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31Ethical dualism in the Gathas and cosmic dualism in the later Avesta
 

European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies

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Ethical dualism in the Gathas and cosmic dualism in the later Avesta

By Ali A. Jafarey
* this is a short summary of the main article
The Gathas teach a Doctrine of unique monotheism that is not found in any religion -- monotheism of Mazda Ahura, the Super Intellect Essence, that creates, maintains and promotes the COSMOS, monotheism that knows NO pantheon of gods, goddesses, archangels, angels, and spirits to assist and run errands for their Godhead, who cannot do it all alone.

I have made it clear that the Gathic dualism of "Right and Wrong or Good and Evil" is purely ethical and concerns only human mentality. It is not "cosmic."This is not case with the Later Avestan Literature. There, as we will observe, the dualism is the well defined cosmic. It consists of a God of Good and his pantheon of male and female deities versus God of Evil and his host of male and female demons.  

Anghra Mainyu has been used for at least 65 times in the extant Later Avesta. The Vendidad has it for 33 times, the Yashts have it for 26 times, the Yasna for 4 times, and the Hadokht Nask mentions it twice. The Vispered does not mention it and so does the Khordeh Avesta in its main prayers.                                                                                  

A point may be made clear that while the Gathic texts are direct texts from their composers, Zarathushtra and companions; most of the texts in the Later Avesta, especially the Yashts and the Vendidad, are narrations by anonymous third persons. Ahura Mazda, God of Good and His Adversary Anghra Mainyu, the Devil of Evil, from the Later Avesta. There is no talk of Spenta Mainyu versus Anghra Mainyu, the so-called "Good and Evil SPIRITS." It is definitely the Divine Dualism one can only see in the Later Avesta and its succeeding scriptures in Pahlavi and Persian.
I repeat: The Gathas teach a Doctrine of unique monotheism that is not found in any religion -- monotheism of Mazda Ahura, the Super Intellect Essence that creates, maintains and promotes the COSMOS, monotheism that knows NO pantheon of gods, goddesses, archangels, angels, and spirits to assist and run errands for their Godhead. Therefore,the Gathic dualism of "Right and Wrong or Good and Evil" is purely ethical and concerns only human mentality that translates it into Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds, or wrong thoughts, wrong words and wrong deeds. It is not "cosmic."
19 Ardibehesht 3741 ZRE = 9 May 2003 CE.

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