Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda (/əˌhʊərə ˈmæzdə/;[1] also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz) is the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda is the highest spirit of worship in Zoroastrianism, along with being the first and most frequently invoked spirit in the Yasna. The literal meaning of the word Ahura is "mighty" or "lord", and Mazda is "wisdom".

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BCE) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II of Persia (405–04 to 359–58 BCE), Ahura Mazda was worshipped and invoked alone. With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Anahita. In the Achaemenid period, there are no representations of Ahura Mazda other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Images of Ahura Mazda began in the Parthian period, but were stopped and replaced with stone carved figures in the Sassanid period.

AhuraMazda-Relief

Nomenclature

"Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *mazdáH (a feminine noun). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Vedic cognate medhā́, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdʰáH, from Proto-Indo-European *mn̩sdʰeh₁, literally meaning "placing (*dʰeh₁) one's mind (*mn̩-s)", hence "wise".[2]

The name was rendered as Ahuramazda (Old Persian) during the Achaemenid era, Hormazd during the Parthian era, and Ohrmazd was used during the Sassanian era.[3]

The name may be attested on cuneiform tablets of Assyrian Assurbanipal, in the form Assara Mazaš, though this interpretation is very controversial.[4]

Characteristics

Even though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of "uncreated spirit". This title was given by Zoroaster, who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Asha ("truth").

Zoroaster's revelation

At the age of 30, Zoroaster received a revelation: while fetching water at dawn for a sacred ritual, he saw the shining figure of the yazata, Vohu Manah, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda, where he was taught the cardinal principles of the "Good Religion" later known as Zoroastrianism. As a result of this vision, Zoroaster felt that he was chosen to spread and preach the religion.[5] He stated that this source of all goodness was the only Ahura worthy of the highest worship. He further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who also merited devotion. Zoroaster proclaimed that all of the Iranian daevas were bad spirits and deserved no worship. These "bad" spirits were created by Angra Mainyu, the hostile and evil spirit. The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all sin and misery in the universe. Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu. Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu's superior, not his equal. Angra Mainyu and his daevas (destroyers), which attempt to attract humans away from the path of truth and righteousness (asha), would eventually be destroyed.[6]

History

Achaemenid Empire

Darius I the Great's inscription
The Behistun Inscription contains many references to Ahura Mazda.

Whether the Achaemenids were Zoroastrians is a matter of much debate. However, it is known that the Achaemenids were worshipers of Ahura Mazda.[7] The representation and invocation of Ahura Mazda can be seen on royal inscriptions written by Achaemenid kings. The most notable of all the inscriptions is the Behistun Inscription written by Darius I which contains many references to Ahura Mazda. An inscription written in Greek was found in a late Achaemenid temple at Persepolis which invoked Ahura Mazda and two other spirits, most likely Mithra and Anahita. On the Elamite Persepolis Fortification Tablet 377, Ahura Mazda is invoked along with Mithra and Voruna (Apam Napat, probably Vedic Varuna, "water-god"). Artaxerxes III makes this invocation to the three spirits again in his reign.

The early Achaemenid period contained no representation of Ahura Mazda. The winged symbol with a male figure who was formerly regarded by European scholars as Ahura Mazda has been shown to represent the royal xvarənah, the personification of royal power and glory. However, it was customary for every emperor from Cyrus until Darius III to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses as a place for Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. The use of images of Ahura Mazda began in the western satraps of the Achaemenid Empire in the late 5th century BCE. Under Artaxerxes II, the first literary reference as well as a statue of Ahura Mazda was built by a Persian governor of Lydia in 365 BCE.[8]

Parthian Empire

It is known that the reverence for Ahura Mazda, as well as Anahita and Mithra continued with the same traditions during this period. The worship of Ahura Mazda with symbolic images is noticed, but it stopped with the beginning of the Sassanid period. Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. However, Ahura Mazda remained symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback which is found in Sassanian investiture.[8]

Sassanid Empire

Naqsh i Rustam. Investiture d'Ardashir 1
Ahura Mazda (on the right, with high crown) presents Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd century CE)
Taq-e Bostan - High-relief of Ardeshir II investiture
Investiture of Sassanid emperor Shapur II (center) with Mithra (left) and Ahura Mazda (right) at Taq-e Bostan, Iran.
Taq-e Bostan - High-relief of Anahita, Khosro II, Ahura Mazda
Investiture scene: Anahita on the left as the patron yazata of the Sassanian dynasty behind Emperor Khosrau Parviz with Ahura Mazda presenting the diadem of sovereignty on the right. Taq-e Bostan, Iran.

