Angels and Demons in the poetic gathas

Angels and Demons in the poetic gathas

Contrary to the many hollow claims of the pseudo-intellectuals, the poetic gathas do in fact mention both demons and Angels as utterly real.

In the gathas/songs of the prophet, Angels are wondrous aspects of Mazda’s superb mind/spirit, immortal sparks of Gd’s amazing genius. The entire gathas is a loving poetry to Mazda and the awe inspiring aspects of his brilliant mind.

The Persian word for angel “Fereshte” has its origin in the poetic gathas of the ancient prophet/seer, See Yasna 49.8, the 4th rhymed verse line. The Avetan word Fraäsht/Fraæsht in the aforementioned verse is equivalent to the Vedic Preshita, “divinely enthused, inspired fervor, glow of feeling, Angel, Messenger.”

In Yasna 49.8, the 4th rhymed verse line; the Aryan Prophet prays to Mazda, the GD of Genius and Vision “may we be your Angels/divinely enthused by you for all ages.”

Also, the demonic and diabolic forces known asdaevá  daävá daævá” are utterly real in the gathas.  “First demons and afterwards the mortal men arrived at distortion and corruption of mind power,” See Yasna 45.11, 1st and 2nd rhymed verse line.

“Demons wished/chose not what is fitting or right and were but deceived, they came together for counsel, only to choose the most limited/stagnated mind, rushed into wrath/violent commotion to make the mortal’s world sickly and diseased,” See Yasna 30.6, 1st, 2nd and 3rd rhymed verse line.

Translating daevás as “false or imaginary gods” does not agree with the gathic original and is simply an attempt to give a pseudo-rationalistic look to the profound gathic poetry. 

The term vi.daævö “without/against the diabolic forces” qualifies the faithful Zoroastrian with the same force as mazd-yasnö “Yoked/joined in union with the GD of vision and genius,” and zarathushtrish-“Zoroastrian,” See Yasna 12 and Yasna 43.8, the 2nd rhymed verse line.

Poetic Gathas teach that in the realm of consciousness/mind energy is the formulation of all the worlds and material manifestations. Daævás are the brood of limited consciousness, descendants of beaten and stagnated mind/spirit.

“You all the Demons, have come from the worlds beyond, the race of stagnated/beaten mind; your great binding, falsehood and arrogance; becoming thereafter ill famed in the seven climes of the land,” See Yasna 32.3, 1st 2nd and 3rd rhymed verse line.

These stagnated/frustrated mind energies from the worlds beyond; act upon the earth-life and mortal men who are by far their vassals and puppets, doing their biding. They make mortals to see demons/evil as GD, lie as truth and truth as lie.

“You have proclaimed; the love of daævás is to separate from luminous, superb mind; and to noxiously ravage the manifesting power of thought, wisdom, vision, and the brilliant artfulness of GD,” See Yasna 32.4, 2nd and 3rd rhymed verse line.

“You have deceived mortal men of the essence/nectar of life and indestructibility, you the confounded brood of beaten spirit/mind; through gloom, heinous actions and words, you have foretold rule/power for the treacherous liar,” See Yasna 32.5, 1st 2nd and 3rd rhymed verse line.

“Gd of Genius and Vision how could demons be good kings wielding power? When what they ask for is to prevent/hinder desire,” See Yasna 44.20, 1st and 2nd rhymed verse line.

“For this is the dose and evil vision of the daævás,” See Yasna 49.4, 4th rhymed verse line.

“Existence,” “Life-force” “Manifesting Power of Mind” is the domain of Ahúrá Mazdá. Demons have NO life-force and are living dead, Stagnated Mind Energies. Theirs is a parasitic, temporary phenomenon until the outcome of the existence, See Yasna 30.4, 2nd rhymed verse line.

“For theirs is the worst want of vision, compared to the luminous eternity of the boundless mind/spirit,” See Yasna 30.4, 3rd rhymed verse line.

“Mazda most wise in tales and lore, knows well what demons and mortal men have wrought in the past and wreak for the future, he (hvö) is the sage/wizard (wichirö,) and it will be just as the GD of Genius and Vision wishes/desires (vasat,)” See Yasna 29.4, 2nd rhymed verse line.

