection with the "tree of knowledge and of life." That serpent and 
its poison is but another metaphor for Ahriman and his guile. 
Chapter XXI. treats of the holy elements, water and light, of the 
holy bull and of other personified natural bodies, enlarged upon 
later on in these pages. Chapter XXII. completes the themes of 
the preceding Chapter XX. Angro Mainyu, another name for the 
snake mentioned, creates 99,999 diseases, i. e., the ills of man. 
Ahura Mazda applies as a healing balm, his own holy word, viz : 
Airyaman. This is an old Indo-Iranian god , found also, as most 
of the Zoroastrian divine abstractions, in the Hindoo-Rig-Veda. 
His name, like Mithra, is " the friend ;" a god of light, beneficent 
and helpful to man — representing another attribute of Ahura, viz : 
the sky. Yaruna, Ouranos, D'atr is another etymology of the Parsee 
Ahura, besides its kinship with Ahu, being, ib*, sire and Herr, as 
seen above. 

Thus the a2 chapters, called fargards of the Vendidad ex- 
' hibit a general outline of the Avestean doctrines. They postulate 
two supreme powers in the universe in bitter antagonism to each 
other' for the term of 1 2000 years ; after which time, the Soshiosh or 
Messiah will appear, fight and overcome the power of evil, and give 
absolute dominion to the power of good. These two divine and in- 
dependent genii or supreme gods, bring forth each their creations, 
embodying their own self; the one, a world of light and goodness, 
the other a world of darkness and vice, as alluded to. We have 
therefore in the first fargard, an outline of cosmogony, as all relig- 
ious legislations of antiquity begin with. The two supreme gods 
are denominated respectively, Ahura Mazda and Angro Mainyu. 
Each has brought forth his own world and creation ; each his own 
court of grandees and peers, each has his own residence, the one in 
heaven, the other in hell; each has his subjects, vassals and ad- 
ministering spirits assisting him in the performance of his task. 
Yima corresponds there to our biblical Adam ; be begins in purity 
and in happiness, in a paradise, with the reign of peace and good- 
will ; but things get worse, hence we find also something correspond- 
ing to our own deluge, destruction of life, Noah's Ark and restoration 
of the race. But this position of Yima is contradicted (See Vendi- 
dad Darmesteter 75) in other parts of the Avesta. His confrere, 
Yama, of the Vidas, is the first man. Yima is rather assumed as 
the first founder of civilization, as a social era, Gayo Maraian is the 
first man. Closely seen, it is the same with Adam ; apparently rep- 


resenting the first man, he is really the Mosaic era of the first civil- 
ization. After that regeneration of the human kind and its differ- 
entiation, we slowly arrive at a sort of an Arian- Abraham, just as 
Yima is the Avestean Adam. Yima or Yemshed deteriorated and 
fell from his rank as religious teacher. A daeva occupied his 
throne, and the exalted office of renovating lawgiver devolved upon 
his successor, Zoroaster, Zarathustra, meaning perhaps : lustrous 
star, the beacon light and spiritual father of Iranian mankind, as 
the Semitic initiator is called Abraham, Ab-Ram, the sublime father, 
the teacher and "blessing of many nations." Zoroaster is the 
bearer of divine revelations, the medium of Mazda's oracles to in- 
struct mankind in the divine Avesta, the Iranian, Thora; He receives 
the revelations and delivers them to King Vistaspa of Bactria and 
the Iranian tribes. He is the Abraham and Moses of the Magian 
religion. His late descendant, at the end of the present mil- 
lennium, is the expected Soshiosh, Saviour, who will vanquish Ahri- 
man and restore the world to the undivided sway of Mazda. The 
Soshiosh is the pattern of the redeemer, the Jewish messiah and the 
later Gospel Christ. The Vendidad further contains a fair outline 
and ideal of purity, virtue, holiness ; and of their reverse in body 
and soul, with its full apparatus and grand display of the ways and 
methods of attaining at the one, and avoiding or annulling the other. 
Those means are real and ceremonial, essential and formal, inwardly 
and outwardly. The law aims at purity and goodness in thought, in 
word, and in deed. Purity of body is urgently necessary to holiness 
of soul. As the Pentateuch, so the Avesta urges on : " Holy shall 
ye be, for holy is your God," — as shown below. There is too, an 
outline of practical legislation, of rendering justice between man to 
man and beast. Most primitive it is, honest and humble, clearly 
pointing to its hoary antiquity, its early social state and polity ; a 
country of hamlets, villages, small farms, cattle-breeders and owners 
of flocks, a humble mode of existence. The flock and the farm are 
the only property. The ox, cow, horse, sheep, etc., are almost the 
members and the inmates of the family. No arts, no commerce, 
and no wealth are discernable. Especially prominent is the dog. 
He is the companion of the villager, agriculturer or shepherd ; his 
faithful friend, his watchman, the guardian of his home, his cradle 
and his flock, his unfailing assistant and co-worker ; he is the most 
prominent domestic figure in that humble society. He accompanies 
man and woman in life and in death ; in administering to the flocks 
and tilling the ground. He is their fellow-mourner in death, their 


companion in heaven or in hell, he meets them at the bridge 
Kinvad, leading to either. The dog's sympathetic last look 
soothes the dying Parsee and chases away, infallibly, the drugh, 
who stands there, eager to catch up the departing soul and hand it 
over to eternal torments. 

For such a primitive, political organization are the statutes of 
the Vendidad framed. It is idle to assign such a primitive code 
to the times of the Sasanidae or even the Achaemenidae, five cen- 
turies before, or three after the Christian era. When we examine 
the Pentateuchal laws, they unmistakably point to gray, archaic 
times ; the times not of Jeremiah, Zedekiah, nor Solomon, but 
much earlier, viz : just as they claim to be fifteen centuries B. C. 
To such conditions and environments, point the Mosaic Chapters 
21-23, etc. of Exodus in the Pentateuch. But to a much earlier 
period reach the Vendidad laws on contracts, dealings by word of 
mouth or handshake, transactions " of the value of an ox, a cow, a 
sheep, a man, a woman," etc. Its criminal procedure on outrages, 
assaults, man-slaughter, ceremonial trespasses, theological offences, 
capital crimes, marriage between near blood relations, etc. — all that 
points to an incipient and raw society. Its mode of worship, bene- 
dictions, prayers, hymns, spells, exorcisms, sacrifices, etc., all that 
has its " raison d'etre," all that presupposes a primitive, social organi- 
zation, more naive, archaic and aboriginal than Mosaism is. The 
Vendidad is not contemporaneous with the Pentateuch, but even 
much more antique ; indeed it stands at the dawn of civilization in 
Middle Asia ; it is as old as Abraham, if not much earlier, to all ap- 
pearance. The greatest space and most elaborate treatment is 
given to the question of purity and purification. Actually that 
occupies most of its pages. The sickness of men, the menses of 
women, the treatment of the dead, their burial, away from the ele- 
ments that are, too holy and must not be defiled by the sacrilegious 
contact of dead matter. That occupies the greatest attention of the 
Vendidad writers. That is not the Arian Pentateuch, but its 
Leviticus, its priestly code par excellence. The ideas of hereafter, 
of reward and punishment, of heaven, paradise and hell, of angels 
and devils have their full share in our chapters in discussion. We 
shall later see that they were the sources from which Jewish, Chris- 
tian and Mohammedan legend, angelology and demonology largely 
drew their information. Even the Houris of the Alkoran hail from 
the Avestean heaven, though exaggerated and attired in Arabian 
colors. Finally the same chapter devotes some space to the treat- 


ment of priests and physicians, giving some wholesome hints con- 
cerning those learned professions, their pay, their character, etc. 
A careful perusal of these 22 fargard's of the Vendidad unmistaka- 
bly suggests that the book is but a compilation and epitome of a 
much larger work on that legislation. It was not compiled quietly, 
leisurely and deliberately, by official priests having complete docu- 
ments at hand before their eyes, intent on the compilation. The 
careful examination of the book shows that it contains an abrupt 
synopsis, a hap-hazard collection of a larger work or works, lost in 
the stress and storm of social upheavels and disruptions. Parts 
only of the original material have been rescued from incendiarism 
or total loss and oblivion. Such scraps and remnants from partly 
destroyed parchments and papers, or from half effaced memory, 
carrying over to posterity but the most practical parts and most 
urgently necessary elements of religion, have been saved from loss, 
and committed to writing in those 22 fargards of the Vendidad. 

I follow the text translations of Prof. Darmesteter, edited by 
Prof. F. Max Mueller, Oxford, i886. Fargard I. Verse i. "Ahura 
Mazda (the Supreme God) spake to Spitama,(i) Zarathustra (the 
beneficent prophet) saying : Verse 2. I have made every land 
dear to its dwellers ; even though it had no charms whatever in it ; 
had I not made every land dear to its dwellers, even though it had 
no charms whatever in it, then the whole living world would have 
invaded the Airy ana Vaego.('^) 3. The first of the good lands and 
countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created, was the Airyana Vaego, 
by the good river Daitya. Thereupon came Angro Mainyu, who is 
all death, and he counter-created by his witchcraft, the serpent in 
the river, and the winter, a work of the daevas. This serpent ap- 
pears to be identical with the same individual of Adam's paradise, 
a personification of the evil spiiit. The grim, freezing winter is his 
fit creation of mischief. As the biblical serpent corrupted Adam, 
etc., so the Avestean one killed Yima, Adam's Iranian colleague. 
Yima was king of Airyana Vaego, as Adam was lord of the Garden 
of Eden. The one and the other lost their respective paradise and 
were ousted into the rough world of tribulations. — Verse 4. " There 
are ten winter months, two summer months, and those are cold for 

1 Spitama may be a proper name or mean, " the holy one." 

2 Man's first happy dwelling place, corresponding to Adam's Garden 
of Eden, the fairly land of the Iranian race. 


the waters, cold for the earth, cold for the trees. Winter falls there 
with the worst of its plagues." This is to show the wickedness 
of the evil spirit trying to counteract and annihilate the good work 
of the Supreme God by interposing evil. — Verse 5. " The second 
of the good lands and countries which I, Ahura Mazda, created 
was the plains in Sughda," (Sogdiana). Thereupon came Angro 
Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter-created, by his witchcraft, 
the fly Skaitya (possibly the cattlefly), which brings death to the 
cattle." — Verse 6. " The third of the good lands and countries 
which I, Ahura Mazda, created was the strong, holy Mouru (Mirv)." 
Thereupon came Angro Mainyu, who is all death, and he counter- 
created, by his witchcraft, sinful lusts. The chapter goes on enu- 
merating the good lands Ahura created, sixteen in number, partly 
still recognizable in middle-Asian countries, lying between Arabia, 
the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and India. Partly they are oblit- 
erated or but mythic fairy -lands. To each good creation, Angro 
Mainyu opposed his own wicked one of some plague, vice or 
mischief-bearing region, in order to counterbalance the benevolent 
intentions of Ahura. Among these wicked creations of the evil 
one are : the corn-spoiling ants, unbelief, the mosquitoes, evil spirits, 
pride, unnatural fleshly lusts, burying the dead (the Magian allowed 
not that), witchcraft, the evil eye, wicked spells, total infidelity, 
burn'ing the dead (cremation, too, being forbidden by Parseeism), 
abnormal menstruation, foreign oppression and tyranny, excessive 
heat, and other works of the devil. Among the creations of Ahura 
is also the four-cornered Varuna, Ouranos (heaven), and many 
auspicious deities, as " Thraetaona," a beneficent, subordinate god, 
who killed the serpent, Azis Dahaka, the murderer of Yima, the 
Avestean Adam. The sixteen regions and dominions enumerated 
in this chapter are simply the world, earthly and heavenly, known 
to the writer of that Fargard. This chapter contains simply a cos- 
mogony, a creation, generally corresponding to the first chapter 
of Genesis. Vaguely it narrates the creation ol heaven and earth, 
the sixteen lands, angels and devils, inclusive of paradise or Airyana 
Vaego, the serpent, Azis Dahaka, the first man, Yima, etc. The 
writer, an earthly inhabitant, mostly pays attention to the lands of 
the earth, and but as accessories mentions the heavenly regions. 
The sixteen lands are simply the Iranian countries, alone known to 
him, he being the teacher of Arian races. The Arian world is to 
him the universe. The last redactor of that fargard, remembering 
that there are, besides, other lands and races, adds, par acquit de 


conscience, in the closing verse 21 : " There are still other lands and 
countries, beautiful and rich, desirable, bright and thriving," of 
course belonging to Ahura's creation, he being the Lord of all good. 
This first Fargard outlines the theological and cosmological 
standpoint of the writer. That standpoint is dualism : Two inde- 
pendent supreme powers are in this universe ; they are involved in 
eternal antagonism. The world is the embodiment of these oppos- 
ing gods. There are two worlds within this one universe. This 
universe is not the work of various single forces, of multiple deities, 
counting by hundreds or tens of thousands, as many as there are 
single objects or forces of nature, as previously assumed by the 
polytheisms of the former Indo-Iranian, Babylonian or Greek 
mythologies. No ; that first standpoint of the infantile thinker is 
vanquished. The Magian priest made this important progressive 
step. From childlike polytheism, he advanced to riper dualism. 
There is in this universe not accidental action and counter-action, 
not struggle of each object and force against all other objects and 
powers. No, all things and their driving springs are united and 
arrayed in two camps, two and no more, dualism, not polytheism. 
Each of these two halves is a solid unit. The universe has two 
sides, one consists of light, life, virtue, holiness, happiness ; the 
other is its counterpart, darkness, death, vice, defilement, misfortune. 
Each half is presided over by its own genius, god, supreme creator 
and ruler. Ahura Mazda, the Lord omniscient, superintends the 
creation of light, life and reason. Angro Mainyu, the angry, wicked 
spirit, is master of the creation of darkness, death, evil passions, etc. 
To all appearance, the Magian priests thought that monotheism could 
not account for the presence of evil fn the world. An all-powerful, be- 
nign and wise Being could not allow evil to exist. Hence must there 
be a second divine Being creating it, independent of the former ; hence 
dualism. Another passage in Yasna, an important book of the 
Avesta, in one of its most venerable parts, denominated the Gathas, 
hymns, especially ascribed to Zoroaster, accepted by Zend-scholars 
as genuine and of a more antique age than the Vendidad — such a 
passage makes the following utterance concerning our theme, the 
two principles, dualism of the Mazda religion. According to the 
translation of Prof. L. H. Mills (Edition of Prof. Max Mueller, 
Oxford, 1887), it reads thus: (Yasna Gathas 30, page 29). Verse 
2. " Hear ye then with your ears ; see ye the bright flames (the 
holy fire of the Farsees, emblem of deity and reason) with your 
better mind. It is for a decision as to religion . ; . each for him- 


self . . . Awaken to our teachings ! (Verse 3.) " Thus are the 
primeval spirits, who as a pair, yet each independent in his action, 
have been famed of old. They are a better thing, they two, and a 
worse one, as to thought, as to word and as to deed. And between 
these two, let the wisely acting choose aright, not as the evil doers." 
The Commentator, Neryosangh, renders it in the following man- 
ner : "Thus the two spirits (Ormazd and Ahriman), who uttered first 
in the world each his own (principle, one of good and the other of 
evil); these were a pair in thought, word and deed — a highest and 
a lowest one." — Let me call attention to the striking similarity of 
this Gatha to the well-known Aggadic version of this dualistic 
doctrine. Here these two principles are termed Yezer Hatob and 
Yezer Harang, the inclination for good and the inclination for bad. 
In Gatha and Aggada, they are yet things, conditions, not yet fully 
personified — persons they became later. But the Gatha places 
them in the universe ; the Aggada in the human breast. In the 
first, they are the poles and pivots of the world ; in the latter, the 
hinges and levers of human actions. Hence their supremacy in 
A vesta, and their subordinate place in Aggada. The earnestness, 
the pathos of this Gatha, exhibiting Zoroaster as urging upon his 
hearers the fitness of choosing the inspirations of the spirit of good 
over that of evil, vividly reminds of similar innumerable passages 
in our Sacred Writ. I shall only quote V. M. XXX. 15, etc.: 
" Behold I have put before thee life with good, and death with 
evil ;" bidding thee to love God and walk in His ways ; then He 
will bless thee and give thee a good country ... or if thou turnest 
to the idols, then ruin and loss of country will follow." . . . Closing 
there in verse 17: "I call to witness heaven and earth: Life and 
death, I have placed before thee, blessing and curse, choose thou 
life!" The radical difference between these Avesta and Bible 
passages is theological; though the ethical kernel is identical. 
Their theories are different, because their standpoint is different. 
The Avesta teacher resigns himself and surrenders to the desolate 
idea that there are two powers, both divine, both omnipotent, in 
eternal struggle against each other. Reasoning from a human 
standpoint, he finds plent)' of ill, wrong, stupidity and misfortune 
in the world. This cannot be the result of an allwise and omnipo- 
tent God. Hence must there be a second God who chooses the 
wrong, willfully and intentionally, in spite of the benevolence and 
wisdom of Ahura. There is also the Evil one. He acknowledges 
Angro Mainyu as hardly inferior to Ahura. Nevertheless, he calls 


upon man to choose Ahura and reject Ahriman. Just as the Mosaic 
writer enjoins to worship God and reject idols. Now this is the 
weak point of Zoroasterism. If Ahriman is supreme, it is idle to 
call on man to fight him ; for man cannot fight supreme power ! 
The Hebrew writer has vanquished that phase of Magian thought : 
Polytheism, the struggle of all forces in the world against one 
another, is not true. These many forces are but aids, or elements 
of the one Central Power. These subordinate forces are agents 
of one Supreme Intelligence. Whence then comes evil into the 
universe ? There is no evil in the universe. There is evil in the 
human world ! It is the product of brute interference, of man's wil- 
fullness. Man has brought it on. His ignorance, blind selfishness 
and rebellion have produced it, to mar his own world, his own hap- 
piness. From man comes the trouble. There is none in God's 
universe. Let man do his duty, and his own product, mischief, will 
disappear. Man, his evil inclination, personified as Satan, devil, 
• vin IS', his own passions have created it. Part of it, man 
imagines. Wishing a larger share of happiness than compatible 
with his own human nature, he complains of snow-storm, heat, cold, 
fatigue, work, pain, decay and death. He lays claim to immunity 
and complains of being wronged ! This is the reasoning of the 
monotheistic thinker. And this is the standpoint of prophetism 
and the Pentateuch. To the question : " Why prospers the path 
of the wicked ?" (Jerem. 12: i). They answer: God's world is 
perfection, beauty and fitness ; man and his ill-guided passions 
produce injustice and misfortune. The later Hebrew thinkers, 
probably learning from their Magian neighbors, admitted a second- 
ary, inferior principle. Satan tempting to evil who gradually, in the 
wake of Persian Ahriman, claimed an independent existence, out- 
side of man, but ever remained subordinate to God. He tempted 
man to sedition and abuse of his freedom, but he left him his free 
choice. Man could withstand Satan and obey God. He . could by 
this, increase his moral strength and bring out character. Thus 
were tried Abraham, Pharaoh, Hiob, etc. This may have been the 
standpoint of the quoted Gatha, too. It is not of the Vendidad. 
The Vendidad teaches Ahriman on a level with Ormazd, Supreme ; 
hence it is idle to fight him. 

For a perfect understanding of this, our important theme, let 
us dwell longer upon it. Hindoo and Greek mythologies were the 
result of the first thought of poetic youth ; each body and force 
around was deemed a person, had its genius, " was a god." These 


innumerable genii or forces personified, are struggling against 
one another. There is in nature war of all against all. The 
stronger for the time being, succeeds, till overthrown by a still 
mightier one. War was the sahent feature of nature. War was the 
leading trait of human society. The Parsee philosopher made a 
further step in thinking. It is not true that there is in the universe 
war of all against all. Behold day succeeds day alternating with 
regular night. So alternate, punctually and exactly, summer and 
winter; the seasons, the years, the astronomical cycles of years, 
follow one another most regularly. There are laws in nature which, 
except by divine interference, are never infringed. There is beauty, 
harmony, order, law, grandeur, sublimity and fitness pervading the 
universe. Hence it is not true, thought the Magian reasoner, that 
each body, each force is independent and absolute, obeying but its 
own caprice. There is unity, one law is prevading all. There is 
hence, a supreme God, and all the forces of nature are but His 
agents, the messengers of His will, worshipfully executing His de-- 
signs. Is there then but One God? wistfully asked again the 
Magian thinker. But behold, side by side with unity, intelligence, 
fitness, harmony, beauty and grandeur, I see also there, and here, 
close by, in my own proximity, the very reverse of all that. I see 
there also flashing opposition, brute force overwhelming an in- 
ferior force ; dumb power crushing mental and ethical fitness ; an 
earthquake swallowing up myriads of innocents ; the hyena devour- 
ing remorselessly a mother and her babe, etc. I see disintegration 
and stupidity triumphing, ugly incoherence and crying injustice, 
discord, meanness and hypocracy. Here is wickedness, cunning, 
lying, overbearing, cruelty and arrogance ; there is gross over- 
reaching and taking advantage; here, is innocence weeping, the 
poor starving, the strong devouring the weak, injustice un- 
restrained .... Is the one Supreme God, owner ot all power and 
wisdom,' benignity and fitness, the Holy One who dictates right and 
fairness and has the omnipotence to enforce them — is He tolerating 
them? A frown of his eye- brow and they would disappear! A 
nod, and tears would be dried and death effaced. Why is he silent 
to wrong ? Wills he the wrong ? Or is he indifferent ? Can he 
help it or not ? Is His wisdom. His goodness or His power to be 

questioned ? Or is perhaps polytheism right But there is 

order, harmony and intelligence visible everywhere in the vast 
universe ! . . . . But there is disharmony, brutality and stupidity 
visible in the human world ! There is pain and death, strife and 


war, murder, envy and passion visible in the sphere close around 
man ! Meditating, long and deeply about that difficult problem, the 
Magian philosopher arrived at the conclusion of dualism : There 
are at least two supreme powers in the universe. There is a power 
of good and another of evil. Everything useful, bright and noble 
is derived from the first. Pain, lies, fraud, crime, darkness, etc. are 
derived from the second power. Soon feeling the gloom of this 
outlook, contemplating his cravings for happiness and goodness, be- 
holding the bright, glorious, cheering, inspiring universe, he shrunk 
from the despair of dualism and mitigated it by his faith : that evil, 
though powerful, is not all-powerful, "at the end of days" it will be 
vanquished : The new millennium will come with the Soshiosh-mes- 
siah and redeem the world of that unhappy rival power. Hell and 
death, lies and tears will be abolished, and the Spirit of light and 
goodness will be supreme and alone guide the destinies of man and the 
world. Man must assist in this work of redemption and hasten the 
advent of Zoroaster's son, the Soshiosh. This is virtue, duty, human 
holiness. It is this mitigated, dualism, we find in the Gatha above 
quoted from Yasna XXX. : " The primaeval Spirits are a pair ; each 
independent in his action ; the two are a better thing and a worse 
one, as to thought, as to word and as to deed. Between these two, 
let the wise choose." Here is the Magian dualism of actuality. 

Now came the Shemitic thinker, be he Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, 
Esra or Hillel : " The Parsee philosopher was correct in one way 
and incorrect in another way. He was right in finding polytheism 
unsubstantiated. There is no multiplicity of independent gods or 
uncontrolled forces. The universe in its harmony, beauty, happin- 
ess and everlastingness saliently reflects one Supreme, all-powerful, 
benign Intelligence. This fitness and harmony prevails everywhere. 
Night and day, life and death, summer and winter, etc. are neces- 
sary poles, no antagonism. Any catastrophes in nature are beyond 
our ken and comprehension, but they, no doubt, do not break the 
universal rule, they belong to the scheme of the world-plan. Whence 
then comes the evil near by ourselves, lies and stupidities, tears, 
murder, war, etc. ? They come from manj man himself is his own 
spirit of evil, he is his own Satan and demon. Endowed with a 
small margin of free will, he often from sheer blindness and ignor- 
ance, causes his own and his neighbor's harm. Man creates his own 
hell. There is no evil in God's universe. Tears and murder, lies 
and wrong are the creatures of man. They spring up in man's 
artificial world, not in God's. Hence there is neither polytheism, 


nor dualism, nor Ahriman, none but the one Supreme Intelligence, 
the essence of Being, Ihvh ! Wilt thou, man, vanquish the Evil one 
in thine own breast, the yin is' ? Then : " behold here are before 
thee life with goodness and death with wickedness, choose well and 
happiness will be thine." (V. M. 30, 15-17) It must be acknowl- 
edged, here too is a strong parallel between Judaism and Parseeism. 
This pure, unqualified, cheering monotheism is often obscured, if 
not tampered with in the Aggada and Jewish mystics. Especially 
bitter, unrelenting misfortune and persecution brought many teach- 
ers to the threshold of Parsee mitigated dualism. They never de- 
clared Ahriman, the equal of God ; but half way they reasoned that 
Satan is a power, and only the Messiah in the coming millennium 
would restore the rule of the one God. This explains the unspeak- 
able gloom of such Aggadas : There is evil in the world ! That is 
pessimism. (See Hagiga 14, etc. on Acher.) 

Now it has been hinted at by many Zend scholars, that the en- 
tire doctrine of dualism in the Vendidad, is but a deterioration, a 
misunderstanding of the original teachings of Zoroaster ; that he 
himself meant by Ahriman, but the evil propensities of unbridled 
passion, but the biblical "wicked heart," (^) the rabbinical " evil in- 
clination," or instinct; that he himself never taught Angro Mainyu, 
the personal devil, that Ahriman was but a popular fiction, a meta- 
phor for the ill in the world or in the human constitution. If it is 
so, then was Zoroaster a perfect Monotheist, a follower or predeces- 
sor of Abraham. It is claimed that the Gathas, that come nearest 
to the ideas of Zoroaster, have hardly anything of a real personal 
evil spirit. Our above quoted text from Yasna 30, 3, may well be 
construed that way. " There is a good and a bad thing, choose the 
good " in thy own breast. Just so in the Talmudical literature as 
also in the homiletic Aggada, we find these two poles of Mazdean 
theology or mythology, often mentioned as the two instincts of 
man, but personified to two beings, struggling for mastery in the 
human breast ; two spiritual forces or agents, the one inclining man 
towards good and the other towards evil; termed the Yezer ha-tob and 
yezer ha-ra (") Sometimes, they seem to be living beings, genii, 
an angel and a devil. But with the more rational rabbinical think- 
ers, they are impersonal, ethical instincts, emblems of virtue and of 
vice, inborn inclinations, directions for good and evil. With 
the vulgar and the superstitious, they are supernatural agents; 

1 jfi DiNn 3^ IS' Genesis viii. 20. yin ns' 

2 yin IX' .aion is' 


with the thinkers, they are reason and passion. Even so it is in 
the Parsee Hterature. In the Gathas, they may be the two 
inclinations, the poles of human aspirations. In the Vendidad they 
are the two supreme powers, the world's practical rulers, correspond- 
ing to our church conception of God and devil. A fact it is that the 
present Desturs, at least the educated Parsee priests assume that 
the gloomy Angro Mainyu of the Avesta-writings, is not a real, 
personal being, that he is but a personification, a metaphor of the 
instinct of evil in the huriian heart, and has no other existence but 
there ; thus fully corresponding to the rabbinical " Evil inclination," 
the personified " instinct of evil." The Talmudists knew well the 
Parsee doctrine of the two independent, divine powers in the uni- 
verse. They termed that theory : ni'B'T 'nu', two autonomies, and 
deprecated it as anti-Jewish and gross heresy. One teacher, the 
well-known Elisha ben Abujah, predecessor of the Mishna compiler. 
Rabbi Meyer,(i) is reported to have yielded to that doctrine, hence 
he was termed inK, Ahriman.(^J A popular legend is told there 
that when dead and buried, smoke came out from his grave, until 
his said pious pupil prayed for him and his ghost had rest. Thus 
the Talmudists were well acquainted with this two-sidedness of 
Parsee theology, first the two supreme rulers, Ormazd and Ahri- 
man ; next their inner sense, .divested of all personality, as names for 
the inborn human instincts of good and evil. The sad and subdued 
mysterious tone of the story (of the four teachers daring to ap- 
proach Zoroaster's doctrine) in that remarkable Talmud passage, 
proves how much they dreaded it, as both Anti -Judaic and pessim- 
istic, to which despondent people fell a prey. 

The very last chapter of the Vendidad (3) introduces these two 
powers of Parseeism in the following way: XXII. I. Vendidad. 
" Ahura Mazda spake unto Spitama Zarathustra saying : I, Ahura 
Mazda, the maker of all good things, when I made this mansion, 
(the Garotman, Ahura's residence, Garo Demana or nemana,) the 
beautiful, the shining seen afar . . . Verse 2. — Then the ruffian 
Angro Mainyu, the deadly, looked at me and wrought by his witch- 

1 In mentioned Babli. Hagiga 14. 

2 The famous rabbinical name and person iriK appears to me to be 
but the abbreviated Parsee Ahriman ; the real spelling is Akhriman, 
abbreviated, Akhar— ins. The; Vendidad (of Darmesteter) XXII. 21, 
counts Aghra and Ugkra among the most formidable she-devils of 
Parsee demonology — Aghra is no doubt the feminine of Aghar — inn. 

3 J. Darmesteter's Tran slation. 


craft 99,999 diseases. So mayest thou heal me, O Manthra Spenta, 
(holy word, the Avesta) thou most glorious one. Verse 3. — Unto 
thee wilM give in return a thousand fleet, swift running steeds, etc., 
etc. Offer them up as a sacrifice unto the good Saoka, made by 
Mazda and holy . . . And I shall bless thee with the fair holy 
blessing spell . . . that makes the empty swell to fullness and the 
full to overflowing, that comes to help the sickening . . . Manthra 
Spenta declares, unable to perform the task. Verse 7. — Ahura 
Mazda calls for another divine messenger, Nairyo-Sangha, the 
herald, an impersonation of the sacrificial fire and sends him on the 
same errand. In obedience to Ahura, Nairyo-Sangha went to 
Airyaman, another Indo- Iranian god, beneficent and helpfiil to 
man, an impersonation of the healing power, and brought him 
Ormazd's order to heal (the world ?) of Ahriman's 99,999 diseases, 
offering him the same consideration, thousands of steeds, camels, 
oxen and small cattle Quickly came the much desired Airyaman 
to the mount of revelation and performed the solemn rites of purifi- 
cation; the Barashnum, through which all evils, moral and natural, 
wicked passions and death will be removed, (i) He pronounced the 
solemn spell : " I drive away jlshire, Aghuire, Aghra, etc., sickness, 
death, pain and fever ... I drive away . . . rottenness, infection, 
etc. which Angro Mainyu created against mortal bodies." (Verse 
22.) The Chapter concludes, Verse 23, with the prayer : May the 
much-desired Airyaman come here, for the men and women of 
Zarathustra to rejoice . . . with the desirable reward won by means 
of the law, and with the boon for holiness vouchsafed by Ahura . . 
Verse 24. May he smite all diseases and deaths, all the wizards 
and witches .... Verse 25. Yatha ahu Vairyo. The will of the 
Lord is the law of holiness. Riches are given to him who works 
for Mazda . . . and relieves the poor . . . Reveal to me the rules 
of thy law . . . Teach me clearly thy rules for this world and for 
the next, (invoking many Iranian gods.) Keep us from our hater, 
(the devil) O Mazda ! Perish fiendish drugh. O brood of the 
fiend ! never more to give unto death the living world of the holy 
Spirit." . . . That tone strikingly reminds of that in the Hebrew 
funeral-ritual and dirges : " Let death be forever annihilated."(2) 

Closely seen that chapter 22 means plainly to say : When 
Ahura Mazda created his beautiful residence, the universe, Angro 

1 Wilson, 'The Parsee Riiligion,' p. 341. 

3 The Sepher ha-chaim (funeral-ritual) seems to re-echo Parsee spells 
and exorcisms. Qabbala and Zohar are brimful of that. 


Mainyu, envious of that sojourn of happiness, and in order to spoil 
It, created in addition the innumerable ills thereof, 99,999 diseases. 
Then Ahura sent for Zarathustra to bring down as a corrective, as 
a healing balm, the Manthra Spenta, the holy law, the Avesta, the 
holy fire-worship, etc. They came, and the ills of the world were 
healed. The conclusive verse 21 points to that: "Ahriman created 
99,999 ills against the bodies of mortals." That shows that the 
world, not Ahura, suffered of Ahriman's diseases. Darmesteter, 
and more so Geldner, following literally the words of the text, have 
missed its real sense, I apprehend. That is the point of the entire 
chapter, viz : The universe sickened by Ahriman's device. It would 
otherwise be quite derogatory to the dignity of the Supreme God. 
Ahriman corrupts the world, not Ahura himself. The chapter may 
be ambiguous as rendered by Geldner. But the closing verses 
settle it clearly and expressly. It reads : I drive away the diseases, 
rottenness and infection, etc., which Angro Mainyu created by his 
witchcraft " against the bodies of mortals.''' The Fargard I. and 
XXII., the first and the last, indeed the entire Vendidad, shows 
clearly the position of Ormazd and Ahriman towards each other — 
an apparent parity with an inherent superiority of the principle 
of good. This superiority is more prominent in the Gathas ; less 
so in the Vendidad. It becomes subordinate in the biblical and 
rabbinical literatures. There the serpent (Genesis III.) is the con- 
temptible genius of mischief and lies, the Parsee drugh. Later it 
is Satan the tempter, offering man the opportunity for sin, and 
leaving him the choice of virtue. He is an educational means, a 
pedagogue ; the touchstone of hypocrisy and genuine goodness ; 
one of the divine agents to bring out man's character by offering 
temptation. The Aggada to Genesis XXII., "trial of Abraham 
and Isaac," has a fine opportunity to bring out the respective 
relation of the biblical Satan, trial, the patriarchal family and the 
Supreme One. — "God tried Abraham? What for did He, since 
the Omniscient undoubtedly knew the result of the trial ? Why 
did he subject Abraham to it? Answer: In order to bring out his 
character. Abraham had the latent capacity. God caused Satan 
to try him in order to call forth that inborn potentiality into real 
actuality. (1) . . . Satan appeared to Abraham in the shape of an 

1 Rabboth and Yalkut : ."jj^ian ^x niaatf aa x'svif '13 
old neighbor : " Will such a man as yourself offer his son as a 
sacrifice ?"...." The holy One knows best," Abraham replied. 
Satan repaired to Sarah, assuming the shape of a gossip : " You 


let your son go to Mt. Moriah, . . . you will never see him again !" 
..." God's will be done," Sarah answered. Satan went to Isaac : 
"Abraham is preparing thyself as a sacrifice !" and Isaac submitted : 
" God's will be done." Here is the role of the rabbinical Satan 
exhibited in his relation to God and man. 

