Thus ahura-daeva, deva-asura in Zoroastrian and in later Brahman theology are in their meanings diametrically opposed.
The most striking difference between Zoroaster's doctrine of God and the old religion of India lies in this, that while in the Avesta the evil spirits are called daeva (Modern Persian div), the Aryans of India, in common with the Italians, Celts and Letts, gave the name of deva to their good spirits, the spirits of light.
He purified it from the grossly sensual elements of daeva worship, and uplifted the idea of religion to a higher and purer sphere.
It is the religion of the settled grazier and the peasant, while the ruder daeva-cult holds its ground among the uncivilized nomadic tribes.
Ormazd will summon together all his powers for a final decisive struggle and break the power of evil for ever; by his help the faithful will achieve the victory over their detested enemies, the daeva worshippers, and render them impotent.
So, too, fire-worship, especially of the sacrificial flame; the preparation of the intoxicating soma, which fills man with divine strength and uplifts him to the gods; the injunction to good thoughts and good works, imposed on the pious by Veda and Avesta alike: the belief in an unwavering order (rta)a law controlling gods and men and dominating them all; yet with this, a belief in the power of magical formulae (mantra), exclamations and prayers, to whose compulsion not merely demons (the evil spirits of deception druh) but even the gods (daeva) must submit; and, lastly, the institution of a priesthood of fire-kindlers (athravan), who are at once the repositories of all sacral traditions and the mediators in all intercourse between earth and heaven.
Probably, in the remote past violent religious disputes and feuds broke out: for otherwise it is almost inexplicable that the old Indo-~European word, which in India, also, denotes the godsdevashould be applied by the Iranians to the malignant demons or devils (daeva; mod.