The second hymn of the gathas, animal welfare and the spirit/will to enhance life

The second song/hymn of the poetic gathas start with the words šma.ibiiá géuš ûrvá gereždá “To You (the Multiplicity of Immortals,) the soul of the primeval cow géuš ûrvá (personification of all animal life,) lamented/grieved gereždá.

The “primeval cow” géuš of Zoroastrianism as proto type/progenitor of all animal life is almost identical to the primordial cow called Auðumbla in the Norse ancient sagas.

The second gathic song/hymn is called šma.ibiia as it narrates the lament of the animal soul to the Sacred Immortals. The poem starts with šmá, and ends with the word yüšmá both referring to “YOU in PLURA,” addressing the manifold nature of Godhood.

The Persian word shomá comes from the Avestanšmá and goes back to reconstructed Proto Indo European *sué. German has a similar formal expression for “You in Plural” Sie.

The religious poetry of the sacred songs/gathas reveal a multiplicity of ahûrás (cognate with the Norse æsir.) however, with a clear recognition that ultimately the many Immortals are ONE in Mazdá the “supreme god of “mind power, imagination and inspiring creativity.”

Mazdá and the Primordial Greek Musues “inspiration for music, sciences and the arts” have the same linguistic derivation/root, and convey almost the same idea.

In the poetic gathas, Mazdá and his ahûrás who embody “imagination, inspiring creativity, discovery, new horizons, and overcoming of adversity,” are continuously in struggle with añgrö, “the lord of defects” and his host of diabolic demons, (See Yasna 45.2.)

The “blemish giver” añgrö comes from a root that means “rigidity, stagnation and rot.” This festering/putrefaction of the “spirit, mind power” is the anti God in Zoroastrianism. While the “passion, fire, vigor, energy of mind/consciousness” is Godhood.

In the second gathic hymn, géuš tashan the “artisan of the Immortals, the fashioner/sculptor of life” inquires of ašá/arthá the will, spirit/mind power mainiiuu, which strives to EXCEL and introduce “order, superb artistry” into cosmos, concerning a champion/proponent for the spirit of animals.

Avestan taša/tashan “to fashion, shape, form” is a cognate of ancient Greek *tétk̑ōn, Greek τέκτων téktōn, Vedic tákṣan (See Didier Calin) and Germanic Þahsuz/thahsuz, all going back to reconstructed Proto Indo European *teḱs “to weave, compose, fashion, form.”

Mazdá the supreme god of “mind power, imagination and inspiring creativity” declares that the ails of animal life on earth can only be healed through an inspired seer who communicates the wisdom/speech of vôhû man, See Yasna (29.7.)

Vôhû Man is “goodness, full energy, brightness of consciousness, mind, spirit,” and is the realm/home of the ahûrás, (See Yasna 39.3 and Yasna 44.9.)

In Zoroastrianism, the Immortals are “innately good, luminous and are only givers of good things.” The very “mind, spirit, disposition” manö of Godhood is “goodness, genius and luminous vision.”

This “goodness, full energy and brightness of the spirit/mind” is denoted with the words vôhü, vaŋhuu and vaŋhéuš (Proto Indo European *wesu-) in the poetic gathas.

In the Vedas, vásu-pati “lord of good things” is an attribute of the gods, occurring some 15 times in the Rig Veda. In the Rig Veda, there is also a class of deities, known as the Vasus (Vásavah,) the Good/Bright Ones. The Germanic Visigoths the “Good Goths,” also known as Alanic Goths derive their name from this same ancient root.

In Zoroastrianism, Godhood is the brilliant force that overcomes adversity, and always fashions/sculpts a more splendid creation. Godhood NEVER sanctions animal sacrifice/cruelty, plagues and misfortune. Instead Godhood is odyssey of consciousness/mind-power, and the “superior wisdom” to overcome afflictions and limitations.

No ancient Indo European poet is more keenly alive to the joyous things in life: the praises of youth and vigorous energy, of prosperity and good fortune, and of all that is sublime, noble, pure and beautiful in nature, than the seer/prophet Zarathustra.

In the second gathic song, the Mazda Worshipping faith is declared to be the defender, and loving steward of animals. Zarathustra is said to be the seer/prophet of the brilliant disposition/wisdom vôhü man.aŋhá of the Immortals. Vôhü Man.aŋhá is the very spirit/will to enhance life, and joyously celebrate growth, health, vigor and vitality.

This unequivocal rejection of all animal sacrifice, and absolute assertion of animal rights as well as animal stewardship in the poetic gathas, sets the teachings of the ancient Aryan prophet apart from almost all other ancient pagan Indo European beliefs.

To bless” in English means “to consecrate with blood,” for it comes from Old English blēdsian, blōd “blood = consecrate with blood,” See Didier Calin.)

However, the concept of any blood consecration is utterly rejected by the ancient poet/prophet of the Aryans, and is deemed as a vile offering, demanded by, and only fit for diabolic demons.

In Zoroastrianism, the will to enhance life, virtue, wisdom, and stewardship of animals/nature are the only acceptable offering to the Immortals. Animal welfare, and protection of the purity of nature/elements are fundamental principles in the noble faith of Zarathustra.

The later extensive animal welfare laws in Zoroastrianism are diluted versions of the laws introduced by the seer/prophet himself. Although, faint hint to animal sacrifice can be found in only 1 place in younger Avesta, and in 1 or 2 passages in holy Denkart, yet later Zoroastrianism has by far entirely discarded animal sacrifice, and has replaced it with cutting open of fruit offerings during the sacred rituals.

In Zoroastrianism, creation is to be cherished for its own sake, and animals are to be protected for their own sake. Zoroastrianism is certainly NOT anthropocentric, but centered on virtue, wisdom, goodness and will to become godlike through enhancing life.


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2 Responses to The second hymn of the gathas, animal welfare and the spirit/will to enhance life

  1. Zaneta Garratt says:

    I loved reading this, it is very positive for both mankind and animals-it makes me happy to read this, it is uplifting.

  2. Thank you for continuing to provide such valuable information about Zoroastrianism’s enlightened stance on animal welfare. I have commented to the same effect before, but I would like to again extend an invitation to write for my organization’s website, the ANIMAL PEOPLE FORUM. We provide a platform for people all over the world to share information and perspectives on animal welfare, rights, and conservation issues. Few people outside the Zoroastrian community are aware of the faith’s teachings of compassion for animals, and so an article written for general audiences introducing the basics of Zoroastrianism and its pro-animal teachings would make for an incredibly valuable contribution to the Forum and animal protection in general. It would also help to raise awareness of Authentic Gatha Zoroastrianism and increase your own site’s readership.

    Please consider my invitation, and e-mail me if you would like to discuss the possibility further. In the mean time, thank you for sharing your valuable scholarship on Zoroastrianism with the world!

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