Zoroastrian Mythology - End of the World
Within Zoroastrianism there are two paths to the end, the end of the individual and the end of the world. The two are related in terms of judgement, individual (soul only) and universal (body and soul after resurrection). The individual is judged based on their actions and will go to heaven or hell accordingly. However there is also a universal judgement that will decide the fate of the entire world.
Zoroastrians believe that the history of the world is twele thousand years long, with four distinct periods. In the first period good and evil are separated, in the second the good world is invaded by the evil and the third is when the fight between the two forces intensify. In the final period evil is defeated and goodness prevails. The final period commenced with the birth of Zoroaster and has not yet finished. In the final three thousand years, Zoroastrians expect three saviors to come at thousand-year intervals. The first one will be called Aushedar, “the developer of righteousness”. Aushedar will be born from a virgin and will also be a child of Zoroaster himself whose seed has been preserved in a lake. When the fifteen year old virgin bathes in the lake, she will be impregnated and the first savior will be born.
When Aushedar turns thirty, the sun will stand still for ten days right above head. This is where the sun stood before Ahriman (Evil) attacked the perfect world. Through the coming of the savior, some good will prevail and for three years people will live more harmoniously, conditions will improve and the renovation of the universe will start. Some harmful creatures belonging to the forces of evil, such as wolves, will perish.
The second savior will be called Aushedar-mah and he will be born born in the same manner as the first savior. The sun will stand still for twenty days this time, the period of renovation will last for six years and more harmful creatures will perish. The original perfect state of the world, as it was at the beginning, will draw closer. Men will stop eating meat and will only drink water. However this is not the end of Evil, he will reappear in form of Azhi Dahaka (Zahak in Shahnameh), a monster who was earlier defeated and imprisoned on top of Mount Demavand by the hero Thraetaona (Thahmoureth). The monster will escape, invade the world and smite the sacred elements of fire, water and vegetation. Another hero Keresapa (Jamshid) will rid the world of Azhi Dahaka and the power of evil will be further reduced. However, Azhi manages to escape.
During the third and final stage, the last savior Soshyant is conceived in the same manner as his predecessors and will eventually defeat all the forces of evil. The perfect state of the world arrives when death, disease and all forces of evil and disorder are forever defeated. Soshyant raises each of the dead from the spot where they died. All people will be lead to the place of judgment where they will see the good and bad deedsof their lives. Then the wicked will go to the hell and the good to heaven for a period of three days and three nights. This last judgement of the individual will be only concerned with the soul, while the universal judgement will be concerned with both body and soul and will involve the resurrection of the body. Humans as whole beings will put through several tests such as passing through molten metal.
The hot metal will flow over and purify the earth and return it to a perfect and unified state. The stream of molten metal will sweep over all men and make them pure and uniform as well. The gift of immortality will be conferred when Soshyant, acting as a priest, celebrates the final sacrifice with the last animal (the ox) to die in the service of man. From the fat of the ox and the mythical White Hom (Haoma a sacred mix used in ceremonies) from the cosmic ocean the elixir of immortality will be prepared. Ahriman and Azhi, will run into Hell to escape and the molten metal will destroy Hell and Azhi. Ahriman will become impotent and be annihilated. After the earth is leveled and humans restored to their ideal unity of body and soul, the whole creation will again be the perfect combination of spirit and matter that God intended it to be.
The Dawn and Dusk of Man is a Thinkquest Mythology Project by Sheila, Min, Ana and Tencia of Montgomery Blair High School.