Zoroastrianism, the first Indo-European Monism
It is widely and most erroneously believed that the main theme of prophet Zarathûthrá’s teaching was to replace the numerous ahûrás (Old Norse æsir) or god powers of the ancient Aryan religion with just one ahûrá, the supreme God or ‘Wise Lord’, Ahûrá Mazdá.
But the ancient Aryan prophet Zarathûshtrá talks in his poetic gathas of ma(n)zdá and his ahûrás or the supreme god-powers of Ma(n)zdá.
The Avestan term for Ma(n)zdá and his ahûrás is “ma(n)zd.ávß.čá ahûr.ávñg.hö.” The term appears in the poetic gathas; Yasna 30.9, 2nd rhymed verse line and Yasna 31.4, 1st rhymed verse line.
(Compare with Old Norse Skáldskaparmál 41 Óðni ok öllum ásum “to Odin and all the Aesir”, Skáldskaparmál 23 Óðins ok ása “of Odin and the Aesir”, Hávamál 143 Óðinn með ásum “Odin with the Aesir” (also Baldr: Gylfaginning 49 Baldrs ok ásanna Courtesy of Didier Calin)
The ancient commentary translates it as ahûrmazdič, “ahûrá mazdá in plural.” The term “ahûrmazdič,” or ahûrá mazdá in plural appears in addition to the two aforementioned verses, in Yasna 28.3, 2nd rhymed verse line and Yasna 33.14, 2nd rhymed verse line.
In the other parts of the Avestan lore, the plural term for ahûrás or supreme god powers “ahûr.ávñg.hö, ahüir.yávñg.hö” appears in the hymn to waters apö or Ábán Yasht. 85. And in the hymn to victory verethrem-já or Vahrám/Bahrám Yasht.39.
Also, in the concise Yasna 38.3, 2nd rhymed verse line another most beautiful hymn to waters, we read of ahûránîsh ahûrahyá, the ahûrás or god-forces of life giving waters.
In the poetic gathas, ahûrás are the “god beings” of Ma(n)zdá. Ahûrá comes from the root ahü (Compare with Old Norse áss, or óss) and means “god power.” The rune ansuz, the rune of godly and superb powers is connected to the æsirs (Compare with the Avestan ahûrá.)
Ahûrás of Ma(n)zdá are called auspicious or splendid immortals “ameshá/ amertá speñtás” in the later Avestan lore. (Compare with the Vedic Viśve Amṛtās “All the Immortals.”)
In Bagān yašt), in Dēnkard (8.15), Ahura Mazdā, is highest of all the gods (*wisp [ms. ystʾ] bayān abardôm), and the remaining invisible and visible adorable powers in the world (abārīg apaydāg ud paydāg gētīgān-iz yazdān) (Dēnkard, Dresden, p. 105 ; Madan, p. 692.
The Avestan and Old Iranian baga- derives from a word meaning “god” in Indo-European. The word for god bogŭ in the Slavonic languages is the same.
Compare with Old Persian Inscriptions . a.o. DPd 13f,21f,23f Aûramazdā … hadā visaibiš bagaibiš “Ahûra Mazdā with all the gods”, DB4 60f,62f Auûramazdā … utā aniyāha bagāha “Ahura Mazdā and the other gods” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)
○ 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” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)
The ahûrás are eternal within Mazdá’s mind/vision; hence they are called “a-paöûrvîm,” (See Yasna 28.3, 1st rhymed verse line.) The term “a-paöûrvîm” is the same as Vedic “apaurashaya,” a word that 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, beyond reckoning.
The term ahûrá applies to both spiritual god-powers and to god men.
(See Yasna 29.2, 3rd rhymed verse line, Yasna 29.10, 1st rhymed verse line, Yasna 34.15, 3rd rhymed verse line, Yasna 53.9, 3rd rhymed verse line. Also Compare with Bahrám Yasht 37, Farvardin Yasht 63, Rám Yasht 28.)
Through “the genius, vision, imagination and mind-power” of Mazdá/Ma(n)zdá; mortals will pass their limitations into ever-expanding horizons, conquering limitation after limitation, to the stature of being immortals, god-like or ahûrá.
Mazdá or more accurately Ma(n)zdá is the same as Vedic meðá, “thinking power, creativity, imagination and vision.”
