The nature of Ahura Mazda

The nature of Ahura Mazda:

Ahura Mazda is spirit in his being. The cardinal attribute Spirit or Beneficent Spirit or Most Beneficent Spirit is his very essence. Zarathushtra acquaints mankind for the first time in the history of religions with the concept of the godhead that is most incomparable in sublimity and unprecedented in the grandeur of nobility. He is higher than the highest being worshipped by mankind before his day. He is devoid of all anthropomorphic traits which characterized the Aryan and Semitic gods. Man, however, can comprehend abstract ideas and spiritual conceptions when they are put before him in words and expressions clothed in the garb of earthly imagery and compassed in human language. Zarathushtra, therefore, speaks of Ahura Mazda in human analogy. He conceives of Ahura Mazda in thought and apprehends him with his eye (Y31.8 ; 45.8 ). He asks him to teach by the word of his mouth (Y28.11) and to tell him with the very tongue of his mouth (Y31.3). He is also spoken of as distributing good and evil to men by his own hands (Y43.4), and as observing with his eyes all things hidden and open (Y31.13). He lives in the empyrean enthroned in his majesty (Y28.5; 46.16). He is ever present in the straight paths that lead mankind to righteousness (Y33.5; 43.3). In his resplendence he lives in the heavenly realms and wears the firmament as his garment (Y30.5). Yahweh, likewise, covers himself with light as with a garment. Expressions like these are symbolical and they are not to be taken literally, since Ahura Mazda, as the whole tone of the Gathas proves, is to be seen or conceived only through the mind’s eye. The finite can describe the infinite through finite analogies and similes alone.

Source : History of zoroastrianism, Chapter V


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