tisdag 29 december 2009

Zoroastrian ethics: Asha vs Dao

May I point out that cutting off hands of thieves does NOT work?
First, they become uncapable of every doing decent work with their hand ever again should they (as they often do) become constructive towards the rest of society later in their lives.
Second, while this method catches petty thieves it misses the big thieves in any given society, the robbers that REALLY destroy a society from within. It misses the thieves that do not tough stolen goods with their own hands.
This is why countries with sharia law have such a huge problem with endemic corruption. They focus on the small fish and miss the big fish instead.
The lowest rates of thievery and corruption in the world are in Scandinavia and Japan. These cultures do not cut off the hands of thieves. They never did, actually.
So you need a better example than this one if it is used to make a point. Zoroastrian ethics does not exclude people from society for the rest of their lives.

2009/12/29 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Ardeshir,

I am a Mazdayasni and not a Zartoshtyasni. I do not care what Z. said if it does not appeal to my Mind-Mazda. I find the exercise of reducing the Gathas to another one of those books (the names of which I do not want to mention because persons hypnotized by those books can kill you with greatest of ease on their conscience just because they think you are insulting their book) is in very poor taste.

We all want to stop thievery because thieves upset the balance in our society. Some Books tell us how we may cut off the hands of a thief and stop thievery. This solution really works. Is this solution an ASHA to solve that particular problem of thievery or not? Please be kind enough to answer me this one simple question of mine before we go any further and a "YES" or "NO" answer is all I want at this point. If you go into further elaboration than a Yes or No answer, you will be venturing into the Asha-Vahishta realm and stealing the point I want to make.

Parviz Varjavand

P.S. I see that I have given away the plot, so I will make my point. For me, to cut off hands has its own ASHA of stoping theivery, but it is not the ASHA-VAHISHTA in my mind to accomplish this job.

--- On Wed, 12/23/09, ardeshir farhmand wrote:

From: ardeshir farhmand
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Concept of Asha/Asha vs Dao
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, December 23, 2009, 1:23 PM

Dear Parviz,

my arguments are all based on the poetic gathas and their ancient exegesis.
vahishtaa, is the element of "infinite awe, wonder and beauty" in ashaa, or in other words it is the "infinite awe, wonder and beauty" in the essence/core/ truth of the universe, man and GODHEAD.

There are really NOT many different ashaas. There is only ONE infinitely creative and intelligent principle/ashaa, that applies to many spheres of existence including our human realm.

this concept is almost identical to the vedic idea of "rta." there is one "rta" also known as dharma in later literature. While dharma is one, when it applies to human society and ethics it becomes known as human dharma, or when it is applied to the dynamic principle behind cosmic laws, it becomes known as cosmic dharma. but "rta aka dharma," is a creative, luminous principle at the core of existence and is really one.

if u still disagree, i ask that u cite poetic gathic verses that support ur point of view. because what i wrote above is based on the enchanting gathas, and is further confirmed by their ancient exegesis.


On Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Alexander Bard wrote:

Dear Parviz

In what way do we not see the difference between Asha and Asha-Vahistha?
And why this constant attempt at creating conflict? Just get to the point, please! Just don't throw invectives at us, what good does that do?


2009/12/23 Parviz Varjavand

Dear Ardeshir,

I am glad that you are in Law. When in Sassanian times they wanted to judge if a person was telling the Truth, Asha, they would hold the person's head under water while a person would shoot an arrow and a horseman would gallop and try to retrieve the arrow and bring it back. If by the time the arrow was brought back, the poor person had not drowned, he/she was telling the truth, was an Ashavand. If the person had drowned, he /she was a lier, a Drojwand. I can see you and Alex beeing confortable in such a court of law, because you do not diffrenciate between Asha and Asha-Vahishta. Those who think of Asha as a monolit can do such things. If you do not get wat I want to say, have a happy day! I hate to waste my breath.

Karma be with you!

