Spenta Mainyu is the self-revealing activity of Ahura Mazda

Spenta Mainyu is the self-revealing activity of Ahura Mazda

The supreme godhead, we have seen, is immutable, perfect, spiritual unity. Zarathushtra solves the problem of reconciling the unchangeable nature of Ahura Mazda with the world of change by postulating a principle that intervenes between the unmoved mover and the moved. This working medium of Ahura Mazda spans the chasm between the supersensuous and the sensuous. He brings the transcendence and immanence of Ahura Mazda into a synthesis. Ahura Mazda is neither completely separated nor completely merged in the world. He is the primordial, self-existing being. In his infinite goodness he wills the creation of the universe. Both heavenly and earthly existence lived with him and in him as idealized contents of his being. The projection or manifestation of his creative will and thought is his active working principle Spenta Mainyu, Holy Spirit. Spenta Mainyu is as old as Ahura Mazda, for be ever was in Ahura Mazda and with Ahura Mazda. Though he is thus part of Ahura Mazda, in his manifestation as the working self of Ahura Mazda he is different from Ahura Mazda. He is not an entity or personality. Ahura Mazda is the greatest spiritual personality. Spenta Mainyu is his image, his replica. He represents the creative attribute of Ahura Mazda in his relation to the created world.

Spenta Mainyu symbolizes the ideal or perfect existence as conceived in thought by Ahura Mazda. The materialization of the divine thought in creation spells imperfection and Spenta Mainyu is shadowed by his inseparable opposite. These two primeval spirits, who are spoken of as twins, emerged from the divine bosom and by their innate choice appeared as the better and the bad in thought, word, and deed (Y30.3). He, the Most Holy Spirit, chose righteousness and he who is called the Evil Spirit wooed the worst as his sphere of action (Y30.5). The better one of the two spirits told the evil one that they were by nature opposed to each other in their thoughts and teachings, understandings and beliefs, words, and deeds, selves and souls — in nothing could they twain ever meet (Y45.2). When the two first came together in the world, they created life and non-life and established the law of reward and retribution for mankind, that the righteous will reap at the end of existence the weal of Best Thought and the wicked the woe of the Worst Existence (Y30.4).

The Gathas variously speak of Spenta Mainyu either as the attribute of Ahura Mazda or as his vicegerent, or as his co-worker, or as identified with him or as distinct from him. It is Spenta Mainyu that Ahura Mazda creates cattle and water and plants and all that exist (Y44.7; 47.3; 51.7). Ahura Mazda is asked to give ear to man’s invocation through Spenta Mainyu (Y45.6), and to strength through him (Y33.12). Through him does Ahura Mazda give Perfection and Immortality unto the pious who live a righteous and devoted life of best thoughts, words, and deeds (Y47.1). Ahura Mazda is implored to teach by his own mouth, on behalf of his Spirit, how the world first came into being (Y28.11). It is through his Spirit that Ahura Mazda furthers his blessed realms (Y31.7) He gives the best unto the righteous through Spenta Mainyu (Y47.5). Zarathushtra asks Ahura Mazda what award will he make unto the believers and the non-believers through his Spirit (Y31.3; 47.6). Mazda will come at the final dispensation with Spenta Mainyu (Y43.6). Through him does one win the felicity of paradise (Y43.2). The devout seek to be acquainted with the works of Spenta Mainyu (Y28.1). The Spirit knows the attitude of the false speaker and the true speaker, the wise and the unwise as they are led by the promptings of their hearts and minds (Y31.12). Spenta Mainyu is the friend of all and he protects them through Righteousness in both the worlds from transgression (Y44.2). It is the wicked that are hurt by him (Y47.4). Spenta Mainyu or the Holy Spirit is sometimes spoken of as the Good Spirit (Y45.5), or the Best Spirit (Y33.6), or the Most Holy Spirit (Y47.2). This superlative title, the Most Holy Spirit, is sometimes applied to Ahura Mazda himself (Y33.12; 43.2; 45.5; 51.7). It is also used for Spenta Mainyu as apart from Ahura Mazda. For example, Zarathushtra tells Ahura Mazda that he chooses his Most Holy Spirit for himself (Y43.16). The Most Holy Spirit, the one who stands in opposition to his evil twin brother, dons the massive heavens for his garment (Y30.5; for Spenta Mainyu see Jackson, Zoroastrian Studies, p. 29, 30, 32, 33, 40, 69, 71; Gray, The Foundations of the Iranian Religions, p. 101-106; Kanga, A New Interpretation of the Spenta Mainyu of the Gathas, Bombay, 1933).

Source : History of zoroastrianism, Chapter VI


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