The Nature of Divinity

Zoroastrians worship Ahura Mazda. But, what does the term ‘Ahura Mazda’ mean? Most scholars agree that Ahura Mazda is the Lord of Wisdom – a title or quality based on the interpretation of the Avesta term, ‘Ahu-Ra’, which means ‘existing one’ or simply ‘existence’ or (source of) ‘life.’ Since ‘Ahura’ is the very source of creation or life, this Divine aspect is referred to as Lord. The term ‘Maz-da’ means ‘all knowing’ and therefore this Divine aspect is referred to as ‘wisdom’.

A more mystical interpretation views Ahu as ‘life, spirit or energy’ and Ra as ‘give’ or ‘bestow’. Thus, Ahu-Ra is the ‘Giver of life’ or ‘Lord of Spirit/Energy.’ In like manner, Maz-Da is viewed as Maz or ‘Great’ and Da as ‘Creator.’ Thus, Mazda is the Great Creator of the Universe. According to this interpretation, Ahura is viewed as ‘Lord of Spirit or Energy’ and Mazda as ‘Lord of Matter.’ It is Energy (Ahura) and Matter (Mazda) that creates the Living Universe that we are experiencing.

Echo In Science

It is critical to keep in mind that energy (Ahura) and matter (Mazda) are two different aspects, but both are intertwined. Albert Einstein’s famous equation: E=mc2 says that energy and matter are two sides of the same coin. According to Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity,’ energy can be converted into matter and matter can be converted into energy. Energy and matter are both the same thing, but in different contexts.

Interestingly, the Persian term ‘Khu-Da’ means Khu (Self) Da (Created). In other words, Khuda or the source of Spirit/Energy and Matter is ‘Self-Created.’ Once again, science tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.

In the Pazand Dua Naam Setayeshne, we pray: “Naam Setaeshne Ahura Mazda Hamabud (who always was) Hamahast (who is) Hamabed (always will be).


The term ‘pantheis’ was developed in the eighteenth century from Greek ‘pan’ meaning ‘all’, and ‘theos’ meaning God. Pantheism may be understood either (a) positively, as the view that God is identical with the cosmos (i.e., the view that there exists nothing which is outside of God), or (b) negatively, as the rejection of any view that considers God as distinct from the universe. We are inclined to go by the former.

In the Hebrew scriptures, God says to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” God in the form of a burning bush adds: “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14). Thus, the Hasidic Hebrew understanding of this text is that God is all that is. God is all that is happening at every moment. God is I AM — not a being or even a supreme being, but ‘Being’ itself. I am the I AM, there is nothing else. – Isaiah 45:5.

Thus, God is life itself and every living thing is rooted in God. This is the essence of ‘pantheism’ or the belief that God and Life are the same things rather than separate things. In other words, ‘God is all, and all is God.’

Understanding God

The mystic saint, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, used to say: “You see many stars at night in the sky but find them not when the sun rises; can you say that there are no stars in the heaven of day? So, O man, because you behold not God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God.”

Einstein believed the problem of God was the “most difficult in the world” – a question that could not be answered “simply with yes or no”. He conceded that “the problem involved is too vast for our limited minds“.

Albert Einstein has stated on record: “I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”  Thus, Einstein believed in the ‘Divine Law or Order of this Universe’ or what Zarathushtra called the Law of Asha!

Angra And Spenta

Asha is an important attribute of Ahura Mazda representing qualities of Order and Wholesomeness. Calamity is the antithesis of Asha and believed to be the work of Angra Mainyu, the mentality that feeds disorder and destruction, mainly associated with humanity in the corporeal world. Angra Mainyu is, therefore, a state of the mind. Mainyu is variously translated as ‘Spirit’, an abstract energy, or ‘Mind’ (Sanskrit mana or mind). Angra is viewed as destructive, chaotic, disorderly, and inhibitive. One of the chief manifestations of Angra is destruction which arises from anger and anger is a state of the mind. Thus, Angra Mainyu is a destructive, chaotic, disorderly, and inhibitive state of the mind, which often manifests into anger and destruction of all that is good.

The opposite of Angra Mainyu is Spenta Mainyu – the progressively benevolent, creative mentality and architect of all that is good and represents truth, light and life. Both Angra Mainyu and Spenta Mainyu are perceived as twins in conflict. As human beings we have the freedom to choose positive or negative mentality. What we individually and collectively reap is the consequence of our choices.

In Yasna 30.3; 32.5, there are references to Aka Mainyu. Aka is Avesta for ‘evil’ or ‘retrogressive’ and is the antithesis of Spenta which is good, bounteous, and progressive. Thus, while the earlier Avesta texts refer to Angra Mainyu in the abstract, the later Pahlavi texts refer to a more personalized embodiment of evil, by the name Ahriman.

Zoroastrian Perspective

The God of Zarathushtra (Ahura Mazda) is neither an ‘Angry God’ nor a ‘Testing God’, nor a ‘Vengeful God’. Zarathustra’s God (Ahura Mazda) is the Lord of Wisdom, Bestower of Life and a ‘Loving Beloved Friend’.

In the Gatha (Divine Songs) Zarathushtra calls his God as Friya (Sanskrit Priya) – a Beloved Friend.

As intelligent human beings we have been given the freedom to choose and what we reap is fruit of our individual and collective choices – Good or Evil. We should never blame the Divine or assign whatever goes wrong in our life to Divine Anger. The sum-total of humanity’s collective thoughts, words and Actions lead to Re-Actions. It is a scientific law.

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