View Full Version : Zoroastrianism ???
11-12-2010, 03:12 PM
anybody have any knowledge on this
11-12-2010, 03:15 PM
Ahura Mazda- our beloved Lord, reins in Heaven
Ahura Mazda is:
Omniscient (knows everything)
Omnipotent (all powerful)
Omnipresent (is everywhere)
Impossible for humans to conceive
The Creator of life
The Source of all goodness and happiness
Zoroaster and God
Zoroastrians believe that Zoroaster is the prophet of God. Zoroaster himself is not worshipped, but through his teachings man can become close to God by following the path of truth and righteousness (asha).
At the age of thirty, Zoroaster had a divine vision whilst bathing in a river during a pagan purification rite. On the bank of the river he saw a 'Shining Being' made of light who revealed himself as Vohu Manah ('Good Mind').
Vohu Manah led Zoroaster to the presence of Ahura Mazda (God) and five other radiant beings, which are called the Amesha Spentas (Holy Immortals). This was the first of a number of visions in which Zoroaster saw Ahura Mazda and his Amesha Spentas; during each vision he asked many questions. The answers given to Zoroaster are the foundations of Zoroastrian religion.
Of Ahura Mazda’s creatures of the world, the first was the sky; the second, water; the third, earth; the fourth, plants; the fifth, animals; the sixth, mankind.
Ahriman- the Evil Lord, reins in Hell
Good and Evil
In Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda has an adversary called Angra Mainyu (meaning 'destructive spirit'). Angra Mainyu is the originator of death and all that is evil in the world.
Ahura Mazda, who is perfect, abides in Heaven, whereas Angra Mainyu dwells in the depths of Hell. When a person dies they will go to Heaven or Hell depending on their deeds during their lifetime.
It is generally accepted that in the Abrahamic religions, the concepts of Heaven and Hell, as well as the Devil, were heavily influenced by Zoroastrian belief.
The Immortals (Amesha Spentas)
Khashathra, the Righteous Power, who became the guardian of the sky
Haurvatat, the Peace and Perfection. She became the protector of waters.
Spenta Armaiti, the Holy Devotion. She guarded the Earth.
Ameretat, the Immortality, became the protector of plants.
Vohu Manah, the Good Mind, was the fifth Holy Spirit. He chose to protect the animals.
Asha Vahishta, the Justice, became the guardian of Fire. Lastly, the Wise Lord made His own Holy Spirit (Spenta Mainyu) the protector of the mankind.
good thoughts, good deeds, and good words leads to salvation
• A single god Ahura Mazda who is supreme. Communication between Himself and humans is by a number of Attributes, called Amesha Spentas or Bounteous Immortals. Within the Gathas, the original Zoroastrian sacred text, these Immortals are sometimes described as concepts, and are sometimes personified.
• One school of thought promotes a cosmic dualism between:
o An all powerful God Ahura Mazda who is the only deity worthy of being worshipped, and
o An evil spirit of violence and death, Angra Mainyu, who opposes Ahura Mazda.
The resulting cosmic conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity who is required to choose which to follow. Evil, and the Spirit of Evil, will be completely destroyed at the end of time. Dualism will come to an end and Goodness will be all in all.
• Another school of thought perceives the battle between Good and Evil as an ethical dualism, set within the human consciousness.
• Asha is a form of righteous, an all encompassing, natural law.
• Legends, which are probably not those of Zarathushtra's original teachings are:
o After death, a person's urvan (soul) is allowed three days to meditate on his/her past life. The soul is then judged by a troika Mithra, Sraosha and Rashnu. If the good thoughts, words and deeds outweigh the bad, then the soul is taken into heaven. Otherwise, the soul is led to hell.
o The universe will go through a total of three eras:
The present world where good and evil are mixed. People's good works are seen as gradually transforming the world towards its heavenly ideal;
A final state after this renovation when good and evil will be separated.
Eventually, everything will be purified. Even the occupants of hell will be released.
o A Saoshyant (savior) will be born of a virgin, but of the lineage of the Prophet Zoroaster who will raise the dead and judge everyone in a final judgment.
11-12-2010, 03:17 PM
ZARATHUSHTRA (Life and Teachings)
Tradition says Zarathushtra was born on 6th of Farvardin 30 Before Zarathushtrian Religious Era (BZRE = 26 March 1767 BCE). His father Pourushaspa of the Spitama clan of an Iranian tribe, raised cattle and was famous for his horses. His mother, Dughdav, was known for her enlightened ideas. The family lived near the bank of Oxus River in present day Central Asia.
