He lives best, who lives virtuously. Orderly, well-balanced life is virtuous life. Virtue shines equally bright in a palace or in a cottage. Virtue in rags makes the rags rich. Glittering raiments affect not virtue. The soul looks at its best when it is clad in virtue. With the death of man, everything his dies to him. Virtue only survives his bodily death. Knowledge shines, but virtue outshines it. Virtue is the light of the soul, as knowledge is the light of the mind. Virtue is woman’s matchless jewel. It is man’s incomparable wealth. Virtue is the most fragrant flower paradise planted on earth. Virtue is the vivifying spirit of religion.
There is no contagion equal to that of vice. Like a snake unfolding his black coils to attack his victim, vice opens its war upon man’s soul. Man’s slumbering passions are roused. The storm of passions agitates his mind. The passions run high. They are incited. The war in man’s inner world rages at its fever height. Passions burst their bounds and enslave man’s reason, the seed of vice germinates and man loses himself in vice. He lives his life more in terms of the senses than of the mind. The only pleasures in life that he knows now are those of the senses. His morals decay. Voluptuous luxury eats at his heart. Day by day he slides deeper and deeper into the yawning abyss of vice. He carouses all night long to sate his animal passions. He plunges himself into the slough of sensuality. He floats on the dirty waters of vice. He sinks into the mire of stinking filth akin to the slime and stench of a sewer that has burst. Vice breeds corruption to which both his body and soul succumb. His heart stoops to the deepest depths of baseness. Even at his worst, if he strives and struggles to subdue the carnal in him, he is not past hope of saving himself. But none can save him, if he does not save himself. He violates Mazda’s commandments without compunction and turns a moral wreck. He drags those depending upon him down in his own ruin.
Let me not seek and judge my neighbor’s faults. Erring myself, I have no right to judge my erring neighbor. Let me not talk slander about others. Let me turn my gaze within me to see if vice lurks at my own door. If there is just one wolf prowling at the gate of the fold which has a Thousand sheep, the life of all is in danger. Let me watch and protect my soul from the germs of its disease. Let me fight them and kill them if there are any, before they overpower my soul and bring its decay. Let me not condemn my neighbor as sinner, arrogating saintly virtues to me. Let me never forsake virtue and let me never court vice and I am saved. Let me be virtuous, but let me not rest by being virtuous myself. My active duty as a true Zoroastrian is to make incessant effort to widen the vista of virtue around me. Let me not again be satisfied by abstaining from vice, but let me actively fight and scourge vice wherever it is found.
Virtuously will I live my life not for the lure of any reward, nor for the fear of censure of public opinion or the ultimate retribution in the next life. I will be virtuous, because I must. I will embrace virtue and live virtuous life, for virtue’s own sake, for the sake of human dignity, Ahura Mazda.