Angels in Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism recognizes various classes of spiritual beings
besides the Supreme Being (Ahura Mazda): The Amesha Spentas, Yazatas,
and Fravashis. In practice (cf. Sad Dar, chapter 26),
Zoroastrians pick a patron angel for their protection, and throughout
their lives are careful to observe prayers dedicated to that angel.
See also information on the religious calendar.
Amesha Spentas (Phl. Amahraspandan) ("Archangels")
Literally, "Beneficent Immortals", these are the highest
spiritual beings created by Ahura Mazda. Their names are:
- Vohu Mano (Phl. Vohuman): lit. Good Mind.
Presides over cattle.
- Asha Vahishta (Phl. Ardwahisht): lit. Highest
Asha, the Amahraspand presiding over Asha and fire.
- Khshathra Vairya (Phl. Shahrewar): lit. 'Desirable
Dominion', the Amahraspand presiding over metals.
- Spenta Armaiti (Phl. Spandarmad): lit. 'Holy
Devotion', the Amahraspand presiding over the earth
- Haurvatat (Phl. Hordad): lit. 'Perfection
or Health'. Presides over water.
- Ameretat (Phl. Amurdad): lit. 'Immortality',
the Amahraspand presiding over the Earth.
Fravashis (Phl. Farohars) ("Guardian Angels"):
Also known as Arda Fravash ("Holy Guardian Angels").
Each person is accompanied by a guardian angel (Y26.4, 55.1),
which acts as a guide throughout life. They originally patrolled
the boundaries of the ramparts of heaven (Bd6.3, Zs5.2), but volunteer
to descend to earth to stand by individuals to the end of their
days. Ahura Mazda advises Zarathushtra to invoke them for help
whenever he finds himself in danger (Yt13.19-20). If not for their
guardianship, animals and people could not have continued to exist,
because the wicked Druj would have destroyed them all (Yt13.12-13).
The Fravashi also serves as an ideal which the soul has to strive
for and emulate, and ultimately becomes one with after death (Y16.7,
26.7, 26.11, 71.23, Yt22.39) (See Dhalla, History of Zoroastrianism,
pg 232-243, 375-378).
They manifest the energy of God, and preserve order in the creation.
They are said to fly like winged birds, and are represented by
a winged disk, often with a person superimposed (as in the above
Yazatas (Phl. Yazads) ("Angels"):
Sasanian angel and heart (8th ce. C.E.)
Lit 'adorable ones', a created spiritual being, worthy of being
honored or praised. Like the Amesha Spentas they personify abstract
ideas and virtues, or concrete objects of nature. The Yazatas
are ever trying to help people, and protect us from evil (cf.
Dk3, ch. 66). See below for some specifics of the more important
LIST OF YAZATAS:
- See Aredvi Sura Anahita.
- Female Yazads presiding over water
- Yazad of friendship and healing. (Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Yazad personifying peace
- Anaghra Raocha (Phl. Anagran):
- Yazad of the 'endless light' (Var. Aneran)
- Apam Napat:
- Yazad of waters (Indo-Iranian in origin). aka Ahura Berezant
(Phl. Burz Yazad)
- Aredvi Sura Anahita:
- lit. 'strong, immaculate Anahita', female Yazad personifying
water. She resides in the starry regions (cf. Yt5.85, 88, 132).
Her hymn is preserved in Yasht 5. Also
known as Aban Yazad. (Var: Arduisur)
- Arshtat (Phl. Ashtad):
- Female Yazad personifying rectitude or justice
- Ashi Vanghuhi (Phl. Ard):
- lit. 'good blessings, rewards', female Yazad presiding over
blessings (Var: 'Ashishwangh, Arshishwang')
- Yazad presiding over the sky.
- Atar (Phl. Adar):
- lit. fire; yazad presiding over fire. He is referred to as
'the Son of Ahura Mazda' in the Avesta. (Var: Pah. 'atash, atesh,
adur', Av. 'Atar')
- Chisti (or Chista):
- Female Yazad personifying religious wisdom. Her name probably
means 'Instruction'. Also known as Razishta Chista ('Most Upright
- Daena (Phl Den):
- Female Yazad presiding over the religion, also, Inner Self
- Dahm (Phl.):
- Yazad honored on the fourth day after death
- Dahma Afriti (Dahman Afrin):
- embodiment of power of benediction
- Damoish Upamana:
- Yazad personifying anathema
- Female Yazad personifying cattle
- Female Yazad personifying truth
- Gaw (Phl.):
- Yazad personifying cattle.
- Geush Urvan (Phl. Goshorun):
- lit. 'the soul of the cow (or settlement)'. Personification
of animal life
- See Vayu.
- Haoma (Phl. Hom):
- Yazad presiding over the haoma plant, which has medicinal
and spiritual properties. (Indo-Iranian in origin)
- A star Yazad, associated with Ursa Major.
- Havani (Phl. Hawan):
- Yazad presiding over the second watch (gah) of each day (sunrise
to midday, i.e., 12 noon).
- Hvare-khshaeta (Phl. Khwarshed):
- lit. 'the shining sun', the Yazad presiding over the Sun (var.
Parsi Pers. Khorshed)
- Khwarenah (Phl. khwarrah, farrah):
- Yazad presiding over Divine Grace or Fortune.
- Maonghah (Phl Mah):
- Yazad presiding over the Moon.
- Manthra Spenta (Phl. Mahraspand):
- lit. 'Holy Word', Yazad who embodies the Holy Word
- Mithra (Phl. Mihr):
- Yazad presiding over the contract, personification of light.
(Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Nairyosangha (Phl. Neryosang):
- Yazad who acts as messenger of Ahura Mazda, associated with
prayer. (Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Star Yazad associated with the Pleiades.
- Female Yazad of 'Abundance' or 'Plenitude'. (Indo-Iranian
- Star Yazad associated with a constellation of uncertain identity.
- Raman (Phl. Ram):
- Yazad presiding over Joy or Felicity
- Yazad presiding over the period of the day (gah) from noon
- Female Yazad personifying truth
- Rashnu (Phl. Rashn):
- Yazad of Justice
- Female Yazad (Indo-Iranian in origin) personifying charity
- A star Yazad, perhaps of Fomalhaut
- Sraosha (Phl. Srosh):
- lit. 'Hearkening'; a spirit being who guards the soul for
three days after death
- Tishtrya (Phl. Tishtar, Tir):
- Yazad presiding over the star Sirius. Tishtrya also directs
- Star Yazad associated with Canis Minor.
- 41 Arietis
- Female Yazad of the dawn (Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Yazad presiding over the first watch (gah) of each day (from
midnight to daybreak).
- Yazad presiding over the fourth watch (gah) of each day (from
3 p.m. to sunset).
- Star Yazad, associated with Vega.
- Vayu (Phl. Wad):
- Yazad personifying the wind or atmosphere (Var. Gowad, Govad)
(Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Verethraghna (Phl. Warharan):
- lit. 'victory', Yazad personifying victory (Var: Pers. Bahram,
Behram.) (Indo-Iranian in origin)
- Yazad associated with the settlement, invoked along with Savanghi
- Zamyat (Zam):
- Female Yazad presiding over the earth
- Yazad presiding over the tribe.
Other spiritual beings, not classified with the above:
- Personification of 'Infinite Space'
- Zrvan Akarana:
- Personification of 'Boundless Time'