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If anyone is interested I was able to contact a High Priest in the Zoroastranism religion. He sent me a bunch of Word documents explaining the religions background and beliefs. This one is VERY long so but I think if you have some free time it brings up some VERY interesting questions about the history of Christiantity. PBS actually did a special just last week on this religion. So here goes. Again this is a very long read so I hope you have some free time!!




The history of Zoroastrians, in the main, is closely tied with the history of Iran, or Persia as it was then known to the west. Besides her influence on the Asiatic world, ancient Persia for long centuries exercised a marked influence on Greece and Rome, and consequently on Europe. Several religious cults, such as Manichaeism, the worship of Anaitis (the goddess of water) and Mithraism which sprang up on Persian soil, flourished in Europe until finally superseded by Christianity. Indeed, there was a period when the prevalence of Zoroastrianism in Europe seemed imminent but for the intervention of certain historical events. Says Prof. A.V. Williams Jackson - "If it had not been for Marathon, Salamis and Platea, the worship of Ahura Mazda might have spread into Europe".





The very Rev. William R. Inge, known as the Gloomy Dean, in his Universal History of the World says with reference to Mithraism and the Church - "The Christians were both puzzled and annoyed by the resemblance of the Mithraic religion to their own ... The Church paid Mithras the great compliment of annexing his chief festival on December 25, the birthday of the "Invincible Sun" and turning it into the Feast of Nativity of Jesus Christ. So we owe our Christmas, or at least its date, to the religion of Persia". The date was actually chosen by Roman Emperor Aurelian in 274 A.D. to celebrate "Natalis Solis Invicti", the birthday of the unconquered Sun, following the winter solstice. The Church in Rome fixed the commemoration of the birth of Christ on this date, around 336 A.D.


In this context, it is interesting to note that the three wise men, the Magi, that heralded the infant Christ, were Zoroastrians. To this day frankincense and myrrh are offered at the altars of Zoroastrian temples all over the world. The story of the Zoroastrian Magi has been narrated by St. Matthew in the Bible and is the subject of an excellent documentary by Kenneth Griffith aired by Vision TV quite some time ago. The remains of the Magi rest in the inner sanctum of the famous Cathedral of Cologne, which was the only structure that survived the heavy aerial bombing during World War II, a fact providentially attributed to it being the final resting place of the Magi.


This early connection with Christianity goes much farther back to the time of Cyrus the Great, when he defeated the Assyrians and released the Jews from Babylonian captivity. The Jews heralded Cyrus as the Messiah, as prophesied two centuries earlier in the book of Isaiah 45:1. Apart from Cyrus, the books of Ezra, Daniel and others in the Old Testament make references to the other Persian emperors, Darius and Xerxes.


The first interchange of Zoroastrian thought with Judaeo - Christian ideology, therefore first took place when the Jews adopted some of the Prophet's main teachings and transmitted them in due course to Christianity and later even to Islam. Thus writes Prof. Mary Boyce - "So it was out of a Judaism enriched by five centuries of contact with Zoroastrianism that Christianity arose in the Parthian period, a new religion with roots thus in two ancient faiths, one Semitic, the other Persian. Doctrines taught perhaps a millennium and half earlier by Zoroaster began in this way to reach fresh hearers".


Zoroastrian ideas have played a vital role in the development of western religious thought. Some theological concepts shared by Zoroastrianism with Judaism and Christianity are:

-A belief in one supreme and loving God.

-The concept of Heaven and Hell and individual judgment.

-The ultimate triumph of good over evil.

-A strict moral and ethical code.

-The Messiah to come for the final restoration.

-The concepts of resurrection, final judgment and life everlasting.

-The Zoroastrian origin of words like Satan, paradise, pastor and amen.








For thousands of years, Persia has been in contact with every important culture, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Roman. The French writer Henri Berr says that Persia has been a factor of real importance in the history of the world, both because it has contributed towards the fusion of peoples and because it has added something of value to the logical development of mankind. The Persians, because they were in contact with so many people, and because they treated even the conquered so well, greatly contributed to the syncretic movement which prepared the way for the coming of the other universal religions.


