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From Gathaic Twin Mainyu to the Doctrine of Dualism



The article discusses the original meaning of the concept of twin Mainyu in Zoroaster's teachings in his Gahthas and its transformation throughout the millenia since Zoroaster. According to the author, the concept, as first introduced in the Gathaic Yasnas 30 and 40, referred to 44two primeval spirits," one as "evil" and the other as a more beneficent force. They first materialized in tandem and created Gaya and a-jyaiti, i. e., life and death or life and lifelessness. However, in the writings of Gathas' commentators, and the in the New Avestan texts, the twin Mainyu gradually were transformed into a pair of powerful antagonistic forces; one wholly good (Spenta-mainyu) and the other totally evil (Angra-mainyu) or as in Pahlavi texts, Ohrmazd and Ahriman.

The resulting dualism led to a belief in the division of the whole universe, the life forces and human beings into two separate, antagonistic and irreconcilable parts. The belief in these totally dichotomous forces, according to the author, has led to the creation of a major source of social and political strife in the course of Iranian history.

Author: 
Jalil Dustkhah
Volume: 
17
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