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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 life.

Alternatively, for the soul of a deceitful and wicked individual, the experience becomes difficult and painful through the wrath of its own evil nature.

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 Judgment.

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