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Zarathustra’s Reflections on His Mission
Yasna 46

Wisdom of Ages


Irani, Dinshah



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The verses of Yasna 46 give us memories of the Prophet referring to the period of his first proclamation of the message of Ahura Mazda, the early difficulties, and the acceptance of the faith by King Vishtaspa and his court. This early period was undoubtedly the most critical time in the life of the Prophet. Though some of the verses refer to various episodes, the central inspiration of this Ha (Yasna) is the holiness of a powerful religious vision accompanied, by the conviction of its final establishment.  The Ha opens with a recollection of Zarathushtra's difficulties. Not on been unsuccessful at the time, he is being deserted and rejected. He asks the Lord for guidance, continuing to announce with confidence the Divine teachings. The high point of this confidence, in the midst of diversity, comes in verse 10. Verses 10 and 11 form a pair, 10 dealing with the life of the good, and 11 dealing with that of the evil. The rest of the Ha, that is, the last half, recalls some aspects of the success of his mission; the acceptance of his teachings not only by an Iranian prince and his people, but also by some Turanians, the tribe of Fryana, a Turanian leader.

The Ha opens with two verses expressing the anguish at his troubles in spreading the teachings. As we know, the Prophet was a religious innovator. In his time the religion prevailing among the Iranian tribes was essentially ritualistic magic performed through the presumed aid of a multitude of divinities. These beliefs and practices he replaced by what is called religion of the good life, a life led in accordance with Truth, capable of being grasped by the Good Mind; two aspects of the one Divinity. It causes no surprise that this major intellectual and institutional revolution he preached energetically and with high poetic articulation generated a doctrinal and personal rejection from the people in the establishment entrenched in mindless ritualistic traditionalism; a very common religious situation at all times and places. The Prophet is heard, but is forced out of his homeland. He leaves, abandoned and perplexed but with his life intact. Here are verses 1 and 2, note the poignancy of feeling, but also the firmness of faith.

(Y 46 1)
To what land shall I turn, and wither turning shall I go?
For my kinsmen and my peers have deserted me.
Not the people, nor their wicked rulers favor me.
How shall I satisfy Thee, O Mazda Ahura?

(Y 46.2)
I know, Mazda, why I am a man foiled in his wish.
I have but only a few with me, and scantier still are
my means for their support.
Behold, my Lord, I address my appeal to Thee,
Grant me Thy gracious help, as a friend might give to a friend.
Grant me, through Truth, the acquisition of the riches o f the Good Mind

During these wanderings following upon his banishment, the prophet reflects on the human condition, and addresses to Mazda his anticipation for the establishment of the faith, the full implications of which he articulates later. This is in verse 3.


(Y 46.3)
When, O Mazda, shall the day dawn for establishing the cause of truth?
When shall the wise spiritual guides spread effectively thy sublime teachings?
To whose help will come the wisdom of Good-Mind?
For me indeed, who has chosen Thee as my instructor , O Lord.

At this time the prophet reflects upon those evil ones who have repudiated him and having rejected his teachings cling to the rule of deceit and oppression.  Zarathushtra hopes for their removal, thus he says:


(Y 46.4)
The evil-doer holds hack the prosperity of the
followers of Truth,
Infamous is he, dangerous in his deeds!
Whoso drives him from the kingdom, removes him
from peoples' lives,
Shall go forth preparing the way for the ideal life.

His continuing reflections now turn on the conduct expected of the good and of the evil, which find expression in verse 6.


 (Y 46.6)
But he who will not help transform Evil
Shall be with those in the abode of the Lie,
For he who looks upon evil with tolerance is no other than evil.
And indeed righteous is he who supports the righteous.
These are Thy principles since the dawn of creation, O Ahura.

The next verse, 7, is well known to all Zoroastrians. It is the first verse of the Kusti prayer. It opens with the words “Kemna Mazda.” The prophet, in his times of difficulty and rejection, asks where he might find protection, but his faith and insight enable him to answer the question himself.


(Y 46.7)
When evil marks me as the object of its assault,
Who shall be the protector of one like me,
Who, but Thy Sacred Fire and Thy Thought,
Verily through their powerful force shall Truth and
Righteousness come into their own.
O Ahura, bring this to full realization!

If you reflect on the full meaning of this prayer, you come to see that like the Prophet himself we all become objects of assault, sometime in our lives. And we already have the means of protection -His Sacred Fire and His Thought. The Divine Sacred Fire is a spiritual concept, it is the spiritual energy which sustains the good creation; its physical manifestation in the ritual fire, in the temple or in the home, before which one may focus one’s thinking to grasp the Divine Thought, that is the religion of Ahura Mazda.  Living in this way we progressively bring about the rule of Truth and Righteousness.

In the next two verses the Prophet expresses his expectation of what shall be for the evil person and his anticipation for those who will follow his teachings.