During the Sassanid Empire, a heretical[9][10][11] form of Zoroastrianism, termed Zurvanism, emerged. It gained adherents throughout the Sassanid Empire, most notably the royal lineage of Sassanian emperors. Under the reign of Shapur I, Zurvanism spread and became a widespread cult. Zurvanism revokes Zoroaster's original message of Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, and the "uncreated creator" of all, and reduces him to a created spirit, one of two twin sons of Zurvan, their father and the primary spirit. Zurvanism also makes Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu of equal strength and only contrasting spirits.

Other than Zurvanism, the Sassanian kings demonstrated their devotion to Ahura Mazda in other fashions. Five kings took the name Hormizd and Bahram II created the title of "Ohrmazd-mowbad" which was continued after the fall of the Sassanid Empire and through the Islamic times. All devotional acts in Zoroastrianism originating from the Sassanian period begin with homage to Ahura Mazda. The five Gāhs begin with the declaration in Middle Persian, that "Ohrmazd is Lord" and incorporate the Gathic verse "Whom, Mazda hast thou appointed my protector". Zoroastrian prayers are to be said in the presence of light, either in the form of fire or the sun. In the Iranian dialects of Yidḡa and Munǰī, the sun is still called "ormozd".[8]

Present-day Zoroastrianism

In 1884, Martin Haug proposed a new interpretation of Yasna 30.3 that subsequently influenced Zoroastrian doctrine to a significant extent. According to Haug's interpretation, the "twin spirits" of 30.3 were Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu, the former being literally the "Destructive Spirit"[n 1] and the latter being the "Bounteous Spirit" (of Mazda). Further, in Haug's scheme, Angra Mainyu was now not Ahura Mazda's binary opposite, but—like Spenta Mainyu—an emanation of Him. Haug also interpreted the concept of a free will of Yasna 45.9 as an accommodation to explain where Angra Mainyu came from since Ahura Mazda created only good. The free will made it possible for Angra Mainyu to choose to be evil. Although these latter conclusions were not substantiated by Zoroastrian tradition,[2] at the time Haug's interpretation was gratefully accepted by the Parsis of Bombay since it provided a defense against Christian missionary rhetoric,[n 2] particularly the attacks on the Zoroastrian idea of an uncreated Evil that was as uncreated as God was. Following Haug, the Bombay Parsis began to defend themselves in the English-language press, the argument being that Angra Mainyu was not Mazda's binary opposite, but his subordinate, who—as in Zurvanism also—chose to be evil. Consequently, Haug's theories were disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, also in the West, where they appeared to be corroborating Haug. Reinforcing themselves, Haug's ideas came to be iterated so often that they are today almost universally accepted as doctrine.[8][12][n 3]

In other religions

Some scholars (Kuiper. IIJ I, 1957; Zimmer. Münchner Studien 1984:187–215) believe that Ahura Mazda originates from *vouruna-mitra, or Vedic Varuna (and Mitra).[13] According to William W Malandra both Varuna (in Vedic period) and Ahura Mazda (in old Iranian religion) represented same Indo-Iranian concept of a supreme "wise, all-knowing lord".[14]

In Manichaeism, the name Ohrmazd Bay ("god Ahura Mazda") was used for the primal figure Nāšā Qaḏmāyā, the "original man" and emanation of the Father of Greatness (in Manicheism called Zurvan) through whom after he sacrificed himself to defend the world of light was consumed by the forces of darkness. Although Ormuzd is freed from the world of darkness his "sons", often called his garments or weapons, remain. His sons, later known as the World Soul after a series of events will for the most part escape from matter and return again to the world of light where they came from. Manicheans often identified many of Mani's cosmological figures with Zoroastrian ones. This may be in part because Mani was born in the greatly Zoroastrian Parthian Empire.

