Avestan Druj “distortion, devastation, lie,” Old Persian Drauga, and Old Norse Draugr


 

In Zoroastrianism, the ahûrás are regarded as “eternal quest for excellence,” embodied in the superb artistry of the cosmic order. The connecting link between Immortal Gods and men is ašá/arthá “excellence, discovery, creative order, truth.”

Ašá/Arthá is the very nature of the “ahûrás or the God-Powers of mazdá,” and the source of all wonders/good ašem vôhü.

Mortal men join with Immortals in the struggle against drûj “lie, deceit, delusion, distortion and devastation.”

Just as ašá/arthá is the reference point for ratü “solver of riddles” and mánθrá “thought provoking formulas” of ahûrá mazdá the “supreme god of inspiring creativity, imagination, mind-power;” drûj is the reference point for the “devious scheming” of the daævás the “trickster deities.”

Drûj represents “distortion, devastation and torment.” It is the adversary of the cosmic order, and the foundation of Mazdean dualism, in the dual confrontation between “cosmic order/truth” ašá/arthá and “distortion, lie” drûj.

Drûj is attested 18 times in the poetic gathas. It comes once in the form of drûḵš and 18 times as drûj. The adjective term dreg.váv and/or dreg.vant in the gathas, is a derivation and means “follower/partisan of drûj, a deceiver, distorter, trickster!”

Avestan drûj is a cognate of Vedic druh “devastation, afflicting demon,” Proto Germanic draugaz “distortion, lie,” Icelandic drɑuɣr̩ “ghost, vampire,” Old Norse draugr “shadow, phantom,” German Trug “fraud, deception,” and Persian dorūġ “lie.”

In Norse mythology, draugr are undead figures that wreak havoc on living beings. Draugr carry the unmistakable stench of decay, have the appearance of a dead body, are swollen, blackened and hideous to look at. The Old Norse account of draugr is very much reminiscent of the Avestan nasü drûj “decay/lie within a necro/nasü or dead matter, corpse,” mentioned so often in the Avestan purity texts!

Drûj “distortion, lie,” motivates the choice and action of the daævás the “trickster deities.” In the poetic gathas, daævás because of their “scheming,” love of “bloody sacrifices,” and their “hostility to greater becoming/betterment” of mortal men, considered NOT to be divine, but are diabolic.”

In Zoroastrianism, slavish relation/submission to an “arrogant, cruel, tyrannical and tormenting deity” denotes demon worship, and NOT god-worship. True God-Worship is rooted in the will power to ENHANCE Life and MAGNIFY GODHOOD ahûrö masatá mazdáv.

In Mazd-yasna, mortal man’s destiny is to embody the brilliant virtues of the Immortals, greatness of the spirit, and to become Godlike. Man stands with his great soul beside Immortal Gods, as their ally and friend, and not their sacrificing slave.

An ally and friend of the Immortals, is described as a-drujiiantö “free from torment, devastation, distortion and lie,” in the poetic gathas.

While the slaves of the trickster deities are called tanû.drûj- “lie-incarnate or tangible falsehood,” and miθrö.druj- “insincere, untruthful in friendship with the Immortal Gods.”

I like to conclude first by this beautiful passage from the gathas and then by an Old Persian Inscription of Darius the Great:

kat ašavá mazdá véñg.hat dreg.vañ.tem

When shall the follower of excellence/cosmic order win over the treacherous liar, O Mazda (God of Inspiring Creativity/Mind Power?)

The battle between the “follower of excellence/truth” and the “follower of devastation and lie” refers to the preceding verse in the gathas namely: the “triumph of Immortals over diabolic deities and mortals,” for the age of Immortals and god-men will come at last.

ameretá.itî daævá.iš.čá mašiiá.iš.čá

A great god is ahûrá mazdá, the greatest of the gods of good fortune 

auramazdå vazraka hya mathišta bag 

May ahûrá mazdá protect this country from invaders, from bad year/famine, and from draugarotten lie.”

biš utâ imâm dahyâum auramazda pâtuv hacâ hainâyâ hacâ dušiyârâ hacâ draugâ

ardeshir

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Immortality and the eternal quest for excellence


In the ancient Indo-European thought and speech there are 2 races, the race of the Immortal Gods, the heavenly celestials, and the race of mortals or the earthlings. The gods are heavenly and the mortal men are from the earth. The Lithuanian word for “man” žmōgus literally means “earth-goer or earth-wanderer.” In ancient Iranian, the word for “mortal” Avestan mašiiá/martiiá, Modern Persian mard, is synonymous with “mankind.”

Decay and death are associated with the earthlings, while the gods are exempt from them both, for the gods are immortal, as well as un-ageing and eternally youthful ûta.yüiti.