As mentioned, literally taken, that 2 2d chapter Vendidad is 
much more mythologic than my rendition of it is. Let me show 
the reader this mythological side of the Avesta, too. I shall follow 
now the rendition of Prof Karl Geldner. He introduces the chap- 
ter thus :(}) "Ahura Mazda has built himself a new mansion. 
About to transfer his residence there, he is bewitched with sickness 
by the Evil one. At first he intends to have himself cured by 
Manthra Spenta for rich reward, but he declares to be inferior to the 
task. Now Ahura sends Nairyo Sangha (as Manthra Spenta; another 
personification of the holy word) to Airyaman, with the same 
request. Ready for the service, the latter one appears with gifts 
for Ahura on the divine mount (the Zoroastrian Olymp and Sinai), 
and begins his preparations for exorcising the malady. "Ahura 
Mazda spake to Spitama Zarathustra : I, the creator Ahura Mazda, 
the giver of all good. When I had built yonder beautiful, shining, 
magnificent castle, I was on the point to move therein, when, descry- 
ing me, the wicked, withering, evil Spirit wrought on me 99,999 
diseases. Now thou shalt heal me, thou the holy, heavenly Word. 
For that I shall give thee at once 1000 horses, 1000 camels, 1000 
sheep, etc. And I will bless thee with a fine, powerful blessing, . . 
that makes perfect the deficient and abounding the full, that sickens 
the healthy and heals the sick. . . . The holy Word replies : How 
can I cure and drive away the 99,999 diseases ? Ahura spake to 
Nairyo Sangha : Rise and go to Airyaman unto his house and bring 
him my behest ... (as before) . . . And soon, not long thereafter that 
took place . . . the good Airyaman arriving on the mount Spenta- 
Frasna (the Iranian Olymp), a gift of nine stallions he brought, 
a gift of nine camels, nine bulls, etc. Nine rods he brought, nine 
trenches he dug." . . . That is poetry, nonsense, hocus pocus, 
much more fit to hide the sense than to express it. That is just 
the way of mythology. Theology expressed by metaphor and 
poetry creates — idolatry. Darmesteter comes nearer the true sense. 

1 believe to have unriddleed the real meaning of the allegory. 
The first and the last chapter of the Vendidad correctly 

1 Zeitschrift Vergleichende Sprachforschung, Avesta Translations, 
p, 551. Berlin^ 1879. 


State the Avesta position of Ormazd to Ahriman as the two supreme 
principles superintending the world. The beneficent spirit and the 
withering, raving fiend and drvant.i}') Prof. James Darmesteter 
says : (Vendidad, p. 62) " Whereas in India, the fiends were daily 
driven farther and farther into the background, and by the preva- 
lence of the metaphysical spirit, gods and fiends came to be nothing 
more than changing and fleeting creatures of the everlasting, indif- 
ferent, (viz : neutral) Being, Persia took her demons in real earnest. 
She feared them, she hated them, and the vague and unconscious 
dualism that lay at the bottom of the Indo-Iranian religion, has its 
unsteady outlines sharply defined and became the very form and 
frame of Mazdaism. The conflict was no longer seen and heard in 
the passing storm only, but it raged through all the avenues of 
space and time. The evil became a power by itself, engaged in an 
open and never ceasing warfare with the good. The good was 
centered in the Supreme God, in Ahura Mazda, the bright God 
of heaven,(^) the all-knowing lord, the maker, who, as the author 
of every good thing, was the good spirit, " Spenta Mainyu." In 
front of him, and opposed to him, slowly rose the evil spirit, "Angro 
Mainyu." J. Darmesteter shows there how the original, Indo- 
Iranian dualism, incipient and shadowy as yet, was developed and 
crystallized in Mazdaism. The universal war of nature was deemed 
as but intensified in the storm. In the Vedas, that silent or intensi- 
fied universal struggle was imagined as a " battle fought by Indra, 
armed with thunder and lightning against the serpent AM, who had 
carried off the dawns or the rivers described as divine milk- cows, 
and who keeps them captive in the clouds." The poetical allegory 
of the Veda mythology, was taken literally and turned to pic- 
turesque theology in Mazdaism. Athar, the fire-god, the formidable 
weapon of Zeus in Greek mythology, became the son of Ahura 
in Magian mythology. The serpent, Azi-Dahaka, was the most 
redoubtable offspring of Ahriman, as Athar was the most noble one 
of Ormazd. Azi-Dahaka wanted to rob the light of the hvarerm 
(heaven); Athar fights and vanquishes him, freeing the light of day, 
covered by the clouds. There was here a naturalistic myth and a 
theological dogma. The storm driving the clouds and robbing 
heaven of its light, was the naturalistic myth, symbolizing the war 
in nature. Evil trying to oppose good, Ahriman opposed to Ormazd, 

1 (Isaiah 66: 22), "The drvant of all the flesh," iB-a "jaS t'«Ti I<ni 
creating disease for all mortals. Vend. 22 : 21. 
a Varuna-Ouranos— D'Dwn 'h'jk— o'atf ,aipn' topes. 


was the meaning of the battle of Athar against Azi. Athar and 
Azi simply represented their parents, the two Avestean, supreme 

This hoary tale, denuded of its grotesque and rude 
mythology, of its crude naturalistic sense, viz : war in nature ; and 
of its dualistic misconception, as depicting the antagonism of the 
evil principle against the holy one — this is also remembered in 
Genesis III., in the allegory of the first human couple abetted to 
rebellion by the serpent. In the Vedic myth Ahi desires to carry 
away the dawns, the daylight or the rain, the milk-cows. In the 
Avesta myth, Azi undertakes to rob the light of hvarena, ouranos. 
There the battle takes place in mid-air, and here in Vouru-Kasha, 
the sea above the clouds. There Ahi is vanquished by Indra, 
armed with the lightning ; and here Azi is conquered by Athar the 
son of Ahura. In the Mosaic allegory is Ahriman not the peer 
of God, but a vile and cunning creature, eager to corrupt man and 
tempting him to the premature enjoyment of the Tree of Knowledge. 
In the Vedas, the Avesta and the biblical allegory is the serpent the 
representative of the evil genius himself and his dearest offspring. 
Azi-Dahaka is depicted as three-mouthed, three-headed and six- 
eyed, the most dreadful drugh of Angro Mainyu (Yasna IX. 8). 
Even so is Kerberos, of Greek mythology, depicted by Virgil, 
Homer and Hesiod, etc., as a three-headed monster guarding hell. 
The scene of the Avestean fight between Azi and Athar is in the 
four-cornered Varuna, Uuranos, heaven. The battle of Ahi in the 
Vedas against Indra, is in the clouds. The biblical allegory places 
the scene in an earthly park, Eden; it degrades Ahriman to a reptile, 
and declares " eternal war between him and the ofTspring of woman." 
It is most interesting to observe how here the Mosaic writer took 
up into his allegory every little kernel of truth, every grain of fact 
and morals, clothing it, too, in a fine poetical garb, a beautiful 
tale for children and a theme of deep meditation for the sage ; but 
denuded of all the Avestean, Vedic or Greek myth rendering it 
incapable of any idolatrous construction. God is supreme, Ahri- 
man is a beguiling snake ; man is free, capable of crushing tempta- 
tion on the head, while the snake can only bite and lie. Thus 
Ahriman was ever faring from bad to worse. In the Vedas he is 
akin to the gods, son of the Everlasting ; in Greek mythology he is 
yet the colleague of Zeus;(') in Mazdaism he is the all-powerful fiend ; 
he sinks in the biblical allegory to a wretched underling and sneak- 

1 Elsewhere I showed Here to occupy that place. 


ing snake, creeping on his belly, eating dust, the most despicable 
among the animals, shorn of his dragon's wings, biting man's heels, 
and crushed by him on the head. That is the sad story of proud 
Here, fierce Ahi, formidable Azi Dahaka, Aeshma, Drvant, raving 
fiend Ahriman, cunning, sneaking, dust-eating serpent. At last to 
be totally killed by the Avestean Saoshyant, by the Aggadic Mes- 
siah and the gentile Christ. Poor devil indeed. 

Intelligent reader! Do not misconstrue my comparisons of 
ethical themes in mythology and in Sacred Writ, as indifferentism 
or disrespect. Reviewing such conceptions from their' incipiency 
to their present development, in their diverse stages from naturalistic 
mythology to Brahmanism, Parseeism, Hesiod, Rabbinism, and the 
Bible, that is not belittling religion but glorifying it ; that shows it 
in its full import, in its growth, its ramifications, its universaUty; 
from the vague conceptions in poetry, in the infancy of our race, to its 
full manhood; passing from naive exhuberant imagination to 
a mythological stage and to popular notions ; rising to the 
dignity of a philosophical hypothesis and idea, as in the transparent 
Veil of Vedas, Avesta and Edda ; at last finding its highest expres- 
sion in Bible and truth. Comparative religion is the study of grow- 
ing truth. It shows such ethical conceptions to be deeply imbedded 
in human nature, with their roots in the eternal rock of divine truth. 
That is comparative religion. We shall continue such studies in the 
Vendidad and the Avesta. That curious sphinx is even a more 
wondrous riddle than her elder sister of Egypt. No doubt we shall 
find there a good deal of nonsense, childlike myths and even cun- 
ning priestcraft. But searching farther, looking deeper, between 
lines, unravelling the real meaning of those uncouth, strange figures, 
metaphors and hyperboles, as yet but half deciphered, we shall find 
there a great fund of real, genuine piety, the head of the Nile of 
many ethical conceptions ; above all, a deal of true piety and real 
religiousness. Next we shall find their genius striving for truth, at- 
tempting to lift the impenetrable veil of hidden deity and contem- 
plate the Schechina face to face. The Gathas, when well deciphered, 
may contain many a pearl of wisdom and truth. While the naivity 
and primitiveness of the Avesta apparently testify to its genuineness 
and hoary antiquity, ■^exh&^s prior to all history. Of course our affirm- 
ations concerning that literature are yet uncertain. Carl Geldner in 
his Avesta rendition, (Berlin 1879, page 542) says : " A translation 
of the entire Avesta must miscarry even to-day. — Our lexicalic 
and grammatical resources are yet too incomplete. Innumerable, 


disfiguring misrepresentations and interpolations there, must be cor- 
rected. Only in single chapters, we are able safely to follow the 
general drift of ideas and recognize the full sense of the text." — I 
believe, too, that we may find in the Talmud and later rabbinical 
literature an unexpected help to reconstruct Zoroasterism and unveil 
its real sense. We find there innumerable passages bearing on 
Parsee doctrine and customs. These had among the Jews imitators 
and antagonists, parallels and contrasts, which both will help to 
elucidate Mazdaism ; and may be, Rabbinism too. 



In the Vedas, Varna is the first man and the first priest on the 
earth. Vima is his Indo-Iranian brother. He too participates in 
the same qualifications. But in later Mazdaism, Zoroaster alone 
assumed the honor of law-giver and first prophet. The dignity of 
Yima was therefore circumscribed to that of first civilizing leader. 
Yima corresponds to Adam of Genesis as much about, as the Ven- 
didad corresponds to the Pentateuch. The mythology of the 
Avesta is remarkably sobered out, purified of its fables, its dross, 
its crude ethical conceptions ; and in the shape of charming allegor- 
ies and moral teachings, the nucleus and marrow of the Magian 
books are to be found in a renovated garb and purified essence in 
our own sacred books of the West, furnishing a striking illustration 
of the identity of the essence of religion. 

Chapter n. I. Zarathustra asked Ahura Mazda : "OAhura.most 
beneficent Spirit, creator of the material world, holy One ! (i) Who 
was the first mortal before myself, with whom thou didst hold con- 
verse and teach the law ? — 2. Ahura answered : The fair Yima, the 
great shepherd, O holy Zarathustra ! he was the first mortal before 
thee with whom I conversed and whom I taught the law. — 3. Unto 
him I spake, fair Yima, be thou the preacher and bearer of my law. 
Yima replied : I was not born and taught for that. — 4. Then Ahura 
said : Since thou desirest not to be the preacher and bearer of my 
law, then make thou my world increase; nourish, rule and watch 

over my world. — 5. Yima accepted that mission I will 

nourish, rule and watch over thy world. While 1 am king, there 
shall be neither cold nor hot wind, disease nor death. — 7. Then I, 
Ahura, brought him a golden ring and a poniard inlaid with gold, 
(as the symbols of sovereignty.) — 8. Thus under the sway of Yima, 
300 winters passed away and the earth was replenished with flocks 
and herds, with men, dogs, birds and blazing fires and there was no 
room for more .... 11. Yima made the earth grow larger by 
one-third than it was before, and there increased herds and men, 
etc., as many as he wished . . . . " According to the Shah- 
Namah, is Yima the founder of civilization, social order, arts and 

i The identical rabbinical expression, o^iy ^v uiai .sin nna ^npn 


sciences and the first builder. — 12. " Thus under the sway of Yima, 
six hundred winters passed away and the earth was replenished 
with flocks and herds, dogs, birds and blazing fires, and no room 
left for more .... Twice more Yima enlarged it by his prayer to 
Spenta Armaiti, (the genius of the earth). The earth with men, 
flocks, etc., increased three-fourths over its original size. Twice did 
the earth grow too scant for its inhabitants, and as often did Yima 
meet the sun and address Spenta Armaiti, and at his wish the earth 
enlarged and its inhabitants increased. Nine hundred winters 
passed away under that happy reign in the Airy ana Vaego of Yima." 
This apparently corresponds to Adam and Eve's Garden of Eden, 
" with all the trees good to eat and pleasant to see and the trees of 
life and of knowledge among them." (Genesis II., 1-3). — The 
oriental exaggerations and poetical embellishments are mostly dis- 
carded in the Semitic allegory, yet enough poetry is left to enhance 
the ethical kernel of man's original purity and innocent happiness. 
Concerning the Parsee paradise, we read in Vendidad V. 19, (by 
Darmesteter) some more parallels : " The waters run back from the 
Sea, Puitkia, to the Sea, Vouru-Kasha, towards the well-watered 
^tree whereon grow the seeds of my plants of every kind." 

The Sea, Vouru-Kasha is assumed to be on the top of the 
iVIazdean Olymp, from which the waters come down to the earth, 
lakes and rivers, and to which they rise again, thus allegorizing 
clouds and rainfall, and corresponding to the biblical " the waters 
beneath the firmament, and the waters above the firmament." (Gen- 
esis I., 7.) — The " well-watered tree with all seeds," corresponds to 
the " tree of life,"ri) of Genesis II. In other passages of the 
Avesta that tree is alluded to as the " White Haoma," the " source 
of life," around which all " healing plants are growing," and with 
whose juice, Ormazd will restore the dead to life and resurrection. 
That identifies it with the " tree of life," of Genesis II., 9. 

The myth moves on. The scenery changes : Farg. II. 21. 
"A meeting was called in the Airyana-Vaego. Ahura, Yima and the 
celestial gods appeared. And Ahura spake : 22. Upon the material 
world, the fatal winters are going to fall, with fierce, foul frost. . . 
And the three kinds of beasts shall perish (cattle, fowl, fish)."(^) 

n»nn yy 
2 The commentary has here malkosan, akin to the Hebrew ifipSo Dtrj, 
viz : winter-rain and winter itself. Mark the affinity of the both. 
According to Sanhidin 108 a., tlie fish perished not there, 'ifio vh D'atf d>jt 


According to the commentary, not really winter but cold rains would 
cause that destruction. That apparently identifies the Yima catas- 
trophe with Noah's Deluge. Ahura continues: 25. "Therefore 
make thee a Vara (an enclosure, again a version of Noah's Ark) long 
as a riding-ground, and thither bring the seeds of trees, sheep, oxen, 
men, dogs, birds and blazing fires . . . seeds of every kind, of 
cattle, of the greatest, best and finest. All those seeds shalt thou 
bring, two of every kind,(i) to be kept there inexhaustible." 
29. " There shall be no hump-backed, nor bulged forward ; no 
impotent, no lunatic, no poverty, no lying, no meanness, no jealousy, 
no leprous, nor any brand wherewith Angro Mainyu stamps the 
bodies of mortals." Mosaism teaching no devil to plague men, and 
accounting natural events from a moral and monotheistic stand- 
point, motives the deluge in Genesis VI. by the corruption of men 
and the anger of God. The Avesta presupposing the opposition 
of Ahriman to Ahura and the former's 99,999 ills as settled facts, 
needs not these biblical arguments of man's sin. Winter and deluge 
come there over man full of moral and bodily decreptitudes, not for 
his sinfulness, but because of the doings of Angro Mainyu. 
Verse 30. " In the largest part of the place (Vara) thou shalt make 
nine streets, viz : six and three streets, (2) and thereto bring the 
seed. . . . That Vara thou shalt seal up with the golden ring ; and 
thou shalt make a door and a window self-shining within." That 
corresponds to the Hebrew version : A Zohar, ins, self-shining 
window, thou shalt make to the ark and a door at its side (Genesis 
VI. i6).(^) 31. At the advice of Ahura, Yima kneaded the earth 
with his hands, as the potter does his clay, made thereof a Vara 
and brought thereto the seeds of sheep, oxen, man, birds, etc., into 
different compartments ; each seed of the finest kind ... of tree 
and fruit — none of the brands wherewith Angro Mainyu stamps the 
mortal bodies. Chapter II. 38. " The Vara or park he sealed up with 
his ring, made a door and a self-shining window within." The 
closing verses of that chapter are not in harmony with the rest. 
Apparently there is a break in the narrative, the conclusion is lost 

1 Just so Genesis VI. 20. Two of each shall come to thee for propa- 
gation, .ni'nn'? i«ia' Sao d'sis' 

2 I surmise this is an incorrect rendition. There must be here some- 
thing corresponding to Genesis VI. 16: "a first, second and third 

3 Zohar means : a light, a lustre, something self-shining. Window^ is 
halon\hn. The Hebrew zohar and the Avesta " self-shining window " 
may prove that both have drawn from the same source of tradition. 


and other kindred matter added. Let us also remark that while 
. in verse 25, Ahura bids Yima : "All those seeds, shalt thou bring, 
/ two of every kind" we find in verses 30 and 38 that Yima brought 
j 1000 seeds of men, and further 600 and 300 seeds. . . . The Zend- 
scholars presume that our fargard fuses several kindred myths into 
one. One myth required the world to end in a frightful winter, 
when some people would be saved in a Vara, a sort of celestial 
park and hothouse. Then spring would come, and the world be 
re-peopled by those saved in the Vara. Another myth claimed 
that the serpent, Azi Dahaka, would swallow up sun, light and 
warmth ; grim cold would ensue and entrance the earth. Kere- 
saspa, the personified sun, or his son, or the late descendant of 
Zoroaster, the Soshiosh (messiah), would appear and kill Azi, 
liberate nature and light, and restore vegetation. This symbolized 
spring returning, or the world redeemed. Others spoke of an 
eternal spring to follow after the world's destruction by winter, with 
eternal earthly life. Such is the messianic redemption of the reju- 
venated world. In Mazdaism the world is to last 12,000 years, to 
end by fire. These several myths are fused into one in Fargard II. 
The leading one follows up the idea of the deluge, Noah's ark and 
the restoration of the world from the seed of the Vara or ■ ark. 
Mark the parallels of the Vendidad myths and the sacred narra- 
tions and allegories of Genesis. They show evidence that both 
drew their information from hoary traditions common to the entire 
human race, and that some nucleus of historical fact is their com- 
mon parent. Tlie Semitic version strips that legend of its mytho- 
logic exhuberance. The Arian narrative envelopes it in the garb 
of poetry and infantine exaggeration. Future, closer renditions 
of the Zend-text will increase, no doubt, their affinities. Mark the 
striking parallels now palpable in the narrative : Farg. II. 2, 
describes Yima as first man and prophet. So does the Hebrew 
Saga and Midrashim, their own Adam. Vend. II. 4. Ahura bids 
Yima: " Undertake thou to nourish, to rule and to watch over the 
world." Genesis I. 28. " God blesses Adam and Eve : multiply 
and fill the earth. I gave you all upon it ; rule over it." Hebrew 
tradition associates Eve in that earthly dominion. Not so the 
Avesta of the Arian races, where woman was not the equal of man, 
but his inferior, as Pandora of Greek fable. Mark "Keresaspa, the 
Sun-god;" compare that with Heres, oin, in Judges v. 13 ibidem 
xiv. 18; Job ix. 7, etc., and with Hristos of the Church; further 
parallels are : 


Farg. II. 3, "Airyana Vaego, is the most delicious of all the (i6) 
lands Ormazd has created." So is the garden of Eden,(i) where 
God caused to sprout every tree pleasant and good to eat and to 
look at (Genesis II. 9). So Yima's land grows threefourths larger 
and increases wonderfully, according to his wishes (Farg. II. 19). — 
" God blessed Adam (and Eve). They increased and multiplied and 
filled the earth and domineered over all," (Genesis II. 28). — Ahura 
bade Yima: "Be thou preacher and bearer of the law,'' (II. 3). 
Yima refused. So counts the Hebrew Aggada Adam among the 
patriarchs and worthies. Later on he sinned and descended from his 
high position, he loses Eden, is accursed ; he, his wife and the earth, 
and delivered to toil and death (Genesis III. 18, etc.) So is Yima, 
too : he loses his prophecy, throne and kingdom, and is devoured by 
Azi, the dragon, as Adam is undone by the serpent. A Talmudic 
legend narrates : "Adam first filled the space between earth and 
heaven. When he sinned, God made him small."(2) 

The second half of the myth compares, too, with the deluge. 
Yima is allowed there a high moral character and a royal position. 
So is after Adam, also Noah, " who was a righteous and perfect 
man in his generation (Genesis VI. 8 and VII. i). — (Fargard II. 
21, 22). Ahura said : " Fair Yima, good shepherd, of high renown 
in Airyana Vaego: upon the bodily world the fatal winters are 
going to fall, and all the living creatures shall perish." — So (Genesis 
VI. 13): "And Elohim said to Noah: The end of all flesh has 
come ... for they have deteriorated and I shall destroy them." 
This shows the biblical standpoint : religious and moral wrong is 
punished by natural catastrophes. (Farg. II. 25) : " Therefore 
make thee a vara, long as a riding-ground, (3) and thither bring the 
seeds of men, oxen and sheep, dogs, birds and fire . . . Make thee 
a vara to be an abode for man, a fold for flocks, etc. Bring there 
all seeds, two of every kind." — (Genesis VI. 14) : " Make thee an 
ark, in several compartments make it . . . for thee, thy wife and 
thy children and for all the living creatures — a pair of each kind 
for propagation, thou shalt bring unto the ark, from fowl, cattle and 
creeping things .... a male and female of each species." — 
Vend. II. 30, prescribes the division of the vara, each for one kind 
of animals. It ordains a door and a self-shining window to be 
made therein. Genesis VI. 15, etc., describes the dimensions, 

1 pya p means a park of delight, a paradise. 3 Hagiga 12a. 
3 Two hathra, two English miles, square ; quite a celestial city. 


divisions and stories of the ark, and recommends a light or lustre, 
a zohar, self-shining from above, and a door at its side. — (Vend. 
11. 36): " Yima brought thereto the seeds, two of every kind, to be 
kept inexhaustible there." While we read in II. 38 : " He brought 
a thousand seeds of men . . . 600 seeds and 300 seeds . . . 
(according to the importance of the kind)." And this wonderful 
discrepancy we find also in Holy Writ: (Genesis VII. 7 and 15): 
" Two by two, they (the animals) came to the ark ; a male and a 
female, as bid by Elohim." Even so Genesis VI. 19 : " Of every 
kind, thou shalt bring in by twos." But in Genesis VII. 2, it reads : 
" Of every clean beast, thou shalt take seven by seven" pair, male 
and female ; and from every unclean beast a pair, male and female," 
(to provide for sacrifices, say the commentators). — (Vend. II. 38 : 
To the streets of the largest part, he brought a thousand seeds ; . . 
to the middle part six hundred seeds ; ... to the smallest part 
3€)o." — In Genesis VI. 14, the ark is made into three compartments, 
and into a lowest, second and third story (verse 16). That proves 
sufficiently that both these narratives had a common sacred tradi- 
tion as their source, which each writer used according to his own 
and his nation's genius ; the one from a monotheistic, ethical and 
common-sense standpoint ; the other dualistic, with a strong 
admixture of polytheistic myth and imagery. It is, therefore, 
apparent that the myth of Yima is an identification of the narratives 
of both Adam and Noah. Yima's Airyana Vaego is Adam's para- 
dise ; and Yima's vara is the ark of the deluge of Noah, narrated 
from the standpoint of dualism, where all misfortune is attributed 
to fate or Ahriman. I do not hesitate to express my humble 
opinion that, when the study of the Zend-books will be more 
advanced and fully understood, more striking parallels and identi- 
fying points will be found in the above Fargard II. I respectfully 
refrain from uttering any opinion concerning the priority of these 
documents. But what we can see now in the different renditions 
extant, the preponderate aspect of the Yima legend, with his royalty 
and activity, runs through the same phases as Adam and Eve's in 
the garden of Eden. Ahriman with his " 99,999 diseases for the 
bodies of mortals," the "ruffian who is all death," " the creator 
of the serpent in the river of winter," etc., represents the phase 
of the " cunning snake who beguiles the first couple and causes 
their loss of paradise and of immortality, and confines them to an 
existence of toil, pain and child-rearing. Yima, the pious and fair, 
experiencing a withering winter, and saving the remnants of man, 

yima's vara and noah's deluge. 163 

beast and tree into a vara, from whence the world is again repeo- 
pled — that is the Iranian version of the Semitic tradition of " Noah, 
the just one of his generation," in whose time man deteriorated, 
a deluge came and swept away all living creation, and he saved 
into an ark or safety-boat, the seeds of all living beings, which 
after the deluge repopulated the earth. 

Breaking off here, for some reason, Vend. II. 39 and 40 asks: 
" What lights are there in the Vara of Yima ?" and Ahura answers : 
"There are created lights and uncreated lights." The Talmud 
also mentions such lights of a two-fold nature, but both created. 
So we read in Aggada 14 : " By the light that God created on 
the first day, Adam could see the world from end to end. But as 
soon as God reflected on the human wickedness, he hid that light, 
reserving it for the future world. . . . Adam occupied the world 
from end to end. Since he sinned, God made him gmall." — Vend. 
II. 41 : " Every fortieth year to every couple two are born, a male 
and a female. So for man and for cattie, too. The men in the 
vara live the happiest life." The vara tallies, also, with the original 
Airyana Vaego, with Garden of Eden, with Paradise and the Here- 
after in heaven, open for the departed just ones, under the sway 
of Yima, king of the dead. In one point we find a characteristic 
discrepancy between the two versions Yima acts alone ; no female 
partner the Avesta mentions at his side ; for his female partner was 
not considered his equal. Whilst Adam ever appears with his Eve, 
as his companion and help meet ; she shares the his dominion and his 
tribulations. Here is the view and the superiority of the West over 
the East, of the Bible over the Avesta ; that is interesting, it marks 
an advance, ethical and sociological. 

The Airyana Vaego, Yima's " Garden of Eden," is thus 
described by the Mainyo-i- Khard (according to West's transla- 
tion) : " Ormazd created Eravez better than the remaining places 
and districts of the world, and its goodness was that man's 
lite lasted 300 years, and that of cattle and sheep 150 years. 
There pain and sickness are little known. There is among 
them no falsehood, no lamentation and weeping, and no 
avarice. Ten men are satisfied with one loaf Every forty years, a 
couple bears one child. Their law is goodness ; their religion is 
primeval; and when they die, they are blessed. Their ruler is 
Srosh (the beneficent god)." Mark : A human couple had one 
child every forty years ! Thus child-bearing often was deemed a 


curse! Mohammed, too, in the Koran, designates it as such. 
Mazdaism declares frequent menses as the work of Ahriman, and 
to be shunned by men. So Genesis III. 16, reckons frequent 
child-bearing as one form of punishment imposed upon Eve for her 
disobedience to Elohim. 

After having sketched the above, I find that Prof. Karl Geld- 
ner,(i) as also Dr. A. Kohut, incline toward the opinion that Far-, 
gard II. 21-38, is a version of the tradition of the deluge and the ark 
of Noah. A. Kohut's treatise I have not at hand. But Geldner's 
translation offers even more than Darmesteter's, points and sen- 
tences in striking parallel with the biblical Noah traditon : Vend. II. 
21 : "Ahura and the celestial gods held an assembly in the land 
of the Arians. To this council came the noble prince Yima with 
his best men. — 22. Ahura spake : " Excellent Yima, the wicked 
human kind shall be destroyed by winter. A hard freezing frost 
shall come and destroy degenerated humanity, with deep snow upon 
the highest mountain tops and the dales of the Ardvi. — 23. Quickly 
shall the cattle retire from there, from the mountain hights ; from 
the threatened places, from the valleys of the deep lands and the 
enclosed stables. — 24. Before that winter, that land bore rich pas- 
tures. That will now be submerged in vast water-waves when the 
snow has melted down, and a sea will appear there, where are now 
pastures for cattle and sheep." 

The biblical narrator, writing in Palestine, Arabia, etc., could 
not speak of snow and freezing winter and killing icy frost, since 
such do not exist there. He spoke of continued rains, floods that 
chill and drown the animal creation. The Persian or East-Asiatic 
writers know of winter, snow and frost, and they depict the deluge 
as caused by excessive snowfalls melting, and submerging the 
lower lands. I have no doubt that further elucidations of the text 
will corroborate this view of Fargard II. 

Farg. XIX. (Darmesteter). i. " From the region of the North, 
forth rushed Angro Mainyu, the deadly one, and thus he spake, the 
guileful daeva : Drugh ! rush down upon him ! Destroy the holy 
Zarathustra ! The drugh came rushing along, the unseen death, the 
hell-born. — I. " Zarathustra chanted aloud the Ahuna Vairya.(3) 
" The will of the Lord is the law of holiness. The riches of Vohu- 

1 Zeitschrift fur Sprachforschung. Berlin, i88i. 

3 The Honover, a prayer of great efficacy, (as the credo with Jew, 
Christian, Mussulman), older than creation. Yasna XIX. 


Manu (Ahura's first peer) shall be given unto him who works for 
Mazda . . . and relieves the poor . . . Profess the law of the wor- 
shippers of Mazda." — The drugh, dismayed, rushed away. . . . 
6. "Again to him said the guileful Angro Mainyu : Renounce the 
good law of Mazda, and thou shalt gain such a boon, as did the 
murderous ruler of the nations." (Azi Dahaka, Ahriman's son, 
ruled 1000 years, according to myth, he killed Yima). 7. "Zara- 
thustra answered : No, never will I renounce the good law of Maz- 
da !" , . 8. "Angro Mainyu rejoined : By whose word wilt thou 
repell my creation?" 9. "Zarathustra replied: The sacred mor- 
tar, the cup, the. haoma, the Word taught by Mazda; these 
are my weapons." lo. Zarathustra chanted the Ahuna Vairya: 
" Teach me the tiuth, O Lord !" The chapter closes with : " They 
rush, they run away, the wicked, evil-doing daevas, Angro and In- 
dra and Aeshma . . . into the depths of hell. . . (v. 43-47)." The 
thoughtful reader will remember the temptation of Jesus in the 

Fargard XIX. 11. "Zarathustra, sitting on the mountain by the 
Darega River, praying to the Amesha Spentas (Ahura's peers), 
asked : O Ahura, most beneficent Spirit, Creator of the bodily 
world, holy One. 12. How shall I make the world free from that 
drugh, the evil doer, Angro Mainyu ? How drive away defilement 
. . . the Nasu ? (impurity of the dead). How cleanse the faithful P 
Verse 1 3. Ahura replied : Invoke the good law of Mazda. Invoke 
the Ameshas Spentas, who rule over the seven Karshvares of the 
earth." — The Indo-Iranians, as the Semites, conceived the world to 
be sevenfold j hence were the earth's genii seven. Hence, too, comes 
the holiness of that number among all antique peoples. In Hebrew 
is seven njrat!' a solemn oath. Sanscrit, Indo-German, Slav and 
Semitic languages, all have a like term for seven. Most of 
things holy were seven in number. The Parsee gods were seven, 
of whom Ahura was the chief. Later, that number was raised to 
ten, then to twelve ; corresponding to the successive phases of the 
Zodiac. Soon they were simply the attributes of the one supreme 
deity, all the personified attributes residing in him ; he thus being 
the father of all the gods or Ameshas Spentas. The interesting 
passage in Talmud, Hagiga, 12a., " With ten words the world was 
created," the ten emanations of Neo-Platonism and of Gnosticism, 
and finally the ten Sephiroth of the Qabbala, all have the same 
origin ; vague astronomical conceptions, philosophems, theosophic 


mysteries, and mystic formulas ; hence their invocation and efficacy. — 
XIX. 13. "Invoke, O Zarathustra, the law of Mazda, the Ameshas 
Spentas, the sovereign Heaven, the boundless Time and Vayu (light- 
conqueror), the powerful Wind and Spenta Armaiti — (earth). — 
14. Invoke my fravashi (the divine Essence), whose soul is the 
holy Word. Invoke this creation of mine. — 15. Zarathustra made 
these invocations ;" viz : as a means of coming in contact with deity 
by plunging into His attributes, realizing His full essence, and by 
that absorption partake of revelation. 

