Sirat gets its meaning, for the Avesta speaks, not of Chinvat 1 but of Chinvato-peretus, "The bridge of him that reckons up" good deeds and bad. This bridge extends from Mount Alburz to the Chakat Daitih, reaching over hell. Each man's spirit, as soon as certain funeral ceremonies have been performed, reaches the bridge and has to cross it in order to enter Paradise. When he has crossed the bridge, he is judged by Mithra, Rashnu, and Sraosha in accordance with the account of his deeds, good and bad 2. Only if his good deeds exceed his evil ones can the gate of Paradise be opened to admit him. If his deeds are preponderatingly evil, he is cast into hell: but if the good are equal to the bad, the spirit of the dead has to await 3 the last judgment (vulaiti), which will take place at the close or the final struggle between Ormazd and Ahriman.

To show the origin not only of the word Sirat of the Muhammadan doctrine on the subject, it is sufficient to translate the following short passage from the Pahlavi book called the Dinkart:— "I flee 4 from much sin, and I keep pure my conduct by keeping pure the six powers of life — act and speech and thought and intellect and mind

1 Later, however, the contraction is found in the Zoroastrian books.
2 See note p. 205 above.
3 In a place called Misvano Gatus (Vendidad, XIX., 36; Yesht, I., 1; Siroza, I., 30; II., 30). Vide above, pp. 123, 124, 202.
4 Dinkart, pt. II., cap. LXXXI., §§ 5 and 6.

and understanding — by thy desire, O mighty Causer of good deeds. In justice do I perform it, that worship of thine, in good thought and speech and deed, in order that I may remain in the bright way, that I may not arrive at the severe punishment of hell, but may cross over Chinvat and may attain to that blessed abode which is full of perfume, wholly pleasant, always brilliant." In the Avesta also we find many references to the same belief, among others the passage in which it is said of good men and women: "Whom 1 too I shall lead through the prayer of such as you: with all blessings shall I guide them to the bridge of Chinvat."

A further proof of the Aryan origin of this belief is found in the fact that the ancient Scandinavian mythology contains mention of Bifrost, generally styled "the bridge of the gods," by which they cross over from their abode in Asgardh (in heaven) to the earth. It is the rainbow. This at once explains the natural basis upon which the legend of the bridge is founded, and shows how ancient it is, as the Scandinavians brought the idea with them to Europe. It must therefore have been common to them and the Persians in very ancient times. In Greece the rainbow becomes the messenger of the gods (Iris) in the Iliad, but the idea of a bridge connecting heaven and earth seems to have been lost.

1 Yasna, XLVI., 10.