In the poetic gathas, ameretát is a term that refers both to “Immortality” and the “Immortals,” but is not understood in terms of heavenly beings or earthlings, but rather in the context of “eternal quest for greater becoming.”

In fact, in the Zoroastrian sacred lore, the ham.kárs “co-workers or co-creators” of ameretát “Immortality,” are rašnü (Compare with Latin rectus) “being upright/high-minded,” arštát “to arise, excel,” and zãm “the earth” which nourishes all growing things and plants.

Ameretát “deathlessness,” in the gathic songs, is a “boundless dimension of creativity.” The first time that ameretát “Immortality,” appears in the poetic gathas, it comes in connection with ašá/arthá “the cosmic order, superb artistry, excellence/truth,” ašahiiá ameretát.as.čá.

A famous Avestan passage states: that “the one or only path, is that of ašá/arthá excellence/truth” aævö pañtáv ýö ašahæ, hence the only thing everlasting is “the undying quest for excellence.”

In the Zoroastrian sacred poetry, Immortality is about triumph of the spirit over limitations, and cosmic development into godhood.

Mortal men are not doomed to a dismal death in the realm of shadows, instead earthlings are destined to live with the Immortal Gods as god-men, and their faith is to arise, go beyond, overcome themselves and excel.

The last time that ameretát appears in the gathas is about the immanence of “Immortality” in trees, and comes in connection with the “undying powers of growth.”

ap.as.cá ûrvar.ávs.čá//ameretá.tá haûrvátá, (Compare Avestan ûrvar with Latin arbor “tree.”)

I shall add that Avestan ameretát, Vedic amṛta and Greek ambrosia are all etymologically related, and come from the reconstructed proto Indo European ṇmṛtós, bearing all the same meaning.

The connection between “nectar and immortality” can also be clearly seen in the first rhymed verse line of Yasna 34.11 of the poetic gathas.

However, the Zoroastrian view of Immortality or the Immortals can be grasped only within the notion of “innovation, discovery, artistry, cosmic order and eternal progress.” Partaking of the nectar of immortality means to overcome, and evolve ever higher and better.

As a tree is like a link/ladder between the worlds, stretching ever higher into the sky. So is mortal man, a bridge over the abyss, into becoming a god-man, and Immortality is an eternal quest for ever greater becoming!

The Auspicious Immortals amešá/amertá speñtás or the ahûrás of mazdá, are Immortals because of their brilliance. Avestan speñtá, Old Slavonic svętŭ and Lithuanian šventas, refer to inextinguishable/indestructible “brightness, radiance, luminosity, vividness and vigor of life.”

In the Avestan prayers, ameretát is invoked with the White Höm or gaô.karəna, the “chief of all healing plants”. The white haômá/höm is the delightful nectar that holds the formula/remedy for eternal youth, and will be prepared at the yasna invocation (literally zealous yearning/desire,) right before the splendid remaking, fresh creation of the worlds frašö.kart.

When the wondrous kingdom/dominion of ahûrá mazdá, “the supreme god of inspiring creativity” is established, there will exist inexhaustible energy/unfailing health haûrva.tát, and deathlessness ameretát, for the future tangible body that will come to pass (tan ī pasîn.)

According to the Avestan Zãm Yašt or the “hymn to the earth,” the creation will become “un-ageing, undying, un-decaying, un-rotting” (Yt. 19. 11).

A new age of “innovation, discovery and eternal progress” will usher in. Immortals will replace the demon gods and mortal men ameretá.iti daæváiš čá mašiiá.iš-čá/martiiá.iš.čá, and there will be the dawn of the age of the god-men.

In the Zoroastrian calendar, the seventh day of each month, and the second month of summer (or the fifth month in the religious calendar,) are dedicated to ameretát “IMMORTALITY,” called amôrdád in Persian. The special feast of ameretát is around July 24-25.

Since haûrva.tát is the lord over waters and delightful liquids, and ameretát is the master of trees, healing plants, nourishment and food, to eat/drink while chattering and/or arguing is a major offense against haûrva.tát “healing powers” and ameretát “deathlessness, immortality” in the Zoroastrian religiosity.

Food and drink are to be savored and enjoyed in peace. The rule is to recite an Avestan formula before each meal, and quietly take pleasure in eating food and/or drinking, without having any conversations or arguments.

ardeshir

 

 

 

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Avestan Airyaman, Irmin-got as a name of Odin and the Irish Éremón


The poetic gathas start with the most sacred ahü vair.iiö formula the “will to become godlike” and conclude with airyémá iš.iiö, the “noble, lofty ideal ” literally the “Aryan wish, desire, aspiration.”