In Sogdian Buddhism, Xwrmztʼ (Sogdian was written without a consistent representation of vowels) was the name used in place of Ahura Mazda.[15][16] Via contacts with Turkic peoples like the Uyghurs, this Sogdian name came to the Mongols, who still name this deity Qormusta Tengri (Also Qormusta or Qormusda) is now a popular enough deity to appear in many contexts that are not explicitly Buddhist.[17]

The pre-Christian Armenians had Aramazd as an important deity in their pantheon of gods. He is thought to be a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Urartian figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. In modern-day Armenia, Aramazd is a male first name.

101 Names

  1. yazat ("Worthy of worship.")
  2. harvasp-tavãn ("Omnipotent.")
  3. harvasp-âgâh ("Omniscient.")
  4. harvasp-h'udhâ ("The Lord of all.")
  5. abadah ("Without beginning.")
  6. awî-añjâm ("Without end.")
  7. bûnastah ("The origin of the formation of the world.")
  8. frâxtañtah ("Broad end of all.")
  9. jamakh ("Greatest cause.")
  10. parjahtarah ("More exalted.")
  11. tum-afayah ("Most innocent.")
  12. abravañt ("Apart from everyone.")
  13. parvañdah ("Relation with all.")
  14. an-ayâfah ("Incomprehensible by anyone.")
  15. ham-ayâfah ("Comprehensible of all.")
  16. âdharô ("Most straight, most just.")
  17. gîrâ ("Holding fast all.")
  18. acim ("Without reason.")
  19. cimnâ ("Reason of reasons.")
  20. safinâ ("Increaser.")
  21. âwzâ ("Causer of increase. The Lord of purity")
  22. nâshâ ("Reaching all equally.")
  23. parvarâ ("Nourisher.")
  24. âyânah ("Protector of the world.")
  25. âyaîn-âyânah ("Not of various kinds.")
  26. an-âyanah ("Without form.")
  27. xraoshît-tum ("Firmest.")
  28. mînôtum ("Most invisible.")
  29. vâsnâ ("Omnipresent.")
  30. harvastum ("All in all.")
  31. husipâs ("Worthy of thanks.")
  32. har-hemît ("All good-natured.")
  33. harnekfareh ("All good auspicious-glory.")
  34. beshtarnâ ("Remover of affliction.")
  35. tarônîs ("The triumphant.")
  36. anaoshak ("Immortal.")
  37. farashak ("Fulfiller of wishes.")
  38. pazohadhad ("Creator of good nature.")
  39. xavâpar ("Beneficient.")
  40. awaxshâyâ ("Bestower of Love.")
  41. awarzâ ("Excessive bringer.”)
  42. â-sitôh ("Undefeated, undistressed.")
  43. raxôh ("Independent, carefree.")
  44. varûn ("Protector from evil.")
  45. a-frîpah ("Undeceivable.")
  46. awe-frîftah ("Undeceived.")
  47. adhvaî ("Unparalleled.")
  48. kãme-rat ("Lord of wishes.")
  49. framãn-kãm ("Only wish is His command.")
  50. âyextan ("Without body.")
  51. â-framôsh ("Unforgetful.")
  52. hamârnâ ("Taker of accounts.")
  53. snâyâ ("Recognizable, worth recognition.")
  54. a-tars ("Fearless.")
  55. a-bîsh ("Without affliction or torment.")
  56. a-frâzdum ("Most exalted.")
  57. hamcûn ("Always uniform.")
  58. mînô-stîgar ("Creator of the Universe spiritually.")
  59. a-mînôgar ("Creator of much spirituality.")
  60. mînô-nahab ("Hidden in Spirits.")
  61. âdhar-bâtgar ("Air of fire, i.e. transformer into air.")
  62. âdhar-namgar ("Water of fire, i.e. transformer into water.")
  63. bât-âdhargar ("Transformer of air into fire.")
  64. bât-namgar ("Transformer of air into water.")
  65. bât-gelgar ("Transformer of air into earth.")
  66. bât-girdtum ("Transformer of air into girad, i.e. gathered.")
  67. âdhar-kîbarît-tum ("Transformer of fire into jewels.")
  68. bâtgarjâi ("Who creates air in all places.")
  69. âwtum ("Creator of most excessive water.")
  70. gel-âdhargar ("Transformer of the earth into fire.")
  71. gel-vâdhgar ("Transformer of the earth into air.")
  72. gel-namgar ("Transformer of the earth into water.")
  73. gargar ("Artisan of artisans.")
  74. garôgar ("Bestower of wishes.")
  75. garâgar ("Creator of man")
  76. garâgargar ("Creator of the entire creation")
  77. a-garâgar ("Creator of four elements)"
  78. a-garâgargar ("Creator of clusters of the stars")
  79. a-gûmãn ("Without doubt.")
  80. a-jamãn ("Without time.")
  81. a-h'uãn ("Without sleep.")
  82. âmushthushyâr ("Intelligent.")
  83. frashûtanâ ("Eternal protector-increaser.")
  84. padhamãnî ("Maintainer of padman, i.e. the golden mean.")
  85. pîrôzgar ("Victorious.")
  86. h'udhâvañd ("Lord-Master of the Universe.")
  87. ahuramazda ("Lord Omniscient.")
  88. abarînkuhantavãn ("Of the most exalted rank in the power of maintaining the origin of the creations.")
  89. abarîn-nô-tavã ("Of the most exalted rank in the power of rendering the creations anew.")
  90. vaspãn ("Attainer to all the creations.")
  91. vaspâr ("Bringer of and attainer to all.")
  92. h'âwar ("Merciful.")
  93. ahû ("Lord of the world.")
  94. âwaxsîdâr ("Forgiver.")
  95. dâdhâr ("The just creator.")
  96. rayomañd ("Full of rae-lustre-splendour.")
  97. h'arehmand ("Full of khoreh, i.e. glory.")
  98. dâwar ("The just judge.")
  99. kerfagar ("Lord of meritorious deeds.")
  100. buxtâr ("Redeemer, saviour.")
  101. frashôgar ("Restorer through increase of the soul.")

