The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
CONCEPT OF DRUJ (LIE) IN IRANIAN CULTURE
By: Jean Kellens
Druj-, Avestan feminine noun defining the concept opposed to that of aša- (q.v.). Controversies about the meaning of the latter word have naturally had implications for the understanding of druj-. The corresponding verbal root in Indic (druh: dru‚hyati) seems to have the basic meaning "to blacken" (Mayrhofer, Dictionary II, pp. 79 ff.), perhaps preserved in Avestan in Yašt 5.90 and 8.5. In view of the opposition of the two words, if the meaning of aša- is "truth," then that of druj- must be "lie," but, if the meaning of the former is "order, justice," than druj- must mean "error, deceit." Christian Bartholomae prudently gave both meanings: "falsehood, deceit" (AirWb., cols. 778-82). Considering that the meaning "falsehood" corresponds to a certain kind of derivation (see the discussion of draoga-/drauga-, below) and that the meaning "deceit" results from a specific contextual usage (cf. the verb druj:dru‘a-, below), the opposition was probably between "real order" and "illusory, deceptive order," the first being linked to the lights of the day, the second to the shadows of the night (Kellens, 1991, pp. 46 ff.).
The opposition of the Iranian Mazdean conceptions of Aša and Druj reflected the revision and systematization of an old schema of Indo-Iranian ideology, but the opposition was not simply that between rta‚ (order, truth) and a‚nrta (chaos, lie), as in the Vedic religion, a detail that also argues for an interpretation different from "truth versus lie." Rather, it underlay all aspects of the religion, including cosmogony (see COSMOGONY AND COSMOLOGY i), ritual, and eschatology (q.v. i), and thus appears to have been the foundation of Mazdean dualism (q.v.).
Druj- is attested eighteen times in the Old Avesta and is often found explicitly and systematically opposed to aša-, as in aša varatâ karapâ . . . drujəm "the Karapan preferred Druj to Aša" (32.12). The debasement of both the word and the principle that it defined is reflected metrically, for the word occurs as an excess of syllables at the end of the second hemistich of ahunavaitî meter, probably reflecting a bungled recitation (Kellens and Pirart, p. 89). In one way or another the principle of druj motivates the action of the daêuuuas (32.3; see *DAIVA). The defeat of Druj is hoped for or sought (31.4, 48.1), and victory over her will either make her the prisoner of Aša (30.8, 44.14) or detach her from the side of the enemy (44.13). In the metaphor of the cosmic dwelling place that illustrates Old Avestan cosmogony the dwelling place erected by Aša, as the agent of Ahura Mazdâ (q.v.), is opposed to that erected by Druj (46.6, 51.10; Kellens, 1989). Just as Aša is the point of reference for the ratu "archetypal planes" and the ma…ra "formulas" of Ahura Mazdâ, Druj is the reference point for the fabricated words of the bad divinities (31.1, 53.6). In the eschatological sphere the refuge for the souls of the dead depends upon their merits: either the "residence" (dam-) of Ahura Mazdâ or that of Druj (46.11, 49.11, 51.11: drûjô dəmânê). It should be noted that druj-, like all words expressing negative concepts, is not attested in the Yasna Haptaηhâiti. The negative present participle adrujiiant- "who does not deceive" is attested once in the Gathas (31.15).
Many mentions of druj in the Younger Avesta are direct calques of passages in the Old Avesta; for example, vaini† aša drujəm (Y. 60.5) and analogous passages are based on yezî . . . ašâ drujəm və@nghaitî "as he will conquer the Druj through the agency of Aša" (41.1). Yašt 13.12-13, in which the Younger Avestan cosmogony is explicitly described as the arena for the dual confrontation between Aša and Druj and between the two mainiius, deserves special mention: "If the mighty fravašis of the just had not given me aid . . . to the Drug would have been the power, to the Drug the rule, to the Drug corporeal life; of the two spirits the Drug would have sat down between earth and heaven" (Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 269). In references to female demons in the Vîdêvdad druj- was sometimes substituted for pairikâ- or for the feminine daêuua- (Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 279 n. 11). It is possible that a similar usage appeared in Vedic (Spiegel, pp. 215 ff.). Druj-, apparently in the nominative form, is the first term in the compounds *druxš.vî.druj- "who abjures deception of the deception" (Vd. 19.16) and druxš.manah- "who has deception for thought" (Yt. 1.18) and in the accusative in drujim.vana- "who conquers deception" (Y. 9.19-20), all of which are hapax legomena (Kellens, 1974, p. 39).
The personal forms of the verb druj:dru‘a-
(< dru‚Î(h)a-), frequently with the prefix ai£i; compounds in which druj- is the second term (e.g., adruj- "who does not deceive," tanu.druj- "who has deception in his body," miƒrô.druj- "who betrays the contract," *druxš.vi.druj- "who abjures the deception of the deception"); and derivations with a passive adjectival sense (anâdruxta-, anai£idruxta-) or the noun of action (anai£idruxti-) are used almost exclusively in connection with deception practiced on the occasion of a contract (miθra-), when there is a question of its not being respected or of having a fraudulent clause introduced into it (Kellens, 1974, pp. 40 ff.).
The full-fledged Younger Avestan derivation in -a-, draoga (OPers. drauga-) has the obvious meaning "lie," which the noun of agent draojina- "liar" (OPers. draujana-) also expresses. In Old Persian drauga- and the personal forms of the verb druj:durujiya- connote more specifically the lie about dynastic legitimacy. It is in this sense that drauga- represents the first sin in the triad of calamities mentioned in inscription DPd 19-20, the other two being the enemy army (hainâ-) and famine (dušiyâra-; see Dume‚zil, pp. 617 ff.; Boyce, Zoroastrianism II, pp. 120, 123). The passive adjective duruxta- is used as an antonym for hašiya- "truth" (DB 4.6-8).
In Avestan druj- also has a secondary derivation, the adjective drəguuant- (Younger Av. druuant-) "partisan of deception, deceiver," of which the superlative draojišta- and perhaps also the comparative draoj(ii)ah- are attested (Kellens, 1977, pp. 69 ff.).
(For cited works not found in this bibliography and for abbreviations found here, see "Short References.")
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