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The name Ahura Mazda means Wise Lord or Lord of Wisdom. In contrast to the polytheistic, pre-Zoroastrian deities of the Middle East, Ahura Mazda is an uncreated, spiritual being connected with concepts such as wisdom, law and goodness rather than distinct aspects of creation such as fire.

Ahura Mazda is considered both transcendental and immanent. That is to say, he is present within all things, but he is not limited by those things and extends beyond them.

He is also an approachable deity. Followers can embrace him and form a personal relationship with him in their daily lives without the intercession of a priest.

Depictions of Ahura Mazda

While he may have been anthropomorphized at some points in history, current practices completely avoid physical depictions of him.

Monotheistic Perspective

To modern Zoroastrians, Ahura Mazda is the supreme power in the universe and the only power worthy of worship. Thus, Zoroastrianism today is a monotheistic religion.
However, Zoroastrians do accept the existence of a variety of divine spirits or powers that are emanations of Ahura Mazda. All emanations are ultimately part of that single god and are never separately worshiped.

While there are many emanations, the two most central ones are the Bounteous and Destructive Spirits, twin beings of opposing realms of influence.

Spenta Mainyu, The Bounteous Spirit

Spenta Mainyu, or Bounteous Spirit, is the creative emanation of Ahura Mazda. While he is often referred to as the son of Ahura Mazda, this should not be taken in a literal sense, as he is a part of Ahura Mazda, a projection of the one supreme god.
Spenta Mainyu acts as a sort of buffer and intermediary between Ahura Mazda and the physical world.

Ahura Mazda is perfect and unchanging, yet he is also responsible for the creation of an ever-changing world. Spenta Mainyu is the vehicle for that change, becoming the manifestation of the will of Ahura Mazda.
Read more on spiritual intermediaries in other religions:

Angra Mainyu, The Destructive Spirit

Angra Mainyu, or Destructive Spirit, is Spenta Mainyu’s opposite, embracing the bad instead of the good, conflicting with Spenta Mainyu at every opportunity. Some have described him as non-creation.
While Angra Mainyu is an emanation of Ahura Mazda, it is stressed, that these emanations possess free will and chose their opposing paths. This allows an evil principle to exist without being specifically created by the ever-good Ahura Mazda.

Many historians now believe that Zoroaster understood Angra Mainyu as having always been entirely separate from Ahura Mazda, although not a power to rival Ahura Mazda. The issue is, however, debatable.

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