The Chinvat Bridge [ʧinva:t] (AvestanCinvatô Peretûm, "bridge of judgement" or "beam-shaped bridge") or the Bridge of the Requiter in Zoroastrianism is the sifting bridge which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. All souls must cross the bridge upon death. The bridge is guarded by two four-eyed dogs. A related myth is that of Yama, the Hindu ruler of Hell who watches the gates of Hell with his two four-eyed dogs.
The Bridge's appearance varies depending on the observer's asha, or righteousness. As related in the text known as the Bundahishn, if a person has been wicked, the bridge will appear narrow and the demon Vizaresh will emerge and drag their soul into the druj-demana (the House of Lies), a place of eternal punishment and suffering similar to the concept of Hell. If a person's good thoughts, words and deeds in life are many, the bridge will be wide enough to cross, and the Daena, a spirit representing revelation, will appear and lead the soul into the House of Song. Those souls that successfully cross the bridge are united with Ahura Mazda. Often, the Chinvat Bridge is identified with the rainbow, or with the Milky Way galaxy, such as in Professor C.P. Tiele's "History of Religion ". However, other scholars such as C.F. Keary and Ferdinand Justi disagree with this interpretation, citing descriptions of the Chinvat Bridge as straight upward, rather than curvilinear.
Three divinities are thought to be guardians of the Chinvat Bridge: Sraosha (Obedience), Mithra (Covenant) and Rashnu (Justice).
Alternate names for this bridge include Chinwad, Cinvat, Chinvar or Chinavat.
The concept of the Chinvat bridge is similar to that of the As-Sirāt in Islam.
As thou dost desire, O holy (one)! so shalt thou be, holy shalt thou-cause [thy] soul to pass over the Chinvat Bridge; holy shalt thou come into Heaven. Thou shalt intone the Gatha Ushtavaiti, reciting the salvation hail. - Avesta.org translation
The Vendidad also describes the Chinvat Bridge in fargard 19.
27. dâtare ... dva tâ dâthra bavaiñti dva tâ dâthra pârayeiñti dva tâ dâthra pairi-bavaiñti dva tâ dâthra paiti hañjaseñti mashyô astvaiñti anghvô havâi urune para-daidhyât.
27. O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! Where are the rewards given? Where does the rewarding take place? Where is the rewarding fulfilled? Whereto do men come to take the reward that, during their life in the material world, they have won for their souls?
28. Ahura Mazda answered: 'When the man is dead, when his time is over, then the wicked, evil-doing Daevas cut off his eyesight. On the third night, when the dawn appears and brightens up, when Mithra, the god with beautiful weapons, reaches the all-happy mountains, and the sun is rising
29. 'Then the fiend, named Vizaresha, O Spitama Zarathushtra, carries off in bonds the souls of the wicked Daeva-worshippers who live in sin. The soul enters the way made by Time, and open both to the wicked and to the righteous. At the head of the Chinwad bridge, the holy bridge made by Mazda, they ask for their spirits and souls the reward for the worldly goods which they gave away here below.
30. 'Then comes the beautiful, well-shapen, strong and well-formed maid, with the dogs at her sides, one who can distinguish, who has many children, happy, and of high understanding. 'She makes the soul of the righteous one go up above the Hara-berezaiti; above the Chinwad bridge she places it in the presence of the heavenly gods themselves. -