Aži Dahák, the three headed snake man/monster

Aži Dahāk or the “snake man/monster,” is viewed as the greatest lieutenant of aæšma, the demon-God of “upside down order, vengeful anger, chaos, and wrath” in Zoroastrian mythology. Aæšma, in turn is the greatest lieutenant of añgrá, the anti-Godhood, “the broken spirit!”

Modern Persian aš“wrath” is a cognate of aæšma. Hebrew Ashmedai or Asmodeus, the “supreme ruler of both daemons and demons” in Hebrew Literature seems to be a borrowing from ancient Iranian. Avestan aži, “snake, serpent” is etymologically related to words in other Indo-European languages for “snake, serpent” such as Old Slavic ǫžĭ, Russian už, Lithuanian angìs, Latin anguis, Armenian iž, Germanic “eel,” all coming from the reconstructed Proto Indo-European *ángwhis. (See Didier Calin Dictionary of Indo-European Poetic and Religious Themes.)

Aži Dahāk is the physical instrument of aæšma’s will. The dark lord of distorted order/aæšma, can’t take physical form so he imposes his diabolic will through the three-headed snake monster. Through aži dahāk, aæšma manifests his cruelty, malice, and corrupts all that is beautiful. In Zoroastrian mythology, aži dahāk the three-headed snake monster, is the very embodiment of fake/demonic religions, and perverted spirituality!

In the Avesta or the Zoroastrian sacred lore, aži dahāk is depicted with three jaws (thri.zafanəm,) three skulls (thri.kamarəδəm,) six evil eyes (xšvaš.ašīm,) thousand wiles (hazaŋrā.yaoxštīm,) with an imposing, ominous presence (aš.aojaŋhəm,) concocted from a grand demonic delusion/lie (daævīm drujim.)

According to Avestan hymns, aži dahāk hails from Baβri (pronounced Bavri.) The meaning of Baβri is uncertain but is understood as “base of evil, realm of afflictions.” In the later middle Persian exegesis of the Avesta, Baβri is identified with Babylon, the cradle of sorcery and black magic.

In the Zoroastrian sacred writings, the defective vision, and deceitful teachings of the three-headed snake monster aži dahāk stand as the exact opposite to the pristine vision of the beautiful and luminous Mazda- worshipping religion! The Südagr commentary of the Vohü ḵšaθrəm gáthá or the” song of wondrous dominion/Godhood contrasts the dark and oppressive dogmas of the three headed snake man/monster that crush the spirit with the bright and luminous kingship of the Gods.

Sūdgar commentary of the poetic gathas interprets the Old Avestan riddle poems based on the idea of omnisignificance and intertextuality of individual words and passages in the gathas/songs, considering the Zoroastrian heroic hymns and mythological tradition.

Yima, the primeval twin of the ancient Indo-Europeans is the founder of the golden age of mortals in the Avestan poetics and religious themes. Yima’s advanced technology and superb scientific knowledge causes him to become arrogant and defiant of the Gods. His hubris brings him tragedy and downfall. Yima is slaughtered by the snake man/monster aži dahāk, and his fabled reign comes to a crushing end.

The reign of the snake man/monster ushers in the age of mixing of demons and men, the manifestation of every perversion, cruelty, and malice. Aži Dahāk’s consolation to mortals is safety and security. But his rule is nothing more than enslavement, oppression, and tyranny. Aži Dahāk wish is to eliminate hearth fire and the line of men!

His prayer to Ardvī Sürá Anihta (undefiled lady of waters) and Vayu (wind) was for them to give him the power to render the seven climes of the earth free of mortal men (a-mašya.) Ardvī Sürá Anahita (undefiled lady of waters) and Vayu (wind) did NOT grant the snake monster prayer; on the contrary, when Thraætaona subsequently worshipped them, asking them to grant him the power to overcome Aži Dahāk, they granted his wish.

Finally, after a thousand years, aži dahāk is captured and chained “with awful fetters, in the most grievous punishment of confinement” at Mount Demāvand by Thraætaona, “the prototype of warrior hero and physician/healer.”

Thraætaona’s name means something like “thrice, threefold.” Thraætaona or Trita has later became known as Fereydoon or Fredön in Persian. The name of Thraætaona or Fredön is invoked at all prayers and charms for healing.

The myth which relates how aži dahāk was chained to Cloud Covered or Misty Mountain “Demāvand” by hero Thraætaona, is reminiscent of other Indo-European myths of monsters/serpents which are vanquished by a

hero and imprisoned or chained but are liberated at the end of time and come forth to wreak havoc and chaos among Gods and Mortal Men.

In the Scandinavian mythology, the monstrous Fenris wolf is chained by the god Týr, but at Ragnarök (Twilight of the Gods/Götterdämmerung) it is unchained and is fought by Óδinn, whom it swallows, but is itself slain
by Óδinn’s son.

The Titan of Wisdom, Ahûrá Mazdá (Öhrmazd in middle Iranian) gave Thraætaona or Fredön a warning: Do not kill the snake man/monster but bound him in strong chains. For if his body is split open, from his wounds all kind noxious creatures will flood his earth!

guftan ī dādār Öhrmazd ō frēdön kü-š ma kirrēnē kē dahāčē agar-iš kirrēnē dahāg purr ēn zamīg kunēd az yaz ud ögrāg ud gazdum ud karbüg ud sög ud wazag

Said the Creator Öhrmazd (Titan of Wisdom) to Fredön (Prototype of healer/warrior:) Do not split dahag, the snake man, because, if you split him open, his wounds will make this earth full of serpents, toads, scorpions, lizards, tortoises, and frogs.

The idea that from presence or even the very steps of evil, noxious creatures and reptiles rush into the world, is also seen in Yasna 11.6 of the Avesta, the sacred lore of the Zoroastrians. The same concept appears in Lord of the Rings where from the steps of Nazgūl, all kind noxious creatures leap out.

In conclusion, the account of aži dahāk teaches us that false spirituality is far worse than no spirituality! Tyranny of fake religion is far worse than lack of religious identification. Pristine Vision/Religion empowers the spirit and awakens Godhood in Men. Whatever teaching that crush the soul and oppresses the spirit cannot be called anything but a fake, demonic religion.


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