(Y 46.8)
Should one be intent upon bringing harm to that which is ours,
May not the flames of his devastation reach us!
But back upon him, let the harm recoil.
The evil of his actions shall keep him far from the Good Life,
But not from ill.  O Mazda!'

Where is the faithful one who heeds me as the first to teach
That verily Thou art the Highest to invoke.
In very deed, the Bountiful Providence, The Holy Lord!
Who will hear, through the Good Mind
What Truth made known to me,
The Truth revealed by the Creator Supreme!

Not only is this a hope for a believer, it is also the expression of the Prophet's vision of Ahura Mazda who is the highest to invoke and approachable through His Truth which can be grasped by the Good Mind.

The same theme of those who are the good and the evil is continued in the next verses, with the addition that now Zarathushtra tell us of the final end of such persons.

(Y 46.10)
Whoever, man or woman, does what Thou, O Mazda Ahura,
knowest to be the best in Life.
Whoever does right for the sake of Right;
Whoever in authority governs with the aid of the Good Mind,
I shall bring all these to join in songs of Thy Praise,
Forth, shall I with them cross the Bridge of Judgment.

The Bridge of Judgment is the standard metaphor in Zoroastrianism for the passing, upon death, from this existence to the next. The good pass over it into the Abode of Songs, a State of best consciousness, these being the two terms Zarathushtra employs for what we commonly call Heaven.  The evil, however, fall by the side and reside in the foul darkness of the House of the Lie; this is Zarathushtrars theology, both these states, though of long duration, are not eternal, for at the end of time all creation shall be renovated and everything in existence brought to a state of perfection.

But let us return to the other verse, where Zarathushtra talks of the evil and even identifies some of the groups which comprise them.

(Y 46.11)
The Karpans (ritual priests) and the Kavis (tribal princes)
have tyrannized over humanity.
Their evil actions are destructive of Life.
Verily, the conscience of such a one shall torment his soul.
And when they shall come to the Bridge of Judgment,
Their abode, for long ages, shall be in the House of the Lie.

From this point on the theme of the Ha becomes more sanguine. The Prophet acquires disciples and warmly anticipates more, which gives him hope of social regeneration around him.

As he expects the descendents of a leader of the Turanian tribe, Fryana, to accept his teachings, he expresses his enthusiasm in a verse having a happy poetic mood.

(Y 46.12)
When among the kinsmen and descendants of the renowned
Turanian, Fryana, Right arises,
When through the spiritual zeal of Armaity, they further the
welfare of the land,
Then shall Ahura Mazda bring them the illumination of
the Good Mind,
And show them the path of Regeneration

The Prophet now speaks of the kind of follower he is seeking, and indeed expects to find. This is in verse 13. The next verse declares that he has a royal follower King Vishtasp.  And then with rising confidence in the next verse, he addresses the Spitamans, his own clan, who now seem to be ready to heed their own Prophet. Here are those three verses.

(Y 46.13)
He who shall please Spitaman Zarathushtra, by his noble actions,
He indeed is worthy himself to proclaim the doctrines of Thy
Faith, O Lord
Him shall Ahura Mazda bless with Good Life,
He shall flourish through the Good Mind.
Verily, he is a faithful friend of Thine, O Truth!

(Y 46.14)
"0 Zarathushtra, what man is thy faithful friend for the
consummation of the Great Cause
Who wishes to have Thy mission announced?”'
Verily, he is King Vishtaspa!
Those whom Thou shalt gather in Thy Abode, O Mazda Ahura,
Those shall I address with words of the Good Mind,

(Y 46.15)
O ye Spitamans, descendants of Haechataspa
I declare to you:
With wisdom distinguish well between Right and Wrong:
Let your deeds advance the Right,
In conformity with the primeval laws of The Lord

There follow two verses in which Zarathushtra instructs with praise Frashaoshtra and Jamaspa, two nobles of King Vishtasp’s court.  And in the same view the last two verses of the Ha manifest a spirit of satisfaction; where confidence in the acceptance of teachings is reinforced with the likely outcome for the followers of the faith and those who reject it

(Y 46.18)
He who is with me in our highest aspiration,
On him shall I bestow, through the Good Mind, the best in my power;
But torment shall be upon him who to us is a tormenting oppressor.
O Lord Mazda, and O Spirit of Truth, striving thus to accomplish your wish,
Is the decision of my understanding.
And thus do I will.

(Y 46.19)
He, who following Truth, shall work for me, Zarathushtra,
To bring us toward the Great Renovation in accordance
with Thy purpose,
For him shall be all honor and content in this world
And a fitting state in the life beyond.
As verily, Thou hast revealed to me, O All knowing Mazda

The Prophet expects his followers, acting in accordance with Truth, to bring the world toward the great renovation. They shall have a worthy existence in this life, and a fitting state hereafter.

Thus with hope and a sense of fulfillment ends Zarathushtra’s reflection on his mission.  For what he confidently expects reformed humanity to achieve is the total renovation of existence in accordance with the purpose of Ahura Mazda.