Zarathushtra Rejects Daevas in his Gathas

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Zarathushtra Spoke Thus in his GATHAS: – Brief summary

The enemies of the new religion of Zarathushtra, in the first place, the
nomadic tribes that feel disdain for settled life, the establishment of
agriculture and careful tending of cattle, still pray to the old false
nature-gods, the daevas, the devas of the old Indo-Vedic religion before complete
breach brought by Zarathushtra. In the eyes of the adherents of
Zarathushtra, these daevas become distinctly evil existences, deceitful idols, and
demons. Those men or women who follow these daevas, and offer to them
sacrifices and reverence, are called friends of the daevas (daevo-zushta; dear to
the daevas in Yasna 32,4 – Ahunavaiti Gatha, just as Zarathushtra and his
followers are designated the friends of Ahura. And still more in a strophe
32,5.of the Gatha Ahunavaiti, Zarathushtra says: – You (daevas) cheat the
mortals of good life and immortality in the same way as both the evil spirit
with evil thought cheated you, the daevas. 

Another denomination for the unfaithful enemies is the word khrafstra
(Yasna 34,9 – Ahunavaiti Gatha), which may mean perhaps “vipers.” In another
passage they are called khrafstra-hizva ” having viperous tongues,” and in a
third strophe (Yasna 34,5-Ahunavaiti Gatha) the khrafsfra-men are named
immediately and synonymously with the daevas themselves. The unfaithful
have also their priests, the Usij, the Kavis, and the Karapans (cf. Yasna
44,20-Ushtavaiti Gatha). The unfaithful are generally designated by the word
dregvant ; the pious on the contrary are called saoshyant in certain
passages (Yasna 34,13-Ahunavaiti Gatha ;46,9,Ushtavaiti Gatha) and specially in
48,12- Spentamainyu Gatha). These evil priests are naturally the most
inveterate enemies of the new doctrine through which their gods are dethroned, and
they themselves lose all their influence on the people. The false priests,
the Usij, the Kavis, and the Karapans, often succeeded in bringing the
rulers over to their side. ” With the princes have the Kavis and the Karapans
united,” so complains the holy Prophet in Yasna 46,11, – Ushtavaiti Gatha,
in order to corrupt man by their evil deeds. Self-evidently it was of the
highest importance that the rulers should come to a determination as to the
side they should take in such a matter, for if the prince professed the
new religion or stood opposed to it, his subject as a rule very likely follow
him. Hence it is that Zarathushtra now and then praises the religious
fidelity of Vishtaspa, and hence the reason why Zarathushtra prays to God: “May
good princes reign over us, but not wicked princes…’

Among the princes that stood against Zarathushtra among his enemies, the
mighty Bendva might be included, who is mentioned in Yasna
49,1-2-Spentamainyu Gatha. From the context of the passages we can of course conclude that
he stood on the side of the prophet’s enemies. A family or a race of
princely blood were probably the Grehma (Yasna 32,12-14). Regarding them it is
said that they, having allied with the Kavis and the Karapans, have
established their power in order to overpower the prophet and his partisans; but
sneeringly it is said of them that they will attain in drujo demane =hell, the
sovereignty for winch they are striving. With all their adherents, the
idolaters and false priests, they will go to eternal perdition. But the
Prophet, who is here in this world so much abused and distressed, will enter with
his family, relations, and followers, into the joys of paradise.

Zarathustra’s religion is a religion of culture, of spiritual and moral
progress and proficiency. It penetrates through all conditions of human life,
and it considers every action of life, and is thus called Daena-Vangu i.e.
the Best Religion, Weh.den.

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