In popular culture

Hormizd I Kushanshah Merv mint
Coin of Hormizd I Kushanshah (277-286 CE). Pahlavi inscription: "The Mazda worshipper, the divine Hormizd the great Kushan king of kings"/ Pahlavi inscription: "Exalted god, Hormizd the great Kushan king of kings", Hormizd standing right, holding investiture wreath over altar and raising left hand in benedictional gesture to Anahita holding investiture wreath and sceptre. Merv mint.
  • Ormazd and Ahriman feature in the 2008 video game, Prince of Persia.
  • Ormuhzd and Ahriman are two characters in the Warhammer 40,000 Franchise. Ahriman has a model, whereas Ormuhzd is only referenced in the book A Thousand Sons
  • Ormazd and Ahriman feature heavily in the Philip K. Dick novel The Cosmic Puppets.
  • In the 2001 video game Severance: Blade of Darkness, Ahura Mazda was the god who created the entire world in which the game takes place.
  • General Electric exploited the association of the name with light for their brand of Mazda light bulbs.
  • One of the inspirations for the name of the Mazda Motor Corporation is Ahura Mazda, with homophone similarity to founder Jujiro Matsuda.
  • A statue of Ahura Mazda is built to contain the Djinn in the film Wishmaster.
  • In the 2013 Amish Tripathi novel The Oath of the Vayuputras, Ahura Mazda is shown as the God of Pariha.
  • Ahura Mazda is mentioned in the Immortal Technique song "Sign of the Times" from the album The Martyr.
  • In the novel Battle Royale, a student named Mizuho Inada believes she is a warrior for the god Ahura Mazda.
  • Ahura Mazda appears as a character in the Lucifer's Halo miniseries of Joseph Michael Linsner's comic Dawn.
  • Ahura Mazda was the name of a late 1960s, early 1970s psychedelic and fusion prog-rock band from the Netherlands.
  • Ahura Mazda is featured in the book Kushiel's Avatar, the third novel in Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy series.
  • In the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, Ahura Mazda is the ultimate move of the third god of the Warring Triad, Zurvan.
  • Ahriman appears as a character in the television show Highlander: The Series.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For an explanation of the approximation of mainyu as "spirit", see Angra Mainyu.
  2. ^ Most prominent of these voices was that of the Scottish Presbyterian minister Dr. John Wilson, whose church was next door to the M. F. Cama Athornan Institute, the premier school for Zoroastrian priests. That the opinions of the Zoroastrian priesthood is barely represented in the debates that ensued was to some extent due to the fact that the priesthood spoke Gujarati and not English, but also because they were (at the time) poorly equipped to debate with a classically trained theologian on his footing. Wilson had even taught himself Avestan.
  3. ^ For a scholastic review of the theological developments in Indian Zoroastrianism, particularly with respect to the devaluation of Angra Mainyu to a position where the (epitome of) pure evil became viewed as a creation of Mazda (and so compromised their figure of pure good), see Maneck 1997