Airyá “honorable” was a term that the ancient Indo Europeans, specifically the people of Andronovo culture (Indo Iranians/Aryans) used to call themselves. The letter a in the Avestan airyá is pronounced as a in advance and the i is pronounced as i in inspire!

The term is reflected in Sanskrit aryá-, ārya– and Irish aire “noble lord and master;” it has given its name to Iran (land of the Aryans) and perhaps to Eire (Irish word for Ireland.)

The designation airyá or āryá among ancient Indo-Europeans can be compared to the name Inka “ARISTOCRATIC,” among Quechua people of the Central Andes of South America, who referred to themselves as “farming nobility.”

Airyaman is one of the most powerful verses/formulas of Zoroastrianism and according to the ancient Zoroastrian doctrine, plays a major role in the “fresh renewal of the divine powers and remaking of the worlds” faršö kart.

The god-being Airyaman embodies “the birth of godhood in mankind, elevation of character and spirit, honor and nobility.”

Airyaman is invoked at the conclusion of the gathas, and called on to come for the “great happiness and joy” of the “valiant men and women of Zarathustra ” nere.biias.čá náiri.biias.čá zarath.ûštra.hæ or “Zarathushtra’s people” (Compare with Russian národ for “people, folk, nation.”)

In the poetic gathas, airyá comes in connection with godhood ahûrás (the equivalent of Norse æsir and the Vedic asura,) and wisdom, knowledge of flourishing/thriving thwaš the living world or gaia.

airyam.ná vá ahûrá//vîdãns vá thwaš.aηhá gavöi

(See Yasna 33.3, 2nd rhymed verse line.)

The triumphant Saošyánts, saôš.iian.tãm literally “those who bring good fortune/success,” and sû.iiam.nãm, the “champions of prosperity, advantage and benefit,” will themselves recite the airyémá išiiö, in their task of greater becoming of the worlds; and it is airyaman who with átar (heat, fire,) will melt the metals for a fiery ordeal that will purify the creation. (See Benveniste, Les mages dans Vancient Iran, io-ii.)

There is also an old link between Airyaman the “noble ascent of godhood/ahûrá in mankind,” and Mithra “friendship with the Immortals,” for both symbolize “hospitality and reciprocity” between Gods and the “noble god-men.”

It has been hypothesized that airyaman’s name is to be recognized in the Germanic irmin, *ermina- or *ermana. Old High German Irmin-got, is a god called to witness in the Hildebrandslied and appears as a name of ODIN.

A number of compounds in various languages such as in Gothic Ermanaric, Old English eormencyn ‘mighty race’, eormenþeod ‘mighty people seem also to be related to airyaman.

Aryaman/Airyaman has long been equated with the Irish Éremón. No doubt the Irish Éremón originally must have had divine status but, like the rest of the pagan pantheon, was euhemerized in Christian times.

Éremón is recognized as the legendary first king of the sons of Míl, the Goidelic Celts, that is the first Indo-Europeans in Ireland. He was the God-king who drove the Tuatha Dé Danann, the people who stand for the old gods in Irish mythology, underground.

Most interestingly, in the gathic váršt.mánßar commentary of airyaman it is sated: that the afflicted/evil spirit who is of “sick vision” duš.daænö, with all his diabolical creatures and abominable demons, will be buried in the earth and their bodily form (kehrpö) will be completely shattered, through the power of Airyaman formula.

There are also a number of references in the Avesta announcing that after the radiant revelation of Zarathustra, the demons and diabolic forces were driven underground, shattered and buried beneath the earth.

In the legend of Éremón there is a trace of an old connection with marriage, survived in the story that Éremón provided wives to the Cruithnig (Picts).

In the poetic gathas and ancient Zoroastrianism, airyaman formula is the blessing for the Zoroastrian wedding ceremony, when guests are entertained in “honor, kinship and hospitality.” Airyaman has been used in the Zoroastrian marriage ritual as a most powerful charm from the start as evidenced by the ancient gatha songs.

In the poetic gathas, airyá refers to the “potential for greatness, godhood and all that is lofty in the wider circle of kinsmen and kinswomen, the noble people.” It comes in Yasna 32.1, 33.3, 33.4, 46.1 and 49.7 as well as in the most powerful airyman formula, at the conclusion of the divine songs. It stands above xvaætû- (own family, kin) and vərəzəná- (fellowship, craft/work.)

The term also appears many times in the heroic Yashts and in the entire Avesta, referring to “wider familial and marital ties, nobility, and honor.”

With Vedic áryaman is invoked another of the Adityas “Sun-Gods,” bhaga, the personification, of “good fortune, the good things of life, good portion or luck.” Vedic bhaga is the same as Avestan/gathic baga and the Russian word for god bog.

