Good spirit/mind, brilliant disposition of the gods, vohu manah

Prophet/seer Zarathûštrá equated the “spirit, energy, mind, mood, temperament and disposition” manö of godhood with “goodness, betterment and brilliance” vôhü.

Zarathûštrá called this “brilliant spirit” vôhü manö –“good instinct, superb sense, good intuitive mind.”

Avestan vôhü manö is equivalent to reconstructed Proto Indo European wósu ménos, wésu ménos.

Also Vedic personal name Vásu-mánas and Greek personal name Euménēs and the Greek expression ménos ēú “good spirit/passion” are cognates of vôhü manö (Courtesy of Didier Calin.)

Manö comes from ménos/man “passion of the spirit, courage, imagination, intuitive inspiration, mind power/energy.”

Mallory/Adams in the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, p. 438 states that “the spiritual property of the hero is embedded in the concept of *menes– “passion of the spirit, mind power” that motivates and enables the hero to accomplish great deeds.

Zoroastrianism ONLY sees godhood in “goodness, brilliance and betterment,” in the “Good Spirit, Passion to Energize, Wondrous Mind Power,” as it reveals itself in man, nature and the universe.

Vôhü manö exemplifies “goodness, brilliance and betterment” and is in essence “good instinct, higher sense, superb intuitive mind and invisible wisdom of the subconscious.”

A class of Vedic god beings, known as the vasus (vásavaḥ), “the good or superb Ones” are related to the Avestan vôhü manö. Vasus (vásavaḥ) represent the active principle of “goodness, boon and brilliance.”

Vásu, vesu, wisi/visi, eús “superb, good, brilliant,” appears frequently in divine names among Indo European people e.g Gaul divine name Vesu-avus and Latin goddess Vesuna.

Also the Germanic tribal name Visigoths “the good or superb goths” comes from the same root.

In the Avestan sacred verse, vôhü manö is masculine. It is so because in Indo European sacred poetry certain neuter singulars turn into god beings or god powers by being given the masculine (or active, animate) form.

The root ménos/man comes about 260 times in the poetic gathas and vôhü manö “good instinct, superb sense, good intuitive mind” more than 130 times.

vôhü manö –“superb intuitive mind, good instinct” appears in the following forms/configurations in the poetic gathas: as vôhü manö, vôhü.čá manö, manö vôhü, manas-čá vôhü, manö vahyö, (Adjective and/or Adverb) man.ahi vahyö, (Adjective and/or Adverb) vahištem manö, (Superlative) and manö vahištem, (Superlative.)

Also it appears frequently in the form of vôhü man.aηhá, man.aηhá vôhü, vahištá man.aηhá, (Superlative) vahištát.čá man.aηhá, (Superlative- is pronounced as ang.)

The most common configuration in the poetic gathas is definitely vaηhéuš man.aηhö, vahištát.čá man.aηhö (Superlative) also man.aηhö vaηhéuš, man.aηhas.čá vaηhéuš and vaηhéuš man.yéuš or man.yéuš vaηhéuš and man.yéuš vahištát (Superlative-  is pronounced as ang.)

The first common order of appearance of the term in the poetic gathas is vaηhéuš man.aηhö or man.aηhö vaηhéušthen vôhü man.aηhá and vôhü manö.

In the Zoroastrian sacred literature vôhü manö is associated with the powers of the Moon, the Soul/Consciousness of the Animal Life and intense feelings of Bliss.

The connection between vôhü manö “subconscious instincts and intuitive wisdom of the animal soul” is mentioned in the first verse of the poetic gathas (See Yasna 28.1, 3rd rhymed verse line.)

Moon represents “the realm between the conscious and the subconscious, deep-rooted feelings, sensations and instincts. The connection between Moon and manas, manö in the Zoroastrian sacred lore clearly establishes that vôhü manö is “higher sense, subconscious powers of spirit/mind that incorporate “goodness, and betterment.”

In the most sacred formula ahü vairyö “will to become godlike” all “manifestation, creation and/or the action of establishing something” dazdá is through the “brilliant disposition, good intuitive mind.”

vhéuš dazdá man.hö.

Yasna 28 is the first hymn of the poetic gathas and a summary of the entire gathic sacred song/verse.

In Yasna 28.1, 3rd rhymed verse line, through the exceptional creativity, genius ḵratü of good intuitive mind vhéuš man., the delightful knowledge šnû of the soul/consciousness of animal life géuš ûrvá is gained.

vhéuš ratüm man.hö//ýá šnevîšá géuš.čá ûrvánem

(In ancient Indo European poetry, the soul of the cow géuš ûrvá represents the soul of all animal life. Géuš can be compared to Greek gaia.