References

  1. ^ "Ahura Mazda | Definition of Ahura Mazda by Merriam-Webster". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  2. ^ a b Boyce 1983, p. 685.
  3. ^ Boyce 1985, p. 685.
  4. ^ Boyce 1975, p. 14.
  5. ^ Nigosian 1993, p. 12.
  6. ^ Andrea 2000, p. 86.
  7. ^ Bromiley 1995, p. 126.
  8. ^ a b c d Boyce 1983, p. 686.
  9. ^ Corduan 1998, p. 123.
  10. ^ King 2005, p. 314.
  11. ^ Whitrow 2003, p. 8.
  12. ^ Maneck 1997, pp. 182ff.
  13. ^ Varuna#In Zoroastrianism
  14. ^ William W. Malandra. An Introduction to Ancient Iranian Religion. 1983. p. 46
  15. ^ Unknown 1999, p. 429.
  16. ^ Frye 1996, p. 247.
  17. ^ Sims-Williams 1992, p. 44.

Bibliography

Further reading

  • Ahuramazda and Zoroastrianism
  • Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji (1938), History of Zoroastrianism, New York: OUP, ISBN 0-404-12806-8
  • Boyce, Mary (2001), "Mithra the King and Varuna the Master", Festschrift für Helmut Humbach zum 80., Trier: WWT, pp. 239–257
  • Humbach, Helmut (1991), The Gathas of Zarathushtra and the other Old Avestan texts, Heidelberg: Winter, ISBN 3-533-04473-4
  • Kent, Roland G. (1945), "Old Persian Texts", Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 4 (4): 228–233, doi:10.1086/370756
  • Kuiper, Bernardus Franciscus Jacobus (1983), "Ahura", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 682–683
  • Kuiper, Bernardus Franciscus Jacobus (1976), "Ahura Mazdā 'Lord Wisdom'?", Indo-Iranian Journal, 18 (1–2): 25–42, doi:10.1163/000000076790079465
  • Ware, James R.; Kent, Roland G. (1924), "The Old Persian Cuneiform Inscriptions of Artaxerxes II and Artaxerxes III", Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 55: 52–61, doi:10.2307/283007, JSTOR 283007
  • Kent, Roland G. (1950), Old Persian: Grammar, texts, lexicon, New Haven: American Oriental Society, ISBN 0-940490-33-1
  • Andrea, Alfred; James H. Overfield (2000), The Human Record: Sources of Global History : To 1700, 4 (Illustrated ed.), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0-618-04245-6
  • Schlerath, Bernfried (1983), "Ahurānī", Encyclopaedia Iranica, 1, New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 683–684
Ahriman

Angra Mainyu (; Avestan: 𐬀𐬢𐬭𐬀⸱𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬥𐬌𐬌𐬎‎ Aŋra Mainiiu) is the Avestan-language name of Zoroastrianism's hypostasis of the "destructive spirit". The Middle Persian equivalent is Ahriman 𐭠𐭧𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩‎ (Anglicised pronunciation: ). Angra Mainyu is Ahura Mazda’s adversary.

Ahura

For the fictional character in the Marvel Universe series, see Ahura (comics); for the river, see Akhurian River.Ahura (Avestan: 𐬀𐬵𐬎𐬭𐬀) is an Avestan language designation for a particular class of Zoroastrian angelic divinities.

Ahura Mazda and Ardashir I

Ahura Mazda and Ardashir I is a rock relief from Sasanian Persia. It is also known as The inscription of Ardashir-e Babakan and Hormozd or Coronation of Ardashir-e Babakan. This relief was carved around 235 which makes it one of the oldest Sasanian rock reliefs. The relief is well-preserved and is mostly unharmed. It is located in the east corner of Naqsh-e Rostam and was carved 2 meters above the ground. The relief has 6.65m width and 2.40m height.