Bhaga (Avestan baga), like Aryaman (Avestan Airyaman,) is associated with marriage, and this has been explained on the grounds that in ancient communities marriages were made so that good fortune/prosperity should come through noble generations.

The baga gatha is the song of “good fortune, wondrous dominion,” that comes before the final gatha/song and is concluded by airyaman.

Airyaman formula is also regarded as a the most powerful charm against illness, sorcery and all evil (Y. 54. 2; Yt. 3. 5; Gāh 1. 6; Vd. 20. 12, cf. 22. 6–20) It is exalted in the gathic varšt.mántar verses and Yašt 3 as the greatest of mantras against sickness, decrepitude and decline.

The popularity of Airyaman never waned in ancient Iran, and when in the 3rd century A.C. Manichaean missionaries translated their own scriptures into middle Iranian, the god being whom they identified as the physician of souls, was airyaman, “the healer, the elevating, noble god power!”

ardeshir

 

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Sirius, the Orion belt and the Avestan Tri-star, Tištar


 

During maiðiiö-šam “mid-summer” celebrations, circa two weeks after summer solstice, the festival of ti.štr.iiá or tristar is observed in the Avestan calendar.

Ti.štr.iiá is the brightest and most glorious of the stars in the Zoroastrian sacred lore, and is venerated as a “god being-life-force” ahü and “knower of riddles, most learned master” ratü.

The 8th Yasht (hymn, adoration) in the Avesta is devoted to tristar as a God-star and yazatá. The term yazatá denotes “pure energy, animating force, vital principle and holiness.” It is etymologically the same as Greek hagios.

Bernhard Forssman derives ti.štr.iiá from the Indo European *tri-str-iḭo or *tri-str-iyo literally TRISTAR. By ti.štr.iiá, Sirius as the most brilliant triangle star in the Orion belt is meant.

The epithet of ti.štr.iiá is afš.ciθra “having the brilliance of the waters/rains” (Panaino, 1990, pp. 92-93; cf. Cantera, 1997). The Persian proverb that “waters are luminosity” goes back to the Avestan Yasht devoted to ti.štr.iiá, where the falling of the rains, and flowing of waters is linked to the brilliance/radiance of the stars and constellations specifically Sirius.

Also a clear link to the astral theme of the heavenly “arrow” tigra/tigri is present in the Avestan hymn, in respect to tristar or ti.štr.iiá.

According to Yasht 8th 6-7 and 37-38, ti.štr.iiá flies in the sky as the “arrow” tigra/tigri shot by the most valiant archer of the Aryans, the hero Ereša (Kellens 1977).

The name of the most valiant Archer of the Aryans ereša literally means “bear,” and is a cognate of Greek árktos, Latin ursa /ursus, all coming from reconstructed Indo-European *hŕ̥ḱtós or*hréḱtes.

The Avestan hymn to ti.štr.iiá contains two narratives, one concerning ti.štr.iiá’s fight with apaôša (drought, literally demise/loss of waters) and the latter battke with the pairikās (mischievous fairies), corresponding to shooting comets (literally worm stars) stárö kərəm.áv.

The first narrative poem (stanzas 13-34) describes the combat of the tristar yazatá (pure energy, god-force) against apaôša (drought) for the liberation of the waters, contained in the cosmic ocean vôúrû.kaša “vast expanse of waters or wide shored sea.”

Ti.štr.iiá assumes three diferent incarnations in the hymn, taking ten days for each; the star successively changes the form of his form into a fifteen-year-old man at the prime of his youth, a bull with golden horns, and finally a splendid white stallion/horse.

These three transformations astronomically cover the period beginning with the heliacal rising of the star Sirius in July and lasting till the first appearance of the meteor showers between August and September (Panaino, 1995, pp. 15-24).

In the shape of a beautiful, white stallion ti.štr.iiá attacks drought, incarnated as a black, dismal and gloomy horse, but after three days and nights, ti.štr.iiá is defeated at first, because the tristar yazatá was not sufficiently worshipped by the Aryans (see Yašt. 8.24).

Yazatás and Immortals are in essence mainiiü “sheer will and the creative power of thoughts/consciousness.” Their powers are unleashed proportional to the amount of concentration/belief in their “mind energy.” Collective belief in and focus on their archetypal ideals releases their vital force and affect the world accordingly.

After a fervent yasná “yearning, fervent desire” (Compare with Greek zelos,) offered by the supreme god Ahûrá Mazdá himself in favor of his star champion, ti.štr.iiá defeats the dismal drought at midday; thus the waters of the cosmic ocean are freed and can be distributed among the seven climes hapta karšvars (Yt. 8.32).

According to the Avestan hymn, other constellations and stars also collaborate with ti.štr.iiá specially the constellation of Canis Minor.

The second narrative poem concerns the struggle of ti.štr.iiá against pairikās (mischievous fairies,) led by duž-yáiriia “the bad/terrible year.” The “bad/horrible year” duž-yáiriia is supported by the stárö kərəm.áv “shooting comets” (literally worm stars) with the purpose of bringing chaos into the energetic radiance of the constellations and stars.

I shall conclude by adding that in the Avesta, Yašt 6 pays homage to the sun, Yašt 7 to the moon, Yašt 8 to ti.štriiá or Sirius, and Yašt 10 to miθra “Lord of the celestial lights and friendship with the Spiritual Immortals.” Also, the 13th day of each Avestan month falls under the patronage of ti.štr.iiá and therefore is considered as an auspicious, lucky day for Zoroastrians, since ti.štr.iiá or tistar is the protagonist of radiance, luminosity, waters/rain and blessings!

Finally, Indo Iranian tigra/tigri “arrow” associated with tri-star in the Avesta, has become the name for the first month of the summer in Persian tīr. The Armenian proper name Tigran/Tigranes comes from the same root. The term has also been borrowed into ‎ancient Greek tígris and Latin tigris “tiger, pointed, sharp.”

 ardeshir

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The principle of action and the impulse of health/vitality in Zoroastrianism


Zoroastrianism is a faith based on the principle of vigorous activity called šiiaöθaná in the Avetsan.

Šiiaöθaná is the dynamism of action/motion, the transfiguration of thought into form, the projection of the spirit/soul onto the existential world. In other words, šiiaöθaná is the capacity to act upon the world-stage with the willpower to direct the course of destiny.

Avestan šiiaö.θa.ná comes from the root šiiaö and is etymologically related to Greek seúō, “to set in motion, stir, incite, shake,” Latin cieō, all coming from the reconstructed Indo-European root *kei “energy of action/motion.”

Zoroastrianism teaches that godliness is about mastering destiny with the ACTIONS we take in the world. For life is constantly in movement and seeks to overcome its limitations, as well as the forces inimical to life’s great becoming.

The concept of Godhood in Zoroastrianism can only be undesrstood within the context of Die Klugen Unsterblichen, “undying and never ending brilliance/intelligence” that unwearyingly sets new horizons!”

The 7th song of the poetic gathas is called ýá šiiaö.θa.ná. The song is about the impulse of healthy vitality/wholeness haûrva.tát and the penchant for action šiiaöθaná.

It is a hymn of fifteen stanzas and is placed in Yasna 34 in the present arrangement of the Avesta! According to the ancient tradition, the 15 stanzas are about “every healing formula, medical remedy and the powers of restoration” that will set in motion “the great, new becoming/fresh transformation” of the universe frašö kart.

Avestan šiiaö.θa.ná “enterprise, purpose-driven action” is the actualization of zeal/passion yasná (Compare with Greek zelos) towards the attainment of the intangible, the immortal yasná ameretá.tem.

This “fervent yearning for the immortal” yasná ameretá.tem via the medium of industry/action šiiaö.θa.ná, based upon the pursuit of ašá/arthá “excellence, truth, cosmic order,” forms the basis of Zoroastrianism.

We read in the poetic gathas, Yasna 34.1:

Action, formulation // aspiration for the eternal, the immortal

Cosmic order, superb artistry, truth that thou hast established//Mindful lord, together with the kingdom of every healing, restoration

All these are your god-beings, powers//whom in their fullness we are devoted to

ýá šiiaö.θa.ná ýá vač.há//ýá ýasná ameretá.tem

 ašem.čá taæ.ib.iiö dáv.aηhá//mazdá šaθrem.čá haûrva.tá.tö

 aæšãm töi ahûrá//éhmá paôúrû.tem.áiš dastæ

In Zoroastrianism, devotion is becoming part of the fullness of the Gods éhmá paôúrû.tem.áiš dastæ.

The dynamism of action/movement towards haûrva.tát “wholeness” is tireless, without end or limits.

Only those Gods are God and worthy of worship whom embody the impulse of vigorous vitality/wholeness and are held to further well being, mastery and the will power to overcome.

Haûrva.tát “wholeness, healthy vital energy” is etymologically the same as the ancient Greek holótēs, hólos, “whole,” Vedic sarvá.tāti, Latin salvus “safe, sound, well, whole, healthy.”

Zoroastrianism is a religion of “healthy energy, vitality and wholeness,” and NOT a religion of the sick soul, anguished wailing, suffering and gloom.

Quite remote from Zoroastrianism stands the idea that the body is a dirty prison for a soul. For this reason, every idea of killing the senses, of asceticism, lies diametrically opposed to Zoroastrianism, and is reviled as an attempt to paralyze the wholesome, energetic, godly nature.

Fasting, self-flagellation, ritual mourning and any form of asceticism that weakens the healthy vital force are all shunned upon.

The Zoroastrian doctrine links spiritual and material in a unique, ingenious manner. Characteristic of Zoroastrianism is the reverence of the physical world and the elements, as a visible expression of the Spiritual Immortals.

Each of the Immortals is linked with one of the physical creations. As Hermann Lommel observes, the Zoroastrian doctrine represents an ancient, mystical way of looking at reality, . . . viewing the abstract as the inner reality of the concrete, the spiritual and material as the aspects of the same thing” (B. Schlerath, ed., Zarathustra, pp. 31-32).

The belief that all nature is a manifestation of the Immortals as well as the idea that Immortals and mortals are bound in kinship through inspiring creativity, industry and zealous striving for excellence lies at the heart of the doctrine.

In conclusion, I shall add that while in many belief systems gods act with willful destruction and out of despotism, the Immortals in Mazdyasna embody brilliant mind energy, healthy will power, mastery, vitality in action/motion to overcome limitations and flaws.

The concept of Godhood in Zoroastrianism is that of insight, discovery and the eternal quest for greater becoming whereas the diabolic forces stand for stagnation, blemish, affliction, destruction, anguished wailing and a sick, morbid soul!

ardeshir

 

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Zoroastrianism, sacred fire and fire-worship


The terms “Fire Worship” and “Fire-Worshippers” were always associated with Zoroastrianism and Zoroastrians throughout history. The notion of fire worship goes back to reverence for “hearth fire” among ancient Indo-Europeans.

Fire is the visible embodiment of the Gods and the “brilliant element” that binds the world of mortal men to the “luminous and limitless” realm of the Immortals.

In Zoroastrianism, fire symbolizes the Struggle between being and becoming, the pure transformative energy, the WILL POWER that drives mortal man forward towards godhood and becoming infinitely better.

A flame always burns upwards, so are the paths toward the horizons of a yet unrealized future. Zoroastrian creed can be summarized as an everlasting striving for what lays beyond the horizon and the attainment of the ethereal ûštá. Zoroastrian struggle is to bring “the spiritual and the infinite” into the world and to discover the eternal flame within.

Avesta talks of 5 kinds of fires (See Yasna 17.11). First is the “lofty, auspicious fire” bərəzi.sava, “the Exalted, Victorious fire of the eternal flames.” (Compare Avestan bərəzi “high, lofty” with proto Germanic bergaz, berg,“mountain.”)

The good/beautiful fire of “love, fertility” vôhü fryán is the “life force of men and beasts.” The fire of ûrvázištá animates the “plants and trees” ûrvar. (Compare Avestan ûrvar with Latin arbor.)

The “most vigorous” or lively fire of vazištá is identified with lightening. And lastly there is spéñištá “the most auspicious” fire, burning in the presence of Öhrmazd. The spéñištá fire can be compared with ugnis szwenta of Lithuanian heathenry. Szwenta “auspicious, holy, increasing” is the same as the Avestan speñtá.

Fire in our faith embodies the triumph, the unsurpassed power of the spirit ḵratü (Homeric krátos,) the breaking free from the confines of space, love of excellence/virtue ašá/arthá and the projection of the unbounded will power into the ends of time and space.

The wondrous workings of the cosmic order ašá/arthá are akin to the transformative nature of fire. For cosmos is actively in the state of becoming infinitely better. By mimicking the cosmic order ašá/arthá, mortal man becomes a “divine artist” aša.van/artha.van and finds the everlasting fire within.

In Zoroastrianism, the great gift of the Gods is manö the “mind energy/courage/spirit” to face destiny with unbounded “fiery vitality,” become the artist of the gods aša.van/artha.van and to win the timeless glory sravá by “hearing the song/music of the Immortals.”

In the poetic gathas, the protection páiiüm of Mazdá the “supreme god of inspiring creativity,” is sought in none “other than thy fire and mind power” aniiém θwahmát áθras.čá man.aηhas.čá, (See Yasna 46.7, 3rd rhymed verse line.)

Avestan manö is a cognate with Greek menos μένος, understood as ‘fighting spirit’ in Homeric contexts, and indicates creative forces animated by supernal “disposition/mindset/spirit.”

Through the gift of “fire” and “courage, spirit, creative imagination” manö, mortal man is no longer enchained to doom and oblivion. Instead, mortal man joins with the Immortal ahûrás in the struggle against all limitation, stagnation and chaos; projects himself into the immensity of eternity, and becomes a bridge into the supernal realm.

