HEAVEN AND HELL

HEAVEN AND HELL

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I.          HEAVEN AND HELL AND THEIR LOCATION IN ZOROASTRIANISM AND IN THE VEDAS; and
II. HEAVEN AND HELL AND THEIR LOCATION IN ZOROASTRIANISM AND IN PLATO
 
Sorabji Naoroji Kanga, B.A.
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I.                  HEAVEN AND HELL AND THEIR LOCATION IN ZOROASTRIANISM AND IN THE VEDAS;

And

II.               HEAVEN AND HELL AND THEIR LOCATION IN ZOROASTRIANISM AND IN PLATO

 

Sorabji Naoroji Kanga, B.A.

 

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Two papers first published in 1933 looking at Heaven and Hell in Zoroantrianism on the one hand and the Vedas and Plato on the other.

“The comparative study of religions and philosophies is necessary for the correct understanding of a religion, especially so in the case of a very old religion like the Zoroastrian, and one which has supplied subsequent religions with some of its own fundamental ideas. In an article in Dr. Sir J. J. Modi Commemorative Volume, published in 1930, entitled "The Spenta Mainyu in the Gathas, the source of Fravashis in the Avesta and of the Logos in Christianity", the usefulness of comparative studies has been amply illustrated. As another example of a similar nature I may mention my attempt to trace "The Gathic Doctrine of Dualism in Aristotle" from the Metaphysics of Aristotle, Ch. VI, Book VI, and pub­lished in the "Indo-Iranian Studies" brought out in 1925 in honour of the late Dastur Darab P. Sanjana. The Dialogues of Plato again give abundant evidence for comparison with certain doctrines of Zoroastrianism. For instance, in the Phaedo, we come across ideas about heaven and hell, which vividly remind us of similar ideas in the Zoroastrian literature. In fact, so vivid is the comparison, that .Jowett in his Introduction to the Phaedo states that Plato describes the soul and her attendant genius in the language of the mysteries or of a disciple of Zoroaster…..Some time back I had the pleasure of reading a paper before the Gatha Society on " 'The Ideas of Heaven and Hell-and their Location-in Zoroastrianism and in the Vedas", and which appears in this publication as Part 1. The present paper forms Part II: of the comparison which we seek to institute between Zoroastrian and other writings. In the former paper we had seen at great length the abstract and ethical meaning of the terms good and evil, of heaven and hell, and the import of subjective rewards and punishments, both in this life and in the life hereafter. We therefore do not enter into them again in this paper, beyond emphasizing that the Zoroas­trian writings talk of states of existence for weal or woe, of Vahishtem Ahum or Achishtem Ahum, for the soul. For the above reason the Gathas do not countenance the idea of a material heaven or hell, and cannot and do not talk of their supposed location anywhere in the Universe. In the present paper, we try to see what we can find on the subject of heaven and hell, and their location from the Phaedo, one of Plato's Dialogues. Before I proceed with that subject, I may state that the compari­son between the Zoroastrian and Vedic accounts would take us to that period of time when, before the Aryan schism occurred, the forefathers of the Zoroastrians and the Indians lived in a common land under the common appellation of Aryans. Thus there was not much of borrowing in the accounts by anyone party from the other. But in the case of the Zoroastrian and Greek accounts it would seem that there has been a borrowing by the Greeks from the Zoroastrian writings. We gather this fact from a perusal of the various Dialogues of Plato. I had occasion in my former paper to state that in the opinion of B. Jowett, M.A., as given in his Intro­duction to his translation of the Phaedo, Plato has described the "Soul and her attendant genius in the language of the mysteries or of a disciple of Zoroaster". “

 

 

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