In arts and architecture, the number and variety of cultural contacts that Persia had, influenced its own art and culture, and in the opinion of Sir Arnold Wilson, Persia's contribution to western art and architecture, whether in design or execution are both real and profound, powerfully affecting the aesthetic standard of neighbouring countries from the earliest times of which we have any record.


It is no wonder then, that at any given time, in the last two centuries at least, scores if not hundreds of scholars at universities in Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark, Italy, England, Finland, Russia, United States, etc. are engaged in a lifetime pursuit of Zoroastrian studies. And yet, paradoxically, the general populace of these same countries is by and large totally oblivious to the history and religion of Zoroastrians.


The reasons for this lack of awareness are varied. The general trend in the west is to think in terms of the real history of the world, beginning only with the Christian era, even though it may be noted that classical writers such as the Hermippus of Smyrna, Herodotus, Pliny, Theopompons, Pythagoras, Aristotle, Plutarch, Nicholas of Damascus, Pausanios, Strabo and Xenophon, have written fairly extensively on the history of Persians and their Zoroastrian faith, as early as five to six centuries before Christ. Indeed Pythagoras, Aristotle and others studied their various disciplines from the Zoroastrian Magi. In the Vatican, there is a fresco by Raphael called the School for Athens, showing somewhat anachronistically Zoroaster conferring with Aristotle, Socrates and Plato. Anachronistically, because many of the Greek writers themselves (Pliny, Hermodorus, etc.) place Zoroaster's time thousands of years earlier. It is worth noting in this context that the leading charge the enemies of Socrates brought against him was of introducing among the Greeks the belief in foreign gods. The teachings of Socrates are known to have introduced a belief in the God of Wisdom (Ahura Mazda); in the spiritual tendencies of Good and Evil (Spenta Mainyu and Angra Mainyu), in the immortality of the soul and in conscience (Daena) being the arbiter of right and wrong - all concepts, peculiar to the Zoroastrian faith.


Socrates' pupil Plato in his Dialogues and other writings deals with the Cardinal or Divine Virtues in a somewhat confused and tentative way, an indication that these are not his own creation but borrowed from a foreign source. Another Greek writer confirms this by expanding the doctrines of Zoroaster and Plato in the same book, treating them as if they had been philosophers of the same school.






When Plato talks about Righteousness as being man's highest ethical pursuit, he is simply echoing the Zoroastrian dictum of Asha, which dictum is further developed in Aristotle's Ethics. Again, Plato is following Zoroastrian beliefs when he talks about the Soul of the Universe, about the cosmos or physical world being manifested in God and about the soul's innate craving for Infinite Perfection.


The other reason for ignorance of Zoroastrianism is the total absence of any coverage in the print as well as electronic media. Even an excellent series like Ancient Civilisations on the educational channel, TV Ontario, barely mentions Persia in any detail and like many others, lumps Zoroastrian matters with Babylonia. The words Zoroaster and Zoroastrianism are never mentioned even once in the lengthy series. In the last thirty years, to my knowledge, we have been covered once on CBC radio and perhaps three or four times on television. Of late, the Toronto Star runs a little story around March 21 each year, at the time of the Persian New Year, making reference to Zoroastrians which usually contains factually incorrect material. For this lack of recognition, of course, the Zoroastrian community must share the blame but it is difficult to interest the media in a microscopic community, with limited financial resources.


We Zoroastrians are the descendants of the Aryan people whose ancient homeland near the Arctic Circle, was destroyed by glaciation in remote antiquity, thus starting the age of southern migration around 8000 - 5000 B.C., when the survivors roamed over the northern parts of Europe and Asia in search of lands suitable for new settlements. For some time the Indo-Iranian group lived in Aryana Vaejah, the land of the Aryans, north of the Caspian Sea. It is from the Avesta term "Aryana" that we get the name Iran.


