Faravahar or Farohar is a well-known emblem of the Persian identity as well as a symbol of the Zoroastrian faith. ‘Faravahar’ is a Middle Persian or Pahlavi word and is derived from the ancient Iranian/Avetsan word ‘Fravarane’, meaning ‘I choose‘. The term is also associated with the ‘Fravashi’, the guardian angel and guide, which is actually the divine, uncorrupt and unpolluted part of the human soul. The Fravashi is the higher individuality that transcends to the Heaven when the human being’s life on earth is over.
The winged disc symbol of Faravahar is influenced by the Egyptian winged sun that symbolizes divine kingship. All parts of it represent a basic Zoroastrian philosophy. The circle in the center symbolizes the immortality of a person’s soul and eternity of the universe. The human body coming out of it represents the mankind. Its upward-pointing hand indicates that the way to Heaven is through righteousness, while the ring in the other hand represents faithfulness and honoring of promises.
The two wings, one on either side, have 3 layers of feathers each that stand for the pillars of Zoroastrianism – good words, good reflection/thought, and good deeds. The symbol’s lower part also has three parts representing bad words, bad thoughts and bad deeds that bring misfortune and misery to any individual. The two streamers/loops on the left and right signify the duality of good and evil, respectively.
Thus, Faravahar embodies the conflicting forces of good and bad and represents the Zoroastrian philosophy of promoting one’s positive force and suppressing the negative. It is a reminder to the Zoroastrians of the purpose of their life and that is to live in a good way that helps in the spiritual progression of the soul so that it unites with the Supreme Lord of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda.
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