Ma(n)zdá is the “passion, creativity, imagination, genius and vision, the ever-unfolding consciousness/mind energy in earth, mortal men and cosmos.” The Avestan root man denotes “spirit/mind, will power, sensuous force, fiery passion.” Mazdá, is the paradigm of “spirit/mind, will power, sensuous force, fiery passion, creativity and imagination.” Mazdá and/or Ma(n)zdá (*mens-dheh-) incorporates the Indo European noun *mens of the stem ménos (spirit/mind, will power, sensuous force) and the verb dheh “to set, establish, do, create.” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)
Hence, Mazdá means “setting mind power, spirit, sensuous force, fiery passion to do, create.” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)
Ahûrás are god powers because of their Ma(n)zdá, because of their power of spirit, their passion, their mind-energy, their thinking power, their imagination and their luminous vision.
In Yasna 40.1, 1st rhymed verse line, the prophet asks Ma(n)zdá ahûrá for Mazdá-ship (áhü at paitî adáhü/ma(n)zdá ahûrá Ma(n)zdám-čá.)
The above verse can be compared with the 3rd rhymed verse line of Yasna 34.13 where Ma(n)zdá,“passion, the enduring power of the spirit, intuitive vision, imagination, mind-power, wisdom” is the ultimate prize (mîždem.)
Mazdá or Ma(n)zdá is all the wisdom/foresight that the spirit will master, all the wondrous, powers of mind that will be unleashed, all the new horizons and unknown splendors that will be realized through the unseen powers of the spirit/mind.
In the 3rd rhymed verse line of Yasna 30.5; to have the delightful knowledge of the ahûrás (Literally ahûrem “godhood”) is through choosing Ma(n)zdá with all sincerity in action/enterprise.
In Yasna 39.4, 1st rhymed verse line, the prophet states that: “Just like you ahura mazda, I strive to be superb/wonderful; in mind/thinking, in words, in doings and in action, ” (Yathá tü î ahûrá ma(n)zdá méñg.ha.čá vaôčas.čá dávß.čá varesh.čá yá vôhü)
The ahûrás are god powers because of their “goodness, virtue and luminosity, because of their relentless striving for excellence, ashá/arthá, Compare with Greek arête.” (Ahûrem ašavanem; See Yasna 31.10,2nd rhymed verse line, Yasna 46.9, 3rd rhymed verse line.)
The poetic gathas teach monism and can be compared to a philosophical and poetic monotheism. Since they were composed in the early Iron Age, they represent the earliest documented instance of monism in an Indo-European religion.
In the poetic gathas, “mind, passion, spirit” is the all-pervading, true nature of reality. All existing things go back to a source of “mind-power, imagination and vision.”
The poetic gathas teach a metaphysical dualism, NOT between mind/spirit verses matter, but between states of consciousness, between the nonphysical modes or points of mind energy. Matter while transitory and imperfect is sacred, because it is a manifestation of thoughts, a reflection of the realm of mind/spirit.
The prophet is speaking of god powers or godlike qualities (ahûrás) which every ašavan/arthavan “person striving for virtue, excellence, goodness” must possess in him or herself to become godlike. The concepts, of godhood and passion, spirit or creative powers, seem frequently to blend, through the Immortals emanating from Ma(n)zdá.
The doctrine of the Immortals is thus central to Zoroastrian moral theology. Through worship, meditation, and enterprise/action each individual should strive to bring the spiritual auspicious immortals into his or her own being, thus becoming godlike.
Also there is nothing imaginary or unreal about the diabolic forces in the poetic gathas. The diabolic powers exist, and are very real, but they are destined for doom.
In the 1st rhymed verse line of Yasna 32.3, the prophet address the deities or demonic powers as “at yüsh daævá vîsp.ávng.hö” In this way, you all the demonic powers.”
The gathic term daævá vîsp.ávng.hö is the same as Vedic vishva dev “all the deities.”
In Zoroastrianism the deities are not worthy of godhood because of their cruelty and choice of limited spirit/mind. Godhood is reserved instead for thinking powers with luminous vision, unbounded spirit, imagination, light and goodness.
very nice to read this, very good explanations and very positive and hopeful too
Courtesy of Didier Calin
○ Av. Y 30.9b, 31.4a mazdåsca ahuråηhō “Mazdā and the Ahuras”
○ ON Skáldskaparmál 41 Óðni ok öllum ásum “to Odin and all the Aesir”,
Skáldskaparmál 23 Óðins ok ása “of Odin and the Aesir”,
Hávamál 143 Óðinn með ásum “Odin with the Aesir” (also Baldr: Gylfaginning 49 Baldrs ok ásanna)
PIE *hánsus (< earlier *hámsus), G *hn̥séus
Ht. hassus ‘king’, Luw. /hamsus/?; In. ásura-; Av. aηhu-, ahura-; Gr. êïo- (< *hn̥sw-iyo-, Nikolaev 2010), Gmc. *ansuz (Goth. pl. anseis ‘ancient gods, lords’; ON áss, pl. æsir; OE ōs); possibly Arm. ays ‘(evil) spirit’ (< *hánsyo-);
a class of deities in Indic, Iranian and Germanic.
