In the poetic gathas and avesta the sacred writings of the zoroastrians ; we encounter the concept of “daäná,” a term that has been translated as “religion” in most translations. “daäná” is related to Lithuanian “diena;” O.C.S. “dini,” Polish. “dzien,” Russian “den;” literally “to shine; to see, to see through.”
In ancient times it was believed that the eyes emitted a beam of light. This light would allow one to SEE and perceive of anything that it could reach.
“daäná” in the poetic gathas is the shining light of sight, sight with the eyes of the mind/spirit, spiritual vision, she is penetrating understanding into character or hidden nature of things. “daäná”is seeing the essence of things, seeing the eternal, the timeless and not the shifting phenomena, nothing can escape the shining vision of “daäná.”
“daäná” is not just seeing, but it is seeing in bright light, she is the ability to understand a vision. she is seeing with the eye of the spirit/insight.
Hence, “daäná’s” connection to sanskrit “dhyai,” to reflect, to see with the eye of mind/spirit, to contemplate, also, “dhyana”meditation, contemplation, reflection. It should be noted that the Buddhist Japanese word “Zen” comes from the same sanskrit root.
The Zoroastrian faith or the Mazdyasni religion is called a “daäná,” for it is a divine VISION facing the spirit eternal, a source and inspirer of all things beautiful, luminous and divine.
Also,”Odin” in Norse mythology, means one who inspires, spiritually arouses. “Odin” the chief of the gods gives “a divine vision through insight.”
This divine vision through insight or daäná, is the bridge between man and God, the crossing beyond the limits of the human reasoning into the regions of a vaster transcending understanding. It is the light and vision of daäná that touches the human world with the truth of spirit The source of human faith in progress and perfection lies in the luminous daäná.
daäná is an insight into a world of pure mind/spirit where knowledge is the leader and vision the substance, where emotions respond readily to the call of truth where form is a self-shaping of the creative ray, will, a conscious vehicle of God.
daäná is the creative gaze of ahúrá. For the universe is no accident in Time. The cosmos is guided and led by an insight, by a truth-wisdom. The seed of creation sprouts from the Being of the Timeless and is shaped into birth and growth by a luminous, beautiful vision or what we call in Mazdyasna; daäná. daäná is the creative gaze of God, insight in man, and a truth-wisdom and/or luminous vision in cosmos or creation.
The avestan “daäná,” was later borrowed into hebrew and aramaic and from there into arabic and became “din”; judgment or originally discernment.
But what needs to be emphasized, is that daäná in its pristine purity in the poetic gathas; is seeing with the eye of the spirit or a luminous,spiritual vision. she is not the fixity of the limited human mind clinging to one formula as an exclusive truth.
Hence, in Zoroastrianism we are admonished to believe in the spiritual truth and vision of all wisdom teachings and religions (first line of Yasna 32.16.) As we pray in our afternoon prayers and recite this formula “aparem cha tkaäshem yaza.mai.dä” we praise the wise teachings that came thereafter.
let us heed the poetic gathas and enter and adore an age of spirituality, of spiritual insight and vision in its pristine purity and luminous brilliance.