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1. The twenty-third question is that which you ask thus: When he who is righteous passes away, where is the place the soul sits the first night, the second, and the third; and what does it do?

2. The reply is this, that thus it is said, that the

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soul of man, itself the spirit of the body 1, after passing away, is three nights upon earth, doubtful about its own position (gâs) 2, and in fear of the account; and it experiences terror, distress (dahyakŏ), and fear through anxiety about the Kinvad bridge 3; and as it sits it notices about its own good works and sin. 3. And the soul, which in a manner belongs to that same spirit of the body which is alike experiencing and alike touching it, becomes acquainted by sight with the sin which it has committed, and the good works which it has scantily done.

4. And the first night from its own good thoughts, the second night from its good words, and the third night from its good deeds it obtains pleasure for the soul; and if also, with the righteousness, there be sin which remains in it as its origin, the first punishment in retribution for the evil deed occurs that same third night. 5. The same third night, on the fresh arrival of a dawn 4, the treasurer of good works, like a handsome maiden (kanîkŏ) 5, comes out to meet it with the store of its own good works; and, collected by witches (parîkŏ-kind), the sin and crime unatoned for (atôkhtŏ) come on to the account and are justly accounted for 6.

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6. For the remaining (ketrûnd) sin it undergoes punishment at the bridge, and the evil thoughts, evil words, and evil deeds are atoned for; and with the. good thoughts, good words, and good deeds of its own commendable and pleasing spirit it steps for-ward unto the supreme heaven (garôdmânô) 1, or to heaven (vahistô), or to the ever-stationary (hamîstânagânŏ) of the righteous 2, there where there is a place for it in righteousness.


54:1 The 'spirit of the body' which is to some extent distinguished from the 'soul,' both in this chapter and the next, is probably the life, as described in Chap. XXIII, 7.

54:2 That is, its future position, or 'destination.'

54:3 See Chap. XXI, 2-7

54:4 Reading dên bâm-i nuk ayâftŏ.

54:5 Fully described in Hn. II, 22-32, AV. IV, 18-35, Mkh. II, 125-139

54:6 The author is more practical than most other writers on the same subject, as he assumes that the righteous soul is not absolutely righteous, nor the wicked soul absolutely wicked.

55:1 See Chap. XX, 3.

55:2 There is another place for the ever-stationary of the wicked (see Chap. XXXIII, 2).

Next: Chapter XXV