Avestan ḵratüexceptional creative power, genius” is a cognate of Homeric term krátos “unmatched superiority.)

In Yasna 28.2, 1st rhymed verse line, any passageway or coming to pairî-jasái the supreme godhood Mazdá Ahûrá is through “brilliant disposition and good intuitive mind” vôhü man..

ýé váv mazdá ahûrá// pairî-jasái vôhü man.

In Yasna 28.3, 1st rhymed verse line, the “good intuitive mind/brilliant disposition” is called apaôurvîm. The Avestan term apaôurvîm is equivalent to Vedic apauruṣeya “without beginning, timeless, boundless, infinite” an epithet of supreme beings and uncreated intuitive wisdom of the Vedas.

Here, the prophet/poet “weaves” ûfyánî sacred verses to “excellence, superb artistry, cosmic order” ašá/arthá and TIMELESS, “brilliant energy, good intuitive mind” manas.čá vôhü.

ýé váv ašá ûfyánî//čá vôhü apaôurvîm

 In the poetic gathas and Zoroastrianism, evil is “deficient spirit, energy, limited or beaten mind power and passion.” While immortals are “boundless, limitless, vibrant and inexhaustible passion to energize, mind power and creative imagination.”

In Yasna 28.4, 1st rhymed verse line, “the higher sense/good intuitive mind” vôhü man.takes the soul, consciousness ûrván to the abode of music/songs gairæ and heaven of inspiring ideas méñ dadæ.

ýé ûrvánem méñ gairæ//vôhü dadæ hathrá man.

In Yasna 28.5, 1st rhymed verse line, superb artistry of the cosmic order ašá/arthá is discerned daresánî through the wisdom/knowledge vaædemnö of “brilliant disposition and good intuitive mind” manas.čá vôhü.

 ašá kat thwá daresánî//čá vôhü vaædemnö

In Yasna 28.6, 1st rhymed verse line, through the entrance, coming gaidî of good intuitive mind/spirit vôhü man., a long life dareg.áyü of excellence, divine artistry ašá/arthá is granted.

vôhü gaidî man.há//dáidî ašá- dáv dareg.áyü

In Yasna 28.7, 1st rhymed verse line, the riches ašî of the cosmic order/divine artistry ašá/arthá are granted through the discovery power áyaptá of good intuitive mind vaηhéuš man..

dáidî ašá tãm ašîm//vaηhéuš áyaptá man.

In Yasna 28.8, 3rd rhymed verse line, the noble seer/prophet talks of remarkable accomplishment through all the ages of vîspái ýavæ brilliant spirit, good intuitive mind vaηhéuš man.aη.

ýaæib.yas.čá ît ráv.höi//vîspái ýavæ vaηhéuš man.aη

In Yasna 28.9, 2nd rhymed verse line, there is reference to the spiritual warfare ýöithemá and praise stütãm of the “best intuitive sense/mind”čá vahištem.čá hyat vahištem//ýöi vé ýöithemá dasemæ stütãm

 In Yasna 28.10, 1st rhymed verse line, to have wisdom/insight vöistá of cosmic order/superb artistry ašá/arthá is through manifestation, establishing dáthéñg of good, intuitive mind vaηhéuš man.aηhö.

at ýéñg ashá.at.čá vöistá//vaηhéuš.čá dáthéñg man.aη

In Yasna 28.11, 1st rhymed verse line, the seer/prophet sings of the focus (literally have the EYE âiš fixed) on the cosmic order ašá/arthá, and the safeguarding, protection pávhaæ of the same through the infinite ages ýavaæ.táitæ of brilliant spirit, good intuitive mindčá vôhü.

ýé âiš ašem ni.pávhaæ//čá vôhü ýavaæ.táitæ

In conclusion, I shall emphasize that Avestan vôhü manö is in essence “good instinct, superb intuitive sense/mind and invisible powers/wisdom of the subconscious” epitomizing “goodness and betterment.”


References: Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo-European Poetic Themes, u. entry ‘spirit’ good.

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2 Responses to Good spirit/mind, brilliant disposition of the gods, vohu manah

  1. References: Didier Calin, Dictionary of Indo-European Poetic Themes, u. entry ‘spirit’ good.

  2. zaneta garratt says:

    beautifully written article, clever the way you work the comparison with the words in different indo-european religions and how you show the positive elements in the beautiful Zoroastrian religion through the Gathas

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