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(2) Among the Iranians The kindred religion of the ancient Iranians centres, especially after its reform by Zoroaster, in the service of the true god Ormuzd (Ahura Mazda) , whose will is the right and whose kingdom is the good.This ethically very elevated religion promotes especially a life of purity, the conscientious fulfilment of all liturgical and moral precepts, and the positive renunciation of the Devil and all demoniacal powers.As a cult it is distinguished from ancient Vedism mainly by its temple service.The Hindu temples are usual artistic and magnificent edifices with numerous courts, chapels, and halls, in which representations of gods and idols are exposed. Although the Hindu religion centres in its idolatry sacrifice has not been completely evicted from its old place.Among the various sacrifices two were conspicuous: the soma offering and the sacrifice of the horse.The offering of the soma ( Agnistoma ) -- a nectar obtained by the pressing of some plants -- took place in the spring; the sacrifice lasted an entire day, and was a universal holiday for the people.However, that the gods were not entirely indifferent to man, but gave him their assistance, is proved among other things by the serious expiatory character which was not quite eliminated from the Vedic sacrifices.
Sacrifice and prayer are intended to paralyze the diabolical machinations of Ahriman and his demons.
" The Vedic sacrificial prayers express no spirit of humility or submission; even the word "thank" is unknown in the Vedic language.
The gods thus sank to the level of mere servants of man, while the high-priests or Brahmins entrusted with the complicated rites gradually acquired an almost divine dignity.
It was the acme, "the king of the sacrifices", the solemnities lasting three days and being accompanied by all kinds of public amusements.
The idea of this sacrifice was to provide the gods of light with another steed for their heavenly yoke.