Zarathushtra, inquisitive by nature, was a consummate thinker. He kept asking questions concerning the world and its creator. The priests of the ancient polytheistic cult could not provide him with satisfactory answers. His father invited the head priest to talk to him. The ensuing arguments enraged the priest so much that he is said to have dropped dead, perhaps from a heart attack, while driving back home.
Disappointed by the response from the priests, Zarathushtra turned to inner self and the thought-provoking nature around him. His search for the truth, for creation and its creator led him to God with whom he communed. At the age of thirty he proclaimed his mission and began preaching the new message to humanity.
That message, fresh today as it was 3800 years ago, shattered myths and established beliefs by challenging rites and rituals related to superstition and sacrifice, and made Zarathushtra an enemy of the rulers and priests. For over ten years, he and his small fellowship of companions were harassed and tortured. With determination and innate wisdom, and with great risk to his life, he decided to bring his divine doctrine to the chief ruler, Vishtaspa. Ancient Iran was vast. It included Afghanistan, Central Asia, eastern Iran, and Pakistan and was divided into many kingdoms with a council of kings. The council, a loose federation bound by mutual treaties, was presided over by the most heroic leader. The kings were known as "khshathras" or "habitation authorities." Some of these rulers were both warriors and intellectuals and were called "kavis," or sages.
Kavi Vishtaspa of the Helmand valley in southeastern part of the land was a powerful person and like other kavis, a man of learning. His court was full of sages, and he derived his power from the many conquests to his credit. Zarathushtra's enemies had already reached the court of Vishtaspa to doom his mission. Zarathushtra undaunted faced the King and his court but it was a struggle of epic proportions. It took two years of rigorous perseverance to deliberate and deliver the divine message to the king and the queen, their court and their people. It took two full years to eradicate all evil ideas, intoxicating rituals, bloody sacrifices, and duping doses, and to replace them with "Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds." Zarathushtra was 42 years old at that time.
King Vishtaspa, Queen Hutaosa, their children, and the people underwent a complete transformation. The princes forsook the throne and became zealous missionaries. The result was that the Good Religion spread far and wide within the lifetime of Zarathushtra.
His mission was a great success. Satisfied that he had his ""best wishes come true,"" Zarathushtra passed away peacefully at the ripe age of 77 years and 40 days. By tradition his birth is hailed and celebrated every year, yet his demise has never been mourned into a rite.
His trained missionaries preached the divine message far and wide. The Zarathushtrian fellowship widened to include people of many races and nations. For the first time in history, a universal religion was born with a message to inspire all of mankind.
His divine message was a unique revelation, a fresh outlook, a new philosophy, a novel doctrine. It cleansed the human mind of prejudices, superstitions, and evil thoughts. It denied multiple illusory deities and proclaimed Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord, as the only God, creator, maintainer, and promoter of the cosmos, the good, beautiful, and orderly universe. Zarathushtra's message stood for peace, progress, and prosperity on this good earth and a blissful life beyond.
His message is a living message. It is divine. It is based on the triple principle of "Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds." It promotes the human mind and provokes its thinking faculty. It solves the complicated problem of Good and Evil by placing them in the human mind as two opposing "mentalities," not entities. Good serves and promotes human society in an ecologically sound world, while evil damages and retards society's good progress. A human being, endowed with a discriminating mind, is born free to choose between good and evil. This places a heavy responsibility on an individual. A person is good if he or she chooses to think good thoughts and, in turn, speaks good words and performs good deeds.
One is evil if one chooses to think evil and consequently speak and do evil. Good deeds lead a person to wholeness and immortality, and evil deeds make one suffer and grope in darkness until light is found and truth realized. Moral rectitude, the good and the bad consequences of one's deeds follow every act one performs. Zarathushtra's divine message advocates that every person should choose to serve God, the society, and the living world. It advocates human progress through harmony with the beneficial nature. It accords perfect equality to men and women. Society is based on home, district, state, country, and world; or in other words, on family, community, nation, and world fellowship.
