Aməša Spəntas in Mazdean Cosmology and Their Role in Spiritual Wayfaring

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Comparative Religion, Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran


In Zoroastrian cosmology, Aməša Spəntas are considered as Ahuramazda’s manifestations and his agents in creating, nurturing and preserving the world, and they play an important role in guiding human beings towards the eternal bliss. Almost all Mazdean texts refer to these divine beams in two groups of males and females, and everywhere in these texts they are viewed as divine, intelligent beings, worthy of praise and adoration. Moreover, each of these Aməša Spəntas is closely related to one of Ahuramazda’s creations (sky, earth, water, plant, animal, man and fire) and is known to be its guardian and custodian. Each part of creation in its turn is also the symbol of a particular Amshaspand, and accordingly it is required to be respected and taken care of. This essay tries to illustrate the place of these manifestations of Ahuramazda in Mazdean cosmology and their importance in individual spiritual wayfaring, through investigating the Avesta and Pahlavi texts.


Main Subjects

-         اوستا، گزارش و پژوهش جلیل دوستخواه، مروارید، تهران، 1381ش.
-         دین کرد، کتاب سوم، دفتر یکم، آوانویسی، ویرایش و ترجمۀ فریدون فضیلت، فرهنگ دهخدا، تهران، 1381ش.
-         روایت پهلوی، متنی به زبان فارسی میانه، ترجمۀ مهشید میرفخرائی، مؤسسه مطالعات و تحقیقات فرهنگی، تهران، 1376ش.
-         عالیخانی، بابک، بررسی لطایف عرفانی در نصوص عتیق اوستائی، هرمس، تهران، 1379ش.
-         مینوی خرد، ترجمۀ احمد تفضلی، توس، تهران، 1379ش.
-         یشت‌ها، ترجمۀ ابراهیم پورداوود، اساطیر، تهران، 1377ش.
-          Anthologie de Zādsparam, Ph. Gignoux & A. Tafazzoli (eds, trans & comments), Association pour l’ avancement des études Iraniennes Paris, 1993.
-          Ardā Wīrāz Nāmag, The Iranian ˝Divina Commedia˝, Fereydun Vahman (ed. & trans.), Curzon Press, London, 1986.
-          Ayātkār і Žāmāspīk, Giuseppe Messina (ed.), Pontificio Instituto Biblico, Rome, 1939.
-          Bailey, H. W., Zoroastrian Problems in the Ninth Century Books, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971.
-          Boyce, Mary,» Zoroaster, the Priest«, BSOAS (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies), vol. XXXIII, 1970, pp. 22- 38.
-          Idem, A History of Zoroastrianism, vol. I., E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1975.
-          Idem, »Review of Johanna Narten’s “Die Amәša Spәntas im Avesta”«, BSOAS (Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies), vol. XLVII, 1984, pp. 158- 161.
-          The Complete Text of the Pahlavi Dinkard, D. M. Madan (supervisor), The Society for Promotion of Researches into the Zoroastrian Religion, Bombay, 1911.
-          “The Dādistān i Dīnīk”, E. W. West (trans.), Sacred Books of the East, Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi, 1970, vol. 18.
-          Dātistān i Dēnīk, T. D. Anklesaria (ed.), TheParsi Punchyet Funds and Properties, Bombay, 1981.
-          Duchesne- Guillemin, »The Religion of Ancient Iran«, Historia Religionum, C. J. Bleaker & G. Widengren (eds), E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1988.
-          Dinkard, P. B. Sanjana (ed. & trans.), Duftur Ashkara Press, Bombay, 1874- 1915.
-          Gray, L. H., »Cosmogony and Cosmology (Iranian)«, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings (ed.),T. & T. Clarck, Edinburgh, 1987.
-          Humbach, Helmut, The Gāthās of Zarathushtra and The Other Old Avestan Texts,Carl Winter Universitats Verlag, Heidelberg, 1991.
-          Jackson, A. V. W., Zoroastrian Studies, Columbia University Press, New York, 1928.
-          Le Liver d’Ardā Vīrāz, Ph. Gignoux (ed. & trans.), Institut francais d’ iranologie de Téhéran, Paris, 1984.
-          Molé, M., Cult, mythe, et cosmogonie dans l’Iran ancien,Presses universitaire de France, Paris, 1963.
-          Šāyast Lā Šāyast, E. W. West (ed. & trans.), Sacred Books of the East,Motilal Banarsidas, Delhi, 1970, vol. 5.
-          Le Troisièm Livre du Dēnkart, P. J. de Menasce (ed. & trans.), Klincksieck Paris, 1973.
-          Zaehner, R. C., Zurvan, A Zoroastrian Dilemma,Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1955.
-          Idem, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism,Widenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1975.
-          Zand- Ākāsīh, Iranian or Greater Bundahišn, B. T. Anklesaria (ed. & trans.), Bombay, 1956.