Around 2000 B.C., they separated into two groups. One group crossed the Hindukush mountains and entered the Punjab and are the Indians of today. The other group split further into two groups. One group passed the chain of Caucasus and went southwards through Armenia and established small Aryan kingdoms, such as the Kassites and the Mitannis. From the Iranian branch of these settlers in western Iran, arose the Medes and Persians. Their language was old Persian and their priests were the Magi. The group that turned eastwards settled in Bactria, present day Afghanistan and the language of these Eastern Iranians was called Avesta, which not surprisingly had a close affinity to Sanskrit. Over a period of time, the fusion of these two Iranian groups eventually evolved into the mighty Persian Empire under many dynasties, until it came to an end with the seventh century invasion by the Arabs.


Of the Peshdadian and Kayanian dynasties, consisting mainly of legendary and saintly kings not much is known except for their history orally transmitted through the scriptures. To date, no archaeological findings of their existence have come to light.


However, it was in the Bactrian court of King Vishtasp of the Kayanian dynasty that Zarathushtra or Zoroaster as he was called by the Greeks, proclaimed his faith, the actual date of this event being a matter of scholarly debate. While some Greek writers like Hermippus and Hermodorus have put Zoroaster's time 5000 years before the Trojan war, it would be safe to place his time, perhaps earlier, but certainly no later than the Bronze Age or 1800 B.C.




The religion then spread through Persia and for a thousand years (559 B.C. to 652 A.D.) under three Persian Empires, stretched across Asia from Greece in the west to the Hindukush in the east, up into southern Russia and down into Egypt. Its followers numbered in the millions.


We have already referred to Cyrus the Great (559-529 B.C.), the founder of the Achaemenian Empire, being mentioned in the Bible for freeing the Jews from captivity and rebuilding the Temple of Solomon. With the Achaemenians, we have better evidence of recorded history. About a hundred years ago, British archaeologists found a cylinder of baked clay in Southern Iraq, believed to be the first recorded Charter of Human Rights formulated by Cyrus. In 1971, when Iran celebrated the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus, two golden plaques of this inscription were placed simultaneously in the United Nations building in New York and its European headquarters in Geneva.


Another Achaemenian King, Darius the Great (521 - 486 B.C.), though he suffered a setback at the battle of Marathon, was known for his many other noteworthy contributions to the progress of mankind. He built the royal palaces at Persepolis, the likes of which the world had never seen. One audience hall had a capacity to hold 10,000 people. He set up an elaborate administrative structure of roughly twenty-nine provincial governments called satrapies, which included Ethiopia, parts of India, Ionia, etc. He maintained a secret service, not unlike the modern CIA, to act as the "King's Eyes and Ears". He set up a well designed legal system for the administration of justice. Author William Culican remarks that the "Laws of the Medes and Persians" became a by-word of judicial incorruptibility and harshness, throughout the subject lands. Execution by crucifixion is a Persian invention. It was the Persians who gave the world legal principles enshrined in the law of evidence and procedure. Legal concepts like arbitration, release on bail, representation by a lawyer, power of attorney and execution of wills are of Persian origin, later picked up by the Greeks and Romans. In recognition of Zoroastrian contribution to the development of law, a statue of Zoroaster stands in the Court of the Appellate Division (near Madison Square and 23rd Street) with other law givers like Moses, Manu, Charlemagne and Alfred the Great.


The first postal system in the world was introduced by Darius with mounted couriers at equal intervals, not unlike the Pony Express of later times. Herodotus writing in the 5th century B.C., describes the Iranian postal system with the words


-- "These men will not be hindered .... either by snow, or rain, or heat, or by darkness of night". Centuries later, we find a similar sentiment expressed in a statement on the U.S. postal system.


The assertion by Herodotus and others, that Darius constructed a canal connecting the Red Sea with the Nile, was viewed with doubt in the absence of corroborative evidence. But this doubt was removed, when in 1866 during the excavation of the present Suez Canal a monument of Darius with cuneiform inscriptions was discovered and deciphered to read that -- "the ships passed from Egypt by this canal to Pars (i.e. the Red Sea) as was my will".




Darius also built a system of highways with rest stops and bridges, to keep the empire connected. The ruins of the Royal Road, 1500 miles long, connecting Susa and Sardis, were excavated by American archaeologists in 1950 and still exists after 2500 years.


Friedrich Krefter writing in the Illustrated London News describes the audience hall in Persepolis where representatives of the various countries of the empire would confer as "the world's first United Nations building" and describes the extent of the vast empire enshrined on the wall in tablets of gold and silver as "a Persian-dominated Commonwealth of the World".


Darius' cuneiform inscriptions on Behistun Mountain, at the foot of the Zagros Range in Persia, in three languages were painstakingly deciphered by Sir Henry C. Rawlinson between 1835 and 1846. This momentous breakthrough in the last century provided the vital key for Biblical studies in the world, thus unlocking the mysteries of many discoveries crucial to confirming Biblical history which until then was received with scepticism by many scholars.


Darius' son Xerxes I conquered the city State of Athens, burning the city as well as the temple of Athens to avenge the earlier burning of Sardis by the Greeks. He later suffered a serious defeat at the hands of the Greeks in the naval battle of Salamis. The Persians lost almost all of the Greek States in Europe. Due to discord and intrigue in the royal court, Darius was murdered, thus starting a decline of the Achaemenian empire which culminated with the defeat of Darius III by Alexander the Great, who looted and burnt Persepolis, destroying in the process, all the records and scriptures of the Zoroastrians. The "living books" of Zoroastrianism, being the priests who retained a phenomenal amount of knowledge in their memory, were also lost, when these priests were slaughtered on a large scale. Alexander's attempt to hellenize Persia was accomplished only in the reverse, with him becoming more infatuated with things Persian. Both his legal wives were Zoroastrian princesses whom he married under Zoroastrian rites. On his return to Susa from India in 324 B.C., he held a grand marriage feast at which eighty of his officers were married to girls of Iranian aristocracy according to Zoroastrian rites. Ten thousand Macedonian soldiers who also took Persian wives received wedding presents from him.


For eighty years after Alexander, Macedonian generals of the Seleucid dynasty ruled over Persia, followed by the Arsaces or Parthians, who ruled from 250 B.C. to 226 A.D.


Parthians, under Mithradates I, extended their sovereignty from the Euphrates to the Indus, after defeating Demetrius of Syria. Mithradates I introduced the parliamentary system of government with an upper house and a lower house. The Parthian Parliament was known as Magistan, "the House of Wise Men" after the priests and wise men who constituted the lower chamber.


The Parthians were the first to get into long drawn out wars with the Romans who were trying to extend their supremacy in Asia. So just as the Achaemenians stood against Greek domination, the Parthians prevented the Romans from dominating the countries of Asia.





The Parthians were regarded as a dreaded enemy by the Romans, after several defeats at the hands of the Parthians. Even Mark Anthony who tried to destroy the power of Parthia, attacked Media but suffered such heavy losses that he had to retreat and for about a century there was no large scale war between Parthia and Rome. Hostilities were resumed under the Roman Emperor Nero, when Roman armies crossed the Euphrates and marched against the forces of Parthia and Armenia. A treaty was concluded by which Tiridates visited Rome and received the crown as king of Armenia from the Roman Emperor.


Even though the Parthians were Iranian and Zoroastrian in origin, they were for a while subject to influence of the Greeks and later of the Romans. But in the 1st Century A.D. there was a reaction against foreign influence and the beginning of a national revival and reawakening.


Thus, it was one of the Parthian emperors, Vologeses I, who made the first attempt to salvage and collect both the oral and written traditions of the Zoroastrian faith. This salvage operation continued for many years, until it was completed in the succeeding Sasanian dynasty.


The Sasanian Dynasty had its origin in the province of Pars which had maintained a degree of autonomy under the Parthians. It was founded by Artakshir Papakan, a descendant of the ancient royal family of Pars, after he defeated the last Parthian King with whom he had a dispute. It was this founder of the Sasanian dynasty who finally completed the task of collecting the Avesta texts and preparing a standard edition of the Avesta scripture, with the help of his high priest Tansar. Thus twenty-one volumes were compiled, seven volumes in each of the three categories, with translations and commentaries in Middle Persian. Most of these scriptures were in existence until the 9th century but due to the Arab invasion and other reasons, only about a fourth is now available. Thus from 345,700 words of written text in the 21 volumes, the entire Avestan texts now consist of only 83,000 words. The shorter Avesta text used in the daily prayers by Zoroastrians is generally based on the edited text by the German scholar Dr. Karl Geldner.


Many of the extant manuscripts have been taken away by European scholars to the major libraries and universities of Europe. The richest collection which was in the University Library of Copenhagen, Denmark, is now transferred to the Royal Danish Library. Zoroastrian manuscripts are also preserved in:


1.The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

2.The India Office Library, London

3.The British Museum, London

4.The Bodleian Library, Oxford

5.The University Library, Florence

6.The University Library, Cambridge

7.The Staatsbibliothek, Munich







The next Sasanian King Shapur I defeated and captured the Roman Emperor Valerian in 260 A.D., an event immortalised in many rock carvings showing Valerian kneeling before the Persian King. Shapur II foiled an attempt by Emperor Julian to seize the Sasanian winter Capital at Ctesiphon, an attempt that also cost Julian his life. He also captured Antioch, the third city of the world and one of the most important in the Byzantine empire.


In 614 A.D. Khushru II captured Jerusalem and carried away the relic of the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified, an act which is in sharp contrast with the tolerance heretobefore practised by the Persians. Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire speaks of this event as -- "the ruin of the proudest monument of Christianity". The entire enraged Christian world combined under the Roman Emperor Heraclius to prevent Iranian domination of Europe. They invaded Iran and carried back the Cross to Jerusalem on September 14, 629, a date still celebrated as the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross.


But during periods of truce, there was mutual cultural and diplomatic exchange between the two great powers. The Byzantine Emperor Arcadius asked the Persian King Yazdezard I to adopt and educate his son. When the boy reached maturity he was returned to Constantinople and became Emperor Theodosius II.


In 970 A.D. the year in which prophet Mohammed was born, Khushru I was asked by the Arabs of Yemen to free their country from the yoke of Christian Abyssinians who at the instigation of the Byzantine empire, wanted to destroy Mecca and introduce Christianity to the Arabs. Khushru I sent a small army to help the Arabs, which defeated the invaders and Yemen became a province of Iran. The supreme irony is that seventy years later, these same Arabs invaded Iran and overthrew the Sasanian empire. This along with the disunity and intrigues in royal circles and other unhealthy trends in Iranian society finally resulted in a sharp decline in the influence of both the empire and the religion.


In previous centuries, Zoroastrians had many settlements in places like India, China and even Japan and Hungary. Zoroastrians from what used to be Soviet Georgia, called Gurjars, settled on the west coast of India in what is called the State of Gujarat. Many of the Brahmins of India were originally of Iranian origin but got lost in the Indian population. Many parts of North West India, Kashmir and Punjab had Zoroastrian settlements that got assimilated with the local population. Christian crosses in the St. Thomas Church at Madras bear Middle Persian inscriptions, indicating a Zoroastrian presence even in southern India.


The Rajputs, including the Ranas of Udaipur, claim their descent from Sasanian Zoroastrians. Zoroastrian presence in China is attested to by many travellers, including Marco Polo. The Hungarian author Maurus Jokai says that the ancient religion of the Magyars was the Zoroastrian religion. Even in the tenth century when the Hungarians followed King Stephen (997-1038) into Christianity, Charles Bizany tells us that they treasured the Zoroastrian books as their most valued possessions.