--- On Tue, 12/22/09, ardeshir farhmand wrote:

From: ardeshir farhmand
Subject: Re: [Ushta] The Concept of Asha/Asha vs Dao
To: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Cc: "mehrdad farahmand"
Date: Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 8:23 AM

Dear Parviz, Alexander and Dino,

Thanks for ur kind comments, i am truly humbled. i greatly concur with Alexander
that terms such as ashaa, vohumanoe, and many others should not be translated, but clearly and lucidly explained.

it is also of paramount importance to understand such terms/concepts as they were understood in the poetic gathic language of three to four thousand years ago. as i repeatedly affirmed, manoe in the poetic gathas is much more than our today's definition of mind, it is consciousness, awareness. the german bewusstsein seems to be the closest match.

Parviz and Dino brought a very interesting point, and that is what is the practical implication of ashaa in our daily lives. this is the subject of another article, that i would be happy to elaborate on this weekend.

However, quoting Alexander the following description seems to closely fit the ancient exegesis on the subject:

"-Science deals with the pursuit of truth
- Art deals with the pursuit of beauty
- Politics deals with the pursuit of the good
- Love deals with the pursuit of passion"

Parviz, i need to affirm the following; that mixing ashaa with cosmic or ethical laws is not subsantiated by the poetic gathas, and is similar to equate knowings/bits of info with knowledge or rather meta-knowledge/ wisdom.

ashaa is the creative principle behind the rules. since my background is in law, let me give the following example. i have to say in start, that this example is not perfect, but approximate enough.

when u are in court, u must look into the laws, and follow certain rules, otherwise there will be chaos. but ur job is to be CREATIVE and think of ingenious ways to interpret the laws and expand their implication in favor of the party u represent. if the laws/rules were black and white at all times, there would have been no need for amendements to the constitution and/ or creation of new laws by the congress. in this context, u could say the ashaa here is the creative intention behind the laws, and the ability to make them evolve/grow and expand to brighter horizons.


On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 5:27 AM, Parviz Varjavand wrote:

Dear Alex,

Asha (for me) is also the profound stupidity of men who put too many things in one bag and call them all ASHA. All stupid religious person do this. Karma of taking a monumental crap. Thao of falling off the stairs and breaking your neck. etc..etc...


--- On Mon, 12/21/09, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Concept of Asha/Asha vs Dao
To: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Date: Monday, December 21, 2009, 8:59 PM

Dear Dino and Ardeshir

Very well written!
To better understand the concept of asha, let's look at how western philosophy has come to see human ideals:

- Science deals with the pursuit of truth
- Art deals with the pursuit of beauty
- Politics deals with the pursuit of the good
- Love deals with the pursuit of passion

Now, asha is all four at the same time. Asha is both truth, beauty, the good and passion and more specifically the pursuit of them all, therefore a term which we should insist on as just asha and not translate too easily to other languages than Avestan.


2009/12/21 Special Kain

Dear Ardeshir

It's so perfectly clear now that Daoist philosophy and Zoroastrian philosophy have so much in common!

http://www.iep. utm.edu/daoism/

It seems that Asha and Wu-Wei are almost the same: the Dao (the process of reality) as expressed through Wu-Wei (effortless action).

Ushta, Dino

--- ardeshir farhmand schrieb am Mo, 21.12.2009:

Von: ardeshir farhmand
Betreff: [Ushta] "to make true/realize wonder & beauty; ashá/artá, Vedic ŗtá, Norse Urðr,"
An: "mehrdad farahmand"
CC: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Montag, 21. Dezember 2009, 5:01

"to make true/realize wonder & beauty; ashá/artá, Vedic ŗtá, Norse Urðr,"

"ashá" is a fascinating concept in Zarathushtra's teachings, and is the most repeated in the enchanting Gathas or the poetic songs of the seer/prophet. Yasna 27.14 or "ashem vohü" manthra is dedicated to ashá, and is the second most effective manthra in the enchanting songs. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the true meaning of ashá according to the poetic gathas, the ancient exegesis, and a comparative study of ashá in the vedic and norse literature.

