by Mineke Schipper, Humanity’s End as a New Beginning: World Disasters in Myths

20. The righteous and the wicked 

(Persian, Iran)

The Believer of the True Faith asks Ormazd the Wise Lord:

O Ormazd, as for the present and future,
May I ask you, how shall the righteous be dealt with,

at the last judgment, and how the wicked ones,?

Ormazd the Wise Lord replies:

O believer of the True Faith,

Don’t listen to the followers of the Evil One,

Only the righteous shall be saved from destruction and darkness. 

The Wise Lord will send three saviors to the earth before the ultimate triumph of good over evil, the Last Judgment, and the resurrection of the dead. First, in a period called the Period of Iron, pitiless demons will attack the earth and spare no one. They will make the faithful suffer rather than kill them. The light of sun and moon will be dimmed and darkness will be pervasive before a shower of stars will herald the birth of Anshedar, the first savior, champion of faithful believers.

A fifteen-year-old virgin will bathe in a sacred lake in Iran, a lake miraculously impregnated with the prophet Zoroaster’s sperm. That virgin will conceive the child Anshedar. Thirty years later the sun will stand motionless in the sky and keep the noonday position for ten days. At the end of this heavenly portent, Anshedar will meet with the angels and return to the earth to preach righteousness and exhort humankind to fight against evil. At the end of his time Anshedar will leave the earth better than he found it. People will no longer die of disease inflicted by demons; they will only die of advanced age, accident, or killing. Evil will be subdued, but not be conquered.

After a thousand years, evil will worsen, and humankind will suffer a long forgotten hardship. Suddenly suffering, disease, war, and hunger will appear. Once again, a fifteen-year-old virgin will bathe in the sacred lake. She will become pregnant, and give birth to Aushedarmah. And, again, the sun will remain in the noonday position when Aushedarmah, this second savior, will reach the age of thirty. Only this time the sun will keep the noonday position for six days. Evil will again be subdued, but not completely conquered. At the end of this period, people will refrain from eating meat and, as vegetarians, they will be less aggressive.

During Aushedarmah’s stay on earth, the evil dragon Azhidahaka who sleeps in a cave will awaken and terrorize the earth and one third of all humans and animals will be killed. However, the Lord will resurrect Keresaspa, ancient hero of the Persians, and he will slay this monster, so that good will again prevail over evil, be it temporarily.

One thousand years later the third and last savior will appear. His name is Saoshyant, the one who brings benefit. He will announce the unchallenged rule of the Wise Lord over all things. And he will proclaim the final judgment of the living and the dead. Saoshyant will be born of a virgin in the same manner as the first two saviors. The world will know him as the great champion of good on earth. A great flood of molten metal will sweep over the earth. This flood will kill the wicked who will suffer great pain, whereas the righteous will experience it as a refreshing warm bath.

After this cleansing of the earth, the Final Judgment will come. Saoshyant will rejoin the bodies and souls of all who have ever lived and resurrect them all. Then the Wise Lord, attended by angels, will appear out of the heavens. His light will be reflected in the righteous ones who will shine like the sun, whereas the evil ones will be marked by the filth of their doings. The wicked humans and Ahriman, the Evil One, will be consigned to hell forever. With the Wise Lord as the uncontested ruler of the universe, all death, disease, and suffering shall cease forever. He will re-create the earth and the blessed ones will enjoy eternal life in a new Paradise.