1. AND the angel of God appeared in the midst of the circle, in sar'gis, and talked with them face to face. And Hog said unto the angel: Of a truth, I know thou art not mortal, and yet thou hast the semblance of flesh, and limbs, and arms, and a very body, and art clothed withal, and thy clothes are like mortal clothes.
2. Now I tell thee face to face, I believe thou art no angel of the dead, but a very reflected self-substance, produced out of the substance of my father. How sayest thou? The angel answered, saying:
3. Mortal words cannot convince thee; neither the words of a spirit. Behold, I will show thee a friend of thine who is dead. With that, the angel showed the spirit of Hog's friend who was dead, and the man's name was Aara-acta; and so Hog said unto him:
4. Thou art a very counterpart of him I knew. What is thy name? The spirit answered: Aara-acta! I tell thee, O Hog, these things are true. I am the spirit of thy friend; yea, I am that very friend. Hog said: Where dwellest thou? Where hast thou been? Art thou happy? Hast thou visited all the heavens?
5. The spirit answered him, saying: I dwell on the earth even as before death; around about. I am happy; the glory of my present world surpasseth the earth. I have not visited the highest heavens. I am only as yet in the first resurrection. Up above us there are heavens where all the people are Gods and Goddesses. I cannot go there; they are too white. The spirit then disappeared, and Hog said:
6. What I have seen I have seen; what I have heard I have heard. Yet I believe not that I have seen a spirit nor heard one. A spirit must in reason be thin and subtle and air-like.
7. Then spake the angel of God, saying: How shall I please this man, O Ormazd? This day I showed myself in the door of the hut, thin and subtle and air-like, and he saw me not, nor heard me. Who can find a way to open this man's soul to Thy Wisdom, O Ormazd?
8. Now spake Yu-tiv: Great is the glory of Thy angel, O Ormazd! Heavenly are the spirits of the dead. Welcome, O ye angels of heaven! Then spake Whe-ish, saying: Even the lowest of heavens hath great glory! O the delight to dwell in such a paradise! Then Vus spake, saying: Such wisdom and truth! What are Thy kingdoms, O Father, when even the first heaven hath such glory. Git-un said: Because I have lived to behold these things, I will proclaim Thy wonders, O Ormazd, as long as I live! Vede said: Truth is Thy mightiest work, O Ormazd! Oos said: How wisely hast Thou framed Thy worlds, O Ormazd! Even Thy lowest of angels are a delight of my soul! Next spake Sa-it; he said: Give us of Thy abundance, O Ormazd. Open wide the gates of the lower heavens. I will p. 356 take Thy angels to my arms and rejoice forever!
9. Brahma then came out of his trance, though he had heard and seen all. He said: Whoever cometh that can make me better, and show me how most to benefit Thy world, him, O Ormazd, send Thou unto me. And, lo, first of all, Brahma was answered! A light, bright as a sun, stood in the midst of the circle, and it was higher than the clouds, and displayed a staff on which was a banner of gold and silver; and on the banner, stars clustered to spell the words, Love, Wisdom and Power!
10. Presently the scene changed, and the angel of God said: He that spake last (Brahma) hath been answered first, because his words reached to the Fountain Head. Wheresoever ye send your prayers, there are ye answered. To which end I will now open the gates of the lower heavens, and ye shall witness what ye may.
11. The angel withdrew all the lights around about, so that great darkness might be upon the circle. Presently, Yu-tiv started as if affrighted somewhat. Then Vus sprang up, saying: What was that? And then another started, till presently all but Brahma and Hog were wild and startled, whispering: What do mine eyes behold! O that foul smell! O that vulgar touch! And then one screamed; and another, and another, until all broke and fled, screaming and crying out in fear and distress; flying in the darkness of the grove, frantic; almost dead with fear!
12. Hog ran not; saw nothing to fear; heard nothing to dread; felt nothing to make him ashamed.
13. And his father, Brahma, ran not, nor was afraid, and the twain called to the rest, pleaded, coaxed and called in vain; could not stop them; could not find them in the darkness. They returned to the hut, Brahma and Hog; saw the torches burning brightly, and came in and found Yu-tiv and her sons huddled together in each other's arms, white and pale as death.
