Frya or love in the gathas, Old Norse Freya and Frigg


In the poetic gathas, fryá is the personification of “love.” Intense feeling of passion/love appears as fryá, fryái and fryö in the sacred poetry of the gathas. Fryán “lovely, free” appears as a personal name in Yasna 46.12, 2nd rhymed verse line of the gathic songs.

Avestan fryá “lovely, dear and free” is cognate with the reconstructed Proto Germanic friyō “Lovely,” Old Norse frī “beloved,” and Old Norse Frigg, “the wife of Odin/Woden,” and Vedic priyá.

Modern Persian áfrin “blessing, divine favor” is derived from the same ancient root. The English weekday Friday is named after Norse goddess Frigg, and Old High German Frîja, who was the northern equivalent of Venus. In Rig Veda 1.46.1, the beautiful Dawn goddess is called priyá.

 Freya’s Tears by Gustav Klimt, the most prominent Austrian symbolist painter, has best expressed the immortal beauty and love of Freyja in art.

In Norse Mythology frigg is the goddess of love. Frigg bore Baldur the personification of light whose death will initiate a series of apocalyptic events leading to Ragnarök or twilight of the Gods.

The relationship of the divine to mortals is expressed in the term fryá or friiá “love” in the gathas. The divine epithet Fryá “love, intense passion” comes in close connection with the supreme god of “Inspiration, Creativity, Imagination, Mind Power Mazdá and the brilliance of the cosmic order ašá/arthá in the gathas.

In Zoroastrianism, the god force is “loveliness fryái, wisdom vaæd, ability to enchant/own isvá and power to give of oneself daidît,” hiiat ná fryái vaædamnö isvá daidît, See Yasna 43.14, 1st rhymed verse line.

The essential thing about the Immortal ahûrás is their “brilliance, loving essence, virtue and wisdom that give them the wondrous skill to enchant and own, the power to be lords isvá.”

Avestan isæ “lordship, ability to enchant/own” is cognate with Tocharian aik “own” Old Norse eiga Old English āgan “own, possess” all going back to the reconstructed Indo European *heik.

The good and virtuous man is above all a friend of Ahûrá Mazdá, and his brilliant Immortals. The belief in the Immortal Gods as “loving wise powers and friends” corresponds to the idea of kinship between the good-minded and brilliant mortals, and the Wise Ahûrás. This kinship rests above all on the view that the Wise Ahûrás and mortal men are bound through “truth, loving virtues and wisdom.”

Zoroastrianism teaches that mortal man could and should share in the “Good, the Lovely and the Beautiful” as partners of the Immortals.

In Zoroastrianism, the worship of “Inspiring Creativity” Mazdá means the loving adoration of godly virtues/powers, and cultivation of all the goodness and loveliness of the Immortals in oneself. This idea is expressed in the term frînái, frînáiti “befriend” in the poetic gathas. See Yasna 29.5, 1st rhymed verse line and Yasna 49.12, 3rd rhymed verse line.

Avestan frînáiti is a cognate of Old Norse frjá “love,” and frændi “beloved, friend.”

Interesting is the connection between “love and freedom” in the Avestan speech. In Mazdyasna, the Love of the Gods is manifested in giving mortals freedom from imperfections, and the wondrous wisdom to overcome their limitations.”

The submissive and slavish relation of man to Gods is NOT characteristic of Zoroastrianism. Mortals in Zoroastrianism are not slaves before an omnipotent God whose nature is intimidation and terror.

Interestingly, The Ifrits a class of infernal Jinn (demons) noted for their enchanting powers in the Islamic lore, seem to have been derived from fryá. (although the etymology is uncertain.)

As with other jinn (demons,) an ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever. The Ifrits are greatly skilled in crafts, and in building amazing objects or structures. King Solomon is said to have compelled the jinn into his service

The ‘ifrit is cited only once in the Qur’an, in reference to a good demon, with enchanting powers, who fetched the throne of the Queen of Sheba at the command of King Solomon.

An Ifrit from the jinn said: ‘I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.'” 

Qur’an, Sura An-Naml:39. (27:39) 


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