The inscription shows Ardashir I's coronation ceremony in which he receives his kingship seal from Ahura Mazda (or Hormozd) and Ahura Mazda appoints him as the Shahanshah of Ērānshahr. Ardashir I and Ahuramazda are both on horseback, facing each other. In this scene, Ardashir receives the kingship ring from Ahuramazda. The man behind Ardashir on the left side of the relief, is his companion his name is Kartir. Ardashir's horse is trampling Artabanus V, the last king of Parthian Empire also Ahuram Mazda horse is trampling the devils dead body.

Ahurani

Ahurani is the Avestan language name of a Zoroastrian (class of) divinity associated with "the waters" (āpō). In scripture, the expression ahurani appears both in the singular and in the plural, and may - subject to context - either denote a specific divinity named Ahurani, or a class of divinities that are ahuranis.

The Avestan feminine suffix -ani denotes "companion, wife, mate", hence ahurani means "partner of ahura." The ahura of the name may or may not be a reference to Ahura Mazda or to the other Ahuras. Following recent scholarship (see Ahura for details), it is now generally supposed that there was once been a divinity whose proper name was *Ahura, and from whom the various ahuras of the Avesta receive this epithet.

Amesha Spenta

In Zoroastrianism, Amesha Spenta (Avestan: Aməša Spəṇta) is a class of divine entities literally means "Immortal (which is) holy." Later Middle Persian variations of the term include the contraction 'Ameshaspand' as well as the specifically Zoroastrian 'Mahraspand' and 'Amahraspand'.

Ancient Iranian religion

Ancient Iranian religion refers to the ancient beliefs and practices of the Iranian peoples before the rise of Zoroastrianism.

The Iranian peoples emerged as a separate branch of the Indo-Iranians in the 2nd-millennium BC, during which they came to dominate the Eurasian Steppe and the Iranian Plateau. Their religion is derived from Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and therefore shares many similarities with Vedic religion. Although the Iranian peoples left few written or material evidence of their religious practices, their religion is possible to reconstruct from scant Iranian, Babylonian and Greek accounts, similarities with Vedic and other Indo-European religions, and material evidence. Their religion was polytheistic and the chief god of their pantheon was Ahura Mazda, who was recognized as the creator of the world. They had a three-tiered division of the cosmos into the earth, the atmosphere and the heaven above. Dualism was strongly emphasized and human nature was considered essentially good. The chief ritual of the ancient Iranians was the yazna, in which the deities were praised and the mind-altering drug hauma was consumed. This ritual was performed by a highly trained priestly class. Fire was worshiped as the deity Atar. Politician and religion under the Persian Empires was strongly connected.

Beginning in the early 10th-century BC, the ancient Iranian religion was gradually displaced by Zoroastrianism, which contains many essential aspects of its predecessor.

Aramazd

Aramazd was the chief and creator god in pre-Christian Armenian mythology. The deity and his name were derived from the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda after the Median conquest of Armenia in the 6th century BCE.

Aramazd was regarded as a generous god of fertility, rain, and abundance, as well as the father of the other gods, including Anahit, Mihr, and Nane. Like Ahura Mazda, Aramazd was seen as the father of the other gods, rarely with a wife, though sometimes husband to Anahit or Spandaramet. Aramazd was the Parthian form of Ahura Mazda.

Asha

Asha (; also arta ; Avestan:𐬀𐬴𐬀‎‎ aṣ̌a/arta) is a Zoroastrian concept with a complex and highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of 'truth' and 'right(eousness)', 'order' and 'right working'. For other connotations, see meaning below. It is of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called "the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism". The opposite of Avestan aša is 𐬛𐬭𐬎𐬘‎ druj, "deceit, falsehood".

Its Old Persian equivalent is arta-. In Middle Iranian languages the term appears as ard-.The word is also the proper name of the divinity Asha, the Amesha Spenta that is the hypostasis or "genius" of "Truth" or "Righteousness". In the Younger Avesta, this figure is more commonly referred to as Asha Vahishta (Aša Vahišta, Arta Vahišta), "Best Truth". The Middle Persian descendant is Ashawahist or Ardwahisht; New Persian Ardibehesht or Ordibehesht. In the Gathas, the oldest texts of Zoroastrianism and thought to have been composed by the prophet himself, it is seldom possible to distinguish between moral principle and the divinity. Later texts consistently use the 'Best' epithet when speaking of the Amesha Spenta, only once in the Gathas is 'best' an adjective of aša/arta.

