1. DURING the night, Pon'yah, King of the Sun, bethought him that perhaps he might obtain the secrets of Zarathustra, as regards his powers with uz, and he sent him the following message, to wit: If thou wilt reveal the secrets of thy power to thy king, thy life shall be spared; and if thou wilt prostrate thyself before the King of Kings, saying: There is none higher! thou shalt have five cities to rule over all thy days.
2. To which Zarathustra sent back the following reply, to wit: Zarathustra p. 244b hath no secrets to reveal; neither desireth he five cities, nor one city, to rule over. To-morrow I shall die, and on the following night thou also shalt die. And yet, erst thou diest, thou shalt see the temple of the stars rent in twain and fall down; and the city of Oas shall fall and rise no more; and Ya'seang, in Jaffeth, shall become KING OF THE SUN, and his dynasty shall stand thousands of years.
3. The king was surprised at such an answer, and so angered that he smote the messenger with his sling, and he fell dead, and the king ordered his body to be cast into the den of lions.
4. It was near the middle of the night when the body was brought, and Zarathustra, being tall, saw above the wall, and he called out, saying: Cast not the body into the dens with the lions; for I will call him to life in the name of Ormazd. And the men laid the body down by the outer wall, and Zarathustra said: He that is standing by the body shall lay his hand upon it, for the power of life is through life.
5. And the man laid his hand on the flesh of the man's body betwixt the neck and the back, and Zarathustra said: The words I say, say thou also: LIFE OF THY LIFE, O ORMAZD! Restore Thou this, Thy Son, to life!
6. And, lo and behold, the man awoke to life, and opened his eyes, and presently rose up; and Zarathustra bade him depart out of the city. Now the arrest and condemnation of Zarathustra had caused thousands of people to assemble around about the prison; and they beheld the man restored to life; and some of them went with him out of the city. And all night, after that, Zarathustra healed the sick, and restored the blind and deaf, by calling over the walls in the name of the Father.
7. When it was near sunrise, the next morning, the place of the executions was crowded with spectators. Many of the Zarathustrians believed that Zarathustra would liberate himself by the power upon him; and on the other hand, the king's people, especially the learned, desired to realize his execution, for they denounced him as an imposter.
8. The latter said: If he be the Master of the I'huans, let him prove his powers whilst he is hanging by the feet.
9. It was the law of Oas to keep twelve executioners, representing twelve moons, and at sunrise every morning they put to death whoever had been adjudged to death the previous day. Now, there were in prison with Zarathustra two thieves, condemned to the same ignoble death. And they were weeping and moaning! Zarathustra said to them: Weep not, nor moan, but rather rejoice. He Who gave you life is still with you. He will provide another and better home for your souls.
10. Behold, I weep not, nor moan. They who put us to death know not what they do. Rather should the multitude pity them than us. Ye shall this day escape from the tyrany of Oas.
11. Zarathustra preached till high noon, and when the light fell on the top of the temple (of the stars) the twelve executioners entered the prison and bound the prisoners' hands together behind their backs; then with another rope they tied the feet, bringing the rope up the back of the legs and passing it betwixt the arms; and they carried the end of the rope up over a beam and down again; and the executioners seized the rope and pulled upon it. And they swung the bodies of the victims high above the walls and made fast, leaving them hanging there.
12. Thus was Zarathustra hung betwixt two thieves; and whilst he was yet alive a bolt of light fell upon the temple of the stars, and it was rent in twain, and fell to the ground. And when the dust rose it was as a cloud that magnified itself, till the air of the whole city was choking; and there came another bolt of light, and, lo and behold, the walls of the city fell down, and Zhoo'das perished in the chamber of the wall.
13. The multitude ran for the king; and when they brought him out of the palace, another bolt of light fell on the palace, and it was crumbled into dust. The king called to his guards, but they obeyed him not, but fled; and so, the multitude slew the king.
14. The learned men then went down to the place of executions, and Zarathustra was not yet dead; but the two thieves were dead. And Zarathustra said unto the learned men: Now will I give up my body, and behold, ye p. 246b shall say I am dead. Let the executioners then take down my body and cast it into the lions' den, and ye shall witness that they will not eat of my flesh. And some shall say: Behold, the lions are not hungry. Thereupon shall ye cast in the bodies of the two thieves, and lo, the lions will fall upon them and eat their flesh.
15. Then shall the learned men say: Behold, Zarathustra's virtue laid in different flesh. Now I declare unto you, these things are not of the flesh, but of the spirit. For angels shall gather about my body and prevent the lions from tearing my flesh. Of which matter ye shall prove before the multitude; for in the time the lions are devouring the flesh of the thieves, the angels will go away from my body, and, behold, the lions will return and eat of my flesh also. Whereby it shall be proved to you that even lions, the most savage of beasts, have spiritual sight, and are governed by the unseen world, even more than man.
16. When Zarathustra had thus spoken to the learned men, he spake to the Father, saying: Receive Thou my soul, O Ormazd! And his spirit departed out of the body, and in that same moment the whole earth shook and trembled, and many houses fell down. So they cast the body into one of the dens, wherein were seventeen lions, but they fled from the body. Then the executioners cast in the bodies of the thieves, and, lo and behold, the lions fell upon them instantly.
