Book of the Arc of Bon Chapters 9 and 10
1. When Capilya had come to Wes-tu-chaw-aw, Jehovih said to him: Send messengers
into twelve colonies which I will name to thee, to the chief rab’bahs thereof, summoning
them hither, for thou shalt teach them alike and like.
2. The colonies were: Tahdayis, L’wellaat, Ha’darax, Thowaka, Dormstdatta, Ghiballatu,
Yhon, Themmista, Vrach’hao, Ebotha, Ewen and Sravat, and each of them sent the high
priest (rab’bah) with three accompanying rab’bahs, so that in all, there were thirteen chief
rab’bahs, and thirty-nine rab’bahs. And Capilya caused them to put on red hats, without
brims, after the custom of the ancient Zarathustrians.
3. Jehovih said to Capilya: Choose thou twenty damsels who are young and well
grown; and twenty dames who have borne children. And these shalt thou adorn with
blue hats with ear-flaps, after the manner of the Daughters of the Zarathustrian law.
4. When Capilya had them clothed with hats and aprons, he caused the rab’bahs and the
women to go with him to the summit of a mountain, so that they might not be approached
by idlers or spectators without due warning. And on the summit of the mountain
Capilya said: When ye were babes, I prayed for you; now that ye are mature ye shall
worship the Creator with your own words. Bring, therefore, every one a stone, and cast
it down, for it shall be an altar before Jehovih for our sacrifice. And as I do, do ye.
5. They all took stones and cast them in a pile; and when they were yet standing near,
Capilya raised his hands to heaven and said: Father, when I was weak, Thou providedst
for me. My mother and my father and my rab’bah prayed for me, and taught me of Thee.
Wherefore I praise Thee with thanks and glorification. Now that I am strong, I stand
upright before Thee and praise Thee and pray to Thee with mine own words, and not as
the heathen who have priests to pray for them.
6. Because Thou madest me a man (woman) I will labor to prove myself before Thee. As
I have here cast down this stone, let it stand as my covenant to Thee that I will from this
time cast away earthly passions and desires. And because I have raised up both my hands
unto Thee, lead Thou me, O Father, in the right way!
7. When they had all repeated these words, Capilya walked once around the altar,
followed by the others, and he said: Jehovih (Ormazd) Almighty, glory be to Thee
forever! Thou art on the mountain-top and in the valley; Thy circle is the circumference
of the world. I walk in the circle with Thee; Thou art forever by my side; Thy light the
glory of my soul. Praise Him, O ye mountains and valleys; sing to Him, thou moon, and
ye stars; His hand holdeth ye up; His breath moveth all things!
8. In Thee I live; of Thyself madest Thou me! O that I may not dishonor Thy
handiwork; or make myself ashamed before Thee. Because Thou art Ever Present, I
fear Thee; because I can not hide from Thee, I will be most circumspect in my behavior.
9. Capilya then sat down on the altar, saying: Go ye hence a little way, and then return,
that I may teach you how to approach the altar of Jehovih. The people did as commanded,
and when they came near, Capilya said: Who cometh?
10. Now herein are the questions and answers as Jehovih taught His children through
11. A worshipper of Jehovih (Ormazd): Behold, the altar of My people, who are known
by their piety and good works, and in helping one another.
12. Who is Jehovih?
13. The Ever Present. He filleth all place and space. He created me alive, and taught me
to adore Him and His works.
14. Why comest thou to this place above any other? If He be Ever Present why not
worship Him in any other place?
15. He sendeth guardian angels to abide with His children who are pure and good. These
angels desire certain places and times, wherein my soul may be given to Jehovih.
Through His holy angels He teacheth me in wisdom and love.
16. Why not worship the angels themselves, since they are thy guardians and benefactors?
17. To call not on the name of any angel who is Lord or God, is my religion; but to call
on Jehovih, the Great Spirit. Whoso calleth on the name of angels, or Lords, or Gods, will
be answered by them, but whoso calleth on the Creator will be answered by Him, Who is
the All Highest.
18. How can Jehovih answer thee? Hath He lips, and tongue, and mouth?
19. Jehovih is the Soul of all things; He speaketh to Soul. His voice hath had many
names; by the heathen and the idolater he is called Conscience.
20. What profit hath thou in worshipping Him?
21. I am so created; because of the fullness of Him in me, I desire to express my
adoration, and to commune with Him. Whoso hath not this desire is an evil man.
22. Will He answer thy prayers? Turn aside from His usual course and come especially to
thee more than to another?