14. Hog asked the reason. Yu-tiv said: Sh----, are they gone? Sh----, keep them away! Then spake Vus, saying: O my brother, ask not what we saw! Ask not what we felt, and what felt us! These things would not be lawful to mention! Say no more, in heaven's name! The air of heaven is full of demons (drujas).
15. Now spake Vede, saying: Alas, O my father, I dropped the holy book, the Veda I am writing. In my fright I let it fall. It is not sized yet, and should it rain ere morning, the holy words will be lost! And not for a thousand worlds would I go back to the grove this night. Oos said: Nor I, for a thousand worlds! Whe-ish said: For all the gold and silver in the world I would not go there this night.
16. So they all spake save Hog, and with all the love they bore for Ormazd's words, nothing doubting they were His very words, not one would venture amongst the evil spirits they had seen, to recover the book.
17. Then spake Brahma, saying: For many generations Ormazd hath labored for this; I will go myself; I know He will protect me at all times and in all places. And Brahma rose up to depart; but then spake Hog, saying: Nay, father; thou art old; I am fresh and young, and withal, know there are no spirits but in the imagination of men. I will go alone!
18. Nor will I bear a lantern nor a torch; nor will I whistle nor sing. I will confront all the evil spirits of hell and their captains. I will recover that book this night though I scrape every leaf from Ebon grove! And mark ye, too, I will return unscathed; nor will I see nor hear a spirit the while I am gone. So, Hog and Brahma only were fearless.
19. With that Hog departed, and after a while he returned, rejoicing, bringing the book; and he said: I neither saw nor heard a spirit, and I declare unto you, that none of you saw nor heard them, for there are none. By the extreme bent of your minds, these imaginings seem real. And as to the great Light, with the words, Love, Wisdom and Power, which I also saw, I say unto you it is some emanation from this, our holy and most loved father. How oft have we heard him use those same words! And as to those figures that talked, and had the semblance of men and women, even to their garments, I say unto you all, they emanate from the same source, even from our father, even Brahma.
20. Now spake Yu-tiv, saying: O happy unbelief, my son! O that I had been born as thou! O that I had never seen such sights as I saw this night!
21. Then said Oos: O happy brother, our youngest born! Would that I were like unto thee! O the vulgarity of those hands that came upon me this night!
22. Vus said: O that I had never p. 357 known the unseen world! O that I had been born in darkness like unto thee, our most favored brother!
23. After that manner they all spake deploringly of their gift of su'is; and when they had thus spoken, the angel of God spake through Brahma, saying: Whilst it is yet night, I speak. With the dawn, at sunrise, is the Father's Voice. Hear me, then, briefly, expecting not much wisdom, for I am not long born in heaven.
24. Two great men created the Creator, the Faithist and the unbeliever; the one who hath passed through the trials of the flesh, and attained to the Father's Voice; for in becoming one with the Father, he no longer standeth in fear of anything in heaven or earth. The glory of constant resurrection is before him forever.
25. All men who have not attained to this may be likened unto a man going up a slippery hillside, who oft riseth high, but suddenly slideth low. They glorify themselves for their own light and wisdom and good gifts, rejoicing for self-sake for the glories that have fallen upon them. But they are cowards.
26. Nevertheless, the Creator created a great man amongst these; and such is the unbelieving man. He hath neither gold nor silver, nor house nor land; and he is without spiritual sight or spiritual hearing; but his glory is in understanding his own understanding.
27. He it is that subdueth the forest, and tameth the beasts of the field to man's service. He goeth alone in the dark, fearing naught. He followeth not the course of any man, but searcheth for himself; the priest cannot make him believe, nor can the angels of heaven; none can subdue his judgment. He beholdeth the glory of the earth and of manhood. He calleth to the multitude, saying: Why permit ye others, even priests, to think for you? Arise, O thou, and be a man! Arise, O thou, and be a woman!
28. He inspireth of the earth and for the earth; through his arms are tyrants and evil kings overthrown. Through him are doctrines and religions sifted to the bottom, and the falsehood and evil in them cast aside. Yea, who but Ormazd could have created so great a man as the unbeliever?
29. And these two men, the Faithist and the unbeliever, do mostly all the good that is done in the world; the one laboreth at the top of the hill, calling upward; the other laboreth at the bottom of the hill, pushing upward.
Next: God's First Book: Chapter XX