■ GN AND the LORDS – IE GN *hánswes-kwe (Sanskrit, Avestan, Norse)
○ Av. Y 30.9b, 31.4a mazdåsca ahuråηhō “Mazdā and the Ahuras”
○ ON Skáldskaparmál 41 Óðni ok öllum ásum “to Odin and all the Aesir”, Skáldskaparmál 23 Óðins ok ása “of Odin and the Aesir”, Hávamál 143 Óðinn með ásum “Odin with the Aesir” (also Baldr: Gylfaginning 49 Baldrs ok ásanna)
+ ○ In. MBh 9.30.12bc triśirāś ca… sundopasundāv asurau “Triśiras and the two asuras Sunda and Upasunda”
Courtesy of Didier Calin
(O) GN, LORD(!) – PIE GN, *hánseu! (also N/A/G *hánsus/-um/hn̥séus) (Anatolian, Vedic, Iranian, Greek, Norse) (Nikolaev 2010, Calin 2014)
○ Ht. a.o. KUB xxxi 127 i 15 dUTU-e sarkui /hass/ue “O Sun-god, eminent king!”, i 17f, i 58 dUTU-i sarku /hass/ue, i 22 dUTU-i /sal/li /hassu/e “O Sun-god, great king!”, KUB xxxi 127 i 2 nepisas dāganzipass-a /hass/ue “king of heaven and earth!”
+ nominative: a.o. KBo XXXII 15 iii 13f d/Tarhunn/as URUKummias /hassus/ “the Storm-god, king of Kummi”, KUB vi 45 i 11 d/Tarhunnas nepisas hassus/ “the Storm-god, king of heaven”, iii 51 d/Tarhunnas/ … nepisas /hass/us, iv 20 nepi[s]as /hass/us, KUB xxxiii 107 + KUB xxxvi 17 i 7f d/Tarhunn/as… /hassus/, KBo XXXVII 1 r. col. 5 dIM-as /hass/us Lēlwanis-a /hass/us, KUB xxxiii 120++ i 38 d/Muwatall/as /tarhuil/is /hass/us “the powerful (Storm-)god, the victorious king”, KUB xxxiii 120++ i 8 dAlalus /nēpi/si [/h]ass/us ēsta “Alalu was king in heaven”, KUB xxxiii 120++ i 18 dAnus /nēpi/si /hass/us ēsta “Anu was king in heaven”, KUB xxxvi 2b ii 8f dLAMMA-as nepisi /hass/us esta “the tutelary god was king in heaven”, KUB xxxiii 112 iii 4 + xxxvi 2c iii 11 dLAMMA-as nepis[as /hass/u]s
KUB xxxiii 106 + KBo XXVI 65 ii 16 nu-wa-kan nepisi ser /hassus/ NU.GÁL “there is no king above in heaven”
+ accusative: a.o. KUB xxxiii 106 + KBo XXVI 65 i 33 d/Tarhunn/an nakkin /hassun/ “Tarhunnas the powerful king”, KUB xxxiii 101 + KBo XXVI 17 iii 11f d/Tarhunn/an… [/tarhuil/in /hassun/], KUB xxxiii 112+114 + xxxvi 2 iii 24f nepisi /hass/un, iii 39 dLAMMA-an… nepisi /hass/u[n], HT 25 + KUB xxxiii 111 8 dLAMMA-an nepis /hass/un
+ feminine: KUB vi 45 i 41, vi 46 ii 8, 299/1986 ii 89 dHebat /nepisas hassussaras/ “Hebat, queen of heaven”, KBo V 3 i 51 dIŠTAR /nepisas hassussaras/
○ Luw. KUB ix 31 ii 22 dSantas LUGAL-us “O king Santa!”
