Ahura Mazda (اهورا مزدا, DMG Ahūra Mazda , "the wise lord" or "lord of wisdom", Middle Persian Ormusd , Ōrmozd or Ormus ; also Ormuzd ) is written in Zoroastrianism , the Creator God, the first the spiritual world ( Menok ) and then the material world ( Geti created); he embodies the power of light, is the creator and sustainer of the world and of humanity and is the god of the fertility of living beings; called Ahuramazda in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Persian great kings .
The Creator God
Ahura ("Lord") is a generic term of the Avestan language in the Iranian highlands , which is related in the original meaning to the ancient Indian word asura . With the addition of Mazda ("wise"), a proper name emerged, the bearer of which should primarily be characterized by omniscience, as is usually the case with a sky god. In ancient India, Ahura Mazda corresponded to the sky god Varuna , who was also invoked as asura and, according to one of the Gathas (early Iranian religious text collection), was called "the good son of Asura". In India, asuras and devas were on the same divine level in the earliest times . Already in the Rigveda , asura assumed the meaning of "evil spirits". While in India the Asuras sank to the level of demons, in Iran the Ahuras remained victorious after the battle of the two opposing forces and the Daevas (corresponding to the Indian Devas) were subordinated as demons.
The Greeks, who call him Oromazes or Oromasdes , knew him as the supreme god of the Persians, as the originator of good things arising from the purest light and as the creator of the world; on the cuneiform inscriptions from Behistun (also: Bisutun ) from Darius I , he is called "the greatest of the gods".
An important description of Ahura Mazda comes from the Avesta , especially the oldest part of it, the Gâthâ ('songs'), originating from Zarathustra himself or his disciples . According to this he is the most holy, prosperous spirit who created and maintains the sun, moon and stars and the sky, the earth and the waters, the trees and the people. He is omniscient, the friend and protector of the good, the enemy of liars and the avenger of injustice, the inventor of good sayings ( daena ) to ward off fiends ( daeva ). One prays to him for the bestowal of earthly goods, but also for perfection and immortality or long life. He is the source of good thoughts, words and works, the father of Armaiti , who is the deity of humility and piety and at the same time the earth spirit; "Truth" and "good sense" stand by his side, half personified, half not.
His constant adversary is Anromainyus (the "evil spirit", Angra Manju , Ahrmanyu , the later Ahriman ). Man has to choose between this and Ahura Mazda, but on the whole the former has a very inferior position and only becomes more prominent in the later parts of the Zendavesta.
Ahura Mazda appears in later religion as the creator of all other gods, especially the six Amshaspand who are enthroned next to him in heaven. The creation of the world , especially the 16 landscapes of East Iran, is also carried out in more detail, and many interviews are reported that Ahura Mazda is said to have had with his prophet Zarathustra on various questions of faith and morals.
Of course, he remains a somewhat abstract and passive figure in comparison with the nature gods like Mithras . Only his struggle with the evil spirit, which is said to last for 3,000 years and end with its defeat, is explained more broadly; He also now appears as the judge of the dead, who asks the souls about their conduct and, if the answer is satisfactory, invites them to share a paradise with him.
His figure emerges even more decisively in the Pahlavi literature of the Sassanid period and in the religion of today's Parsees , which is essentially monotheistic .
The name Ahura Mazda is in the name of Pope Hormisdas and the Sassanid kings Hormizd , and can still be found today in the term Strait of Hormuz or in the province of Hormosgan .
Influence of Zoroastrianism on other religions
Zarathustra's teachings probably also flowed into Christianity and Islam through Judaism (see Babylonian Exile ) . In Zoroastrianism as well as in Judaism, Christianity and Islam there is a heaven and a hell, a dualism of good and bad principle as antagonists. In addition, in Zoroastrianism there are reports of “angelic beings”, which can be found in a similar form in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
After the conquest of the Sassanid Empire by the Muslim Arabs in the middle of the 7th century , the Zoroastrians slowly became a minority in Persia, with some of them emigrating to India ( Parsees ).
Influence of Zoroastrianism on philosophy
Some scholars are of the opinion that the Zoroastrian concept of adhwenak as a quasi “heavenly prototype for every human being” had an influence on Plato's theory of ideas .
- Mary Boyce : Ahura Mazda , in: Encyclopædia Iranica 1 (1985), pp. 684–687 (brief overview with bibliography)
- Josef Wiesehöfer : Ancient Persia . New edition, Düsseldorf 2005
- Johann Friedrich Hartknoch : Zend-Avesta. Zoroaster's Living Word ... , Riga 1776; New edition: Ulrich Hannemann (Ed.): Das Zend-Avesta . Weißensee-Verlag, Berlin 2011, ISBN 3-89998-199-5 .
- Geo Widengren : The gods of the first function: Ahura Mazda. In: Iranian Spiritual World. Holle Verlag, Baden-Baden 1961, pp. 111-113.
- ↑ Otto Günther von Wesendonk : The world view of the Iranians. Ernst Reinhardt, Munich 1933, p. 69
- ↑ Henrik Samuel Nyberg : The religions of ancient Iran. (1938) Reprint: Otto Zeller, Osnabrück 1966, p. 96f
- ↑ Cf. Koran 3:12 (counting according to Paret edition, Verlag Kohlhammer, 8th revised edition 2001).
- ↑ See Quran 2: 285.
- ↑ Michael Axworthy : Iran - world empire of the spirit. 3rd edition, Berlin 2014, ISBN 3-8031-3636-9 , p. 21 f.