There exists no racial superiority, no caste nobility, and no professional priority. Superiority, nobility, and priority belong to the virtuous wise, who can lead the world to spiritual and material completion, and consequently to the Source of Creation and Totality of Wisdom. With the wise leading the world, the message is ever fresh and ever present. The religion of Zarathushtra is a self-renovating religion. It is a timeless guide to humanity.
The message of Zarathushtra is aimed at knowing God, loving people, caring for animals, plants, water, air and minerals, and at promoting the spiritual and material world. The message provokes the mind, sweetens the tongue, and invigorates the body to make life mentally and physically, spiritually and materially progressive, prosperous, peaceful, refreshed, happy, and loving. The message is "Divine and Zarathushtrian."
11-12-2010, 03:19 PM
SALIENT POINTS OF THE ZARATHUSHTRIAN RELIGION
To all those friends who have asked for some salient points of the "Good Religion" founded and propagated by Zarathushtra and preserved in the Gathas, his thought-provoking songs, to guide humanity to perfection and eternity through the triple Principle of GOOD THOUGHTS, GOOD WORDS, and GOOD DEEDS.
1.There is only one God, God of Subtle Wisdom, Ahura Mazda, continuous creator, sustainer, and promoter of cosmos (Songs 8 and 9).
2.All superstitious beliefs in false gods, goddesses and similar imaginary beings, and in the performance of rituals to appease them should be abandoned and all irrational ideas and practices should be given up (Song 5).
3.The religion of Good Conscience, the Gathic name for the Zarathushtrian religion, is universal and for all (Songs 9.10 and 17.1).
4.The divine enlightenment (SERAOSHA -- Persian "soroosh") reveals many divine faculties which lead to the understanding of the principles that form the cosmos, an orderly universe. The most important are SPENTA MAINYU, progressive mentality, the divine faculty that creates, maintains, and promotes; ASHA, righteousness, the universal law that precisely regulates every move in the cosmos; VOHU MANAH, the wisdom behind every righteous move; VOHU KHSHATHRA, good rule and the benevolent power that keeps good order in the universe; ARAMAITI, serenity and tranquility acquired under a good rule and required to promote the cosmos; HAURVATAT, wholeness and perfection achieved under tranquil conditions; and AMERETAT, immortality and eternity attained through wholeness. (These abstract principles form the main paints of most of the seventeen songs.)
5. The universe has been created good and is orderly progressing towards completion as intended by its Creator, Ahura Mazda (Songs 8 and 9).
6. Mankind has been endowed with the freedom of thought, word and deed, and has a bright mind to discern between what is good and what is bad for human society (Songs 3.2, 4.9,11,12).
7. Human being has two mentalities -- "spenta mainyu," progressive mentality, and "angra mainyu," retarding mentality. The progressive mentality helps him to improve himself and the world around him. The retarding mentality harms him and the world. The wise would, therefore, choose and promote the better mentality (Songs 3,4,10).
8. The human world on this earth is divided into two camps -- the righteous and the wrongful. The objective of the righteous should be to win over the wrongful into the righteous camp and thus establish a good life for all (Songs 3,4,10, and many more references).
9. What is good can best be understood by studying nature, advancing knowledge, harmonizing with all that is good and beneficial, and promoting the environment -- our human society and the rest of the living world (Songs 7.3, 8.6, 9.12,13, 15.3).
10. Mankind may, if it chooses, develop all the above divine faculties and become creative, in fact the renovator, maintainer and promoter of its endowed environment, and become spiritually perfect and eternally godlike (Songs 4.16, 8.3, 9.9, 13.3).
11.If a person does not choose correctly, his world continues to be chaotic, and he suffers the consequences until he adopts these divine principles (Songs 8.5, 17.6,8,9).
12. Sooner or later humanity will correct itself and attain perfection and eternal life (Song 10.7).
13. Caste, color, race, and nationality do not play any discriminatory part in the universal message of Zarathushtra.
14. Mankind is its own savior. Each person, guided by a discerning "good mind" and "good conscience," should work for the betterment of self and fellow human beings and living the world (Songs 3 & 10).
15. Men and women are equal and enjoy the same rights in a free and responsible society. Superiority lies in righteous deeds alone (Gatha songs 3.2, 17,5, A Airyema Ishya, and Haptanghaiti songs 1.6, 5.3).
16. The smallest unit of the humanity society is the family and the largest unit the entire human world. All the units-home, town, state, country, and world-should be united and bound together by love and wisdom (Songs 4.16,18, 5.1, 6.3,4).
