All flesh is one and whole mankind shares its oneness. Flesh in its make knows no degree of purity and righteousness. Religion imparts not exclusive holiness to its adherents. Purity of thought and purity of words and purity of deeds, regardless of caste or colour or creed, make men and women holy or unholy, righteous or wicked. Not birth in any particular religious fold, but worth and worth alone counts in the court of God, who is one and the same God of all mankind, though known by many and different names.
All religions teach that mankind is the one family of God and all men and women, to whatever religion they belong, are brothers and sisters. Religions, in their pristine purity, preach unity. At later periods in the history of religions, when conventional socio-religious customs and observations and practices pass for religion, theologies and dogmas begin to work more as separative influences than as factors of unity. Tradition, in its proverbial tyranny, compels all to conform to conventional, socio-religious creed.
In our exaggerated notion of our religious piety, we have learnt to attach impurity to any intercourse with non-Zoroastrians while we pray or perform ceremonies. The proximity of men and women of alien faiths, we brand as impure. The merest touch of theirs is defiling and the veriest of their shadow spells pollution to all our holy things. Unknowingly have we come to know and speak and write of all non-Zoroastrians as darvands.
Darvand, in its original Avestan form – ‘dregvant’, means ‘wicked.’ It is an ethical appellation of unrighteous persons. Angra Mainyu, the Evil Spirit, is a ‘dregvant’ or ‘darvand’ or wicked, as Spenta Mainyu, the Good Spirit, is ‘ashavan’ or righteous.
Thou Ahura Mazda, dost recognize only two classes among mankind, the ‘ashavan’ or righteous and the ‘dregvant,’ ‘darvand’ or wicked, to whatever religion they may belong. Those alone among Zoroastrians, who think good thoughts, speak good words and do good deeds are ‘ashavan’ or righteous in Thy sight. Those who don Sudrah and Kusti, the sacred shirt and girdle, and call themselves the Mazda worshipping Zoroastrians, yet think evil thoughts and speak evil words and do evil deeds, are ‘darvands’ or wicked. Those that profess to be good Mazdayasnians, but whose conduct gives the lie to their profession, are themselves ‘darvands,’ wicked indeed!