The unity of “will-power, spiritual wisdom, and action” ḵratü makes manifest a greater becoming. Through heroic struggle, mortal man becomes a vessel of sublime change and gives rise to consciously willed evolution.

The temporal world therefore is the battle-field in which the warrior fulfills his divine destiny, cherishing life as a cultivator and farmer, where plants, animals and men are each called to grow and ripen into powerful forces asserting themselves within the creative order of ašá/arthá.

This overcoming of limitations times and again, the rising above the mundane and the attainment of the infinite through the act of becoming ever better, is called “eternal progress” in the Zoroastrian sacred literature. “Eternal Progress” is the definition of faršö-kart “the splendid re-making, fresh new creation of the worlds.”

In Zoroastrian sacred lore, like in the Norse mythology, the end of the mundane world comes first with 3 harsh, most severe winters and then with fire.

We read in the poetic gathas, Yasna 51.9 2nd rhymed verse line: aii.aηšûstá aibî ahv.áhü daštem dávöi.

The verse is about the realization of “an eternal age of progress and a spring with no end” through a “molten, flowing” šûstá “metal/iron” aii.aη which “gives or establishes” dávöi the “sign, indication” daštem of “a god-like existence” ahv.áhü.

Thus, in the universe as well as in man, the state of becoming ahüric or god-like is realized through purging by a fiery trial.

The word for “fire” in the Avesta is áθar/áthar, also áθarš/átharš, referring to the “fires of altar and hearth.” It comes from reconstructed Proto Indo European *háhtr “hearth or altar fire,” from the root *hahs-“to burn”, and is a cognate of Hittite hâssâ “hearth fire,” (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

The Avestan áthar is related to Czech vatra, Romanian vatrā “fire,” Latin āter “blackened by fire,” atrium “chimney, space over hearth” come from the same root, (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

In Zoroastrianism the “family hearth” is sacred and never suppose to go out or be extinguished. The reverence for “hearth fire,” underlies the significance of continuing the family line and the clan. In fact, the Persian word doud-man “lineage, dynasty, house” goes back to the SMOKE arising from the “family hearth.” Thus an eternal flame burning in “home, hearth and kin group” is both a consequence and a requirement of ašá/arθá “excellence, truth, world order.”

In the Zoroastrian sacred poetry fire/luminous energy is the visible son or prodigy pûthræ of Ahûrá Mazdá.

I shall conclude by Yasna 34.4 from the poetic gathas:

at töi áθrém ahûrá//aôjö.aηh.vañtem ašá ûsé.mahî

asîštém éma.vañtem//stöi rapañtæ ciθrá-av.aηhem

at mazdá daibiš.iiañtæ//zastá.ištá.áiš dereštá-aæn.aηhem

 

Thy fire, god-force//energetic through cosmic order, truth; is our object of wish/desire

Swift and mighty//stands to radiate happiness, manifesting good fortune

But to Thy enemy, Mazda//with hands wielding discernible power, inflicts agony.

 

ardeshir

 

 

 

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SRAOŠA, Soroush “harkening to the songs/music of the Immortal Gods”


Sraôšá is a major yazata “adorable god-power” in Zoroastrianism. It comes about 8 times in the poetic gathas, and like all the other Immortals, appears both as an “abstraction/virtue” as well as an “individual ahûrá or god being.”

Sraôšá means “harkening to the songs/music of the Immortal Gods, inspiration.” It is derived from the root srû– “to hear, hearken.”  Avestan srû goes back to Reconstructed Indo European root *klu, “to hear.”

A derivative is attested in Vedic śruṣṭí- “that which has been heard from the gods, everlasting wisdom/knowledge, listening to divine odes/songs.”

“What is divinely HEARD” occupies a central concept in the Indo European poetic heritage. The Indo-Europeans firmly believed in an afterlife in the realm of “mind, memory and consciousness.”

According to the poetic gathas, the great gift of the Immortals to mortals is the gift of sraôšá “hearing the divine songs/music or being inspired by the gods.The separation of the two races of mortals and Immortals is not absolute due to sraôšá or “inspiration coming from the boundless realm.”

Gods and men are not, in the eyes of Zoroastrianism, incomparable beings remote from one another. Instead Zoroastrianism, always firmly believed that men, as “noble genus/race” hû-zentûš possess something boundless, everlasting and as such could claim to approximate to God stature and become “Godlike.”

The “inspiration/songs coming from the gods” sraôšá, is the incarnation of all the creative virtues, hence is the embodiment of unfading glory. “Fame/glory” is derived from that which is HEARD from the Immortals, the ahûrás, and that glory ALONE can survive death.