17. Every person should acquire and promote wisdom. Human society should be an intellectual society consisting of selfless, devoted members (Songs 3.1, 4.6,17,19, 7.10).
18.Free human society should select only fully qualified persons of righteous records and merits for both temporal and spiritual offices in a true democratic environment, and thus establish the cherished and chosen ruling system (Yatha Ahu, Songs 2 &16).
19. The prime object of every person should be to make a better world in spirit and body. Human society must progress. Every member must persevere to promote it. (Songs 3.9, 7.5, 11.9, 13.11).
20. The Good Religion is a "SELF-RENOVATING" religion. Its continuous progress with the advancing world makes it ever-fresh, ever-modern. Modernization of thoughts, words and deeds, including traditional practices and rites, should be the order of the day. (Songs 3.9, 7.15, 11.19,15.11)
11-12-2010, 03:21 PM
ZARATHUSHTRA, A UNIQUE PERSONALITY
In whose birth and growth
The waters and plants flourished;
In whose birth and growth
The waters and the plants increased;
And in whose birth and growth
The entire progressive creation shouted with joy:
Hail to us, for the a "Thought-provoker" leader is born:
Henceforth the Good Religion of worshipping the Wise One
Will spread all over the earth.
(Farvardin Yasht, stanzas 93-94)
The above quotation from the Farvardin Yasht is the oldest poetical eulogy for a human being on record in the Indo-Iranian, perhaps the entire world literature. Prior to this, there were praises only for God, gods, goddesses, and deified personalities. The eulogy consists of seven stanzas, 88 to 94 in the Farvardin Yasht, a piece of the ancient scriptures in memory of the great men and women who served the cause of spreading the Good Religion of Zarathushtra.
The eulogy, although short, throws quite a good light on the birth and growth of a child, a buoyant boy who was born to Dughdav and Pourushaspa Spitâma on a fine morning of early spring 3,766 years ago. He was their third son. They named him Zarathushtra to rhyme with the names of his two elder brothers -- Rataushtra and Rangaushtra.
The Spitâmas were a prosperous cattle-raising family and lived near the bank of a river, later called Dâiti, the Lawful, in northeastern Iran. Dughdav was an exceptionally open-minded bright lady. She took care of Zarathushtra in education and provoked in him the desire to search and discover. She set him on the road to discover truth, the truth.
The eulogy shows that:
1.The child was born in spring when snow thawed, rains came, waters flowed, trees blossomed and plants grew.
2.The child, as he grew in maturity, was led to good words and good deeds through his good intuition.He realized the truth and recognized and comprehended the Wise Lord in an age when the world around him was completely engrossed in superstition.
3.He preached to others what he learned through his inspiration.
4.His message introduces a complete change in religious leadership. Leaders, both spiritual and physical, are to be elected, and their election is to be based on their competency and sincerity so much so that instead of blind faith or unquestioned trust, one is advised to choose Zarathushtra as his or her spiritual and physical leader only after understanding his divine message.
5.Man and woman enjoy freedom as equals.
6.At a time when every race considered itself to be the chosen people of God/gods, Zarathushtra did not discriminate between race, cast, and creed. The Good Religion is universal and for all the peoples of the world. It advocates preaching and propagation on sound bases of education and aims at spreading the message all over the earth.
In the eulogy Zarathushtra is constantly referred to as the "foremost" because he is the first and foremost in giving an entirely fresh outlook to every aspect of life -- spiritual, mental, physical, material, and ethical. His Good Religion is all embracing. He fully deserves the credit given to him as a Mânthran, a thought-provoker, and as a lord and leader of human beings in this bodily life.
Yet the ancient poet does not deify him because he knew well from Zarathushtra's teachings that God alone is the Lord and Leader of the mental and material, spiritual and physical existence.
Zarathushtra has remained a human being all through the 4000-year-old history of the Good Conscience religion, a phenomenon, indeed.
11-12-2010, 03:22 PM
This makes Zarathushtra enjoy a rather unique position among the founders of religions. He was not a god-incarnate who appeared at a particular period to guide an erring populace. He was not a son of God sent on a mission of salvation. He was not a messenger dispatched to diffuse a particular code of living. He was not a prophet, in the Semitic sense, who was in communion with what appears to be originally a tribal or ethnic god and who told his people what would befall them, what would happen to others, what to do, and what not to do. He was neither a priest, nor a scribe, nor an apostle who inherited a religious lore founded by his predecessors. He was not a lawmaker, divine or royal, who laid down specific codes to be obeyed without question.
