Sraôšá is a major yazata “adorable god-power” in Zoroastrianism. It comes about 8 times in the poetic gathas, and like all the other Immortals, appears both as an “abstraction/virtue” as well as an “individual ahûrá or god being.”
Sraôšá means “harkening to the songs/music of the Immortal Gods, inspiration.” It is derived from the root srû– “to hear, hearken.” Avestan srû goes back to Reconstructed Indo European root *klu, “to hear.”
A derivative is attested in Vedic śruṣṭí- “that which has been heard from the gods, everlasting wisdom/knowledge, listening to divine odes/songs.”
“What is divinely HEARD” occupies a central concept in the Indo European poetic heritage. The Indo-Europeans firmly believed in an afterlife in the realm of “mind, memory and consciousness.”
According to the poetic gathas, the great gift of the Immortals to mortals is the gift of sraôšá “hearing the divine songs/music or being inspired by the gods.” The separation of the two races of mortals and Immortals is not absolute due to sraôšá or “inspiration coming from the boundless realm.”
Gods and men are not, in the eyes of Zoroastrianism, incomparable beings remote from one another. Instead Zoroastrianism, always firmly believed that men, as “noble genus/race” hû-zentûš possess something boundless, everlasting and as such could claim to approximate to God stature and become “Godlike.”
The “inspiration/songs coming from the gods” sraôšá, is the incarnation of all the creative virtues, hence is the embodiment of unfading glory. “Fame/glory” is derived from that which is HEARD from the Immortals, the ahûrás, and that glory ALONE can survive death.
Zoroastrianism teaches a succession of twilights and renewals of the worlds in a grandiose display, in repeated cataclysms, upon which new, better worlds with a “more ingenious order” would emerge each time. For the Zoroastrians, the firm expectancy is ALWAYS the creative renewal of life, inspired by the hymns/song of the Immortals sraôšá.
Each individual life is a brief detail in the long tale of generations, soon to be cut short. But despite the tragic character of mortal’s life, spirit/consciousness is undying as long as it is tuned into the “creative inspiration” of the Immortal Gods.
God-men and women, valiant heroes and just warriors of the past live on in the sacred memory, in poem, song and sacred verse. Their souls would go to join the Immortals and enjoy an unending communal existence in the glorious house of music/songs garö demánæ.
It is sraôšá “inspiration” along with miθrá/mithrá “friendship with the Immortals” and rašnü “rectitude, integrity” that are the Judges of the departed at “the bridge/portal” pereθü/perethü to the realms beyond.
(Compare gathic pereθü “bridge/portal,” with Norse Ás-brú “the bridge of the gods/æsir and the name of the city of Osnabrück literally meaning the bridge to the gods.)
In Zoroastrianism man is NOT a slave before an omnipotent, despotic god. Instead man is a friend of the god-powers, standing before them proudly, with integrity and nobility, to receive their inspiration and unfading glory sraôšá.
Zoroastrian prayer/worship does NOT involve kneeling or prostration to earth, but standing joyful, with arms/hands stretched out upwards ûstána zastö ascending into the boundlessness of the Infinite. (See the first line of the poetic gathas, Yasna 28.1, 1st rhymed verse line.)
A Zoroastrian worshipper is always aware of his/her own mortal limitations, but to him/her the worship of Mazdá means to approximate to God stature and become “Godlike” through “Inspiring Creativity.”
In the poetic gathas, sraôšá “inspiration” is the ham-kár associate/co-creator of ašá/arθá “divine artistry, cosmic order,” vereθra.ghna “Shatterer of barriers, walls, remover of obstacles” and aθrá “transforming fire, heat, intensity of passion.” Sraôšá COMBATS chaos, demons and protects the harmony of the cosmic order.
It is sraôšá who has inspired the sacred gathic verses. A common functional heritage with Bṛhas.pati, “the teacher to the gods” in the Vedas is therefore likely.
The seer/prophet listens to the inspirer of creative charms, and by hearing the song/hymns of the gods, the inspired poet tunes into the “boundless realm of creativity, genius and luminosity” of all the Immortals.
Just like the Old Irish arcane verses convey co cloth nī “something is heard,” something from the boundless beyond inspires.
Eternal Glory is inseparable from being inspired by the Gods. Someone achieving never-ending glory makes a name for himself’. Tocharian has the compound ‘name-fame’ (A ñom-klyu, B ñem-kälywe).
What fired the ancient Aryans was the desire “to be heard, to be gloriously remembered in the eternal consciousness/memory.” Warriors were stimulated to valor, rulers to acts of justice and goodness, by the anticipation of “good repute.”
Mazdáv aša.xva.iiá.čá//ýöi za.zeñtî vaηháû srav.ahî
Within “Inspiring Creativity, Mindfulness” Mazdá and “Cosmic Order” ašá/arthá//they shall continuously live in “good repute” vaηháû srava. (See Yasna 30.10, 3rd rhymed verse line)
Avestan srava “song, glory, to be heard” is a cognate of Old Church Slavonic слава slava, “glory” and слово slovo, “word.”
“To be heard of, in songs/odes to gods and heroes,” meant to “live forever in sacred memory” and “to achieve eternal glory.” Death comes to all, to the virtuous and the wicked alike, but the “everlasting glory” comes to the virtuous ALONE, those who are inspired by the Immortals and have earned a good name/repute.
In Yasna 34.15, 1st rhymed verse line: The “individual self/me” möi asks “the Mindful Lord, the god of Inspiring Creativity” Mazdá for “the best” vahištá in “hymns/songs” sravá that inspire “enterprise/action” šiiaö.θa.ná and “mastery of speech, words/voice” vaôčá. The theme of the verse is the splendid renewal of the worlds.
mazdá at möi vahištá//srav.ávs čá šiiaö.θa.ná čá vaôčá
I shall conclude by adding that sraôšá’s popularity continued into the islamic times and soroush “divine communication” became a great angel in Iranian Sufism.
The undeniable truth is that much which has asserted itself in islamic Persia/Iran in philosophical, mystic life and arts can be valued as a resurgence of Zoroastrian, Indo-European Spirit, for inherited nature will always stir against alien, incompatible forms of belief.
Thus the mysticism of Iranians/Persians after the Islamic subjugation is to be understood as a Reconquest by Zoroastrian Indo-European religiosity into an inherently alien faith.