Ashavan

Ashavan (Avestan:𐬀𐬴𐬀𐬬𐬀𐬥‎ aṣ̌avan) is a Zoroastrian theological term. It literally means "possessing aša", hence "possessing truth" or "possessing righteousness", but has further implications:

It is an epithet of Ahura Mazda (Yasht 1.12). The term may then be applied to anything within the domain of Ahura Mazda and/or Aša (i.e. all of Creation), and excludes only that which is not drəgvant "possessing lie" (YAv: drvant).

With respect to mortals and in an eschatological and sotereological context, ašavan is also a quality that can be acquired in life. Then, having acquired the qualities of an ašavan, one becomes an ašavan (through "blessed union with aša") after death. (See also: aša: in eschatology and sotereology). This sotereological meaning of ašavan is also evident in Xerxes' daiva inscription, an Old Persian text (XPh, early 5th century BCE). This next-world meaning of ašavan is preserved in Middle Iranian languages as Pahlavi ahlav.

Ašavan may be used to denote any follower of the "Good Religion." This is the most common use of ašavan, applicable to any who walk the "path of truth" (Yasna 68.12 and 68.13). In this context, Ašavan is frequently translated as "righteous person" or "blessed person." This general meaning of ašavan is preserved in Middle Iranian languages as Pahlavi ardav.The linguistic cognate of Avestan ašavan is Vedic ऋतावन् ṛtā́van, which, however, has some functional differences vis-à-vis the Zoroastrian term:

The dichotomy of the ašavan and the drəgvant is not attested in the Vedas.

In Zoroastrianism any mortal may strive to possess aša, but in the Vedas, ṛtá is hidden from ordinary mortals and only initiated seers are allowed to possess it (become ṛtā́vans).That the souls of the dead dwell in the radiant quarters of Truth (Yasna 16.7) has a Vedic parallel in which the seat of truth is located in the other world.

Chinvat Bridge

The Chinvat Bridge [ʧinva:t] (Avestan Cinvatô 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 (Conscience), 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.

Frashokereti

Frashokereti (frašō.kərəti) is the Avestan-language term (corresponding to Middle Persian fraš(a)gird ) for the Zoroastrian doctrine of a final renovation of the universe, when evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda).

The doctrinal premises are (1) good will eventually prevail over evil; (2) creation was initially perfectly good, but was subsequently corrupted by evil; (3) the world will ultimately be restored to the perfection it had at the time of creation; (4) the "salvation for the individual depended on the sum of [that person's] thoughts, words and deeds, and there could be no intervention, whether compassionate or capricious, by any divine being to alter this." Thus, each human bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, and simultaneously shares in the responsibility for the fate of the world.

Gathas

The Gathas () are 17 Avestan hymns believed to have been composed by Zarathusthra (Zoroaster) himself. They form the core of the Zoroastrian liturgy (the Yasna). They are arranged in five different modes or metres.

The Avestan term gāθā (𐬔𐬁𐬚𐬁 "hymn", but also "mode, metre") is cognate with Sanskrit gāthā́ (गाथा), both from the Proto-Indo-Iranian word *gaHtʰáH, from the root *gaH- "to sing".

Khuda

Khuda or Khoda (Persian: خدا‎) is the Iranian word for "Lord" or "God". Originally, it was used in reference to Ahura Mazda (the name of God in Zoroastrianism).

It is used in Many countries as Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and some other countries in Middle of Asia.

Spenta Armaiti

In Zoroastrianism, Spənta Ārmaiti (Avestan 𐬯𐬞𐬆𐬧𐬙𐬀 𐬁𐬭𐬨𐬀𐬌𐬙𐬌‎ for "creative Harmony" and later "holy devotion") is one of the Amesha Spentas, the six creative or divine manifestations of Wisdom and Ahura Mazda. Spenta suggests a creative and constructive quality or force while Armaiti means regulative thought originally alluding to the physical laws of nature (i.e. Physics). While older sources present the Amesha Spentas more as abstract entities in later sources, Spenta comes to denote holiness and sanctity and Spenta Armaiti is personified as a female divinity thus its association with the female virtue of devotion (to family, husband, and child). She is associated with earth and Mother Nature.