“For his power to accomplish is their renunciation entire; demons, monsters of scattered mind and the mortal men,” Yasna 34.5, 3rd rhymed verse line

Daævás lack effective power to accomplish anything, owing to their limited and ultimately self-destructive vision. They are called akár “incapable of creation/effective work” in Middle Persian commentaries. Their very self is “frustration” and “want of intelligence.”

“We the demons long for a magnificent and splendid mind such as yours, and the accomplishment and delight of the Gd of Genius and Light,” Yasna 32.1, 2nd rhymed verse line.

In Zoroastrianism evil is not a creative force and is secondary in the cosmic order, affirming the priority and superiority of the force of genius and good. Therefore it is not described as a force to be feared.  The protection of the adorable powers/aspects of the mind of GD is far greater than the ravage/distortion of the demons, See Holy Denkart, 5.24.21a.

It is not possible for a demon to invade unless there are doors open for it to enter. The door may be a consent or affinity or a physical defect in the being. The demons cannot corrupt unless there is some defect in oneself, some impurity, weakness or, at the very least, ignorance. One should then seek out this weakness in oneself and correct it.

What makes it impossible for demons to prevail in any attack is the “brilliant flow of thoughts,” “perfect contemplation;” “auspicious, serene thinking power,” See Yasna 32.2, 3rd rhymed verse line.

Mortal man as a species stands between the angels /aspects of GD’s superb and wondrous mind and the demons or stagnated mind energies, the daævásmay be kept in check by the “auspicious, serene thinking power” and an active participation in life through whatever is eternal and undying in thoughts, words and deeds.

“Not an idle person averse to work/action has the share of fortune that a demon gets from the sacred lore,” See Yasna 31.10, 3rd rhymed verse line.

The daævás may win a temporary battle, but “the evil seer will finally realize the wondrous truth of the GD of Genius and Light,” See Yasna 49.1, 2nd rhymed verse line.

“Eternal Progress/Immortality for demons and mortal men,” See Yasna 48.1, 3rd rhymed verse line.

Their relative parasitic existence is only a phenomenon thrown up by the cosmic Force in its drive towards eternal progress. Limitation, demons, falsehood, evil are all cosmic realities, but relative in their nature, not absolute, since they depend for existence on the perversion or contradiction and are not like excellence, genius and good, self-existent absolutes, inherent aspects of the Self-existent GD of Genius.


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8 Responses to Angels and Demons in the poetic gathas

  1. zaneta garratt says:

    very interesting to read, this answers a lot of questions on the origin of good and evil, the two sides of existence-the good being the strongest and the best.We are on the road to eternal perfection as long as we heed the side of right-i have always believed that there are angels and that we each have a guardian angel/spirit, the Zoroastrain Farovar-this can indeed be a great help to us.

  2. medal says:

    what is your opinion on the lithuanan pantheon?of romuva?

  3. Mazdayasnian says:

    this article leaves me with a big question:

    “Demons wished/chose not what is fitting or right and were but deceived, they came together for counsel, only to choose the most limited/stagnated mind, rushed into wrath/violent commotion to make the mortal’s world sickly and diseased,” See Yasna 30.6, 1st, 2nd and 3rd rhymed verse line.”

    you translate as “[they] were but deceived”… Who it is who deceived them? Ahriman? Please enlighten me on this very point.

  4. Yazdanifar says:

    Excellent article!

    Ahriman is just a personification of the angra mainyu in later Z’ism and not the devil or polar form of evil.

  5. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you need to publish more about this subject, it may
    not be a taboo subject but typically folks don’t speak about such issues.
    To the next! All the best!!

  6. Courtesy of Didier Calin

    god (originally of the (Day) Sky)
    (P)IE *deiwós
    In. devá- ; Av. daēva-; Phrygian devos; Venetic deivos; Lt. deus; OIr. día; Gmc. *tīwaz (ON týr, pl. tívar); OSl. divŭ; Blt. *deiwas (Pr. deiws, Lith. diẽvas, Lv. dìevs); derivatives: Messapic deiva/dīva-; Osc. deíua- ‘goddess’;
    + Ht. sīuna- ‘god’; adj. siunali- = Lyd. ciwvali- ‘divine’, etc.; Pal. tiunas (KBo XIX 152 III 16 [dZaparf]a tiunas tiunas).
    ■1 GN + ALL the (other) GODS – PIE (Anatolian, Vedic, Iranian, Greek, Latin, Norse, Latvian) (Schmitt 1967, p. 194, Durante 1976, p. 91, West 2007, p. 102f, 122, Calin 2014, 2015)
    ○ Ht. a.o. KUB ix 32 Vo. 30f /nepisas/ dUTU dIM /sīunes/-ya hūmantes “the Sun-god of heaven, the Storm-god and all the gods”, KUB vi 45 iii 18f dUTU URU/Arin/na U /sīunas/ hūmandas “of the Sun-goddess of Arinna and of all the gods”, KBo XXVI 65 i 26f dS[uwaliya]ttas /sīun/ass-a hūmandas “of Suwaliyat and all the gods””, Bronze Tablet iii 68f dSarrumma… U ANA /sīunas/… hūmandas “to Sarrumma and all the gods”, KBo V 2 iii 5 nepisi taknī hūmandass-a /sīun/as “to Heaven, to Earth, and to all the gods”, KBo III 4 ii 3f dUTU URUArinna… dU… dMezzullas /sīunes/-ya hūmantes “the Sun-goddess of Arinna, the Storm-god, Mezulla and all the gods”, KBO XVII 105 ii 19ff ANA dLAMMA… d7.7.BI U ANA /sīunas/ hūmandas “to the Tutelary God, to the Divine Seven and to all the gods”
    ○ HierLuw. Karatepe 1 §73 CAELUM (DEUS)TONITRUS-hu-za-sá CAELUM (DEUS)SOL-za-sá (DEUS)i-ia-sá OMNIS-MI-zi-ha DEUS-ní-zi ( = /tipas Tarhunzas, tipas Tīwazas, Iyas taniminzi-ha māssaninzi/) “the Storm-god, the Sun-god, Ea and all the gods”
    ○ Mil. TL 44d.14 trqqiz: seb-uwedriz… masaiz: “Trqqiz and all the gods”, TL 55.5 trqqiz… seb-uwedriz… masaiz
    ○ Lyc. TL 88.6, 93.3 trqqas: se mãhãi huwedri “Trqqas and all the gods”
    ○ In. a.o. RV 4.19.1ab indra … víśve devâsaḥ “O Indra,… all the gods”, RV 3.40.3ab índra … víśvebhir devébhiḥ “O Indra with all the gods”, RV 10.98.8cd víśvebhir devaíḥ… parjányam “by all the gods… Parjanya”, RV 3.24.4ab, 5.26.4ab ágne víśvebhiḥ… devébhiḥ “Agni with all the gods”, RV 6.15.16ab, TS ágne víśvebhiḥ… devaíḥ… sīda “Agni, sit down with all the gods”, RV 7.11.1cd víśvebhiḥ… devaíḥ… ágne “with all the gods, O Agni”, RV 8.10.2c bṛ́haspátiṃ víśvān devân “Brhaspati (and) all the gods”, AV 11.5.5cd,23cd bráhma… devâś ca sárve “Brahma and all the gods”, AV 15.2.1b ādityâś ca víśve ca devâḥ “the Ādityas and all the gods”, AV 2.29.5cd dyâvapṛthivî… víśve devâḥ “Heaven and Earth… all the gods”, RV 10.113.1ab dyâvāpṛthivî… víśvebhir devaíḥ “Heaven and Earth with all the gods”, RV 5.51.8ac víśvebhir devébhiḥ aśvíbhyām uṣásā… agne “with all the gods, with the Aśvins, with Dawn, O Agni”
    ○ OPers. a.o. DPd 13f,21f,23f Auramazdā … hadā visaibiš bagaibiš “Ahura Mazdā with all the gods”, DB4 60f,62f Auramazdā … utā aniyāha bagāha “Ahura Mazdā and the other gods”
    ○ Pahl. GrBd 1a4, 4.27 Gannāg Mēnōg ud hammis dēwān “the Evil Spirit and all the dēws”, Bd 3.1 Gannāg Mēnōg… ud hāmist dēwān, GrBd 4.10 Gannāg Mēnōg abāg hammis dēwān “the Evil Spirit with all the dēws”, Bd 3.17 Gannāg Mēnōg abāg hāmist dēwān, Bd 3.53 Gannāg Mēnōg hāmist dēwān
