Scandal is a heinous sin, says Zarathushtra
Zarathushtra brands scandal or slander, backbiting or calumny as an inexpiable sin. Scandal creeps and crawls like a loathsome reptile or flies like a winged snake. Upon swift wings does it fly from mouth to mouth. It grows wild like weeds and finds its widest currency. Scandal wallows in mire and swamp and flings mud on all passers-by. Scandal aims at dishonoring innocent persons, robbing them of their good names, wounding their fame, blighting their reputation, blasting their character. Scandal is a mean and mendacious art to bring about the degradation and downfall of the innocent against whom an evil-wishing person has a grudge or to whom he feels dislike.
Scandal accuses, condemns, traduces, maligns, and blasphemes in one breath and is out to murder reputations. Scandal is allied to cowardice. It dares not face its victim. It lurks and skulks in its hovel and assails him at his back and spits its venom on him from behind.
Sharper than the edge of a spear or sword is the dart of scandal. It stabs and wounds and lacerates and kills. Scandal singes and sears and scorches and burns. It bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.
Nothing in the world can restrain a slanderous tongue. It spares none. Sage and saint cannot escape it. Virtue and chastity are not secure against its onslaught.
Scandal thrives on human weakness. Foul and filthy in its nature, it finds its place among the graceful and great. Credulous ear is ever eager to believe anything and everything poured into it. The idle tongue of the talebearer wags and many a one is ever at hand to lend an easy ear and believe and credit the scandal. There are those that enjoy talking scandal as a means of killing time and find a malicious delight in giving currency to it. Scandal, thus, fills the air in human society, civilized and refined.
Recounting the ghastly spectacle of the vision vouchsafed him of hell, Viraf relates that a backbiter's soul is attacked from the rear for such a sinner indulges in secret calumnies at the back of his victim in this world. The tongue of a slanderer, he says, is gnawed by serpents and scorpions and the noxious creatures of inferno.
Teach us to be listless and deaf to the tales of calumny they tell. Strengthen our will to refuse them a lodgment in our minds. Foul and stinking is the breath of the scandalmonger. Keep us always free from its contamination. Guard and protect our community from the canker of scandal that eats its heart, Ahura Mazda.
This page was last updated on Friday, February 11, 2005.