23. As a horse drinketh water from a trough and so enlargeth himself, so doth the soul of
the righteous man drink from the Everlasting Fountain, Jehovih, and the soul of man thus
enlargeth and accomplisheth in answer to its own prayer; nevertheless, it all cometh from
Jehovih. Neither turneth He aside from His usual course, for He is Ever Present, and thus
answereth the prayer of the soul of man.
24. What prayers answereth He? And what prayers answereth He not?
25. He answereth the prayer for purity and love and wisdom and virtue. Whoso prayeth to
Him for permission to do good unto others, He answereth without fail. He answereth not
selfishness, nor the prayers of the wicked. Wherefore the wicked say: He answereth not
26. Capilya said: My beloved, when ye approach the altar of Jehovih, ye shall repeat the
wise words I have taught you; but not aloud like the idolaters, but in whisper or low
27. What is the worship of Jehovih’s chosen? and wherein differeth it from the heathen’s?
28. Jehovih’s chosen stand equal before the Father, and everyone shall work out his own
resurrection, both in this world and the next. Hence they are direct worshippers, being
taught to worship Jehovih with their own prayers and songs. The heathen have priests to
do worship for the people, who contribute to them in money for the service. The heathen
priests worship the spirits of the dead, who call themselves Lord, and God, and Savior.
The chosen children war not, resent not by violence, but answer evil by good, and
practice charity and love. The heathen, the worshippers of God, and of Lord, and of
Dyaus, and all other idols, practice war, maintain armies of soldiers, who are taught the
art of killing with great havoc. They build monuments to men, and otherwise blaspheme
against Jehovih. They teach that Jehovih is void, but that He made Himself into Dyaus, a
large man, and then created all things, after which He retired to His throne, leaving
certain laws to govern His works.
29. What is the Zarathustrian law of life?
30. To eat not flesh of anything Jehovih created with the breath of life. To bathe once
every day. To rise with the morning sun, and be temperate in all things.
31. What is the Zarathustrian fatherhood and motherhood?
32. To have but one wife; to have but one husband; to maintain sacred the maternal
33. What was the Zarathustrian compensation?
34. All things belong to Jehovih; man is but His servant. The fruits of the earth and of
all labor shall be cast into the rab’bah’s house, and by him delivered unto the needy.
35. Why were the Zarathustrians persecuted and destroyed?
36. Because they resisted not by violence, and because they worshipped not the idols of
37. Had they no way of saving themselves?
38. To that end Jehovih gave them certain signs and pass-words, whereby they might
know one another, and in time of distress assist one another to flee away.
39. Why did not Jehovih preserve His chosen people?
40. By the laws of circumcision the Faithists could only marry amongst themselves, in
order to preserve a knowledge of Jehovih (Ormazd) amongst mortals. They who were
holy were preserved; they who went after earthly things, and after the idolaters, were cut
off. But even in this Jehovih profited the seed of the Faithist, by raising up heirs of su’is
amongst the heathen.
41. Capilya said: Teach ye these things to your children from their youth up, and enjoin it
upon them to teach them to their children.
1. Jehovih said to Capilya: Thou shalt remain with My chosen until they have learned
these rites and ceremonies and doctrines; after which thou shalt go to another region
whither I will lead thee, and there teach the same things, and in the same way. And
Capilya obeyed the commandments of the Great Spirit in all these things.
2. In the fifth year of Capilya’s preaching, the voice of Jehovih came to him saying:
Behold, thy foster-father is near death’s door. Go thou to him and have the law of
protection established before his death; and after his death, and when thou art king, thou
shalt ratify the law, and then abdicate the throne.
3. So Capilya returned to Yokovrana, the king, who was ill with fever. The king said: O
my son, my son! I feared I should die ere mine eyes beheld thee. A few days more, and it
will be over with me. Thou wilt be king. Bethink thee, what wouldst thou ask of me,
whilst yet I may accomplish it?
4. Capilya said: Call thy Royal Council and pass a law guaranteeing Brahmins, the
Zarathustrians (Faithists), the lands they have possessed and tilled and are now dwelling
on, to be theirs forever.
5. The king assented to this, and the law was so enacted; and this was the first law
granting land unto the Faithists, to be their own, by any king in all the world. And the law
stipulated that the Faithists should worship in their own way; neither should they be
impressed into any army as soldiers of war.
6. After the law was established, Yokovrana said unto Capilya: I was wondering
why thou didst not wait till thou wert king, and then enact the law thyself, and it could
not be set aside during thy life-time? I will die soon, and the law will die with me.