    + ArV 5.3 Mihr… Rašn… Way… Wahram… ud abārīg mēnōgān “Miθra, Rašnu, Wayu, Wahram… and the other Spirits”
    ○ Bactrian Rabatak inscription 2 ασο νανα οδο ασο οισποανο μι βαγανο “from Nana and from all the gods”
    ○ Gr. Antiphon, On the Choreutes 6.40 ὦ Ζεῦ καὶ θεοὶ πάντες “O Zeus and all the gods”, Xenophon, Cyropaedia 2.2.10 ὦ Ζεῦ καὶ πάντες θεοί, Il. 1.494f θεοί… πάντες … Ζεύς “all the gods… Zeus”, Il. 9.357 Διί… καὶ πᾶσι θεοῖσι “to Zeus and all the gods”, Orient. Gr. inscr. sel. 532.8f ὀμνύω Δία, Γῆν, ῞Ηλιον, θεοὺς πάντα[ς καὶ πά]σας “I swear by Zeus, the Earth, the Sun and all the gods and goddesses”, 266.20ff ὀμνύω Δία, Γῆν, ῞Ηλιον, Ποσειδῶ, Δήμητρα, ῎Αρη, ᾽Αθηνᾶν… καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους θεοὺς πάντας καὶ πάσας (≈ 51ff, 229ff), Syll. inscr. Gr.2 790 Ib 54ff ὀμνύω Δία (…) καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους θεοὺς πάντας καὶ πάσας (≈ 427a 15ff ὀμνύω Δῆνα, etc.), Julian the Emperor, Epistulae 8 ἴστω Ζεύς, ἴστω μέγας ῞Ηλιος … καὶ πάντες θεοὶ καὶ πᾶσαι “let Zeus know it, let the great Helius know it, and all the gods and goddesses”, Euripides, Medea 752f (I swear by) Γαῖαν ῾Ηλίου θ᾽ ἁγνὸν σέλας θεοὺς τε πάντας “by Earth, by the holy light of Helios, and by all the gods”, SEG XXXII 1612 ἡ῎Αρτεμις … καὶ οἱ θεοὶ ἅπαντες “Artemis and all the gods”
    + Il. 3.308, Od. 3.346, 14.53,119, 18.112 Ζεύς… καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι “Zeus and the other immortal gods”, Il. 3.298 Ζεῦ… καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι, Il. 22.366 Ζεύς… ἠδ᾽ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι, Il. 6.475 Διὶ τ᾽ ἄλλοισίν τε θεοῖσι, Th. 624 Κρονίδης τε καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι “the son of Cronus and the other immortal gods”, Od. 21.364f ᾽Απόλλων … καὶ ἀθάνατοι θεοὶ ἄλλοι, Selinous inscr. Schw. 166 δια τος αλλος θεος δια δε Δια “through the other gods and through Zeus”
    ○ Lt. Plautus, Amphitryon 4.2.3, Menaechmi 5.5.31, Mostellaria 1.1.38f, Pseudolus 3.2.48 Iuppiter dique omnes “Jupiter and all the gods”, Plautus, Menaechmi 4.2.53 per Iouem deosque omnis “by Jupiter and all the gods”, Livy 1.32.10 audi, Iuppiter, et tu, Iane Quirine, diique omnes “hear, O Jupiter, and you, Janus Quirinus, and all the gods”, Plautus, Persa 5.1.3 Iuppiter … dique alii omnes “Jupiter and all the other gods”, Plautus, Bacchides 4.8.51-54 Iuppiter Iuno Ceres Minerua Latona Spes Opis Uirtus Uenus Castor Polluces Mars Mercurius Hercules Summanus Sol Saturnus dique omnes, CIL II 172.14f Iuppiter Optimus Maximus ac diuus Augustus ceteriq(ue) omnes di immortales “Jupiter, best and highest, and divine Augustus and all other immortal gods”, AE 1982, 692 I(oui) O(ptimo) M(aximo) et Iunoni Regin(ae) et Marti Exalbiouici dis deab(us)q(ue) omnibus “to Jupiter, best and greatest, and the queen Juno and Mars Exalbiovix and all the gods and goddesses”, CIL XIII 1745.1-4 I(oui) O(ptimo) M(aximo) Depulsori et diis deabusque omnibus “to Jupiter the destroyer (of enemies), best and greatest, and all the gods and goddesses”, Inscr. Lat. sel. 5653 Ioui Optimo Maximo et caeteris dis deabusq(ue) immortalibus “to Juppiter, best and greatest, and to all the other immortal gods and goddesses”