ashá, is the second of "ameshá/amertá spentá" or auspicious immortals, hence one of the eternal spiritual aspects, emanations or creations of ahura mazda through which all other creation is realized.

ashá comes from the root ah/as, Proto Indo European "es," meaning: essence, underlying principle, truth, the inward intention, origin, source. Greek "ousia" is a cognate. The ancient commentaries translate ashá/artá as "rásti ahurmazd" meaning the truth of ahurmazd, or the divine essence. As i said in my earlier articles, ashá and ahurá come from the same root, and the ancient commentaries translate ashá also as ahuric virtues, ahuric efficacy, ahuric skill, ahuric excellence, ahuric ability to make true or "ahráyih."

In Avestan the sound "sh" is interchangeable with the sound "rt." Thus, ashá is also interchangeably pronounced as artá. ashá/artá is very closely connected to the idea of ease, flow, skill, creativity in workmanship. It should be added that the ancient exegesis always adds the words "kar o kar-op," or creativity, opus, master-work as a footnote to ashá, ahráyih or ahuric essence/virtues.

ashá/artá 'close connection to "ease in producing the intended effect," is demonstrated in many passages in the enchanting Gathas including; second line of Yasna 27.14 and second line of Yasna 51.8. The word ushtá, meaning "fulfillment of wish/desire," "radiant happiness," an epithet of ashá, is fundamental to both demonstrating this connection and understanding the concept of ashá.

The Vedic equivalent ŗtá in the Rig Veda also means: truth, true essence and skill in workmanship, and is closely associated with rhythm, verse and the cosmic order.
It might be additionally illuminating to compare the inherent idea of divine virtue/skill/ ease inherent in the idea of ashá/artá with the Proto Indo European ar-ti (Skt. rtih "manner, mode;" Gk. artios "accomplish,complete ;" Armenian arnam "make;" Ger. art "manner, mode"), from the base ar- "fit together, join"

The Norse Urðr is also very close. Urdor is not "fate"[as believed by many. It is rather a continuous FLOW of happenings, actions, abilities and powers that SHAPE and CREATE future and the fabric of reality. Urðr is a a conceptual mystery and refers to how the intentions and activities, are capable of weaving reality. The word seem to carry the inherent idea in ashá/artá in the sense of "to make true" and "to bring to realization. It comes in the same sense in the second line of Yasna 30.9, when it refers to ashá/artá in bringing about the continuous renovation of the existence.

According to Denkard 3.13-14, vöhü manö/consciousness is active in good thoughts, seraosha/inspiratio n in good words, and ashá/artá in good deeds. Ashá is thus "represented as active and effective. In addition, by a word play and referring to the first line of Yasna 33.1 and the first line of Yasna 28.11, Denkard exegesis calls ashá, the discerning eye/áish of life/existence.

The idea of ease and skill to realize and make true, seems to be the underlying principle of ashá. ashá is closely connected to, but is NOT the cosmic order. it is instead the creative and ingenious principle behind the cosmic order and the ethical rules of the humanity. ashá is the flame and spark of the existence, an animating and creative principle of infinite intelligence.

It is important to remember that time and space are relative. At a given moment, in a certain circumstance, there are impossibilities. But from the eternal point, the point beyond time and space, in the infinity of time, NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE, and the existence is an amazing field of magical and awesome possibilities. There is nothing impossible in the existence except what is outside manö/consciousness/ bewusstsein. What is not in our consciousness today, may be in our consciousness after some time for the consciousness can grow and become ever wider/vöhü manö. And this potential possibility of infinite wonder, beauty and awe/vohü is the truth of ahurmazd or "ashem vohü." This wondrous and truly magical essence is at the core of the existence.

According to the third line of "ashem vohü" manthra, the truth/ashá of our being is related to, but different from all others, it is truly unique. But in the truth of our being, according to our own formation, our growth/progress is unlimited. It is LIMITED only by our IGNORANCE of the true ahuric essence of the existence.

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