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Ahura Mazda

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« on: August 11, 2007, 04:18:44 am »

Ahura Mazda (Ahura Mazdā) is the Avestan language name for a divinity exalted by Zoroaster as the one uncreated Creator, hence God.

The Zoroastrian faith is thus described by its adherents as Mazdayasna, the worship of Mazda. In the Avesta, "Ahura Mazda is the highest object of worship", the first and most frequently invoked divinity in the Yasna liturgy. In Zoroastrian cosmogony and tradition, all the lesser divinities are also creations of Mazda. (eg Bundahishn III)

Ahura Mazda is 'Auramazdā' in Old Persian, 'Aramazd' in Parthian and Armenian (cf. also Aramazd). Middle- and New Persian language usage varies, but 'Hormizd', 'Hormuzd', 'Ohrmazd' and 'Ormazd' are common transliterations.
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2007, 04:20:00 am »

Ahura Mazda (right, with high crown) invests Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd c. BCE)
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2007, 04:20:59 am »


'Mazda', or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdĺ, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh. It is generally taken to be the proper name of the deity, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhā, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European *mseh1, literally meaning "placing (deh1) one's mind (mn-s)", hence "wise".

'Ahura' was originally an adjective meaning ahuric, characterizing a specific Indo-Iranian entity named *asura.[ Although traces of this figure are still evident in the oldest texts of both India and Iran, in both cultures the word eventually appears as the epithet of other divinities.

In the Gathas (Gāθās), the hymns thought to have been composed by Zoroaster himself, the two halves of the name are not necessarily used together, or are used interchangeably, or are used in reverse order. However, in the younger texts of the Avesta, both Ahura and Mazda are integral parts of the name Ahura Mazda, and which are conjoined in other old Iranian languages.
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 04:21:58 am »

Perceived origin

Although Ahura Mazda is accepted to be the conceptual equivalent of a proto-Indo-Iranian divinity, the details are a matter of speculation and debate. Scholarly consensus identifies a connection to the prototypical *vouruna and *mitra, but whether Ahura Mazda is one of these two, or both together, or even a superior of the two has not been conclusively established.

One view is that the proto-Indo-Iranian divinity is the nameless "Father Asura", that is, Varuna of the Rigveda. In this view, Zoroastrian mazda is the equivalent of the Vedic medhira, described in Rigveda 8.6.10 as the "(revealed) insight into the cosmic order" that Varuna grants his devotees. It has also been suggested[9] that Ahura Mazda could be an Iranian development of the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna, with *mitra being the otherwise nameless 'Lord' (Ahura) and *vouruna being mazda/medhira as noted above. In this constellation, Ahura Mazda is then a compound divinity in which the favorable characteristics of *mitra negate the unfavorable qualities of *vouruna.

In another view, Ahura Mazda is seen as the Ahura par excellence, superior to both *vouruna and *mitra, and the nameless "Father Asura" of the RigVeda is a distinct divinity (see etymology above) to whom Ahura Mazda may or may not be related. In a development of this view, the dvandvah expression *mitra-*vouruna is none other than the archaic 'Mithra-Baga' of the Avesta. But while in the Vedas Bhaga is a minor divinity in its own right, in proto-Indo-Iranian times this was an epithet of *vouruna's concept and in Greater Iran continued to be a cult title for *vouruna and eventually replaced it. It has also been noted that on Persepolis fortification tablet #337, Ahura Mazda is distinct from both Mithra and the Baga.
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 04:23:08 am »

In Zoroaster's revelation

Although the principle of a creator divinity was not new to the two Indo-Iranian cultures, Zoroaster gives Ahura Mazda an entirely new dimension by characterizing the Creator as the one uncreated God (Yasna 30.3, 45.2). "No satisfactory evidence has yet been adduced to show that, before Zoroaster, the concept of a supreme god existed among the Iranians."

Central to Zoroaster's perception of Ahura Mazda is the concept of asha, literally "truth", and in the extended sense, the equitable law of the universe, which governed the life of Zoroaster's people, the nomadic herdsmen of the Central Asian steppes. For these, asha was the course of everything observable, the motion of the planets and astral bodies, the progression of the seasons, the pattern of daily nomadic herdsman life, governed by regular metronomic events such as sunrise and sunset. All physical creation (geti) was thus a product of - and ran according to - a master plan, inherent to Ahura Mazda, and violations of the order (druj) were violations against creation, and thus violations against Ahura Mazda.

