Ahura Mazda, the God
Ahura Mazda (later Hormazd / Ohrmazd) “Lord Wisdom” is the name of the God or the Supreme Uncreated Force according to the Zoroastrian religion. In the beginning there was Endless Light in which the supreme divine energy dwelled in a static form. Since the time this supreme energy became active and decided to have creations, it is known as Mazda or Ahura Mazda.
This Supreme power is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Wisdom is His intrinsic nature. He sustains all His creations through wisdom. Since He is all-knowing, He is undeceivable.
Ahura Mazda is the sole creator and the absolute ruler of the Universe. He is without a beginning or an end and hence eternal and immortal. He has no equal or opponent. His is the only power and intelligence that governs the Universe. He is the most beneficent Spirit, the bestower of all good things. All that is good and positive in the Universe comes from Him. He is kind, forgiving, understanding and merciful. He is a friend, brother and father to all who lead a righteous life.
Ahura Mazda has fixed the laws of Nature, in accordance with which all creations operate. These laws work on cosmic, physical, moral and spiritual fronts. He never interferes in the working of these laws.
He is invisible to the physical world, and since He is a a Spirit among the Spirits, he is unseen even to the denizens of the spiritual world. He is visualized as being full of light. By His thought-force, He first filled heavenly realms with light. The blazing sun and the radiant fire are living representatives of Ahura Mazda on earth.
Ahura Mazda oversees all creatures with His sharp, piercing gaze. He is aware of whatever man does. He is the supreme judge of man’s actions. He is totally perfect. He is present in all creations, and is yet above them, on account of His Wisdom.
At a cosmic level, the Wisdom of Ahura Mazda permeates the universe which organizes itself intelligently, as well as it permeates every atom of matter and every cell of the body.
Ahura Mazda first created Asha – the immutable Law and Order on the basis of which the creations would be created. Then Spenta Mainyu was formed as the creative benevolent Spirit which would be responsible for creations – first the spiritual and then the physical. On the basis of the Law of Polarity Angra Mainyu, the Evil Spirit, came into existence. In the spiritual world the divine beings Ameshaspands,Yazads, Urvans (Souls) and Fravashis (Guardian Spirits) were created from different grades of ‘light’. Ahura Mazda represents the purest light, followed by the divine beings in their hierarchical order.
The account of creation contained in the Pahlavi bookBundahishn, symbolically states that the entire span of creation is of 12000 years. It then symbolically divides it into four periods of 3000 years each. The Pahlavi word
hazāra is generally translated as a period of 1000 years, but it should not be taken literally, as it just symbolises a long period of time.
The first two 3000 year periods are referred to asBundahishn “the beginning of creations”. In the first 3000 years, perfect spiritual creations were created. Angra Mainyu, owing to his inherent destructive nature, attacked them, but Ahura Mazda chanted the Ahunavar and Angra Mainyu was stupefied for the next 3000 years. Ahura Mazda conferred with the divine beings and set up a period of 9000 years after which evil would be totally incapacitated. During this 3000 years Ahura Mazda created the spiritual prototype of creations, and then created the material creations in a perfect state.
The third and fourth 3000 years periods are referred to asGumezishn “the period of Mixture.” In this period Angra Mainyu attacked and inter-mingled with the 7 material creations. At the end of the last 3000 years, there will beVizarishn “the Separation.” The latter part of this period is marked by heightened conflict between good and evil. At the end of this period, Saoshyant, the saviour will be born, last Judgement will take place, followed by Ristakhez (rising of the ‘dead’) and Tane-pasen (new body). At the end of the 12000 years period, evil shall be completely annihilated and vanquished, resulting in complete renovation. This event of distant future, known as Frashokereti or Frashogard(Renovation) will be brought about by the united, conscious efforts of men and Spiritual Beings. After this, creations will revert back to their perfect spiritual states.
An important way of knowing Ahura Mazda is through His qualities. He is known by His attributes from prayers. The Pazand prayer
Doa Nām Setāyashne praises Him and enumerates the benefits He has bestowed on the world. The 101 names of God are the 101 aspects of Ahura Mazda and so are the 72 names in the Hormazd Yasht. Some of the qualities of Ahura Mazda expressed in the names are: All Powerful, All-knowing, Without a beginning, Without an end, The cause of all causes, Judge, Creator, Redeemer, Self-existent, Protector, Omnipresent, Wise, Giver of prosperity, Lord, Most Benevolent, Harmless, Unconquerable, Reckoner and Health-giver.
Ahura Mazda created man superior to other creations, and gave him intelligence and sovereignty over time. At the same time, He also gave man the responsibility to look after other creations like air, water, earth, minerals, plants and animals which are for his use. Man should utilise them with wisdom and temperance, and never misuse, abuse or overuse them.
AMESHASPANDS, YAZADS and FRAVASHIS are His helpers and co-workers. Ahura Mazda assigned them the task of protecting and nurturing the creations. The chief among these helpers are the six Ameshaspands. AHURA MAZDA Himself is the first of the Ameshaspands and the father and preceptor of the other six. The Ameshaspands are also regarded as aspects and qualities of Ahura Mazda, which we are to be imbibed in our lives.
Ahura Mazda created the material world to make Angra Mainyu ineffective. The purpose of mankind in this world is to fight against Angra Mainyu and not to succumb to his temptations. The spiritual helpers of Ahura Mazda help mankind in this task.