17. And when the angels went away from Zarathustra's body, the lions returned to it and ate also. And the keepers turned in other lions, and all the flesh was eaten. And the multitude ran and brought the body of Zhoo'das and cast it in, and the lions ate it also. And next day they cast in the king's body, and the lions ate of it, and were appeased of their hunger.
18. Now when it was night, some of the Zarathustrians gathered together at a neighbor's house; and Asha was present, and they formed a living altar in order to pray for the soul of Zarathustra, and for the two thieves, and for Zhoo'das, and, lastly, for the king. And now, came the learned men, saying: Why have ye not, during all these years, notified us of these things? Behold, Zarathustra is dead! Asha said:
19. Have I not carried the alms-bowl publicly, proclaiming them from day p. 247b to day? And the learned people said: Pity, old Asha! A knave hath dethroned his reason! Now I declare unto you, it is the same now as in the olden time; the learned men are farther away from the Father than are those devouring lions. Ye look into the corporeal world for light, and truth, and power, but are blind to the spirit, which underlieth all things. I declare unto you, whether it be heat or light, or disease, that floateth in the air, or growth that cometh out of the air, in all things it is the unseen that ruleth over the seen. And more powerful than heat and light, and life and death, is Ormazd, the Person of all things.
20. Till ye have learned this, I can explain nothing that ye can comprehend. And yet, to know this, is the beginning of the foundation of everlasting happiness.
21. Whilst Asha was thus speaking, behold, the soul of Zarathustra came and stood before them, and he was arrayed in the semblance of his own flesh and color, and in his own clothes. And he spake, saying: Fear not; I am the same that was with you and was hanged and died, whose flesh was devoured by the lions; I am Zarathustra! Marvel not that I have the semblance of a corporeal body, for its substance is holden together by the power of my spirit. Neither is this a miracle, for the spirits of all the living hold in the same way, each its own corporeal body. As iron attracteth iron, the spirit learneth to attract from the air a corporeal body of its like and measure.
22. Then inquired one who was present: Where are the two thieves? To which Zarathustra said: As steam riseth from boiling water, without shape or form, so are their souls this hour. For this reason was I sent into the world by the Father. Let him who would become controller of his own spirit unto everlasting life, learn the Ormazdian law, seeking to grow in spirit, instead of living for the things of this world.
23. Behold, there are here present Lords of the Hosts of Heaven, who are Sons and Daughters of the Most High Ormazd, the Creator. They will now gather together and reclothe the thieves, and show you of what like they are. Presently the two drujas, the thieves who were hanged with p. 248b Zarathustra, stood before the people in sar'gis, and they raved, and cursed, and moaned; but they were blind and dumb as to the place. Then Asha inquired of them, as to who they were and what they wanted, but they only cursed him, and added that they were to be hanged.
24. Asha said: Behold, ye are already dead, and your spirits risen from the earth! To which they replied by curses against the king. And now the Lords of heaven sat up the spirit of the king, but he knew not that he was dead, and he cursed also; whereupon the spirits of the thieves fell upon him with evil intent, and all the people beheld these things. But the Lords of heaven took away the sar'gis, and the drujas could not be seen more by mortals.
25. Zarathustra said: As in the earth they were angered and dumb, they cling to the earth. For which reason ye shall sing anthems and pray for them three mornings at sunrise; three high-noons, and three evenings at sunset. Do ye this also, henceforth, forever, for three days, for all your kindred who die, or who are slain.
26. And ye shall utter only words of love for the dead; for whosoever uttereth curses for the dead, bringeth drujas upon himself. In your love and forgiveness do ye raise them out of the torments of hell. And inasmuch as ye raise up others, so doth Ormazd raise up your own souls.
27. One who was present asked how long a spirit lingered around about? To which Zarathustra said: Some for three days, some for a year, some for a hundred years, and some for a thousand years! Until they have wisdom and strength to get away. But after three days ye shall no longer desire the spirit of the dead to remain with you; rather shall ye say to Ormazd: Deal Thou with him and with us in Thine Own Way, O Father; we are content. Better is it for the spirits that ye call them not back from the higher heavens down to the earth; better for you is it, that ye remember them high up in paradise; for these thoughts will enable you to rise after ye are dead.
28. Remember that All Light answereth everything in heaven and earth after its own manner: If ye kill, ye are answered in torments sooner or later: If ye utter falsehood, ye are p. 249b answered in falsehood: If ye curse, ye will be cursed in return: If ye hate, ye will be hated: If ye seclude yourselves, ye will be excluded: If ye keep evil company in this world, ye will be bound in evil company in heaven: As ye seek to become a leader of men, remember that they whom ye rule over will be your burden in heaven: If ye teach not, ye shall not be taught: If ye lift not others up, none will lift you up: For in all things the same rule applieth in heaven as on earth, for it is a continuation in spirit of that which is practiced in the flesh.
Next: Book of God's Word: Chapter XXX