7. Capilya answered: I shall ratify thy law on the day I ascend the throne, which is
binding, according to the rules of the ancients. Had I waited until I was king, then I
had been bound, according to my religion, which is that no one individual possesseth
land, save what he tilleth, and then only by donation from the community in which
he dwelleth, and only during his life-time, after which it reverteth to the community.
8. Yokovrana said: Thou art wise, O my son! What is it that thou understandst not? After
the king rested a while, he said: Capilya, thou hast often said thou hast seen the angels of
heaven: Who sayest thou they are?
9. Capilya said: Persons who once inhabited this earth. Some of them once lived on the
10. The king said: Since thou sayest so, it must be so. I thought, sometimes, they might be
different beings that dwell in the air, and never dwelt here. Sayest thou, Capilya, all souls
11. Capilya said: They are so born into life; nevertheless, not all inherit everlasting life.
Even as the body goeth into destruction, so can the spirit of a man dissolve out of being.
The fruit of them that have attained to faith in everlasting life is safe; but for them that
have fallen from faith in everlasting life, and from faith in the Creator, I pity them and
12. The king said: Why do the oracles tell lies? They are the words of angels.
13. Capilya said: If a man will not think for himself, examine for himself, the
Creator suffereth him to be the recipient of lies. He is a wise man who hath attained
to disbelief in angels and men; for then he will turn to the Creator, Who is All Truth.
This is the beginning of wisdom. Some fair men, with stunted souls, who look not
about doing good in the world, require the serpent’s fang in order to make them think.
14. The king said: I have killed many men in my day; sayest thou I have sinned? Capilya
said: Inquire thou of thy Creator. I am not thy judge, nor any man’s. The king asked: If a
man be killed and his soul live, then the killing amounteth to little. We put away the
body, but the soul may come back and retaliate. Is it not so? Capilya said: Yea, O king.
15. The king reflected a while, and then he asked: My son, can the spirits of them we
have slain catch us in heaven and injure us? Capilya said: Yea, O king. The king said:
And they having been in heaven first would have the advantage in battle. And if they go
in gangs and have a leader (satan), they might do a great hurt. Know thou, Capilya, I
have a great secret for thy philosophy; which is: When death draweth near, we begin
to shake in the soul as to what we have done all our lives. Sometimes I think of saying
to Dyaus: Here, I will pray thee! But then I remember I have no merchandise which
he would accept. How strong we are in health and prosperity, and how weak in
adversity and in death! Sayest thou prayers would make my case stand better in heaven?
16. Capilya said: I am not master in heaven; or if I were, my love to thee would
shield thee from all darkness. The king said: The priest saith if I pay him money
he can intercede with Dyaus and so secure me a high seat in heaven. I think he
falsifieth, for Dyaus oweth him nothing. Two things I have found, even with my
little wisdom; the caterer to the king and the caterer to the Dyaus make great pretences,
but do but little as to their promises. These two men, O my son, beware of them.
17. I owe my greatness more to this discretion than to wisdom. They are at the bottom
of all wars and evils in this world. They can deceive even the Gods, I am told. When thou
art king, Capilya, put thy wisdom in this matter; spare them not; they are the curse
of the world. I regret that I slew not more of them; my conscience pricketh me for this.
18. Capilya said: Man’s conscience being only part of the man, may it not err? Is not
the conscience dependent for wisdom on other things? And after all, if we have
done that which seemed the highest, best thing at the time, have we not fulfilled the law?
19. The king said: It would seem so. Conscience must depend for its errors or its justice
on the education it hath received. But may not conscience be a disease in the heart? To
regret for not having done a thing; to regret for having done a thing, these are irreparable
complainings. Whoever can say beforehand, and yet not err, is wise indeed. I find that no
man brought himself into the world; nor can he live but for a short period at most.
When we are young we dislike to die; but at my great age I desire not to live.
Evidently He Who created us hath more mastery over us than we have over ourselves.
20. Capilya said: That is true; man at the best hath not more than half mastery of himself.
Yokovrana interrupted, saying: I interrupt thee, my son, because my time is short. I would
ask thee what is the greatest consolation to a dying man?
21. Capilya said: There are two consolations that are great to a dying man: one is to
know that he left no heirs after him; and the other is, that he leaveth after him a noble son.
The king said: Thou art wise, my son. I asked the priest in the oracle-house the same
thing, and he said: For a dying man to have faith that his soul will enter paradise.
