[Page 166] Irrelevant and Strange Renderings of Fraspa-yaokhedra, Nida-snaithish and Khaetva-datha in S.B.E. XXXI
If ever the most horrible type of mess was wrought by philological guess-work-interpretation’s of Avestan technicals, it is in the three terms:
- Nida-snaithish, and
occurring in the prayer 'Jasame-Avanghe-Mazda, Mazdayasnoahmi' repeated at the end each time of the recital of the Kusti rite which a Zoroastrian performs several times on various occasions in daily domestic life. This portion of the prayer which is taken from Yasna; 12,9 is considered the Confession of the Faith of a Zoroastrian. In this Confession the devotee repeats each time the four distinguishing features, which make the Zoroastrian religion 'greatest, best and finest' (Dar.).
These four features are mentioned in the above prayer as
- Khaetva-datham and
Of these the first three terms mentioned above, which are enigmatically expressed, and relate to the lofty emancipated conditions of an erstwhile sinful soul are not at all understood by philological scholars, owing to complete absence of knowledge in philology of the spiritual background of those three terms. Hence they are rendered quite incorrectly and irrelevantly by Dr. Mills in S.B.E. Vol. XXXI as:
- "(the Faith which) has "no faltering utterance",
- (the Faith that) "wields the felling halbart", and
- (the Faith of) "kindred marriage".
whereas the three terms really signify as under:
|[Page 167] Fraspa-yaokhedram||
(the Faith which is) the terminator of (internal) conflict;
(this conflict is within the body between the good and the evil desire-forces- Tewishi - (from Tu, force, and Is, wish or desire; Ysn. 55,1), which good and evil desire-forces are the two contestants Rwnoibya (Ysn. 51,9); whose 'Rana', arena is at the umbilicus, the good one a little above, the evil lower down).
|Nida-snaithishem||(the Faith that is) the liberator from the instrument; (here this 'instrument' is not ,in the sense of any steel implement, but the physical body, which bears the subtle soul on the earth); and|
|Khaetva-datham||(the Faith of) re-integration of sanctified spiritual masculinity and spiritual femininity, into one asexual holy whole soul called Magavan, effected by each 'giving itself up' (-datha) to its 'own relative' (Khaetu), which is only spiritual and not in flesh and blood.|
It will be understood from the above that Fraspa-yaokhedram and Nida-snaithishem apply to an individual emancipated saintly soul, whether male or female, while Khaetvadatha applies to the two emancipated counterparts concerned. When a soul attains saintly condition, the internal conflict Yaokhedra - ceases, and that holy person gains control over the five senses, to which worldly people are more or less slaves in varied degrees.
The goal of the Zoroastrian religion is to exalt the soul by rendering it evil-free, and to lead it to its 'Frasho-kereti" Renovation which represents the final state of purity of a soul. As stated already this can only be possible after a soul crosses the Chinvat Bridge by becoming 'Ashim-ashai' (Yasna 46.10), holy for the sake of holiness.
Thus the excellence of the Zoroastrian religion does not consist in 'non-faltering utterance', nor in the 'wielding of the felling halbert', nor in the performance of 'kindred marriage' as incongruously and irrelevantly rendered by a scholar highly illustrious, yet abjectly innocent of the lofty theme behind those [Page 168] three technical terms. Of course what applies to Dr. Mills applies to almost the whole philological school.
Dr. Mills in the absence of knowledge of the above true and lofty significance of Fraspa-yaokhedram has imaginarily changed the original spelling of the term, in doing which he puts the following footnote (in S.B.E. Vol. XXXI):
"Fraspayaokhedram;, ('y' miswritten for "v') Fra seems to be prohibitive 'speech without falling or hesitation', better as adj."
and renders the term (Fraspa-yaokhedram) as' no faltering utterance', which is entirely wrong. In his innocence of, the lofty significance of the term, Dr. Mills imagines 'y' miswritten for 'v', and corrupts the orthography of the original technical term to suit his misconceived idols of the mind, which is much to be regretted.
When by the power and effect of the exercises of Baj rites and other Zoroastrian laws of purity with righteousness, the evil desires have been transmuted into good, the soul of that practitioner of Ashoi, holiness, succeeds in crossing the_ Chinvat Bridge, as promised by the holy Prophet in Yasna; 46,10. Such an Ashavan, saintly soul has not to take birth again for his own salvation in this material world which is called Drujo-Deman (Ysn. 46,11), the abode of evil spirit Druj (literally deceiver), but he (Ashavan) visits the earth to help other human beings in their spiritual progress.