This concept of asha versus the druj should not be confused with the good-versus-evil battle evident in western religions, for although both forms of opposition express moral conflict, the asha versus druj concept is more subtle and nuanced, representing, for instance, chaos (that opposes order); or 'uncreation', evident as natural decay (Avestan: nasu) that opposes creation; or more literally 'the Lie' of Yasna 31.1 (that opposes truth, righteousness).

In Zoroaster's perception of Ahura Mazda's role as the one uncreated Creator of all (Yasna 44.7), the Creator is then not also the creator of 'druj', for as anti-creation, the druj are not created (or not creatable, and thus - like Ahura Mazda - uncreated). "All" is therefore the "supreme benevolent providence" (Yasna 43.11), and Ahura Mazda as the benevolent Creator of all is consequently the Creator of only the good (Yasna 31.4). In Zoroaster's revelation, Ahura Mazda will ultimately triumph (Yasna 48.1), but cannot (or will not) control the druj in the here and now. As such, Zoroaster did not perceive Ahura Mazda to be omnipotent. Zoroaster did not hypostasize either good or evil (see asha for details).

Throughout the Gathas Zoroaster emphasizes deeds and actions, for it is only through "good thoughts, good words, good deeds" that order can be maintained, and in Zoroaster's revelation indeed the purpose of mankind is to assist in maintaining the order. In Yasna 45.9, Ahura Mazda "has left to men's wills" to choose between doing good (that is, good thoughts, good words and good deeds) and doing evil (bad thoughts, bad words and bad deeds). This concept of a free will is perhaps Zoroaster's greatest contribution to religious philosophy.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 04:23:48 am »

In Zurvanite Zoroastrianism

In Zurvanism, a now-extinct doctrine within greater Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda was not the transcendental God, but one of two equal-but-opposite divinities under the supremacy of Zurvan, 'Time'. This belief, which from a Mazdaen point of view is an apostasy, rests on an interpretation of Yasna 30.3, that makes Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu twin brothers that had co-existed for all Time.

Although Zurvanism appears to have thrived during the Sassanid era (226–651), no traces of it remain beyond the 10th century. Accounts of typically Zurvanite beliefs were the first traces of Zoroastrianism to reach the west, which misled European scholars to conclude that Zoroastrianism was a monist faith.

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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 04:24:38 am »

In present-day Zoroastrianism

In 1884, Martin Haug proposed a new interpretation of Yasna 30.3 that provided an escape from (what was considered to be) the dualism implicit in the Gathas. According to Haug's interpretation, the "Twin spirits" of 30.3 were Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu, the former being the 'Destructive Emanation' of Ahura Mazda and the latter being His 'Creative Emanation'

In effect, the Angra Mainyu versus Spenta Mainyu theory was simply a rediscovery of the precepts of Zurvanism, with the difference that Angra Mainyu was now not Ahura Mazda's equal, but an emanation of Him. Haug also developed the idea further, interpreting 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, so Haug, made it possible for Angra Mainyu to choose to be evil.

There is no trace of such philosophy in Zoroastrian tradition, but Haug's interpretation was gratefully accepted by the Parsis of Bombay since it provided a defence against Christian missionaries who were attacking the Zoroastrians for the dualism inherent to the idea of (substantiated) Evil that was as uncreated as God was. Notwithstanding the oversight that Zoroastrianism, as an eastern religion, did not hypostatize evil as western religions did, Haug's ideas were subsequently disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, thus corroborating the theories. Haug's ideas were so popular that they are now almost universally accepted as doctrine.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 04:27:10 am by Europa » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 04:25:44 am »

In West-Iranian Iconography

From the reign of Cyrus the Great down to Darius III, it was apparently customary for an empty chariot drawn by white horses to accompany the Persian army. According to Herodotus, who first described the practice, this chariot was sacred to "Zeus" who was presumably believed to position himself at the head of the army. (Ahura Mazda was frequently named Zeus by the Greeks; Aristotle refers to Zeus-Oromasdes being opposed by Hades-Aremainius).

