What are the names of Ahura Mazda? Why should we recite them? (TMY-Jame Jamshed of 19 and 26-11-17)

  1. Every religion believes in a Supreme creative power, an Uncreated Universal Force or a Primal Energy as the original source of everything. Though each religion gives it a different name, the power behind all these names is the same. Hindus call Him Ishwar (Lord of Will) or Bhagwan (Fortune/prosperity giver), Muslims call Him Allah (the sole God), Jews call Him Jehovah (Lord), Sikhs call Him Wāhe Guru (Wonderful teacher), and Christians call Him God (fit to be invoked). However, it needs to be mentioned that the understanding of this power differs from religion to religion.
  2. Zoroastrians refer to this Supreme power as Ahura Mazda, Hormazd or Ohrmazd which means “the Wise Lord.” They also use other names like Dādār/Dādārji (creator), Yazad (worthy of veneration), Yazdān (foremost in veneration), Khudā/ Khudāiji (self-created), and Parvardegār (nourisher).
  3. Over and above the main name of God, there are several other secondary names of God too. The main names of God in different religions are based on the perception of God in their religion. Some religions consider God as all good, some consider destruction also as a power of God. Some consider God to be strict, chastising and punishing, and some consider him kind and merciful. Some consider him as forgiver of mistakes and some consider him as a deliverer of justice, giving proper rewards and retributions for actions. Moreover some religions perceive God as personal or impersonal, anthropomorphic or non-anthropomorphic, immanent or transcendent.
  4. All religions consider it essential to know God. This is very difficult, as He cannot be seen, since He has no form, shape or colour. One can only know Him through His creations and His work, and hence the best way to know God is to understand His names, as God’s names are based on His attributes, qualities and powers.
  5. Zoroastrians can understand Ahura Mazda through His names which occur in the prayers 101 names of God, Hormazd Yasht and Doa Nām Setāyashne. Some of the names of Ahura Mazda in the 101 names, describe God as: Worthy of veneration, All Powerful, All-knowing, Without a beginning, Without an end, The cause of all causes, Judge, Creator and Redeemer.
  6. Each of the 101 names of Ahura Mazda is very potent, powerful and have an effect of its own. That is why there is a tradition of chanting individual names from this 101 names, in a specific way, for particular problems or difficulties.
  7. The Hormazd Yasht contains almost 70 names of Ahura Mazda. Among them the first 20 are mentioned numerically and are supposed to be most effective for protection and defense. Some of these names describe God as: Self-existent, The Protector, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prudent, Wise, Prosperity-giver, Benevolent, Reckoner and Health-giver.
  8. It is a Zoroastrian tradition to begin prayers or personal work by remembering Ahura Mazda and taking His name. That is why our prayers begin with the words Khshnaothra ahurahe mazdāo “for the happiness of Ahura Mazda” Ba nāme yazad “in the name of Yazad (a name of God).”
  9. Zoroastrians have the tradition of “nām azbāitish” and Hindus of “nām smaran.” Both these words mean invoking or remembering the divine by name. In Hormazd Yasht itself it is mentioned that “If you wish to destroy the malicious acts of the demons and of wicked men….then you should recite reciting these names all days and nights.”
  10. It is well known that Mahatma Gandhi continuously used to chant the name of ‘Rām’, and that is why this name was on his lips when he breathed his last. In Islam, the repeated reciting of one or more names of Allah is referred to as Zikar.
  11. Repeated chanting of one or multiple names of God neutralizes negative emotions by diverting the mind from negative thoughts. It can also be considered a form of meditation.
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