In the realm of the strictly physical and material, Asha can
be defined as the amalgam of laws that rule and uphold the Cosmos - the laws
of chemistry, physics, biology, etc. It is what is real, accurate and factual,
the Ordering Principle of the Universe. In the ethical and emotional sense, it
means what is good for existence, what is the right thing to do, what is in harmony
with God's Order or Plan. Asha makes everything possible we see, hear and smell,
and every breath we take. Asha can also be understood in terms of other religious
concepts. It is somewhat like the Tao, in that it rules and sustains the Cosmos,
and it includes a Law of the Mean, which tends to balance things out. It is like
Karma, in the sense that it includes a law of just returns. It is also, like
Dharma, the way of right actions. Furthermore, Asha is not impersonal. It is
loving and part of a Loving God and designer of the Cosmos - "a Principle
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defined: The first among Gathic concepts (enumerated earlier) is ASHA. It
is an Aryan concept, shared by Hindus, as well as by Persians. In archaic Sanskrit,
it is Rta/Rita, and the Law of the Universe. In both Sanskrit and Gathic Avestan,
it literally means "what fits", in any and every situation; in every physical,
emotional, ethical, mental, material and/or spiritual relationship.
In the realm of the strictly physical and material, it can
be defined as the amalgam of laws that rule and uphold the Cosmos - the laws
of chemistry, physics, biology, etc. It is what is real, accurate and factual.
Without Asha, scientifically the use of verifiable repeatable experiments to
establish scientific theory, laws and facts would not work, for Asha is the Ordering
Principle of the Universe. It's this, for example, what makes water always freeze
at the same temperature, under the same pressure and chemical composition. Thus
it is also 'Precision'.
In the ethical and emotional sense, it means what is good
for existence, what is the right thing to do, what is in harmony with God's Order
or Plan, and thus what is in harmony with God's will. It is in this sense that
it is closer to righteousness and justice, but even here it has other meanings
as, I pointed out in the previous sentence. It is in the mental sense that Asha
is more like what science finds about creation, it is Reality itself and in the
strictly spiritual sense, is more like truth, objective truth, but it includes
Objective Right and Objective Reality. In all these senses it is opposed to
Druj as delusion, illusion and falsehood. But if there is one definition that
encompasses all of these shades, it is Asha as Order, It is Order of what is
Right, True and Real. All in a nut shell, it is The True and Right Order of Things,
The framework of Science Ethics, Religion and Reality.
The indwelling of Deity in existence is better shown and grasped in Asha and
Fire. For Asha clearly indwells all existence and makes it possible, as many
laws such as Gravity, that keeps matter together, and as Osmosis, which allows
the oxygenation of blood through breathing. Asha makes possible everything we
see, hear and smell, and every breath we take. It is a clear example of why the
Yatha Ahu insists that through Asha and Vohu Manah, the deeds of life are done
for the Most Wise Creator. In Xianity we see this teaching, that is inferred
in the Gathas and their terminology as well. Especially in Paul, when he quotes
a Greek philosopher, talking about the Unknown God and says:"In Him we move,
live and have our being".
In Sikhism as well, we see the same thing, for example; Guru Nanak prefixed the
numeral one (ik) to it, making it Ik Oankar or Ekankar, to stress God's oneness.
God is named and known only through his Own immanent nature. The only name which
can be said to truly fit God's transcendent state, is Sat (Sanskrit Satnam, Truth),
the changeless and timeless Reality. God is transcendent and all-pervasive at
the same time. Transcendence and immanence are two aspects of the same single
Supreme Reality. The Reality is immanent in the entire creation, but the creation
as a whole fails to contain God fully. As says Guru Tegh Bahadur, Nanak IX, "He
has himself spread out His Own "maya" (worldly
illusion), which He oversees; many different forms He assumes in many colours,
yet He stays independent of all" (SGGS, 537).
Mazda Ahura's relationship with Asha: The Gathas tell
us that Mazda Ahura is the source of Asha (Song 9:3) and As 4:7, 8, 13, 21; 5:2,
9; 6:6; 7:6; 8:2, 4, 10,14, 16; 9:15, 17; 10:4, 6, 8 & 10; 11:9; 13:6, 9; 14:6,
7; 16:16) is also a part of His/Hers very own nature, His/Hers very own Essence.(Songs
Asha is primarily Truth and Order and Righteousness. Actually
even more what is right, than what is righteousness in the sense of justice,
or in the sense of being right with God. Truth is not in the sense of not lying,
not that we encourage lying, but its more in the sense of Reality, as opposed
to lllusion. Order is in the sense of harmony and concert. It carries a secondary,
but strong meaning of artistry, balance, beauty and precision.
It is pertinent to note here that in the Gathas, Zarathushtra
shows us the relationship between Mazda Ahura and all His Essences, as well as
the relationship between each of His Essences. What emerges is an exquisite Divine
interwoven tapestry, and one realizes that Mazda Ahura can only be understood
through His essences.
Most translators dispute as to what is the best word to translate
Asha (as well as many other terms in Gathic), but to the question Truth or Right,
I believe we must answer as follows. The relationship of Mazda Ahura and His/hers
Essences, makes it necessary for us to realize that in order to truly understand
any given passage in the Gathas, which refers to any one of the Essences, one
must look very closely to determine which is most fitting in the relevant context.
This is one of the techniques that Zarathushtra uses to make us think reflectively
about the Gathas, and is one of the reasons it is a "Manthra", a thought-provoking
When one does that the logical conclusion is to expand or amplify the translation
to give a more comprehensive understanding by the reader of meaning of the Gathas,
In short I believe only an Amplified translation is suitable , in fact we can
only give the meaning of the Gathas and not at least not in modern languages
a truly literal translation of the Gathas. However we must understand the literal
meaning as close as possible if we are to render the meaning of the Gathas and
not just invent a suitable , to us, version, It HAS TO BE A BALANCE.
Asha and other philosophies: Asha can also be understood
in terms of other religious concepts. It is somewhat like the Tao, in that it
rules and sustains the Cosmos, and it includes a Law of the Mean, which tends
to balance things out. It is like Karma, in the sense that it includes a law
of just returns. It is also, like Dharma, the way of right actions.
But it is not "the Absolute" as Tao is. It is rather an Essence
of the absolute and fashioned by it. It differs from Karma in that it does not
assign a "debt" for actions beyond one life time, but allows for independent
circumstances, working through its law of the mean, to give each one, above and
beyond just one life time, his just desserts.
Furthermore, Asha is not impersonal. It is loving and part
of a Loving God and designer of the Cosmos. Thus it's unlike all three - Tao,
Karma and Dharma. It also has some aspects that may be similar to the Torah,
but it is not prescriptive, it is not really a law, it is more - "A Principle
Questions and/or opinions? You're welcome
on the discussion pages! (continue)