The second month of the Avestan calendar is dedicated to ashá/arthá, and the third day of the month of Arda or Arda-vahisht “beautiful Arda,” when day and month names coincide, is the feast of Arda or ashá/arthá on or about April 22. It is a day to visit the shrines of fire and renew the hearth fire at home.
Ashá/arthá “virtue, excellence, superb artfulness,” appears more than any other Auspicious Immortals in the poetic gathas of the prophet. Auspicious Immortals are the thoughts of Ahura Mazda; his superb virtues and aspects of his genius.
Arthá- (Middle Iranian ard-), representing Ashá occurs frequently as an element in Iranian personal names such as Ardeshir or Arda Viraf.
Many Western scholars understood ashá/arthá, Vedic ṛtá– as cosmic order, moral order or “reality.” Yet, in all religions, philosophical systems, etc., the key terms have a special individual meaning that can be determined only by examining all the contexts in which those terms are attested.
The ancient commentaries are very clear that by ashá/arthá “virtue, excellence, ahüric artfulness/skill, right formulation and innovative arrangement” is meant. ashá/arthá is thus the lord of fire and restoration, (See the hymn to the “beautiful Arda” in the Yasht collection.)
The connection between ashá/arthá and fire goes back to the poetic gathas, (See Yasna 31.3, 1st rhymed verse line, Yasna 43. 4, 4th rhymed verse line, Yasna 43.9, 4th and 5th rhymed verse lines.)
And by Fire, fire in all its manifestations is meant: from hearth and ritual fires to the sun, moon, stars (See Yasna 44.3, 3rd rhymed verse line) and the fire of ordeal, prototype of the fiery renewal of the universe, (See Yasna 36.2, 3rd rhymed verse line and Yasna 47.6, 4th rhymed verse line.)
Fire is the symbol of perpetual transmutation and renewal. The fiery element is the expression of God; because it transforms a substance into another substance without being a substance itself. ashá/arthá is symbolized by fire because of fire’s transforming power.
It is this superb power to formulate/configure ever better, more artfully, and each time more brilliantly; that is called ashá/arthá in the poetic gathas. Thus we read in Yasna 44.2, 4th rhymed verse line: of the giving/creation of arthá through the magical power (máyá) of superb spirit/mind.
In both the Rig Veda and poetic gathas; máyá is miraculous knowledge and power to transform. The ancient commentary adds: “Öhrmazd forthwith made the beautiful Ardá (ashá/arthá) the basis of all that is spiritual.”
It is the artfulness and marvelous skill of ashá/arthá that brings about the wondrous rebirth of the universe, and the creation of a new reality, (See Yasna 46.19, 1st and 2nd rhymed verse lines.)
The future saviors (saóshyánts-) of this world are those who bring about this new marvelous age with enterprise/actions inspired by ashá/arthá (Yasna 48.12, 1st and 3rd rhymed verse lines.)
The ancient commentaries of the poetic gathas and holy denkart through wordplay connect ashá to áish: “eye, ability to see and reshape the future reality,” (Compare to Sanskrit, akshi, Lithuanian akis, Old Norse auga, Gothic augo, German auge; See also Yasna 28.11, 1st rhymed verse line and Yasna 31.13, 3rd rhymed verse line.)
This Beautiful Ardá called arthá/ashá in the poetic gathas, is the ART to change the mundane life into life divine. It is the power to create all that the spirit has dreamed. arthá/ashá is the work of art, stamp of our visions on space and time.