○ In. a.o. RV 1.24.14a+c, 2.27.10ab, 2.28.7ab varuṇa … asura, RV 10.132.4ab asura … varuṇa, RV 1.174.1ab indra … asura, RV 8.90.6a+c asura … indra, RV 4.2.5a+c agne … asura
+ nominative: RV 1.131.1a dyaúr ásuraḥ, RV 2.1.6a, TS 126.96.36.199.1 rudró ásuraḥ, RV 7.30.3c agníḥ… ásuraḥ, AV 5.27.1c-2a, VS 27.12a tánūnápād ásuraḥ… devó devéṣu deváḥ “Tanūnapāt the asura, the god (who is) god among the gods”
+ TS 188.8.131.52.6 súvarbhānur āsuráḥ “the asura-like Svarbhānur”
+ accusative: RV 5.42.11cd “adore the god Rudra, the asura (rudrám… devám ásuram), with venerations”
+ genitive: RV 1.122.1c diváḥ… ásurasya vīraíḥ “with the men of Dyau the asura”, RV 8.20.17b, 10.92.6b diváḥ… ásurasya, RV 3.53.7b, 10.67.2b, AV 20.91.2b “sons of Dyau the asura (diváḥ… ásurasya)”, TS 184.108.40.206.3 varcínaḥ… ásurasya “of Varcin the asura”
○ Av. a.o. Y 7.24e, 13.5h, 18.6a,7a, 28.2a,10b,11b, 31.5c,9b,16c,17c, 31.22c, 32.16b, 36.1b,5a,6b, 39.4h, 40.1a,1f,3a,4e, 41.2a,4a,5d, 45.11e, 50.1c mazdā ahurā
+ Y 2.11b, 6.10a, 17.10a, 59.10a ahura miθra, Yt 10.113b, 10.145a, Ny 1.7e, 2.7e, 2.12a miθra ahura
+ a.o. Y 48.7d ahurā ( = Mazdā)
+ nominative: a.o. Y 12.5a, 12.7d, 29.6a ahurō mazdå, Y 15.2c, 27.15d, 32.2a mazdå ahurō
+ accusative: Y 27.1ab mazištǝm… ahūm… ahurǝm mazdąm “the greatest lord, Ahura Mazdā”, Y 2.2b, 2.11f, 2.16e, 6.1a, 6.10d, etc. ahurǝm mazdąm, Yt 10.25a+g miθrǝm… ahurəm
+ genitive: a.o. Y 65.12l,13l ahurahe mazdå puθra “son of Ahura Mazdā”, Y 0.2b,11b puθra ahurahe mazdå, Y 0.2a,11a ahurahe mazdå puθrahe, Y 1.5f, 3.7c, 4.10h, 7.7c, 22.7c, 24.15h, 66.4c, Yt 2.4e, G 3.2a, 3.11b, S 1.7i, 1.30e ahurahe nafəδrō apąm “of the lord, Offspring of the Waters”
> ○ Pahl. Ohrmazd > ○ Pers. Hormuzd
○ Khot. urmaysde ‘sun’
○ Gr. Il. 15.365, 20.152, HH 3.120, Orph. Eukhê 7 ἤϊε Φοῖβε “O lord Phoebus!”
○ ON nominative: Þrymskviða 18 Þórr, þrúðugr áss “Thor, the mighty Ase”, Gylfaginning 25 “here is an Ase called Týr (áss… Týr)”, Icelandic Rune Poem 12 Týr er einhendr áss “Týr is the one-handed Ase”, Norwegian Rune Poem 12 Týr er æinendr ása, Gylfaginning 23 inn þriði áss (…) Njörðr “the third Ase, Njord”, Gylfaginning 27 Heimdallr… hvíti áss “Heimdal, the white Ase”, Gylfaginning 29 Víðarr… inn þögli áss “Víðar, the taciturn Ase”, Gylfaginning 44 áss… Loki, Skáldskaparmál 23 Loki… inn slægi áss, (…) inn bundni áss “Loki, the cunning Ase, the fettered Ase”
+ GN Ása-Þórr
+ accusative: Skáldskaparmál 16 Tý (…) einhenda ás “Týr, the one-handed Ase”, Skáldskaparmál 21 Ull (…) öndurás, bogaás, veiðiás, skjaldarás “Ullr, Ase of snow-shoes, Ase of the bow, Ase of the hunt, Ase of the shield”, Skáldskaparmál 15 Heimdall (…) hvíta ás, Rígsþula 1 ás kunnigan (…) Ríg “the famous Ase, Ríg ( = Heimdallr)”, Skáldskaparmál 18 Víðar (…) inn þögla ás, Skáldskaparmál 17 Braga (…) inn síðskeggja ás “Bragi, the long-bearded Ase”, Skáldskaparmál 20 Höð (…) blinda ás “Höðr, the blind Ase”, Skáldskaparmál 22 Hœni (…) inn skjóta ás “Hoenir, the swift Ase”
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Do both Speinta Mainyu and Angra originate from the same source/Mazda? I’m trying to understand the metaphysics better.
I myself am a dialectical-monist and am trying to make sure I use the proper semantics.
No, they are opposite aspects of mind energy. Angra is beaten, restricted mind/spirit while spenta is the mind spirit that is brilliant, vigorous and thriving.