was the pioneering work of
Rene Descartes, in the 17th century AD, that gave philosophy
the two-substance view of the radical duality of mind and body. In the years
that followed, this basic concept fell short of answering the questions raised
by the rationalistic philosophers of Europe and Britain. With time, however, the
notion lost its importance. Mind and matter came to be regarded as aspects of a
single continuous entity, that differ only in their structure. Spinoza rejected
the Cartesian view in favor of the idea that mind and matter are finite aspects
of a single infinite substance, designated as God, that is the universal essence
or nature of everything that exists. These early modern philosophers did not
know the context of the Zarathushtrian theological thought that preceded them
several millennia before.
question we need to address at the outset is, what is the difference between
Mind and Spirit? Referring to the Vedic and Avestan vocabulary, one
readily finds that mind and spirit are varying interpretations of related words,
philologically arising out of the same basic root: Man, which means “to
think.” For instance, the terms Manah,
interpreted as mind, mentality, and a thinker or thought-provoker. Holy
religious usage, are the Holy words of Zoroastrian scripture. Mainyava, Menog and Minoi, are linguistic variations of what we
understand as the Spiritual World. It is thus clear that Mind and Spirit are
interchangeable expressions, depending upon the context of their use, in human
is Mind or Spirit? Is it possible to explain this invisible yet palpable entity?
Modern science has attempted to explain this entity in terms of objective
phenomena that can be quantified and measured. In their efforts to explain Mind
in terms of biology and neurology, the professionals have simply uncovered their
own limitations. Little worth reading has been written about it.
human Mind and its attributes such as consciousness, will, imagination and
thought, are mystical entities that cannot be apprehended by the senses. They
are beyond the bounds of the physical sciences. They clearly fall into the
spiritual domain of abstractions. It is for the same reason that telepathy,
clairvoyance and other forms of extrasensory perception have failed to be
accepted by responsible scientists, because they are at the outer fringes of
physical perception, in the gray area between the physical and the spiritual.
importance of Mind and Divine Spirit was recognized by the spiritual thinkers of
ancient times, going back more than 4000 years. The early Hindu scriptures not
only speak of the importance of Mind, but also Hindu scholars, writing about
Zarathushtra’s Gathas, recognize Zarathushtra as the earliest reformer of the
Aryan Race. The text of the Bhagavad-Gita that forms a part of the
Mahabharata was strongly influenced by the teachings of Zarathushtra. It speaks
of the meditative practice of introspection through fixation of the Mind on
one’s Self (1). It is the practice of communion with the Divine, that reveals
the path of Righteousness (2).
Zarathushtra, for the first time in the history of mankind, recognized that
the thought process of humanity
must be Good and Righteous, to be
in harmony with the Mind of
his God - Ahura
is the principle on which
rests, the edifice of the Bounteous
Immortals – the Amesha spenta. The
stone of this pyramidal structure, is
Manah, the Good Mind. Many astute academicians have filled pages, with the
writings of what Zarathushtra says in the Gathas about Vohu Manah.
is, how does an average
human meet the challenge
to keep the mind GOOD and in its ideal
maintain the GOODNESS of this precious gift of Mazda, in this Physical
world full of imperfections.
it is only through Good Mind
that human beings can recognize that immensely
concept of Asha. That is the
Will of Ahura Mazda.
only through the
of Asha can humans
transform the evil in this Getig world, to
and bring forth the Divine rule -
Divinely ordained Thinker, Zarathushtra, preaches to us, that
"Spiritual life-breath implanted by the Creator in the physical
human frame, provides intellect and ability to innovate in life.
The Wise Lord also grants them Freedom of expression."
us pause here, to understand the message. If we understand Ahura Mazda as the
'Supreme Intellect', the Wise Lord, the interpretation
that "the Creator has provided intellect and ability of
conception" clearly conveys to us that God has gifted humanity
with a part of His Self. To put it in simple terms, the Divine essence of
God is within us. We have the obligation to learn to recognize that innate
Divinity. For only through recognition of the Divine within can humans ascend to
the next step of the philosophical pyramid to relate to the Divinity in the
Universe, and get in closer proximity with God. In that sense, the human body is
the abode of Divinity. This clearly imposes a heavy responsibility, to keep this
House of Divinity Pure and Good. The
place to start is the HUMAN MIND.
how can one start to keep the Mind Good? How do we keep it free from the
contamination and flaws of this imperfect world? Asho Zarathusht elaborates
several attributes of that personification of Wisdom, we know as
Ahura Mazda. One of these characteristics is Spenta Armaiti
The concept of Armaiti
has been interpreted
by philologists as devotion,
serenity, or tranquility (3). The Dinkert (medieval Zoroastrian wisdom-text)
explains this abstraction as the "Will or Complete Mindfulness" (4).
Humbach refers to it as Right-Mindedness (5). In simple terms
Spenta Armaiti is
the holy, peaceful
state of Mind that promotes devotion
and piety, in the
in words and
in actions. This attribute is best integrated in daily life by communion
with a peaceful Mind through prayerful invocations. It is only
this tranquil state that
the Human Spirit can be
of the fetters of material and carnal instincts. This is the state that
preserves Vohu Manah, in its ideal form – The Good - to permit
the recognition of our innate Divinity.
This is the state of Mind that harmonizes:
The Human mentality with the
Spenta Mainyu, the Holy Mentality,
The Human Will with the will of God.
Asho Zarathusht in his
quest for piety proclaims:
shall praise the Wise Lord and those for whom Armaiti promotes the Divine
Ys. 32.2…" We have chosen your Spenta Armaiti:
May it be ours"
Ys. 34.9…"The evil ones lack the Good Mind for they have
abandoned Spenta Armaiti"
Ys. 34.10…"The Spenta Armaiti is the companion and at the
root of Righteousness…
Ys. 34.11…"The Holy Armaiti promotes the Good Mind and Asha
that results in Wholeness and Immortality that serves the Wise Lord"
Ys.47.1…"The Wise One in rule is the Lord through
These are just a few
of the Gathic expressions that clearly demonstrate, that
Good thinking can only proceed
from a mind where Holy Armaiti prevails.. That,
is the attribute that permits one to to perceive, and commune with,
one’s innate Divinity and relate to the omnipresence of Ahura Mazda in the
created world. This
of the spiritual
the physical can only become evident, through the
of Vohu Manah.
It is in the
recognition of this attunement, that Vohu
Manah reveals the Path of Asha, that unlocks
the doors to
Khshathra Vairya - the Divine Rule - in this Getig world.
bracketed numbers in the text, correspond to the references)
Bhagavad Geeta, 6.25
2) Bhagavad Geeta, 18.33
3) Farhang Mehr, The Zoroastrian tradition, pg 27
4) Dinkert, Bk.IX, Ch.12.25, 31.17, 43.2, 60.4
5) Humbach/Ichaporia, The Heritage of Zarathushtra, pg 23, 31, 36, 47, 49