The end of the World by the Gathas


“The end of the world. The Gathas speak of a period when the process of creation will stop, the evolution of the universe will reach its destined goal, as the cycle of the world will then be completed and creation and life will end. Ahura Mazda will come at that time with his Holy Spirit, and with Khshathra and Vohu Manah, to accomplish this great work, The world-process will then come to its final consummation as ordained by him at the beginning of creation. Universal judgment. All human souls will be subjected to a collective judgment before the ultimate renovation of the world. The souls will have to undergo the great ordeal by fire and molten metal, to which reference has already been made. At the time of the final Dispensation Ahura Mazda will judge the souls of the righteous and the wicked by the test of his blazing fire. The powerful fire will be a manifest help unto the holy, but harmful unto the wicked. Asha and Armaiti will help Ahura Mazda at this final judgment. Mazda knows best how to mark out the lost sinners at the final ordeal of the molten metal. This tribulation will reclaim the sinners.” (Maneckji Dhalla – Zoroastrian Theology)

“The Achaemenian kings were certainly Mazdayasnians; presumably, they were Zoroastrians. But they were decidedly not glowing with the religious fervour of missionary zeal. They never demanded conversion to their own faith on the part of the conquered races. Their empire was made up of various nationalities of diverse faith, and the Achaemenian rulers were always tolerant towards the religions of these subject races. Guided, perhaps by political expediency, they often built or restored the temples of alien peoples, and occasionally even honoured the Jewish, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek divinities. Cyrus ordered the restoration of the temple at Jerusalem, and Darius, the devout worshipper of Auramazda, favoured its rebuilding as decreed by Cyrus. According to the Babylonian inscriptions, Cyrus restored the gods of Sumer and Akkad to their former temples, from which they had been brought out by Nabuna’id, the last native ruler of Babylon. He returned the captive gods of Kutu to their home and rebuilt their temples. Cyrus was the shepherd and the anointed of Yahweh in Judea, he was the chosen of Marduk in Babylon. Darius is called the son of the goddess Neit of Sais, in an Egyptian inscription at Tell el-Maskhutah. Cambyses ordered the purification of the desecrated temple of Neit, and paid homage to the goddess. In a Greek inscription Darius reproved his satrap Gadatas for neglecting the reverential attitude toward Apollo.” (Maneckji Dhalla – Zoroastrian Theology)

“The final manifestation of the divine majesty, or the coming of Khshathra Vairya’s wished-for Kingdom will be attended by the ordeal of molten metal. Mazda will give his reward unto the righteous and retribution unto the wicked by bringing about the division between them through the instrumentality of the fiery metals. This refers to the flood of molten metal, described in the texts of the later periods, through which the good and evil will be made to pass at the final dispensation.” (Maneckji Dhalla – Zoroastrian Theology)

“Ormazd has ordained that Soshyos will be helped by certain great persons who have departed from the world, but who remain immortal and are still living in the body, and are yet to exert sway. The chief among these personages, potent for the eternal welfare of mankind, are Peshyotan, Aghrerat, Parsadga, Urvatadnar, Narsih, Tus, Giv, Ibairaz, Ashavazd, with a thousand others. Kaikhusru will arise to help Soshyos in the raising of the dead; Peshyotan, or Chitra-mahan, will lend help with his hundred and fifty disciples. Still another Pahlavi passage speaks of fifteen men and fifteen woman among the living that are to come to the help of Soshyos. They wall all leaven the rest of mankind. Zohak, who is put in chains on Mount Demavand, shall even at the last break loose from the bonds in which he has been confined, and as a monster-man will return to the world and disturb the righteous creation. At the command of Ormazd, his ministers Srosh and Neryosangh approach the body of Kersasp and raise it from the dead. The hero then rises up and slays Zohak. Soshyos and six of his companions, Roshn-chashm, Khurchashm, Fradatgadman, Varedat-gadman, Kamak-vakhshishn, and Kamak-sud, all of which names have a spiritual significance, will divide the work between them, and each of them will act in one of the seven zones. Every one will miraculously communicate with the other of his six colleagues in the other zones. They will read each other’s thoughts from a distance and will thus converse just as two men sitting close together would do. The work of the renovation of the world will last for fifty-seven years, the number already referred to. Full fifty years of this beneficent activity will be devoted to the seventh zone Khvaniras, where Zaratusht himself was the spiritual chief, and where Soshyos himself is working.
All evil will perish during these fifty-seven years, and goodness prevail among mankind, and men will embrace righteousness and zealously practise religion before the final raising the dead. Disease and death, apostasy and vice, depravity and every fiendish influence, will perish during this period. The world will be restored to its primal state.” (Maneckji Dhalla – Zoroastrian Theology)

“At the end of time, however, after the general resurrection but before Ahreman and the demons are conquered and hell is abolished, mankind will again be reckoned, and, much to the dismay of their friends and family, all sinners (who lament to their relatives that they should have warned them about the terrible fate they are now suffering) will be forcefully put back into hell for a period of renewed suffering lasting three nights (Bd. 34.13–15; WZ 35.40–47;23 ÐnÐ 8.7 [emphasizing the severe punishments to be suffered for grievous sins]; Dd. 31.10 [purification by “washing with molten metal”]). Then, according to Zâdspram, they are released by the divine agent Çrman (av. Airiiaman) (WZ 35.49). According to the Bundahiðn (Foundational Creation), the Fire (here apparently understood as a divine agent), together with Çrman, will melt the metals in the hills and mountains, causing them to flow over the earth like a river. All have to pass through this stream of molten metal, and thus they will be purified, but while this is a pleasant experience for the righteous, for the sinners it will be exactly like walking through molten metal (Bd. 34.18–19). This collective purification is followed by a state of mutual love and friendship (Bd. 34.20). According to another source, the Dçnkard, this final purification is part of the suffering which the souls undergo in hell. As a result they will be purified from their contamination of sin and will be “again clothed in a garment of the same substance, and they enjoy perfect bliss eternally and without interruption” (Dk. III 272 [= Zaehner 1972:262; see de Menasce 1973:273]). The high-priest Manuðèihr says that they become “righteous, pain-free, immortal, fearless, and free from evil” (Dd. 31.11 [= Jaafari-Dehaghi 1998:102–3]). According to the Bundahiðn, at the eschatological transfiguration of the world, not only will the sinners be purified and released, but hell itself will be purified by the stream of molten metal, and its stench and filth will be burnt by the molten metal (not directly by the fire!) and then it will become clean (Bd. 34.31). The part of the world where hell was located will then be joined with the remaining extension of the world (Bd. 34.32).” (Michael Stausberg – Hell in zoroastrian history)


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