He was not a philosopher in the strict Greek sense. He was not even a 'Vedic' Rshi who sang praises in honor of his favorite gods and goddesses.
Zarathushtra was not visited by a deity in the shape of a human being or some natural
phenomenon. He did not behold an angel sent down by God. He did not hear a loud divine voice from out of the void or from a shining object. He did not lapse into a trance and realize the transcendental. He did not experience an ecstasy and grasp the heavens.
Zarathushtra was neither a blind follower nor the promulgator of an ancient cult. He was not even a reformer or the promoter of a new trend. He is "foremost" in his mission, an entirely a new mission.
Yet he was, like others, the founder of a great religion. Like most of the founders, Zarathushtra speaks about God, teaches strict monotheism, and has a divine message to deliver. Therefore he is classified by almost all, including, ironically, Zoroastrians, as a "prophet".
Zarathushtra was, no doubt, an Aryan of the Vedic age, now conventionally placed between 2000 and l500 before the Christian or Common Era (BCE). As such, he was brought up in an Aryan environment. He knew the Rshis who received their inspirations through "shruti", audible revelation. He knew well the "karapans," the ritualistic priests, and their ruses for exploiting the people. He also knew the "kavis," the sagacious princes, and their shrewd policies for ruling their subjects. And he knew well about the "ahuras" and "daevas," the fanciful gods -- some abstractions personified, some natural objects deified and glorified by poets and worshipped in awe by the people.
Yet Zarathushtra neither claimed to be an Aryan nor was his message meant exclusively for them. He was human, and his message is for all humanity.
He ignored the "rshis" and their pantheon of gods and goddesses. He renounced both the karapans and the kavis for their deceitful deeds. And, like Buddha, another Aryan of a later age, he set out on his own to find out the facts. But the two, in their search for the same goal-realization-proceeded on different paths, one to perfection and eternal bliss, and the other to liberation from the desires and passions of individual existence. There is a reason for the different paths. While Buddha came out of his luxurious palace and was shocked to observe a miserable world, Zarathushtra left behind a world of gross superstition and was delighted to reach the abode of radiant happiness.
Treading slowly and observing keenly, Zarathushtra finally discovered Mazda Ahura , literally "The Super-Intellect Being", a god so different from the human-visualized gods, a god transcendental and yet so close as to be a beloved, a god very impersonal in mind but very personal in thoughts, a god that means only good. A Super-Intellect that wisely creates, sustains, maintains, and promotes Its creation. A Super-Intellect that is "spenishta mainyu," meaning "the Most Progressive Mind," the most increasing mentality and not a static godhead. A Super-Intellect that communions with Its creations and inspires them through "seraosha" the inner-voice within them. A Super-Intellect that has granted freedom of thought, will, word, action, and choice to creations and endowed them with good mind, truth, power, and peace to prosper and progress to wholeness and immortality.
Zarathushtra's one discovery, the best, MAZDÂ, provided him with all the principles of good life on this earth and beyond. Provoked by his mother when he was a child, he became "Mâńthran," thought-provoker par excellence for humanity. He laid the foundation of his universal religion, "Daęnâ Vanguhi," the religion of "Good Conscience", the religion that means constant progress, continuous modernization toward eternal bliss
11-12-2010, 03:24 PM
EARLY LIFE OF ZARATHUSTRA
Zarathushtra was a very inquisitive boy. He asked and learned much from his broad-minded mother and later from his father. His mother entrusted him to a good teacher. At the early age of seven, his increasing queries about religion led his father to bring him to the high Karapan, and his colleagues-the ritualistic priests of the ancient Indo-Iranian cult. Steeped in their own superstitions and groping in gloom, the prejudiced priests could neither change the boy's mind nor could they, because of his father's high position, convict him. On another occasion when the high priest was invited to talk to the boy and also share a meal, the boy was bold enough to refuse to join them in the pre-meal rituals. The outraged old despot left the house, rode off in his chariot, and 'dropped dead on his way home,' perhaps because, he, as gluttonous priest, had a heart attack.