Vend. XIX. 17. "Zarathustra asked: Creator of the good 
world, Ahura ! With what manner of sacrifice shall I worship and 
forward Ahura's creation ? 18. "Ahura answered : Go toward that 
tree (whereof the Baresma is taken), that is beautiful, high-growing 
and mighty ;(i) among the high-growing trees and say : hail to thee 
O holy tree, made by Mazda ... 19. " Let the faithful man cut off 
a twig of baresma, long as a ploughshare, thick as a barley-corn (?) 
The faithful one holding it in his left hand, shall not leave off keep- 
ing his eyes upon it, whilst he is offering up the sacrifice to Ahura 
Mazda, the Ameshas Spentas, etc." The baresma or barsomon is 
the emblem of Zoroasterism. It symbolizes the struggle of the 
Mazda- worshipper against Ahriman, his devotion to purity and his 
opposition to defilement. The entire creation was divided into two 
dominions ; one belonging to Ahura, and the other to Ahriman. 
The latter was to be put down by all means at the disposal of the 
pious, and the baresma in the priest's hand, killing flies and toads and 
driving away the devil, was the symbol of that activity. The cere- 
mony of cutting off that twig usually from a palm-tree, was a solemn 
one. Hence the close description above. This rite and ceremony 
appears to have been known to other creeds and peoples too. The 
Druids and the Germanic priests practiced it likewise. The ceremony 
of cutting the mistle-toe or a log of wood in mid-winter from the tallest 
tree in the forest, (^) bears a strong parallel with the baresma- 
cutting of this verse. 

The Persian palm tree, being no plant of the North, the mistle- 
toe, growing upon the highest tree, or the oak -log was substituted 
there instead. But we find even in the Bible and Rabbinism a striking 
parallel to it. Levit. XXIII. 40, prescribes for the feast of Booths and 

1 nnon niB3 .Tin yv no Levit. 23. 40 is it.s parallel. 

2 See my ' Messiah Ideal,' Vol. I., p. 36. 


the fruit-harvest : "And ye shall take of the fruit of the magnificent 
tree,(i) twigs of the Palm or date-tree, etc., and rejoice before your 
God." — ^Jewish tradition has justly identified that twig with the date- 
and palm-tree ; but it separated that clause from the preceding one : 
" Fruit of the perennial, beautiful tree, and branches of date-tree . ." 
The Vend. XIX. 18, identifies the baresma twig with the " beautiful 
high-growing tree," as one and the same, not two. In the Pentateuch, 
the rite is rationalized and made an appropriate ceremony, symbol- 
izing the flora of the field, representative of the harvest celebrated 
in Judaea on the feast of Booth. The Magian Baresma was trans- 
formed into a naturalistic harvest-festival. Look to this fact ; it is 
an instance of the natural evolution of rites. The gray rite of 
baresma, meaning originally, perhaps, nature worship, and later 
opposition to Ahriman, is found again in Germany as cutting off the 
log from the noblest oak ; in Gaul and Britain as culling the mistle- 
toe from the highest tree ; and in Judaea, as the palm-tree branch 
with fruit and flower-bouquet, representing the flora thankfully re- 
ceived from the Giver of all. Should an old-time Parsee examine 
that 'biblical passage, (III. M. 23-40), he would say : The Rabbis 
have altered the text in opposition to Zoroaster. But criticism 
would say : Mistaken ! That is the result of the natural evolution 
of rites. The rites continue, their ideas change. Judaea no longer 
believed in Ahriman, but she felt grateful for the flowers and fruit ; 
hence pahn-branch and no baresma. Even so later ; the oak-log 
and the mistle-toe became obsolete, and the Church substituted the 
Christmas Evergreen. 

Observe here the Talmiid tradition, which often is but an echo 
and a remembrance of ancient popular customs, hailing from pre- 
Sinaitic, or even from contra-Sinaitic phases. That ceremony as- 
sumed again its old ghostly significance. There it is again assumed 
as a weapon against the evil one, just as in Persia. The palm- 
branch (aSiS^ plays quite a role in rabbinical mysticism. It was used 
with great pomp during the entire eight days of the feast of Booth,, 
at home, in the street and at the synagogue, by all the males. A 
solemn benediction was pronounced over it ; mystic motions and 
shakings were performed with it ; pointing to the four corners of 
the universe, towards heaven and earth, above and below. Of 
course Jewish commentators assume that symbolizes the omnipres- 
ence of the deity ; yet many passages in Talmudical and mystic 
Aggadas naivily betray the secret in declaring these Lulab motions 
to mean : " To drive away the evil ghosts." This is downright and 

mni»ynB The rabbis translate: Perennial-tree. Treatise Suckoth IV. 


genuine Parseeism ! Here is the Persian baresma fully restored ! 
Here is the doctrine of the prevalence and the warding off of 
Drughs and of Ahriman, foisted or re-enacted upon a biblical 
beautiful ceremony. The baresma, palm-branch, it thus aopears, is 
a universal ceremony, dating back to pre-historic antiquity, having 
its vestiges and rudimentary ramifications everywhere. There it is the 
oak-log, and there, the mistle-toe, solemnly cut with a golden knife 
from the tallest tree in Gaul and Britain, or in Germany. There it 
is the palm-branch, symbol of victory and dominion, of imperial 
conquerors all over the world. There it is the symbol of the harv- 
est, of peace and honest labor, as in ancient Judaea and Arabia. 
Mysticism here, as often elsewhere, did but catch a Tartar. From 
over-piety, it fell into Pagan vanquished notions. It brushed off 
and renovated gray Parseeism with lame discredited Ahriman and 
his ilk. It took from his shoulders his worn-out Persian garb and 
had him don a new coat, the skin of the " old serpent." It had the 
Lulab (baresma) shake and move in all directions. It pompously 
instituted its Hoshanoth, — the exact imitation of the Parsee bar- 
soman bundle. And on the last day of Booth, the " Great hosan- 
na,"{}) it had them beat and smite in such a fearful manner as to 
smash them and shake off all the leaves, drive and chase away and 
thrust all the devils to hell ; just as the Persian Magi did to show 
their zeal for Ahura battling against Ahriman. Further on in our 
Avesta Studies, we shall have occasion to surmise some further 
Parsee, mythic re-echoes in the extra Hos hana-^r on the 
Hoshana-Rabba, an extra rabbinic festival It reads : " We Pray, 
O God Hoshano ! and save us, we pray, thou art our father ! (^) 
Here is another instance, parallel with the well-known Mithra and 
Metatron, cordially received in Aggadic mysticism as a divine peer. 
One of the worthies of the Magean pantheon, bears a name much 
akin to Hoshana, as we shall see in another place. — Let us add, that 
bringing in juxtaposition these several forms and religious rites, we 
must not be induced to scoffing and railing, but to recognize the 
great fact of the universality of the religous sentiment and its 
adequate expressions. 


Vend. XIX. 20. " Zarathustra asked : O thou Omniscient One ! 

Vohu Manu gets directly defiled and undirectly defiled . . . from 

dead bodies. How shall Vohu-Manu be purified ?" Vohu Manu 

means here man, a faithful person, a Mazdayasnian believer). — 21. 


" Ahura answered : Thou shalt take some Gomez from a bull un- 
gelded and such as the law requires it. Thou shalt take the man, 
who is to be cleansed, to the field, made by Ahura, (a place des- 
tined for that rite) and the man that is to cleanse him shall draw 
the furrows. . . (A most complicated rite. See Farg. 9, 10.) — 22. 
" He shall recite a hundred Ashem Vohu. Holiness is the best of 
all goods . . . happy is man who is holy .... He shall chant two 
hundred Ahuna-Vairya . . The will of the Lord is the law of holi- 
ness. The riches of Vohu Manu shall be given to him who works in 
this world for Mazda . . and relieves the poor . . He shall wash 
Vohu Manu four times with Gomez (urine) from an ox, and twice 
with water made by Mazda." (another passage requires six gomez 
and three water washings.) — 23rd verse is claimed to prescribe that 
the clothes of the unclean " shall be laid down under the bright 
heavens for nine nights." — 24. " When these have passed, thou 
shalt bring libations into the fire, hard wood and incense, and thou 
shalt perfume Vohu Manu (the cleansed man) therewith. — 25. 
" Thus shall Vohu Manu (the cleansed one) become clean . . . who 
shall say aloud : Glory be to Ahura and all the holy beings . . " 
This is the most solemn and complicated rite of the barasknum, for 
cleansing persons in contact with dead matter ; so emphatically 
treated in an important part of Leviticus too. A large space, out 
of the way, is selected; diverse holes are dug at prescribed dis- 
tances ; furrows are drawn ; the unclean stands within ; prayers are 
recited ; spells against the daevas muttered ; with a spoon and a stick 
dipped in Gomez is the unclean sprinkled ; limb by limb he is 
washed and sprinkled ; at each, the drugh, Nasu, retires, until at 
last he is totally expelled and in shape of a raging fly, he flies to 
the North. . . . Nine nights and days more go on ; the unclean 
must yet stay in the "place 0/ infirmity ;" outside of the community. 
More washings with gomez and then with water are performed ; 
more spells are pronounced and prayers are recited : " Keep us 
from our hater, O Mazda .... Perish, O fiendish drugh ! Rush 
away, never more to give unto death the living world of the holy 
Spirit." The Nassu (death-impurity) gradually retires, fighting its 
way from limb to limb of the unclean (deemed as possessed by the 
evil one ; so too in sickness). Fifteen times he is rubbed with holy 
dust from the ground, then washed with water, then perfumed . . . 
when he is allowed to go home, but remains there isolated, and for 
many days yet performing the same ablutions, when at last he is 
deemed clean and restored to the community. (Vend. IX). — That 
ceremony or rather ordeal was inflicted on every Mazdayasnian who 


came in contact with the dead body. But it appears this was be- 
heved a radical way of curing each and all impurities, sickness and 
devil's influence. It was therefor deemed a sacred duty for every 
faithful one, at least once in his life, to perform this barashnum-rite. 
It was a kind of Parsee baptism, renouncing Ahriman and devoting 
to Ahura. Now, however extravagant that appears to a stranger, 
still we must not forget that all religious lustrations and sprinkling 
originally meant the same. The Pentateuch prescribed such with 
ashes from the Red-heifer.{^ It may be surmised too, that the 
Gomez spoken of, was, simply, water, not cow urine. The Parsee 
Mythology fabled of a bull, genius of production. That meant 
probably the clouds and rain fructifying the earth, and Gomez may 
have been pure rain-water. 

Vend. XIX. 26. " Zarathustra asked Ahura : O thou all-know- 
ing one, shall I urge upon the godly man and woman, as also upon 
the wicked, that they have once to leave behind them the earth and 
all its wealth ? . . . . Ahura ansA'ered : Thou shalt. 27. Zara- 
thustra asked : Creator of the world ! where are the rewards 
given ? Where does the rewarding take place ? Where do men 
come to take the reward they have earned in the material world 
for their souls ? — 28. Ahura replied : When the man is dead, then 
the hellish daevas assail him ; and when the third night is gone, 
the morning appears and the sun rises upon the mountains .... 
29. Then the fiend, Vizaresha, carries off in bonds the soul of the 
wicked. The soul enters the way of time, the way both of the 
wicked and of the righteous. At the head of the Kinvad Bridge, 
made by Mazda (extending over hell and leading to paradise, miles 
wide for the righteous, and narrow as a thread for the sinners who 
fall into, hell), they ask for their souls the reward for the worldly 
goods which they gave away below." — This bridge is popularly 
known all over the world in nearly all creeds. I heard of it in my 
childhood on the shores of the lower Danube ; it is known every- 
where. It is known to Christian, Mussulman, mythologist and 
Jew. It is the fright of many a poor sinner and stimulates many 
an honest conscience. Mohammed took it up into his Koran : the 
" Sira-bridge." The current expression, " To fall into hell," is 
borrowed from that idea of hell beneath a narrow bridge. The 
rabbinical legendary has the same term (:D3>n.i'? ';£!»)• 

J IV. M. 19, 2. 


In Yorkshire, Ena^land, they sing of " the bridge o' dread, na 
brader than a thread." (Thorn's Anecdotes 89). The French 
peasant sings of a board : 

" Pas pu longue, pas pu large 
Qu un ch 'veu de la Sainte Viarge ..." 
It is put by Saint Jean, the Archangel, to connect paradise 
with this world. The song continues : 

" Ceux qui sauront I'oraison, 

Par dessus passeront. 

Ceux que la sauront pas 

Au bout mouront." — {Melusine, p. jo. Darmesteter, p. 213). 

XIX. 30. " Then comes the well-shapen, tall-formed maiden, with 
the dogs at her side, who can distinguish, who is virtuous and wise. . . 
She makes the righteous soul go up above the Hara-Berezaiti (the 
Mazdean Olymp ) ; above the Kinvad bridge ; she places it in the 
presence of the gods themselves. This " well-shapen, tall-formed 
maiden " is the clean conscience of the righteous. The maid is 
of fiendish ugliness if she represents the conscience of the wicked. 
For she is the reflex of one's own doings. She leads the dead ones 
to heaven or to hell, according to their own deserts. This well- 
shapen and tall-formed maid, gave to Mohammed the type of his 
maiden, or houri, in paradise. He gave her an even more sensuous 
outfit, to answer the amorous propensities of his countrymen. The 
dogs that accompany her belong to the Iranian paraphernalia. 
The dog was the habitual watch and companion of the Persian 
mountaineer ; of the creation of Mazda ; man's best friend, highly 
esteemed there ; having a purifying effect upon the dying soul ; 
watching at the Kinvad bridge. Mythology, too, has Kerberos 
watching at the gates of Hades. — 31. " Up rises Vohu-Manu from 
his golden seat, and exclaimed : How hast thou come to us, thou 
holy one, from the decaying world?" .... Vohu-Manu is the 
first attribute of Ahura, the genius of mankind ; he is the door- 
keeper of paradise, as Abraham, Peter and Mohammed are such 
in their respective sectarian hereafter. — 32. Gladly pass the souls 
of the righteous to Garo-nmanem (Garothman), the abode of 

Ahura, the Ameshas Spentas and all the holy beings 

35. ''Zarathustra took those words from Ahura and invoked all the 
gods, all the bodies of the good creation . . . and all its personi- 
fied moral and mental virtues and forces, offering them the custom- 
ary sacrifices. — 47. " They run to and fro in dismay and trepidation 
from the holy Zarathustra. the evil, ones, frightened and dismayed ; 
they rush away into the depth of hell. . . ." 

Vendidad. Fargard III. i (Darmesteter's Translation) : 
" Creator of the material world, holy one, which is the first place 
where the earth feels most happy ? Ahura answered : The place 
whereon one of the faithful steps forward with the holy Wood in 
his hand (for the fire-altar), the baresma,(i) the meat (of sacrifice), 
and the holy mortar (to crush the haoma, ready for the divine service 
of Mazdaism). 2-3. Which is the second place where the earth feels 
most happy ? Ahura answered : The place whereon one of the 
faithful erects a house with a priest within, with cattle, with a wife, 
with children and with good herds ; wherein cattle is thriving, 
holiness is thriving, the dog, wife, child, fodder, fire and every 
blessing are thriving," (fire and dog, the primitive tokens of civili- 
zation in the humble village.) 4. Which is the third place where 
the earth is most happy ? Answered Ahura : The place where one 
of the faithful cultivates most of corn, grass and fruit ; where he 
waters the ground that is dry, or dries the ground that is wet. 5. 
Which is the fourth place where the earth is most happy ? .... The 
place where there is most increase of flocks and herds. 6. Which 
is the fifth place of earthly happiness ? . . . . Where flocks and 

herds yield most dung 7. Maker of the material world, 

which is the first place where the earth feels sorest grief? .... 
Ahura answers : It is the top of Mount Arezura (at the gate of hell), 
whereon the fiends rush. (Arezura was first the name of a noted 
fiend, perhaps identical with the Semitic Azazel ;(2) then it meant 
the mountain he haunted.) 8. Which is the second place where the 
earth feels sorest grief? .. . . Where most of corpses are buried. . 
. . 9. Which is the third place where the earth feels most grieved ? 
Answer : There where stand most Dakhmas, where corpses are 
deposited. (That place will never be clean again. So, too, in the 
Pentateuch, could a priest never come to a burial placej. 10. 
Which is the fourth sorest place ? Wherein are most burrows of 
(obnoxious) creatures of Angro Mainyu. 11. Which is the fifth 
place of earthly grief? It is the place wher§ the wife and children 

(1) Bundle of sacred twigs of the pomegranate, date, or tamarind- 
tree, held by the priest while praying. (Strabo XV. 3, 4) : Tas de 
epodas poiountai polyn hionon rabdon myrikinon lepton desmen 

z'jtwy III. M. 16, 8. 


of one of the faithful are driven into captivity, raising a voice 
of wailing. 12. Who is the first to rejoice the earth with the 
greatest joy ? He who digs out most of corpses (cleanses and 
restores the soil to agriculture). 13. Who is next to give joy ? 
He who pulls down most of Dakhmas (for the same purpose)." 

These verses contain much excellent common sense, vitiated 
in part by current superstitions or by priestcraft, the Magian legis- 
lation, being essentially a priestly one. 

Vendidad IV. 43. (Darmesteter's Translation). "And they 
shall thenceforth in their doings walk after the ways of holiness, 
after the word of holiness, after the ordinance of holiness." Holi- 
ness is claimed to be the final aim of Mazdaism. Holiness there 
seems to mean : purity of body and of mind, a virtuous tenor of 
life, and healthy, clean, daily habits and manners. That strongly 
reminds one of the Mosaic ideal of a worshipper of Ihvh, very often 
repeated and emphatically impressed in the Pentateuch : " Ye shall 
not defile your persons .... and not render yourselves contami- 
nated, for I, Ihvh, am your God. Ye shall sanctify yourselves and 
be holy, for I am holy, I who brought you out of Egypt to be your 
God. Be ye holy." (Levit. XI. 43). Similar verses run along the 
leading chapters of the Pentateuch, motiving the injunctions about 
personal cleanliness. Vend. X. 19. " Make thyself pure, O right- 
eous man. Any one in the world here below can win purity when 
he cleanses himself with good thoughts, words and deeds." This 
is a closing remark to the complicated ceremony of the Barashnum 
purification. It evidently means to say that this ceremonious 
cleansing symbolizes an ethical one, and that this latter one alone 
is real and essential. Here are the two versions and two hands of the 
Avesta, the ethical teacher and the ceremonious Athravan or Ma- 
gian priest. So in the sacred books of all peoples and creeds, we 
find such two categories of teachings, one moral and real, the other 
ceremonious and formal, the garb and necessary expression of the 
inward contents. Even so we find the " prophetic " teachings and 
the " priestly " rites and observances in Gentile, in Parsee and in 
Sacred Writ of Judaea, as soul and body, or as the body and its 

Cleanliness of body and purity of soul, appears to have been the 
objects of Mosaism. Bodily and ethical purity the Pentateuch 
terms holiness. For that purpose the Sacred Writ discriminated in 


diet, worship, marital connections and sexual intercourse ; pre- 
scribing rules for each, according to the ideas and the standpoint 
of those times, with the conscious object in view to induce a solid 
hygiene in matter and in mind ; to rear up a nation of solid bodies, 
with solid souls. It is highly gratifying that , Zoroasterism runs 
parallel with Mosaism in that highly important respect. Only a 
better knowledge of the Zend-books will enable one to judge about 
priority. Mazdaism exaggerated much ; as its starting point, was 
dualism, an all-powerful God of good, and an all-powerful God of 
evil, the two all-powers in the one universe, could not but collide ; 
hence came vice, war and disharmony, and man had to choose 
between the two. This gave rise to demonology and angelology, 
to that profuse mass of notions, conceptions and ceremonies, partly 
ideas and symbols, and partly empty sounds which now appear to 
us rank superstition, but were mostly believed in, in those remote 
times, older than Moses and Abraham. As everything in the world 
had its genius above, and every idea its heavenly prototype, so had 
sickness not simply a bodily cause, but also a spiritual author. 
Hence the universal belief in evil spirits to be the cause of sin and 
of sickness. While Mosaism kept clearly in mind the idea of a 
solid diet to insure solid bodies and souls, Mazdaism forgot that 
often, and aimed at pursuing the evil ones as real entities, out of 
man's heart, and thus lost itself in this chase in the realms of the 
imagination, the will-o'-the-wisp of the Orient, arriving often at the 
. shallow banks of superstition, of the ridiculous and the chimerical. 
The same was often the fate of mystic Rabbinism. Indeed it was 
the same mysticism and exaggerated spiritualism in both the camps. 
Both parties lost their original way to a wise and natural hygiene, 
and became entangled in the labyrinth of vulgar ghost-and-hell 
belief. Both, then, overshot their mark in their infinite rules of diet, 
cleanliness and ceremonialism, spells and overstrained devotions. 
Mazdaism went off the farthest, on account of its radically false 
doctrine of the evil one and its hosts. Whilst Mosaism ever found 
its way again at the beacon-light of rational monotheism, which 
was its safe Ariadne-thread, to jbring it back to the path of reason 
and truth. 


Vend. IV. 47. " Verily I say unto thee. Oh Zarathustra, the 

man who has a wife is far above him who begets no sons ; he who 

keeps a house is far above him who has none ; he who has children, 

is far above the childless man ; he who has riches, is far above him 


who has none." Comment : " In Persia, the king gave prizes to 
those having most of children (Herod. I. 136). He who has no 
children, paradise is closed to him. The iirst question which the 
angels ask the dead is, whether they have left a substitute behind 
themselves. If not, they are not allowed to enter paradise (Saddar' 
18, Hyde 19). It is a Brahmanical doctrine that a childless man 
goes to hell because there is nobody to pay him the family- 
worship." This is the original sense of the mass, the requiem and 
the Kaddish, in cathedral, church and synagogue. IV. 48. " Of two 
men, he who fills himself with meat, is filled with the good spirit, 
much more than he who does not do so," . . . 49. " It is this man 
that can strive against the onsets of Asto Vidhotu (death spirit) ; 
that can strive against the winter fiend with thin garments on." 
This is plain talk. The spiritual and the material are simply one 
thing from different standpoints. It is interesting what good, prac- 
tical sense original Zoroasterism exhibits, yet it soon deteriorated 
into artificial spiritualism. The legislator aimed, as the Pentateuch 
did, at healthy bodies and souls, and he ordained as the means to 
that purpose, cleanliness for the body and purity for the soul, 
insuring thus holiness. As an inducement, he used the popular 
belief in ghosts. Misunderstanding him, his inapt expounders 
insisted upon the ghosts and neglected his hygiene. They chewed 
the straw and eschewed the grain. They forgot the object for the 
means. Closely looking at all religious legislations, they often 
suffered of that same fate, viz : priestly misunderstanding. To insure 
good, healthy habits, they gave as their motives but the current 
popular inducement,(i) viz : superstitious fears. Soon the apish 
expounders laid stress merely upon those superstitions and lost sight 
of the real important objects. That is evolution backwards. — 
Vend. V. 21. "Ahura: This (purification) is the best of all things. 
. . . Purity is for man, next to life, the greatest good. That purity 
is procured by the law of Mazda to him who cleanses his own self 
with good thoughts, words and deeds." What a healthy rational- 
ism without' the particle of mysticism ! All is solid sense, truth, 
matter of fact. Gibbon and Rousseau could not be more outspoken. 
All the jargon of the Magian priest is gone, and he introduces 
us into the very sanctum of ethics. He cannot be identical with the 
composer of the rite of purification. There must have been several 
Lawgivers. Evidently there were many hands busy in the com- 
position of Mazdean doctrine. Such paragraphs and whole groups 

1 D1K '23 yvh:: mm man 


of paragraphs are of the purist rationalism ; the ghostly element 
is a later interpolation, or at the utmost, but the vehicle and out- 
ward form, whilst the essence is of the most concentrated and 
exquisite uncommon sense, without the least alloy of mythol- 
ogy. Such refreshing passages are striking and salient proofs that 
the Avesta had several authors, epochs and redactions : " Purity is 
for man next to life, the greatest good," is one strata of thought. 
" That purity is procured by the law of Mazda," is another strata, 
by a Magian priest. " To him who cleanses his own self with good 
thoughts, words and deeds " — not the tedious Barashnum with 
Gomez — that is a third layer, from the same quarry as the first. 
Or the middle sentence is an interpolation to neutralize the rational- 
ism. Afraid of that rationalism, a later hand superadded the 
middle clause : " Procured by the law of Mazda." Next to life is 
putity the greatest good" \s the oldest version of that new current 
proverb, " cleanliness is next to godliness." The Talmud too has 
a version of this saying. It appears to be originally Zoroastrian. 
It is a feature of his own unadulterated doctrine, purity being its 
chief object. — Vend. VII. 73. " Zarathustra asks Ahura : Can house- 
hold vessels be made clean that have been touched by the carcass 
of a dog, or the corpse of a man ? 74. " Ahura : They can. If 
they be of gold, wash them once with Gomez, (ox-urine) rub them 
with earth, then wash them with water, then they are clean. If of 
silver, do so twice as much. If of brass, thrice as much. If of steel, 
do so four times as much ; if of stone, six times. If of earth, they 
are unclean forever." 

The rabbinical law too, declares defiled earthen vessels 
incurable. The whole is a striking parallel to Talmud casuistry on 
kindred topics : same method, same accuracy, same over-anxiety 
and hair-splitting. Hillel came from Babylonia! Of a solid 
calibre are the fine passages of Vend. Farg. III. 1-7. " Which are 
the most happy places on earth ? Answer : Where the faithful 
erects a house with cattle, with wife and children ; where all is thriv- 
ing ; where most of corn, grass and fruit are cultivated ; where the 
dry grounds are irrigated and the swampy ones drained ; where 
flocks and herds increase and yield much dung for agriculture," etc. 
What excellent and sound common sense ! Whether that passage 
is not written expressly to contradict ascetism, monachism, the lazy, 
contemplative propensities of some Oriental visionaries, is hard to 
tell, since we do not know at what time that passage has been 
written. It is well-known that the monasteries had their predeces- 


sors in Egypt and in the East long before Christianity arose. Side 
by side with this phase of reasoning, comes another one, a different 
hand amends it ; a new train of thought, more mystic and more 
spiritual, or more priestly is superadded : " The happiest place on 
earth is, where there is a priest with holy wood and Baresma, with 
holy meat and mortar, invoking Mithra and Hoastra (sun and pro- 
duction). The worst place is the Arezura mount, whereto the 
drughs rush from hell ; where corpses are buried, etc." 

Vend. VIII. 26, treats of involuntary self-pollution which is 
punished with 800 stripes. — Voluntary one cannot be atoned at all. 
Later it received some mitigation. The first is exhorbitantly rigor- 
ous. As to voluntary pollution, the Rabbis too deemed it so. (i) 
VIII. 29. " The law of Mazda takes away the bonds of sin from 
him who confesses it. It takes away the sin of breach of trust, mur- 
der, burying a corpse, etc. There are ideas strongly reminding of 
Paul's doctrine, of atonement by faith and grace. The Talmudic 
halacha teaches the very opposite : " The day of Atonement, atones 
only for sins against God. As to sins against man, there is no 
atonement unless the wrong is practically righted, pardon asked for, 
and forgiveness obtained from the offended party. (2) . . . . The 
rabbinical views contrast nobly with Parseeism, etc.concerning repent- 
ance and confession. Here is their n orm, according to Maimonides 
Yad Mada Tshuba I. viii. "All the Pentateuchal commandments 
when transgressed, must be confessed to God — (not to the priest) 
and sincerely repented : " I repent, feel ashamed . . . and shall 
never commit again . . . . " Sacrifices do not atone ; nor even the 
secular punishment of crime ; nor restitution will. Sincere repen- 
tance and confession are, besides, absolutely necessary for atonement. 
. . . Above all, is non-repetition of the crime necessary . . . Nor will 
the natural consequences of sin, as poverty, pain, sickness, etc., be 
spared the sinner. They are the necessary conditions of pardon. 
... To confess a sin and not abandon it is hypocrisy . . (*) When 
our neighbor is wronged, we must, besides, right the wrong by 
practical restitution, by public acknowledgement of the wrong com- 
mitted and by asking and obtaining pardon. Such a confession 
must be public and frank, or it is hypocrisy and unavailable." — That 
is salient, good, common sense, holding good for all times and 
creeds." The merits and sins of man are weighed and computed. 

1 Maimonides Mada Tshuba III. 6. .an'jjS p'jn ■h t'« in'jiv ItfiDn 

2 Ibidem 11. 9. insTi ■h 3"n xmB* no 'Bhv^v 3 n'3 pB'i ^ao 


The preponderance of either, renders man respectively just or 
wicked ; the eveii balance suspends judgment. This seems to be 
Parsee and rather popular .... All Israelites have a share in 
future life. So too have the righteous among the Gentiles. Ex- 
cepted of future life are: Atheists, polytheists, idolators, epicurians, 
apostates, public seducers, self-seekers, informers, political tyrants, 
" bosses " — in all 24 classes. . . . Nevertheless, if sincere repent- 
ance, restitution, confession, etc., have taken place, life eternal will 
be the share of any repentant sinner, for nothing stands against 
repentance. . . Man is absolutely free in his self determination ; he 
can be good or bad, therefor is he responsible for his conduct. 
Neither the omniscience, nor the will of God, nor the surrounding 
world offer man any excuse for his private determination. Hence is 
he fully responsible." 

We have seen Vend. IX. treating of the complicated rite of the 
Nine night's purification, (Barashnum nu shaba). It is the most 
laborious ceremony for cleansing those polluted by contact with the 
dead. Later it was recommended to every good Parsee, at least 
once in his lifetime, especially to the young ones just initiated, the 
" confirmants." It is the Magian baptism, to wash away the natural 
sin contracted in the mother's womb, the original genuine sense 
of the " original sin, contracted by the fall of Adam and Eve." The 
train of ideas reminds one of the circumcision of the Synagogue, and 
of the baptism from original sin of the Church. We saw above, 
Zoroaster teaching : " Purity is procured to him who cleanses him- 
self with good thoughts, words and deeds. (Vend. V. 21.) — For 
that laborious, complicated, ecclesiastical work, the Vend. IX. 37-41, 
prescribes a precise fee for the priest, according to the rank and con- 
dition of the cleansed one. It emphasizes that the fee should be 
conscienciously paid, in order that the priest may leave the cleansed 
house well pleased and free from anger. ... If he leaves dis- 
pleased, then the drugh, Nassu, re-enters (the patient) by the nose, 

the eyes, even the end of the nails and he is unclean forever 

It grieves the sun, moon and stars to shine upon a man defiled by 
the dead." That is Magian indeed ! 


Vend. XVIII. i. "There is many a one who wears a Paitidana 

(a priestly cover of the mouth) but who has not girded his loins 

with the law. When such a man says : I am an Athravan, (priest) 

he lies .... 2. " He holds a Khraftraghna (an instrument to kill 

THE wnWorthy priest. i79 

insects and snakes) in his hands, but he is not girded with the law. 
When he says I am an Athravan, he lies. 3. " He holds a twig, 
the baresma, in his hand, but he is not girded with the law. When 
he says I am an Athravan, he lies. 5. " He who soundly 
sleeps the entire night, does not pray, learn nor teach, he lies 
when he says : I am an Athravan. 6. " Him shalt thou call an 
Athravan who throughout the night sits up and demands of the 
holy Wisdom (studying the Law), is free from anxiety, with dilated 
heart and cheerful (about the future) at the Kinvad bridge. . . . 
Demand of' me (teachings) Zarathustra ! that thou mayest be the 
better and happier (true priest)." — Even better expressed, more to 
the point and without verbosity, is the XXII Psalm : " To Ihvh be- 
longs the earth, the universe and all in it . . . Who shall ascend 
his holy mount ? Who shall stand in his holy place ? He of clean 
hands and pure heart, whose soul aspires to no frivolous things, and 
who swears not for deceit. He will carry a blessing from Ihvh and 
benevolence from the God of his Salvation. 

