Roj Amardad Mah Dae, 1384 Yz.
There are two keys to open the locks to the road to salvation, to exit from this world of endless returns and misery forever and to get nearer to the House of God. These two keys are known in the Zoroastrian tradition as Meher and Patet. They can open our eyes to the real truth that exists in Nature, not the illusory truth that is seen or perceived by our senses, which are very easily tricked. Once we can perceive the real truth, all illusions fade away and the road to salvation becomes clear. Once we understand Meher, can we go on to the main topic of Patet.
What is Meher? Though there are various levels of meaning in the word, which are properly explained in the Meher Yasht, the simplest meaning we can ascribe to Meher is Truth. But what really is truth? How does the Zoroastrian religion understand Truth? A detailed explanation is necessary for that, which will take us back to the beginning of time.
Man’s (and woman’s, of course) life is governed by his reactions to the external stimuli which bombard him every second of his existence. These external stimuli are perceived by the five physical senses we possess. But we notice that there is a difference in how every man responds to the same set of stimuli. A particular smell can arouse hunger in someone, but disgust in another. Someone’s touch can set off tears of joy in one, or arouse passion in another. The spoken word can cause happiness in one, but arouse jealousy in another. The sight of a wondrous creation can cause motherly feelings in one, but sexually excite another. Why is this? If the physical senses are God-given, then why this variance in the feelings of each man, who is also a creation of God?
To answer this question we need to ask another. Why does a particular external stimuli hit us only at a specific time and not any other? We know that even if the same stimuli were to hit us at a different time or condition, maybe our response would be different. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is a wonderful thing early in the morning, but if we were severely constipated, it would only cause an involuntary groan! The sight of a buffet table overloaded with goodies would cause our mouths to water, but, if diabetic it would be a nightmare! The touch of a diseased person would cause us to flinch, but how deeply we would welcome it if we were diseased too!
The answer to this question lies in a technical term called ‘Tabai’. Every thought, word and deed of ours, in this as well as previous lives is recorded in nature. Each such thought, word and deed sets of a series of obligations, or give-and-take reactions with another aspect of creation – man, animal, vegetable, mineral, a group, a class, a country, a race, a religion, the entire cosmos… Each such obligation or give-and-take is recorded and stored away in the Cosmic Memory. It is of course not possible for us to finish off all these obligations in a current life. But Nature is very patient, it has all the Time! When a set of circumstances arise, where Nature is sure that the obligations can be exchanged, or terminated, it sends down a set of stimuli which will put us in contact with that aspect of creation with which we have an outstanding obligation.
How does Nature send down the stimuli to us? It uses the motions caused by the revolution of the heavenly bodies – the moon and planets in our solar system to send down the obligation-bearing currents. These currents gravitate down on us on earth, through the action of the sun and moon. The science of deciphering these movements and how and at what time they will strike us is called Astrology, and what comes down to us in this form is called Fate, or to use the proper technical term, Tabai.
Thus the set of stimuli visiting us at a particular time are nothing but Nature’s way of letting us know that this is the best time to set off the outstanding obligations with an aspect of creation. How we respond to the stimuli will result in the obligation either being set-off, or erased or a further new set of obligations will be created to be set-off at a later time, in this birth or another.
The question then arises, how do we set off our past obligations in a manner which will not only balance out our outstanding give-and-take, but also ensure that no new complication or obligation is created which would harass us in the future? This is a difficult proposition and how we deal with each set of stimuli brings us to another technical term called ‘Fel’. Fel means the action which every man takes when faced with a particular set of stimuli, or Tabai. If the Fel is proper, righteous, and in synch with Nature’s working, the next set of Tabai to fall on him will be of a ‘softer’, more rewarding type. But if man’s Fel is improper, based only on his instinct or senses, or not in synch with Nature’s working, then he sets himself up to receive a very distressing type of Tabai on him.
In short, Tabai does not fall on us, without we ourselves asking for it, by our performance or conduct in a previous encounter. That is why, every man responds to the same stimuli in a different fashion.
So, then the question arises (I know, we are asking a lot of questions today!), how do we respond to the Tabai which befalls us, what should be our proper Fel? And more importantly, how do we KNOW that the Fel we have used is correct or not? Is there something in us, some spark of intelligence or a voice within us, which can alert us to this fact and ensure that we do not make a mistake?
We shall examine that in the next post…
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram