Site Contents  •  Contact

Zoroastrian Heritage

Author: K. E. Eduljee



Thus Spake Zarathushtra




Part 1

1. The Three Metamorphoses

2. The Academic Chairs of Virtue

3. Backworldsmen

4. The Despisers of the Body

5. Joys and Passions

6. The Pale Criminal

7. Reading and Writing

8. The Tree on the Hill

9. The Preachers of Death

10. War and Warriors

11. The New Idol

12. The Flies in the Market-Place

13. Chastity

14. The Friend

15. The Thousand and One Goals

16. Neighbour Love

17. The Way of the Creating One

18. Old and Young Women

19. The Bite of the Adder

20. Child and Marriage

21. Voluntary Death

22. The Bestowing Virtue

Part 2

23. The Child with the Mirror

24. In the Happy Isles

25. The Pitiful

26. The Priests

27. The Virtuous

28. The Rabble

29. The Tarantulas

30. The Famous Wise People

31. The Night Song

32. The Dance Song

33. The Grave Song

34. Self-Overcoming

35. The Sublime Ones

36. The Land of Culture

37. Immaculate Perception

38. Scholars

39. Poets

40. Great Events

41. The Soothsayer

42. Redemption

43. Manly Prudence

44. The Stillest Hour

Part 3

45. The Wanderer

46. The Vision and the Enigma

47. Involuntary Bliss

48. Before Sunrise

49. The Bedwarfing Virtue

50. On the Olive-Mount

51. On Passing-by

52. The Apostates

53. The Return Home

54. The Three Evil Things

55. The Spirit of Gravity

56. Old and New Tables

57. The Convalescent

58. The Great Longing

59. The Second Dance-Song

60. The Seven Seals

Part 4

61. The Honey Sacrifice

62. The Cry of Distress

63. Talk with the Kings

64. The Leech

65. The Magician

66. Out of Service

67. The Ugliest Man

68. The Voluntary Beggar

69. The Shadow

70. Noon-Tide

71. The Greeting

72. The Supper

73. The Higher Man

74. The Song of Melancholy

75. Science

76. Among Daughters of the Desert

77. The Awakening

78. The Ass-Festival

79. The Drunken Song

80. The Sign

Part 1a. Discourses 1-5

» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche. Introduction to His Philosophy &
Thus Spake Zarathushtra

Based on the translation by Thomas Common, Boni and Liveright Publishers, New York. 1921. Original published 1885.

1. The Three Metamorphoses

Three metamorphoses of the spirit do I designate to you: now the spirit becomes a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.

Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong load-bearing spirit in which the reverence dwells: for the heavy and the heaviest longs its strength.

What is heavy? so asks the load-bearing spirit; then kneels it down like the camel, and wants to be well laden.

What is the heaviest things, you heroes? asks the load-bearing spirit, that I may take it upon me and rejoice in my strength.

Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it celebrates its triumph? To ascend high mountains to tempt the tempter?

Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger of soul?

Or is it this: To be sick and dismiss comforters, and make friends of the deaf, who never hear they requests?

Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and not disclaim cold frogs and hot toads?

Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and to give one's hand to the phantom when it is going to frighten us?

All these heaviest things the load-bearing spirit takes upon itself: and like the camel, which, when laden, hastens into the wilderness, so hastens the spirit into its wilderness.

But in the loneliest wilderness happens the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becomes a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its own wilderness.

Its last Lord it here seeks: hostile will it be to him, and to its last God; for victory will it struggle with the great dragon.

What is the great dragon which the spirit is no longer inclined to call Lord and God? "You-shall," is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion said, "I will."

"You-shall," lies in its path, sparkling with gold – a scale-covered beast; and on every scale glitters golden, "You shall!"

The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All the values of things – glitter on me.

All values have already been created, and all created values - do I represent. Verily, there shall be no 'I will' any more." Thus speaks the dragon.

My brethren, wherefore is there need of the lion in the spirit? Why suffices not the beast of burden, which renounces and is reverent?

To create new values – that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish: but to create itself freedom for new creating – that can the might of the lion do.

To create new values – that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish: but to create itself freedom for new creating – that can the might of the lion do.

To create itself freedom, and give a holy Nay even to duty: for that, my brethren, there is no need of the lion.

To assume the ride into new values – that is the most formidable assumption for a load-bearing and reverent spirit. Verily, to such a spirit it is preying, and the work of a beast of prey.

As its holiest, it once loved "You-shall": now it is forced to find illusion and arbitrariness even in the holiest things, that it may capture freedom from its love: the lion is needed for this capture. But tell me, my brethren, what the child can do, which even the lion could not do? Why has the preying lion still to become a child?

Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, and a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yes.

Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy Yes to life: its own will, wills now the spirit; his own world wins the world's outcast.

Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.

Thus spoke Zarathustra. And at that time he abode in the town which is called The Pied Cow.

2. The Academic Chairs of Virtue

People commended to Zarathustra a wise man, as one who could discourse well about sleep and virtue: greatly was he honoured and rewarded for it, and all the youths sat before his chair. To him went Zarathustra, and sat among the youths before his chair. And thus spoke the wise man:

Respect and modesty in presence of sleep! That is the first thing! And to go out of the way of all who sleep badly and keep awake at night!

Modest is even the thief in the presence of sleep: He always steals softly through the night. Immodest, however, is the night-watchman; immodestly he carries his horn.

No small art is it to sleep: it is necessary for that purpose to keep awake all day.

Ten times a day must you overcome yourself: that causes wholesome weariness, and is poppy to the soul.

Ten times must you reconcile again with yourself; for overcoming is bitterness, and badly sleep the un-reconciled.

Ten truths must you find during the day; otherwise will you seek truth during the night, and they soul will have been hungry.

Ten times must you laugh during the day, and be cheerful; otherwise your stomach, the father of affliction, will disturb you in the night.

Few people know it, but one must have all the virtues in order to sleep well. Shall I bear false witness? Shall I commit adultery?

Shall I covet my neighbour's maidservant? All that would ill accord with good sleep.

And even if one has all the virtues, there is still one thing needful: to send the virtues themselves to sleep at the right time.

That they may not quarrel with one another, the good females! And about you, you unhappy one!

Peace with God and they neighbour: so desires good sleep. And peace also with they neighbour's devil! Otherwise it will haunt you in the night.

Honour to the government, and obedience, and also to the crooked government! So desires good sleep. How can I help it, if power likes to walk on crooked legs?

He, who leads his sheep to the greenest pasture, shall always be for me the best shepherd: so does it accord with good sleep. Many honours I want not, nor great treasures: they excite the spleen. But it is bad sleeping without a good name and a little treasure.

A small company is more welcome to me than a bad one: but they must come and go at the right time. So does it accord with good sleep.

Well, also, do the poor in spirit please me: they promote sleep. Blessed are they, especially if one always gives in to them.

Thus passes the day to the virtuous. When night comes, then take I good care not to summon sleep. It dislikes to be summoned – sleep, the lord of the virtues!

But I think of what I have done and thought during the day. Thus ruminating, patient as a cow, I ask myself: What were they ten over-comings?

And what were the ten reconciliations, and the ten truths, and the ten laughters with which my heart enjoyed itself?

Thus pondering, and cradled by forty thoughts, it over takes me all at once – sleep, the un-summoned, the lord of the virtues.

Sleep taps on my eye, and it turns heavy. Sleep touches my mouth, and it remains open.

Verily, on the soft soles does it come to me, the dearest of thieves, and steals from me my thoughts: stupid to I then stand, like this academic chair.

But not much longer do I then stand: I already lie.

When Zarathustra heard the wise man thus speak, he laughed in his heart: for thereby had a light dawned upon him and thus he spoke to his heart:

A fool seems this wise man with his forty thoughts: but I believe he knows well how to sleep.

Happy even is he who lives near this wise man! Such sleep is contagious – even through a thick wall it is contagious. A magic resides even in his academic chair. And not in vain did the youths sit before the preacher of virtue.

His wisdom is to keep awake in order to sleep well. And verily, if life had no sense, and I had to choose nonsense, this would be the most desirable nonsense for me also.

Now know I well what people sought formerly above all else when they sought teachers of virtue. Good sleep they sought for themselves, and a poppy-head virtues to promote it!

To all those lauded sages of the academic chairs, wisdom was sleep without dreams: they knew no higher significance of life.

Even at present, to be sure, there are some like this preacher of virtue, and not always so honourable: but their time is past. And not much longer do they stand: there they already lie.

Blessed are those drowsy ones: for they shall soon nod to sleep.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

3. Backworldsmen

Once on a time, Zarathustra also cast his fancy beyond humanity, like all backworldsmen. The work of a suffering and tortured God, did the world then seem to me.

The dream – and diction – of a God, did the world then seem to me; coloured vapours before the eyes of a divinely dissatisfied one.

Good and evil, and joy and woe, and I and you – coloured vapours did they seem to me before creative eyes. The creator wished to look away from himself, – thereupon he created the world.

Intoxicating joy is it for the sufferer to look away from his suffering and forget himself. Intoxicating joy and self-forgetting, did the world once seem to me.

This world, the eternally imperfect and internal contradiction's image and imperfect image – an intoxicating joy to its imperfect creator – thus did the world once seem to me.

Thus, once on a time, I also cast my fancy beyond humanity, like all backworldsmen. Beyond humanity, forsooth?

Ah, you brethren, that God whom I created was human work and human madness, like all gods!

A human was God, and only a poor fragment of a person and ego. Out of mine own ashes and glow it came to me, that phantom. And verily, it came not to me from beyond!

What happened, my brethren? I surpassed myself, the suffering one; I carried mine own ashes to the mountain; a brighter flame I contrived for myself. And lo! Thereupon the phantom withdrew from me!

To me the convalescent would it now be suffering and torment to believe in such phantoms: suffering would it now be to me, and humiliation. Thus I speak to backworldsmen.

Suffering was it, and impotence - that created all backworlds; and the short madness of happiness, which only the greatest sufferer experiences.

Weariness, which seeks to get the ultimate one leap, with a death-leap; a poor ignorant weariness, unwilling even to will any longer – that created all gods and backworlds.

Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the body – it groped with the fingers or the infatuated spirit at the ultimate walls.

Believe me, my brethren! It was the body which despaired of the earth – it heard the bowels of existence speaking to it.

And then it sought to get through the ultimate walls with its head – and not with its head only – into "the other world."

But that "other world" is well concealed from humanity, that dehumanised, inhuman world, which is a celestial naught; and the bowels of existence do not speak to humanity, except as a person.

Verily, it is difficult to prove all being, and hard to make it speak. Tell me, you brethren, is not the strangest of all things best proved?

Yes, this ego, with its contradiction and perplexity, speaks most uprightly of its being - this creating, willing, evaluating ego, which is the measure and value of things.

And this most upright existence, the ego - it speaks of the body, and still implies the body, even when it must rave and flutter with broken wings.

Always more uprightly learns it to speak, the ego; and the more it learns, the more does it find titles, and honours for the body and the earth.

A new pride taught me mine ego, and that teach I to people: no longer to thrust one's head into the sand of celestial things, but to carry it freely, a terrestrial head, which gives meaning to the earth!

A new will teach I to people: to choose that path which humanity has followed blindly, and to approve of it - and no longer slink aside from it, like the sick and perishing!

The sick and perishing - it was they who despised the body and the earth, and invented the heavenly world, and the redeeming blood-drops; but even those sweet and sad poisons they borrowed from the body and the earth!

From their misery they sought to escape, and the stars were too remote for them. Then they sight: "O that there were heavenly paths by which to steal into another existence and into happiness!" Then they contrived for themselves their bypaths and bloody draughts!

Beyond the sphere of their body and this earth they now fancied themselves transported, these ungrateful ones. But to what did they owe the convulsion and rapture of their transport? To their body and this earth.

Gentle is Zarathustra to the sickly. Verily, he is not indignant of their modes of consolation and ingratitude. May they become convalescents and overcomers, and create higher bodies for themselves!

Neither is Zarathustra indignant at a convalescent who looks tenderly on his delusions, and at midnight steals round the grave of his God; but sickness and a sick frame remain even in his tears.

Many sickly ones have there always been among those who muse, and languish for God; violently they hate the discerning ones, and the latest of virtues, which is uprightness.

Backward they always gaze toward dark ages: then, indeed, were delusion and faith something different. Raving of the reason was likeness to God, and doubt was sin.

Too well do I know those godlike ones: they insist on being believed in, and that doubt is sin. Too well, also, do I know in what they themselves most believe.

Verily, not in backworlds and redeeming blood-drops: but in the body do they also believe most; and their own body is for them the thing-in-itself.

But it is a sickly thing to them, and gladly would they get out of their skin. Therefore hearken they to the preachers of death, and themselves preach backworlds. Hearken rather, my brethren, to the voice of the healthy body; it is a more upright and pure voice.

More uprightly and purely speaks the healthy body, perfect and square-built; and it speaks of the meaning of the earth.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

4. The Despisers of the Body

To the despisers of the body will I speak my word. I wish them neither to learn afresh, nor teach anew, but only to bid farewell to their own bodies – and thus be dumb.

"Body am I, and soul" – so said the child. And why should one not speak like children?

But the awakened one, the knowing own, said: "Body am I entirely and nothing more; and soul is only the name of something in the body."

The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a flock and a shepherd.

An instrument of they body is also your sagacity, my brother, which you call a "spirit" – a little instrument and plaything of they big sagacity.

