NO more philosophically profound, nor grander
or more graphic and suggestive type exists among the allegories of
the World-religions than that of the two Brother-Powers of the Mazdean
religion, called Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu, better known in their
modernized form of Ormuzd and Ahriman. Of these two
emanations, "Sons of Boundless Time"--Zeruana Akarana--itself
issued from the Supreme and Unknowable Principle,l the one is the embodiment of "Good Thought" ( Vohu Manô), the other of "Evil Thought" (Akô Manô). The "King of Light" or Ahura Mazda, emanates from Primordial
Light2 and forms or creates by means
of the "Word," Honover (Ahuna Vairya), a pure
and holy world. But Angra Mainyu, though born as pure as his elder brother,
becomes jealous of him, and mars everything in the Universe, as on the
earth, creating Sin and Evil wherever he goes.
The two Powers are inseparable on our present plane and at this
stage of evolution, and would be meaningless, one without the other.
They are, therefore, the two opposite poles of the One Manifested
Creative Power, whether the latter is viewed as Universal Cosmic Force
which builds worlds, or under its anthropomorphic aspect, when its vehicle
is thinking man. For Ormuzd and Ahriman are the respective representatives
of Good and Evil, of Light and Darkness, of the spiritual and the material
elements in man. and also in the Universe and everything contained in
it. Hence the world and man are called the Macrocosm and the Microcosm,
the great and the small universe, the latter being the reflection of
the former. Even exoterically, the God of Light and the God of Darkness
are, both spiritually and physically, the two ever-contending Forces,
whether in Heaven or on Earth.3 The Parsis
may have lost most of the keys that unlock the true interpretations
of their sacred and poetical allegories, but the symbolism of Ormuzd
and Ahriman is so self-evident, that even the Orientalists have ended
by interpreting it, in its broad features, almost correctly. As the
translator4 of the Vendidad writes, "Long before the Parsis
had heard of Europe and Christianity, commentators, explaining the myth
of Tahmurath, who rode for thirty years on Ahriman as a horse, interpreted
the feat of the old legendary king as the curbing of evil passions and
restraining Ahriman in the heart of man." The same writer broadly
sums up Magism in this wise:--
The world, such as it is now, is twofold, being the work of two hostile
beings, Ahura Mazda, the good principle, and Angra Mainyu the evil principle;
all that is good in the world comes from the former, all that is bad in
it comes from the latter. The history of the world is the history of their
conflict, how Angra Mainyu invaded the world of Ahura Mazda and marred
it, and how he shall be expelled from it at last. Man is active in the
conflict, his duty in it being laid before him in the law revealed by Ahura
Mazda to Zarathustra. When the appointed time is come a son of the lawgiver.
still unborn, named Saoshyant (Sosiosh) will appear, Angra
Mainyu and hell will be destroyed, men will rise from the dead, and everlasting happiness will reign over all the world.
Attention is drawn to the sentences italicised by the writer, as they
are esoteric. For the Sacred Books of the Mazdeans, as all the other sacred
Scriptures of the East (the Bible included), have to be read esoterically.
The Mazdeans had practically two religions, as almost all the other ancient
nations--one for the people and the other for the initiated priests. Esoterically,
then, the underlined sentences have a special significance, the whole meaning
of which can be obtained only by the study of occult philosophy.
Thus, Angra Mainyu, being confessedly, in one of its aspects, the embodiment
of man's lowest nature, with its fierce passions and unholy desires, "his
hell" must be sought for and located on earth. In occult
philosophy there is no other hell--nor can any state be comparable to that of a specially unhappy human wretch. No "asbestos"
soul, inextinguishable fires, or "worm that never dies," can be
worse than a life of hopeless misery upon this earth. But it must, as it
has once had a beginning, have also an end. Ahura Mazda alone,5 being the divine, and therefore the immortal and eternal
symbol of "Boundless Time," is the secure refuge, the spiritual
haven of man. And as Time is twofold, there being a measured and finite
time within the Boundless, Angra Mainyu is only a periodical and temporary
Evil. He is Heterogeneity as developed from Homogeneity. Descending along
the scale of differentiating nature on the cosmic planes, both Ahura Mazda
and Angra Mainyu become, at the appointed time, the representatives and
the dual type of man, the inner or divine INDIVIDUALITY,
and the outer personality, a compound of visible and invisible
elements and principles. As in heaven, so on earth; as above, so below.
