What is the concept of Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrian religion?

1. Zoroastrian religion has a very positive and benign concept of the Almighty supreme Power, that is Ahura Mazda, who is kind, compassionate, merciful, loving, understanding and tolerant.

2. We need to communicate with him to express our gratitude, seek forgiveness and ask for His grace. He helps us in many ways and can be considered our father, brother, friend and guide.

3. Though He is all-knowing and all powerful, he in not vengeful, cruel, vindictive or punishing. No harm or destruction comes from Him as He embodies all goodness.

4. When we take the first step to reach out to God, He will take hundreds of steps to come to us.

5. To make Ahura Mazda our friend, we should regularly communicate with Him mentally, especially through our sincere prayers, done with devotion, surrender and unflinching faith.

6. When something bad comes on us, it is on account of our own actions and should not be considered as God’s punishment.  It is necessary that during difficult times, one should not lose faith in Him, hold on to Him and seek His help to come out of the difficult situation.

How can we visualize Ahura Mazda?

1. Ahura Mazda, the supreme God, is described in Zoroastrian  texts as shapeless, formless and infinite. He is referred to as Minoān mino, that is, “spirit among the spirits.”

2. In order to visualize Ahura Mazda, we have to look for words which are most frequently used to describe Him. These words are raevant/rayomand and khvarenanghant/khorehmand which mean “full of light” and “full of energy.” Thus we have to visualize Ahura Mazda as a radiant being, brimming with divine energy who is present everywhere.

3. In other words, if we want to visualize Ahura Mazda, we have to visualise Him as light and energy. The best embodiments of light and energy on the earth are the sun and the fire. All other radiant bodies like the moon are also in a smaller way embodiments of these two things.

What are the names of God / AhuraMazda? Why should we recite them?

1. Every religion believes in a Supreme creative power, an Uncreated Universal Force or a Primal Energy as the original source of everything. Though each religion gives it a different name, the power behind all these names is the same. Hindus call Him Ishwar (Lord of Will) or Bhagwan (Fortune/prosperity giver), Muslims call Him Allah (the sole God), Jews call Him Jehovah (Lord), Sikhs call Him Wāhe Guru (Wonderful teacher), and Christians call Him God (fit to be invoked). However, one should bear in mind that the understanding of this power differs from religion to religion.

2. Zoroastrians refer to this Supreme power as Ahura Mazda, Hormazd or Ohrmazd which means “the Wise Lord.” Other words used for God are Dādār/Dādārji (creator), Yazad (worthy of veneration), Yazdān (foremost in veneration), Khudā/ Khudāiji (self-created), and Parvardegār (nourisher).

3. Over and above the main name of God, there are several other secondary names of God too.

4. The main names of God in different religions are based on the perception of God in their religion. Some religions consider God as all good, some consider destruction as a power of God. Some consider God to be strict, chastising and punishing, and some consider Him kind and merciful. Some consider him as forgiver of mistakes and some consider him as a deliverer of justice, giver of just rewards and deliverer of retributions. Moreover, different religions perceive God either as personal or impersonal, anthropomorphic or non-anthropomorphic, immanent or transcendent.

4. All religions consider it essential to know God. This is very difficult, as He cannot be seen, since He has no form, shape or colour. One can only know Him through His creations and His work, and hence the best way to know God is to understand His names, as God’s names are based on His attributes, qualities and powers.

5. Zoroastrians can understand Ahura Mazda through His names which occur in the prayers 101 names of God, Hormazd Yasht and Doa Nām Setāyashne. Some of the names of Ahura Mazda in the 101 names, describe Him as: Worthy of veneration, All Powerful, All-knowing, Without a beginning, Without an end, The cause of all causes, Judge, Creator and Redeemer.

6. Each of the 101 names of Ahura Mazda is very potent and powerful. They have an effect of its own. That is why there is a tradition of chanting individual names from amongst the 101 names, in a specific way, for particular problems or difficulties.

7. The Hormazd Yasht contains almost 70 names of Ahura Mazda.  Among them, the first 20 are mentioned numerically and are most effective for protection and defense. Some of these names describe God as: Self-existent, The Protector, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prudent, Wise, Prosperity-giver, Benevolent, Reckoner and Health-giver.

8. It is a Zoroastrian tradition to begin prayers or personal work by remembering Ahura Mazda and taking His name. That is why Zoroastrian prayers begin with the words Khshnaothra ahurahe mazdāo “for the happiness of Ahura Mazda” Ba nāme yazad “in the name of Yazad (a name of God).”

9. Zoroastrians have the tradition of nām azbāitish and Hindus of nām smaran. Both these words mean invoking or remembering God by name. In Hormazd Yasht itself it is mentioned that “If you wish to destroy the malicious acts of the demons and of wicked men….then you should recite these names all days and nights.”

10. It is well known that Mahatma Gandhi continuously used to chant the name of Rām, and that is why this name was on his lips when he breathed his last. In Islam, the repeated reciting of one or more names of Allah is referred to as Zikar.

11. Repeated chanting of one or multiple names of God neutralizes negative emotions by diverting the mind from negative thoughts. It can also be considered as a form of meditation.

Why should we consider Ahura Mazda as our friend?

1. Among all the relationships in our life, the friendship with God, Ahura Mazda, is perhaps the best, most rewarding and most reliable of all relationships.

2. We need to establish a one to one friendship with Ahura Mazda which has to be frank, open and honest. For such a friendship, we need to infinitely trust Ahura Mazda and His wisdom, confide in Him and depend on Him for help.

3. The reassuring sentiments of safety, security and protection always stays with us, if we consider Ahura Mazda as our friend.

4. If we always hold the hand of Ahura Mazda in good as well as adverse conditions, we will never be disappointed.

5. Beyond being a friend, Ahura Mazda can also be considered our guide, brother and father.

6. The thought that Ahura Mazda loves us, knows what is best for us and hence always works in our interest, should be forever etched in our mind.

7. After our sincere, honest and best efforts whatever happens to us is on account of God’s will and His love for us. n