"Ego" say you, and you are proud of that word. But the greater thing – in which you are unwilling to believe – is they body with its big sagacity; it said not "ego," but does it.

What the sense feels, what the spirit discerns, hat never its end in itself. But sense and spirit would gladly persuade you that they are the end of all things: so vain are they.

Instruments and plaything are sense and spirit: behind them there is still the Self. The Self seeks with the eyes of the senses; it hearkens also with the ears of the spirit.

Ever hearkens the Self and seeks; it compares, masters, conquers, and destroys. It rules, and is also the ego's ruler.

Behind they thoughts and feelings, my brother, there is a mighty lord, and unknown sage – it is called Self; it dwells in they body, it is they body.

There is more sagacity in your body than in they best wisdom. And who then knows why your body requires just they best wisdom?

Your Self laughs at your ego, and its proud prancings. "What are these prancings and flights of thought to me?" it said to itself. "A by-way to my purpose. I am the leading string of the ego, and the prompter of its notions."

The Self said to the ego, "Feel pain!" And thereupon it suffers and thinks how it may put and end thereto - and for that very purpose it is meant to think.

To the despisers of the body will I speak a word. That they despise is caused by their esteem. What is it that created esteeming and despising and worth and will?

The creating Self created for itself esteeming and despising, it created for itself joy and woe. The creating body created for itself spirit, as a hand to its will.

Even in your folly and despising each of you serve your Self, you despisers of the body. I tell you, your very self wants to die, and turns away from life.

No longer can your Self do that which it desires most – create beyond itself. That is what it desires most; that is all its fervour.

But it is now too late to do so – so your Self wishes to succumb, you despisers of the body.

To succumb – so wishes your Self; and therefore have you become despisers of the body. For you can no longer create beyond yourselves.

And therefore are you now angry with life and with the earth. And unconscious envy is in the sidelong look of your contempt.

I go not your way, you despisers of the body! You are no bridges for me to the overman!

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

5. Joys and Passions

My brother, when you have a virtue, and it is your own virtue, you have it in common with no one.

To be sure, you would call it by name and caress it; you would pull its ears and amuse yourself with it.

And lo! Then have you its name in common with the people, and have become one of the people and herd with your virtue!

Better for you to say: "Ineffable is it, and nameless, that which is pain and sweetness to my soul, and also the hunger of my bowels."

Let they virtue be too high for the familiarity of names, and if you must speak of it, be not ashamed to stammer about it. Thus speak and stammer: "That is my good, that do I love, thus does it please me entirely, and thus only do I desire the good.

Not as the law of a God do I desire it, not as a human law or a human need to I desire it; it is not to be a guide-post for me to beyond-earths and paradises.

An earthly virtue is it which I love: little prudence is therein, and the least everyday wisdom.

But that bird built its nest beside me: therefore, I love and cherish it - now sits it beside me on its golden eggs."

Thus should you stammer, and praise your virtue.

Once had you passions and called them evil. But now have you only your virtues: they grew out of your passions.

You implanted your highest aim into the heart of those passions – then became they your virtues and joys.

And though you were of the race of the hot-tempered, or of the voluptuous, or of the fanatical, or the vindictive, all they passions in the end became virtues, and all your devils angels.

Once had you wild dogs in they cellar: but they changed at last into birds and charming songstresses.

Out of your poisons brewed you balsam for yourself; they cow, affliction, milked you – now drink you the sweet milk of her udder.

And nothing evil grows in you any longer, unless it is the evil that grows out of the conflict of your virtues.

My brother, if you are fortunate, then will you have one virtue no more: thus go you easier over the bridge.

Illustrious is it to have many virtues, but a hard lot; and many a one has gone into the wilderness and killed himself, because he is weary of being the battle and battlefield of virtues. My brother, are war and battle evil? Necessary, however is the evil; necessary are the envy and the distrust and the back-biting among the virtues.

Lo! How each of your virtues is covetous of the highest place; it wants your whole spirit to be its herald, it wants your whole power, in wrath, hatred, and love.

Jealous is every virtue of the others, and a dreadful thing is jealousy. Even virtues may succumb by jealousy.

He, whom the flame of jealousy encompasses, turns at last, like the scorpion, the poisoned sting against himself.

Ah! My brother, have you never seen a virtue backbite and stab itself?

Humanity is something that has to be surpassed: and therefore shall though love your virtues – for you will succumb by them.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

» Top

» Next section: Part 1b. Discourses 6-10

» Suggested prior reading: Friedrich Nietzsche

» Site Contents

Search Our Site: