The Zoroastrian All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day


April the 8th marks the Zoroastrian All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day. On this festival as well as the 10 days prior to the Vernal Equinox are the days of prayer for the departed, particularly but not exclusively one’s relatives. The celebration of All Souls’ Day is fused with All Saints’ Day in Zoroastrianism for April 8th is a day of celebration of the fravashís.

Fravashí is Ahúrá Mazdá’s pristine word/wisdom in the manifestation of the universe. It predates logos and most likely has influenced the idea of logos among the ancient Greeks. I shall add that logos is unknown in the first three Christian gospels.

Fravashí is composed of 2 parts. Fra means “first, foremost” and vashí appears sometimes as a variation of vac (voice/word) in parts of the poetic gathas. (See Yasna 44. 3rd rhymed verse line, vashyætæ daæná, “putting into voice/words the vision.”)

The term fra-vaxshyá or “pristine word/wisdom” appears in the 2nd rhymed verse line of Yasna 44.6,2nd and the 1st rhymed verse lines of Yasna 45.1, 45.2, 45.3, 45.4, 45.5, 45.6. Also, in Yasna 34.12, 2nd rhymed verse line and Yasna 46.7, 5th rhymed verse line we have fra-vaóchá in the sense of the “foremost word, saying, wisdom, revelation.”

Furthermore, vaxshyá in the 1st rhymed verse lines of Yasna 30.1, 46.15, and 51.8 refers to “saying, disclosure of knowledge, wisdom.

By a beautiful word play, vaxshyá or “creative voice/word” is connected to “vakhsh,” to increase, grow, compare with Old Norse vaxa, German wachsen, “to grow, increase.” The concept of sacred words/formulas causing growth is demonstrated for example in Yasna 10.5.

Also “vashi” through poetic word play could be derived from vash, “wish, desire” or var “will power; power to choose.”

Farvaretá appears in Yasna 31.1, 1st rhymed verse line in the sense of pristine will/foremost desire for a steward of the creation who is flourishing, increasing the worlds. Also from the same root we have fraóret or pristine will/foremost desire in Yasna 30.5, 3 rd rhymed verse line, in choosing the God of Wisdom, Goodness and Genius through enterprise. And in Yasna 53.2, 2nd rhymed verse line, fraóret is the pristine will/foremost desire to unite/yoke with the wondrous powers of the God of Wisdom, Goodness and Genius.

In Yasna 46.4, 2nd rhymed verse line the term fróretöish is “moving forward, advancing” of the world of the living and the animal creation.

Gathic poetry like the rest of the ancient Aryan poetry abounds with masterful wordplay. Prophet Zarathushtra was quiet adept at sound-based word play as an art of reinforcing layers of meaning. The importance of poetic word play in the gathas is greatly emphasized in the holy denkart.

Thus, fravashí is the creative word/wisdom/formula in the creation and manifestation of the worlds. It is the link between the ideal and the world’s evolution and progress toward that ideal.

Hence, fravashí or “the first creative formula/word” is said to be a reminder of each creature’s purpose in existence/life, or its Guardian Angel.

The symbol of the winged sun disc IS THOUGHT TO represent a Fravashi or Fravahar. However, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the entire Zoroastrian sacred lore that connects the idea of fravashí to the winged sun disc. There is NO physical description of the fravashis in the Avesta, and in Avestan the fravashis (the pristine creative wisdom/word are grammatically feminine.

The symbol of the winged sun disc first appeared in the Achaemenid period on royal inscriptions. It is clearly an artistic borrowing from the Assyrian.

In ancient Proto Iranian art, an eagle is often added to the sun wheel. The idea of the Sun wheel is original to the ancient Aryans as seen in the Proto Slavic Svaróg. In the Achaemenid art the sun wheel is mingled with the Assyrian sun disk, and divine flames are emanating from or surrounding the human form.

ardeshir

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4 Responses to The Zoroastrian All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day

  1. zaneta garratt says:

    very nice article, we have the old English words-wax and wane-increase and decline-similar to-Old Norse vaxa, German wachsen, “to grow, increase.

  2. I think the following quote from Dr. Brian Weiss best describes the concept of fravashís; “We e are all spirits. Some of us are in a physical state, some are in a period of renewal, some are guardians. There are many different levels of learning.” The spirits that have advanced far in learning, the spirits that embody the purpose of their creation; the pristine creative word/formula are fravashís.

  3. aspi asundaria says:

    Thanks to social media & internet otherwise we Zoroastrians (parsis) thought we are the only people on earth left to spread Zarathustra s teachings!

  4. Dorothy says:

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    When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!

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