Answering Questions The priests turned Zarathushtra away unconvinced, and he turned away from the priestly class and their fanciful falsities and colorful rituals for good. He turned to nature. He watched with care the domestic animals. He attended the horses, cows, and sheep, and played with their young ones. He became fond of the dog, the most loyal of man's friends. He watched the birds. He looked at the trees. He listened to the running river. And he looked up the sky-the sun during the day and the moon and the stars during the night. His mother taught him the names of several stars and planets. His father told him of astronomy and time telling. He became acquainted with farming and animal husbandry. He watched his parents attending to sick people and animals. He had an ear for nursery rhymes. Then he became interested in poetry. And his good old teacher had taught him rhythm and meter. He was on the road to becoming a master of all contemporary sciences. At the age of fifteen, Zarathushtra¦s father invested him with the girdle, today called Sadreh-pűshi or Navjote, that admitted him as an adult member of the family. As far as his studies of nature and society were concerned, he was far above the average person. He had taken every opportunity to learn something new from every person or quarter. Good things gave him better ideas, and bad things made him think of ways to find a cure. He had learned enough from his observations. He turned silent, pondering, meditating, increasingly spiritual. He started anew with questions. But now he put the questions to himself. Restless, inquisitive, Zarathushtra kept asking himself:
Who made the sun and the stars in their paths? Who makes the moon wax and wane? Who holds the earth below, who keeps the sky from breaking away? Who created the waters and who the plants? Who lends the wind and clouds speed? Which artist fashioned the light and the darkness? Which artist planned sleep, and which awakening? Who made the dawn, day, and dusk? And he added: I am eager to know all this and more. As the years passed, his questions moved from nature to society: Who made the child lovingly attentive to the parent? He went a little further: What is happening and what will happen? What rewards wait for the rightful And what for the wrongful? Which of the two courses is better? The one the true and honest chooses for himself, or the one the deluded and deceitful takes? And, almost in despair: How, how can false gods be good rulers, whose mumbling priests have delivered the world to fury and whose princes have forced it to lament?
Wisdom Wise Zarathushtra's head swam with queries. But all along, he observed one fact: There is a law that governs the universe, that regulates it. Sun, moon, stars, planets, days, nights, seasons, waters, plants, animals, and humans all have their positions ascertained and paths determined. The elders called it ASHA or ARTA precision, truth. But who established asha? Who promotes it? Zarathushtra contemplated in silence. And he realized that precision comes from wisdom. There must be a master mind, a good mind - VOHU MANAH - behind the whole system.
His mind contemplated "good mind." His mind scanned the system. It scanned and scanned until he felt fully that his mind was getting in tune with good mind. He realized that he was encompassed by enlightenment through Vohu Manah. He was enlightened. He received Ushtâ, radiant happiness that comes from enlightenment. And slowly he found that he knew the answers, rather the Answer. Each of his questions was an answer in itself, and that led to another answer, until he comprehended the God, the only God.
Led by his good mind-wisdom-to God. He called God MAZDÂ, literally "Super-Wisdom." Coupled with AHURA, the Being, he addressed his God sometimes as MAZDÂ AHURA, "Wise Lord," and sometimes on much lesser times AHURA MAZDÂ, Lord Wise. When lovingly addressing God's wisdom, he simply used Mazdâ, and when he laid more emphasis on God's existence and sovereignty, he used Ahura. Zarathushtra retained the term Ahura, literally "the living, the being," and which is Aryan for "lord" and which was applied to both gods and men. But he rejected daęva, literally the "shining one," much associated with the fanciful gods of the ancient pantheon. Mazdâ means supreme intellect, prime wisdom. This Zarathushtra added to Ahura to denote the Supreme Being with which he was in tune.
Until Zarathushtra, gods had been fancied mostly as powerful, ruthless, awesome, vengeful, and dreaded in the supremacy. Now it was wisdom - Mazdâ - that characterized the God discovered by Zarathushtra. Wisdom subsumed all good qualities he came to think of as God's: insight, foresight, power, sovereignty, progress, creativity, kindness, love, and above all, eternity. With wisdom prevailing, all the fanciful falsities faded away. So complete was the eradication that Zarathushtra does not mention any of the Aryan gods and goddesses by name in his Gathas--no Varuna, Mithra, Verethraghna, Apam-napât, or a goddess of waters, not even in contempt. Why mention something that had never existed! A super-wise God would not be simply the creator of Asha, the law regulating the universe, Vohu Manah, the good mind that lends wisdom to all other creations. That would make God a mighty maintainer. What about promotion and expansion? Is the creation complete, or is it continuing? Zarathushtra continued to question his good mind and to realize the answers.
