The Zoroastrian threefold motto of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds” or “hú-mata, hükhta, hvarshta,” simplifies our ancient religion and means the purest essence in thoughts, words and deeds.
“hú or hü,” the first part of the Avestan formula means; “extract, purest essence, nectar.” It is the same as Sanskrit sú, Old High German saf, german saft, english sap, liquid extract.
“mata” or the second part of the first word of the formula means “meditate, think , mentally focus; Compare Gothic. miton, Old.English. metan, Greek. medesthai “think about,” medon “ruler.” In Persian, the Avestan “mata” is translated as pendaar “ponder, think.”
“ükhta” or the second part of the second word of the formula means; “utterance, speech, word.” Compare with German. äussern “to utter, express.” It comes from the root “vac” voice, word, speech, expressed wish/desire.
“varsht” or the second part of the third word of the formula occurs frequently in the poetic gathas, and the combination of “hvarsht” also appears in the 3rd rhymed verse line of Yasna 49.4.
The root “varesh/varez means;” “to come to pass, to become;” Compare German “werden,” Old.English. weorðan “to become.” The ancient NORSE RUNE “WYRD” literally “that which is in the process of happening, becoming” is identical to the Avestan word and concept here.
Thus “hú-mata, hükhta, hvarshta,” is in fact “the purest essence, nectar” in thoughts/mediation, “the purest essence, nectar” in speech and “the purest essence, nectar” in becoming. It is this threefold motto that like the Old Norse rune wyrd/urðr, waves and shapes our destiny.
We read in Yasna 34.1, 1st rhymed verse line: “That which is my making, enterprise, that which is my voice, word, that which is my concentration, union, are all for immortality; that which is indestructible, eternal.”
In the Haδōkht Nask 2.24-25 the Daæná “vision, insight” of the virtuous is identified with their purest essence in thoughts, words, and deeds; by which the soul has been made beautiful, shining, and brilliant (2.33-34;) the virtuous ascend through the three stages of “húmata “hükhta hvarshta,” into the eternal lights, and then into the celestial house of music & songs of ahúrá manzdá. The house of music & songs is called garö demanæ in Avestan; Compare Avestan gar with Old Norse galdr (plural galdrar) deriving from a root for “singing” music/songs composed in a special metric measure.
The luminous soul passes the bridge to the realms beyond, taking the first step to the Paradise of beautiful thought (hú.mat,) hú means “extract, essence, nectar, wine.” mat is “meditation, contemplation.” Hú.mat is the paradise of purest thoughts, meditations.
The second step that the luminous soul takes is to the paradise of beautiful words (hükht,) words, expressions that are nectar-like and delightful as wine. Hükht is the paradise of effective speech and words of power, wisdom.
The third step that the luminous soul takes is to the paradise of beautiful action manifestation (hvarsht,) varsht is Old Norse wyrd/urðr, German werden; to become, come to pass, manifest. Hvarsht is the paradise of the purest, most delightful manifestation, realization.
The fourth step that the luminous soul takes is to the unbounded, infinite lights.
In Yasht 13.84 and Yasht 19.17, the seven great Ameshá/amertá Spəñtás or the “ahüric auspicious immortals” are themselves focusing on “húmata “hükhta húvarshta.”
An elucidation of the threefold formula is provided in Yasna 19.19:
kat húmatem, ashavanem mana-paóiryö,
What is the purest essence in thought? It is the pristine, original in the mind of the good and virtuous.
kat hükhtem, mánthrö speñtö,
What is the purest essence in utterance? It is the effective counsel to the spirit/mind, the auspicious mantra.
kat hvarshtem, staötáish asha-paöiryáish-cha dámébísh.
What is the purest essence in enterprise, action? It is the praise of virtue, excellence and goodness first and above all other things in the world. (The word for praise is staótá literally “that which causes to appear/stand, bring into existence.)
According to the holy Denkart Bk. 4 (ed. Madan, p. 413.15-17; p. 120:) “The marvelous power of truth lay not in crying it out loudly, but in the purest essence, nectar in thoughts, words, and deeds, the guidance of the Spirit of Wisdom and worship of the yazatás or the ADORABLE VIRTUES/QUALTIES of an ALL GOOD and WISE GOD.”
The formula of “húmata “hükhta húvarshta” appears in Yasna Haptaŋg.hāiti (Yasna. 35.2 and 36.5.) It is also referred to as “that which is beautiful, wondrous, wow-inspiring in mind/spirit, word and manifestation” in Yasna 34.10, 1st rhymed verse line, Yasna 45.8, 3rd rhymed verse line, Yasna 53.2, 1st rhymed verse.
In conclusion, I like to add that in Mazdyasna or the beautiful religion; the purest essence in thoughts, words and deeds is the key to happiness and salvation regardless of one’s religion. Zoroastrianism’s emphasis is and has always been on “virtue and wisdom.” Zoroastrianism teaches us not to care for labels, instead focus on goodness and excellence. As we say in the popular middle persian “hamá zoor” prayer; “may we be of the same force/energy with the virtuous and good, across the seven climes of the land.”