The Ethical Religion of Zoroaster

By Miles Menander Dawson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII A RELIGIOUS PLACE FOR SINGING GATHAS

" 'OH thou Maker of the material world, thou Holy One, which is the first place where the Earth feels most happy?' God ( Ahura Mazda) made answer and said, 'It is the place, oh Spitama Zoroaster, whereon one of the faithful steps forward, with the wood, the baresma (i.e. the sacred twigs), the milk and the mortar in his hand, lifting up his voice in delightful harmony with religion and calling upon Mithra,1 lord of the rolling countryside, and Rama Hyastra2."

Thus the Vendidad ( Fargard III, c. 1) calls that, first and foremost, holy ground upon which religious ceremonies and observances are performed.

Such services, among the ancient Parsis, were chiefly prayer and songs of praise and thanksgiving; and the Srosh Yast Hadhokt (c. I, v. 2) says of prayer:

"Good prayer, excelling prayer to the worlds, oh Zoroaster. This it is that taketh away the friendship with the male and female fiends. This it is that turneth from giddiness men's eyes, minds, ears, hands, feet, mouths and tongues; for good prayer, free from deceit and desire to injure, constituteth the courage of a man and turneth away the Druj."

In the Nasks, this declaration of the quickening power of these devotions is found (Tahmura's Fragments c. XIX, 28):

____________________
1
The god of the sun.
2
An acolyte of Mithra, who gives food its flavor.

-59-

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