It will now be understood that the claim to excellence of the Zoroastrian religion is not based on sentimental or ethnocentric grounds, but on genuine sublimity of its strictest laws of purity.
In fine, the term Fraspa-yaokhedram implies that the Zoroastrian religion, on account of its most rigorous laws of spiritual purity, is the terminator of internal conflict between good and evil desire-forces - Tewishi - within the body, whereby control over the five senses is achieved leading to the final goal of liberation of an individual masculine or feminine soul from the physical body referred to as Nida-snaithishem dealt with below.
Nida-Snaithish, Liberator from the Instrument, (The Physical Body)
Nidasnaithish is compounded of Nida-snaithish, literally meaning laying down Snath, the instrument'. This instrument [Page 169] is not a steel weapon, as is erroneously believed in philology, but is the physical body, in which the soul is encaged for its Reformation on this earth.
In connection with the fact that the material 'body' is the 'weapon', Prof. Zaehner cites the following:
"The struggle of the Lie is with man's essence which is his soul, and with the soul's weapon and garment which is the body (GB 101.9-12, Indian Bundahishn 33.16-20 which has the better readings.).
"This body is the instrument or garment of the soul".
("Dawn and Twilight.. . ." p. 27 4 – by Prof. Zaehner).
Hence it will be understood this Snath or instrument is not the 'felling halbert' as imagined by Dr. Mills but the physical body. Even in English the word 'instrument' has the meaning of 'thing or person utilized'. Here the physical body is utilized for presenting the soul on earth. But, because in Yasna; 31,18 there is reference to striking by means of a weapon ('Snath'), Dr. Mills is misguided, and has erroneously rendered Nidasnaithishem as (the Faith that) 'wields the felling halbert', which is entirely wrong, and quite unsuitable and strange in the context. In the footnote he says "Compare Yasna XXXI, 18". It will be seen from this that in the absence of the correct knowledge of the spiritual background, that illustrious scholar has lost the true lofty significance of the term. The Sanskrit equivalent of the same as rendered by Neryosangh is "Bhavatchhedam", the cutter or curtailer of incarnations.
The physical body composed as it is, of permutations and combinations of the four elements, each getting sixteen electric circlings is not alien to the soul, but is drawn from the mixture of the good and evil constituents of the soul itself with the elements, by Yazads (angels) Payu and Thworeshtar (Ysn. 57,2), .and hence it (body) is called in Avesta 'Tanu' (Ysn. 55,1) meaning 'drawn (from the soul)', derived from Tan, to draw. The share of Gao, the good or blissful side of the soul, which displays philanthropic characteristics as of the kine is supplied by Payu, while that of the soul's Druj or Drvao, the evil or dark side, resulting from the deficiency of divine knowledge, and showing destructive or harmful characteristics, is supplied by Thworeshtar. The Yazad (angel) augments the soul's own Gao, good constituent by a loan from his (Payu's) own temporarily to help the soul in transmuting the Druj or Evil into goodness. For this purpose a Zoroastrian must maintain the physical body on a certain level of purity by covering it with the prescribed type of Sudreh-Kusti (holy shirt and thread-girdle), besides [Page 170] covering the head and wearing the shoes. The loan above mentioned of Gao by the Yazad Payu is withdrawn after the soul is emancipated.
It is through the physical body that Nature contrives to present a soul an this earth in accordance with Mazda-data, the deified Law of Infoldment of Spirit (i.e., of the Saul) into Matter. As long as there is preponderance of Druj, evil, the soul is unable to cross the Chinvat Bridge, and so there is need of the physical body in order to effect transmutation of that Druj_ evil, through retributive sufferings during repeated re-births called Thwasha Khadata (Vd. 19,13), self-created shuttling between the sky and the earth and vice versa. But when the devotee observes the laws of Baj-rites and other practices of Ashoi, purity, enjoined in the Zoroastrian religion, such a devotee becomes an Ashavan, holy person, whose physical body undergoes great transformations. Its grossness is gradually rarefied due to transmutation of its evil into good, and consequently that Ashavan holy person, is able after death to cross Var-i-Jamkard, the top sub-region of the Chinvat Bridge. From the time a person changes the path of life from evil to good, he (or she) is freed from the operation of the law of Mazda-data mentioned above, and is governed by Ahura-data, the deified law of Unfoldment of the soul fromMatter.