Thereupon I said to him: No honest man can have such faith; for such a fate would
be cheating heaven with one’s sins. Were I the Creator, I would break the necks of
half the world. Still it may please a foolish dying man to tell him such a tale as regardeth
his soul. Thou alone, my son, hath told me the greatest consolation to a dying man.
22. My slaves may have faith that they will be kings, but they will wake up in their folly.
A man may have faith that his soul will enter paradise, and he may wake up and find it
was a mistake. Faith without a guarantee is folly.
23. Capilya said: A man to know a thing of his own knowledge hath the greatest of all
wisdom. To be as thou art, a philosopher in time of death, is evidence of a great soul. Few
have attained to this.
24. The king said: Before thee I am nothing as to wisdom. Thou art a mystery to me. Thy
mother, whom the doctors slew to put her out of her misery from long sickness, was not
wise. And as to myself, I am only great, not wise. I can make men fear me; but thou
knowest the secret of love, which is a great thing. Thy name, O Capilya, will be honored
long after mine is forgotten. Yet I am the greatest king in all the world. O thou, my most
25. Capilya said: Because thou gavest me great learning and a father’s kingly care, why
should I not be an honor to thee, O king? When thou art in heaven, and can look upon me,
I hope thou mayest not lose thy hope for me.
26. The king said: It seemeth not wise to me that angels should see too closely their
mortal kin, or else, forsooth, they would never raise up to higher heavens. The seers say
heaven and angels are about us all the while. I think this is a lie, otherwise it would be
more hell than heaven to them.
27. After the king rested a while he said: I have been surmising what to say to thee, for I
feel the blood in my veins is nearly stopped. And this maketh me think more than ever
that man at best is but a gaming ball for the Gods to play with. Who knoweth, perhaps
even now they laugh in their sleeves as to how they have used me for some hellish game!
O that man had some standpoint to judge things by! O that he had a measure and a
foundation to stand upon! I have searched the spirits of the dead, and the Gods of the
oracles, and they are lies, lies, lies!
28. Capilya said: The small spark of light within our souls is right at the start; and if it be
rightly cultivated it will grow brighter and clearer every day. For is it not in the nature of
all things to grow by culture?
29. The king said: To rightly cultivate! There is the matter, O my son. To settle that point
the world hath been washed all over with man’s blood. Rightly! Who knoweth that word?
O that mine enemies were mistaken, and that I was clear in perceiving what was right!
30. Again he rested awhile and then he said: I had hoped when death came on, I should
get glimpses of what is in store for me; but even death is silent and dark and
deceiving. My members weaken evenly. This showeth I was begotten of good blood.
Hadst thou not been my son I should rejoice more than I do. For then I should know
that my family race had run out, and, so, I should have ascended to the higher heavens.
Now I may be obliged to dwell on the earth for a long season. As I understand myself
now, with all thy wisdom and thy love, I had rather thou hadst been some other man’s
son. Then I could die easier and not care so much about leaving thee. I have no other kin.
31. Capilya said: O king! Thou has rent my heart in twain! Of a truth I am not thy son!
When thy wife laid in the dark chamber, the angels of heaven stole me and brought me
thither. She who nursed me was my mother; and her husband was my father. I am a
Brahmin of Zarathustrian blood, a Faithist!
32. The king said: Is this true? It can not be! Go call thy nurse! Capilya called in the
nurse, and the king said to her: Ere I doom thee to death, I charge thee, is this thy son, and
is thy husband his father? She answered him: I am sworn to Jehovih and cannot answer
thee. Therefore sentence me, for I have carried a great load many a year. Behold! An
angel of heaven appeareth!
33. Jehovih’s angel appeared before the king, and all saw the angel, which said: Capilya is
not thy son, O king! And yet no sin hath been committed! Thereupon the angel vanished.
34. The king said: Were this not a counterfeit made by the Gods, then it was my angel
wife. So, Capilya! Must here end our love? The earth is going fast from me now! Capilya
said: Our love will never die! For the good thou has done for the Zarathustrians, the Great
Spirit will provide thee a home suited to thy great soul. If thou hadst any faults, thou hast
more than balanced them.
35. The king beckoned for Capilya and the nurse to come to him, and then he said, feebly:
It seems to me I hear the Gods laughing! Keep ye up the joke! My brother’s oldest son
knoweth nothing of it! A kingdom is but a farce. Hold me up, Capilya. I would have mine
eyes feast on the sky only, after having seen thy sweet face.
36. Capilya lifted him up, and the king said to the nurse: I bless thee! Thou broughtest
forth a good prop! O aden (sky), aden! All is something! All is nothing!
37. And the breath went out of him; he was dead.