The principle of action and the impulse of health/vitality in Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is a faith based on the principle of vigorous activity called šiiaöθaná in the Avetsan.

Šiiaöθaná is the dynamism of action/motion, the transfiguration of thought into form, the projection of the spirit/soul onto the existential world. In other words, šiiaöθaná is the capacity to act upon the world-stage with the willpower to direct the course of destiny.

Avestan šiiaö.θa.ná comes from the root šiiaö and is etymologically related to Greek seúō, “to set in motion, stir, incite, shake,” Latin cieō, all coming from the reconstructed Indo-European root *kei “energy of action/motion.”

Zoroastrianism teaches that godliness is about mastering destiny with the ACTIONS we take in the world. For life is constantly in movement and seeks to overcome its limitations, as well as the forces inimical to life’s great becoming.

The concept of Godhood in Zoroastrianism can only be undesrstood within the context of Die Klugen Unsterblichen, “undying and never ending brilliance/intelligence” that unwearyingly sets new horizons!”

The 7th song of the poetic gathas is called ýá šiiaö.θa.ná. The song is about the impulse of healthy vitality/wholeness haûrva.tát and the penchant for action šiiaöθaná.

It is a hymn of fifteen stanzas and is placed in Yasna 34 in the present arrangement of the Avesta! According to the ancient tradition, the 15 stanzas are about “every healing formula, medical remedy and the powers of restoration” that will set in motion “the great, new becoming/fresh transformation” of the universe frašö kart.

Avestan šiiaö.θa.ná “enterprise, purpose-driven action” is the actualization of zeal/passion yasná (Compare with Greek zelos) towards the attainment of the intangible, the immortal yasná ameretá.tem.

This “fervent yearning for the immortal” yasná ameretá.tem via the medium of industry/action šiiaö.θa.ná, based upon the pursuit of ašá/arthá “excellence, truth, cosmic order,” forms the basis of Zoroastrianism.

We read in the poetic gathas, Yasna 34.1:

Action, formulation // aspiration for the eternal, the immortal

Cosmic order, superb artistry, truth that thou hast established//Mindful lord, together with the kingdom of every healing, restoration

All these are your god-beings, powers//whom in their fullness we are devoted to

ýá šiiaö.θa.ná ýá vač.há//ýá ýasná ameretá.tem

 ašem.čá taæ.ib.iiö dáv.aηhá//mazdá šaθrem.čá haûrva.tá.tö

 aæšãm töi ahûrá//éhmá paôúrû.tem.áiš dastæ

In Zoroastrianism, devotion is becoming part of the fullness of the Gods éhmá paôúrû.tem.áiš dastæ.

The dynamism of action/movement towards haûrva.tát “wholeness” is tireless, without end or limits.

Only those Gods are God and worthy of worship whom embody the impulse of vigorous vitality/wholeness and are held to further well being, mastery and the will power to overcome.

Haûrva.tát “wholeness, healthy vital energy” is etymologically the same as the ancient Greek holótēs, hólos, “whole,” Vedic sarvá.tāti, Latin salvus “safe, sound, well, whole, healthy.”

Zoroastrianism is a religion of “healthy energy, vitality and wholeness,” and NOT a religion of the sick soul, anguished wailing, suffering and gloom.

Quite remote from Zoroastrianism stands the idea that the body is a dirty prison for a soul. For this reason, every idea of killing the senses, of asceticism, lies diametrically opposed to Zoroastrianism, and is reviled as an attempt to paralyze the wholesome, energetic, godly nature.

Fasting, self-flagellation, ritual mourning and any form of asceticism that weakens the healthy vital force are all shunned upon.

The Zoroastrian doctrine links spiritual and material in a unique, ingenious manner. Characteristic of Zoroastrianism is the reverence of the physical world and the elements, as a visible expression of the Spiritual Immortals.

Each of the Immortals is linked with one of the physical creations. As Hermann Lommel observes, the Zoroastrian doctrine represents an ancient, mystical way of looking at reality, . . . viewing the abstract as the inner reality of the concrete, the spiritual and material as the aspects of the same thing” (B. Schlerath, ed., Zarathustra, pp. 31-32).

The belief that all nature is a manifestation of the Immortals as well as the idea that Immortals and mortals are bound in kinship through inspiring creativity, industry and zealous striving for excellence lies at the heart of the doctrine.

In conclusion, I shall add that while in many belief systems gods act with willful destruction and out of despotism, the Immortals in Mazdyasna embody brilliant mind energy, healthy will power, mastery, vitality in action/motion to overcome limitations and flaws.

The concept of Godhood in Zoroastrianism is that of insight, discovery and the eternal quest for greater becoming whereas the diabolic forces stand for stagnation, blemish, affliction, destruction, anguished wailing and a sick, morbid soul!



This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The principle of action and the impulse of health/vitality in Zoroastrianism

  1. zaneta garratt says:

    This text shows how hopeful and vital the Zoroastrain religion really is, it is very positive, soul-restoring and healing to read this

  2. Kaemerz Dotiwala says:

    Great Essay. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s