Zoroastrianism teaches a succession of twilights and renewals of the worlds in a grandiose display, in repeated cataclysms, upon which new, better worlds with a “more ingenious order” would emerge each time. For the Zoroastrians, the firm expectancy is ALWAYS the creative renewal of life, inspired by the hymns/song of the Immortals sraôšá.

Each individual life is a brief detail in the long tale of generations, soon to be cut short. But despite the tragic character of mortal’s life, spirit/consciousness is undying as long as it is tuned into the “creative inspiration” of the Immortal Gods.

God-men and women, valiant heroes and just warriors of the past live on in the sacred memory, in poem, song and sacred verse. Their souls would go to join the Immortals and enjoy an unending communal existence in the glorious house of music/songs garö demánæ.

It is sraôšá “inspiration” along with miθrá/mithrá “friendship with the Immortals” and rašnü “rectitude, integrity” that are the Judges of the departed at “the bridge/portal” pereθü/perethü to the realms beyond.

(Compare gathic pereθü “bridge/portal,” with Norse Ás-brú “the bridge of the gods/æsir and the name of the city of Osnabrück literally meaning the bridge to the gods.)

In Zoroastrianism man is NOT a slave before an omnipotent, despotic god. Instead man is a friend of the god-powers, standing before them proudly, with integrity and nobility, to receive their inspiration and unfading glory sraôšá.

Zoroastrian prayer/worship does NOT involve kneeling or prostration to earth, but standing joyful, with arms/hands stretched out upwards ûstána zastö ascending into the boundlessness of the Infinite. (See the first line of the poetic gathas, Yasna 28.1, 1st rhymed verse line.)

A Zoroastrian worshipper is always aware of his/her own mortal limitations, but to him/her the worship of Mazdá means to approximate to God stature and become “Godlike” through “Inspiring Creativity.”

In the poetic gathas, sraôšá “inspiration” is the ham-kár associate/co-creator of ašá/arθá “divine artistry, cosmic order,” vereθra.ghna “Shatterer of barriers, walls, remover of obstacles” and aθrá “transforming fire, heat, intensity of passion.” Sraôšá COMBATS chaos, demons and protects the harmony of the cosmic order.

It is sraôšá who has inspired the sacred gathic verses. A common functional heritage with Bṛhas.pati, “the teacher to the gods” in the Vedas is therefore likely.

The seer/prophet listens to the inspirer of creative charms, and by hearing the song/hymns of the gods, the inspired poet tunes into the “boundless realm of creativity, genius and luminosity” of all the Immortals.

Just like the Old Irish arcane verses convey co cloth nī “something is heard,” something from the boundless beyond inspires.

Eternal Glory is inseparable from being inspired by the Gods. Someone achieving never-ending glory makes a name for himself’. Tocharian has the compound ‘name-fame’ (A ñom-klyu, B ñem-kälywe).

What fired the ancient Aryans was the desire “to be heard, to be gloriously remembered in the eternal consciousness/memory.” Warriors were stimulated to valor, rulers to acts of justice and goodness, by the anticipation of “good repute.”

Mazdáv aša.xva.iiá.čá//ýöi za.zeñtî vaηháû srav.ahî

Within “Inspiring Creativity, Mindfulness” Mazdá and “Cosmic Order” ašá/arthá//they shall continuously live in “good repute” vaηháû srava. (See Yasna 30.10, 3rd rhymed verse line)

Avestan srava “song, glory, to be heard” is a cognate of Old Church Slavonic слава slava, “glory” and слово slovo, “word.”

“To be heard of, in songs/odes to gods and heroes,” meant to “live forever in sacred memory” and “to achieve eternal glory.” Death comes to all, to the virtuous and the wicked alike, but the “everlasting glory” comes to the virtuous ALONE, those who are inspired by the Immortals and have earned a good name/repute.

In Yasna 34.15, 1st rhymed verse line: The “individual self/me” möi asks “the Mindful Lord, the god of Inspiring Creativity” Mazdá for “the best” vahištá in “hymns/songs” sravá that inspire “enterprise/action” šiiaö.θa.ná and “mastery of speech, words/voice” vaôčá. The theme of the verse is the splendid renewal of the worlds.

mazdá at möi vahištá//srav.ávs čá šiiaö.θa.ná čá vaôčá

I shall conclude by adding that sraôšá’s popularity continued into the islamic times and soroush “divine communication” became a great angel in Iranian Sufism.

The undeniable truth is that much which has asserted itself in islamic Persia/Iran in philosophical, mystic life and arts can be valued as a resurgence of Zoroastrian, Indo-European Spirit, for inherited nature will always stir against alien, incompatible forms of belief.

Thus the mysticism of Iranians/Persians after the Islamic subjugation is to be understood as a Reconquest by Zoroastrian Indo-European religiosity into an inherently alien faith.

ardeshir

 

 

 

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