Taq-e Bostan: high-relief of Shapur II investi...
Taq-e Bostan: high-relief of Shapur II investiture; from left to right: Mithra, Shapur II, Ahura Mazda. Lying down: dead roman emperor Julian. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also known as Angra Mainyu in Zoroastrianism, Ahriman is the Persian principle of eternal evil and counterpart to the all-wise creator God, Ahura Mazda. Not created by but existing independently from Ahura Mazda, the two are in constant battle.

Today Ahriman is recognized by Parsees as an evil force of darkness and death. Parsees often fear and associate this darkness with the night. In keeping with popular custom, after sunset most village-based Parsees do not draw water from wells nor handle money. Daytime, on the other hand, is holy time.

The current Encyclopedia Britannica entry about Ahriman has this to say about the Parsis and their understanding of dark supernatural power.

The modern Zoroastrians of India, the Parsis, tend to diminish the importance of Ahriman by explaining him away as an allegory of man’s evil tendencies, thus restoring omnipotence to Ahura Mazdā.¹

Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian educator and founder of Anthroposophy, says the term Ahriman denotes the darker side of human consciousness. For Steiner, Ahriman is ego-based awareness centered on desire, ambition, greed, vanity, lust and the flawed, animalistic notion of “survival of the fittest.”

¹ Ahriman. (2013). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/10282/Ahriman

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