The earliest reference to the use of an image to accompany devotion to Ahura Mazda is from "the 39th year of the reign of Artaxerxes Mnemon" (c. 365 BCE) in which a Satrap of Lydia raised a statue (according to the Greek commentator) to "Zeus" the Lawgiver.

The worship of Ahura Mazda with accompanying images is known to have occurred during the Arsacidn era (250 BCE–226 CE), but by the beginning of the Sassanid period (226–651), the custom appears to have fallen out of favor. A few images from Sassanid times that depict "Ohrmazd", reveal a male figure wearing a high crown.

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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 04:26:25 am »

In other religions

In Manichaeism, the name Ohrmazd Bay ("god Ahura Mazda") was used for the primal figure Nāšā Qamāyā, the "original man" through whose fall the original Light became tainted with dark matter.

In Sogdian Buddhism, Xwrmzt (Sogdian was written without a consistent representation of vowels) was the name used for the Buddhist ruler-deity Śakra. Via contacts with Turkic-speaking peoples like the Uighurs, this Sogdian name came to the Mongols, who still name this deity Qormusta Tengri; Qormusta (or Qormusda) is now a popular enough deity to appear in many contexts that are not explicitly Buddhist.
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 04:32:03 am »


The following 101 names of the Holy Lord are taken during Baj prayer during the Yazashne ritual while continuously sprinkling with the ring made of "Hasht" (eight) metals with the hair of the pure Varasya named "Vars", into the water vessel:



"Yaz" meaning worthy of being attuned; Praiseworthy
Lord of All
Without Beginning
Without End
Root of Creation
The End of All
Ancient Cause
More Noble
Most Open (Innocent)
Separate from All
Connected with All
Unreachable by anyone
Who Can Reach All
Most straightforward; Truest of All
Who Holds Everyone
Without Cause (Does not need a reason for existence)
Reason of All Reasons
Creator of Progress
Creator of Growth
Who Reaches Everyone Equally
Protector of Creation
Not Different
Without Shape
Most Determined
Most Invisible
Most Complete
Worthy of Thanksgiving
Completely Good Natured
Completely Good Noble Aura
Remover of Suffering
Grantor of Wishes
Creator of Noble Nature
Generous with Justice
Grantor of Generosity
Most Abundant Provider
Who Does Not Get Angry
Independent; Without Worry
Protector from Evil
Who Does Not Deceive
Who Cannot Be Deceived
Without Duality
Lord of Wishes
Wish Is His Command
Without Body
Who Does Not Forget
Keeper of Accounts
Worthy of Knowing; All Knowing
Without Suffering
Most High
Always the Same
Creator of the Universe Invisibly
Creator of Much Invisible Creations
Hidden in Invisible Creation
Who Changes Fire Into Air
Who Changes Fire Into Water
Who Changes Air Into Fire
Who Changes Air Into Water
Who Changes Air Into Dust
Who Changes Air Into Wind
Who Changes Fire Into Jewels
Who Creates Air In All Places
Creator of Much Water
Who Changes Dust Into Fire
Who Changes Dust Into Air
Who Changes Dust Into Water
Creator of Creators
(Fulfiller of Wishes) *
(Creator of Mankind) *
(Creator of All Things) *
(Creator of 4 Elements) *
(Creator of Stars) *
Without Doubt
Always Guarding & Progress Creator
Keeper of Limits
Lord of Creation
Wise Lord
Most Capable of Preserving Originality of Creations
Most Capable of Creating New Creations
Who Can Reach All Creations
Who Can Provide Everything
Lord of Existence
Creator of Justice
Full of Brightness
Full of Aura, Light
Giver of True Justice
Lord of Good Works
Giver of Freedom for Progress
Refresher of the Soul with Progress
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 04:39:44 am by Europa » Report Spam   Logged
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 04:41:02 am »

Zoroastrianism is a "Religion of a Book" or rather a religion of Texts. From the beginning, Zarathushtra's prophecies were embodied in words, though they were not written down until more than a millennium later. Zoroastrians have three thousand years of words in their heritage.

