Ahura Mazda

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"Ormuzd" redirects here. Ahura Mazda_sentence_0

For the kingdom of Ohrmuzd, see Ormus. Ahura Mazda_sentence_1

"Hormazd", "Hormozd", and "Hurmuzd" redirect here. Ahura Mazda_sentence_2

For persons with these names, such as several Sasanian kings, see Hormizd. Ahura Mazda_sentence_3

Ahura Mazda_table_infobox_0

Ahura MazdaAhura Mazda_header_cell_0_0_0
AffiliationAhura Mazda_header_cell_0_1_0 ZoroastrianismAhura Mazda_cell_0_1_1
RegionAhura Mazda_header_cell_0_2_0 Greater IranAhura Mazda_cell_0_2_1
Personal informationAhura Mazda_header_cell_0_3_0
SiblingsAhura Mazda_header_cell_0_4_0 AhrimanAhura Mazda_cell_0_4_1

Ahura Mazda (/əˌhʊərə ˈmæzdə/; Avestan: 𐬨𐬀𐬰𐬛𐬁 𐬀𐬵𐬎𐬭𐬀‎, romanized: Mazdā Ahura also known as Oromasdes, Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, and Hurmuz)(Modern Persian: اهورا مزدا‎) is the creator and highest deity of Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda_sentence_4

Ahura Mazda is the first and most frequently invoked spirit in the Yasna. Ahura Mazda_sentence_5

The literal meaning of the word is "lord," and that of is "wisdom." Ahura Mazda_sentence_6

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BC) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Ahura Mazda_sentence_7

Until Artaxerxes II of Persia (405–04 to 359–58 BC), Ahura Mazda was worshipped and invoked alone in all extant royal inscriptions. Ahura Mazda_sentence_8

With Artaxerxes II, Ahura Mazda was invoked in a triad, with Mithra and Anahita. Ahura Mazda_sentence_9

In the Achaemenid period, there are no known representations of Ahura Mazda at the royal court other than the custom for every emperor to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses, to invite Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Ahura Mazda_sentence_10

Images of Ahura Mazda, however, were present from the 5th century BC, but were stopped and replaced with stone carved figures in the Sassanid period and later removed altogether through an iconoclastic movement supported by the Sassanid dynasty. Ahura Mazda_sentence_11

Nomenclature Ahura Mazda_section_0

"Ahura" is synonymous with the Vedic word "Asura" which means "lord". Ahura Mazda_sentence_12

Finnish Indologist, Asko Parpola, traces the etymological root of Asura to *asera- of Uralic languages, where it means "lord, prince". Ahura Mazda_sentence_13

"Mazda", or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *mazdáH (a feminine noun). Ahura Mazda_sentence_14

It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Vedic cognate medhā́, means "intelligence" or "wisdom". Ahura Mazda_sentence_15

Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian , from Proto-Indo-European *mn̥sdʰh₁éh₂, literally meaning "placing (*dʰeh₁) one's mind (*mn̥-s)", hence "wise". Ahura Mazda_sentence_16

The name was rendered as Ahuramazda (Old Persian) during the Achaemenid era, Hormazd during the Parthian era, and Ohrmazd was used during the Sassanian era. Ahura Mazda_sentence_17

The name may be attested on cuneiform tablets of Assyrian Assurbanipal, in the form Assara Mazaš, though this interpretation is very controversial. Ahura Mazda_sentence_18

Characteristics Ahura Mazda_section_1

Even though it is speculated that Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Indo-Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of "uncreated spirit". Ahura Mazda_sentence_19

This title was given by Zoroaster, who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Asha. Ahura Mazda_sentence_20

Zoroaster's revelation Ahura Mazda_section_2

According to Zoroastrian tradition, at the age of 30, Zoroaster received a revelation: while fetching water at dawn for a sacred ritual, he saw the shining figure of the Amesha Spenta, Vohu Manah, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda, where he was taught the cardinal principles of the "Good Religion" later known as Zoroastrianism. Ahura Mazda_sentence_21

As a result of this vision, Zoroaster felt that he was chosen to spread and preach the religion. Ahura Mazda_sentence_22

He stated that this source of all goodness was the Ahura worthy of the highest worship. Ahura Mazda_sentence_23

He further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who also merited worship. Ahura Mazda_sentence_24

Zoroaster proclaimed that some of the Iranian gods were daevas who deserved no worship. Ahura Mazda_sentence_25

These "bad" deities were created by Angra Mainyu, the destructive spirit. Ahura Mazda_sentence_26

The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all sin and misery in the universe. Ahura Mazda_sentence_27

Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu. Ahura Mazda_sentence_28

Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu's superior, not his equal. Ahura Mazda_sentence_29

