The answer to our predicament is in the last few paragraphs here but will make sense only if we understand what our predicament really is.
The route from seed to ripe vegetable is too slow to watch in real time but quite fast in relative terms, for example compared to our own growth. There are innumerable chemical processes taking place, as there are within our own bodies but one does not have to be a scientist to appreciate them. What one needs however is a certain amount of knowledge to help them – ensure the seed gets warmth, water, soil and some protection from predators and the elements perhaps. It might happen that we have a seed but we do not know what it will become, or perhaps the seed of some rare orchid that only flowers occasionally and requires a very special environment to grow. But let us assume that our greenhouse will enable most seeds to germinate and grow.
If we apply this to history we can see that certain events grew from tiny seeds and were able to happen because they had the right circumstances. So for example someone had the thought implanted in them to become a doctor. This person studied, got to medical school, passed the exams and became a doctor. Perhaps a more unusual person, inspired by the circumstances of his birth, became Alexander the Great, schooled by no less a figure than Aristotle – a short lived plant this Alexander one who died aged 33.
If you can follow the analogy we can see all events in our history in such a light, and the very many that never happened for one reason or another. In agriculture we have become very clever. A field of wheat can expect at least 90% of the seeds planted to become healthy adult plants. This would not be possible in the wild but farmers and scientists have developed seeds and ways to achieve this. As far as humans are concerned child mortality rates in the developed nations are quite low. In Britain, which is far from the best, around 5 children per thousand will die under 5, so that means something like 99.5% survive. It was more like 50% in the Middle Ages.
As far as ‘events’ go these days seeds are planted and carefully nurtured to ensure that they do take place while at the same time other events are carefully prevented. We might therefore expect a certain predictability here. But for competition. There are few places at medical schools compared to the numbers who aspire to become doctors and so only those with A* exam results can get in. Very few of us will ever become super rich or win the lottery and most of the rich will have started out in life in affluent families, nurtured if you like. So will some leaders and most monarchs, they are often born into dynasties.
When the competition reduces opportunity to the 50% level events become very unpredictable. The EU referendum in Britain for example had a surprising result as did the US presidential election. Both had two sides hovering around 50%, both have left the losing parties embittered and feeling robbed. As I write this the word COMPETITION suddenly appeared on my TV screen in large letters. It is always worth investigating such coincidences and this turns out to be a competition organised for viewers to win a holiday. They have to answer a question about a Disney Classic (the answer is easily found on the internet) and then pay between £1.50 and £3 to call in with the answer. I daresay we have all done this at some time, or bought a lottery ticket. The answer is predictable in most cases – about .0000001% chance of winning and 99.9999999% probability of not winning. It certainly tells us something.
These might I point out are the odds against us achieving enlightenment in our lives and the way the world works is why so few enlightenment seeds ever germinate. But some environments can nurture these seeds. If for example you start smoking tobacco after you leave school as I did then your chances of dying with cancer are very high. If you never take up this habit you are far more likely to live longer and die from something else. In enlightenment terms the equivalent to smoking is becoming rich. It closes all the doors unless you devote your time to giving it all away as fast as it accumulates, to those who really need it. But quite why we have to be poor or ascetics is difficult to see at the age we must make this decision. This is why children are whisked off to monasteries in Tibet to keep them in the greenhouses that should nurture the enlightenment seed. Unfortunately the seeds do not respond to that. The true enlightenment seed can only germinate and grow in difficult circumstances and they grow alone, not in crops.
The word ‘ascetic’ is used for a wide variation of practices. It can be applied to near starvation or fakir type affliction of the body, even the flagellation of Christians. It may just refer to a monastic existence or the life of the many hermits in our history who lived in the most inaccessible places, the desert in Egypt or forest in India to avoid mixing with humanity. It has been applied to celibacy too and to begging for one‘s meals. Buddha it is claimed practised a very extreme form of asceticism before he gained his enlightenment only to then teach that it was unnecessary and a middle way preferable. I use the term to mean having no more than one needs and living on a small income, earned if possible from a life dedicated to caring for others and nature. It may not be possible to do all of this, any job will do that is not injuring others, but it is always possible to avoid its extreme opposite – a hedonistic and selfish lifestyle. However we may note that many enlightened ones came from that kind of life and certainly Buddha did. He was a prince with a small family and lived like one until he walked away from it. Knowing something may well come from living it. I once had a guru who was not a very good man or guru but he used to say ‘young men think old men are foolish but old men know young men are foolish’. That was to put youngsters like me in their place but it has a certain truth to it.
The premise for living an ascetic or simple life is to make good karma and doing that has opened many eyes in our species.
It is perfectly possible for most humans to live such lives and if they did the planet would be a safe place for nature and its many species. We could concentrate on learning the important things in life and avoid the many traps which mean that 99.99999% of us will not only live in ignorance but will die in it and suffer the awful consequences of that. The reason that happens is perhaps because we are governed by the very rich and not by the enlightened. They dread ascetics having any say in how the world is run and I suppose the thought of asceticism for all is akin to their view of hell. Sadly that is how things will remain and they will only realise how wrong they are after their deaths when they testify against themselves. Of course in our world many are forced into ascetic lives by poverty and in spite of the many traps as the poor fight for survival, the odds of a good afterlife are dramatically increased.
If you can see where you are going you will not drive over a cliff, let alone take your entire family or country or world with you. And if you know something of vital importance is there, buried 32 feet down, you will not stop digging at 31 feet. These are two lessons for enlightenment and distinguishing the real thing, although it may take a lifetime to learn.
We assume he was a historical character as he left an important religion behind although he would not be the only non historical person to do that. They cannot agree when he may have lived but it was some time between 1500BC when Moses is supposed to have lived and 500BC when Buddha, Confucius and LaoTse held sway. The man is called Zoroaster but this is not about him, rather about something he taught.
Zoroaster mentioned an ‘uncreated’ spirit called Ahura Mazda. They don’t know what he meant by that but Ahura Mazda was in fact the spirit of someone who had not been born, was yet to be born, and about whom there has been much speculation in the spiritual world. Most, in fact almost all spirits derive from someone who has already lived and earned merit but some in the past have existed in spiritual form before their physical birth. The story told in the Book of Enoch (written about 300BC) about the mysterious Binadham (literally ‘Son of man) is a good example of an uncreated spirit and was very influential on early Christianity, even included in the bible texts until removed around 300AD.
What we are told about Ahura Mazda explains what is happening in our world now. I have written a little here on the two great universal laws of Karma and Dharma, which might be termed Justice and Truth. The Truth is called Asha by the Ancient Persians who followed Zoroaster. Interestingly it was represented by fire in the physical world. It was, and still is opposed by Lies. I will copy some Wikipedia article which tell more:
“Asha (/’ɑːʃə/; aša) is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.” The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”
The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. For other connotations, see meaning below.
In our world we are seeing a huge amount of propaganda and are being told many lies. For example on just one issue – climate change – there is a chasm of opinion and even science. Both sides cannot be right. Recently our politicians have latched on to this and some now use the words ‘propaganda’ and ‘fake news’ about articles that they dislike or disagree with. It is very complex and who knows what is true and what is not, but then one might ask who ever knew? These matters may be political or religious essentials but if we look at the Persian view we begin to see the seeds of the mighty battle being waged on earth between Asha and Druj. Of course no one can avoid paying their karmic bill but it usually happens too late. If your eyes are closed you will almost certainly drive over the cliff. Imagine being at war with the signpost warning of this.
They mention the Amesha Spenta above and we need to look there next:
What they mean are the spirits of those who died with their eyes open who we call saints (not the saints created by a political church obviously). It gets more complicated but what I am looking for is the war between the spirits and the liars and how it is predicted to end. The six divine sparks mentioned below are really concepts taught to Zoroaster by the then uncreated spirit Ahura Mazda who appeared to him
“ Significantly more common than the non-specific meaning of Amesha Spenta is a restrictive use of the term to refer to the great six “divine sparks” of Ahura Mazda. In Zoroastrian tradition, these are the first six emanations of the noncreated Creator, through whom all subsequent creation was accomplished. This fundamental doctrine is only alluded to in the Avesta, but is systematically described in later middle Persian language texts, in particular in the Bundahishn (3.12), an 11th or 12th century work that recounts the Zoroastrian view of creation.
The expression “Amesha Spenta” does not occur in the Gathas, but “it was probably coined by Zoroaster himself. Spenta is a characteristic word of his revelation, meaning ‘furthering, strengthening, bounteous, holy’.” The oldest attested use of the term is in Yasna 39.3, which is part of the Yasna Haptanghaiti and in which the two elements of the name occur in reverse order, that is, as Spenta Amesha. Like all other verses of the Yasna Haptanghaiti, Yasna 39.3 is also in Gathic Avestan and is approximately as old as the hymns attributed to Zoroaster himself.
The “divine sparks” that appear in the Gathic Yasna 47.1 are:
[Vohu] Manah, approximately meaning “[Good] Purpose”
Aša [Vahišta], “[Best] Truth/Righteousness”
Xšaθra [Vairya], “[Desirable] Dominion”
[Spənta] Armaiti, “[Holy] Devotion”
The attributes vohu “good”, vahišta “best”, vairya “desirable” and spenta “holy” are not always present in the oldest texts. If they appear at all, they do not necessarily appear immediately adjacent to the noun. But in later tradition, these adjectives are integral to the names themselves.
While Vohu Manah, Aša Vahišta, and Xšaθra Vairya are consistently of neuter gender in Avestan grammar; in tradition they are considered masculine. Armaiti, Haurvatāt, and Amərətāt are invariably feminine.
In the Gathas, each Amesha Spenta represents a good moral quality that mortals should strive to obtain. Thus, the doctrine of the great six is that through good thoughts, words, and deeds, each individual should endeavor to assimilate the qualities of an Amesha Spenta into oneself.
Each of the six has an antithetical counterpart, and four of the six are already assigned one in the Gathas: aša/arta- is opposed to the druj-, vohu-manah is opposed to aka-manah-, xšaθra- to dušae-xšaθra-, and armaiti- to taraemaiti-. Not evident in the Gathas and first appearing in the Younger Avesta (e.g. Yasht 19.96) are the oppositions of haurvatāt- “wholeness” to taršna- “thirst”, and amərətāt- “life” to šud- “hunger.” These latter assignments reflect Haurvatat’s identification with water and Ameretat’s identification with plants.
In the Gathas, aša/arta is the most evident of the six, and also the most commonly associated with wisdom (mazda-). In the 238 verses of these hymns, aša-/arta- appears 157 times. Of the other concepts, only vohumanah- appears nearly as often (136 occurrences). In comparison, the remaining four of the great sextet appear only 121 times altogether: xšaθra-: 56 times; armaiti-: 40; amərətāt-: 14; haurvatāt-: 11 times.
In the context of Zoroastrian view of creation, the group of the Amesha Spenta is extended to include Ahura Mazda, together with (or represented by) Spenta Mainyu. However, in most scholastic texts, an unqualified referral to the “Amesha Spenta” is usually understood to include only great six. In Yasna 44.7, 31.3, and 51.7, Ahura Mazda’s Spenta Mainyu is the instrument or “active principle” of the act of creation. It is also through this “Bounteous Force”, “Creative Emanation”, or “Holy Spirit” that Ahura Mazda is immanent in humankind (Yasna 33.6), and how the Creator interacts with the world (Yasna 43.6).” Wikipedia
As usual very simple matters are drawn out into very complex ones by religion over the thousands of years. From the above we might deduce that ‘good’ is opposed to the unnecessary poverty in our world causing hunger. We might even consider from these texts that it opposes corporate and national water theft. And certainly that it opposes propaganda and the carefully maintained illusions that deceive the world. But we should look at the personification of the Liars. These are the ‘Angra’ ones. But first we may as well find out more about Ahura Mazda and how Zoroaster came across him:
“”Mazda”, or rather the Avestan stem-form Mazdā-, nominative Mazdå, reflects Proto-Iranian *Mazdāh (female). It is generally taken to be the proper name of the spirit, and like its Sanskrit cognate medhās, means “intelligence” or “wisdom“. Both the Avestan and Sanskrit words reflect Proto-Indo-Iranian *mazdhā-, from Proto-Indo-European *mn̩sdʰeh1, literally meaning “placing (*dʰeh1) one’s mind (*mn̩-s)”, hence “wise”.
Even though Ahura Mazda was a spirit in the Old Iranian religion, he had not yet been given the title of “uncreated spirit”. This title was given by Zoroaster, who proclaimed Ahura Mazda as the uncreated spirit, wholly wise, benevolent and good, as well as the creator and upholder of Asha (“truth”). As Ahura Mazda is described as the creator and upholder of Asha, he is a supporter and guardian of justice, and the friend of the just man.
At the age of 30, Zoroaster received a revelation: while fetching water from dawn for a sacred ritual, he saw the shining figure of the yazata, Vohu Manah, who led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda, where he was taught the cardinal principles of the “Good Religion” later known as Zoroastrianism. As a result of this vision, Zoroaster felt that he was chosen to spread and preach the religion. He stated that this source of all goodness was the only Ahura worthy of the highest worship. He further stated that Ahura Mazda created spirits known as yazatas to aid him, who also merited devotion. Zoroaster proclaimed that all of the Iranian daevas were bad spirits and deserved no worship. These “bad” spirits were created by Angra Mainyu, the hostile and evil spirit. The existence of Angra Mainyu was the source of all sin and misery in the universe. Zoroaster claimed that Ahura Mazda was not an omnipotent God, but used the aid of humans in the cosmic struggle against Angra Mainyu. Nonetheless, Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu’s superior, not his equal. Angra Mainyu and his daevas (spirits) which attempt to attract humans away from the path of righteousness (asha) would eventually be destroyed.” Wikipedia
We all know there is good and evil in this world and that there is no point pretending that evil is in fact good for us. It is the corrupting and destructive force that kills us all. But however hard we may try to explain to the human that there is a hell after life where we pay for our destructive and corrupting ways, the Angra force will counter this. Cancer is destructive but thrives because it convinces our immune systems that it is harmless. A corruption for example might be observed in Aleister Crowley’s law. This magician claimed that ‘Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law’ which seems to be a view held by the many evil men and women driving us all to destruction. So while we are at this point we may as well see what Zoroaster had to say on that:
“Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), he exalted their deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being. Leading characteristics, such as messianism, heaven and hell, and free will are said to have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.” Wikipedia
We can see how a simple subject has been embellished over the millennia but also how it has influenced other religions which either cynically used the prophecies to legitimize themselves or subscribed to a universal truth:
Individual judgment at death is by the Bridge of Judgment, which each human must cross, facing a spiritual judgment. Humans’ actions under their free will determine the outcome. One is either greeted at the bridge by a beautiful, sweet-smelling maiden or by an ugly, foul-smelling old woman. The maiden leads the dead safely across the bridge to the Amesha Spenta Good Mind, who carries the dead to paradise. The old woman leads the dead down a bridge that narrows until the departed falls off into the abyss of hell.
Zoroastrian hell is reformative; punishments fit the crimes, and souls do not rest in eternal damnation. Hell contains foul smells and evil food, and souls are packed tightly together although they believe they are in total isolation.
In Zoroastrian eschatology, a 3,000-year struggle between good and evil will be fought, punctuated by evil’s final assault. During the final assault, the sun and moon will darken and humankind will lose its reverence for religion, family, and elders. The world will fall into winter, and Angra Mainyu’s most fearsome miscreant, Azi Dahaka, will break free and terrorize the world.
The final savior of the world, Saoshyant, will be born to a virgin impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster while bathing in a lake. Saoshyant will raise the dead – including those in both heaven and hell – for final judgment, returning the wicked to hell to be purged of bodily sin. Next, all will wade through a river of molten metal in which the righteous will not burn. Heavenly forces will ultimately triumph over evil, rendering it forever impotent. Saoshyant and Ahura Mazda will offer a bull as a final sacrifice for all time, and all humans will become immortal. Mountains will again flatten and valleys will rise; heaven will descend to the moon, and the earth will rise to meet them both.
Humanity requires two judgments because there are as many aspects to our being: spiritual (menog) and physical (getig).” Wikipedia
This anti Christ figure is clearly a war god as seen through the eyes of a man who knew all about hordes of horsemen pillaging nations. Horus the hawk, great war god of Egypt:
“Zahhāk or Zahāk (pronounced [zæhɒːk]) (in Persian: ضحّاک/ذهّاک) or Bivar Asp (Persian: بیوَر اَسپ meaning “he who owns ten thousands of horses”) is an evil figure in Iranian mythology, evident in ancient Iranian folklore as Aži Dahāka (Azh dahak), the name by which he also appears in the texts of the Avesta. In Middle Persian he is called Dahāg or Bēvar-Asp, the latter meaning “[he who has] 10,000 horses”. In Zoroastrianism, Zahak (going under the name Aži Dahāka) is considered the son of Angra Mainyu, the foe of Ahura Mazda” Wikipedia
He takes the world into its final war blissfully unaware of the consequences for himself. He thinks he is indestructible and is filled with such contempt for most humans that massacring them does not bother him at all. He is always there, the parasite that eventually kills its host. In every generation there will be some maniac fulfilling that role, usually many. There is a lot taught about this one and I will copy the rest of the article below for your interest. Bear in mind that any kernel of truth is embellished until virtually unrecognisable. He delights in sacrifice, the spilling of blood. His adversary is also described. Zoroaster believed that this was him but it is an aspiration or posthumous title that can only be applied to whoever manages to defeat the illusion and propaganda and brings truth back to the world to stop it destroying itself unnecessarily. This happens several times in the world as corruption keeps erupting like an abscess and requires lancing:
“ Saoshyant (Avestan: Saoš́iiaṇt̰, IPA: [sɒːʃjʌnt]is a figure in Zoroastrianism who brings about the Frashokereti or final renovation of the world. The name literally means “one who brings benefit” in Avestan and is also used as a common noun….
Zoroastrian tradition envisions three future saviors, one for the end of each thousand-year period that comprise the last 3,000 years of the world. All three will be born of maidens, conceived while their mothers bathed in a lake that miraculously preserved the seed of the prophet Zoroaster himself. The first will be named Hushedar, the second Hushedarmah and the third will be the Saoshyant, who will lead humanity in the final battle against falsehood.
The story of the Saoshyant’s conception and early life are described in Denkard 7.10.15ff as follows: Thirty years before the decisive final battle, a maiden named Eredat-fedhri (“Victorious Helper”) and whose nickname is “Body-maker” will enter a lake (in Yasht 19.92, this is “Lake Kansava”). Sitting in the water, the girl, who has “not associated with men” will receive “victorious knowledge.” Her son, when born, will not know nourishment from his mother, his body will be sun-like, and the “royal glory” of the Khvarenah will be with him. Then, for the next 57 years he will subsist on only vegetables (17 years), then only water (30 years) and then for the final 10 years only on “spiritual food.”
The events of the final renovation are described in the Bundahishn (30.1ff): In the final battle with evil, the yazatas Airyaman and Atar will “melt the metal in the hills and mountains, and it will be upon the earth like a river” (Bundahishn 34.18) but the righteous (ashavan) will not be harmed.
Eventually, Ahura Mazda will triumph, and his agent Saoshyant will resurrect the dead, whose bodies will be restored to eternal perfection, and whose souls will be cleansed and reunited with God. Time will then end, and asha and immortality will thereafter be everlasting.” Wikipedia
They do love to put layers of nonsense into this but that is religion for you. Each generation has some theory it wants to include and have ‘believed’. The point is that we are at that time again. Any potential saviour is at a huge disadvantage in our modern world, partly because it is not listening any more to the warnings and partly because the Angra are in a headlong rush to have their war for which they give many conflicting reasons, none of which include their delight at spilling the blood of people they despise. It ends badly and we can see it happening as I write. They can of course stop this rush, calm down and settle for what they had a few years ago which really was not so bad and worked both for them and much of the world’s population. Our world can never be perfect because we are good and bad in more or less equal proportions but tolerance would help. The real problem however is that Asha or Truth or Dharma is being hidden and hurt. Without that in our world we really are finished and worthless, a silly illusion that destroys a magnificent creation. And that worries the rest of the universe and time. Here is more on the idiot causing all the problems who wants his adversaries put away, silenced and made into a warning for others. I must point out that this beast with replaceable heads is merely what we have in our world where removing some leader or chief executive does not in any way harm the beast they head. They are quickly replaced and there is not one of them but thousands. These heads are however our only hope of diverting the beast from its rush over the cliff:
“Aži Dahāka is the most significant and long-lasting of the ažis of the Avesta, the earliest religious texts of Zoroastrianism. He is described as a monster with three mouths, six eyes, and three heads (presumably meaning three heads with one mouth and two eyes each), cunning, strong and demonic. But in other respects Aži Dahāka has human qualities, and is never a mere animal.
Aži Dahāka appears in several of the Avestan myths and is mentioned parenthetically in many more places in Zoroastrian literature.
In a post-Avestan Zoroastrian text, the Dēnkard, Aži Dahāka is possessed of all possible sins and evil counsels, the opposite of the good king Jam. The name Dahāg (Dahāka) is punningly interpreted as meaning “having ten (dah) sins.” His mother is Wadag (or Ōdag), herself described as a great sinner, who committed incest with her son.
In the Avesta, Aži Dahāka is said to have lived in the inaccessible fortress of Kuuirinta in the land of Baβri, where he worshipped the yazatas Arədvī Sūrā (Anāhitā), divinity of the rivers, and Vayu, divinity of the storm-wind. Based on the similarity between Baβri and Old Persian Bābiru (Babylon), later Zoroastrians localized Aži Dahāka in Mesopotamia, though the identification is open to doubt. This could be India and Azi Dahaka could be Adi Sesha. Aži Dahāka asked these two yazatas for power to depopulate the world. Being representatives of the Good, they refused.
In one Avestan text, Aži Dahāka has a brother named Spitiyura. Together they attack the hero Yima (Jamshid) and cut him in half with a saw, but are then beaten back by the yazata Ātar, the divine spirit of Fire.
According to the post-Avestan texts, following the death of Jam ī Xšēd (Jamshid), Dahāg gained kingly rule. Another late Zoroastrian text, the Mēnog ī xrad, says that this was ultimately good, because if Dahāg had not become king, the rule would have been taken by the immortal demon Xešm (Aēšma), and so evil would have ruled upon earth until the end of the world.
Dahāg is said to have ruled for a thousand years, starting from 100 years after Jam lost his Khvarenah, his royal glory (see Jamshid). He is described as a sorcerer who ruled with the aid of demons, the daevas (divs).
The Avesta identifies the person who finally disposed of Aži Dahāka as Θraētaona son of Aθβiya, in Middle Persian called Frēdōn. The Avesta has little to say about the nature of Θraētaona’s defeat of Aži Dahāka, other than that it enabled him to liberate Arənavāci and Savaŋhavāci, the two most beautiful women in the world. Later sources, especially the Dēnkard, provide more detail. Feyredon is said to have been endowed with the divine radiance of kings (Khvarenah, New Persian farr) for life, and was able to defeat Dahāg, striking him with a mace. However, when he did so, vermin (snakes, insects and the like) emerged from the wounds, and the god Ormazd told him not to kill Dahāg, lest the world become infested with these creatures. Instead, Frēdōn chained Dahāg up and imprisoned him on the mythical Mt. Damāvand (later identified with Damāvand, the highest mountain of the Alborz chain).
The Middle Persian sources also prophesy that at the end of the world, Dahāg will at last burst his bonds and ravage the world, consuming one in three humans and livestock. Kirsāsp, the ancient hero who had killed the Az ī Srūwar, returns to life to kill Dahāg.
Zahhāk in the Shāhnāma
Zahhāk in Arabia
According to Ferdowsi, Zahhāk (Arabic transliteration: ازدهاق or Azdahaq) was born as the son of an Arab ruler named Merdās. Because of his Arab origins, he is sometimes called Zahhāk-e Tāzi, “the Arabian Zahhāk.” He was handsome and clever, but had no stability of character and was easily influenced by evil counsellors. Ahriman therefore chose him as the tool for his plans for world domination.
When Zahhāk was a young man, Ahriman first appeared to him as a glib, flattering companion, and by degrees convinced him that he ought to kill his own father and take over his territories. He taught him to dig a deep pit covered over with leaves in a place where Merdās was accustomed to walk; Merdās fell in and was killed. Zahhāk thus became both patricidal and king at the same time.
Ahriman now took another guise, and presented himself to Zahhāk as a marvellous cook. After he had presented Zahhāk with many days of sumptuous feasts, Zahhāk was willing to give Ahriman whatever he wanted. Ahriman merely asked to kiss Zahhāk on his two shoulders. Zahhāk permitted this; but when Ahriman had touched his lips to Zahhāk’s shoulders, he immediately vanished. At once, two black snakes grew out of Zahhāk’s shoulders. They could not be surgically removed, for as soon as one snake-head had been cut off, another took its place.
Ahriman now appeared to Zahhāk in the form of a skilled physician. He counselled Zahhāk that the only remedy was to let the snakes remain on his shoulders, and sate their hunger by supplying them with human brains for food every day otherwise the snakes will feed on his own.
From a psychological point of view the snakes on Zahak’s shoulders could represent his lust for killing or a form of sadism which if left unsatisfied would torment Zahak. Also when Zahak is defeated by Fereydun, he cannot think of a better fitting punishment than to simply bound him in cave where the snakes (not being fed) will eat Zahak’s own brain symbolizing his inner agony and unsatisfied homicidal lust.
This story is Ferdowsi’s way of reconciling the descriptions of Dahāg as a three-headed dragon monster and those stories which treat him as a human king. According to Ferdowsi, Zahhāk is originally human, but through the magic of Ahriman he becomes a monster; he does, in fact, have three heads, the two snake heads and one human head; and the snakes remind us of his original character as a dragon.
The characterization of Zahhāk as an Arab in part reflects the earlier association of Dahāg with the Semitic peoples of Iraq, but probably also reflects the continued resentment of many Iranians at the 7th century Arab conquest of Persia.
Unlike the figure of Zahak in Iranian Mythology, the word ‘zahhak’ in Arabic means to laugh and to smile.
Zahhāk the Emperor
About this time, Jamshid, who was then the ruler of the world, through his arrogance lost his divine right to rule. Zahhāk presented himself as a savior to those discontented Iranians who wanted a new ruler. Collecting a great army, he marched against Jamshid, who fled when he saw that he could not resist Zahhāk. Zahhāk hunted Jamshid for many years, and at last caught him and subjected him to a miserable death—he had Jamshid sawn in half. Zahhāk now became the ruler of the entire world. Among his slaves were two of Jamshid’s daughters, Arnavāz and Shahrnavāz (the Avestan Arənavāci and Savaŋhavāci).
Zahhāk’s two snake heads still craved human brains for food, so every day Zahhāk’s spies would seize two men, and execute them so their brains could feed the snakes. Two men, called Armayel and Garmayel, wanted to find a way to rescue people from being killed from the snakes. So they learned cookery and after mastering how to cook great meals, they went to Zahhāk’s palace and managed to become the chefs of the palace. Every day, they saved one of the two men and put the brain of a sheep instead of his into the food, but they could not save the lives of both men. Those who were saved were told to flee to the mountains and to faraway plains.
Zahhāk’s tyranny over the world lasted for centuries. But one day Zahhāk had a terrible dream – he thought that three warriors were attacking him, and that the youngest knocked him down with his mace, tied him up, and dragged him off toward a tall mountain. When Zahhāk woke he was in a panic. Following the counsel of Arnavāz, he summoned wise men and dream-readers to explain his dream. They were reluctant to say anything, but one finally said that it was a vision of the end of Zahhāk’s reign, that rebels would arise and dispossess Zahhāk of his throne. He even named the man who would take Zahhāk’s place: Fereydun.
Zahhāk now became obsessed with finding this “Fereydun” and destroying him, though he did not know where he lived or who his family was. His spies went everywhere looking for Fereydun, and finally heard that he was but a boy, being nourished on the milk of the marvelous cow Barmāyeh. The spies traced Barmāyeh to the highland meadows where it grazed, but Fereydun had already fled before them. They killed the cow, but had to return to Zahhāk with their mission unfulfilled.
Revolution against Zahhāk
Zahhāk now tried to consolidate his rule by coercing an assembly of the leading men of the kingdom into signing a document testifying to Zahhāk’s righteousness, so that no one could have any excuse for rebellion. One man spoke out against this charade, a blacksmith named Kāva (Kaveh). Before the whole assembly, Kāva told how Zahhāk’s minions had murdered seventeen of his eighteen sons so that Zahhāk might feed his snakes’ lust for human brains – the last son had been imprisoned, but still lived.
In front of the assembly Zahhāk had to pretend to be merciful, and so released Kāva’s son. But when he tried to get Kāva to sign the document attesting to Zahhāk’s justice, Kāva tore up the document, left the court, and raised his blacksmith’s apron as a standard of rebellion – the Kāviyāni Banner, derafsh-e Kāviyānī (درفش کاویانی). He proclaimed himself in support of Fereydun as ruler.
Soon many people followed Kāva to the Alborz mountains, where Fereydun was now living. He was now a young man and agreed to lead the people against Zahhāk. He had a mace made for him with a head like that of an ox, and with his brothers and followers, went forth to fight against Zahhāk. Zahhāk had already left his capital, and it fell to Fereydun with small resistance. Fereydun freed all of Zahhāk’s prisoners, including Arnavāz and Shahrnavāz.
Kondrow, Zahhāk’s treasurer, pretended to submit to Fereydun, but when he had a chance he escaped to Zahhāk and told him what had happened. Zahhāk at first dismissed the matter, but when he heard that Fereydun had seated Jamshid’s daughters on thrones beside him like his queens, he was incensed and immediately hastened back to his city to attack Fereydun.
When he got there, Zahhāk found his capital held strongly against him, and his army was in peril from the defense of the city. Seeing that he could not reduce the city, he sneaked into his own palace as a spy, and attempted to assassinate Arnavāz and Shahrnavāz. Fereydun struck Zahhāk down with his ox-headed mace, but did not kill him; on the advice of an angel, he bound Zahhāk and imprisoned him in a cave underneath Mount Damāvand, binding him with a lion’s pelt tied to great nails fixed into the walls of the cavern, where he will remain until the end of the world. Thus, after a thousand years’ tyranny, ended the reign of Zahhāk.“ Wikipedia
Of course it is too much to take in let alone refer to our present world but the fact is that the problems we face now are considerably more complex and diverse. There are many threats and many reasons for them however all taken together we have a vast population thrust into poverty, denied justice and a tiny population living in luxury denying that justice. It is painted as a good and fair system when it cannot possibly be so described.
So to go back to seeds what we are seeing is a world where illusion and inequality are nurtured, indeed rule. Even so we could cope were it not for the fact that the next war between superpowers will be the last and that denial of the problem caused by fossil fuel emissions ensures that no action can be taken until it is too late. What cannot be denied is that carbon dioxide and methane concentrations are increasing in our atmosphere and that these increases have been noted in previous mass extinctions. Inequality if it continues its upward trend may lead to violent revolutions. Corruption in high places has already dealt a blow to many governments‘ credibility as has the huge power of ‘lobbies‘ to make policies that only suit the interests of corporate sponsors. But as they say there are none so blind as will not see. The world is dividing against itself and the result of this conflict cannot be predicted reliably. We have ’yes men’ advising our governments and the ’no men’ being discredited. Our politicians are vain and shallow, our media unable to influence the changes necessary. Our situation is akin to a family in trouble. The parents are constantly arguing, the children suffering as a result. The parents are about to separate but still tell the children that they will not. Why do so many parents do this? Is it because they fear their children will object, demand reconciliation, security and proper mealtimes? The children if so are right and the parents extremely selfish. In families where this happens one or other parent is usually having a secret affair or is domestically violent. When I was young divorce was extremely rare, now it is almost mandatory. I know hardly any couples that have stayed together, even for their children. This says a lot about the state of our world. I am not suggesting that people should be staying in unhappy relationships just noting that when times become difficult it is tempting to live in denial or to walk away from one’s responsibilities. Or as Homer noted to listen to the sirens luring you to destruction!
So what is the answer?
No one really understands why we are literally rushing to our destruction. If climate change wont do it then nuclear war will, if that fails then pollution will, if not pollution some asteroid strike. What we can see is that we are out of control and all efforts to stop this are failing, the people trying demonised. It is stunning to watch and the media is running along with it blindly too. Every condition is being met that allows humanity to come to a fast and sudden end. So here is why. If we made a huge universal effort to save our world and its endangered species we might succeed. But if you look at what is described below you will notice that the ‘good’ who survive only survive in spiritual form. That is how they can endure liquid metal and cast no shadow. This is the end of the third age where death releases the saints we have produced in our history and when the evil ones are thrown away.
“The eschatological ideas are only alluded to in the surviving texts of the Avesta, and are known of in detail only from the texts of Zoroastrian tradition, in particular in the ca. 9th century Bundahishn. The accompanying story, as it appears in the Bundahishn (GBd 30.1ff), runs as follows: At the end of the “third time” (the first being the age of creation, the second of mixture, and the third of separation), there will be a great battle between the forces of good (the yazatas) and those of evil (the daevas) in which the good will triumph. On earth, the Saoshyant will bring about a resurrection of the dead in the bodies they had before they died. This is followed by a last judgment through ordeal. The yazatas Airyaman and Atar will melt the metal in the hills and mountains, and the molten metal will then flow across the earth like a river. All mankind—both the living and the resurrected dead—will be required to wade through that river, but for the righteous (ashavan) it will seem to be a river of warm milk, while the wicked will be burned. The river will then flow down to hell, where it will annihilate Angra Mainyu and the last vestiges of wickedness in the universe.
The narrative continues with a projection of Ahura Mazda and the six Amesha Spentas solemnizing a final act of worship (yasna), and the preparation of parahaoma from “white haoma“. The righteous will partake of the parahaoma, which will confer immortality upon them. Thereafter, humankind will become like the Amesha Spentas, living without food, without hunger or thirst, and without weapons (or possibility of bodily injury). The material substance of the bodies will be so light as to cast no shadow. All humanity will speak a single language and belong to a single nation without borders. All will share a single purpose and goal, joining with the divine for a perpetual exaltation of God’s glory.
Although frashokereti is a restoration of the time of creation, there is no return to the uniqueness of the primordial plant, animal and human; while in the beginning there was one plant, one animal and one human, the variety that had since issued would remain forever. Similarly, the host of divinities brought into existence by Mazda continue to have distinct existences, “and there is no prophecy of their re-absorption into the Godhead” Wikipedia
This is more or less what the Book of Enoch describes. Fundamental Christians hope that their rapture will be physical but it is not.
“Frashokereti (frašō.kərəti) is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Middle Persian frašagird <plškrt>) for the Zoroastrian doctrine of a final renovation of the universe, when evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda). The name suggests “making wonderful, excellent”.
The doctrinal premises are (1) good will eventually prevail over evil; (2) creation was initially perfectly good, but was subsequently corrupted by evil; (3) the world will ultimately be restored to the perfection it had at the time of creation; (4) the “salvation for the individual depended on the sum of [that person’s] thoughts, words and deeds, and there could be no intervention, whether compassionate or capricious, by any divine being to alter this.” Thus, each human bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, and simultaneously shares in the responsibility for the fate of the world” Wikipedia
Spirits can travel through space and time, humans cannot. How much better if we had taken the route of listening to the enlightened and protecting our poor and our habitat. The reasons we have not have enabled the evil ones to collect in one place and fool themselves into believing they are indestructible. The only indestructible part of us is what is called the rainbow body, something we need to make for ourselves in our lifetimes so that we can survive death’s judgement. It is never too late to do this if you open your eyes. It is perhaps to late to stop our headlong rush over the cliff and to hope this is but the second age but it seems unlikely that our corporate world really wants to save itself. Are corporations really so silly? Well they are only what we made them to be, robots who have challenged the humans for control of our planet and seem to have won.