    ○ ON Grímnismál 42 Ullar hylli hefr ok allra goða “he has the favor of Ull and the other gods”
    ○ Lv. LD 33845-1 Pērkons… visi dievi “Pērkons… all the gods”
    →→ ALL the GODS
    ○ Ht. /sīunes/ hūmantes (a.o. KUB v 3 i 57, KUB vi 45 + KUB xxx 14 i 15, KUB xvii 10 iii 30, KUB xx 59 v 2f, KUB xxi 27 ii 25, KUB xxix 1 iii 3, KUB xxxi 44++ ii 29, KUB xxxiii 106 + KBo XXVI 65 iv 19, KUB xxxiii 107 + KUB xxxvi 17 i 6, KUB lvi 19 i 35, KBo III 7 iv 14, KBo IV 13 vi 13ff, KBo XVI 24+ iv 23, KUB xxvii 67 iii 66 hūmandas /sīun/as, KUB xxxiii 93 + iii 24 /sīmus/ hūmandus, KBo VIII 35 ii 17 linkias /sīun/es hūmantes “all the oath gods”)
    + KUB xxi 1 iv 21 /sīunes/ LÚ.MEŠ /sīunes/ MUNUS.MEŠ hūmantes “all the male and the female deities”, KUB xxvii 1 iv 27 /sīunes/ LÚ.MEŠ hūmantes “all the male gods”
    ○ Luw. KUB xxxii 8+ iv 22 [ta]niminzi /māssanin/z[i] “all the gods”
    ○ HierLuw. Karkamiš A1a § 18 /māssaninzi taniminzi/ “all the gods”
    ○ Lyc. TL 57.8f mãhãi huwedri, TL 59.3 muhãi: huwedri:
    ○ In. víśve devâ(sa)ḥ “All Gods”
    + RV 6.68.4ab gnâś ca yán náraś ca … víśve devâsaḥ “all the gods, female and male”
    ○ Av. Y 32.3a daēuuā vīspåηhō “all the dēws ( = ancient gods)”
    ○ Pahl. GrBd 26.18 az hamāg yazdān, Wahman “Wahman, of all deities”
    ○ Parthian M 4a II V 14, M 47 I V 8 /harwīn baγān/, M 6 Vii 14f /harwīn frēštagān butān ud baγān/ “all the angels, buddhas and gods”
    ○ Gr. Il. 8.4f θεοί… πάντες (…) πάντες… θεοί, Il. 1.533, 8.18, 22.166 θεοί… πάντες, Il. 5.877, 19.101, 24.62, HH 3.311, Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus 275, Apollonius Rhodius, Arg. 1.547 πάντες… θεοί, Aristophanes, Lysistrata 777 πάντες θεοί, Il. 4.29, 16.443, 22.181 πάντες θεοί ἄλλοι, Il. 8.5, 19.101 πάντες τε θεοὶ πᾶσαι τε θέαιναι “all the gods and all the goddesses”, Il. 19.100 πάντεσσι θεοῖσι, Il. 8.346, 15.368, Od. 13.298, 14.366, 17.50,59, 20.238, 21.203, HH 3.316 πᾶσι θεοῖσι, Il. 6.140,200, 7.412, Od. 8.305, 14.423, HH 5.48 πᾶσι θεοῖσιν, Il. 15.123 πᾶσι… θεοῖσιν, Il. 14.334 θεοῖσιν δὲ πᾶσι, Alcman, fr. 2.1 σιοῖσι π[ᾶσι], Sophocles, fr. 314.8 θεοῖς τε πᾶσι, Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 120 πᾶσι θεοῖς, HH 2.325f, Aeschylus, Agamemnon 513f, Euripides, Medea 753 θεοῦς… πάντας, Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 975 πάντας… θεοῦς, PGM IV 1477f πάντες θεοὶ ἀθάνατοι καὶ πᾶσαι θεαί
    + Mycenean KN Fp 1+31.7 (a.o.) pa-si-te-oi ( = /pánsi theoĩhi/)
    ○ Lt. omnes di, omnis deos, etc. (Cicero, Plautus, Ovid, etc.)
    ○ ON Völuspá 23 goðin öll “all the gods”, Fáfnismál 15 öll … goð, Hyndluljóð 50 bið ek … öll goð “I ask all the gods”, Vafþrúðismál 43 frá rúnum allra goða “of the hidden lore of all the gods”, Lokasenna 45 goð öll ok gumar “all the gods and men”, 55 goð öll ok guma

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