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Avestisch frauuaši-

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image of Indo-Iranian Journal

Av. frauuaši- < * fra-uárti- belongs to the se root var ‘to chose’ and may be derived from the zero grade (*ulh1-ti-) or the full grade form (cf. YAv. hąm. var∂ti-, from the ani root var ‘to ward off’). The original meaning is ‘decisive choice’ (‘Wahlentscheidung’, Lommel). While the words var, fra-var ‘to chose’ and var∂na- ‘decisive choice’ are characteristic for the Gathas, in post-Gathic texts the verb developed the meaning ‘to profess’ and the noun that of ‘teaching’. In Vedic the use of v (- the ani forms are Vedic innovations -) focuses on the retinue system and the selection of priests (pravara-). The OIr. form *fra- árti- ‘decisive choice’ may find its origin in the retinue system as well. This concept designates the act of choosing sides in the fight between the good and evil forces. Personification of this idea led to the concept of an immortal being, a personal ‘protecting force’, belonging to each human being. Only the Fravaši of the one adhering to Aša is mentioned, only such a Fravaši is worthy of being worshipped, can be envoked, and is helpful.


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