Life After Death
The Zarathushtrian doctrine of Life after death is
closely intertwined with the basic notion of Rewards for the Righteous
and Retribution for the Deceitful, a concept that resonates through
the Gathic hymns.
The 9th century text
Dina-I-Mainog-I-Kherad gives a
vividly anthropomorphized account of the events which occur along the
journey of the righteous and a wicked soul after death.
The story starts with the soul arriving on the fourth day
at the Kindvar Bridge (a corrupted term for the Chinvato peretum
mentioned in Gatha) to face a panel of judges Mehr, Srosh and Rashnu.
These divinities are humanized as impartial judges and the text goes
on to say, . his own deeds of a virtuous kind come to him in the form
of a maiden who is more beautiful than every maiden in the world..
The soul of the righteous then asks, . who mayest thou be. to which
the maiden replies, . I am no maiden, I am thy virtuous deeds... In
contrast a wicked soul encounters Aeshma (demon of
wrath) and Astovidhotu (demon of death) and confronts a hideous form
of a maiden. The maiden when questioned to identify herself, answers,
.I am thy deeds, thou monster who are evil-thinking, evil-speaking,
evil-doing, and of evil-religion..
Looking behind this anthropomorphic presentation, it is
clearly implied, that the soul basically judges itself by witnessing
its own acts of life. Depending on the actions performed in the
material world, it is believed that a blissful or a stressful
environment prevails for the soul at this juncture.
It is therefore
inferred, that in principle the transition of a soul, from the
terrestrial existence to the Spiritual domain is made facile and
smooth for the righteous thoughts, words and deeds expressed during
the life. Such a transport is aided through the spirit of love and
friendship (Mithra), following the voice of Mazda
(Srosh) and just
nature (Rashnu) of the person during the physical
Alternatively, for the soul of a deceitful and wicked individual, the
experience becomes difficult and painful through the wrath of its own
This is in keeping with what we read in the Gathas where
the Prophet teaches that he shall cross over the bridge with the
righteous soul, while for those who have swayed from the path of Truth
their soul shall display frustration and anger at the Bridge of