VII. 36. "Zarathustra asks Ahura: If a worshipper of Mazda 
wants to practice the art of healing, on whom shall he first prove his 
skill, on worshippers of Mazda or of the daevas ? VII. 37 and 38. 
" Ahura answeres : On worshippers of the daevas shall he first prove 
himself If he treats with knife three times, and each time the 
daeva-worshipper die, the physician is unfit to practice for ever and 
ever .... and if he does, that is wilful murder. VII. 39 and 40. 
" If he treats three times the daeva-worshipper and he recovers, 
then he is fit to practice the art of healing, upon the Mazda- Wor- 
shippers too." VII. 4-43, also prescribes the fees for physicians 
which is according to the rank of the patient. VII. 44. " If several 
healers offer, (their services), one healing with the knife, one with 
herbs and one with the holy word, (spells) the last one will best 

drive away sickness Let him have the preference." — That 

is sterling good sense. The commentator humorously adds : It 
may be that spells will not relieve, but they will not harm !" Pin- 
daros (Pyth. III. 51,) mentions too, that threefold classification : 
" Asclepios relieved the sick now with caressing spells, now with 
soothing drink and balm, and now with the knife." Pity that faith- 
cure is out of fashion. Zoroaster appears to have been the forerun- 
ner of that and of homeopathy, giving the preference to spells that 
do no harm. Vend. XX. 1-3. " Zarathustra inquiring about healers 
and remedies, was answered : " Thrita it was who first drove back 


sickness, fever, the poniard and death. He obtained the remedies 
for that from Khshathra Vairya, (the genius of metal, with a knife 
and herbs in hand) to withstand the disease created by Angro 
Mainyu against mortal bodies." XX. 4, " I, Ahura, brought down 
the healing plants that by myriads grow up all around the one 
Gaokerena, the white haoma." — It is the tree of "Eternal life" rising 
in the midst of the sea of paradise. The same Thrita is known to the 
Rig-veda, under a similar name and attributes. He appears to 
have been the first priest of haoma, and he is hence the first healer. 
According to Hamza, he was the inventor of medicine (See Ed. 
Gottwaldt, p. 23). The Taavids or exorcising cameas were in- 
scribed with his name. As mentioned, disease was thought to come 
from the doings of Ahriman ; or the poison of the serpent, a theory 
quite as rational as the bacilla of our own time ; whilst the remedies 
were not quite so dangerous as those of Pasteur and Koch. Ahura 
continues : XX. s- " All this health, do we call down by our bless- 
ing spells, pravers and praises upon the bodies of mortals." V. 7, 8. 
" To thee, O sickness, I say avaunt ! To thee, death, pain, fever, 
disease, I say avaunt ! By their might, we smite down the drugh ! 
Perish, world of the fiend! . . . Verse 11. "May the much de- 
sired Airyaman come here with the men and women of Zarathustra 
to rejoice with the desirable reward won by means of the law." 

From a great many Avesta passages, we may fairly infer that 
the priestly doctrine of Mazdaism is that the gods need sacrifices, 
as food and drink to sustain their powers. We see even Ahura ac- 
cepting and offering such sacrifices. While the later ethical view is 
more refined. Something akin, we may detect in the Pentateuch. 
So we read in Yast. VHI. 23. Tistrya, worsted by Apaosha, cries 
to Ahura : Men do not worship me with sacrifice and praise. If 
they should, they would bring me strength . . . Ahura offers him 
a sacrifice and brings him the asked for strength. Tistrya then 
vanquishes Apaosha after renewed battle. 

Vendidad (Sadah) XII. treats of the uncleanness and the 
isolation, corresponding to the modern mourning, of the relations 
of the dead and of their needed purification by an abridged Barash- 
num. Such matters are also treated largely in the Pentateuch. 
Prof. Darmesteter thinks that chapter alludes especially to the 
uncleanness caused by the simple fact of relationship to the dead, 
besides those coming in actual bodily contact with him. I do not 
believe that simple kinship, without contact, constituted unclean- 


ness in Parseeism. The chapter treats of relatives living in the 
same house with the dead, and who were thus defiled by breathing 
the same air. That constitutes uncleannesS in the Pentateuch and 
in hygiene, too. It is a pity that this is so often overlooked in 
modern practical life. The home-funeral ceremonies, often in 
crowded, sickly rooms, harm the crowd of attendant friends and 
relatives more than it does good to the dead. — Etiquette required 
that the near relatives should be longer in mourning than distant 
ones. At first those days of isolation for the mourners were a 
measure of hygiene and cleanliness. Soon they became conventional 
signs of mourning, hence a social duty toward the dead. As such 
near relations had to be longer isolated, independent of their bodily 
contact with the deceased, betokening their higher regrets. Vend. 
XII. prescribes how long the relatives shall be isolated, viz : for 
the sake of decorum, this was according to their degree of kinship, 
corresponding to our mourning days, which differs, if for a parent, 
a husband, brother, child, etc. The purification ranged according 
to the same criterion. The house, the person, the clothes, utensils, 
etc., must be cleansed, and for a time isolated. Originally that was 
all simple hygiene, under the form of religious ceremonies. Only 
after such cleansing, fire, water, men and the gods could enter the 
house. XII. 21 purports: "If a stranger dies, who does not pro- 
fess the true faith, does he, too, defile ? Answer : No more than 
a frog does, whose venom is dried up and that has been dead more 
than a year ago. Whilst alive that wicked rufl&an defiles . . . for 
he does harm to the faithful ; not so when dead." That is plain 
language, an exponent of the times. The principle is : The defiling 
power of the Nasu is greater or lesser, according to the dignity of 
the dead. The rabbis, too, follow the same principle and the rit- 
ualistic result is the same. 

Vend. XVII. i. " Which is the most deadly deed whereby a 
man increases the strength of the daevas ? Answer : It is when a 
man combing his hair or paring off his nails, drops them. . . From 
that, unclean creatures are produced . . . which spoil the corn, the 
clothes, etc." A good deal of humor has been spent on that as 
puerile and superstitious. All over the world such ghostly stories 
are told concerning unsavory manners and throwing about of hair 
and nails. They are to be found among the humbler strata of all 
creeds and peoples. Yet look closely to these verses, bidding to 
bury nails, etc., anxiously away in a hole, with a prayer — that is 


Simply good habits and hygiene, taught to ignorant people, careless 
of health and cleanliness, inculcated with the rod of superstition. 
The living body is for good, and belongs to the creation of Ahura. 
The dead body has surrendered to that of Ahriman and hence is 
possessed. Even so is of Ahriman, everything that once belonged 
to the human body, and now separated from it, as the shaved off 
hair or pared nails. It partakes of the impurity and nature of dead 
matter, and must be treated alike. Just so considers Parseeism 
all human eliminations, even the warm breath coming from the 
mouth. Leaving the living body, it is dead matter, and is impure. 
Therefore wore the Magian priest whenever praying, a Paitidana or 
Penom.Q) It consisted of two pieces of white cloth hanging loosely 
down from the bridge of the nose to beneath the mouth and chin, 
in order to intercept the breath, lest it should, through the air, soil 
and defile the sacred fire and place. It was an exaggeration of the 
use of our modern handkerchief. 

Vend. XVIII. 6i. " Zarathustra asked : Ahura! who is it that 
grieves thee with the sorest grief? Answer : 62. It is the Gahi(2) 
(courtesan), who goes a whoring after the faithful and unfaithful, 
after the wicked and the rightebus. (Commentary). When such 
a one yields her body to three men, she is guilty of death. 63. Her 
look dries up the mighty mountain floods and withers the golden- 
hued plants ; her touch withers the faithful's thoughts, his strength 
and his holiness. The Saddar 67, Hyde 74, comments: At her 
look, running waiters fall, trees are stunted, and man's intelligence 
is withered." This horror of unchastity is here no doubt most 
energetically expressed, and yields to no moralist, Hebrew, Greek, 
Roman or modern. 

Vend. V. Farg. — . Darmesteter's Rendition. V. 45. " Creator 
of the bodily world : If, in the house of a Mazdayasnian, a woman 
brings forth a still-born child, what are thy prescriptions ? Ahura 
answers : 46. In the place of that house, farthest from man, fire, 
flocks, baresma, etc, an enclosure shall be erected, and there she 
shall be established with food and clothing. First, she shall drink 
gomez, mixed with ashes('*) from the holy fire, to cleanse her womb. 

(1) Haug. Essays, p. 273, II. Edition Anquital II. 530. 

(2) Gahi is both the denpon and the woman of lust. 

(3) So. IV. M. 19. The suspected woman drank such ashes with 


Afterwards she may drink and eat everything she Hkes except water, 
(that is holy). After three nights, she shall wash herself during 
nine nights more with gomez and water, (Bareshnum,) then she is 
clean." Among modern Parsees, she remains isolated under the 
above regimen, during forty days. The Pentateuch and Rabbis' 
prescribe an isolation of from forty to eighty days, which time 
was later variously changed. Her clothes, too, must be washed 
and exposed for six months to sun and moonlight. But even then 
they can be used only by Dashtan women (women in their menses). 
LTnclean persons have their hands continually wrapped in old linen, 
lest they should touch and defile things around. Even so in Leviti- 
cus 13: 45, "And the leprous one with the plague shall have his 
clothes torn, his head uncovered, and his mouth veiled (the Parsee 
Penom). Unclean ! unclean ! he shall call." We smile and wonder 
at such minute and rigorous prescriptions. But no doubt in those 
rude and primitive times of cutaneous, leprous and venerian dis- 
eases, such precautions were necessary for public hygiene. It is a 
fact that many diseases of the most contagious and virulent charac- 
ter have been since stamped out, just by such rigorous rules of 
cleanliness. We smile at such methods and think them hard, vain, 
superstitious and spectral, because we forget that modern society is 
free from such ulcers. Remember the Pentateuch is very anxious 
about the same matters, without entertaining the ghost scare. We 
moderns laugh at the means, having attained the object. I empha- 
size that the Pentateuch does not postulate Ahriman and daevas ; 
nevertheless it insists so much upon such rules of disinfection, as isol- 
ating the sick, the woman in the menses, the dead, etc., often so strik- 
ingly parallel to Zoroasterian methods. That proves that the ghost- 
theory was secondary in Parseeism, and that private and public 
health-considerations were the real scope there as in Mosaism. — 
Vend. XV. 7. " It is a deadly sin (P.eshotanu) to have intercourse 
with a woman in her menses." — The same it is in the Pentateuch : 
Kareth penalty. No doubt hygienic reasons are at the bottom 
of such injunctions. The Avesta gave its spectral theory as the 
cause, the Pentateuch, the will of God and nature's instincts. — 
XV. 8. " It is a deadly sin to have intercourse vifth a woman (even 
one's wife) when quick with child " (in an advanced stage of preg- 
nancy, mother and child being endangered by such). The Talmud, 
too, was much inclined to such a rigorism. But the final decision 
(Halacha) looked away from it. One teacher wittily quoted the 


Ps., God is the guardian of the fools. (i)— XV. 9. " If a man comes 
near a damsel and she conceives, she shall not willtuUy procure her 
menses, . . . and from dread of the people, she shall not destroy 
the fruit of her womb, ... or there is the guilt of murder on both 
the parents." The commentary adds : " The father must acknowl- 
edge his paternity and become the woman's husband." XV. 15. 
" The father must support her until the child is born, . . if hot, and 
mischief comes on, there is wilful murder. ..." 

XVI. 1-7. "A woman in her menses must stay away in an 
isolated building, higher than the surroundings (lest she may touch 
and defile the earth). She must not look upon the fire ; she shall 

stay away from the water, the baresma and the faithful Heir 

food is reached out to her ; in the commonest vessels ; no flesh-meat 
for three days ; the food must be of the plainest kind and the small- 
est quantity." The ghost-theory is advanced as the cause. But 
hygiene is really the reason : no meat, small quantity, plain quality. 
XVI. II. "If her menses last over nine days, that is the work of 
the daevas (devils). 1 2. They shall wash the woman for her puri- 
fication with gomez and water (according to the rite of Bareshnum). 
13-18. Any sexual intercourse with her, or even simple blandish- 
ments, are most rigorously prohibited." All that is essentially, 
hygienic rules of personal and public health ; but exceedingly 
severe from the reason that in those primitive times of coarse habits 
and brutal licentiousness, the lawgiver had to recur to severe pun- 
ishments, really only threats of punishments to insure obedience. 
The next reason is that such hygienic transgressions were then 
more disastrous to the health of generations than in our modern 
times, when venereal diseases have been much reduced, as remarked. 
The Pentateuch enjoined generally that same line of hygiene as a 
divine commandment, having as its object, " Ye shall not defile 
yourself .... but be holy, for I, your God, am holy. ..." Par- 
seeism motived such injimctions by its theory of the principle of 
Evil to be reduced in its baleful efforts to harm. As shown above : 
death was its triumph ; hence everything leaving the body, as the 
breath, perspiration, blood issue, secreted matter and pus, ampu- 
tated limbs, any issue from sickness, above all the menstruation of 
woman belonged to the daevas ; therefor a wizard too, could use 
them and do harm to the owner, as tokens of Ahriman's triumph. 
Thus the sick and the dead were considered as overpowered by him ; 

1 Ps. 116 ; 6. niD' D'NDB ■laiB' 


spells, conjurations, invocations of the gods, sacrifices, purification, 
some painfiil and revolting, were used to break and expel the power 
of Angro and restore the patient or even the dead, to the author 
of life and light, Ahura Mazda. 

Purity is the reason why woman during her natural sickness, is 
removed from the contact of the pure world ; that she is forbidden 
to look on fire, to drink water, to touch the earth and all the holy 
elements ; that her clothes, even after being washed, are unfit for 
" priests, warriors and agriculturists," fit only for unclean persons ; 
that the husband should not even touch her nor eat with her ; that 
the food is handed her with a long leaden spoon ; that it is of the 
plainest kind and scant of quantity ; that she is painfully and tedi- 
ously purified after a long period of exclusion and isolation, with 
gomez, etc., for she, as all sick persons, was deemed specially pos- 
sessed by the evil one. Yet, no doubt can be entertained, that be- 
hind this screen of the ghost theory, the real causes were preventive 
hygiene, health and cleanliness, aiming at sound bodies and souls ; 
sound offspring : holiness ! Hence their great, striking analogy 
with the Pentateuchal rules on such matters. Leviticus hardly 
knows Ahriman, nevertheless the same anxiety is exhibited con- 
cerning the same objects. That proves that the real reason thereof 
is not Ahriman, but something deeper, moi-e realistic ; and this is 
rational hygiene and psychology, healthy souls in healthy bodies. 
Holiness it is termed in both legislations. 

Purity too, is the reason why the dead were not allowed to be 
buried in the earth, nor to be cremated by fire, nor to be buried in 
the sea ; for the dead are impure ; earth, fire and water are holy. 
They were exposed on high, isolated towers, out of town, called 
Dakhma, there to be devoured by dogs and birds. Their bones 
after having been washed and cleansed by the falling rains, were 
buried beneath in a pit, there to await resurrection. The Dakhma 
was constructed with symbolic metallic wires, isolating it from its 
surroundings, a casuistic fiction by which it was deemed to be 
isolated from the earth, to stand in the air, and not to contaminate. 
That fiction is also known to rabbinic casuistry as (an'j?) Eirub, 
viz : different houses and streets are by a ritual-wire isolated from 
their surroundings and connected as a single integral whole. When 
Zoroaster asked Ahura why the rain comes down upon the clean and 
the unclean, Ahura answered with a mythological fiction : " The 
waters from the earth return by way of the clouds and are cleansed 


by boiling in the heavenly sea PuUika. From there they flow pure 
and restored to the sea, Vouri-Kaska, the great, heavenly water- 
reservoir feeding the earth." Without myth and metaphor, that 
means that man distinguishes from Ms own standpoint between clean 
and defiled, pure and impure. As to the universe, there is a con- 
stant flux and reflux, composition and decomposition, birth, growth 
and decay ; everything comes again into its pristine right place ; the 
bad is neutralized ; the good alone remains. Hence there is im- 
purity with man, not with God and his creation. 

Our foregoing remarks will explain the following verses con- 
cerning the drugh Nasu, the treatment of the dead, clean habits, etc. 
Vend. VII. (Darmesteter). VII. 2. " Directly after death, as soon 
as the soul has left the body, the drugh, Nasu (ghostly impersona- 
tion of death) comes and rushes upon him from the regions of the 
North (1) in the shape of a raging fly. ... 3. On him she stays 
until the dog has seen the corpse (^) or the birds have consumed it. 
25. Can he be clean, O Ahura, who has brought a corpse into the 
waters or the fire ? 26. Answer: He can not. Such has turned to 
Nasu . . that increases winter, cattle-pest, etc. Vend. XVIII. 30. 
" With uplifted club, the holy Sraosha asked the drugh : Doest thou 
alone in the material world bear offspring without any male coming 
unto thee ? She answered : Not so. There are four males who are 
mine : he is my male who, being entreated by a faithful poor, does 
not give him anything of his wealth treasured up. 36. What can 
counteract that ? 37. " Answer : When a man unasked, kindly and 
piously gives to a faithful one, be it ever so little, of his wealth." 
38. " Thereby he destroys the fruit of my womb." 39. " Who is 
the second of the males of thine ?" 40. " Answer : He of unclean, 
natural habits."(3) 43. " That is counteracted by scrupulous clean- 
liness and frequent prayers." 45. " With uplifted club, Sraosha 
asked again: Who is thy third male?" 46-47. Answered the 
drugh : " He that during his sleep emits seed.(*) The recitations 

1 The sume idea as in Jerem. I. 14, and IV. 6, etc. : .jjin nnen llDSa 
3The glance of the dog was deemed purifying. 

3 Nee stando mingens . . facile visetur Persa. (Amm. Marcellus 
XXXIII. 6). Mainyo-i-Khard II. 39— Saddar 56, Hyde 60-PoIack, Per- 
sians I. 61, narrates : A Persian living in Paris was proven to be an 
apostate from his own law by eating pork and making water standing. 

4 The Rabbinical legendary reports exactly the same ; akin also it is 
concerning natural functions. 


of certain prayers will counteract that 53. " Who is thy 

fourth male ? Answer : 54, " He who over fifteen years old walks 
without the sacred girdle and the sacred garment." 

These are the Parsee Kosti and the Sadara. (Mainyo-i-Khard 
II- 35 — Arda Viraf XXV. 6). They correspond to the hassidaic 
girdle, and the Mosaic upf)er garment with four corners and fringes, 
usually termed Talith and Arba Kanphoth.(i) The Kosti symbol- 
izes the bond of the Parsee with Ormazd. It is the badge of the 
faithful. He who wears it not is an outcast. (Saddar 10 and 46). 
The Kosti consists of 72 filaments and goes three times around the 
waist. It is worn by males and females. There is a combination of 
numbers in its make up, corresponding to the chapters of the 
Sacred Books. Such are the knots and the threads of the Kosti. 
All is symbolical, allegorical. Its four knots shall remember the 
Parsee of Mazda, his worship, his law and Zoroaster. The Kosti 
knots symbolize about the same as the Pentateuchal four-cornered 
garment with the (rabbinical) fringes mystic ally -made up; their 
threads and knots too, are qabbalistically interpreted. They too 
mean the allegiance of the Israelite to the laws and to Ihvh.(^) In 
Brahmanism also, the faithful are metaphorically bound to God by 
a sacred girdle, Mekhald. The Sadara (the rabbinical -nio) is a 
sort of sacred shirt, with short, broad sleeves, reaching only to the 
hips," with a small pocket above in front It may correspond to the 
hassidaic lop fi'Sts, and may perhaps be the Parsee version of the 
upper-garment with the sacred lot of the high-priest of the 
Tabernacle.(3) The phylacteries, with the sacred inscriptions, as 
those on the 'door posts' were also well-known to the Mazdayasnians. 
It is unwise to sublimize such practices as of supernatural import, or 
to ridicule them as mean superstitions and priestly hocus-pocus. 
We must take them for what they are really intended, as means and 
symbols of edification, reminding men of their duties : " And ye 
shall see them and remember my commandments." At a remote 
epoch when education was the privilege of the few rich and high- 
born, and books the privilege of the priests and the princes, alle- 
gorical vestments, colors and shapes, with select verses on parch- 
ment, could do good service and were appropriate educational means. 
Then the real law-giver instituted them as effective helps and 

1 n'Su niB3i jrais j»p nhvi 

2 nmsn iniM on'Nii See my 'Religious Rites,' on that. 

3 D'ani Dni« iibk 


supports for gradually ennobling the masses. The priestly vul- 
garian or fraud, used them for imposing upon the ignorant, for 
driving away the ghosts and conjuring up the protecting genii. 
Nay even the honest priest and wise pedagogue may well be ex- 
cused when he inculcated good habits, cleanliness and orderliness 
by such extra-natural means. Who would take it ill when such an 
educator forbade the " scattering of cut-off hair and nails, because 
that breeds devils and vermin, spoils the crops and ruins the clothes ! 
(XVII. 3)." No doubt that is exaggerated, but it is filthy enough 
to be deprecated. Even so the baleful result of carelessness in re- 
gard to the menses, the sick, the dead, etc., justify the law-giver in 
having insisted upon quarantines, precautions and preventives, on 
pain of the evil spirit on the alert to do harm. — XVII. 55. " At the 
fourth step (of a man going without the sacred girdle and holy gar- 
ment), the daevas wither him to the tongue and marrow. . . . There 
is no means of counteracting that crime." — The rabbinical law does 
not allow to walk four ells without the fringed garment. — XIX. 11. 
" Zarathustra asks : Ahura ! how shall I free the world from the 
drugh ; from the evil-doer, Angro Mainyu, how drive the Nasu 
from the houses of the failhfiil, how purify them ?" He is bid to in- 
voke the law of Mazda, invoke the Ameshas Spentas, the pure crea- 
tion, the embodiment of all the gods, the forces of nature; 
pantheism being at the bottom of Indo-Iranianism. 

Above we have read about the disposal of the dead on Dakh- 
mas or symbolical towers, deemed isolated from the elements and 
exposed to the birds of prey. Vend. V. 10. " During winter what 
shall be done with the dead ? Answer : In every borough they 
shall raise houses for the dead. 12. And they shall let the lifeless 
body lie there till spring ... 13. Then they shall lay down the 
dead, his eyes towards the sun. If not done so within a year, that 
is a trespass as grave as murder. There the corpse shall lie until 
it is eaten by the birds. 40. Out of that house they shall remove 
the baresma, the cups, the haoma, and the mortar (utensils of wor- 
ship, to avoid their defilement;. 42. After nine nights in winter 
and a month in summer, they may bring back the fire, etc., into 
that house (of mourning). 61. Whosoever throws any clothing on 
a dead body shall have no place in the happy realm (of paradise)." 
The dead was exposed face upwards on the Dakhma, naked, tied 
to its bars. Modern Parsees allow him old shrouds, clean but 
worn. Yet on the fourth day after death, rich garments were 


offered him (for heaven— Sadder 87, Hyde 64). The Greeks gave 
him rich garments. So the Jews, too ; until Rabban Gamaliel set 
the example of being buried in simple, linen shrouds, used by 
orthodox Jews to this day. VI. i. "A year long shall the ground lie 
fallow whereon dogs or men have died." — The dog is the holy 
animal of Mazdaism. — 10. " If a man shall throw on the ground a 
bone of a dead dog or man, not yet dried up, that is punished with 
from thirty to a thousand stripes," (according to its size, for defiling 
the earth). According to rabbinical law, to throw on the ground bones 
of man is defilement, too, and that soil was unfit for tillage. Volumes 
of casuistry are spent on that matter. We have mentioned that it 
was considered a heinous crime ■ in Persia to bring the dead in 
contact with fire, water, trees, earth, all of which the corpse defiled. — 

VI. 44. " Where shall we bring the dead for definite burial ? 
45. On the highest mountain summits, where there are always 
corpse- eating dogs and birds. 46. There they shall fasten the 
corpse, lest parts of it should not be carried away (and bring 
defilement). VII. 10-22. Clothing and bedding in contact with 
the dead are, according to the degree of uncleanness, destroyed or 
washed with gomez and exposed to the air ; then it can be used by 
sick, unclean persons." This is, we remarked, a hygienic measure, 
dictated by prudence and inculcated by superstitious, popular 
reasons, the only inducement at hand of the lawgiver, then. 

VII. 50. " Urge every one to pull down Dakhmas. His sins in 
thought, word and deed are atoned for (by that act restoring the 
earth to agriculture). XIX. 29. When a man dies, hellish daevas 
assail him, fiends and gods struggle for the possession of his soul, 
to take it to hell or to paradise (Mainyo-i-Khard 2). The struggle 
lasts for three days, during which prayers should be offered for the 
soul to secure to it the divine protection. . ." Here may be the 
source of the "Seven or three day's divine services" in the mourning 
house. VII. 52. " When the righteous dead enters the blissful 
world, the stars, moon and sun rejoice at him, and Ahura says : 
Hail, O man, thou who hast past from the decaying world into the 
immortal one." Similar tales abound in all legendaries. Christian, 
Mussulman and Jewish. VIII. 11. "The corpse-bearers shall 
wash their hair and bodies with gomez (Comment.), besides the full 
purification afterwards." Here is the parallel of " hand-washing " 
after funerals. VIII. 23-25. " Throwing clothes upon the dead entails 
punishment of from 400 to 1000 stripes." It is hard to guess the 
full meaning of this strange prohibition. It may have been a 

1^ Parseeism and the Vendidab. 

reaction against the reigning custom, of throwing rich clothes, 
jewels, arms, etc., upon the corpse and into the funeral pile. We 
find such in Homer, and even in Virgil, etc., (See Aeneis, etc.), 
when burning the bodies of the great ones. It was a manner to 
show one's love towards the departed. That amiable folly was 
prevalent everywhere, in Judaea too. We mentioned that Raban 
Gamaliel ordained to bury his body in plain shrouds, in order to dis- 
credit that custom. The Zoroasterian enactment may have aimed at 
the same abrogation of a childish custom. The modern Parsees, 
probably actuated by modern thoughts of decency, cover the dead 
with cleanly washed, but worn-out shrouds. There were probably 
in primitive times economic reason at the bottom : not to be waste- 
ful with good clothes, a waste upon the dead and useful to the 
living in a poor community. But something more was claimed by 
it : to give the dead the benefit of the sunlight. It was a kind 
of prolongation of life, the protection of Mithra against the drugh. 
In the Hebrew funeral legendary, too, it is not allowed to close the 
eyes of the moribund as long as complete death had not taken 
place. VIII. 33, 34. "A dried-up corpse, dead more than a year ago, 
does not defile. XII. Shows the house where a person died, to be 
unclean, too, needing purification. It defiles the relatives and inmates 
breathing its air, and this for different periods of time, according 
to their degree of contact and relationship. For dead sinners, it 
lasts longer than for righteous dead. . ." Christian and Jewish 
funeral pomp, our modern mourning days, staying at home, closing 
the store, interruption of business relations, wearing old clothes, 
funeral services, etc., are the evolution of those old Parsee customs, 
enacted from various reasons and notions. There were, no doubt,'.there 
combination of reasons of disinfection and preventive hygiene ; of 
decorum, tenderness and pious mourning ; of the ghost-theory and 
priestcraft, too. Remnants may be detected in the to-day's funeral 
customs of all nations. The ghost-story is not yet entirely dis- 
carded ; the hygiene is neglected ; tenderness, decorum, and pomp 
are most conspicuous nowadays. 


We have alluded above at the great importance of the dog in 
Indo-Iranian mythology and the practical life of Persia. The dog 
was the privileged, the holy animal of the Iranian world. He played 
a part in the Mazdean religion, on a par with man. He was the 
constant companion and co-laborer of the warrior and the farmer, 
the guardian of his house and children, the keeper of his flocks, his 
intimate friend, his fellow, a member of his household. His glance 
re-assured the sick and soothed the dying. He chased away the 
Nasu-drugh from him when dead, purified his soul and devoured 
his body on the Dakhma ; he prepared him for and accompanied 
him to eternal life. He was standing at the Kinvad bridge, pleading 
for him and admitting him to paradise, or howling him down to 
hell. He had essentially the same rights and privileges as man. 
To kill a man was punished with 90 stripes ; to kill the water-dog 
was punished with 10,000 stripes ! Egypt, the country of agricul- 
ture, worshipped Apis, the sacred bull, its symbol and great help. 
The Iranian, a semi-monotheist, could not worship the dog. 
He cherished him and gave him the place of honor at his fire-side. 
The dog was watching with him, fighting his battles against wolf and 
bear, thief and robber, he accompanied him on his lonesome moun- 
tain escapades and forrest ramblings ; his trusty follower through 
life to heaven or hell. Most frequently is the dog mentioned in the 
Avesta. The Vendidad treats of that animal very considerately and 
benevolently. Ormazd has a dog, so has Ahriman. Paradise and 
hell have each one. There are two creations, of crimes and of virtues, 
benevolence and wickedness : light and darkness, and each has its 
dog. He is entitled to food, housing and care when he is sick. To 
kill him is worse than murdering a man. Let us quote a few verses. 
Vend. XIIL 2. " The dog ... is the good creature . . . Among 
those of the Good Spirit, that from mid-night till sun-rise, kill the 
creatures of the evil Spirit." 3. " And whosoever shall kill the dog 
. . . kills his own soul for nine generations ; nor shall he find his way 
to the Kinvad bridge, unless he has atoned for it ... " 30. •' A 
mad-dog, or one biting without barking is responsible for his deeds 
and punished just like a man for each offense." 37. " A mad-dog 
shall be tied to a post and cured — If neglected, that is a deadly sin." 
(Peshotanu, 200 stripes). XIII. 39. " I, Ahura, have made the dog 


watchful, wakeful, sharptoothed, born to take his food with man and 
to watch over his goods. I made him strong of body against the 
evil-doers." 49. " The shepherd's dog and a house-dog passing by 
the house of a faithful, let them never be kept away from it." XV. 
1-8. " There are five deadly sins (Peshotanu) viz : To teach another 
religion (apostatize) ; to give too hard bones or too hot food to a 
dog ; to smite a bitch with young or even to frighten her ; to have 

intercourse with a woman in her menses or quick with child 

21. "A bitch with young, lying on the road, he whose house stands 
nearest by, must support her until the whelps are born. If he does 
not, that incurs the penalty of wilful murder." 

The import of the dog in Iranian life and creed, is one of the 
salient proofs that Mazdaism is of hoary antiquity, beginning at the 
cradle of mankind, older than the Pentateuch ; older than Abraham ; 
as old as the Greek classics generally assume it to be. It proves 
that the Sasanidae and Achaemenidae were but its late followers, 
that the redactors and legislators of Mosaism saw it already as an 
established system and legislated expressly in view of it, in parallel- 
ism or in opposition to it ; favoring or antagonizing its doctrines and 
modifying many others, to suit their own standpoint, their own ob- 
jects to be reached. Of such a grand antiquity is the Avesta. 
Tychsen says: (Gottingen, Nov. Comment. Sec. Reg. 1791), 
" There is nothing in it but what befits remote ages and man phil- 
osophising in the very infancy of the world." — The well-known 
credo of Judaism : (V. M. 6, 4), " Hear, O Israel, Ihvh is our 
God, Ihvh (being) is One," yea, the very "Creation" in Genesis, both 
are there expressly for the purpose of stating the Mosaic standpoint 
with regard to monotheism, as opposed to dualism ; with regard to 
one creative Power and one Essence, contrasting with the two 
Powers, the seven Ameshas Spentas and the many more assisting 
genii of Zoroasterism. Both teach that there is but one divine Es- 
sence, not two of good and evil, light and darkness, monotheism in 
opposition to polytheism, Hindoo and Iranian dualism, Greek and 
Assyrian mythology. The II. Isaiah continually alludes to Mazda- 
ism, approving or opposing iti Isaiah 44-46 calls ' Cyrus,' God's 
shepherd who will fulfill his desires and build his sanctuary." 
" Thus speaks the lord to Cyrus, his anointed one (messiah) whom 
I hold by the hand, I the eternal who calls thee by name. Let 
them know from East to West that there is no God but Ihvh. He 
created the light and he created the darkness. He makes peace and 


calls forth evil. I, Ihvh, am the maker of all that is ... I am the first 
and the last, there is no saviour besides me." This plainly means : 
There is no Ahriman, no Mithra and no Ameshas Spentas ; no divine 
dynasties, no emanations, genii or assisting arch-angels — the later 
memra, ten words, ten Sephiroth and heavenly Sanhedrin,(i) as 
claimed by rabbinical mystics of later developments. Carefully 
studying Zoroasterism, it seems to be a version of the one eternal, 
natural Ihvh-religion to which Genesis IV. 2, alludes as pre-Abra- 
hamic : " Then they began calling on Ihvh." That hoary religious 
phase was crushed out and gave way to idolatry " when the sons of 
the gods came to the daughters of men, and the land became cor- 
rupted in the eyes of Deity." (Genesis VI. i and 11). Mazdaism 
was a re-action against that corrupt idolatry. It was an improve- 
ment. It was a form of that more ancient Ihvh-worship anteceding 
that corruption ; but it was an imperfect type of Jahvism ; it was the 
necessary step after gross polytheism ; it was the logical link be- 
tween that and its sequel, as everything goes by slow development. 
It rejected polytheism, but stopped at dualism; a power for evil at 
the side of the supreme power for good. Mosaism proceeded to 
Ihvism, to pure monotheism, rejecting not only polytheism with 
star, ancestor and idol-worship, but also Zoroasterism with its dual- 
ism, Ahriman combating and the genii assisting Ahura. That step 
Mosaism made. But nothing daunted, Talmudical mysticism kept 
up the old mythology. The late Qabbala is its restoration. (2) 


The cock is the next holy animal of the Avesta. XVIII. 15, 
etc. " The bird named Parodars (who foresees), . . lifts up his voice 
toward the mighty dawn : Arise, O men, recite the Ashem yad 
vakistem (a prayer), that smites down the daevas. . . . For three 
excellent things be never slack, viz : good thought, good words, 
good deeds. . . Rise up, here is the cock calling thee up ; which 
ever first gets up, shall first enter paradise . . . with well-washed 
hands . . . saying his prayers . . . then will herds of oxen and 
increase of sons be his ; and whosoever shall give to my Parodars- 
bird his fill of meat, shall direcdy go to paradise." 