It is no wonder then that after the downfall of the empire a small band of Zoroastrians sought refuge in India, with which their ancestors were familiar, but this time the journey was made by sea. To prevent assimilation and loss of identity, they adopted a closed society model, which has helped them survive as a distinct ethno-religious group for over 13 centuries. Though miniscule in numbers, the Zoroastrian community in India has made a contribution far out of proportion to its size. Under British rule, the Zoroastrian master shipbuilders designed and built for the British navy, some 335 ships, including 16 men-of-war. The Bombay dockyards, which owe their existence to the Zoroastrian shipbuilders were frequently visited by the British Admiralty, including Lord Nelson. The flagship of the British fleet in the American-British War of 1812, the Cornwallis, was built by


Zoroastrians and it was on the same ship that the Chinese signed the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, ceding Hong Kong to the British. Another man-of-war, the Minden, also fought in that war and it was on her deck that Francis Scott Key, as a guest of the British during the shelling of Charleston, West Virginia, composed what later became the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. The first Indian Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the first Indian to be knighted by Queen Victoria, the first Indian to be appointed to the Indian High Court, the first Indian to open a paper mill, the first Indian promoter of the Indian Railway system were all Zoroastrians. The first textile mill, the first national airline - now Air India - and the first Institute of Fundamental Research leading to the nuclear age in India were all started by Zoroastrians. The first two nuclear scientists heading the Atomic Energy of India were Zoroastrians. The first three Indians to get simultaneously elected to the British House of Commons and demand independence for India were Zoroastrians. Even the Indian National flag was designed by a revolutionary Zoroastrian lady, who unfurled it for the first time in 1907 at the World Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, Germany.


The Hong Kong University buildings, the magnificent Sailors and Soldiers Institute Building and the only T.B. hospital in South East Asia in Hong Kong were all donated by Zoroastrians.


The first Zoroastrian in Canada came during the 1860's in Barkerville, B.C. to prospect for gold. The next one was a student, who obtained his dentistry degree from the University of Toronto in 1922. Another Zoroastrian family arrived in 1930 and bought 200 acres of land in B.C. but returned to Bombay for business purposes. Another Zoroastrian family was allowed to immigrate in 1941 from Japan. The eldest son served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, along with another Zoroastrian lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy.


From the more recent crop of immigrants, a Zoroastrian has been named a judge, one has been the President of a Crown Corporation, another is a Director of the Royal Canadian Mint and a Zoroastrian lady has been the first woman ever to be elected to the Council of the Chartered Accountant Institute of Ontario in its hundred years of history.







The person who conducted the two famous concerts by the three tenors, watched by millions over the world was a Zoroastrian. His father has been the Director of the American Youth Symphony for many years. And during the Bosnian crisis, the person chairing the meetings of the Security Council was a Zoroastrian. However total assimilation and loss of identity is a very real danger faced by the small community of Zoroastrians in Canada and the United States. In this, the question of intermarriage, which the Jewish community call the "holocaust of love" is a significant factor.


The Zoroastrians who stayed behind in Iran after the Arab conquest still numbered in he millions but persecution, forced conversions and successive horrible massacres, right up to the Afghan wars has reduced their number to a few thousand. The Kurds, the Tadjiks and the Azeiris all claim Zoroastrian ancestry but for all practical purposes they have been lost to the Zoroastrian community for the past few centuries.



Zoroastrian Religion


Religion is not a series of dogmas, creeds, superstitions or a rigid code of conduct. It is not restricted to some sacred books where some speculative philosophy may interpret occult phenomena with limited human intelligence. The infinite cannot be conceived by the finite mind. True religion cannot be divorced from life but has to be woven into our daily behaviour in all walks of life, including commerce, politics and industry.


The Zoroastrian Ethic


Zarathushtra preached the monotheistic religion of the One Supreme God, Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord). His message is a positive, life-affirming, active-principled one, which demands not so much belief, as reason and action on the part of every individual. His was not a prescriptive ethic based on obedience, fear or love, but rather, an ethic of personal responsibility. A Zoroastrian is taught to lead an industrious, honest and, above all, charitable life. There is no place for asceticism. The generation of wealth is part of the ethos, as long as it is achieved honestly, and used for charitable purposes.


Zarathushtra asked his listeners to attend to his teachings, and with care and clear mind, choose a life of intelligent reflection and active benevolence. The quintessence of Zoroaster's teachings are embodied in the triad:


. HUMATA Good Thoughts

. HUKHTA Good Words

. HVARSHTA Good Deeds









The loftiest ideal for man is to emulate the Amesha Spentas or attributes of Ahura Mazda:


.Vohu Manah is the Good Mind. Zarathushtra declared that man must think for himself before he can believe. He is given the freedom to choose between good and evil, and the responsibility to reap the consequences.


.Asha is the Divine Law - it embodies Righteousness, Truth, Wisdom, Justice and Progress. Every Zoroastrian strives to follow the Path of Asha in its highest and deepest spiritual sense.


.Kshathra is Ahura Mazda's divine majesty and power. As a soldier of God, man actively promotes good and fights evil.


.Armaity - the Benevolent Spirit, is Ahura Mazda's Purity and Devotion.


.Haurvatat (Perfection) and


.Ameratat (immortality) are the twin rewards of a righteous life.



Zoroastrian View of the World


Zarathushtra presents a view of the world in which Ahura Mazda originally creates an ideal existence in accordance with the Law of Asha. As the world progresses, there is conflict between the opposing forces of Good (Spenta Mainyu) and Evil (Angra Mainyu). In this cosmic drama, Ahura Mazda



gives man not only the freedom to choose between Good and Evil, but also the responsibility to actively promote Good, vanquish Evil, and move not only himself, but the whole world towards "frashokereti", the final resurrection, when all will be in a state of perfection and everlasting bliss. This commitment to a life of bringing about a happy, harmonious, morally perfect social order, is what the Prophet offered as the Zoroastrian faith.


Respect for the Environment


Veneration of the elements of nature (Fire, the Sun, the Earth and the Waters) and promoting a mutually beneficial existence with these elements is central to Zoroastrian thought, placing this ancient religion well ahead of its time. Many practices of daily living are founded on respect for mother nature, and great care is taken not to pollute the elements of air, water and the earth.








The Eternal Flame


Zoroastrian rituals and prayers are solemnized in the presence of an eternal flame, which is scrupulously tended with sandalwood and frankincense, and kept burning in a silver urn in the inner sanctum of every Zoroastrian temple. Fire is revered as a visible symbol of the inner light, the inner flame that burns within each person. It is a physical representation of the Illumined Mind, Light and Truth, all highly regarded in the Zoroastrian doctrine. Despite its pre-historic origins, Zoroastrianism has vehemently denounced idolatry in any shape or form.



The After-Life Doctrine


Upon physical death (which is seen as the temporary triumph of evil), the soul will be judged on the dawn of the fourth day after death at the Bridge of the Separator, where the soul, it is believed, will receive its reward or punishment, depending upon the life which it has led in this world, based upon the balance of its thoughts, words and deeds. If found righteous, the soul will ascend to the abode of joy and light, whilst if wicked, it will descend into the depths of darkness and gloom. The latter state, however, is a temporary one, as there is no eternal damnation in Zoroastrianism. There is a promise, then, of a series of saviours the Saoshyants, who will appear in the world and complete the triumph of good over evil. Evil will be rendered ineffective and Ahura Mazda, the Infinite One, will remain truly Omnipotent in Endless Light. There will then take place, a general Last Judgment of all the souls awaiting redemption, followed by the Resurrection of the physical body, which will once again meet its spiritual counterpart, the soul. Time, as we know it, will cease to exist and the seven creations of Ahura Mazda will be gathered together in eternal blessedness in the Kingdom of Mazda, where everything, it is believed, will remain in a perfect state of joy and undyingness.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Since Zoroastrianism seems to come up a lot on this board, I thought

I'd post a link to the Zoroastrian Avesta here.

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