Ahura Mazda

Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda. C.C. jcbmac @ Flickr.com

Ahura Mazda, the Iranian sky god, the Wise Lord or Lord Wisdom, and god of order, depicted as a bearded man on a winged disk, was the principal god of the ancient Zoroastrians. He was one of the Indo-Iranian spiritual lords who also included Mithra and Varuna.

Background

Achaemenid Persians worshiped him as Ahuramazda, giver of kingship. Later dynasties worshiped him as a perfect and omniscient spirit.

He came to be depicted in human form. In relief sculptures, you will see an image of him handing a large ring, a symbol of divinely-granted power, to the Persian king.

Ahura Mazda's chief rival is Angra Mainyu (Ahrimen), creator of evil. Daevas are other followers of evil.

A Good God

Ahura Mazda is the creator of sky, water, earth, plants, animals, and fire. He upholds asa (rightness, truth). Persian Kings believed Ahura Mazda to be their special protector and equated him with Zeus. He was also equated with the gods Yahweh and Bel.

According to Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster received fire and laws from Ahura Mazda. In the Avesta (Zoroastrian scripture), Zoroaster is a manthran, a possessor of sacred formulas based upon asa (or asha, arta), which is opposed to druj (lie, deceit). It is occasionally doubted whether Zoroaster was a historical figure. More often debate centers on exactly when he lived.