It is well known that Greek and Roman mythologies had their 
sacred birds. So was the eagle the bird of Jupiter, and the pea- 
cock with the Argus-eyes was devoted to Juno ; the dove to Venus, 
etc. The Geese were sacred and cherished at Rome on account 

1 n^yo ^B* N'tee imp m« .kiod 

g See on that ' Philosophy and Qabbala,' by the author. 


of their vigilance during the war against the Gauls. But none had 
the honors of the cock in the Avesta. Because none is so useful 
as he is in primitive times. He is the first time-piece of the villager. 
The cock is another witness to the great antiquity of Zoroastrian- 
ism. The prophetic period had a sun-dial. The dog is yet a 
privileged animal in the entire Oriental world now. The tenderness 
for him is, no doubt, an inheritance from old Mazdean times. The 
Jew alone thinks him unclean, and has no predilection for him, 
either from sheer opposition, or because his former Arian Lord used 
to abet his dog on him. But the cock is a favorite animal in Jewish 
legendary lore, too. The cock chases away the demons, sends 
home the ghosts of the dead and frightens off the wizards. At his 
voice all sorts of unwelcome guests quickly take to flight. Such 
are the legends in old Parseeism and in modern popular tales of all 
creeds, epochs and peoples. I heard such in the Ghetto. 

That was another holy animal, mythological, not domestic, 
type and patron of nature's wealth and productiveness, the bull 
often invoked by the Zoroastrian. The primeval bull was created 
by Mazda and killed by Ahriman. He is not alone in Mazdaism. 
We find his "confrere" in sacred and profane history. It is well 
known that the Egyptians, too, had their sacred ox. Apis or Hapi. 
He was the living image of Osiris, the Sun-god, the leading deity 
of ancient Mizraim, and, as usual in idolatry, identified with Osiris 
by the people. As may be presumed by his name, he was also 
identified with the Nile, Hapi and really represented, in conjunction 
with the sun or Osiris and the majestic Nile River, the agriculture 
of the country, its leading trait. Apis was considered as the moon- 
bull, and his colleague, Mneuis, as the sun-bull. Apis was all black, 
just as the Mosaic " Red-heifer " was all red, in express opposition. 
Now the Apis mythology \vas surely not identical with that of the 
Parsee sacred bull, yet it may be its predecessor and mother to the 
Magian myth, which also meant fructification and production. The 
modern Mardi-Gras may be its late echo. So, too, its earlier col- 
league, the Druid December Ox. In express contrast to Parsee 
and Egyptian myths, the Pentateuch has its Red-heifer-rite, Num- 
bers 19, which is not to be worshipped as a god, but burnt to ashes 
as the image of sinfulness and perishableness — a striking contrast. 
The Pentateuch and the entire Sacred Writ have much to nar- 
rate, and the prophets ring with denunciations, about the idolatrous 
'Sacred Bull," that made such inroads into the Ihvh-worship, 


beginning from the very Exodus to the destruction of the Kingdom 
of Israel and of Judah. (Exod. 32). " The people, seeing Moses 
tarrying to come down from the Mount, called on Aaron, Rise and 
make us a God to lead us on, Moses being gone." That is just the 
idea of the Egyptian Apis. Apis was not Osiris ; and the Golden 
Calf was not Ihvh. But the people wanted a symbol, a bodily 
representative of the Deity. That was Moses ; he not coming back, 
they reverted to the Egyptian idol. Later, King Jeroboam wish- 
ing to wean off Israel from the rival-people and worship at Jerusa- 
lem, instituted at Bath-el and Dan the Apis-Calfs (I. Kings 1 2 : 28), 
which lasted to the end of that kingdom, and found imitation in 
Judaea, too. A witty midrash, remembered too] in the Koran, 
claims that golden calf was made of the gold which the Hebrews 
had borrowed at their Exodus (12: 35). There is a fair presump- 
tion that the " Red-heifer '' rite meant to discredit the calf-worship : 
Apis-Osiris vanquished by Ihvh. — The Aggadah has a legend 
nearer to the Avestian bull; there it is surnamed the Wild Ox 
(Shorhabar isn iiB*), and reserved for the righteous in Messianic 
times. So it has, too, about the cock chanting " praises to the 
Eternal." The Hebrew morning prayer contains a benediction : 
" Praised be Thou, O King Eternal, who gavest understanding to 
the cock to distinguish between day and*night." There is no bene- 
diction, but pithy tales about the wild ox, served up to the pious on 
the advent of the Messiah ; God himself being the host. The 
primeval bull was in many myths the type of the animal kingdom, 
the emblem of productiveness, of the heavenly clouds, of cows emit- 
ting rain and fructifying the earth. It was in Mazdaism the image 
and the genius of cattle yielding food to man. — Vend. XXI. i, 2. 
" Hail, holy bull, beneficent bull ! who makest increase . . . who 
bestowest thy gifts upon the faithful. . . . Come on, O clouds, to 
destroy sickness. . . . Shower down new waters, new trees, new 
health." . . . This sacred bull seems to be the brother of the 
Egyptian Apis. Whosoever carefully reads this entire Farg. 21 
will surmise there the identical myth, differing exactly as much as 
Mazdaism does from Egyptian mythology. The latter is more 
veiled and more favorable to idolatry. The Avesta, discarding 
image-worship, could entertain no Apis in a temple. It translated 
him into the sky, and by poetising the same myth, showed its real 
meaning to be rain, clouds, production. Egypt condensed the 
poetry of nature to image-worship. Persia, rarified it to a poetic 
myth with a transparent nucleus : the productiveness of the clouds 


rising to the skies by evaporation and coming down as rain and 
food. Both the myths have but one nucleus. In Hindoo panthe- 
ism, the deity permeates the universe. Every object is spirituaHzed 
and personified. So were the clouds imagined as a bull or a cow, 
emitting rain and fructifying the earth. Each realm had its 
chief or genius, and the bull was such of the animal kingdom. 
XXI. 4, 5. " The sea Vouru-Kazha is the gathering place for the 
waters. It is in the center, on the top of the Hara-Berezaiti. The 
sun produces light for the world, from that same place down comes 
the sun. From that sea flow down the rains, and thereto they 
return. . . ." The Hara Berezaiti, Mount Alborz or Albord, is 
the seat of the Avestean gods, the Greek Olympos. It is also the 
seat of revelation to Zoroaster, as Sinai is to the Jews. Light and 
water are derived from there (Bund. XX.), and return thereto. 
The clouds connect the ocean below and that above. Genesis I. 6, 
etc., seems yet to reflect that idea of a heavenly ocean. 

We have seen the import of the dog and the cock in the 
Persian family, and that of the holy Bull in Avestean mythology. 
Such domestic affections and poetic cult of Persia have been uni- 
versally traced. We shall now give another instance of that con- 
tinuity of ideas, conceptions and rites concerning the cult of trees 
in old Mazdean Persia and in modern Mohammedan Persia, as 
well as in Western Europe and America to this day. James 
Darmesteter justly calls attention to the remnants of Avestean 
worship of trees and plants in present Mohammedan Persia(i). 
Alluding to his dictum that there is nothing in worship but what 
existed before in mythology, (2) he quotes Jules Patenotre (in 
" Les Persans chez eux," Revue des Deux Mondes, 1875, tome 
VIII. p. 162), who says : "At a crossing mid-way in Persia, a soli- 
tary thorn-bush rises with a thousand thorny branches, reaching 
out on all sides. Heaps of little pebbles are piously piled up around 
it. Small pieces of cloth hang down the branches as offerings and 
witness of the veneration of the inhabitants (for a forgotten deity, 
of the long extinguished Mazdean cult ; viz : the Amshaspand of 
trees and plants, Ameritat). Our mule drivers do not neglect to 
fulfill this religious duty. . . . When we ask them what is the 
meaning of that ceremony, we receive the naive answer: " Such is 
the custom." People know no more about it. The usage has 

1 In his Haurvatat et Ameritat, p. 51. Paris, 1875. 

2 In his Vendidad Translation, p. 37.. Oxford, 


scrupulously been preserved from age to age ; every one conforms 
to it without any further inquiry." This ceremony we find there in 
a comparatively barren region. But two centuries ago Chardin 
found the same cult of trees and plants in the very paradise of Per- 
sia, in Chiraz. He narrates :(i) " The most beautiful things at 
Chiraz are the public gardens, about twenty in number; the trees 
there are among the largest of their kind to be seen anywhere. 
They are of an exceeding height, and three mens' arms could not 
embrace them. The inhabitants believe such trees to be many 
centuries old and offer them their devotions. They hang upon the 
branches chaplets, amulets and pieces torn from their own garments. 
Invalids offer them incense, and light candles on their branches, 
hoping to regain thereby their health. Persia has everywhere such 
venerable trees superstitiously worshipped by the people. They 
call them Dracte Fazel, viz : auspicious trees (belonging to the 
good creation). They are full of nails holding up pieces of cloth 
as pious offerings." Barbaro, who travelled in Persia in the 15th 
century, met everywhere these good trees. As the cause of the 
adoration rendered them, he assigns the popular belief that these 
trees ward off fever and all other kinds and symptoms of maladies.(2) 
There is no doubt that we are here, in presence of genuine 
Avesta conceptions. Here is a remnant of the worship of the plant- 
goddess, Ameritat. It is an echo of ideas, feelings and adorations 
belonging to the mythology of ancient Zoroasterism, inoculated 
upon a later religious stem and growth, Mohammedanism. The 
Koran has chased away the gods and genii of the Avesta. But it 
did not the natural feelings of gratitude and veneration for light, 
shade, food and water, yielding trees and plants. Though Haurva- 
tat and Ameritat have been exiled to the wilderness, as poor devils 
as the biblical Azazel, though their names have been forgotten, their 
being and their worship live yet and will continue, as long as juve'n- 
ile poetry and worship will live. Nay, we shall see that such naive, 
mythic conceptions live yet with Christian and Jew of to-day, too, 
in Europe and America. And if they are no longer rites of the 
established church, they exist as eternal religious feelings holding 
their place in the human heart. It saliently substantiates our theory 

1 Chardin, Voyage II., 200 Ed. Amsterdam, 

2 Incide interdum in spinarum arbustum cui ingentem segminum et 
scrutorum adhaerere copiam vidi ; per quae hoc illi intelligi volunt : 
quasi febrim et morborum alia symptomata arceant. 


that leading religious ideas and rites are universal.(i) Barbaro and 
Chardin assign, as the popular reasons for that cult : " The trees 
are believed to ward off sickness, death and fever. Just so says 
Ahura to Zoroaster :(ii) " Thrita asked for a remedy against sickness, 
death and fever which Angro Mainyu created for mortal bodies. 
Then I, Ahura, brought out the healthy plants by hundreds and 
thousands(3) ... in order to ward off malady, death, fever and 
suffering." — We need not go to Persia to find the ancient Avestean 
cult of plants and trees. We meet it to-day in our own midst. 
Our Anglo-American Arbor-day, our decoration-day, the Christmas- 
tree with lit candles and branches full of presents, etc., are no 
doubt, the development of the cult of plants. Its parent, the 
Druidic forestrian mistle-toe and the Teutonic "mid- winter log" from 
the tallest oak, are varieties and evolutions from the same rite. 
A refinement upon that is the Pentateuchal bouquet of the feast of 
booths.(4) It is the same original material with an additional nation- 
al development, ethically interpreted. The ancient and the later 
Persians decorated the humble bramble-bush or the majestic Chiraz- 
tree to screen themselves from sickness. The Teuton strews the mis- 
tletoe on his fields to induce fructification. The Pentateuch ordained 
it as a token of God's blessing on the field. The Talmud naively 
superadded the shaking of the palm-tree branch and the paradise 
apple(^) " to drive away the evil spirits," innocently reverting to 
vanquished Parsee conceptions of plant worship. Thus we recog- 
nize the universality of religious rites and ideas. So we see that 
the Pentateuch ordains to put on the Taavids with certain religious 
inscriptions, on forehead and arm ; to fix such inscriptions on door- 
posts and city-gates ; to make fringes on the four-cornered garment , 
and show symbolic colors on the upper garment, etc. The Koran 
ordains the same, and with just the same motive as the Pentateuch: 
" That you should see and remember all the commandments of 
Ihvh and conform to them . . . and be sanctified to your God."(«) 
Such usages were recommended, too, in the Vendidad. Indeed, 
the word Taavids (Hebrew niBtaiQ) is originally a Zend-Avesta 
designation. The Christian Church is not wanting either in such 
amulets and sacred inscriptions and on the same score. That proves 

'' See Fluegel " Thoughts on Religious Rites," on that. 

Vend. XX. i. 

According to the Bundahesh, Chap. IX., these plants are 10,000 in 
number. * Levit. XXIII. 40. 5 a^i^i jiin« 
6 See V. M. 6 and 11, and IV. M. 15. D3>3'y \^1 niD b'bS V,-» 


the tenacity of such practices. — Chardin(i) says : " Devout people in 
Persia take pleasure in praying and in meditating rather under 
these sacred trees than in the Mohammedan mosques, since so 
many holy men, too, came there to pray. These venerable trees 
make thus serious competition to their neighboring mosques. Some 
devout dervishes pass even the nights under the shade of such 
trees, where they do not fail to see apparitions of the good souls 
who made their devotions in former centuries. . . . Sick persons 
devote themselves to these departed spirits and find often their 
cure." — ^J. Darmesteter remarks :(a) "Thus the cult of trees eminently 
M azdean, has survived Mazdaism : the tree chases away sickness, 
now under the Moula as under the Mobed. The peasant of the 
nineteenth century hangs on those trees some rags of his mantle 
and worships the same god as the Persian Emperor Xerxes did, 
who suspended his gold chain to the tree on his route. The sole 
difference is, the present peasant knows not the name of that god, 
whilst the Persian king of kings did know. But this is a small 
diffe*-ence in the eyes of comparative theology, which cares rather 
for the spirit of beliefs than their names. That spirit of belief is 
one and the same with the pious Mussulman and the worshipper 
of the Ameshaspand, Ameritat. That belief goes back to the past 
beyond Herodotus and beyond Xerxes. Xerxes received it from 
his ancestors. It is as old as the religion of the Achaemenides, who 
have engraven its catechism in the rocks of Persepolis ; as old as the 
language of the cuneiforms which was dead already twenty centu- 
ries ago." — The excellent J. Darmesteter thus recognized the great 
continuity of religious rites and ideas to the farthest past. The 
same reasoning will show its continuity from the past to the present 
and to the future, ever evolving higher and nobler types. These 
• rites and ideas change their shape and name, they develop and 
refine, but their inner spirit remains the same. 


Vendidad IV. i. (Darmesteter) : " He that does not restore a 
thing lent, when it is asked for back, again, steals the thing, robs the 
man. So he does everyday as long as he keeps it." Herodotus I. 
183, narrates : The basest things with Persians are, to lie and to be 
in debt. — 2. There are six contracts : I. The word-contract, (by 
word of mouth). Denying it is the worst of sins, (Gr. Ravaet 94). 
II. Hand- contract, (striking a bargain by closing hands). In 
Roman law: Stipulatio; in Rabbinic law: ti3 ny'ijn. III. Contract 

1 Chardin II. 44 and 201. 2 Hourvatat and Ameritat, p. 66. 


to the amount of a sheep, viz : 3 istirs, or 12 dirhems, about $7. IV. 
Contract amounting to the value of an ox, viz : 12 istirs, $28. V. 
Contract to the amount of a man, 500 istirs. VI. Contract to the 
amount of a good land . . . Each contract broken, is redeemed by 
the one above it, viz : IV. 3, 4. " The word-contract broken shall 
be redeemed by the hand-contract ; that shall be by the sheep-con- 
tract, etc., etc." — 5. " If a man break his contract, all his family are 
responsible for it (to the ninth degree)." This was Persian and 
generally ancient law too. So reports Am. Marcellinus XXIII. 
6.(1) The ancient Hellenic Law adjudicated the property, the per- 
son and the family of the insolvent debtor and contractor to the 
creditor. According to Caesar, etc., this was the case also among 
the Gauls aiid the Germans. The well known Twelve Tables rec- 
ognized the same principle in the Roman empire. It was only the 
Justinian code which mitigated in part that harshness. The Law of 
Athens and of Sparta upheld it. That led to disastrous political 
and social results. Solon's great legislative innovation was its abol- 
ishment. Only the property of the debtor and contractor was to 
be security to the 'creditor. His person, his labor and his children 
could not be alienated and enslaved. Solon, further, nullified the 
past mortgages on land. He lowered the currency value by about 
twenty-seven per cent., to help the poor debtors disburden them- 
selves of their obligations with a degreciated currency. All that 
was unjust, but it saved the State from economic and social ruin. — 
The Mosaic Legislation also grappled with that problem. By the 
original equal distribution of the soil, and by the prohibition of 
alienating one's patrimony, of taking interest on money and making 
profits on goods, etc., and lastly by the solemn principle that a 
fellow-citizen can never be enslaved, neither he, nor his children, 
nor his family-plot, by the declaration, that man and soil are 
ever free and can never be alienated — by all that, the Mosaic 
law repudiated that iniquitous polity. The Deuteronomist 
XXIV. 16, expressly states : " The parents shall not suffer for their 
children, nor the children for their parents." But in practice it was 
not carried out. So (II. Kings IV. i) " the widow complains that 

, her children were carried away into slavery for the debts of the dead 
father." — 11: 17. " The breaking of a contract was punished with 300 
to 1000 stripes. " Thus an attack upon property was more severely 
punished than upon human life. The Mosaic law punished purse for 

1 Leges apud eos impendio formidatae, et abominandae aliae per 
quas ob noxam unius omnis propinqultas perit. 


purse and person for person, not otherwise. This is more conform to 
human dignity and equality. The Mosaic view substantiates thus 
democracy, the Gentile one underlies aristocracy. (^) — IV. 17-55, 
treats of outrages : They are classified into menaces, assaults, blows, 
wounds, bloody wounds, broken bones, manslaughter, repeated 
crimes with manslaughter, perjury. The firit six misdemeanors are 
punished with stripes, varying from 5 to 90. Ninety stripes was the 
punishment for manslaughter. Repeated crimes without previous 
atonement for the preceeding crime, multiplied the punishment. 

Vendidad XVII. 13-18: "Intercourse with women in their 
menses is one of the most heinous crimes and was most severely pun- 
ished." — Be it for its real or its imagined danger to health, as it was 
believed that veneria and leprosy originate their ; or on account of 
Ahriman theory. — Marriage, and woman too, was an object of con- 
tract. She was sold by her father or guardian, from the cradle, 
often. Betrothals took place sometimes at the age of three years.(2) 
Marriage in tender age is yet customary in the Orient and was more 
so in antiquity. Selling of women as servants or into marriage was 
customary among all ancient nations. Exodus XXI. 7, alludes to it, 
but limits it apparently for marriage purposes, securing to her and 
her children all the rights of an honorable wife. Indeed inferring 
from the Koran, buying a wife was the practice in the Orient and 
became the norm for the lawgiver. Girls of good families had to 
go through the forms of the slave-merchant to pass into the house 
of the husband. (^) The Talmud curtailed the right of the father to 
sell his daughter, even into marriage, and abolished it practically. 
At last the rabbinical halacha required the free consent of the 
woman to be married, just as that of the man to marry. — The Mish- 
na has yet the expression : "A woman is bought for money, con- 
tract and cohabitation, — "(*) as a remnant of olden times, but it was 
really mean ngless. Woman could not be married without her free 
consent. The moral law and common sense gradually vanquished 
the barbarous privilege of the stronger. 


Vend. VIII. 74. "Ahura says : Surely they shall kill the man who 
cooks or burns a corpse." — The Commentator adds : four men can 
be put to death by anyone, without an order from the Dastur : He 
who burns a dead person (Nasu) ; the highwayman, the Sodomite and 

1 Fluegel's ' Spirit of Bibl. Legislation,' p. 32, etc. 

2 D. Franjee. Parsees, p. 77. 3 M. Fluegel, Koran, p. 187, etc. 
1 Kidushin I. i. 


the criminal caught in the act." — IX. 47-49. " He who does not 
know the rite of cleansing and undertakes it nevertheless . . . they 
shall tie his hands, flay him alive, cut of his head and give his body 
over to the ravens . . " So is killed he who alone carries a dead 
body CIII 14). Besides, the punishment inflicted upon the Peshotanu, 
viz : him " worthy of death," punished with 200 stripes with the 
horse-whip, or upwards of 200, that is tantamount to capital punish- 
ment, if not by far worse. — " A /"wAci/awM is worthy of death.Ci) 
Such is inflicted upon him who serves bad food to his dog ;(2) " who 
tills a land wherein a corpse was buried during that same year;(^) 
"A woman delivered of child that drinks water ;(*) " who holds inter- 
course with a woman in her menses ;(^') " who performs a sacrifice 
in a house defiled by a recent dead ;(8) " who neglects fastening the 
corpse to the bars of the Dakhma ;(T) " who throws the bone of a 
corpse or dog receives 200 to 1000 stripes with the horse-whip ;(8) 
" four hundred for him who touches water or trees when in a state 
of uncleanness ;(») " 400 to 800 stripes for covering a dead per- 
son ;(!") " 500 to loooo stripes for killing a dog."(ii) — For killing a 
man only 90 stripes are inflicted. Happily the severity of such laws 
never was carried out. According to Chardin, the number of 
stripes there really never exceeded 300, in the old German law 200, 
and in the Pentateuch law, never over 39 stripes. The Pahlavi 
Commentary distinguishes three sorts of atonements : by money, by 
the horse-whip and by confession and repentance, the Patet." This 
latter one presupposed yet previous restitution and reconciliation 
with the offended human party. Then came religion. The prac- 
tical wrong was first to be righted. Even such is the rabbinical view, 
quoted above : " The Day of Atonement reconciles only sins of man 
towards God. Sins of man against man that day atones not, except 
when practically righted and the offended party reconciled. (^ Full 
restitution to the offended party, with asking and receiving of par- 
don, were the first requisites. Then pardon from God on the Atone- 
ment-Day was possible. Thus Parsees and Rabbis did not favor 
the "trade of absolution." 

J. Darmesteter further shows (Vend. Introd. 23) that certain 
sins termed anapereiha, inexpiable, were meant to be punished with 

1 Farg. IV. 20-V. 44. 2 Farg. IV. 40. 3 Farg. IV. 5. 4 Farg. VII. 
70. 6 Farg. XVI. 13. 6 Farg. V. 39. T Farg. VI. 47. 8 Farg. VI. 
10. 9 Farg. VIII. 104. 10 Farg. VIII. 23. u Farg. XIII. 8 and Farg. 
XIV. I. 



death here below and torments hereafter. We have mentioned the 
crime of burning the dead. Such punishment was further inflicted 
for burying the dead (I. 13) ; for eating of dead matter, (VII. 23) ; 
for unnatural sin, (I. 1 2) ; and for self-pollution, (VIII. 27.) From 
Greek accounts and from Parsee tradition ; it seems that punish- 
ment of such crimes was death by blows. 

In the above paragraph, we find a meagre outline of the Ven- 
didad's civil and criminal legislation. It knows the full value of con- 
tracts. The contracting parties were bound to their stipulations by 
divine and human coersion. Even a verbal agreement, was sol- 
emnly binding and the anger of Ahura threatened the liar. The 
whole family was, to the ninth degree, answerable for its fulfilment. 
Bodily assaults were judiciously graded from simple threatening to 
manslaughter. Repeated assaults aggravated the misdemeanor ; 
and if not atoned, the punishment was multiplied in its severity. Prof. 
Darmesteter finds that simple menace, " agerepta,"(i) seven times re- 
peated amounted to manslaughter. Every crime makes the perpetra- 
tor guilty here and hereafter, except when he confessed his guilt. (2) 
Penalties were inflicted by stripes with a horse-whip, rising gradually 
from 5 to 90. Threatening with the fist (agerepta) had five stripes, 
whilst manslaughter was punished with 90. A second manslaughter 
had the Peshotanu-penalty, 200 stripes. The Peshotanu-penalties 
rose from 200 to loooo blows. But were probably but a menace. 
Wrong and crime have no absolute value. They are conditional, 
social, relative ; hence are they differently estimated and diversely 
punishable. When one bethinks himselt concerning said laws, that 
a simple menace was punished with five stripes, manslaughter with 
ninety stripes, covering a dead person, by several hundred stripes 
and killing a water-dog with lOooo stripes, we feel bewildered 
and exclaim, Nonsense, priestcraft, superstition and barbarism ! But 
should we on the other hand remember, jusdy remarks Darmesteter, 
that each nation and law have their own peculiarities, which are de- 
nominated barbarism by those standinig outside of its precincts, 
then we might be more indulgent to the crudities of the Persian 
law. So the Greeks acted similarly for defiling the sacred ground 

1 Agerepta is identical with t)nj«. Exed. xxi. 18, and Is. Iviii. 4 ; 
menace with fist. 

2 So is the rabbinical law too. S. Maimonides, Mada Tshubah and so 
the Parsee confession called the Patet. Here is the first mentioning of 
confession, so important in Catholicism and Judaism. 



Delos (Diodor XII. 58). So the Athenians put to death their vic- 
torious generals for neglecting to bury their dead soldiers in the 
stress of battle. So they gave to Socrates the cup of hemlock for 
not believing in the gods. So the church exterminated the Albi- 
genses, the Hugenots, etc., for not believing in the saints. So 
Europe was during a century and a half, brutally converted into a 
slaughter-house for thinking diversely about certain doubtful religi- 
ous formulae. So Calvin put Servetus to death for being too for- 
ward, and Luther outlawed the Jews, the peasants and the Ana- 
baptists for desiring their share of emancipation. So Huss and 
Giordano Bruno, Galileo, etc., were persecuted in Italy on theolog- 
ical grounds. So were Quakers and Unitarians banished in America 
on the same plea. So Jewish populations are decimated, pillaged 
and expatriated in Russia, even now, because they believe other- 
wise than others claim to. Bethinking ourselves of this sad chain 
of our argument, from the Persian criminal law to that of our own 
times, we shall see that that Persian law may have been no more 
absurd, than that of other times, nations and their prejudices. 

Zend-scholars have suggested that the excessive rigors of the 
Vendidad laws might be explained by the assumption that these 
stripes were converted into fines. Indeed the enormous riches of 
the fire-temples may have originated there. . . . The Pahlavi 
translation (to Farg. XIV. 2) alludes to, and Parsee tradition con- 
firms, that the bodily punishment was actually converted into 
pecuniary fines. In the Ravaets 200 stripes are estimated at 
300 isters — $700. In Parseeism every sin has its value in money. 
So has every merit. " Both can thus be accurately weighed in the 
scales of Rashnu " at the Kinvad-bridge, and thus determine, to the 
ounce, whether the dead candidate should be admitted to paradise 
or go to hell. Other Zend-scholars again suggested that these horse- 
whip stripes, so liberally administered by the hundreds and thousand, 
might perhaps have fallen, not upon the culprit, but upon the 
backs of the drughs and daevas, or upon the insects and creeping 
things, the creation of Ahriman. The Mazdean priests indeed were 
ever armed with such a bundle of twigs, smiting fearfully Ahriman's 
followers and relieving themselves of their own sins. We find such 
exercises frequently recommended to the faithful as a partial expia- 
tion of sins. (1) . . . 

I shall now be allowed to add the following new suggestion, 
and this from analogy. Whosoever studies the Talmudical crimin- 
See Darmesteter, IntroductifLn ^r^n^ \r 


al Jurisprudence, will no less be bewildered at its apparent severity. 
Reading the treatises of Sabbath, Sanhedrin Makkoth, etc., one 
will find there hundreds of deeds, trifling in themselves, declared as 
worthy of stripes, of extermination, of death, by stoning, burning, 
beheading and strangling, (i) The frequency of such punishments 
and the pettiness of the offence — in the opinion of the outsider, 
the layman, not understanding the technicality of legalism, makes 
the reader shiver and think those rabbinical law-givers were blood- 
thirsty cannibals, Baal's-priests Torquemada's, inquisitorial ministers 
of the " holy hermandad." Carrying, on the Sabbath, your stick 
outdoors ; or your handkerchief in your pocket ; or grinding a pow- 
der for medicine ; or lighting a match in grim winter .... on the 
Sabbath, are punished with death. Such cruelly punished trifles 
one will find by the myriads. But when one examines such cases 
thoroughly, one will find they are but innocent scare-crows, means 
to enforce absolute Sabbath rest by frightening the uninitiated. 
Often they are even less ; the dry outcome of the logical deductions 
from certain far-fetched premises. When one admits that any 
trifling work on the Sabbath is punishable- even with death, and 
when one admits that a walk beyond the limits (2) is work, then of 
course, a stroll into the country on the Sabbath is a deadly crime. 
But practice from theory is at a great distance. To punish such a 
deed was necessary : witnesses, a warning at the committal of 
the deed ; announcement of the penalty ; the perpetrator's declara- 
tion of acceptance ; his being in earnest and in his good senses : a 
most intricate trial, full of so many technicalities, that it became il- 
lusory, impossible, Utopian. Having educated the faithful under 
such ethical restraints, the rabbinical moralist was satisfied. As to 
actual punishment, the judge nullified such Draconic laws by a host 
of clauses, fictions and legal technicalities. Walking over 2000 
yards on the Sabbath, or carrying outdoors one's own handkerchief, 
incurs the death punishment — on a hundred conditions, all nearly 
impossible to obtain ; to such an extent that conviction will hardly 
ever take place. (^) What good then did such a law do ? It was 
an educational means. It reared the Jewish people under self- 
control. It stimulated the ethics of law-abiding. It produced the 
' kingdom of priests and holy nation ' the noblest feature of histor- 
ical Israel. It freighted them with superstition, but it stimulated re- 
spect for law. It rarely punished criminally. It rarely inflicted 

1 .pin fi"D nsic n'?'pDnn»n 3»n ma n\pba nmo niao 2 naty Dinn 

3 See Fluegel's ' Spirit of Bibl. Legislation,' p. 40, etc. 


death; It was the most humane of ancient times. It could con- 
scienciously say : " A court that pronounces the death-penalty once 
in 70 years is a murderous court." Such was the effect of the ap- 
parent severity of the rabbinical code, and such its real humanity. 
I know of no legislation, ancient or modern that is so careful, mild 
and humane, so much afraid of ever being unjust toward the innocent, 
as the rabbinical jurisprudence. Its clauses and restraints were so 
multiple that actual criminal punishment was almost impossible, and 
the entire law became but educational and preventive. 

Now I think, it may have been the same with the said severities 
of the Mazdean legislation. It was no more puerile than any other 
law. It seems so to outsiders, just as ours may seem to strangers. 
And as to its apparent rigors, these were but theoretical, but on 
paper, never carried into practice ; preventive of crime, not hasty to 
punish. They looked the more severe, the less they were intended 
for practice. Their aim was to frighten into obedience, never to 
blast and to kill. They threatened with hell and with torture, the 
more to avoid both. Their law was their educational means, as 
with the Jews ; their school-master, not their hang-man. Mind the 
hoary time of its original enactment, a scattered, lonely, rough and 
harsh population, little tutored to restraint, recognizing no other 
than their own caprice, the law had to be severe in form, in order to 
be mild in essence. Rough children need a strait-jacket. I 
am even inclined to assume that the Talmudical method 
alluded to, that of infinitely multiplying transgressions and com- 
mandments, sins, misdemeanors and crimes, stripes and extermina- 
tions, burnings and stonings, etc., and yet reducing such punish- 
ments to mere educational means, that method of theoretical 
severity and practical mildness, — the Rabbis have learned from the 
Persians. Their opponents, the Sadducees who were incUned to be 
more earnest with the legal severities of the Pentateuch, nicknamed 
them Pharisees, viz : Parsees, Persians, which name later became 
an honorable distinction, designating their levitical purity, extended 
from the priest to the entire people, just as the Magi had done 
in Persia. 


This remark may need some more elucidation. It has justly 
been surmised by keen-eyed Zend-scholars(i) that Zoroastrianism 
was at first but the doctrine of the Magians, one of the six tribes 
of Media ; that gradually they spread beyond that country, and by 
spiritual arms gained over whole nations and countries, as Bactria, 
Iran, Persia, Parthia, etc., the dynasties of the Achaemenians, the 
Arsacians, and at last the Sassanians ; that even during the Achae- 
menian reign, the Magian rules were not yet generally practiced by 
the bulk of the people, that the universal mode of burying the dead 
in the earth, was yet the practice among the Persian people too,(2) 
and that even burning a corpse was occasionally attempted. Grad- 
ually and much later, during the Sassanian rule, the Magian- religion 
became identified with the Persian practice, was fully endorsed by 
the rulers and the people, and became the state-religion. Indeed 
it requires an extraordinary effort on the part of the masses to 
follow out the minute regulations and precepts of the Magi. Their 
rules of purification alone absorbed all the attention and time of 
ordinary men. Such rules are made only for a priesthood, a retired, 
contemplative caste, given to leisure and holiness. It must have 
taken long centuries until the Persian people consented to become 
"a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." The Magian tribe 
of Media, one of its principalities, was the prototype of that '■'King- 
dom of priests and holy nation" with hundreds of commandments 
and prohibitions, and a host of prayers and religious observances. 
It took centuries of indoctrination until that ideal was realized and 
extended from the Magian tribe to the entire Persian people. Now 
just this was the course in the polity of Mosaism and Judaism. 
Originally Mosaism had a tribe of Kohanim, and Levites, spiritual 
nobles, with an exalted theology, ethics and laws. For long that 
tribe of " Levites and priests " strove to gain over the people to 
their rigid discipline in theory and practice. The Pharisees were 
the teachers who succeeded in that difficult task of extending the 
Levitical or priestly voluminous and minute rules, as embodied in 
Thora and Talmud, to the mass of the people ; of making of them 
all a " kingdom of priests and a holy nation." No doubt can be 
entertained, that the Kohanim, the children of Aaron, were consid- 

1 J. Darmesteter, p. 44. 2 Herodot. I. 140. 


ered as a distinct people, the nucleus of Israel. So they are termed 
" children of Aaron, thy holy people,"(^) in the atonement ritual and 
the services in the Moriah temple. The Pharisees extended the ranks. 
All Israel is that priestly people. The priestly diet, the Levitical 
purity, sobriety, religious sanctity, all expanded and became obliga- 
tory to Israel. The Kohanim, the Hebrew Magi, lost their supe- 
riority, their exceptional position. That was an immense innova- 
tion. Hence were the authors of that denominated, Pharisees, 
o'lriB , from Parsees, as also from the new rules of purity imposed gen- 
generally upon the laity. No doubt can be entertained that the Phari- 
sees greatly modified their own theology after the model of Persia. 
Rigidly adhering to monotheism, they yet found room for Ahriman. 
There he obtained the second rank, yet constantly and overtly in 
antagonism with God. The angelology and demonology, the 
wicked world, its limited duration and the new millennium, Ahri- 
man to be defeated by the Messiah, the hereafter, resurrection and 
the renovated world, all that is Parsic. 

