Mazda (Ahura Mazda)

Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda is the abstract and transcendant god of Zoroastrianism. Ahura is the adversary of Angra Mainyu, the Zoroastrian representation of evil. Ahura has no image and cannot be represented in any form (See also: faravahar).

Ahura Mazda, derived from the Old Persian Aura-Mazda ("Aura" - Lord, "Mazda" - Wisdom) symbolizes the supreme deity of Zoroastrian and Mazdean religions.

Ahura Mazda is refered to as Ormazd in modern Persian.

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There have been many stories about how it got its name. Some say it got its name from the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda, while others say it was an anglicized pronunciation of the founder's name, Jujiro Matsuda. The most likely reason was that the name Mazda coincided with founder Matsuda's last name, who was known for his interest in spiritual matters, and may have chosen Mazda in honor of the Zoroastrians, and his own name. In Japanese, the company is referred to either by its anglicised name (MAZDA Motors) or as (Matsuda), after its founder.

Side note: Mazda was run by an American, Mark Fields—and by Briton Lewis Booth.

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Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism is known as one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions. It was once the (more or less) "official" religion of Sassanid Persia, and played an important role in Achaemenid times.

The foundation of the religion is ascribed to the prophet Zarathushtra, who is commonly known in the West as Zoroaster, the Greek version of his name. The modern Farsi form of the prophet's name is Zartosht. Zoroaster came to reform ancient Aryan/Indo-Iranian religious practices (some of which were parallel to the Vedic religion of ancient northern India and to some extent the ceremonies conducted by priests in Hinduism today). According to internal and external histories, Zoroaster lived in Persia. His dates are contested, but were clearly somewhere between the 18th and the 6th centuries BCE (although Plato put Zoroaster in the 64th century BCE). Zoroaster is thought to have written the Gathas, poems which have been assidiously preserved by his followers through centuries of oral transmission, before the whole of the Avesta (in which the Gathas are a central portion) were commited to writing in the Parthian or Sassanian periods. The Gathic dialect is similar to the Vedic Rig Veda and thus Zoroaster has sometimes been dated as roughly contemporary to the Rig Veda, normally ascribed to c.1500-1250 BCE. However other sources suggest a later date – in the 6th century BCE. (William Malandra contends that the use of archaic language does not necessarily ascribe the Gathas to the time of the Rig Veda. In religious and liturgical texts it is common to find use of archaic language. Witness, for instance, the use of the King James Bible today. So it is possible that Zarathushtra wrote the Gathas in archaic language, since this was the sacred language of liturgy. Furthermore, there is no reason to doubt the Sassanian sources which ascribe Zaratushtra to the 6th century BCE.)

The faith is ostensibly monotheistic, although Zoroastrianism has a dualistic nature, with a series of six entities (similar in function and status to angels) accompanying Ahura Mazda and forming a heptad that is good and constructive, and another group of seven who are evil and destructive. It is this persistent conflict between good and evil that distinguishes Zoroastrianism from monotheistic frameworks that have only one power as supreme. By requiring its adherents to have faith and belief in equally opposing powers Zoroastrianism characterizes itself as dualistic.

Zoroastrianism is called Mazdayasna "Worship of Wisdom" by its followers after the ancient name for God, Ahura Mazda, "The ahura (divinity) Wisdom". A modern Persian form is Behdin "Good Religion/Law" (see below for the role of daena Law). Zoroastrians may call themselves Zartoshti "Zoroastrians", Mazdayasni "Wisdom-Worshippers" and Behdini "Followers of the Good Religion".

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