Our universe is riddled with passages and according to the poetic gathas Chinvatö Perethü, or the Chinvat Bridge is the name of the main passageway from this world to the next and the wondrous realms beyond. At the dawn that rises after the third night following death, the soul has to cross the Chinvatö Perethü, the Chinvat Bridge, to reach the boundless Lights beyond. (See Yasna 46.10, 5th rhymed verse line, Yasna 46.11, 3rd and 4th rhymed verse line, Yasna 51.13, 1st and 2nd rhymed verse line.)
Perethü comes from Proto Indo Europen root pertu “to pass over” “bridge;” German brücke, Old English faran “to go, journey” Old Norse fjörðr “ford, entrance, passage” Old Church Slavonic pariti “fly” latin portus“port, entrance, passage,” Greek poros “journey, passage,” peirein“to pierce, pass through.”
Chinvatö comes from the root chit, Sanskrit chid, Welsh chwydu, Old Irish scian, Gothic skaidan; “to separate one thing from another, to shed knowledge/light on” Latin scientia“knowledge” from scire “to know,” originally “to separate one thing from another.”
Chinvat Bridge is the bridge that “manifests knowledge, reveals, make it all clear.” Chinvat is the port/passage where higher insight is revealed and a selection of the souls for journey to more wondrous dimensions is made.
The term Perethü “bridge” appears without Chinvat in Yasna 48.2, 2nd rhymed verse line (passage to the best, most wondrous existence or falling into the abyss,) Yasna 50.7, 2nd rhymed verse line (be filled with marvel when coming to the bridge,) and Yasna 51.12, 1st rhymed verse line (the earthly or winter passage/bridge.)
We read in the ancient Südkar Commentary of Yasna 46.10, 5th rhymed verse line and Yasna 46.11, 3rd and 4th rhymed verse line:
The soul alone sees the reward and bridge of the spiritual existence, and embodied it does not see such things; if when embodied, it could have seen like that, then it would not have committed the mistakes originating with it, even for anything whatever of the ease and comfort of the worldly existence, nor shrunk from the pristine good work.
As we can see the whole idea is about selection, separation through higher knowledge and the result of a fiery trial/ordeal by spiritual illumination. This again is corroborated by the ancient Südkar commentary of Yasna 47.6, 2nd rhymed verse line where it says:
It is about the judgment of sinners through the flaming, bright bridge, as declared by vision/revelation.
Also, in the Baghan Commentary of Yasna 48.2, 2nd rhymed verse line we read:
By him or her who shall go through the fiery trial accomplished, the Chinvat passage becomes manifest; for those who have accomplished what is a work of the spirit become witnesses, one about the other, as to the wisdom/knowledge, whereby a change occurs from evil to wondrous, that change which is the perpetual renovation of the universe……
According to the ancient Südkar commentary of Yasna 50.7, 2nd rhymed verse line; when the virtuous wishes to pass, the bridge becomes far and wide. For the wicked the passage becomes narrow like a razor blade. This reminds one of the old Yorkshire folksong of “the Brig o’ Dread, na brader than a thread.”’
For the virtuous the crossing is all well and free from sorrow. When the wicked soul, on the other hand, steps onto the bridge, he falls into the abyss and back into the house of lies.
‘Thus say I to thee, O Spitaman! The man or woman of virtue steps forward over the Chinvat pass, the far-famed happy bridge; for Ashtad, the angel of justice, the good promoter of the world, and Mihr, the angel of love, of wide living spaces, save only those possessing genuine goodness from that distress, as though they were an army (sipah) a thousand strong.
The Vársht-manßar commentary of Yasna 50.7, 2nd rhymed verse line states; the bridge is the mighty assistance to the genuinely good on the passage to the most wondrous existence, by the spirit of the wisdom, the realms beyond, bountifulness, brilliance, fortue/riches and the angel Höm.
The epithets of the Chinvat bridge in Avesta are “heard from far and wide” (dūrae.srūta) “mighty, strong” (amavant) and “good protector” (hú-pāta.)
I shall conclude by adding that great similarity exists between Chinvatö Perethü of the Gathas and Ásbrú, the Aesir’s Bridge of the ancient Norse mythology.
Ás-brú is the bridge that the Aesir, the godly powers built between Midgard, home of mortal men, and Asgard, the realm of the aesir/ahúras, and can be seen from the earth as the rainbow. Ás-brú is strongly built. According to the Nordic mythology the red color of the rainbow (Ásbrú) is a fire that burns in the sky. Daily the Aesir ride across Ásbrú to Urdar-brunnur, the well of Urdur (destiny, fate, making,) which is where the aesir hold their court.
The first part of the Prose Edda describes it thus:
For the Aesir’s Bridge
burns all with flame,
Finally, the Chinvat Bridge of the poetic gathas has greatly influenced and inspired the Sirath bridge of the Moslems. Arabic Sirath is borrowed from latin strata and alludes to a straight bridge into heaven.