To us Zoroastrians Sraóshá or the “angel of inspiration” is very dear. Sraóshá comes from the root “sru;” to hear O.E. hyran, O.Fris. hora, Du. horen, Ger. hören, to hear, listen, to notice, feel.
The vedas or the books of wisdom, the sacred writings of the hindus are called “Shruti” in Sanskrit; for they were only HEARD, REVEALED by INTUITION. Also in the vedas, “Sarasvati” is the goddess of intuitive knowledge, music, melodies and the arts.
But what is the significance of Sraóshá in Zoroastrianism and why is it held so dear to every Zoroastrian heart, why do we recite Yasna 55 or the hymn to Sraóshá at night before going to bed???? and why do we recite “srösh váj” voice of sraóshá at dawn????
Behind the emotions, deep within our being, there is a sort of prescience or “sraóshá,” a kind of capacity for foresight, in the form of feelings, almost a perception of sensations. For instance, when one is going to decide to do something, there is sometimes a kind of uneasiness or inner refusal, and usually, if one LISTENS to this deeper indication, one realizes that it was justified. Sraóshá is intuition/intuitive understanding or higher instinct that urges, indicates, insists. In the ordinary functioning of the brain, inspiration is something which suddenly falls like a drop of light, absolutely independent of all everyday reasoning.
Sraóshá comes from an unknown region of consciousness and expresses herself as a bright aura or whisper/melody. if one can receive this INTUITIVE VOICE without entering immediately into a whirl of activity, in calm and silence and let it penetrate/dissolve deep into the being, then after a while it expresses herself either as a luminous thought or as a very precise indication in the heart.
As we read in Yasna 55.22 Sraóshá by whose might and victorious power, intuitive knowledge and wisdom, the Auspicious Immortals descend upon this earth of seven quarters, Sraóshá who is the instructor/disö of revelation and vision. “yö daänö disö daänayái”
Sraóshá or power of inspiration has the power of revelation, and the power of truth-hearing. it has the power of immediately seizing the significance. Her pure power can assume all the functions of logical intelligence and impart to it these deeper heart and life perceptions, for it brings its own greater melodious movement into the feelings and emotions, the life impulses, the action of sense and sensation, the very workings of the body-mind-consciousness; it recasts it all in the light and power of ashá/truth and illumines true, intuitive knowledge. As we read in Yasna 55.19: “Sraóshá of the gracious words, of the warning and the guarding words, who intones our hymns on every side, who possesses understanding and of every brilliant form, which abounds in many an explanation and revelation of the word, who has the first place in the Manthra.”
Prophet Zarathushtra apprehended with both eyes and ears the subtle reverberations of divine speech arising in the silent depths of his consciousness as SOUND FORMS embodied in light.
Through his cognition of the manthras and gathas/chants that are held to be the fundamental rhythms/melodies at the basis of all creation; Zarathushtra through sraóshá attained true knowledge. Hence Zoroastrian tradition, has always in the end given priority to the oral/inspirational dimensions of the prophet’s message, for the poetic gathas were preserved through holy speech.
As we read in Yasna 55.7: Sraóshá, who first sang (sráva) the enchanting Gathas, the five Gathas of Zarathushtra, the Spitama, the wise and holy, with their metres, and after the well-constructed order of their words, together with their gnosis (zaiñtí,) and the questions which they utter, and the answers which they give, for the Auspicious Immortals,…….
The poetic Gathas could not have had so undying vitality, exercised so unfailing influence, produced such profound results or seen their reaffirmations in other spheres of inquiry, if they had been speculations to logicise truth. They are inspirational poetry seen with the eye of the Infinite. Not a mere limited thinking but a seeing of truth with the SPIRIT and a total living in it with the power of the inner being, a spiritual seizing by a kind of identification with the object of knowledge through sraóshá and inspiration.
Beautiful article. I found out there is also connection between Avestan root “sru” and the Slavic words for “to hear”, which is for example “slyšet” in the Czech language (the only difference is there is “sl-” instead of “sr-” in Slavic languages).