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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

         
Faravahar

Faravahar

Faravahar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Faravahar, Farohar or Fravashi is a symbolic image in the Zoroastrian religion, representing the human soul. According to the Zoroastrian faith the soul exists before birth and will continue to exist after death.

The purpose of the image is to remind one of the purpose of life on this Earth, which is to live in such a way that the soul progresses spiritually and attains union with Ahura Mazda (the Wise Lord); this state is called Frasho-kereti in the Avesta.

Faravahar is the Avestan word for a powerful supernatural being whose concept at an early stage in Zoroastrianism became blended with that of the urvan. The urvan is the human soul, which in pre-Zoroastrian times was believed after death to pass a shadowy existence in the underworld, from where it returned once a year to its former home at the feast of H amaspaθmaędaya. It then received prayers and offerings from its descendants, whom it rewarded with blessings. Close parallels with the Indian pitaras establish that belief and cult go back to proto-Indo-Iranian times. The concept of the fravašis appears in contrast unique to the Iranians. The principal source for knowledge of them is Yašt 13. In this they appear as beings who inhabit the upper air and are powerful to aid and protect those who worship them. Yet they too are associated with the cult of the dead and are sometimes directly identified as urvans. References to the fravašis occur in the text of the Yasna and in the Pahlavi books. Abu Rayhan Biruni describes their annual worship , and there are abundant materials for their veneration in living Zoroastrianism.

The Faravahar were conceived as a vast host of "many hundreds, many thousands, many tens of thousands" . They are presented in their yasht as aiding Ahura Mazda in the beginning to order the world, and as powerful now in maintaining it, in particular in nurturing waters and plants, and protecting sons in the womb . Every year when rain comes, they strive among themselves to obtain water for their own "family, settlement, tribe, and country"; but though many verses celebrate their prowess and power to help in battle, in two sections of the Yasht they are fully identified with the relatively helpless urvan, although the term fravashi is used throughout.

Iranian Religions:Zarathushtrian by: Prof. Mary Boyce

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