After crossing the top region of the Chinvat Bridge, the soul of the Ashavan, whether male or female, proceeds upwards to the felicitous regions of Jaza, reward, thence to Pahlum Ahwan, and thence to Dadare Gehan. Now the soul is emancipated. It is freed from re-birth and if such a soul does came back to the earth, it is; not for the expiation of its own sins, but for helping other people of the earth in their spiritual progress. In Dadare Gehan the soul gets Tane-Pasin, the final body, which is of a fiery type fit to reside in Keshvars. The soul flies from Keshvar to Keshvar, though very very slowly till it meets its counterpart and becomes Khaetvadatha, that is, intermingles with its emancipated counterpart.
Hence the final idea in Nida-snaithish is final deliverance of the soul from the conflict of Good and Evil and liberation from the instrument of the physical body.
Imaginary Interpretations of 'fraspa-yaokhedra, Nida-snaithish' and 'khaetvadatha' by Some Parsi Philological Scholars
With regard to
- Nida-snaithish and
Parsi philological scholars in the absence [Page 171] of genuine knowledge indulge in imaginary interpretations of these terms. Thus a highly learned scholar observes in the concluding portion of his Review (in "Jam-e-Jamshed" daily dated 17-10- 1961) of Prof. Zaehner's latest publication "Dawn . . ." as under:
(1.2) "Non-violence in matters of faith is one of the gems of Zoroastrianism."
We do not know whether he applies the above erroneous interpretation to (1) or (2) above, but the scholar is evidently misguided like Dr. Mills and others by the word 'snath' in Yasna; 31, 18. where it is used in the sense of a steel implement, whereas in Yasna; 12,9 the same term is used to represent the physical body which is the instrument that bears the soul on earth as stated in Greater Bundahishna referred to by Prof. Zaehner (vide preceding head). It is not realized, or rather not understood, that the context of the prayer 'Jasa-me-avanghe-Mazda, Mazdayasnoahmi' which is considered the Confession of the Faith of a Zoroastrian, has reference to the quintessence of a soul. Then regarding (3) above the same scholar states:
"Khaetvadatha is another moral virtue inculcated, it means self-abnegation or self-dedication."
With due deference to the above Parsi scholar, it may be stated that Khaetvadatha is not the worldly self-dedication as a mere moral virtue, however noble it be. It (Khaetvadatha) is the self-dedication of one's own purified soul to its counterpart soul of the opposite sex likewise purified, whereby both the counterparts blend themselves and thereby efface their respective sexes, and form one asexual Magavan, the highest amongst which class was holy Zarathushtra. Compared to this spiritual self-dedication, the earthly moral virtue known as such is too trivial, and though instances of this virtue are no doubt uncommon, yet they are found every day in this wide world, whereas Khaetvadatha, the post- Salvation noumenon of spiritual self-dedication of one's own soul is a solitary occurrence in aeons, which renders individual 'Frasho- Kereti', Renovation of the soul.
It may be pointed out that Parsi philological scholars who do not possess the genuine knowledge of the technicality of the term (in Ysn. 12,9) and of Nature's processes of a soul's Reformation, yet are doubtlessly confident of the falsity of the rendering 'consanguineous marriage' and abhor it, - such scholars who attempt to interpret Khaetwadatha by guesswork [Page 172] from its derivatives, are not aware that an un-bifurcated whole soul in its wicked condition as 'Aka-Chithra' is first dis-integrated, that is, bifurcated into sexes as the initial step in the processes of Reformation of that soul; and that Khaetvadatha constitutes the consummation of that Reformation in the shape of re-integration of the masculine and feminine counterparts into one perfected whole soul called Magavan which means expunging of the sexes. Thus Khaetvadatha is the actual and practical noumenon occurring on the top super-ethereal region between counterpart Ashavan souls, and not an abstract moral virtue of this earth.
In fine Khaetvadatha is the final stage sanctum sanctorum relating to two emancipated individual counterpart souls that have passed the stages of 'Fraspa-yaokhedra' and of 'Nidasnaithish', the former indicating the termination of internal conflict between the good and evil constituents in the body, and the latter the liberation from one's physical body, which is the instrument that bears the soul on earth. Owing to absence of knowledge of the above facts, the three terms which refer to the acme of spiritual perfection are reduced to mere worldly virtues, on account of which the sublime prayer, above referred to, loses its very essence and high significances.