Ashem Vohu – As Explained By Zarathushtra
The following excerpt shares Zarathushtra Himself explaining the meaning and the significance of our omnipotent prayer, ‘Ashem Vohu’, as received by Him, directly from Ahura Mazda…
“The prayer, Ashem Vohu is in praise of righteousness and wishing to know how this prayer stood in the mind of our Lord, I asked Him about it…
(Hadokhto Nask Yasna 21) O Ahuramazda! Most munificent spirit, creator of the settlements supplied with creatures, righteous one! In whom alone is Thy word, the enunciation of all good, of all that is of rightful origin!
Ahuramazda answered me: In the Ashem-reciter, O Zarathushtra!
O Gracious Lord! What is the one recital of the Ashem which is worth a thousand of the other recitals of the Ashem ingreatness and goodness and excellence?
Ahuramazda answered me. That, indeed, O righteous Zarathushtra! Which a man recites as the Ashem, starting up from sleep and going to sleep again, praising good thoughts and good words and good deeds, renouncing evil thoughts, and evil words and evil deeds.
O Gracious Lord! What is the one recital of the Ashem which is worth the whole region of Qaniratha, with cattle and with wealth in humankind, in greatness and goodness and excellence?
Ahuramazda answered me: That, indeed, O righteous Zarathushtra! Which a man recites as the Ashem at the extreme end of life, praising good thoughts and good words and good deeds, renouncing all evil thoughts and evil words and evil deeds.
The Ashem Vohu prayer brings to us, in short, the great blessings of Ashoi (righteousness) which is not only good, but is the highest blessing our Lord has bestowed on man. For the prayer itself tells us that righteousness is man’s best acquisition. It is happiness, when he is righteous for the sake of righteousness. In other words, wealth can give one only temporary happiness, but righteousness is a permanent acquisition and goes to the other world with you as your most precious asset. It is the only true path to God.
The supreme bliss which lies in Ashoi, comes to those who practise it for its own sake, for the pure love of it without thought of fear or favour. For as you must know, our Lord is the supreme Ashoi and appears at the head of all His creation. It is the changeless eternal law of God and obeying this, we can progress towards our destined fulfilment.
From this, one can see the power of the Ashem Vohu prayer, as it is built around one of the most important tenets of our religion and so should be said when one goes to sleep and on awakening, to protect us at night from harm and to see us through our working day. Above all, it would be of the highest value, if we could say these prayers with our last breath, even as we leave this world. For thus we prove that we have expressed our faith in our Lord and in His teachings of the good life.”