If the divine light in man, the Higher Spirit-Soul, forms, including
itself, the seven Ameshâspends (of which Ormuzd is the seventh, or
the synthesis), Ahriman, the thinking personality, the animal soul, has in its turn its seven Archidevs opposed to the
During our life cycle, the good Yazatas, the 99,999
Fravashi (or Ferouers) and even the "Holy Seven," the Ameshâspends
themselves,6 are almost powerless against
the Host of wicked Devs--the symbols of cosmic opposing powers and of human
passions and sins.7 Fiends of evil, their
presence radiates and fills the world with moral and physical ills: with disease, poverty, envy and pride, with despair, drunkenness,
treachery, injustice, and cruelty, with anger and bloody-handed murder.
Under the advice of Ahriman, man from the first made his fellow-man to weep
and suffer. This state of things will cease only on the day when Ahura Mazda,
the sevenfold deity, assumes his seventh name8 or aspect. Then, will he send his "Holy Word" Mathra Spenta (or the "Soul of Ahura") to incarnate
in Saoshyant (Sosiosh), and the latter will conquer Angra Mainyu. Sosiosh
is the prototype of "the faithful and the true" of the Revelation, and the same as Vishnu in the Kalki-avatar. Both are expected
to appear as the Saviour of the World, seated on a white horse and followed by a host of spirits or genii, mounted likewise on milk-white
steeds.9 And then, men will arise from
the dead and immortality come.l0
Now the latter is of course purely allegorical. It stands in the occult
sense, that materialism and sin being called death, the materialist, or
the unbeliever, is "a dead man"--spiritually. Occultism has never
regarded the physical personality as the man; nor has Paul, if his
Epistle to the Romans (vi-vii), is correctly understood. Thus mankind, arrived
"at the appointed time" (the end of our present Round), at the end of the cycle of gross material flesh, will, with certain
bodily changes, have come to a clearer spiritual perception of the truth.
Redemption from flesh means a proportionate redemption from sin. Many are
those who seeing will believe, and, in consequence, rise "from the dead." By the middle of the Seventh Race, says an
occult prophecy, the struggle of the two conflicting Powers (Buddhi and Kama Manas) will have almost died out. Everything that is irredeemably
sinful and wicked, cruel and destructive, will have been eliminated, and
that which is found to survive will be swept away from being, owing, so
to speak, to a Karmic tidal-wave in the shape of scavenger-plagues, geological
convulsions and other means of destruction. The Fifth Round will bring forth a higher kind of Humanity; and, as intelligent Nature always
proceeds Gradually, the last Race of this Round must necessarily develop
the needed materials thereof. Meanwhile, we are still in the Fifth Race
of the Fourth Round only, and in the Kaliyuga, into the bargain. The deadly
strife between spirit and matter, between Light and Goodness and Darkness
and Evil, began on our globe with the first appearance of contrasts and
opposites in vegetable and animal nature, and continued more fiercely than
ever after man had become the selfish and personal being he now is.
Nor is there any chance of its coming to an end before falsehood is replaced
by truth, selfishness by altruism, and supreme justice reigns in the heart
of man. Till then, the noisy battle will rage unabated. It is selfishness,
especially; the love of Self above all things in heaven and earth,
helped by human vanity, which is the begetter of the seven mortal sins.
No; Ashmogh, the cruel "biped serpent," is not so easily reduced.
Before the poor creature now in the clutches of Darkness is liberated through
Light, it has to know itself. Man, following the Delphic injunction, has
to become acquainted with, and gain the mastery over, every nook and corner
of his heterogeneous nature, before he can learn to discriminate between HIMSELF and his personality. To accomplish
this difficult task, two conditions are absolutely requisite: one must have
thoroughly realised in practice the noble Zoroastrian precept: "Good
thoughts, good words, good deeds," and must have impressed them indelibly
on his soul and heart, not merely as a lip-utterance and form-observance.
Above all, one has to crush personal vanity beyond resurrection.
Here is a suggestive fable and a charming allegory from the old Zoroastrian
works. From the first incipient stage of Angra Mainyu's power, he and his
wicked army of fiends opposed the army of Light in everything it did. The
demons of lust and pride, of corruption and impiety, systematically destroyed
the work of the Holy Ones. It is they who made beautiful blossoms poisonous;
graceful snakes, deadly; bright fires, the symbol of deity, full of stench
and smoke; and who introduced death into the world. To light, purity, truth,
goodness and knowledge, they opposed darkness, filth, falsehood, cruelty
and ignorance. As a contrast to the useful and clean animals created by
Ahura Mazda, Angra Mainyu created wild beasts and bloodthirsty fowls of
the air. He also added insult to injury and deprecated and laughed at the
peaceful and inoffensive creations of his elder brother. "It is thine
envy," said the holy Yazatas one day to the unholy fiend, the evil-hearted,
"Thou art incapable of producing a beautiful and harmless being, O
cruel Angra Mainyu" . . .
The arch-fiend laughed and said that he could. Forthwith he created the
loveliest bird the world had ever seen. It was a majestic peacock, the emblem
of vanity and selfishness, which is self-adulation in deeds.
"Let it be the King of Birds," quoth the Dark One, "and
let man worship him and act after his fashion."
From that day "Melek Taus" (the Angel
Peacock) became the special creation of Angra Mainyu, and the messenger
through which the arch-fiend is invoked by somel1 and propitiated by all men.
How often does one see strong-hearted men and determined women moved
by a strong aspiration towards an ideal they know to be the true one, battling
successfully, to all appearance, with Ahriman and conquering him. Their
external Selves have been the battle-ground of a most terrible, deadly
strife between the two opposing Principles; but they have stood firmly--and
won. The dark enemy seems conquered; it is crushed in fact, so far as the
animal instincts are concerned. Personal selfishness, that greed for self,
and self only, the begetter of most of the evils--has vanished; and every
lower instinct, melting like soiled icicles under the beneficient ray of
Ahura Mazda, the radiant EGO-SUN,
has disappeared, making room for better and holier aspirations. Yet, there
lurks in them their old and but partially destroyed vanity, that spark of
personal pride which is the last to die in man. Dormant it is, latent and
invisible to all, including their own consciousness; but there it is still.
Let it awake but for an instant, and the seemingly crushed-out personality
comes back to life at the sound of its voice, arising from its grave like
an unclean ghoul at the command of the midnight incantator. Five hours--nay,
five minutes even--of life under its fatal sway, may destroy the work of
years of self-control and training, and of laborious work in the service
of Ahura Mazda, to open wide the door anew to Angra Mainyu. Such is the
result of the silent and unspoken but ever-present worship of the
only beautiful creation of the Spirit of Selfishness and Darkness.
Look around you and judge of the deadly havoc made by this last and most
cunning of Ahriman's productions, notwithstanding its external beauty and
harmlessness. Century after century, year after year, all is changing; everything
is progressing in this world; one thing only changeth not--human nature. Man accumulates knowledge, invents religions and philosophies, but himself
remains still the same. In his ceaseless chase after wealth and honours
and the will o' the wisps of novelty, enjoyment and ambition, he is ever
moved by one chief motor--vain selfishness. In these days of so-called progress
and civilization, when the light of knowledge claims to have replaced
almost everywhere the darkness of ignorance, how many more volunteers
do we see added to the army of Ahura Mazda, the Principle of Good and Divine
Light? Alas, the recruits of Angra Mainyu, the Mazdean Satan, outnumber
these, daily more and more. They have overrun the world, these worshippers
of Melek Taus, and the more they are enlightened the easier they succumb.
This is only natural. Like Time, both the boundless and the
finite, Light is also twofold; the divine and the eternal, and the
artificial light, which paradoxically but correctly defined,
is the darkness of Ahriman. Behold on what objects the best
energies of knowledge, the strongest human activity, and the inventive powers
of man are wasted at the present hour: on the creation) amelioration and
perfection of war-engines of destruction, on guns and smokeless powders,
and weapons for the mutual murder and decimation of men. Great Christian
nations seek to outvie each other in the discovery of better means for destroying
human life, and for the subjecting by the strongest and the craftiest of
the weakest and the simplest, for no better reason than to feed their peacock-vanity
and self-adulation; and Christian men eagerly follow the good example. Whereon
is spent the enormous wealth accumulated through private enterprize by the
more enlightened through the ruin of the less intelligent? Is it to relieve
human suffering in every form, that riches are so greedily pursued? Not
at all. For now, just as 1.900 years ago, while the beggar Lazarus is glad
to feed on the crumbs that fall from the rich man's table, no means are
neglected by Dives to hedge himself off from the poor. The minority that
gives and takes care that its left hand remains ignorant of what its right
hand bestows, is quite insignificant when compared with the enormous majority
who are lavish in their charity--only because they are eager to see their
names heralded by the press to the world.
Great is the power of Ahriman! Time rolls on, leaving with every day
the ages of ignorance and superstition further behind, but bringing us in
their stead only centuries of ever-increasing selfishness and pride. Mankind
grows and multiplies, waxes in strength and (book-)wisdom; it claims to
have penetrated into the deepest mysteries of physical nature; it builds
railroads and honeycombs the globe with tunnels; it erects gigantic towers
and bridges, minimizes distances, unites the oceans and divides whole continents.
Cables and telephones, canals and railways more and more with every hour
unite mankind into one "happy" family, but only to furnish the
selfish and the wily with every means of stealing a better march on the
less selfish and improvident. Truly, the "upper ten" of science
and wealth have subjected to their sweet will and pleasure, the Air and
the Earth, the Ocean and the Fire. This, our age, is one of progress, indeed,
an era of the most triumphant display of human genius. But what good has
all this great civilization and progress done to the millions in the European
slums, to the armies of the "great unwashed"? Have any of these
displays of genius added one comfort more to the lives of the poor and the
needy? Is it not true to say that distress and starvation are a hundred
times greater now than they were in the days of the Druids or of Zoroaster?
And is it to help the hungry multitudes that all this is invented, or again,
only to sweep off the couch of the rich the last-forgotten rose-leaves that
may uncomfortably tickle their well-fed bodies? Do electric wonders give
one additional crust of bread to the starving? Do the towers and the bridges,
and the forests of factories and manufactures, bring any mortal good to
the sons of men, save giving an additional opportunity to the wealthy to
vampirize or "sweat" their poorer brother? When, I ask again,
at what time of the history of mankind, during its darkest days of ignorance,
when was there known such ghastly starvation as we see now? When has the
poor man wept and suffered, as he weeps and suffers in the present day--say,
in London, where for every club-visitor who dines and wines himself daily,
at a price that would feed twenty-five families for a whole day, one may
count hundreds and thousands of starving wretches. Under the very windows
of the fashionable City restaurants, radiant with warmth and electric lights,
old trembling women and little children may be seen daily, shivering and
fastening their hungry eyes on the food they smell each time the entrance
door is opened. Then they "move on"--by order, to disappear in
the dark gloom, to starve and shiver and finally to die in the frozen mud
of some gutter. . . .
The "pagan" Parsis know not, nor would their community tolerate,
any beggars in its midst, least of all--STARVATION!!
Selfishness is the chief prompter of our age; Chacun pour soi, Dieu pour tout le monde, its watchword. Where then is the truth,
and what practical good has done that light brought to mankind by the "Light
of the World," as claimed by every Christian? Of the "Lights of
Asia" Europe speaks with scorn, nor would it recognise in Ahura Mazda
a divine light. And yet even a minor light (if such) when
practically applied for the good of suffering mankind, is a thousand times
more beneficent than even infinite Light, when confined to the realm of
abstract theories. In our days the latter Light has only succeeded in raising
the pride of Christian nations to its acme, in developing their self-adulation,
and fostering hard-heartedness under the name of all-binding law. The "personality"
of both nation and individual has thrown deep roots into the soil of selfish
motives; and of all the flowers of modern culture those that blossom the
most luxuriously are the flowers of polite Falsehood, Vanity, and Self-exaltation.
Few are those who would confess or even deign to see, that beneath the
brilliant surface of our civilization and culture lurks, refusing to be
dislodged, all the inner filth of the evils created by Ahriman; and indeed,
the truest symbol, the very picture of that civilization is the last creation
of the Arch-fiend--the beautiful Peacock. Truly saith Theosophy unto you--it is the Devil's Own.
Lucifer, March, 1891
1 Though this deity is the
"First-born," yet metaphysically and logically Ormuzd comes in
order as a fourth emanation (compare with Parabrahm-Mulaprakriti and
the three Logoi, in the Secret Doctrine). He
is the Deity of the manifested plane. In the esoteric interpretation of
the Avestian sacred allegories, AHURA or ASURA is a generic name for the sevenfold Deity, the Ruler of the Seven
Worlds; and Hvaniratha (our earth) is the fourth, in plane and number.
We have to distinguish between such names as Ahura Mazdâo, Varana, the "Supreme" deity and the synthesis of the Ameshâspends, etc. The real order would be: the Supreme
or the One Light, called the Eternal; then Zeruana Akarana (compare
Vishnu in his abstract sense as the Boundless pervading All and Kâla, Time), the Fravashi or the Ferouer of Ormuzd (that eternal
Double or Image which precedes and survives every god, man and animal),
and finally Ahura Mazda Himself.
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2 Zeruana Akarana means, at the
same time, Infinite Light, Boundless Time, Infinite Space and Fate (Karma). See Vendidad, Farg. xix. 9.
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3 The Parsis, the last relic of the ancient
Magi, or Fire-worshippers of the noble Zoroastrian system, do not degrade
their Deity by making him the creator of the evil spirits as well as of
the pure angels. They do not believe in Satan or the Devil, and therefore,
their religious system cannot in truth be termed dualistic. A good proof of this was afforded about half a century ago, at Bombay,
when the Rev. Dr. Wilson, the Orientalist, debated the subject with the
Parsi high-priests, the Dasturs. The latter very philosophically
denied his imputation, and demonstrated to him that far from accepting the
texts of their Sacred Books literally, they regarded them as allegorical
as far as Ahriman was concerned. For them he is a symbolical representation
of the disturbing elements in Kosmos and of the evil passions and animal
instincts in man (Vendidad).
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4 Vendidad, trans. by J.
Darmsteter, "Introductlon" p. lvi.
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5 Ahura Mazda stands here no longer as
the supreme One God of eternal Good and Light but as its own
Ray, the divine EGO which informs man--under whatever
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6 The gods of light, the "immortal
seven," of whom Ahura Mazda is the seventh. They are deified abstractions.
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7 Or devils.
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8 In verse 16th of Yast XIX, we
read: "I invoke the glory of the Ameshâspends, who all seven.
have one and the same thinking, one and the same speaking, one and the same
doing, one and the same lord, Ahura Mazda." As an occult teaching says:
During each of the seven periods (Races) the chief ruling Light is given a new name; i.e., one of the seven hidden names,
the initials of which compose the mystery name of the Septenary Host,
viewed as one.
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9 Nork ii. 176. Compare Rev.
xix,, 11-14, "I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat upon him . . . and the armies followed him upon white
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10 Yast XIX. 89 et seq.
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11 The Yezidis, or "Devil
Worshippers," some of whom inhabit the plains of ancient Babylonia,
to this day worship Melek Taus, the peacock, as the messenger of Satan
and the mediator between the Arch-fiend and men.
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