DRUJ-, Avestan feminine noun defining the concept opposed to that of aṧa-. Controversies about the meaning of the latter word have naturally had implications for the understanding of druj-. The corresponding verbal root in Indic (druh: drúhyati) 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 aṧa- is “truth,” then that of druj- must be “lie,” but, if the meaning of the former is “order, justice,” then 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:druža-, 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 Aṧa and Drujreflected the revision and systematization ofan old schema of Indo-Iranian ideology, but the opposition was not simply that between ṛtá (order, truth) and ánṛta (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 i, and thus appears to have been the foundation of Mazdean dualism.

Druj- is attested eighteen times in the Old Avesta and is often found explicitly and systematically opposed to aṧa-, as in aṧa varatā karapā . . . drujəm “the Karapan preferred Druj to Aṧa” (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 ahunavaitī 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 daēuuuas (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 Aṧa (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 Aṧa, as the agent of Ahura Mazdā, is opposed to that erected by Druj (46.6, 51.10; Kellens, 1989). Just as Aṧa is the point of reference for the ratu “archetypal planes” and the mąθra “formulas” of Ahura Mazdā, 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 Mazdā or that of Druj (46.11, 49.11, 51.11: drūjō dəmānē). It should be noted that druj-, like all words expressing negative concepts, is not attested in the Yasna Haptaŋhāiti. The negative present participle adrujiiaṇt- “who does not deceive” is attested once in the Gāthās (31.15).

Many mentions of druj in the Younger Avesta are direct calques of passages in the Old Avesta; for example, vainiṱ aṧa drujəm (Y. 60.5) and analogous passages are based on yezī . . . ašā drujəm və̄ṇghaitī “as he will conquer the Druj through the agency of Aṧa” (41.1). Yašt 13.12-13, in which the Younger Avestan cosmogony is explicitly described as the arena for the dual confrontation between Aṧa and Druj and between the two mainiius, deserves special mention: “If the mighty fravaṧis 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 Vīdēvdaddruj- was sometimes substituted for pairikā- or for the feminine daēuua- (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.vī.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:druža-

(< drúǰ(h)ḭa-), frequently with the prefix aiβi; compounds in which druj- is the second term (e.g., adruj- “who does not deceive,” tanu.druj- “who has deception in his body,” miθrō.druj- “who betrays the contract,” *druxš.vi.druj- “who abjures the deception of the deception”); and derivations with a passive adjectival sense (anādruxta-, anaiβidruxta-) or the noun of action (anaiβidruxti-) 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 (hainā-) and famine (dušiyāra-; see Dumézil, 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 drəguuaṇt- (Younger Av. druuaṇt-) “partisan of deception, deceiver,” of which the superlative draojišta- and perhaps also the comparative draoj(ii)ah- are attested (Kellens, 1977, pp. 69 ff.).


Bibliography: (For cited works not found in this bibliography and for abbreviations found here, see “Short References.”)

G. Dumézil, Mythe et épopée, Paris, I, 1968.

J. Kellens, Les noms-racines de l’Avesta, Wiesbaden, 1974.

Idem, “Remarques sur le Farvardīn Yašt,” AAASH 25, 1977, pp. 69-73.

Idem, “Huttes cosmiques en Iran,” MSS 50, 1989, pp. 65-78.

Idem, Zoroastre et l’Avesta ancien, Paris, 1991.

Idem and E. Pirart, Les textes vieil-avestiques I, Wiesbaden, 1988.

F. Spiegel, Die arische Periode und ihre Zustände, Leipzig, 1887.

(Jean Kellens)

Originally Published: December 15, 1996

Last Updated: December 1, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 6, pp. 562-563