God of the Week: Ahura Mazda
God of the Week 12/14/09: Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda is the chief god of the Zoroastrian faith. He is the all good uncreated creator of the universe and of all good things in it (all evil things in the world being the creation of the god Ahriman). In the mythology of the religion, this dualistic nature of the world leads to an ultimate battle between good and evil.
The struggle between the good and the evil beings, in which man takes part by siding, according to his conduct, with Ahura Mazda or with his foe, is to end with the victory of the former at the great renovation of the world, when a flood of molten metal will, as an ordeal, purify all men and bring about the complete exclusion of evil.
– Mythology of All Races, Volume 6: Indian and Iranian
Louis Herbert Gray, Editor
This concept of a final judgment and battle between good and evil was very influential to post Babylonian Exile Judaism and, later, Christianity (who appeared to have modeled their concept of the Apocalypse on it). Ahura Mazda also influenced the conception of the god Yahweh, who was transformed from a jealous tribal god, responsible for all things good and evil, to a caring and loving god with the evil adversary of the devil being responsible for evil in the world.
A hymn to Ahura Mazda from the Gathas:
” That I shall ask thee, tell it me right, O Ahura !
Who was in the beginning the father and creator of righteousness?
Who created the path of the sun and stars ?
Who causes the moon to increase and wane but thou ?
Who is holding the earth and the skies above it ?
Who made the waters and the trees of the field ?
Who created the lights of good effect and the darkness ?
Who created the sleep of good effect and the activity ?
Who (created) morning, noon, and night ?
Who has prepared the Bactrian home ?
To become acquainted with these things, I approach thee, Mazda,
Beneficent spirit ! creator of all beings !
That I shall ask thee, tell it me right, O Ahura !
How may I come,, Mazda ! to your dwelling-place (Heaven)
To hear you sing ? ”
-Gathas, translation from “The Religion of Zoroaster” by R Brown
Though the exact origin of the deity Ahura Mazda is not known, it has been theorized that he may be a derivation of the Indian god Varuna, because of the many similarities between Zoroastrianism and Vedic Hinduism.