Beliefs of the Zoroastrians on Hell

by James Stuart

The history of Zoroastrianism extends back approximately 3,500 years to ancient Persia. Zoroastrian beliefs teach individuals to live a moral life in order to please their god, called Ahura Mazda. However, if Zoroastrians fail to live up to the moral tenets of their religion, God consigns that person to Hell, where they will suffer for their sins.

Morality

Zoroastrianism teaches that the concepts of good and evil are constantly at battle with each other. Human beings can either choose to follow a path of good, known as asha, or an immoral path of deceit, called druj. While the path of good will help individuals attain happiness and eventually reward in Heaven, the path of evil causes unhappiness in life and eventually a place in Hell where he will experience torment and suffering. The primary tenets of good and evil in Zoroastrianism are truth and deceit, meaning that a moral Zoroastrian is honest and forthright at all times.

Hell

Even among Zoroastrian holy texts, you'll find only a few overt mentions of the nature of Hell, but the Book of Arda Viraf describes the Zoroastrian Hell as a place of fire with a terrible stench. Further description divides this Hell into different regions such as the place of evil deeds and the place of evil words. In another reference in the book translated as Religious Judgments, the deepest pit of Hell is described as a place so dark that it is as if the people sent there are blind. The Zoroastrian Hell, however, is not eternal and at the end of the world God will purify all souls.

Demons

The demons that occupy Hell enforce the torments and rule over the people there. The Zoroastrian devil is the chief demon known as Aeshma, although according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, some members of the Zorastrian faith dispute this view and believe that Aeshma is a more abstract concept of evil. Six arch demons and several more lesser beings occupy Hell. However, these demons do not impose the punishments in Zoroastrian Hell, rather the individual imposes all punishments -- such as eating rotten food and performing repetitive tasks -- on themselves.

Consignment to Hell

To avoid ending up in Zoroastrian Hell, individuals must avoid sins such as adultery, slander and murder. Abuse of spouses and children, neglecting animals and being lazy are also sins within Zoroastrianism. When an individual dies, God judges the person based on the actions of her life and consigns her to Heaven or Hell where she awaits the end of the world. After death, a person also meets a young maiden who represents all of his actions and deeds in life, so that he can better understand his sins and good deeds.

About the Author

James Stuart began his professional writing career in 2010. He traveled through Asia, Europe, and North America, and has recently returned from Japan, where he worked as a freelance editor for several English language publications. He looks forward to using his travel experience in his writing. Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy from the University of Toronto.

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