Charles Reed Peers.

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having received conclusive answers on all these points he
was struck with amazement. The great king therefore as-
signed to the prophet of the just Lord a dwelling adjacent
to his own palace, and the philosophers departed home
with afflicted hearts. During the whole night they read
over books with each other, and concerted with each other
how they might, the following morning, conduct the argu-
ment and controversy with Zardusht ; while the prophet
of the Lord on coming to his house, according to his cus-
tom, desisted not until morning from acts of worship and
praise. The following day, when Zardusht and the phi-
losophers assembled around the king, whatever the sages
advanced which was not strictly conformable to truth, Zar-
dusht produced a hundred arguments, both theoretical and
practical, to invalidate the assertion ; and if they demanded
a proof of whatever he himself advanced, he adduced a
hundred convincing demonstrations. Gushtasp accordingly
increased the dignity of the Lord's prophet, and inquired
his name, lineage, and native city ; to which questions
Zardusht returned the meet answer and said : " O great
king, to-morrow is the day of llormuz. or the first of the
month ; command the chiefs of the military to assemble
and all the philosophers to appear, that I may reduce all
to silence, as I have done this assembly, and give answers
which will dumbfound them ; after which I shall execute
the commission with which 1 am intrusted.^*



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 131

Gushtasp issued the requisite order, and they all returned
home with this agreement. Zardusht, from inclination and
habit, continued in supplication to the Lord ; and the wise
men said to each other : " This stranger has twice degraded
us wise men, taken away our reputation, and obtained fa-
vor with the king. '^ They therefore conferred with each
other how they could most effectually oppose Zardusht and
refute his arguments. —

« With this understanding each retired to his own abode,
And through anxiety not one of them slept all that night."

On the third day, the nobles, doctors, and wise men as-
sembled around the king, and Zardusht also advanced into
the company : although the sages and learned men had mu-
tually combined to confound him by argument, they were
all finally refuted. Wlien the philosophers were no longer
able to utter a word, the superior personages gave place to
Zardusht, on w^hich the prophet of the Lord loosed his
tongue and said to Gushtasp : ^* I am the envoy of the Lord
the Creator of the heavens, earth, and stars; the disinter-
ested bestower of daily food to his servant: he who has
brought thee from non-existence into being and made kings
thy servants has sent me to thee.^^ Then taking the Avesta
and Zand out of a case, he added : '* This volume God has
given to me, and sent me forth to the human race with
the commandments named Astatvazatid., which require im-
plicit obedience ; if thou wilt conform to the commands of
God, in like manner as he has made thee sovereign of the
world, he will also make thee eternally happy in futurity
and paradise; but if thou avert the head from his com-
mand, thou incurrest the displeasure of the just God; the
foundation of thy greatness shall be rent, and thou shalt
finally become a denizen of hell.

< Adopt no line of conduct through the suggestion of a Div.
From this time forward listen to my commands.* '*

The great king replied : *^ What proof dost thou adduce,
and what miracle dost thou perform? exhibit them, that I
may instantly diffuse thy faith over all the world.'* Zar-
dusht said : " One of my decisive proofs and miraculous



132 THE DABISTAN

works is this volume, on once listening to which thou shalt
never more behold demon or magician : this volume con-
tains the mysteries of both w^orlds, and clearly expounds
the revolutions of the stars : there is no being in existence
an account of which is not found in this book.^* The king
then commanded: *^Read me a section of this heavenly vol-
ume.** Zardusht having read one chapter, Gushtasp not
feeling a full conviction, said to him: ^* Thou hast urged a
bold suit ; but precipitancy in such an affair is by no means
proper; I shall devote some days to exploring the nature of
the Zand-Avesta: but in the meantime come thou hither
as usual." Zardusht then

« Returned to the house assigned him by the king.'*

The enraged philosophers also came out and took counsel
with each other about slaying Zardusht, The following
morning, when Zardusht left the house to go to the king's
palace, he delivered the key of his apartment to the king's
porter; but the philosophers so deluded this man, that he
gave up the key secretly to them ; on which they opened
the door of the prophet's apartment, and having put into
bags unclean things w^hich they had collected, such as
blood, hair, a cat's head, a dog's head, dead men's bones
and the like, placed them under his pillow, and having
locked the door, gave the key back to the porter, previously
obliging him to swear to keep the matter altogether secret;
after this they w^ent to the palace, where they beheld Zar-
dusht seated near the king, who was engaged in reading
the Zand-Avesta^




Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 13 of 37)