The enchanting doctrine of the Auspicious Immortals

Ameshá Speñtá is a beautiful gathic concept of profound importance. It refers to the eternal spirits of ahurmazd or aspects of his wit/profound understanding/mind/spirit. The term appears in the poetic Gathas as “Mazdá and his power supremes or ahurás/plural,” (See Yasna 30.9, second line and Yasna 31.4, first line.) They see the mind/spirit of Mazdá each time reflected anew, and learn/discover yet more of his wisdom and vision. Each time, they discover a brilliant thought and a new vision of Mazdá, they begin a new theme like and yet unlike to the former creation theme, and create new beauty, awe, and wonder in being and time. Mazdá shows them a new vision each time, and they unfold a new reality/world based on this newly discovered vision/wisdom. As it is written in the prelude to the poetic gathas or the “yánim manö” formula, the Ameshá Speñtá took forth the enchanting melody, and held them forth or manifested it in the world. Their role is make the existence brilliant, ever afresh and new.

Ameshá or Amertá means immortality, eternity, forever. Ameshá or Amertá refers to the indestructible, ever-thriving and eternal charm, magnetism and fascinating powers of Ahurmazd, (See Yasna 28.3, second line.) Speñtá on the other hand means auspicious, successful, and having great powers of achievement and realization. It comes from the same exact root as the Vedic Shivá. These Immortals flow from the ever-renewed energy and brilliance of Ahurmazd, (See Yasna 33.8, third line.)

They are the great beings of light and vision. They are the wondrous shapes/vafüsh of God, (See Yasna 29.6, first line.) They are the glorious formations of the spiritual light/knowledge that emanate from the thoughts/vision of Ahurmazd, (See Yasna 31.7, first line and Farvardin Yasht. 81.) Also we read in Mēnōg ī Khirad 8.2 that they are formed from Mazda’s own light (az hān ī khwēš rōshnīh), while in the Ayādgār ī Jāmāspīg 3.3-7 their illumination is compared to the lighting of a torch from a torch. They have been kindled with the flame imperishable, See Yasna 46.7, the third line. and their adoration themes is to make being and time brilliant and ever new. They were with Ahurmazd’s thought/vision before anything else was made, hence they are called “a-paourvîm,” (See Yasna 28.3, the first line.) The term “a-paourvîm” is the same as vedic “apaurashaya,” a word which reveals their eternal and ever pristine status. Their number has been cited as 7 (eternity, infinity) and 33 (infinite wisdom.) Yet the best description is in Vispered 8.1, where we read that their number is 50, 100, 1000, 10,000, yet beyond reckoning.

They are masters of their own will, and are of the same passion, will/desire and harmony with Mazdá and each other, (See, Yasna 51.20, the first line.) We read in Yasna 45.4 and Bundahišn 1.44 that Ahurmazd gave them being from his own selfhood, through perfect contemplation. The idea is repeated also in denkard exegesis and also in the bundahishn, (az hān ī khwēš khwadīh.) In other words, they are luminous aspects of God’s own nature.

They are like a new light/vision each time, filling the world with a new wonder and joy, (See Yasna 30, the third line,) For the delight of Mazdá is in the deed of making, and in the things most amazingly made, wherefore he passes ever on to some new brilliant work. So, they are the world’s life, eternal progress and every new discovery is theirs. Thus was the habitation of the ahurás or immortals established in eternity and infinite vastness of Vohümanö or wonderful wit/vision of GOD, See Yasna 39.3.

This beautiful doctrine has also a physical dimension, in that each of the immortals is linked with one of the “creations” (Middle Persian. dahišnān), which the ancient Iranian thinkers held made up the world. These links are systematically listed in the Zand and later middle Persian texts, and each of them is subtly mentioned in the poetic Gāthās, where Zoroaster sometimes names the creation in order to represent the divinity, and vice versa. The first to realize this, among Western scholars, was H. Lommel; the grandson of the great philosopher Hegel. The doctrine of the auspicious immortals thus links spiritual, ethical, and material in a manner, unique to to Zoroastrianism. As Lommel puts it; the doctrine represents an ancient, mystical way of looking at reality, at a time when, it seems, “abstract and concrete . . . appeared to the human spirit as of unified being, the abstract as the inner reality of the concrete, so that, for instance, perfect contemplation/serenity and the earth were the spiritual and material aspects of the same thing” (B. Schlerath, ed., Zarathustra, pp. 31-32). The link between the creations and the spiritual immortals is reaffirmed in the 5 daily acts of worship everyday, so to say that they are mere abstracts is ignoring the fact, that real/true knowledge is alive, knows and affects.


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