Ragnarök, new age of the Gods, and the account of final resurrection RASTAḴIZ in Zoroastrianism

In Norse mythology, Ragnarök, is the final great battle of the world, in which gods and heroes will fight demons, gloom and forces of darkness. Ragnarök translates into the final “lot, destiny” rök of the rulers/gods ragna. German Götterdämmerung, used by Richard Wagner as the title of the last opera in the Ring cycle, refers to this twilight of the gods.

The accounts of Ragnarök have an almost identical match in the vast Zoroastrian apocalyptic literature. The modern Persian word for “Resurrection” rasstáḵiz is rooted in the Avestan riḵti “legacy, inheritance, lot/destiny that is inherited.”

In the Zoroastrian apocalyptic account, it is the awakening of the Titans, the primeval Gods (ahûrás, Norse æsir,) and their “wondrous legacy” that will bring about a fresh, new order, and splendid universe.

The idea of rasstáḵiz “resurrection,” springs to mind many parallels to the virtuous Hyperboreans who live in the far north beyond the home of the north wind. An age of eternal spring, a sacred race of god-men, untouched by the ravages of old age, disease and death will usher in after the coming of saöšiiant “Mighty Lord/Giant of the Ages.”

Admission to this splendid, new universe is reserved for the righteous, and the heroic, mortals related to the brilliant gods. There will come an age when there will be neither sickness nor age, nor death, where new horizons will be discovered, in an age of eternal progress.

In Zoroastrianism, death, disease, all flaws are the handiwork of the evil spirit and his demons. Godhood is overcoming limitations and triumph of the sacred will to discover new horizons. Resurrection is the final triumph and overcoming over all these flaws and limitations.

The godhood of the ahûrás, the brilliant Immortals of Mazdá, lies in their eternal quest for excellence, and their superb wisdom. The Immortals of Zoroastrianism resemble the titan Prometheus who brought the “secret of fire and illumination” to the world.

In Rig Veda 5.63.7, we come across the term ásurasya māyáyā  “magic of the ásuras, the magical substance, brilliant mind stuff of the ahûrás.” This probably is the closest description of Ahûrá Mazdá, the supreme god of Zoroastrianism in the Vedas.

For it is through “creative imagination, insightfulness,” into the cosmic order that the Immortals will usher in a fresh, splendid, new age of eternal spring. Making creation splendid anew is the destined legacy of the Immortals

Concerning the final battle between Immortals of light and demons of gloom and darkness, we read in the poetic gathas of the ancient seer/prophet Zarathustra:

ýezî adáiš ašá drûjem véñ.(a)ηha.itî

 hiiat ãnsa.šûtá ýá daibi.táná fraôḵtá

 ameretá.itî daævá.iš.čá mašiiá.iš.čá

 at töi savá.iš vahmem vašat ahûrá

“When at that (new) creation, excellence/truth wins over treachery and lies,

It will come to pass, what they said are delusions, and lies,

Immortality triumphs over demons and men

Then increases your auspicious, brilliant vitality, and sacred praise, god-force/ahura.”

I shall conclude by adding that the first part of Ragna-rök, comes from the Old Norse rógn, “guide, govern, rule, god/kingship,” that is preserved in the Avestan ražn “reign, rule” from the very early Indo European times.

Also the term uz.ere.diiá in the gatahs/songs of the ancient prophet refers to the “rising of the new order/creation,” that must spring up/emerge from the inner soul first.


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