This immense reform was carried out by the Babylonian initia- 
tor, Hillel, the head of Tradition, of the Talmud. By his pliable 
Hermeneutic rules, he engrafted upon the Pentateuch all those 
priestly rules denominated tradition, as coming down from Moses 
and Sinai and implied in the Pentateuch. These were later extended 
infinitely to the maze of present rabbinic Judaism. The Talmud may 
thus stand in the same relation to original Mosaism, as the Avesta 
is to original Zoroasterianism, if Haug's view be correct. Rabbinism 
is the Zend-Avesta, viz : Law with traditional expounding, of the 
Thora. But it must be emphasized that, though largely adopting 
from and initiating the Parsee theology, the Talmud teachers, the 
Rabbis, nevertheless, knew well not to trespass certain bounds ; not 
to put forward too prominently the Ahriman and drugh theory; 
they declared not the elements holy ; they interdicted not burial 
and cremation ; no washing with. Gomez, nor wearing a Panom at 
prayer. True, later even some such notions were borrowed, as hiding 
away the nails, shaking the lulab, the bundle of twigs, and the hier- 
archy of good and bad spirits . . . yet monotheism saved the 
Jews from falling into the pool of Persian superstition and ridicule. 

Whatever the reader may think of this parallel phenomenon, 
between the Magians and the Rabbis, it is a clear and uncontestable, 
historical fact that the Avestean rules of purity were for long but 
the distinctive sign and norm of the Magians, and gradually they 

1 ^Bnp ay pn« 'aa 


were extended to, and accepted by, the people at large, thus setting 
the example of a " Kingdom of priests and holy nation." The 
same is the fact with the Pharisees in Judaism. They created, as 
the Mobeds in Persia, the " people of priests and holy nation," by 
causing the commoner to accept those Levitical rules of purity, 
diet, sobriety, devotions, habits of spirituality, etc., originally 
intended but for the priests. Gradually, and after centuries of rab- 
binical discipline and indoctrination, those priestly privileges were 
extended to the bulk of the nation and accepted by it, not as a 
burden, but as the privilege of the " kingdom of priests and holy 
nation," instituted by God, fiom the very start of its existence. 



We have studied in these pages the growth and development 
of the leading ethical ideas and views of the East ; how by the 
eternal laws of mind, by the innate force of their own fitness, they 
propagated from one system to another, and gradually became the 
mental and moral property of all nations and climes, vested often in 
similar symbolical rites. We have seen that among the Brahmans, 
the cultivation of the Vedas and of science in general, among the 
Magi that of the Zend-Avesta, and with the Buddhists that of their 
own sacred writings, the Sutras, etc., with the other sciences as auxili- 
aries, was accounted as the very first duty, as the proper natural 
task of the priest, the Brahman, Atravan, Mobed or Bikshu. The 
culture began with their sacred books, around which nucleus clus- 
tered all sort of knowledge, secular, mechanical, scientific and purely 
experimental. All knowledge was considered auxiliary to the 
sacred books and accounted as a proper domain of a true and 
genuine priest. Learning, study, was the greatest glory, and secured 
honors on earth and in heaven. Learning was the holiest virtue, 
the noblest accomplishment. It earned the brightest diadem, it for- 
warded a man into the very presence of, and identified him with, the 
deity. This was so among Brahmans, Buddhists, and Magians. 
We shall show here that this idea was, and is, also predominant in 
Judaism. Even Israel of recent times is pervaded by this native 
respect for learning. The highest accomplishment, the greatest 
glory was that of learning, of knowledge, Thm a ; first Bible, Tal- 
mud and Commentaries ; but next every kind of knowledge, rea- 
soned and experimental, even good manners was Thora. " It is 
Thora and I must learn it,"(ij is a known rabbinical axiom. Thora 


actually means learning, knowledge, science. This is the original 
sense of the word, from the root mi, to teach. Even so is the 
meaning of the word Veda, akin to the Greek oida, I know. The 
meaning of " sacred writings " is but secondary to each of these 
terms. We shall render here verbatim some passages from the 
well-known treatise Abboth, that will show the propagation of this 
view, the enthusiasm for study, the self-sacrifice for the acquisition 
of knowledge, science, as the highest object of man. This ideal 
taste was entailed by the East upon the West — from Benares on 
the Ganges, to the Ghetto in Prague and the university of Leipsic 
and Halle : (Abboth III.) R. Hanania says : Two persons talking 
together about matters appertaining to Thora, the Shekhina is with 
them : For it is written (Maleachi III.) : Then discussed they who 
fear God, and He listened and received it graciously, and it was 
inscribed in the book of memorial in His presence." — But if their 
theme of conversation be not about holy matters, it is a meet- 
ing of scoffers. Yea, even a single person occupying with the 
Thora is sure of reward. — R. Simeon says : Three persons taking 
their meal at one place and discussing matters of the Thora, are 
considered, as if eating at God's own table. But if they talk of 
common things, they are accounted as partaking of a funeral feast 
(heathen). — R. Nehunia says : Whosoever accepts the yoke of the 
Thora is relieved of the yoke of government and the world — the 
care of livelihood and of obligation to the state. — R. Halafta says : 
Ten persons meeting in a discussion about the Thora, God is in 
their midst. So it is when three, two or even one occupy with the 
law, for it is written : " Where my name is mentioned, there I shall 
come and bless thee." (Exodus II.) Other Rabbis say :(i) Who- 
soever journeys through cultivated fields, meditating upon thfe 
Thora and interrupts himself with the remark : How beautiful is 
that tree or acre, he endangers his life. — Who forgets or neglects 
his study, forfeits his life. — Precious is man born in the image of 
God. — Precious is Israel, for it is written : " Children ye are of your 
God." (Deuter. 14). Especially chosen is Israel, as written: 
" Good teachings I gave you, my Thora, forsake it not." (Prov. 4). 
Ben Soma says : Who is wise ? He who learns from every one. — 
Who is a hero ? Who conquers his temper. — Who is rich ? Who 
is satisfied with his lot. — Who is honored ? Who respects others. — 
Despise no person and no thing, for every one and each thing 
have their opportune hour. — Be very, very humble, for the future 

1 Abboth III. 


of man is — worms." — That is of Buddhistic sound and color, it 
savors decidedly of the East. We have seen such among the 
Buddhist proverbs. It has the ring of Nirvana. 

The reader will remember the Brahmanic and generally the eas- 
tern doctrine of the wanderings of the soul to expiate the sins of 
former existences. She assumes a nobler or meaner shape and body 
according to her merits in her past career. She is thus rising or 
falling, in the scale of her earthly existences, by inhabiting the body 
of a god, a Brahman, a Tchandala, an elephant, a wolf, a snake, a 
plant, etc. The rabbis did hot go to that length, but transmigration 
was well known to them. Especially they connected phenomena 
of nature and of history with the moral conditions of man. So we 
read in the same treatise, Abboth V.: " Seven modes of misfortune 
befall the world on account of seven chief transgressions : When 
some pay tithes and some not, drought is the punishment. When 
all refuse tithes, drought and lawlessness cause famine. . . Crimes 
not punished, induce pestilence. War comes upon the world for 
refusing justice to the innocent. Perjury is followed by beasts of 
prey ; exile is visited upon the idol-worshippers, the incestuous, 
the murderers, etc. The minute casuistry of the Brahmans, their 
hair-splitting distinctions and miscroscopic argucies, their endless 
litanies, myriads of prayers, abstinences, penances, fastings and 
self-mortifications ; their tenet that the body is but the prison of the 
soul and the source of evil ; their charms, incantations and talismans 
against the evil spirits ; their often overstrained humility and 
suicidal ascetism, side by side with selfishness, exhorbitant arrogance 
and self-deification — such views and claims have not died out, 
without leaving their distinct traces. These theories and practices 
' have found their immediate echoes in Zoroasterism and Buddhism. 
They have their analogy and parallels in all the creeds and sects 
of the West, in Asia, Europe and America, of modern times. This 
propagation of ideas and opinions proves incontestably, how nothing 
remains isolated, how the beliefs, thoughts and practices ol the East 
influenced the West. In a modified and mitigated form, they 
traveled from Brahmanism to Iran, Ceylon, Thibet, and found there 
echoes in the to-day's western religions : for good and for bad, we 
are the heirs of the past and the nephews of the Easterners. 

Let us quote a few specimens more from the Rabbis on the 
import of study, learning, Thora, in parallel with Hindoo and Iran- 
ian dicta : " The Sages taught in the spirit of the Mishna : Praised 
be God who selected Israel and his learning. Whosoever busies 


himself with the Thora unselfishly, merits many good things — yea, 
the world exists on his behalf. He is called a companion and 
friend of God, he is a partner of God in his creation."(i) This is de- 
cidedly a Brahmanic and Zoroasterian view : "A man doing good 
and fighting evil, assists the God of good." Now follows a mag- 
nificent description of such a man and saint, with all the enthusi- 
asm, the naivety, the exaggeration of the East. The proudest 
names are spent upon him, the highest epithets, almost divine 
honors. Monotheistic sobriety yields the place to Eastern, almost 
mythic idolization, " He gives joy to God and men — His robe is 
humility and piety ; he is capable of becoming a righteous and holy 
one C*) — the Dvidsha and Ascetic of Brahmanism, and the Yasata 
of Parseeism— " He is sinless and nearest to over-merit, Sechuth, 
dispensing council, salvation, wisdom and strength. — To him are 
given royalty, dominion and the dispensation of justice. The mys- 
teries of the law are revealed to him, — he is a never failing stream of 
holy emanations; he is pious, long-suffering, forgiving injuries, 
superior to and sublime over all creatures." — Here is the exalted 
position of the Hindoo Ascetic and hermit ; of the Parsee sage and 
Yazata, who stand higher than the gods, assisting the Supreme in 
His creation, patrons of men and of the world. The Zaddik and 
Hassid of this Rabbinical passage is absolutely and identically de- 
scribed as the Brahman Dvidsha or Ascetic, as the Magian Yazata, 
as Buddha : mendicant and angel ; in rags and with a crown. This 
rabbinical Hassid and Zaddik is decidedly identical with the Sage of 
Kapila and Plato. As to Yama, as to Manu, so to him are given 
dominion, royalty and dispensation of justice.(') Such is the Hassid 
of old Abboth, of mediaeval Qabbala and of to-day's mysticism ! 
" Every day a Bath-Qol, a holy echo issues from Horeb proclaim- 
ing : Woe to the people who neglect the Thora ... A free man is 
he only who industriously studies the Thora .... Whosoever learns 
of his neighbor even a verse, even a letter, owes him respect 
forever . . . For honor is but in the Thora. — Good is but the law. 
. . . Such are the methods of Thora and learning : Eat bread with 
salt, drink water moderately ; sleep on the bare ground, live poorly 
and scantily, but busy thyself with learning. Then hail to thee in 
this and in the next world. . . . Ask for no greatness, desire no honors 
beyond thy learning. Work, and long not for the table of kings. 
For thy table is nobler than theirs and thy crown is more lustrous 

1 n'SKis ntfjjD3 napnS tihitf ntfVJ— i"? Nin 'is n'jiyn Sa Abboth end. 

2 Toni pns 3 jn nip'm nSiPDOi nia'ja i^ nsnw 


than theirs .... Great, indeed is the Thora, superior to the priest- 
hood and higher than royalty. Royalty is acquired with thirty 
degrees; priesthood is with twenty-four; but learning is gained 
with forty-eight degrees." . . . 

These forty-eight degrees to the acquisition of science, sacred 
and lay — for this is really the sense of Thora — comprises all the 
noblest and most exalted of ethics, virtue and intellectuality, coupled 
with humility, ascetism and self-sacrifice ; just as the requirements 
of a Magian or Buddhist teacher, a Brahmanic Dvidsha, Plato's 
and Maimonide's Sage. Indeed it is the identical doctrine of the 
high worth of mentality and virtue, reduced to sober possibilities in 
these passages of treatise Abboth. " Great is the Law, it dispenses 
life here and hereafter." — So R. Jossi narrates : Once upon a time 
I was on a journey, when a man met me and greeted me, asking : 
Where are you from ? I answered : from yonder great city full of 
learned and wise men. He said : Rabbi, will you come and live in 
my place, and I shall give you myriads of gold, pearls and precious 
stones ? I replied : Should you offer me all the gold, pearls and 
gems in the world, I would live but in a place of learning. — it con- 
cludes : when man dies none of his silver, gold or precious things 
accompany him — nothing except his learning and his good deeds." 

This enthusiasm and self-sacrifice for high mentality and vir- 
tue — the Rabbis inherited it from the East ; and they entailed it 
upon the West. Have we Occidental's cause to call the Orientals 
barbarians and put them under the heel ? Should not the West now, 
pay its old debt of gratitude, and help rekindle there the torch of 
civilization, lit at their sacred fires thousands of years ago ? Would 
that not be a nobler triumph than that of compelling them to buy 
our manufactures and submit to our rule ? 


Zipser in the Orient, 1850, in the wake probably of Nork (the 
Brahmans and the Rabbis, 1836, p. 100), called attention to the fact 
that the mysterious Metatron of the Aggadah is identical with the 
Parsee Mithra, the well-known mediator and intercessor, between 
Ahura and man. He is often invoked in the Yasna, in that capac- 
ity. The Rabbis too, imagined Metatron as such a mediating angel, 
interceding and bringing up the prayers into the presence of the 
Schechina. (i) So, according to the Hindoos, the souls of the pious 
perform that office, bringing the prayers of the faithful before heav- 

1 i'3B ^y ^sai jnuBa N3 Midrash Tanchuma to Va-eschanon, V. M. 
iii. 23. 


en. The same do, according to the Parsees, the Fravashis; and ac- 
cording- to the Rabbis, the souls of the pious, Hassidim, especially 
the patriarchs. A well-known prayer to that effect is in the Hebrew 
prayer-book, (i) Of Mithra is claimed that he teaches the law in 
Heaven. (Yast. 64). So too the Rabbis : (^) Metatron teaches 
Thora to the children in school. They appear sometimes to think 
Metatron and Elias as one and the same person ; of the latter one they 
said " that once in the day, he is allowed to plead mercy for Israel." 
(Hagiga is. — Sometimes Metatron is called the " Great Chancel- 
lor (3) of Israel." Just so they said of Elias : " In past times a man 
did good and the prophet wrote it down ; now it is Elias and King 
Messiah who do so." (Waikra Rabba, 34). So too in Kidushin 
70 : Elias writes and God seals. (*) Mithra knows all secrets and 
he has messengers announcing to him, all that happens, (Yasna 45, 
46). — So in the book of Henoch : " Every member " of my coun- 
cil (5) knows and discloses to him all the secrets." — According to 
the Parsees, Mithra, Serosh and Rashnu, are the three judges meet- 
ing the dead at the bridge of Kinvad. Even so the Rabbis: 
" When a man dies, three angels meet him," — Treatise Kalla, etc. — 
Elsewhere we have alluded to that formidable bridge over hell lead- 
ing to paradise, to be found in Jewish, Christian, Mohammedan, 
Parsee and Babylonian legendary. It is universally known that the 
Avesta teaches as subordinate to Ahura Mazda, his six peers, the 
Ameshas Spentas. Ahriman too has his court of six wicked gran- 
dees, corresponding to Ahura's six good genii, each of the first set 
has one of the other set, as his particular opponent. This we find in 
the Talmud too. The six angels of good are termed angels of the 
(divine) Presence or of the service. (^) The opposite six, are the 
angels of wrath. C) Yet there is the following radical difference in 
the two conceptions. To the Parsees, the one set are divine genii, 
of light, assistants and peers of Ahura, the others are of Ahriman, 
genii of evil, drughs residing in hell. In the Talmud either of these 
categories are messengers of God, one for good and its reward, the 
other in punishment, for bad ; both are angels and both perform 
divine behests. The following will make plain that radical differ- 

1 D'oni 'D'33is 2 nit mpv 3 hiim ibid i onm nsjsni ann in'^» 
B rhya hv ixhnt For these parallels, etc., we follow often O. H. Shorr 
in Hechaluz, 1860-1869, though we do not always coincide with his 
conclusions which are often extreme and unwarranted. 

« D'jBfi »3«^n or hiwn t Dj?t '3J«^d 


ence between Aggada and Avesta: In the Midrash, (0 we read: 
"When Moses was ripe for death, God bade his angel Gabriel to take 
away his soul. The angel declined it. Thereupon order was given 
to the angel Michael to perform that task and he declined too — he 
and his colleague being angels for good. — Then God repeated 
the command to Sameal — a messenger for bad and he declared 
ready. Then Moses anxiously prayed : " God deliver me not 
into the hands of the death angel ! God replied : Be reassured, 
Moses! I myself will take care of thee." Hence we read, (V. M. 
34, 6) Moses died by the mouth of God, (viz : with a divine kiss), 
and He, (God), buried him in the valley," (2) etc. — This pretty 
legend best illustrates the angels, good and bad, of the Talmud, as 
radically differing from those of Zoroasterism, of which they are, 
with all that, but a nobler development. This delicate, but most 
important differecce, between the angelology and demonology of 
the Rabbis and the Parsees, is the dividing line between me and the 
great scholar and inquirer, O. H. Schorr. The neucleus is 
identical, the evolution is a nobler one. 

As Mithra assumes a special importance in the mythology of 
later Parseeism, even so Metatron, in the Talmud : That non-Jew 
said to R. Idis : It is written : And to Moses He, God, said, Come 
up to Ihvh. Come up to me, should be there? The Rabbi, 
answered : That is Metatron who speaks, and whose name is identi- 
cal with that of his Master. (3) Shorr surmises that the ideas of the 
East- Asiatic peoples, the Chaldeans and Babylonians greatly in- 
fluenced all, Mosaism, Talmud and Zoroasterism, though he knows 
not clearly in what way that was done, either that there existed some 
ancient connection, long before Moses, between the Babylonians and 
Canaanites, as believed by Chevolson ; or by the intermediation of 
Media ; or that the last redaction of Holy Writ took place later, as 
according to Bohlen, Dozy and even some Jewish sages, (i) He 
identihes too, Abraham's origin, education, and birth-place, Ur of 
the Chaldees, with the Babylonian science and priesthood ; — and his 
later sojourn in Haran, with the Zoroasterian Airyana Vaegho of 
the Avesta. Thus he hints at the possibility that Babylonian ideas 
found their way to Palestine and vice-versa ; — showing strong paral- 
lel lines between Mosaism and Parseeism, not only in single laws, 

1 Debarim Rabba XI. and Ptirath Moshe to V. M. 34, in Midrash Me- 
ucher— Also in BabM. Sanhedrin 21— Sabbath 104— Jerusalem Aboda 
Sara I. 5, etc. a 'KM ini« iiap 

8 Sanhedrin 39, b. m Diya saw piaisD ini r\h <y3<n '■?« rhi n"' hv. rhf 
i Hechaluz, Vol. VII., p. 12— Vol. I., p. 109— Vol. III., p. 99. 


but in the method and the spirit of those legislations. Such is for 
instance : The order of the Creation, the fall of Adam by the temp- 
tation of the serpent (following here, Rosenmiller, Bohlen 
Spiegel and Windischman). Such are the traditions about the Gar- 
den of Eden, its four Rivers, the Trees of knowledge and of life, the 
deluge, clean and unclean animals, etc. These biblical traditions 
go parallel with those of Chaldee, Hindoo and Avesta. — Follow- 
ing Rhode,(i) Shorr surmises that both, Parsees and Hindoos, drew 
from the same sources, viz: Babylonia and Chaldcii, whence 
Abraham hailed and which views he carried over to Haran and 
Hebron in his immigration thereto (2) having fled from the persecu- 
tion of Nimrod, conqueror ■ of his native country. — These historic 
traditions concerning the Chaldean science and religious influence are 
frequently alluded to in the Talmud. Abraham's countrymen are so, 
as 'nea Nabateeans, inhabiting a part of Babylonia and whose civili- 
zation was older than that of the Hindoos and the Hebrews. Their 
idiom was a Semitic one, akin to the Aramean. The Talmud men- 
tions that. In Jems, Sabbath chapter 16, they are termed tibj, Na- 
bateeans, and in Nedarim 9, they are called Khutheans, 'no, their 
chief dwelling-place being Khutha. An interesting tradition about 
Abraham is in the Talmud. (Baba, Bathra 91) : Rab said : Ten 
years was Abram incarcerated : three in Khuthi and seven years in 
Qardia. R. Chisda says, Ebra the Little, oi Khutha, that is the biblical 
Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of the Hebrew patriarch. From 
remnants of Nabateean literature, Chivolson has shown that long 
before Moses, Babylon's sages inveighed against idolatry, etc. Of 
these ideas, Abraham may have been the monotheistic link between 
Chaldea and Kanaan, connecting Ur, Haran and Hebron. 

Spiegel shows that according to the Vendidad, rain is in the 
power of Ormazd, but later on it was placed under Tistrya. Simi- 
larly the Rabbis : (Tanith 2) : Three keys are in the hands of God 
and that of rain is one. — While in Sanhedrin 113, they say the key 
of rain was delivered to Elias. (*) The Commentators add : Some- 
times such keys are temporarily given to God's messengers, as it 
was to Elias on Karmel. — Another such genuis of rain is called Ap- 
bri ; such is in Midrash Tilem 78, about whom there is a poem in 
the holiday Poetans, Shorr thinks Ap-bri identical with Aware 
and Abhra and Vara, meaning : cloud and rain. I have my own 

1 Beitraege, I., 55. 2 Hechaluz, Vol. VII., p. 10 and 12. 
3 Shorr, Hechaluz VIII. 6, etc. 4 mhvh lODT HT^p« an'nn 


opinion on that, viz : In these pages I have called attention to the 
Greek Obrimos, the All-Powerful, a Homeric epithet of the leading 
gods of the Hellens, showing its relation to the Hindoo Brahman, of 
the root bri and brim. Now I venture the suggestion that Ap- 
bri 'ia-;i«, the genius or god of rain, refers to the same obrimos, it 
means " Abri, brim," the Almighty. One of the frequent epithets 
of Zeus is : " The cloud -gatherer or rain-maker, "Nephel Egereta ;" 
so loo in Latin authors: tiubes cogens. Etymologically and 
logically, this seems to me the best derivation. Spiegel, Yasna I., 
quotes Berejya as tl}e patron genius of mature fruit. In Sanhedrin 
95, Gabriel is detailed to that office. 

Spiegel counts Aparim napat as another genius of water. 
(Khorda Avesta Introduction 19). Shorr remembers the Rabbis 
quoting lerakim, as patron of hail-storm (2) to which the legend : 
When Nebuchadnossor threw Hanania, Mishael and Asaria into the 
firy furnace, arose Yerakim, Lord of hail and said : Holy One, 
shall I go down and quench that burning furnace ? God answered : 
That is not my office ; thou art master of hail ; all know that water 
quenches fire." — The Parsees know and pray to the Menthra Spenta, 
the holy Word of Mazda, his revelation. Treatise Kalla, of R. Meir, 
has such a genius too, called : patron of the Thora. (3) In Daniel 
X., we read : I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, but the men with me 
did not, yet a great trembling seized upon them, and they ran away. 
Who ran away ? Haggai, Sacharia and Maleachi ! What for did 
they run away, since they saw not the vision? Because their 
Luck, ^tD, saw the daniyer. Rashi comments : Their patron saw it, 
since every man has his patron in heaven. — This, says Shorr, alludes 
to the Parsee Phervar. Another Talmudical saying is : Israel has 
no such a ^to, '^■aXxor^- Phervar. The idea that every man has his 
lucky angel is found among the Hindoos, Parsees and the Jews, too. 
Innumerable are the Talmud passages quoting the discussions 
between Parsees and Jews. I shall mention here but a few. 
Babli. Sanhedrin especially contains a myriad of such. " That 
renegate told to R. Gamaliel, he who made the mounts, did not 
make the winds," (each having its own genius). Told that Magian 
to Ameimer, " from thy midst upwards, thou art of Ormazd's crea- 
tion ; downwards of Ahriman's." — Of course the spelling there is in- 
correct. So is there Rashi who naively interprets : " Ahriman, God 

1 Ibidem Shorr. '^ Tian ■iB' 'opi' Midrash Tilem, 137. 3 xrm it? 


is SO called." (^) — A Magian (not Sadducee) said to R. Abahu : God 
who is a priest, how could he bury Moses ? (that being defilement) : 
He cleansed himself with fire !" was the answer. Many fine points 
are there but hinted at. 

Let us give one instance in full. In Babli. Hagiga, 13, etc., 
we read the following, concerning a leading Rabbi, who turned to 
the doctrine of the Magi : " Four men entered paradise (mystic 
doctrine) viz : Ben Asai, Ben Soma, Acher and Akiba. B. Asai 
looked and died. (2) Ben Soma looked and was punished. Acher 
lopped off the branches, (p) Alone, Akiba left in peace . . . R. 
Yohsha b. Hanania was standing on the height of the Temple- 
mount and B. Soma seeing him, did not rise before him. — "Soma 
whence and whereto, he asked ? Soma answered : I was looking at 
the waters above and the waters below, and there is no more than 
three fingers breadth between both," alluding to 'waier' as the original 
matter of the world, (according to Thales), or to the two creations of 
Parseeism. — R. Jehosheiah declared him as standing outside of the 
faith.(*) ... As to Acher, he lopped off the branches (of Judaism). 
What did he see ? Metatron having permission to note Israel's 
merits (^) . . . Are not there two Powers ? (8) ... A divine voice 
called: Return ye wayward childern . . . except Acher!" This 
Acher is Elisha ben Abujah, the teacher of R. Meyer, so famous in 
the Mishna. He is reported as given to sensuality and holding the 
following discussion with that pupil : " Is it not written : (Ecclesi- 
astes 7) : "Even this, opposite to that, God created ? (The two 
spirits of good and evil and the two creations.) He is answered : 
Both the contraries are made by the same Creator. Acher continues 
tempting his pupil, but is- ever pointedly met with a repartee. R. 
Meyer intimates that Acher may yet become a penitent. But 
Acher replies : " Long ago I have understood, it is too late for me." 
Once upon a time Acher was riding on horse back, on the Sabbath, 
and R. Meyer walked behind him, learning Thora from his 
mouth, Q), when he, Acher, called : " Stop here and return !" — For 
the Sabbath allowed the latter one no further to proceed. (s) When R. 
Meyer replied : Stop thou too, — viz : from thy heresy ! — " Too late ! 
he exclaimed — R. Meyer insisted and Acher followed him into 13 
schoolhouses where, in each, he ominously heard holy verses depre- 
cating and repudiating apostasy. The verses are sharp, and cutting, 

1 Sanhedrin, 39, a : >3n np napn I'O'ifiN 2 jfjBJi f'sn 3 niv'taaa i>s<p 
4 Yiraa b hicmn nniat snsD^i srA nmvfi n>D NarrriNT inistso «tn 
6 The sense of that passage is intentionally obscure, ni't?"! a 
7 1'Bo min iphh a ri^v mnn 


the last being especially pointed. (Ps. III. i6.) "To the wicked 
God said : What for dost thou speak of my law ! (Acher yet oc- 
cupying with it) ; but Acher understood the child saying: "To 
Elisha," instead oiRasha, "^o the wicked" as in the text. Q) — When 
he died it was said, (in heaven) "We shall not condemn him, since 
he occupied with the Thora, but he shall have no future life, since he 
apostatized." — To which R. Meyer objected : Let him be punished, 
but not forfeit eternity. His opinion was acted upon ; a smoke arose 
froip Acher's grave, (2) R. John regretted this hell-fire in Acher's 
grave and promised to release him when in the hereafter. So it 
was; when R. John was dead, the smoke from Acher's tomb 
stopped (3) . . . Acher's daughter came to Rabbi : " Support me 
Rabbi!" "Who art thou?" "Acher's daughter!" "Has the 
wicked one reared children ?" and she replied: " Rabbi, remember 
his learning, not his deeds." " At once a fire came down and began 
burning his footstool !" (in punishment of his unkind words) — That 
passage is often intentionally obscure, the subject being delicate. 
The name Acher is whimsically explained there, I think it is sim- 
ply Ahriman — Acherman — Agherman. Ughur and Ughra being 
fierce devils in Avesta mythology. Acher means simply the " evil 
one," devil. Shorr's explanation of the name is far-fetched. (*) He 
believes him to be the founder of a sect, the Mendaites, whose name 
was Elchsai and who taught a doctrine compounded of Judaism, 
Christianism and Magism, that he especially accepted full dualism 
and part of other Parsee tenets. I quoted here that entire long 
passage from Hagigah, to show the relation of Parsee doctrines and 
views to Rabbinical theology and mysticism ; especially the sur- 
prising instance of several leading Rabbis, occupying with foreign 
teachings and philosophy ; some even passing over to them and 
yet not breaking off their intercourse with former Jewish friends 
and pupils, and their former mental occupations. Later rabbinical 
generations really wondered at that toleration (Ibidem 15, b). 
" That R. Meyer learned of Acher." They quoted different verses 
all going to say : that " he ate the fruit and threw away its 

The same identity of Persian and of Rabbinic demonology is 
shown in Babylonian Berachoth 51. a: " R. Ismael, son Elisha 
said : Three things told me Suriel, the lord of the divine Presence(6): 

1 j?B'i'?i instead vb"'jk^i 2 iriKT irnspo nibi;; p'';D 3 inxT nnapo sitstp poe 
4 Hechaluz VIIL p. 9. ^ ^xh vhnw kib-i vhvss bw 6 D'»n W 


Take not thy shirt from the hands of thy unwashed servant when 
dressing ; nor shalt thou take thy water (for hand-washing) from 
him whose hands are not washed ; nor must thou return the cup 
of thy morning drink(i) but to him who handed it to thee, for the 
evil spirits are waylaying man for such opportunities to harm 
him."(a) The same Rabbi is elsewhere claimed to have risen to 
heaven by means of a sacred talisman. Another legend claims to 
have the same information, not from Suriel, but from the death- 
angel, with the addition of this : " Do not stand before women 
when they return from a dead person, because I, the death-angel, 
am dancing before them, with my sword drawn and having per- 
mission to smite." He to whom this happens must get out of the 
way, reciting the verse of Sacharia III., " God forbid, thee, Satan," 
etc., until he has passed. — We see that the Talmud as the Magi, 
connected the ideas of uncleanness and sickness, death and mis- 
chief, with the evil spirits, spectres, devils and daevas. Physical 
impurity, moral depravity, and mental untruthfulness, error, lies, 
fraud, etc., were all but one and the same thing, looked at from 
different standpoints, all leading to destruction, the work of Ahri- 
man, the Genius of death. Shorr (Hechaluz VIII. 8) shows further 
that the Talmudical ideas about the habits of the evil spirits, are 
like those of Parseeism. They eat and drink in preference, things 
unclean and of evil odor. They sojourn in graveyards and pair 
there. They know all that will happen as the angels do. They like 
dirty places and take pleasure in ugly things. Similar notions we 
find the Rabbis holding of the devils : (Berachoth 3). One shall 
not enter a ruin from fear of the evil spirits. They are usually 
termed the mischievous, hurtful ones.Cs) (Jerushalmi Jebamoth 
i5\ The devils are to be found in pits. — No man shall drink in 
the night from the river or pond (Psachim 1 1 2). Since they frequent 
the graveyards, it is the custom in the South to wash after a burial. 
(Jerush. Berachoth II.) — They are masters during the night, etc. 