Angra Mainyu and his daevas, which attempt to attract humans away from the Path of Asha, would eventually be defeated. Ahura Mazda_sentence_30

History Ahura Mazda_section_3

Achaemenid Empire Ahura Mazda_section_4

Whether the Achaemenids were Zoroastrians is a matter of much debate. Ahura Mazda_sentence_31

However, it is known that the Achaemenids were worshipers of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_32

The representation and invocation of Ahura Mazda can be seen on royal inscriptions written by Achaemenid kings. Ahura Mazda_sentence_33

The most notable of all the inscriptions is the Behistun Inscription written by Darius I which contains many references to Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_34

An inscription written in Greek was found in a late Achaemenid temple at Persepolis which invoked Ahura Mazda and two other deities, Mithra and Anahita. Ahura Mazda_sentence_35

Amongst the earliest surviving inscription, on the Elamite Persepolis Fortification Tablet 377, Ahura Mazda is invoked along with Mithra and Apam Napat, Vedic Varuna ("water-god"). Ahura Mazda_sentence_36

Artaxerxes III makes this invocation to the three deities again in his reign. Ahura Mazda_sentence_37

In Vedic texts which predate these inscriptions by thousands of years, the Vedic gods Mithra and Varuna are frequently mentioned together. Ahura Mazda_sentence_38

In the earliest layer of the Rigveda, Varuna is the guardian of moral law, the ruler over Asuras, one who punishes those who sin without remorse, and who forgives those who err with remorse. Ahura Mazda_sentence_39

He is the Guardian deity of the West, meaning regions west of India. Ahura Mazda_sentence_40

He is mentioned in many Rigvedic hymns, such as 7.86–88, 1.25, 2.27–30, 8.8, 9.73 and others. Ahura Mazda_sentence_41

His relationship with waters, rivers and oceans is mentioned in the Vedas. Ahura Mazda_sentence_42

Vedic poets describe him as an aspect and one of the plural perspectives of the Agni, one of the Primary deities. Ahura Mazda_sentence_43

Further, both have wrathful-gracious aspects in Indian mythology. Ahura Mazda_sentence_44

The early Achaemenid period contained no representation of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_45

The winged symbol with a male figure who was formerly regarded by European scholars as Ahura Mazda has been now speculated to represent the royal xvarənah, the personification of divine power and royal glory. Ahura Mazda_sentence_46

However, it was customary for every emperor from Cyrus until Darius III to have an empty chariot drawn by white horses as a place for Ahura Mazda to accompany the Persian army on battles. Ahura Mazda_sentence_47

The use of images of Ahura Mazda began in the western satraps of the Achaemenid Empire in the late 5th century BCE. Ahura Mazda_sentence_48

Under Artaxerxes II, the first literary reference as well as a statue of Ahura Mazda was built by a Persian governor of Lydia in 365 BCE. Ahura Mazda_sentence_49

Parthian Empire Ahura Mazda_section_5

It is known that the reverence for Ahura Mazda, as well as Anahita and Mithra continued with the same traditions during this period. Ahura Mazda_sentence_50

The worship of Ahura Mazda with symbolic images is noticed, but it stopped within the Sassanid period. Ahura Mazda_sentence_51

Zoroastrian iconoclasm, which can be traced to the end of the Parthian period and the beginning of the Sassanid, eventually put an end to the use of all images of Ahura Mazda in worship. Ahura Mazda_sentence_52

However, Ahura Mazda remained symbolized by a dignified male figure, standing or on horseback which is found in Sassanian investiture. Ahura Mazda_sentence_53

Sassanid Empire Ahura Mazda_section_6

During the Sassanid Empire, a heretical and divergent form of Zoroastrianism, termed Zurvanism, emerged. Ahura Mazda_sentence_54

It gained adherents throughout the Sassanid Empire, most notably the royal lineage of Sassanian emperors. Ahura Mazda_sentence_55

Under the reign of Shapur I, Zurvanism spread and became a widespread cult. Ahura Mazda_sentence_56

Zurvanism revokes Zoroaster's original message of Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, and the "uncreated creator" of all, and reduces him to a created spirit, one of two twin sons of Zurvan, their father and the primary spirit. Ahura Mazda_sentence_57

Zurvanism also makes Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu of equal strength and only contrasting spirits. Ahura Mazda_sentence_58

Other than Zurvanism, the Sassanian kings demonstrated their devotion to Ahura Mazda in other fashions. Ahura Mazda_sentence_59

Five kings took the name Hormizd and Bahram II created the title of "Ohrmazd-mowbad" which was continued after the fall of the Sassanid Empire and through the Islamic times. Ahura Mazda_sentence_60

All devotional acts in Zoroastrianism originating from the Sassanian period begin with homage to Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_61

