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FRASHOKERETI . The Avestan term Frashōkereti ("making wonderful" or "rehabilitation" of existence) corresponds to Frashgird, the Middle Persian term for the Last Judgment, or final day of humanity's existence. The Avestan term derives from the expression "to make existence splendid." The concept is eschatological and soteriological and, already present in the Gāthās, is at the basis of Zoroastrian doctrine. With this concept Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) abolished the archaic ideology of the cosmic cycle and of the eternal return modeled on atemporal archetypes, proclaiming the expectation of, and hope for, an eschaton. He thus introduced a linear conception of cosmic time, an innovation in religious thought that had an enormous influence on humanity's subsequent spiritual history. According to his doctrine, the final event will be completed not because of a cosmogonic ritual but by the will of the creator: the resurrection of the body and last judgment are essential and significant aspects of the Frashōkereti.

In the Gāthās the Frashōkereti is felt to be near, but later Zoroastrianism developed an eschatological doctrine situating it further off in time, within the concept of a Great Year divided into three periods, each a millennium in length and each beginning with the coming of a Saoshyant, a savior born of the seed of Zarathushtra. The last of these will be the Saoshyant par excellence, the maker of the final Frashōkereti.

The Frashōkereti is described in one of the hymns of the Avesta (Yashts 19). It declares that druj, the "lie," the principle or deity of evil, will be brought down; the daiva Aēshma, "fury," will be destroyed by a bloody mace; the daiva Aka Manah ("bad thought") will be overcome; hunger and thirst will be defeated; and the great god of evil, Angra Mainyu, deprived of his power, will be driven to flight.

The Pahlavi literature of the ninth and tenth centuries ce furnishes further details. The Frashgird will be announced by positive signs: the abolition of meat as a food for humans and its gradual replacement by an increasingly spiritual diet, without milk, water, or plants; the progressive fading of concupiscence; and so forth. Finally, after the resurrection of the body and after a test by molten metal, through which all, both just and unjust, must pass, there will take place a great, eschatological sacrifice of a bull. Its fat, mixed with white haoma, will make the drink of immortality for all humankind.


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Gherardo Gnoli (1987)

Translated from Italian by Roger DeGaris

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