Both, the Hindoos and the Parsees, assumed that maladies are 

mischievous, evil spirits. Against eve/y sickness, they had a spell, 

to chase it away. The Hindoos sometimes flattered the devils, 

hypocritically. While the Parsees ever spoke to and of them 


2 >n»'« . . . atuh th i'bsd nSan 'ssSo hv o)iihr\o>H rh noKi ifiiBDantf 'jbo 

Takhaspis is no doubt the Persean Khraphastras viz : soiled 
things, infected with the Bvil one, 3 I'p'tD 


spitefully and harshly : "Accursed be thou, fever ! Avaunt! flee! 
Here I expel the daevas, the accursed ones." .... Even so the 
Rabbis thought maladies and distempers as dangerous evil spirits. 
(Psachim 114 — Sabbath 67, etc.) — Their spells, too, were, conform 
to the Parsee pattern, spiteful and contemptuous : " An Arrow in 
the eyes of Satan "(i), (Qidushin 81).— The Avesta and the Talmud 
used sacred verses as approved weapons against the devils. Layard 
found such Jewish cameos, or written spells and talismans, of Baby- 
lonian Jews of the seventh century, with names of Persian angels 
and daevas, which make it undoubtful that such came from Mag- 
ism, correctly argues Shorn He points to their likeness among 
Rabbis, Babylonians and Buddhists, as proof that they were not 
confined to the Parsees, and may be older than the Avesta. Even 
the Arabians before Mohammed, used such spells and talismans to 
guard the children against the evil ones, hanging over their necks, 
teeth of the fox or the cat. The Mishna, too, remembers the fox- 
tooth.(2) So did the Parsees use their holy Writ, verses from the 
Avesta, to drive away the devils and heal diseases. (Vend, and 
Khorda-Avesta). Even so did R. John allow to' heal with passages 
from holy Writ (Sabbath 67). — Other teachers forbade it. Shorr 
thinks that especially the knots in the phylacteries and the fringes 
were believed to g^ard against the evil one. The Parsees used 
also to that end the Baresma twig. So did the Rabbis use the 
Lulab and the Shophar (cornet). (See Sukka 31). Parsees and 
Talmudists were also afraid of the evil eye (Babli Baba Bathra 118 ; 
Berachoth 95). Rab and R. Chijah both say : Ninety-nine persons 
die of "an evil eye" and one by divine decree." (Shorr Ibid). 
In the following instances, Shorr allows the priority to Parseeism. 
But in many cases that may be contested. It may be claimed, either 
that such sayings and teachings are so common sense like, that they 
spring up everywhere from the native soil ; or that they are wandering 
proverbs, from East to West sometimes, and at other times, from West 
to East. Shorr is over-modest in assuming the Magi ever original 
and the Rabbis always copyists. Priority can only then be safely 
vindicated, when the adage is the necessary outcome of the peculiari- 
ties of a people or a doctrine. So the Bible teaches God without Ahri- 
man nor Daevas. Hence when later appear Spirits, Satan, etc., that 
is of Persian derivation. Spiegel says that the Zoroasterian right- 

1 Njaan >3'va ktj 2 Sabbath 86 and 66— ^j?it!' hv \o 
3 Following Shorr Hechaluz VIII. p. 17. 


eous, dwelling in paradise or vara, are shining as lights, and the 
Fravashis are lustrous stars.(i) Similarly is found in Sanhedrin 19 
and M idrash Tilim 75 : "As the sun and moon shine in the world, 
even so do " the just ones." — It is written : " Praise Him, ye stars of 
light," these are the just." — That may well be originally Midrashic. — 
In Sanhedrin 102, we read that Achab, son Omri, had half of his 
sins forgiven, because he used to assist scholars with his wealth." 
This idea, Shorr thinks, is not Jewish, but rather from the Vendi- 
dad,(^) where it is said that confession of sins, to the priest, earns the 
pardon of a third part of them." Here, Shorr, in his disinterestedness 
is over-scrupulous and far-fetched. That : " Charity saves from 
death," etc., is grown upon genuine Bible soil.(3) Indeed such 
ideas are current everywhere, and their aphorisms are universal, 
expressed in all literatures, going back to the dawn of civilization, 
and there is no telling to whom belongs the priority. That Vendi- 
dad passage has another interest ; it shows whence hails the idea 
of confession and the power of the priest to pardon sin. On the 
Atonement-Day, the Mosaic highpriest confessed to God, not to 
man ; he prayed for divine forgiveness, but he did not grant it. The 
Talmud expressly states that neither the priest, nor the Atonement- 
day " wipe off the sin committed against a fellow-man, (*) except 
when practically righted and fully made good." — According to 
Vend. III. 119: Whosoever neglects the study of the Avesta, the 
drughs will fetch him to hell. So the Rabbis : Who neglects the 
study of the Thora, he will not stand the day of misfortune ; he 
will fall unto hell (Berachoth 18, Horayoth 13th, etc.) — "A Parsee 
should not destroy goods of even the smallest value given him by 
Ahura (Spiegel Comment. V. i68). Similar (in Berachoth 62) : 
Whosoever wastes useful clothing will at last lose their benefit." That 
adage is universal, too. — The Parsees thought that lascivious', un- 
chaste persons contaminate by their looks water and trees (Vend. 
XVIII. 125, Spiegel's amended translation). So the Rabbis: The 
sin of unchastity detains the rain. (Tanith 81). — That, too, is 
biblical. Vend. 19. 4 and 5, according to Shlottman, conveys the 
idea that a female drugh is ever about the holy man to seduce him ; 
but deep study protects him against her temptations. Even such 
anecdotes are in Babli Moid Qatan 18, with the same moral : "temp- 
tations of R. Chiya, R. Chisda, etc." — Even so Vend. 19. 89. 

1 Comment. Vend. II. 131. 2 Comment. Vend. III. 142. 
3 Ps. 106, 3 ; Prov. II. 18, 19 ; 12. 28 ; 13. 6 ; 10. 2. 

*1B3D 3"!' i'« n'sn^ ms pis' nn'sjr Maimonider Helchoth Tshuba 


According to Spiegel and Rhode : " Who busies himself with good 
deeds, the evil spirit will let him unmolested." — Indeed the Avesta is 
the only protection against Ahriman. — So the Rabbis : I created 
the evil spirit (evil inclination) and its remedy, the Thora. If you 
occupy with the Thora, you are free of that. (Sephri Ekeb; 
Qidushin 30; B. Bathra 21). Hail to Israel, as long as they busy 
themselves with the law, they discard the evil one. The evil one in 
the Aggada is actually termed " evil inclination"(^) ; but it seems 
it was soon personified as in Persia, no longer meaning the bad 
passions or instincts, but the personal mischievous spirit of the 
followers of Satan, as in Persia of Ahriman. Such figures of speech 
often change their real meaning ; in one generation they may 
be understood literally, and in another figuratively. With Parsee 
and Jew, they may first have expressed inclination and passion, and 
next the personal devil. But there is no telling who is initiator 
and who is imitator. Persian dualism first taught Spento-mayniu 
and Angro-mayniu, holy spirit and wicked spirit. Ahura-mazda is 
a later designation. In Mosaism is monotheism alone pervading. 
Satan appears much later ; hence is Satan of Persian origin. — The 
Persians believe that the old Bactrian, the idiom of the Avesta, is 
the language of Ahura ; it is probate to chase away the daevas, even 
when said without understanding (Spiegel Comment. Vend. I. 84). 
The same claim the Hmdoos as to the Vedas (Laws of Manu. VI. 
84). — The Rabbis say : The Hebrew is the language of the Only 
One. ( Jerush Megila 14). It is meritorious to read it even without 
understanding it (Seder Eliahu Zuta 2. — Babli Megila 31). — Amour 
propre is universal! — The Parsees believe there is a treasure in 
heaven of the supernumerary merits and good deeds of the right- 
eous, to spend therefrom in behalf of persons of doubtful goodness, 
with whom neither good nor bad predominates. (Spiegel Vend. 
19). Such is the belief of the Hindoos too. Similar we find in 
Hebrew poetic litanies and in the Midrash: "And I shall be 
merciful on him whom I shall love ;" that means : God showed 
Moses all the treasures of the rewards held ready for the just . . . 
for those performing the commandments, for those supporting 
orphans . . . and for those without merits, I shall freely spend to 
them . . . David spake ; God, am I to enjoy of the world hereafter ? 
To whom God replied : All will enjoy of the surplus, the over-merit, 
of thy prayers." — So we saw above, R. Meyer promised to redeem 
Acher from hell with a surplus of his own merits. Again we read : 

1 jrin ■"*' 


"A sage who pardons his wrong-doers, will gain for himself the 
surplus of the life deducted from the sinner . . . (Shemoth Rabba 
45 ; Midr. Esther 3 ; Jerush. Hagiga 2 ; Aboda Sara 18 ; Hagiga 
4 etc.) — (Windischman Mithra 126) "Mithra dressed in white robes, 
leads on the righteous to paradise. Even so is the legend of Simon 
the Just : " Every year an old man in white habiliments conducted 
me into paradise," (Jerus. Yoma III. 11). — The angels are dressed 
in white (Qidushin 72). — According to Vend. 19, by Spiegel: "The 
just reside in heaven, beneath the throne of Ahura and the Ameshas- 
Spentas." — So says R. Elieser (Sabbath 122): "The souls of the 
righteous are hid beneath the throne of glory." So Hagigah 12 : 
" There are the Ophanim, the Seraphim and the souls of the just." — 
(Pesikta Rabati) : " When the just one dies, three sets of angels 
are busy with him, saying : Let him come in peace . . . Let him 
rest on his couch, etc. When the wicked dies, three sets of angry 
angels meet him, shouting : No peace to him . . in trouble he shall 
remain . . . down with the hardened sinners, (i) Just so in Yasna 
48, 1 1 : The daevas meet the wicked dead and receive them with 
laughter and scoffing, and compel them to eat disgusting food. — 
Further in Khorda-Avesta 35 : When the just one dies, zephyrs 
from the South fan him, impregnated with the odor of all spices. 
. . . Ormazd lets him have of the finest dishes, sweet and fat." — 
Each saying characterizes its own origin. — Midrash Bamidbar Raba 
13: "God will spread a banquet to the righteous in paradise, and 
zephyric winds will blow and waft the best odors from Eden. . . . 
The noblest spices will burn and scatter their perfumes . . . amidst 
groves of cedars and myrtles, cheered by the angels." — This is 
Parsic, lacking but the Arabian Houris, plentifully supplied else- 

Hundreds of proverbs and tales, moral sayings and fables are 
literally cited by Shorr to be found in Persian, Hindoo and Baby- 
lonian literatures, which have made their way into the Talmudical 
and Midrashic tomes, usually, though not always, accurately 
mentioning their sources. But these do not show with sufficient 
evidence, who is the borrower and who the lender. According to 
him, not only the Persian sacred books, but also the Hindoo, 
Buddhistic and Chaldaic literatures were translated and accessible 
to the Jews of Babylon and Palestine. Let us quote the following : 
Ardeshir, the Sasanian king, used to say : " Happy is the prince 

possessed of an honest friend, who in prosperous and joyous times 

. — , — _ ; 

1 Dn-ij; 


would remind him of reverses to come, in order to quell his pride."(0 
Similar to that we read in Berachoth 31. — Another Persian king 
said : " Liberality is the best of revenues. True wealth is, to know 
to be satisfied with one's own lot." The rabbinical version is iden- 
tical : Who is rich ? He who is satisfied with his lot. — Persian, 
Hindoo and Rabbinical proverbs are : "If you have wisdom, 
what do you miss ?" " If you have acquired knowledge, what need 
you more ?" " The timid will not learn, nor can the angry one 
teach." "Let your tongue learn to say: I know not; tell no 
lies, that you may not be detected." "A needle's breadth is 
enough for two friends ; not the world's width for two enemies." 
" By three things one may recognize the wasteful heir : He dresses 
magnificently, drinks from costly, brittle glassware, and does not 
watch over his laborers." " The salt of riches is charity ; if you do 
not salt with it your wealth, it will corrupt."— Its rabbinical parallel 
is more pithy and pointed : " The Salt of money is mercy."('2) Here 
is the occasion for it: A Rabbi asked the poor daughter 
of the wealthy Naqdimon, son Gurion : Where is gone the wealth 
of thy father? She answered: Rabbi, it is not justly that the 
proverb says: "Salt thy wealth with charity," — for her father, 
Naqdimon, was notoriously both, wealthy and charitable. — " Three 
characters hate one another: dogs, whores and scholars of Baby- 
lonia." — " Poverty goes after the poor." — " Three things prolong 
life : Good clothes, a good house and a good wife." — " Who teaches 
not his son some craft, is, as if teaching him brigandage." — "A well 
wherefrom you drank water, throw no stone into it." — " Where a 
man is needed, try and be thou the man."^"A deed of virtue pro- 
duces another virtue, and one of vice another vice." — " The wicked, 
even alive are as dead ; the just, even dead are deemed alive." — 
" Know whence you came from (earth), and whereto you go 
(earth)." — Shorr thinks, without always giving proof, that what the 
Rabbis found of good sayings in foreign literatures, they gave it 
out as if coming from their own teachers. Here, for instance, is a 
pretty epicurean sentence: (Eirubin 54): "My son, if thou hast 
(wealth), enjoy it ; for in the grave there is no pleasure, and there is 
no tarrying in death."^This saying Diodor. II. 23 and Strabo 671 
attribute to Sardanapulus, who engraved upon his tombstone : 
' Well knowing that thou art mortal, enjoy and be merry, for there 
is no pleasure for the dead.' " Samuel in Eirubin, says : " Quickly 
eat and drink, for this world is like a wedding." — That also some 
1 Mirkond in Gutshmid. 8 nen jiaa rha Kethuboth. 


attribute to Sardanapulus, whom it befits better than the Rabbis. — 
The following proverbs, of a nobler ring, Shorr finds, too, among 
Hindoos and Buddhists — they are well-known ethical sayings of the 
Rabbis : " Who is a hero ? He who restrains his passions." — 
"What is hateful to thyself, do not unto others." "Adorn thyself 
first, then adorn others."— "A man finds out all defects, except his 
own." — "Man's good deeds meet him after death, and joyfully 
welcome him in the hereafter." .... Here are a few doctrines of 
the Parsees and the Rabbis of parallel value : According to Yasna 
47. 9 is " true life but in the hereafter ; the world here is full of anxi- 
ety and disappointment." — Even so Waikra Rabba III., we read: 
" Better is a handful of satisfaction," that means the hereafter, " than 
two handfuls of tribulation," that is this world. — The Parsees say: The 
Avesta is among those things first created,(') The same affirm the 
Rabbis of the Thora, (Nedarim 39) ; and so say the Hindoos of the 
Vedas (Manu I). 

Of a strikingly Avestean physiognomy are : (2) "The relatives 
of the dead spend charities to the poor for the benefit of the 
deceased." (Spiegel Introd. Vispered 38). Such is the rabbinical 
teaching too : " The dead are atoned for by the money of the living. 
(Old Responses. Constantine 276). R. Sherira Gaon there opines 
that to pay the debts of the dead, or to spend charity in their 
name, does them good." — The kaoma juice is mentioned in the Tal- 
mud as Hama, (3) (Abodo Sara 25 and Psachim 116, etc.). Ac- 
cording to Spiegel, Vispered 73, will Ormazd awaken with that, the 
dead and restore them to life. Other passages say the " Malkosh "- 
rain will bring the resurrection. Such is in Sabbath 88 : "A loving 
rain God will pour down to enliven the dead." — It is claimed that 
the just, as Yima, the Persian Adam and others, lived up to the 
Avesta, long before Zoroaster, (Spiegel I. 47, Yasna). Even so the 
Aggada: Adam, Noah, Abraham, etc., followed practically the 
Thora (Yoma 28). All what the Pirsees said of Yima, the Rabbis 
claimed of Adam. Yima was born for eternal life, and when he 
sinned, he had to die (Spiegel Khorda Av. 59). Even so in Sab- 
bath 25 and Eirubin 18. etc.: Since Adam sinned, he was punished 
with mortality. Had he obeyed God's commands, he would never 
have died (Yalkut Kthubim 906). — After Yima had sinned, a daeva 
usurped his throne (Spiegel Introd. Khorda Av. 59). Even so 

1 Khorda Avesta Spiegel, p. 35. 

8 Followidg Shorr, Hechaluz VIII. p. 28. 8 ^on 

LEGi^NDS AND Myths compared. 227 

(Gitin 68) : Since King Solomon sinned, Ashmedai, the devil, set 
upon his throne and he begged his bread.— The Parsees said of 
Zoroaster that he smote Ahriman and his followers by his Honover 
(Khorda Av. 33). So the Aggada of Moses : When he ascended 
the Mount, he recited a hymn (i) and the evil spirits took to fiight. 
The same, Christian legend claims of Jesus, and Islam legend of 
Mohammed. The Bahman Yasht enumerates what hardships will 
happen in the Messianic Age at the end of days (Spiegel Tradit, 
Literatur, 136, etc.). Similar is Sanhedrin 96-99 about the Mes- 
siah, his age, tribulations, advent, wars, calamities, etc. 

Let us elucidate this theme, one of the leading subjects of this 
series. The following we read in Babli. Sanhedrin 96-99, concern- 
ing the Messiah : " R. Nahman said to R. Isaac : Do you have any 
tradition when " Bar Nephele " will come ?— R. Isaac : Who is Bar 
Nephele? A.: The Messiah !—Q.: Why do you call him Bar 
Nephele ? (son of the fallen, in Hebrew). A. : Because he will raise 
the/aiien Kingdom of David. — R. Johanan said : In the generation 
when the son of David is to come, the sages will be but few, the 
people will pass their lives in sorrow and anxiety ; tribulations and 
oppressive government will daily become worse . . . The Seven- 
years-week, when the son of David is to arrive, will exhibit the fol- 
lowing phenomena : partial, then total drought and famine, men, 
women and children starving ; even the Hassidai (pious) perishing 
from hunger, and learning disappearing. Then will come better 
days, fulness and plenty, joy and study. Then again ominous 
rumors ; at last wars ; when Son-David's will appear. — R. Jehuda 
thinks : Then unchastity will abound, society will be unhinged, the 
sages disgraced, impudence rampant, truth disappearing and 
honest men laughed at. — R. Nehorai says : Then will the young 
men scoff at their seniors, the seniles be in awe of the youths, the 
daughter rise against her mother, impudence be the general rule . . . 
the government become heterodox — all moralizing will stop as use- 
less . . . denunciations will multiply, scholarship decrease, no 
money in the purse and all hope given up. — R. Katina says : Six 
thousand years the world will stand and for one thousand years be dQ« 
stroyed. — Abaya says : For two thousand years ... As the fields in 
Release-year remain fallow every seventh year, even so the world will, 
every seven thousand years . . . — Eliahu said : The world must 
stand at least eighty-five Jubilees (4250 years); during the last Jubilee 

1 D'VM hv Ttf Aicha Babbati and Midrash Tilim, 


Son-David's will appear . . . — R. Hanan states : In the Persian 
archives, I have found a scroll and there was written: "After 4291 
years of the world's creation, will the world come to an end, the 
monsters will rise in mutual destruction, the wars of Gog and Magog 
will take place ; thereupon the Messianic age will open. For God 
renovates the universe, but after seven thousand years .... — R. 
Aha opines : After five thousand years . . . — R. Nathan argues 
from the verse in Habaquq II., 3 : "There is yet a vision for the pre- 
destined term ; the end is dawning ; it will not fail ; if it tarries, 
hope for it, it will come ; it will not tarry . . . Not as our teachers 
reasoned. (From Daniel vii. 25) : " They will be delivered unto his 
\ax\Afor a time and times and a half a time;" not as R. Simlai who 
argued (^from Psalms 80 : 6) : Ye will eat the bread of tears and 
drink tears in a triple measure ;" . . not as R. Aqiba who ex- 
pounded (Haggai II. 6) : " Yet a little while, and I shall shake 
heaven and earth, sea and land "'— But this : The first dominion 
will last seventy years ; the second dominion, fifty-two years, and 
the dominion of Bar-kosiba, two and a half years (120 P. C, he 
fought against and succumbed to emperor Hadrian) .... — R. 
Samuel says: A curse upon those speculators about the "end of 
days " (Messianic age) ; for such may prove fallacious . . . But 
thou remain ever hoping for him . . . — Rab says : All such specu- 
lations are idle, the Messianic advent depends upon Israel's repent- 
ance and good deeds . . . — R. Elieser says : If Israel improves, 
he will be redeemed ; if not, not. — R. Josua holds : God will raise 
rulers like Haman. Their cruel government will induce Israel to 
improve . . . R. Ulla thinks: Jerusalem will be redeemed only 
through justice and mercy . . R. Hillel boldly opines : Israel has 
no Messiah. For long ago they have devoured him in the days of 
Hesekiah — (Was that not .an allusion to the Nazareth epoch, etc. 
In the beginning of the third century the Nazarenes were but a 
Jewish sect, Jews believing that the Messiah had come.) — R. Joseph 
deprecates any such ideas . . . Diverse Rabbis assume the messianic 
age as lasting : 40, 70, 400, 365, even 7000 years, all proven by sacred 
verses. — Samuel says : All the difference between now and the Messi- 
" anic age, is but " Israel's enslavement " or political liberation. — R. 
Pappa says : That age will dawn when the haughty ones will disap- 
pear, the Magians, those judges with the " Knout."(i) — R. Jose says : 
That will be, between yonder city -gate being destroyed and rebuilt . . 

1 That alludes, sarcastically to the Parsee punishments with the 
horse-whip, up to 10,000 stripes ! 


He recommends to his followers to bury his coffin very deeply in the 
ground, for there is in Babel no tree to which a Persian horse would 
not be tied ; nor a coffin in Judea where a Parsee horse is not to take 
his food, (the dug-up coffins used as mangers). — R. Johanan says : 
When thou seest a generation ever decreasing and full of tribula- 
tions, look out for Messiah. Son-David's will come during a gener- 
ation, either entirely good or entirely bad. — R. Josua, son Levy 
found Elias at the door of the cave of R. Simon, son Jochai. Of 
him he inquired about the advent of Messiah. Elias said : Go 
and ask the Lord himself, there. Where is he ? There he is, at the 
city-gate ! among the poor and the suffering . . administering to 
their ills, one by one . . — R. Josua said to Messiah : When will 
thy Lordship come ? — " To-day .'" — To-day, indeed ? Elias inter- 
preted reverentially : "To-day, when you listen unto His voice," (Ps. 
35). Messiah will appear as soon — as the people will listen to the 
voice of God. 

The above is but an epitome of that long and remarkable Talmud 
passage. There we have a succinct discription and outline of the 
rabbinical messiah-ideal. Now, that rabbinical messiah-photograph 
is identical with that we find everywhere. The Brahmanic, the Par- 
see and Buddhistic ideals are all alike; the same kernel and 
Ijearly the same drapery ; the like halo and the same nucleus. 
That nucleus is : Man is vicious and unwise ; hence he is unhappy- 
He will morally and intellectually improve, from sheer compulsion. 
He will learn to trace his misfortunes straight to his own folly and 
;Viciousness. He will become happier, only by becoming wiser. Of 
Ifcourse, that is a long way, but the only sure one. That messianic 
[•hope of the Talmud and East-Asia, is also the Christian messianic 
Ifideal in essence and parapharnalia. Jesus of Nazareth is found at 
1 the city -gate among the poor, the sick, the persecuted, the outcasts. 
f And such, historically, was Buddha. He renounced his crown, court 
and kingdom, and associated with the lowly and the beggars. And 
such was Mohammed; from the hut, the date-meal, the patched 
clothes, he rose to the throne of Asia, a beggar and a king. He 
himself declined the messiah-doctrine. But practically he assumed 
its part and privileges, and history vindicates to him both, the 
position and the insignia. He sat for that photograph. Thus the 
realistic nucleus of that ideal, and its habiliment are everywhere pretty 
much the same. According to prophet Sacharia IX., he is : "A 
poor man riding on an ass," exhalted beyond the angels, restoring 
poor humanity to pristine goodness. Such is the prophetic Mes- 
siah, the Gospel Christ, the Hindoo Manu, the Persian Soshiosh, 


the Chinese Buddha, the Mohammedan Prophet ; the same kernel, 
but other names. The messiah is a man, he is an angel, he is 
divine. According to Daniel VII., 13 "he is coming from the 
clouds of heaven." — Or " from behind the throne of the 
Almighty," according to the mystic books of Henoh, Targums, etc. 
It is for that, Aggada and Talmud call him Anany and Bar 
Nephele, etc.(i) That means " a man from the clouds"" Nephele is, 
I think, not of Hebrew derivation, as Sanhedrin 96 b, suggests ; 
but rather of Greek terminology : nephele, cloud ; and Bar Nephele 
means Son of the clouds." It is identical with : " Anany and Bar 
Kbkhba;" all are messianic epithets used in the Talmud. Even so 
designate Homer, Hesiod, etc., their Zeus as " Nephel Egereta, the 
cloud gatherer." — Thus we believe to have retraced the vestiges of 
the Messiah-Ideal among the Jews, Greeks, Christians and Moham- 
medans in the West ; Brahmans, Parsees and Buddhists in the East ; 
and everywhere we have found it identical in spirit, akin in drapery, 
and differing only in name. 

Shorr in Hechaluz adduces a large number of rabbinical laws, 
halachoth, that either run parallel to, or expressly contrast with the 
Avesta. We shall mention but a few in illustration of their spirit : 
" Persons carrying the dead are unclean." The same are they ac- 
cording to Talmud. — " A verbal promise is a contract." (Vend. VI. 
86). Yet some discriminate between believers and unbelievers. 
Now this discussion is also to be found among the Rabbis (Baba 
Mezia ^ 9). The Parsees are exceedingly scrupulous concerning an 
oath : " Yea shall be yea, and nay shall be nay, (Spiegel Vispered 
56). So in Midrash, Ruth 87 : With the righteous is yes, yes, and 
no, no. Even so Jesus and Paul repeat the same saying. — The Par- 
sees thought that the relatives of a perjurer are implicated in the 
crime and punished with him (Vend. 24-35); Later this rigorism 
was mitigated. — The rabbinical view is that perjury is morally 
avenged upon the perjurer and his family. (Jer. Shabuoth 6). While 
Moses teaches : " Every one shall die for his own sin" — no family 
vendetta. The Parsees distinguished when beating a fellow-man, 
"whether blood flowed from the wound or a simple bruise was made," 
(Vend. VI. 90). Now this is exactly the sense of Exod. 21-25, dis- 
tinguishing between wound and stripe. (^) — Even so the Parsees 
determined the punishment of him who broke a bone of his fellow- 
man, (Vend. IV. 99) ; Just so in the rabbinical law, (Baba Kama 

1 IPSX 133 .X'DtS' 'iJJ? .'33y .'SbJ 13 .'3313 13 2 miSH-JJM 


9i)' — " It is forbidden to till during a year the ground whereon a 
person died. But the place around that is allowed, (Vend. VI. 81). 
According to Talmudical law: who tills a grave makes it a " Baith 
happras," unclean ground and it is unlawful to be utilized for tillage, 
(Ohloth 17). The Parsee should not go three steps without the 
Kosti, (holy girdle). The Jew shall not walk four ells without 
phylacteries (Sabbath n8), nor without the fringed garment.— "The 
Barsemon- Branch to be fit for that purpose, must not be mutilated. 
So the willow-branch of the Jews is unfit when mutilated, (Sukkah 
.3. 3)- The Khorda-Avesta 41:3, makes it a " duty to every Parsee 
to offer a sacrifice on the holidays,. (Gahanbar) each, according to 
his capacity." So too in Talmud (Menachoth Sephra Vaikra) : "Be 
it much or little, but let it be with a godly purpose." — Vast, 
(Mithra 122, Windischman Translation): "No priest shall eat of the 
sacrifices who does not understand the prayers." — So Sanhedrin 90 : 
An ignorant priest shall not get the priestly heave (trumah). — The 
same holds good among the Brahmans. — "It is the duty of the Par- 
see to make four knots in the Kosti, (Sadder) to remind him of his 
diverse religious duties, etc." The Jews make five knots for the 
same purpose expressly done. — "Anon-Parsee dead does no defile," 
(Vend. 12, Spiegel). — Even so Yebamoth 61 : A dead Israelite de- 
files all in the room. Not so, an idolator. Nor do so idolatrous 
graveyards. Later on there arose many controversies concerning 
that. — "Whosoever says the Ahuna- Vanya prayer, even without 
attention, does a good work," (Vast 19, Spiegel 88). Even so (Berac- 
hoth 42) it is with the recitation of Shema, the Hebrew Credo. — 
" Who recites that prayer intently, will have paradise," (Yasna 89)- 
According to Talmud Berachoth 17: "who earnestly reads the 
Shema inherits this world and the hereafter." — " The Parsic hus- 
band has the right to divorce his wife," (Spiegel Vispered 31). 
The same according to Talmud (Psachim 1 1 2). — "A Parsee son,three 
times disobedient to his parents, deserves death punishment," (Spie- 
gel Visp. 32). Such was the Talmudical law, too, originally, but 
later mitigated. — The Parsees had certain holidays " when the girls 
had the privelege ol selecting their husbands. (Richardson Ge- 
braeuche 234). Similar in Babli. Tanith 26 : "There were no more re- 
joicing holidays, than the isth of Ab and the Atonement-day, when 
Jewish girls were wooing their future husbands" . . — "Who looks 
impudently to a woman, is a sinner." So in Khorda-Avesta 45, 19 — 
and SQ Berachoth 61. — Chardin V. 177: " Gamblers cannot be ap- 
pointed as judges, nor as witnesses, since gambling is not for the 


public good." Even so Sanhedrin 25: The gambler is unfit to 
witness, for he does not occupy himself with anything useful. (1) 
Similar striking analogies are to be found in the sexual regulations, 
those of slaughtering animals, etc., among Jews and Parsees, all 
which proves the mutual influence of these sects. 

1 nnyh ^'DB N'aipa jsntfo 


Having studied the theory and practice of Magism of old, in 
its sacred books and its past history, the reader will feel, I am sure, 
a deep interest to know its aspects, now, its latest evolutions and 
present condition in West-India, where it is yet alive. We shall 
follow here a distinguished professor of that faith, in London, in his 
own public utterances, on his people and creed, accompanied by the 
terse and pointed remarks of Prof. F. Max Mueller, the well-known 
scientist and Sanscrit expounder of Oxford. I shall follow both in 
their own words, (}) without any comment of mine. The reader is 
well aware of the importance of the testimony of Max Mueller, well- 
known as a great philologist, and no less great as a rational religion- 
ist. He is among the foremost who are " striving after a universal 
religion," who recognized the deep strata of " a common substance in 
all religions ;" that deeper and sublimer than in the sacred books, 
whispers "the still voice of God in the human heart;" that "all creeds 
have a common source as their origin, their truly divine ideal and 
prototype ;" that "they are all but varying patterns of the one original 
truth ;" that all teach the rule of God, man's dependence, the immor- 
tality of the human substance, virtue and wisdom as the essence of 
worship ; that " the law of evolution, of natural and gradual growth 
pervades the domain of religion, as everything else in the universe ;" 
that no creed is wholly without some truth ;" that none is alone the 
I road to salvation; that " none is wholly new, and all are but com- 
binations of the same radical elements in ever richer growth ;" 
that " the unbiased study of all creeds contributes to the better ap- 
preciation of each ;" that " from the oldest faiths of China and Hin- 
dostan, to the newest religious phases in Church, Mosque, Syna- 
gogue and Temple, there is but one great chain of ethical develop- 
ments and religious revelations, manifesting the deity in the human 
conscience and reason ;" that " science and religion are not antagon- 
istic to, but rather completing and perfecting each other;" that 
what the latter divines, the former must verify and prove, and that 
both are the wheels of the divine " Mirkaba " (chariot) of human 
civilization, etc., etc. 

1 See Max Mueller's : ' Chips from German Workshop,' Modern Par- 
sees, p. 163. 


Let US now see Prof. Max Mueller's opinion on modern Parsees in 
his own words, in his ^^ Chips from a German Workshop^' On modern 
Parsees, page 163, etc. : "While the scholars of Europe are thus 
engaged in disinterring the ancient records of the religion of Zoro- 
aster, it is of interest to learn what has become of that religion in 
those few settlements where it is still professed by small communi- 
ties . . . . " " We believe that to many of our readers the two 
pamphlets, lately published by a distinguished member of the Par- ■ 
see community, Mr. Dadabhai Naoroyi,. Professor of Guzerati, at 
University College, London, will open many problems of a more 
than passing interest. One is a paper read before the Liverpool 
Philomathic Society, '' On the Manners and Customs of the Par- 
sees ;" the other is a Lecture deUvered before the Liverpool Liter- 
ary and Philosophical Society, " On the Parsee Religion." 

" In the first of these pamphlets, we are told that the small 
community of Parsees in Western India is, at the present moment, 
divided into two parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals. Both 
are equally attached to the faith of their accestors, but they differ 
from each other in their modes of life : the Conservatives clinging 
to all that is established and customary, however absurd and mis- 
chievous ; the Liberals desiring to throw off the abuses of former 
ages and to avail themselves, as much as is consistent with their 
religion and their Oriental character, of the advantages of European 
civilization. If I say, writes our informant, that the Parsees use 
tables, knives and forks, etc., for taking their dinners, it would be 
true with regard to one portion, and entirely untrue with regard to 
another. In one house you see in the dining-room the dinner- 
table, furnished with all the English appairatus for its agreeable pur- 
poses ; next door, perhaps, you see the gendemen perfecdy satisfied 
with his primitive good old mode of squatting on a piece of mat, 
with a large brass or copper plate (round and of the size of an 
ordinary tray ) before him, containing all the dishes of his dinner, 
spread on it in small heaps, and placed upon a stool about two or 
three inches high, with a small tinned copper cup at his side for his 
drinks, and his fingers for his knives and forks. He does this, not 
because he cannot offord to have a table, etc., but because he would 
not have them in preference to his ancestral mode of life, or per- 
haps, the thought has not occurred to him that he need have any- 
thing of the kind." . . . . " The Nirang is the urine of the cow, 
ox or she-goat, and the rubbing of it over the face and hands, is the 
second thing a Parsee does after getting out of bed. Either before 


applying the Nirang to the face and hands, or while it remains on the 
hands after being applied, he should not touch anything directly 
with his hands ; but, in order to wash off the Nirang, he either asks 
somebody else to pour water on his hands, or resorts to the device 
of taking hold of the pot, through the intervention of a piece of 
cloth, such as a handkerchief or his Sudra, i. e., his blouse. He 
first pours water on one' hand, then takes the pot in that hand and 
washes his other hand, face and feet." . . . 