The five Gāhs begin with the declaration in Middle Persian, that "Ohrmazd is Lord" and incorporate the Gathic verse "Whom, Mazda hast thou appointed my protector". Ahura Mazda_sentence_62

Zoroastrian prayers are to be said in the presence of light, either in the form of fire or the sun. Ahura Mazda_sentence_63

In the Iranian dialects of Yidḡa and Munǰī, the sun is still called "ormozd". Ahura Mazda_sentence_64

Present-day Zoroastrianism Ahura Mazda_section_7

In 1884, Martin Haug proposed a new interpretation of Yasna 30.3 that subsequently influenced Zoroastrian doctrine to a significant extent. Ahura Mazda_sentence_65

According to Haug's interpretation, the "twin spirits" of 30.3 were Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu, the former being literally the "Destructive Spirit" and the latter being the "Bounteous Spirit" (of Ahura Mazda). Ahura Mazda_sentence_66

Further, in Haug's scheme, Angra Mainyu was now not Ahura Mazda's binary opposite, but—like Spenta Mainyu—an emanation of Him. Ahura Mazda_sentence_67

Haug also interpreted the concept of a free will of Yasna 45.9 as an accommodation to explain where Angra Mainyu came from since Ahura Mazda created only good. Ahura Mazda_sentence_68

The free will made it possible for Angra Mainyu to choose to be evil. Ahura Mazda_sentence_69

Although these latter conclusions were not substantiated by Zoroastrian tradition, at the time Haug's interpretation was gratefully accepted by the Parsis of Bombay since it provided a defense against Christian missionary rhetoric, particularly the attacks on the Zoroastrian idea of an uncreated Evil that was as uncreated as God was. Ahura Mazda_sentence_70

Following Haug, the Bombay Parsis began to defend themselves in the English-language press, the argument being that Angra Mainyu was not Mazda's binary opposite, but his subordinate, who—as in Zurvanism also—chose to be evil. Ahura Mazda_sentence_71

Consequently, Haug's theories were disseminated as a Parsi interpretation, also in the West, where they appeared to be corroborating Haug. Ahura Mazda_sentence_72

Reinforcing themselves, Haug's ideas came to be iterated so often that they are today almost universally accepted as doctrine. Ahura Mazda_sentence_73

In other religions Ahura Mazda_section_8

Some scholars (Kuiper. Ahura Mazda_sentence_74

IIJ I, 1957; Zimmer. Ahura Mazda_sentence_75

Münchner Studien 1984:187–215) believe that Ahura Mazda originates from *vouruna-mitra, or Vedic Varuna (and Mitra). Ahura Mazda_sentence_76

According to William W Malandra both Varuna (in Vedic period) and Ahura Mazda (in old Iranian religion) represented same Indo-Iranian concept of a supreme "wise, all-knowing lord". Ahura Mazda_sentence_77

In Manichaeism, the name Ohrmazd Bay ("god Ahura Mazda") was used for the primal figure Nāšā Qaḏmāyā, the "original man" and emanation of the Father of Greatness (in Manicheism called Zurvan) through whom after he sacrificed himself to defend the world of light was consumed by the forces of darkness. Ahura Mazda_sentence_78

Although Ormuzd is freed from the world of darkness his "sons", often called his garments or weapons, remain. Ahura Mazda_sentence_79

His sons, later known as the World Soul after a series of events will for the most part escape from matter and return again to the world of light where they came from. Ahura Mazda_sentence_80

Manicheans often identified many of Mani's cosmological figures with Zoroastrian ones. Ahura Mazda_sentence_81

This may be in part because Mani was born in the greatly Zoroastrian Parthian Empire. Ahura Mazda_sentence_82

In Sogdian Buddhism, Xwrmztʼ (Sogdian was written without a consistent representation of vowels) was the name used in place of Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_83

Via contacts with Turkic peoples like the Uyghurs, this Sogdian name came to the Mongols, who still name this deity Qormusta Tengri (Also Qormusta or Qormusda) is now a popular enough deity to appear in many contexts that are not explicitly Buddhist. Ahura Mazda_sentence_84

The pre-Christian Armenians had Aramazd as an important deity in their pantheon of gods. Ahura Mazda_sentence_85

He is thought to be a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Armenian figures Aram and his son Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. Ahura Mazda_sentence_86

In modern-day Armenia, Aramazd is a male first name. Ahura Mazda_sentence_87

101 Names Ahura Mazda_section_9

See also: 101 Names of God Ahura Mazda_sentence_88

In popular culture Ahura Mazda_section_10

Ahura Mazda_unordered_list_0

See also Ahura Mazda_section_11

Ahura Mazda_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahura Mazda.