In the Armenian mythology, her name appears as Sandaramet (Armenian: Սանդարամետ).In the Zoroastrian calendar, she is associated with the twelfth month (Persian: سپندارمذ‎ Spendārmad) and the fifth day of the month. The fifth day of the twelfth month is hence her holy day, Sepandārmazgān. Sepandārmazgān is an ancient festival to celebrate eternal love. Iranian lovers give each other gifts on this day.

Yazata

Yazata (Avestan: 𐬰𐬀𐬭𐬀𐬚𐬎𐬱𐬙𐬭𐬀) is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept with a wide range of meanings but generally signifying (or used as an epithet of) a divinity. The term literally means "worthy of worship or veneration", and is thus, in this more general sense, also applied to certain healing plants, primordial creatures, the fravashis of the dead, and to certain prayers that are themselves considered holy. The yazatas collectively are "the good powers under Ohrmuzd [Ahura Mazda]", who is "the greatest of the yazatas".

Zoroastrian cosmology

Zoroastrian cosmology is divided in four periods of 3,000 years. Zoroaster was born in the beginning of the fourth period, to be succeeded at the end of each next millennium by a new saviour. When Saoshyant, the third and last saviour would come the last judgment and the creation of a new world.

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism, or Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest religions that remains active. It is a monotheistic faith (i.e. a single creator God), centered in a dualistic cosmology of good and evil and an eschatology predicting the ultimate destruction of evil. Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra), it exalts a deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being. Major features of Zoroastrianism, such as messianism, judgment after death, heaven and hell, and free will have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th century BCE. Along with a Mithraic Median prototype and a Zurvanist Sassanid successor, it served as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires for more than a millennium, from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia of 633–654. Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 190,000, with most living in India and in Iran; their number is declining. In 2015, there were reports of up to 100,000 converts in Iraqi Kurdistan. Besides the Zoroastrian diaspora, the older Mithraic faith Yazdânism is still practised amongst Kurds.The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. The religious philosophy of Zoroaster divided the early Iranian gods of Proto-Indo-Iranian tradition, but focused on responsibility, and did not create a devil per se. Zoroaster proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe, and that human beings are given a right of choice. Because of cause and effect, they are responsible for the consequences of their choices. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.Zoroastrianism's creator Ahura Mazda, through the Spenta Mainyu (Good Spirit, "Bounteous Immortals") is an all-good "father" of Asha (Truth, "order, justice"), in opposition to Druj ("falsehood, deceit") and no evil originates from "him". "He" and his works are evident to humanity through the six primary Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. Spenta Mainyu adjoined unto "truth", oppose the Spirit's opposite, Angra Mainyu and its forces born of Akəm Manah ("evil thinking").Zoroastrianism has no major theological divisions, though it is not uniform; modern-era influences having a significant impact on individual and local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes merging with tradition and in other cases displacing it. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the world...to make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.

There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.

Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

Zuera

Zuera is a municipality located in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. According to the 2010 census, the municipality has a population of 7,510 inhabitants. The name is proposed coming from the Baske: 'Zubi', meaning: 'Bridge', or the Arab: 'Zahra', meaning: 'Bright', referred to Venus, also known as Ishtar, present in old names as: 'Ahura Mazda'='the Light Great, Magna'. The Pinewoods in Zuera are a popular place for sex encounters, also linked to: 'Venus'.

Zuera's geographical location in the Zaragoza Comarca and its proximity to the city of Zaragoza have shaped the historical development of the town from its beginnings until today. Urban settlements in the municipality of Zuera are located right on the banks of the Gállego River. They follow a longitudinal axis along which (continuing the transportation and communication schemes established by the ancient Romans) the N-123 national highway, the Madrid-Barcelona and Zaragoza-France trains, as well as high voltage power lines are located.

Âdityas

In Hinduism, Âdityas (Sanskrit: आदित्य Ādityá, pronounced [aːditjə]), meaning "of Aditi", refers to the offspring of the goddess Aditi and her husband the sage Kashyapa. The name, Aditya, in the singular, is taken to refer to the Sun God, Surya.

The Rig Veda mentions 7 Adityas, along with Martanda, who is considered as the eighth Aditya.

The Bhagavata Purana lists a total of twelve Adityas as Sun-gods. In each month of the year a different Aditya is said to shine. According to the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism, each of these Adityas is a different expression of the Supreme God Vishnu in the form of the Sun-God.

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