Man can soar higher than man, he can sink lower than animal. In his higher nature, man is like unto angel. His lower nature, he shares with animal. When the senses are asleep in childhood, children are innocent as the white lilies.
When the sex in man is awakened, vice struggles to come on the wings of youthful vigour. Passions and appetites clamour for satisfaction. When man fails to suppress the tumult of the senses and masters not his passions, his passions master him in turn and he becomes a wilful slave and a prisoner in the trammels of his passions. He is now out to wildly enjoy life while it lasts and takes to bad ways. He succumbs to the allurements of the senses and sinks deep into the vortex of dissipation. Dark passions plunge him headlong into the gulf of vice, and he abandons himself to voluptuous and vicious pleasures and to loathsome lust. Vice debases him and drags him down to the life of a sensual beast and he wallows in the slough of swinish sensuality. Vice sets its ineffable print on his face, exhausts his vigour, breaks his health, blasts his character, and hastens his premature death.
Stronger and fairer in body and brighter and purer in mind would mankind have been, had vice poisoned not the springs of man’s life. To vice of ages are due a considerable proportion of the deformity of body and derangement of mind and a host of foul diseases.
Public opinion is an effective check upon morals and keeps many from vice. Conscience condemns the vicious person and bites at his heart, but callous when he grows, he feels not its qualms. Hardened in vice, such a one becomes a daeva or demon in flesh during life and dies a demon in the end, says Zarathushtra.
Teach me to shun vice as plague, Ahura Mazda. Give me strength to wrestle with and root out vicious thoughts and inclinations, when they struggle to obtain a lodging in my mind. Enable me to stem the temptations of the flesh. When unruly passions storm the citadel of my soul, help me to grapple with them and overcome them. Kindle my heart with Thy holy flame and consume my vicious passions to ashes. Let vice never have any hold upon me. Make me ever solicitous of my virtuous conduct and enable me always to hold fast to virtue, Ahura Mazda!