Asha or Cosmic Order in Ancient Persian Culture

  October 28, 2020   Read time 1 min
Asha or Cosmic Order in Ancient Persian Culture
Understanding the world has always been one of the key pursuits of the people across the world since time immemorial. Ancient Persia is the origin of myriad of ideas of the world. Asha is a Zoroastrian key word used as a vehicle to understand the world makeup.

Ahura Mazdâ’s world was ordered according to the principle of (micro/macro)cosmic Order (Avestan asha), which is manifested in the light of day, the diurnal sky, and the sun. Along with the poet-sacrificer’s thought, this is the single most important concept in the old Indo-Iranian poetry and its mythical world of reference. In this introduction, the term is render as “Order” and its derivatives accordingly: ashawan “sustainer of Order” (“detainer or upholder of Order” is also possible). The “Order” probably originated by a “thought” of Ahura Mazdâ’s and was imposed on the cosmos by him when it was first established. It was also Ahura Mazdâ who, by his thought, made the luminous spaces of Order, which are the bright diurnal sky. In fact, Order contains the sun (1.32.2), and in the Young Avesta, the sun is said to be Ahura Mazdâ’s eye. Ahura Mazdâ is said to be the father of Order, and he upholds it. The term asha thus has three fundamental references in the Old Avestan texts:

1. The cosmic Order, including the Order of nature and mankind.

2. The visible aspect of Order, that is the diurnal sky, heaven, and the lights of heaven, the most significant feature of which is the sun; any communication between the divine and human spheres must necessarily travel through this space.

3. The Order is also that of the ritual, that is of the ritual actions and words, as well as of the thoughts of the poetsacrificer, which are materialized in his poems (Source: Introduction to Zoroastrianism).

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