" The Liberal party has completely surrendered this objection- 
able custom, but the old school still keeps it up, though their faith, 
as Dadabhai Naoroyi says, in the efficacy of Nirang to drive away 
Satan, may be shaken. "The Reformers" our author writes, 
"maintain that there is no authority whatever in the original books 
of Zurthosht for the observance of this dirty practice, but that it is 
altogether a later introduction. The old ones adduce the authority 
of the works of some of the priests of former days, and say the prac- 
tice ought to be observed. They quote one passage from the 
Zend-Avesta corroborative of their opinion, which their opponents 
deny as at all bearing upon the point." — Here, whatever our own 
feelings may be about the Nirang, truth obliges us to side with the 
old school, and if our author had consulted the ninth Fargard of the 
Vendidad (page 120, line 21, in Brockhaus' edition), he would have 
seen that both, the drinking and the rubbing in with the so-called 
Gaomaezo — i. e., Nirang — are clearly enjoined by Zoroaster in cer- 
tain purificatory rites. — " A pious Parsee has to say his prayers 
sixteen times at least every day — first on getting out of bed, then 
during the Nirang operation, again when he takes his bath, again 
when he cleanses his teeth, and when he has finished his morning 
ablutions. The same prayers are repeated whenever during the 
day, a Parsee has to wash his hands. Every meal — such there are 
three — begins and ends with prayer, besides the " grace " and before 
going to bed ; the work of the day is closed by a prayer. The most 
extraordinary thing is, that none of the Parsees — not even their 
priests — understand the ancient language in which these prayers are 
composed. We must quote the words of our author, who is him- 
self of the priestly caste and who says : " All prayers, on every oc- 
casion, are said, or rather recited, in the old original Zend-language, 
neither the reciter nor the people around intended to be edified, un- 

1 Our ladies apply a salve to their faces against flies, etc. May that not 
have been the real object of the Parsee nirang? They imagined the 
evil spirits as ugly flies and mosquitoes. . . . 


derstanding a word of it. There is no pulpit among the Parsees. 
On several occasions, as on the occasion of the Ghumbars, the 
bimestral holidays, the third day's ceremonies for the dead, and 
other religious or special holidays, there are assemblages in the 
temple; prayers are repeated, in which more or less join, but there 
is no discourse in the vernacular of the people. Ordinarily, every 
one goes to the fire-temple, whenever he likes, or, if it is convenient 
to him, recites his prayers himself, and as long as he likes, and 
gives, if so inclined, something to the priests to pray for him." . . . 
In another passage our author says : " Far from being the teachers 
of the true doctrine and duties of their religion, the priests are 
generally the most bigoted and superstitious, and exercise much in- 
jurious influence over the women, especially, who, until lately, re- 
ceived no education at all. The priests have, however, now begun 
to feel their degraded position. Many of them, if they can do so, 
bring up their sons in any other profession but their own. There 
are, perhaps, a dozen among the whole body of professional priests 
who lay claim to a knowledge of the Zend-Avesta : but the only 
respect in which they are superior to their brethren is, that they have 
learnt the meanings of the words of the books as they are taught, 
without knowing the language, either philosophically or gram- 
matically." ..." The Parsees are monogamists. They do not eat 
anything cooked by a person of another religion ; they object to 
beef, pork or ham. Their priesthood is hereditary. None but the 
son of a priest can be a priest, but it is not obligatory for the son of a 
priest to take orders. The high-priest is called Dustoor, the others 
are called Mobed." . . . 

" The principal points for which the Liberals among the Parsees 
are at the present moment contending, are the abolition of the 
filthy purifications by means of Nirang ; the reduction of the large 
number of obligatory prayers ; the prohibition of early betrothals 
and marriage ; the suppression of extravagance at weddings and 
funerals ; the education of women, and their admission into general 
society. A society has been formed, called "The Rahanumaee 
Mazdiashna ;" i. e., the Guide of the Worshippers of God. Meet- 
ings are held, speeches made, tracts distributed. A counter 
society, too, has been started, called " The True Guides ;" and we 
readily believe what Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji tells us — ^that, as in 
Europe, so in India, the Reformers have found themselves strength- 
ened by the intolerant bigotry and the weakness of the arguments 
of their opponents." . . . 



" A few questions and answers to acquaint the children of the 
holy Zarthosti Community with the subject of the Mazdiashna Re- 
ligion, i. e. the Worship of God : Question. Whom do we, of the 
Zarthosti Community, believe in ? Answer. We believe in only 
one God, and do not believe in any besides him. — Q. Who is that 
one God ? A. The God who created the heavens, the earth, the 
angels, the stars, the sun, the moon, the fire, the water, or all the 
four elements, and all things of the two worlds ; that God we 
believe in, Him we worship. Him we invoke, Him we adore. — 
Q. Do we not believe in any other God ? A. Whoever believes in 
any other God but this, is an infidel and shall suffer the punishment 
of hell. — Q. What is the form of our God ? A. Our God has 
neither face nor form, color nor shape, nor fixed place. There is 
no other like Him. He is' Himself and singly, such a glory that we 
cannot praise or describe Him, nor can our mind comprehend Him." 

" So far, no one could object to this catechism, and it must be 
clear that the dualism, which is generally mentioned as the distin- 
guishing feature of the Persian religion — the belief in two Gods^ 
Ormazd the principle of good, and Ahriman the principle of evil — 
is not countenanced by the modern Parsees. — The catechism con- 
tinues : Q. What is our religion ? A. Our religion is ' Worship 
of God.' — Q. Whence did we receive our religion ? A. God's true 
prophet — the true Zurthost (Zoroaster) Asphantaman Anoshirwan — 
brought the religion to us from God. — Q. What religion has our 
prophet brought us from God ? A. The disciples of our prophet 
have recorded in several books that religion." 

Many of these books were destroyed during Alexander's con- 
quest ; the remainder of the books were preserved with great care 
and respect by the Sassanian kings. Of these again, the greater 
portion were destroyed at the Mohammedan conquest by Khalif 
Omar, so that we have now very few books remaining. . . . 

" We consider these books as heavenly books, because God 
sent the tidings of these books to us through the holy Zurthost. 

" Q. What commands has God sent us through his prophet, 
the exalted Zurthost ? A. To know God as One ; to know the 
prophet, the exalted Zurthost, as the true prophet; to believe the 
religion and the Avesta brought by him, as true, beyond all manner 
of doubt ; to believe in the goodness of God ; not to disobey any 
of the commands of the Mazdiashna religion ; to avoid evil deeds ; 
to exert for good deeds j to pray five times in the day ; to believe 


in the reckoning and justice on the fourth morning after death ; to 
hope for heaven and to fear hell ; to consider doubtless the day 
of general destruction and resurrection ; to remember always that 
God has done what he willed, and shall do what he wills ; to face 
some luminous object while worshipping God. — Some deceivers 
(the catechism continues), with the view of acquiring exaltation in this 
world, have set themselves up as prophets, and, going among the 
laboring and ignorant people, have persuaded them, that, ' if you 
commit sin, I shall intercede for you, I shall plead for you, I shall 
save you,' and thus deceive them ; but the wise among the people 
know the deceit." — This clearly refers to Christian missionaries. — " If 
any one commit sin, the Parsees say, under the belief that he shall 
be saved by somebody, both, the deceiver as well as the deceived 
shall be damned on the day of Rasta Khez. . . . There is no 
saviour. In the other world you shall receive the return according 
to your actions. . . . Your saviour — are your deeds and God Himself. 
He is the pardoner and the giver. If you repent your sins and 
reform, and if the Great Judge consider you worthy of pardon, or 
would be merciful to you. He alone can and will save you." . . . 
" Thus the religious belief of the present Parsee communities 
is reduced to two or three fundamental doctrines ; and these, though 
professedly resting on the teaching of Zoroaster, receive their real 
sanction from a much higher authority. A Parsee believes in one 
God, to whom he addresses his prayers. His morality is comprised 
in these words : Pure thoughts, pure words, pure deeds. Believing 
in the punishment of vice and the reward of virtue, he trusts for 
pardon to the mercy of God. There is a charm, no doubt, in so 
short a creed ; and if the whole of Zoroaster's teachings were confined 
to this, there would be some truth in what his followers say of their re- 
ligion — namely, that "it is for all, and not for any particular nation.' " 
. . . (Max Mueller Chips from German Workshop, 1867, p. 177). 

In this volume is thus offered to the reader a treatise on the 
eastern religions, particularly on Zoroasterism, the Zend-Avesta, 
the Sacred Books of the Parsees, and the Vendidad in special, 
the leading code of that collection. The Zend-Avesta may be 
termed the bible of the West -Asian Iranians or Medo-Persians ; and 
the Vendidad fairly corresponds to the Pentateuch, the Law, Thora, 
of that once powerful group of nations, now reduced to the East- 
' India Parsees. In the course of our studies of that eastern code, 
we have been agreeably surprised to learn how often these two 


Bibles, of the East and of the West, run parallel to each other. 
We feel thrilled at the thought that such analogies evidently prove 
that for long centuries they must have lived side by side with each 
other, influencing,' coinciding with, or antagonizing each other, and 
that both have often harmoniously combined to oppose, reduce and 
combat the crude mythologies of the Hindoos and of the Greeks. 
Generally it should seem that Zoroasterism was a reformation upon 
eastern Hindooism ; that the Mosaico-prophetic doctrine was a 
further and more radical reformation of the combined mythologies 
of the East and West, of Medo-Persia, Greece, Asia-Minor, Egypt 
and Europe, and that both these reformations have yet earlier joined 
hands in Chaldea, finding their central point and common focus in 
the epoch and the activity of the Biblical, patriarchal religion. Thus, 
Ur of the Chaldees, Haran, Hebron, Bamah, Jerusalem, etc., may 
have been the links joining together the many rings in the chain of 
purified metaphysical and ethical thought, between the extreme East 
and the extreme West of the civilized world of antiquity. The fre- 
quent polemics of Deuter., Elias, Isaiah II., etc., point unmistakably 
to that double character of the Mosaic reformation. Both these reac- 
tions against former mythology, began in prehistoric times ; the 
eastern one commenced with Zoroaster of the Avesta ; the western 
one with Abraham of the Pentateuch. Each of these two ethical 
currents had a rationalistic phase and a mystical one. The Zend- 
Avesta contains both these aspects, the rational and the abstruse one, 
the logical, reasoning one and the supernatural one. The Pen- 
tateuch harbors preponderate^ the rationalistic one ; but its devel- 
opments, the Talmud on the one hand and the New Testament on 
the other, exhibit both, the rationalistic and the supernatural phases. 
These latter elements, the mystic ones, based on faith and intuition, 
yet infinitely accumulating in the course of centuries, found their full 
expression and embodiment, in the later Qabbala and its own bible, 
the Zohar. 

In the volumes proceeding this, we have treated of these 
diverse codes, their legislations and doctrines, their sociological as- 
pects and aspirations, their " Messiah-Ideals." We have discussed 
the spirit of the legislations of Sinai, of Olivet, of Tarsus and of 
Mecca. We have now examined into the Zend-Avesta and the 
Vendidad in special, their leading reUgious, ethical, legal and social 
doctrines. While the volume to follow this present one, will occupy 
itself with the rational and mystical phases of both, the Arian 
Sacred Books and the Shemitic Bibles, as combined in the system of 


the Qabbala and its central exposition, the Zohar. Thus having 
treated in this series of the leading legislations, doctrines and bibles 
of the world, of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran, 
these pages have analysed the Zend-Avesta, and partly Manu and 
Sutras, to conclude later both these bible groups with our study 
of religious philosophy, the Qabbala and the Zohar, the mediaeval 
bible of mysticism and metaphysics. Everywhere we have looked 
rather to the spirit than to the letter, and given their parallels and 
contrasts in the other ethical systems. In that manner we have 
compared the tenets and have tried to elucidate the drift and scope 
of the several leading schemes, to get an abstract of their religious 
philosophy and to arrive at their respective ideas and aspirations 
historically, ethically, politically ; thus to find out the " Messiah- 
Ideal " of each religion, each nation and each civilization, the final 
object of this series of treatises on the world's legislations. 

This present volume is thus an independent treatise on the Ar- 
ian religions, laws and socio-political tenets. At the same time it is 
a necessary link in our series on the leading bibles, codes and re- 
ligious philosophies of the historical nations. We have spoken of 
the Mosaic and Rabbinical codes, of those of Nazareth, of Tarsus and 
of Medina ; this one now, of India -Persia is thus the fifth legisla- 
tion discussed in our series. It is the third volume on the sociolo- 
gical and ethical aspects, or the " Messiah-Ideal," of each of these 
civilizations. It is the second study of our considerations on mys- 
ticism and its potent influence upon the present living religions. It 
is perhaps the first attempt at collating and comparing these systems 
and bringing out their inner kernel, without any invidious sectarian 
bias; an attempt opportune in a country and at an epoch, where all 
creeds and races strive to live peaceably side by side. It offers the 
picture of Arian mysticism, after we have contemplated in the pre- 
ceeding volumes that of Semitic mysticism united to Arian super- 
naturalism. The closing treatise on philosophy, Qabbala and 
Zohar is to complete that tableau of Shemitic mysticism, whose ele- 
ments are gathered there from everywhere, East and West, Persian, 
Hindoo, Greek and Hebrew, and later giving birth to Spinoza's 

This present treatise has shown that the religious thought, the 

philosophical thought, the historical thought and the mystical 

thought in these several religious systems are running in parallels 

with each other ; that they are really but rays of one light, partial 

' contributions to one stream of humane aspirations. This volume is 


thus a new ring in our chain of reasonings on the identity of what is 
truly divine, at the basis of the great systems of the world. It is a 
further plea for the noble postulatum held up by the great historical 
legislators : the unity of race, of mind and of man's leading in- 
terests. It is hence a further plea for broad and humane mutual 
toleration. It shows religion, ethics and the leading sociological 
doctrines as lying deeply imbedded in the rock of man's intellectual 
and moral nature, and that all flows from one and the same divine 
source of spirituality. It shows the indissoluble union of true 
science and religion, of rationalism and mysticism, since we learn 
the known from the unknown, and meditation reveals what was 
formerly shrouded in mystery. So we see nature and we divine 
supranature ; we grasp matter and we fairly presume mind ; we are 
in contact with the universe, and we descry the Divine, the soul of 
the universe. The Zend-Avesta and the Qabbala unite both these 
elements. For in our moral and intellectual nature we cannot dis- 
entangle the rational from the mystic, just as we know part and 
guess another part of the universe, until the revelation of to-day be- 
comes the reasoned conviction of to-morrow, science. The Zend- 
Avesta may be termed especially Arian mysticism and the Qabbala 
Shemitic mysticism ; the first hailing from the Orient ; the latter 
apparently from the Occident ; the one coming down from gray 
antiquity; the other seemingly, belonging to comparatively modern 
times. Yet closely examined, Arian and Semite, Asia and Europe, 
ancient and modern times are pretty much identical in the tendency 
of their teachings. "They pass the same orbits, but in ever broader 
and higher circles," — to use Goethe's well-known metaphor. — In our 
next volume, we shall see Qabbala, as but a further development of 
the Hindoo- Iranian doctrines, taking up all the elements of rational 
and mystic thought from Manu, Zoroaster, Abraham, Plato, Philo and 
Plotin, down to Mose de Leon and Corduero, and effectually closing, 
not with the Zohar, but with Spinoza's Ethics. That we shall see in 
our next volume, completing the series on the Messiah-Ideal. The 
last rationalistic word of the Qabbala and the Zohar is the Ethics of 

The religious element contemplated from that elevated stand- 
point, becomes thus the highest and noblest factor in man's educa- 
tion, the greatest potency in his civilization ; while effete creeds and 
political selfishness are the greatest obstacles to human advance. 
State-craft and priest-craft are the very opposites of religion. Our 


Study here has shown the religious substance everywhere to be 
identical, eternal and divine, permeating the human heart wherever it 
throbs, feels and meditates. While the pride of creed, caste and race 
have their source in selfishness and brutality, aiming at usurpation. 
The logical result of our researches in this series of treatises, as in 
this and in the subsequent volumes, all pointing to the identical 
basis of the great religions, to the one doctrine unfolding, since the 
dawn of humanity to this day, elaborated by the different sections 
of the race, — will contribute to raise the standard of all beliefs and 
their churches. The aspect of sectarian contentions and denomina- 
tional antagonisms can but belittle and depreciate them all. The 
spectacle of their harmony, of their congruence, must improve and 
raise their estimation. The moral conviction gained by our com- 
parative method : that deep at the bottom of all the creeds flows 
the stream of the one eternal revelation, the one religion, the " word 
of God " to the mind of man, that can but restore the prestige and 
efficacy of virtue, morals and religion ; it must raise even the status of 
the churches themselves ; it will contribute its mite to invigorate the 
relaxed springs of ethics, 'and give a healthful impulse to civilized 
society, to education, to freedom and to intellectuality. 

This assumption of the identity of 'the religious basis and es- 
sence is the very opposite to religious indifference. Indeed the 
argument that the religious element is the subUmest and most 
potent factor of civilization, should not be misunderstood as religious 
indifferentism. Nor even could it be nnderstood as neutrality and 
coldness towards religious symbols and forms. Our argument goes 
to induce religious toleration, not to create indifferentism. That ar- 
gument is : that religion, as truth, is one and divine, and that the 
religious forms are the products of history and environments. As 
such, the ceremonies are endeared to the denominations and 
legitimate. But they ought not to bias any one to intolerance and 
sectarian arrogance ; much less should they palliate violence and 
privilege. Let the Parsee bear his Taavids, the Jew his philacter- 
ies, the Christian his cross, and the Moslem his crescent. But let 
them all remember that these are forms and emblems, while the 
practical essence is: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," equally 
emphasized and accentuated by Manu, Zoroaster, Buddha, Abraham, 
Moses, Socrates, Hillel, Jesus, Paul, Mohammed. These pages and 
series of treatises aim thus not at depreciating creed and symbol, 
but at calling the attention of the thoughtful, that they are but the 
historical formula ; that our neighbors have their formula, that each 


is legitimate, if it answers the purpose of awakening ethical fervor; 
that everywhere the rehgious essence and substance tend to the 
same level and standard ; that our neighbor may have other cere- 
monies and holidays, but he cannot have another religious essence, 
as long as he is sincere in his creed, be that Mazdaism, Judaism, 
Christianity, Islamism, etc. Let every believer assume that his own 
church comes nearest to that ideal religion and cling to it. But let 
him be fair and consider, that since other denominations have sub- 
stantially the same essence, and that their forms and churches are 
the historical products of their own environments, they have de- 
cidedly the same right to exist side by side with his own. 

Thus does the theory of these pages and this entire series of 
works point out the exact boundary line between tolerance and in- 
differentism, viz : To be loyal to one's own faith, and be tolerant to- 
ward one's neighbor's creed, in essence and in form ; thoroughly 
convinced that every great Church may lead to salvation ; because 
the essence, aim and object of each are pretty nearly the same : 
" Holy shall ye be, for holy is your Lord " — " What asks God of 
thee ? But to reverence him, walk in his ways, love him and serve 
him." — And what is the practical substance of the love and service 
of God : " Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (}) Hypocricy 
alone must be excluded as the many- colored mask of Ahriman. 
Thus while assuming our own way to be the nearest to salvation, 
let us be convinced that there is no hell for any other honest way. 
That is the exact tenor of our argument. No indifferentism ; but 
broad toleration for every sincere conviction : that loyalty we clairri 
for our belief, we must concede to others for theirs. Let, therefore, 
the last word of this argument and of this volume be : Loyalty, not 
indifferentism, nor narrow-mindedness. 
1 Levi,t. 19 : 2. — Deuter. 10 : 12. — Levit. 12 : 18. 




Page. Read. Instead of. 
7— Below: Ernst Curtius Ernest Curtis 

30— Middle: Theos Aletheias Oeos Alydeias 

44 — Below : is Izesne Kbane Izesne Khane 

47 — " several . . . systems modern.. systems 

49 — Above: a long train long crowd 

114 — Middle : messengers of the Highest. messengers the highest. 

117— Middle: Babel Bable 

123 — Below : deities duties 

153 — Above : world, the beneficent world. The beneficent. 

155— Below: find there genius find their genius 

160 — Below :.. _. ..So do the Hebrew and So does the 

161 — Above : he lost Eden, was accursed., .he loses, is accursed.. 

163 — Middle : in his dominion the his dominion 

175 — Below : a particle the particle 

180 — Middle: prayers pravers 

189 — " should be carried should not be 

189 — Below : who has passed has past 

190 — Above ; economic reasons economic reason 

200 — Middle : depreciated currency degreciated 

239 — Above : Ramah Bamah 

"Mosaic Diet and Hygiene." 

Professor H. Graetz, Breslau : "It pleases me very much and I 
request you to let me keep the copy .... Your 'ShylocTc and Preju- 
dice is beautiful." — He offered to superintend the publication of 
"Religious Rites." 

Similar approving utterances by Chief Eabbi H. Abler, London; 
IsiDOR LoEB, Paris ; L. Philippson, Allgemeine Zeitung des Juden- 
thums; Archives Israelites, Paris; Rahmer's Literatur-Blatt, etc. 

" Spirit of the Biblical Legislation." 

Cardinal Gibbons sent an autograph letter with a liberal sub- 
scription. Then, verbally, he said: "Your book contains nevp ideas; 
. . . and I shall continue my subscription to your continued work." 

Eight Hon. W. B. Gladstone sent a letter with his greetings. 

Professor Max Mueller sent the same with his portrait. 

Librarian A. Nbubaubr commented in the London Quarterly 
Review: "We have no doubt that this present study will be as favor- 
ably received as his "Thoughts on Religious Rites." It is an origi- 
nal attempt at comparative legislation and the influence of religion 
on law." 

Mr. Herbert Spencer : "Your work contains much interesting 
matter which I should like to read when my health permits." 

Dr. A. ScHWARz, Rector of Vienna Theological Seminary, finds 
the book profound and has it reviewed in the "Ungar. Israelit," 
Buda-Pesth. It says : 

"The erudite and sympathetic author of this work has already by 
other publications earned the warmest acknowledgment and appro- 
bation of leading scholars in Europe and America. — The reader of 
the present work finds there both instruction and enthusiasm. — The 
author has been very successful in bringing out therein the spirit 
and the principles of the Mosaic Institutions." 

Rev. Dr. A. Kohut, New York: "It is the product of a systemat- 
ically trained mind that has well mastered the philosophy of Jewish 

Bishops Drs. Paret, Kbphardt and Wilson, Drs. B. Felsen- 
THAL and MoRAis, etc., write encouragingly. 

Professor W. T. Harris of the Educational Bureau, Washington: 
"It aught to have a wide reading among students of religion, soci- 
ology and politics It is doing much good towards clearing up 

grave economic misgivings. I hope the author will further bring 
out his studies." 

The Press, political, religious and scientific, here and abroad, has 
most kindly reviewed the above writings and frequently given them 
its cordial encouragement. 

"The Messiah-Ideal, Vol. II, treating of Paul and the Gospel, Mo- 
hammed and the Koran," is just out. On its advanced sheets the 
Press has most favorably commented. 

The address of the author and publisher is ; 

M. FLUEGEL, 521 Robert St., Baltimore, Md. 


"The Messiah-Ideal. "^Vol. I. Jesus of Nazareth. 

The first impulse to that work came from Professor Peanz 
Delitzsch of the Leipsic University, who gave the author a friendly 
challenge to write on that subject. See Vol. I, p. 296. 

Dean George E. Day of Yale University wrote next: 

"Seeing your style of writing, I have strongly felt what a contri- 
bution it would be if you would undertake to show the teachings of 
the most distinguished of the Jewish nation Such a presenta- 
tion, I am sure, would be welcomed by all thinking men." 

Professor Max Mueller, England, to whom an outline was sent, 
wrote : "Your new book bids fair to bring out much interesting mat- 
ter .. . The Talmud is a rich mine, by far not yet exhausted." 

After having received the published volume, he expresses himself 
thus: "It seems to contain a great deal that is not only new and in- 
teresting, but much that is valuable and will be permanently useful." 

Dean Parrar, Canterbury, England : "I read your hook with the 
greatest interest. The Jewish writings, as I have long found, are inval- 
uable, aa furnishing many illustrations of the Gospel narrative, etc." 

Kector A. ScHWAEZ, of the Vienna Theological Seminary: "By 
the kind transmission of your latest work you have not only given 
nie great pleasure, but shown again how fruitful your pen is. That 
is indeed a gigantic labor, to which I congratulate you most heartily." 

Friendly letters came from Rector Ernst Curtius, Berlin Uni- 
versity; Herbert Spencer, London; Librarian A. Neubauer, 
Oxford; Ed. Cohen, Artist, Frankfurt a./M. ; Dean G. E. Day, 
Yale University; Kev. Dr. M. J astro w, Philadelphia; Dr. B. Fel- 
SENTHAL, Chicago, and many more American Ministers, Scholars 
and University Professors. 

"Thoughts on Religious Rites." 

To this President W. H. Green of Princeton Seminary writes: 
"This book seems to embody in an interesting way the results of ex- 
tensive reading, study and careful reflection." 

Professor Franz Delitzsch, of Leipsic University : "It is likely 
to prove a real enrichment to science ... It is rich in contents, offer- 
ing much material for reflection." 

Professor W. Wundt, of same University: "Your historical re- 
searches are calculated to vividly interest me. I shall utilize your 
remarks in my studies on Spinoza." 

The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, London : "It appears to be a 
treatise of great interest. Being about examining into the character 
of the Mosaic System, it is vsry welcome to me." 

Professor Max Mueller: "It is full of interesting information 
and I hope you will continue." 

Grand Rabbi Zadok Kahn, Paris : "I have read your charming 
book with pleasure and profit." 


"The Messiah- Ideal. "—Vol. I. Jesus of Nazareth. 

The first impulse to that work came from Professor Franz 
Delitzsch of the Leipsic University, who gave the author a friendly 
challenge to write on that subject. See Vol. I, p. 296. 

Dean George B. Day of Yale University wrote next: 

"Seeing your style of writing, I have strongly felt what a contri- 
bution it would be if you would undertake to show the teachings of 
the most distinguished of the Jewish nation Such a presenta- 
tion, I am sure, would be welcomed by all thinking men." 

Professor Max Mueller, England, to whom an outline was sent, 
wrote : "Your new book bids fair to bring out much interesting mat- 
ter .. . The Talmud is a rich mine, by far not yet exhausted." 

After having received the published volume, he expresses himself 
thus: "It seems to contain a great deal that is not only new and in- 
teresting, but much that is valuable and will be permanently useful." 

Dean Fabrar, Canterbury, England : "I read your book with the 
greatest interest. The Jewish writings, as I have long found, are inval- 
uable, as furnishing many illustrations of the Gospel narrative, etc." 

Rector A. ScHWARZ, of the Vienna Theological Seminary: "By 
the kind transmission of your latest work you have not only given 
me great pleasure, but shown again how fruitful your pen is. That 
is indeed a gigantic labor, to which I congratulate you most heartily." 

Friendly letters came from Rector Ernst Gurtius, Berlin Uni- 
versity; Herbert Spencer, London; Librarian A. Neubauer, 
Oxford; Ed. Cohen, Artist, Frankfurt a./M. ; Dean G. E. Day, 
Yale University; Kev. Dr. M. Jastbow, Philadelphia; Dr. B. Pel- 
SBNTHAL, Chicago, and many more American Ministers, Scholars 
and University Professors. 

"Thoughts on Religious Rites." 

To this President W. H. Green of Princeton Seminary writes: 
"This book seems to embody in an interesting way the results of ex- 
tensive reading, study and careful reflection." 

Professor Franz Delitzsch, of Leipsic University : "It is likely 
to prove a real enrichment to science ... It is rich in contents, offer- 
ing much material for reflection." 

Professor W. WuNDT, of same University: "Your historical re- 
searches are calculated to vividly interest me. I shall utilize your 
remarks in my studies on Spinoza." 

The Eight Hon. W. E. Gladstone, London : "It appears to be a 
treatise of great interest. Being about examining into the character 
of the Mosaic System, it is vsry welcome to me." 

Professor Max Mueller : "It is full of interesting information 
and I hope you will continue." 

Grand Rabbi Zadok Kahn, Paris: "I have read your charming 
book with pleasure and profit." 

Comments on ''Messiah-Ideal," Vol.IL 

Paul and the New Testament.— Mohammed and 
the Koran. Author Maurice Fluegel. 

Hon. Andrew D. White, of the Cornell University, writes: " I will 
gladly read your works. They show to be of decided value." 

Baroness de HiRSCH-Gereuth of Paris: " I tender you my thanks 
for your having dedicated your interesting work to the memory of my 
late husband." 

The Chief of the Cabinet of ?"hb Khedive of Egypt: "His 
Highness, the Khedive, has perused with great interest your work, and 
has ordered it to be placed in his private library." 

Dr. Adolph Schwarz, Eector of the Eabbinical Seminary at Vienna, 
informs that Messiah-Ideal, Vols. I and 11, have been heartily and ap- 
provingly reviewed in the press there 

Professor Ad. Neubaueb, of Oxford University, discusses Vols. I and 
II critically, and at length, in 'Cs^r London Quarterly Review, of October, 
closing: "The second volume is even moreoriginal. . . . The Analy- 
sis of the Gospels may be considered as the best part. The chapters on 
the Messiah Ideal are full of information. . . . Those on Moham- 
med and Koran are well arranged. . . . 

The ISTew York Tribune, of Nov. 24: "Maurice Fluegel needs no 
introduction. . . . Pew men in this country are superior authori- 
ties in his line. His ^ifw/a/z-j'd^i?^/ is written with rare insight. . . . 
His Mohammed and Koran, too will be most useful to students. His 
work is sure to gain the appreciation of the thoughtful. . . . 

The JSTevit York Sun, of Aug. 30 and Jan. 34, devoted three columns 
to the author's Biblical Legislation and as much space to his "Jesus of 
Kazareth," closing: "We are not surprised that such men as W. E. Glad- 
stone, Pranz Delitzsch, Max Mueller, etc., have united in finding his 
works most valuable." . . . 

The 'Ew^ York Press, of Nov. 15 : " Messiah-Ideal combines elo- 
quence with grace of style, scientific spirit and depths of learn- 
ing." . . . 

Chicago Tribune, of March 13: "The book evidences an indepen- 
dent mind, wide sympathies, full of ardor in the pursuit of truth, rising 
above all bigotry and prejudice." . . . 

Chicago Daily News, of Jan. 33 : " Among students of the best 
class the Messiah-Ideal will meet with approval. Concentration of pur- 
pose and immense research are evidenced." 

The Baliimore Sun, American, News, and many more Dailies and 
Weeklies of other cities reviewed in the same approving and kindly spirit. 

Eev. Dk. K. Kohler, New York: "No one can read your 'Biblical 
Legislation without interest and profit.' . . . Your views, char- 
acterization and tracing its influence upon modern legislations are cor- 
rect. I sincerely trust that your series of works, so brimful of thought 
and rich in suggestion, will find their way to Jewish and Christian homes, 
enlightening the people and showing what religion is and works for." 

This series on the world's religions, doctrines and legislations, will be 
continued and gradually published; viz : 

I. Zend-Avesta, or the Persian Eeligious Legislation. 

II. Philosophy, Eeligion and Qabbala, from Zoroaster to Spinoza. 

III. Israel, the Biblical people, his past and future. 

IV. Spirit of the Biblical Legislation, continued; each in their histori- 
cal connection, influencing our own times. 300 pages about each vol- 
ume, clothbound, large octavo. 


Baltimore, April, 1897. 

:^pirit of the Biblical Legislation. 


The Baltimore Sun in last June, brought out the prospectus of 
this work. So did other papers in the East and West. Among the 
first encouraging letters with subscriptions were those from his 
Eminence, Cardinal Gibbons, Honorables Attorney-General J. P. 
Poe, Charles J. Bonaparte, L". N. Hopkins, Baltimore; Attorney- 
General S. N. Eosedale, Jacob H. Shiff, New York; leading min- 
isters and laymen, booksellers, congregations followed. 

Advanced sheets have been submitted to leading scholars, and 
their opinions were unanimous that: "The book is highly interest- 
ing and important, fully deserving public attention." Such are the 
replies, among many others, by the Rev. Drs. Edward A. Law- 
rence, Eutaw Congregational Church; J. T. Wightmast, McCul- 
loh Methodist Episcopal Church; H. M. Wharton, Brantly Baptist 
Church; C. A. Eulton, North Avenue Immanuel Baptist Church; 
E. H. Pullman, Guilford Avenue Universalist Church; Dr. Clam- 
PETT, Druid Hill Avenue Episcopal Church, and Dr. A. Frieden- 
WALD, Physician, North Eutaw street. 

The Cincinnati American Is. published in 1888, two lectures 
by the author on that theme,""delivered at the H. Union College, 
with Resolutions of tTianlcs voted him. The Book will prove inter- 
esting and useful to the general reader, as well as to professionals. 

The Author's "Thoughts on Religious Rites and Views" received 
the cordial acknowledgment of many scientists, writers, divines 
and leading Universities in America and Europe. So writes: 

President W. H. Green, of Princeton. "The book seems to 
embody, in an interesting way, the results of extensive reading, 
study and careful reflection." 

President Andrew D. White, of Cornell: "It interests me very 
much in my hurried examination of it." 

President Day, of Yale, had a continued correspondence on it, 
desiring the author to write on kindred themes. 

Friedrich ton Bodenstedt, German poet: "I have read your 
thoughtful tract with lively interest, and marked many passages 
to talk over with you. I find in it so much instruction and sug- 

The author and proprietor's address is : 


2041 Division Street, 

Baltimore, Md.,