Roj Amardad, Mah Adar 1377 Yz.
Continuing our series of beautiful sayings from the Pahlavi word “Datistan i Menog i Khrad”, here is another priceless gem:
The Wise One asked the Spirit of Wisdom: “is charity better or truthfulness? Or thanksgiving or wisdom? Or perfect mindedness or contentment?”
The Spirit of Wisdom replied: “For the Soul, charity is better; and for the entire world – truthfulness. And unto the Yazads – thanksgiving; and for the body of man – wisdom. And for all actions – perfect mindedness and for the comfort of the body and for smiting the Evil Spirit and his followers – contentment is better.”
An analysis of this question and answer session reveals the extent of relativity in the Zarathushtrian faith. The questions put by the Sage are very deep. How can one choose between charity and truth? Is thanksgiving really better than wisdom? How can one distinguish between perfect mindedness and contentment?
The answers given by the Spirit of Wisdom (who is none other than Ahura Mazda) make us understand that for every given situation or set of circumstances, a particular virtue may be more appropriate than others. Thus Charity is indeed better for the sake of the soul, whereas for the sake of the entire world – truth is better. If all of us were to speak the truth would not the world be a much better place? And if we performed anonymous acts of charity (which is what real charity is all about, not advertising the same in newspapers and on commemorative plaques.) would not our individual souls be much affected?
What better way to help the Yazads than to offer true thanksgiving: Thanksgiving which is unrelated to the fulfilment of any wish or desire. I often see children being sent to the Fire Temple on the day of their examinations, and then they disappear, only to reappear a few days before the results! Is that thanksgiving or selfishness? Similarly, how much evil is caused in the world by the lack of wisdom (sometimes just plain common sense) on the part of man?
How many of us do our allocated duties with perfect mindedness? and how many of us just go through the notions of doing so? And are we all not tormented by the jealousy of possessiveness – do we not crave for that higher salary or the fancier car or that perfect body – and thereby play ourselves into the hands of the Evil Spirit? As the Spirit of Wisdom reveals – the best way to smite Ahriman is by being content with what Ahura Mazda has given to us. In this world of four days, we come empty handed and go back the same way. Then why to strive for the material when the spiritual quest is more important?
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram