Persian Myth

Persian Myth

Iranian myths do not belong to just one era but many epochs over the 12,000-year chronology. The history of myth in Iran is divided into four eras, each covering three millennia. The first quarter refers to creation as a spiritual essence in which no place or time could be felt, and the world was far from any substance or movement.

However, the spiritual world manifested itself in two types of existence: one belonging to Ahura Mazda (Ormazd), the knowledgeable master, good and truthful spirit; and the other belonging to the evil spirit, Ahriman. The conflict between good and evil is prevalent in Iranian myth.

Zorwan is a god who prays to have a son with Ormazd’s characteristics to create the world. At the end of the 1,000th year Zorwan doubts his prayers are working. Because of this doubt, Ormazd and Ahriman simultaneously arise in him. The former represents his patience, while the latter signifies his doubt.

Zorwan promises to make the elder ruler and lord of the world. Ahriman is born first, and Zorwan, because of his promise, appoints Ahriman as the ruler for a finite part of the 9,000 remaining years. Zorwan is sure that Ormazd will triumph over Ahriman and successfully rule over the world for eternity.

In the second quarter the world turns to a material one, and the first emblems of the world’s prototypes are created. Ormazd creates the six major prototypes of creation: sky, water, earth, plants, animals, and human beings. The human prototype, Kiumarth, is mortal. He is created to help god and is called Ahlav (the holy man).

The third quarter presents a mixture of good and evil, light and darkness, and a blending between Ormazd and Ahriman’s wills. Ahriman moves toward the borders of light, leaving darkness behind and becoming aware of many good creatures that Ahura Mazda has created. In competing with him he destroys his creatures and invades every prototype created by Ormazd and spoils the mundane world.

This period is referred to as gumizishn in Pahlavi writing and signifies that both Ahriman and Ormazd are triumphant. Ormazd seeks god’s help and assistance. Ormazd, employing good forces, is able to reproduce each one of the prototypes of creation destroyed or spoiled by Ahriman.

After Kiumarth’s death, Ormazd reproduces the human prototype. It is said that Kiumarth’s seed falls on the earth while passing away, is purified by the Sun’s rays, and after 40 years turn, into Rivas, a holy plant with two stems. These stems become the first human couple, Mashya and Mashayana.

Evil forces lie in wait for the couple. The first couple tells the first lie, attributing creation to Ahriman. To punish their wrongdoing they are deprived of having children for a long time, before their reparation is accepted.

At last they have seven sons and seven daughters. Each of the pairs marries and leaves for one of the seven territories or realms—according to Iranian mythology, ancient Iran was made up of seven countries. Humans expanded in number in the seven countries.

The last part of the fourth quarter deals mainly with Zoroaster. This was the 10th millennium of creation when "Good Religion" expanded and developed throughout the world.

Zoroaster visits Ormazd by the Daieti River in ancient Iran and stays with him for 10 years, when Ormazd reveals the religion’s mysteries to him. Zoroaster announces his prophethood, and based on the Pahlavi writings, Zoroaster is a complete human being in mazdaism (praising and worshipping Ahura Mazda).

The middle texts and the Sassanids’ writings tell of the end of the world. The prophetical literature of Zoroastrians is simultaneous with the internal confl icts in the Sassanid Empire, expanding during Bahram Chubin’s rebellion.

After the collapse of the Sassanids by the Muslim Arabs such literature is encouraged and revived. According to Sassanid texts, there are three saviors of the world. Houshidar, Houshidarmah, and Saoshyanth appear in the millennium after Zoroaster and expand good.

All are miraculously born of Zoroaster’s seed and are his sons. Bahram (the victorious) and Pashootan are among the most famous. Bahram is a warrior, seeking truth by coming to Iran, riding on a white elephant. He defeats cruelty and clears Iran from impurity, providing a tranquillity that had been long lost.

The middle texts report the birth of the trichotomous Saoshyanth as follows:

Zoroaster makes love with his wife three times during a three-month period, after which his wife washes in the Kiyanseh River and Zoroaster’s seed is mixed with the river’s water. Naryousang, the lord, leaves the seeds with Anahita to mix with that of a mother at the proper time.

A 15-year-old virgin swims in the Kiyanseh River, and she becomes pregnant and gives birth to the first savior, Houshidar. At the age of 30 he meets Ormazd and learns all the teachings of Mazdims and continues the prophet- hood, previously held by his father Zoroaster.

Houshidar cleanses religion, destroys Ahriman’s traditions, decreases famine and starvation, and helps expand the forces of good. In his reign children are born smarter, rivers become full, and plants only experience autumn every three years. Wild animals and predators disappear.

Thirty years before Houshidar’s millennium ends, again a 15-year-old virgin swims in the Kiyanseh River and becomes pregnant, giving birth to Houshidarmah. Houshidarmah visits Ormazd when he is 30 years old and becomes responsible for bringing salvation to the world. The 20-day stoppage of the Sun is one of the signs of his emergence.

At the beginning of his millennium plants experience autumn every six years, and all forces of evil are defeated. The thirst and hunger ghoul becomes too weak, and everybody can live on one meal a day. In the last 53 years of his millennium people become vegetarians and milk drinkers rather than flesh eaters.

Medicine flourishes during this era, and life expectancy increases. However, Zahak’s rebellion again unbalances good and evil in Iran. Ormazd resurrects Garshasb’s spirits to fight with Zahak and destroy him, and the golden years restart.

Thirty years before the end of Houshidarmah’s millennium, Saoshyanth, the last creature of Ormazd, would be born miraculously of the prophet Zoroaster’s seed by a virgin mother and would become the world’s savior. At his revelation the Sun stays unmoved in the sky for 30 days. Saoshyanth is received warmly by Kay Xusraw who is riding on Izadwai (God of wind).

Saoshyanth appreciates Kay Xusras’s braveries by destroying the idols and defeating Afrasyab and thereby making way for the reconstruction and renovation of the world. Kay Xusraw becomes king of all seven countries during the Saoshyanth’s millennium, while Saoshyanth is Moubad-e-Mubadan (lord of clergies).

During Saoshyanth’s millennium, which lasts 57 years, everything would be accomplished according to Gathas (Zoroaster’s original teachings). He gathers an army and fights the infidelity ghoul, who then hides in a hole.

Shahrivar (the guard of metals in the mundane world) pours metal into the hole to imprison the evil ghoul and send him to hell. Saoshyanth overcomes all ghouls and evil forces through his five prayers.

Ahriman and his evil emblems are forgotten, and the wicked evil spirits are destroyed. The world becomes full of kindness, and happiness reigns. Ahriman’s creatures—ugliness, diseases, pain, lies, and greediness—disappear and plants and trees never experience autumn; they are evergreen.

In the first 17 years of Saoshyanth’s millennium, people eat plants. For 30 years they drink only water, and in the last 10 years they have no food and are instead fed with spiritual food. The ideal world is formed, and earth is restored to its original goodness.

Such a world represents the combination of all of Ormazd’s potential forces and his absolute supremacy. This is how the world ends and resurrection, what man is waiting for, comes to pass, and the finite life turns into the infinite one.