Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 2 [lead-zwing]
Baldwin, James Mark
a primaeval conflict, when twin spirits strove 
for the better and the worse in thought, 
word, and deed ( Yasna, xxx. 3). As they 
met, they produced life and unlife1, deter¬ 
mining how at last there should be for the 
wicked the worst state, and for the righteous 
‘ the best mind.’ Then the wicked one chose 
the evil, but the most bountiful Spirit chose 
Asha and 4 righteousness.’ The world is thus 
the scene of continuous struggle between the 
most holy spirit (Mainyu Spenista) or Ahura 
and the evil spirit (Anra Mainyu). As the 
essential being of Ahura is truth, symbolized 
by light, so his counterpart is pre-eminently 
‘ the lie ’ (druj), and his kingdom is darkness. 
In the Gäthäs this is altogether conceived in 
the moral and spiritual realm. Night, which 
discloses the stars, is a part of the world’s 
order ; and accordingly the prophet, preparing 
to sing Ahura’s praise, asks : ‘ Who as a skilful 
artisan hath made the lights and the dark¬ 
ness ? Who made sleep and wakefulness 1 
Who spread the auroras, noontide and mid¬ 
night, monitors to discerning men, duty’s 
true guides ? ’ ( Yasna, xliv. 5). It was even 
Ahura who decreed the penalties on the 
wicked, as the discerning arbiter who re¬ 
wards and punishes hereafter. But after 
a time the moral struggle was found to be 
reflected in the universe. Disease and death, 
cold, drought, and hunger, and physical suffer¬ 
ing of all sorts, are the creation of Afira 
Mainyu, or are produced by the daevas, over 
whom he rules. The Bundahish, accordingly, 
following earlier authority (cp. Yasht, xiii. 
77), describes the mode in which the evil 
spirit endeavours to neutralize Ahura’s work. 
The dualism thus implied, however, is of a 
very qualified kind. Anra Mainyu (who is 
never accounted for) is neither omniscient 
nor almighty. He does not know of Ahura’s 
existence till he arises from the abyss and 
sees the light. And his doom is fixed; at 
the resurrection his creatures will perish, and 
he himself also will be destroyed. Philosophy 
has not been altogether content with these 
uncertainties, and has attempted in some way 
to unify the opposing powers. Traces of two 
modes may here be mentioned. Erroneous 
exegesis of Vend., xix. 9, suggested the view 
that both Ahura and Anra Mainyu (Ahriman) 
were the joint offspring of a higher being, 
Zarvan Akarana, ‘boundless time.’ Others, 
like the Gayomarthians, maintained that 
Ahriman was in some sense a product of 
Ahura ; and his origin was ascribed to the 
suspicion which sprang up in Ahura’s mind, 
4 Perhaps an antagonist may arise to oppose 
me’ (Dabistan, trans. Troyer, i. 356). 
The conflict between the two powers is not 
everlasting. It was a fundamental postulate 
of religion that the good must triumph. 
This is embodied in the Zoroastrian eschato¬ 
logy, which provides both for the individual 
and for the world. For the human being 
(see two lists of his immaterial faculties, 
Yasht, xiii. 74 and 149) a judgment is pro¬ 
vided immediately after death, with an 
appropriate allotment to the heavens or hells 
of good and evil thought, word, and deed. 
The duration of these awards was limited, 
but varying gradations of intensity secured 
a complete moral equivalent for the guilt or 
merit of the past. A regular chronology was 
gradually worked out, according to which the 
world would come to an end after an existence 
of 12,000 years. The great consummation, 
the frashokereti (‘ forwards-making,’ the re¬ 
novation which would make the world go 
forwards), would begin. Inaugurated by a 
general resurrection, the hour of victory over 
the druj would arrive. The mountains would 
melt, and the banders set by the hills would 
disappear. A purified humanity would be¬ 
come immortal ; the evil spirit would be con¬ 
quered and destroyed ; the last recesses in 
which he had taken refuge would be con¬ 
sumed, and hell would be brought back for 
the enlargement (or prosperity) of the world. 
By this means the choice offered by the 
Supreme "Wisdom to the guardian spirits of 
men at the outset was justified. "When he 
was about to present them to the world he 
inquired whether they would contend with 
the Lie-power, knowing that it would perish 
and they would be given back to the world 
immortal, or whether they would be protected 
against it from the outset. And they chose, 
as he chose for them, to be made capable 
of warfare, to strive for everlasting life 
{Bund., ii. 10-1). 
Literature : older works by Hyde (1700), 
Anquetil du Perron (1771), Kleukejr 
(1776), Rhode (1820), &c. Avesta, text 
ed. by Geldner (1885-96); Bundahish, 
by Justi (1868); Burnouf, Commentaire 
sur le Yaçna (1833). Trans. of the Avesta by 
Spiegel (1852-63), with commentary (1865- 
9) ; by Darmesteter and Mills, S. B. E., 
v, xxiii, xxxi; by Darmesteter, Ann. du 
Musée Guimet, xxi, xxii, xxiv (1892-3); 
1 Variously interpreted as life and death, reality 
(i. e. all good and perfect things) and unreality (the 
delusive and vain), &c.


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