Many prayers in the Avesta are in "Avestan Language". During Zarathushtra's time, Avestan was only a spoken language because it did not have a script.

The Avesta, the sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism, is like a great pearl, in which layers and layers of material are added around a central core. The central core of the Avesta, and the oldest truly Zoroastrian part, is the "Gathas", the five hymns of Zarathushtra.

The Gathas, composed by Zarathushtra in Avestan language and memorized by his followers, were passed down orally from generation to generation. Over the centuries new prayers were composed by Zoroastrian priests and "Pahalavi" became the language of Iran. The Avestan prayers along with the prayers composed in Pahalavi language were first written down in Pahalavi script. In the 6th century CE the Avestan script was invented and all scriptures were rewritten in the Avestan script. The rewriting of the Pahalavi scriptures from Pahalavi to Avestan script is called Pazend (Pazand).

The Avesta is the analogue of the Bible for Zoroastrians. It is a collection of many texts from many eras, in different languages. The texts come from times that may be as early as 1700 BC and as late as 400 A.D. Until recently, the Avesta was known in the West as the "Zend-Avesta".

This is a misnomer and was caused by the misinterpretation of the word "Zend." This means "commentary" in middle Persian (Pazand). The word "Avesta" is mysterious in origin. The German scholars of the late 19th century say that it is from the ancient Iranian word "Upasta" meaning "shelter" or "support" but Persian Avesta scholars have a different idea. They say that, it is from the Indo-Iranian word "a" (not) and the root "vid" (know). That is, Avesta means "Unknown", which describes how the language of the Avesta became unknown to the Zoroastrians of later centuries.

We must remember that the Avesta as it has come down to the modern Zoroastrian world is but a collection of fragments and texts preserved from a far greater whole. Zoroastrianism has suffered greatly from the destruction of its texts. First, in the conflagration set by Alexander the invader in 330 B.C. which destroyed the library at Persepolis, and later by invading Muslims/Arabs and then by Mongols.

In the Sassanian era (250-650 AD) the high priests of the state religion re-gathered the surviving texts of the Avesta into a collection of 21 “Nasks” or "volumes". The number 21 comes from the number of words in the “Yatha Ahu” prayer, an easy number for Zoroastrians to remember.

The 21 Avesta volumes contained writings not only on religious matters but on mythology, law, science, medicine, and history. After the Arab/Muslim and Mongol conquests, only the writings on religion (containing much of the current Avesta) and one law-book survived, though there is evidence that much of the other material was translated into Persian and Arabic and became part of the Persian Islamic heritage.

The parts of Avesta which still exists are organized as 5 groups of texts:

1.  YASNA Sacred Liturgy and Gathas/Hymns of Zarathushtra...
2.  KHORDEH AVESTA Book of Common Prayer... 
3.  VISPERAD Extensions to the Liturgy... 
4.  VENDIDAD Myths, code of purification, religious observances... 
5.  FRAGMENTS Non-classified texts...
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2008, 05:43:34 am »

Very interesting. Thank you for all these informations.
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In archeology, ancient traditions must be considered, unless new findings will prove the contrary.
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2008, 10:31:09 pm »

Yes I found all the above most fruitful and enjoyed reading all about it.  The study just connects many things for me and seems to have reflection back to Van as Vouronus or Vurana, he was an immortal that lived in around lake Dal and then in North Eastern Iran, he was the one that built first Eden and was well known thoughout all those parts.  It seems obvious that his reflections have traveled throughout the world   including the Levantine under different names and religions and Van seems heavily documented in the religions of the east.


rests on an interpretation of Yasna 30.3, that makes Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu twin brothers that had co-existed for all Time

This part sounds so similar to Vans Brother Amadon they were both immortal as one come from the other.  There is a story behind it.

Here is a link to Van and Amadon.  I wonder if there are some clues for us in relation to all the above information and I wonder if there is a thread of truth we can explore and discover.

Even Ahura Mazda seems to imply two brothers, maybe Van and Amadon. just speculating in Metaphor!

Thats what I can see and I really responded to the posts

Great posts Europa


« Last Edit: February 14, 2008, 11:03:22 pm by sevens » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2008, 01:34:45 am »

Zoom zoom zoom   Grin

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