He conceived and comprehended a new dimension in God -- SPENTA MAINYU, the "progressive mentality," the creative mind, the divine faculty that creates, sustains, and promotes the universe. He discovered God's continuous creative aspect. Although perfect and eternal, the supreme, as realized by Zarathushtra, is not an eternal perfection that gives one a static notion. A being that has created all it wanted to create within a specific time, and is now enjoying the restful maintenance of its creation with certain ups and downs, is not what Zarathushtra realized. Ahura Mazda is not only Spenta Mainyu, he is "most progressive." His is a continuous creative process. Always on the move -- a universe, a cosmos, ever-increasing, ever-evolving. Now that Zarathushtra knew his God, he turned to him, to him only, and put his questions to him:
11-12-2010, 03:25 PM
11-12-2010, 04:58 PM
11-13-2010, 09:34 AM
11-13-2010, 12:40 PM
11-13-2010, 09:27 PM
11-14-2010, 10:01 AM
do you have a question?
11-14-2010, 05:38 PM
How does Zoroastrianism say the universe began?
Zarathushtra does not give us a creation story. He hints in Ushtavaiti 2 that Mazda first created the stars and he attributes all creation to Ahura's Most Progressive Mental Disposition. There are other inferences in the Gathas for example
Creation/Cosmos is cyclycal as he refers to the turns of Creation
Mazda is ever creating and sustaining her Creation
The method of creation seems to have been emanation as it is said "For he who is first, thought that the lights emanated bliss.'
However, as I said, there is no Creation story in the Gathas. thousands of years later the Sassanians either wrote or copied from a previous tradition a creation story in which there were protypical man and Bull; that when slain by Ahriman ( The Uncreated of Sassanian Dualism) gave birth to life and even minerals . The first humans sprung up from a Rhubarb plant.
11-14-2010, 09:02 PM
What I find intriguing about Mazdaism is its direct polarity with Hinduism.
In India the Gods are Devas and the demons are Asuras.
In Mazdaism the Gods are Ahuras and the Demons are Devas.
The Norse Gods are called Aesir, the Greeks are Theoi (which is related to Devas) and Roman Gods are called Deus. Though I'm pretty sure the Norse and Greeks worshiped the same Gods by and large albeit under local names and local folklore.
It's strange is all. Odds are its just that the Indians and the Persians didn't get on well and invented a mythology to explain why there races were at odds. After all, their very Gods were at war.
11-15-2010, 10:46 PM
What I find intriguing about Mazdaism is its direct polarity with Hinduism.
In India the Gods are Devas and the demons are Asuras.
In Mazdaism the Gods are Ahuras and the Demons are Devas.
The Norse Gods are called Aesir, the Greeks are Theoi (which is related to Devas) and Roman Gods are called Deus. Though I'm pretty sure the Norse and Greeks worshiped the same Gods by and large albeit under local names and local folklore.
It's strange is all. Odds are its just that the Indians and the Persians didn't get on well and invented a mythology to explain why there races were at odds. After all, their very Gods were at war.
11-18-2010, 04:35 PM
In your opinion, what ideas best represents Zoroastrian ethical beliefs.
Zarathushtra taught a strictly ethical religion. Asha (Right Order) , has a physical Aspect in which it is the Laws of Physics, Biology ,etc. The Laws of Nature, if you will . But it also has an ethical aspect in which it is righteousness, justice what is correct , what ought to be.
Now this Order is not just an abstract law. It is an aspect and attribute of the nature of the Creator. So much so, that it can be said that it is Mazda (Most Wise) as Asha. The same applies with many other aspects of the Creator. Indeed, Zarathushtra presents us with a God whose very nature is resumed in His Aspects and who is willing to share these with mortals.
So Asha, Good Loving Mind, Serenity, Self Dominion ( kingdom) and several other Aspects of God's nature are available to mortals if they choose to live by them.
But let me back track, Zarathushtra's doctrines does not tell us do this , or don't do that, it does not have prescriptions. Instead it gives us principles to live by
For example the principle of choice which is resumed in Ahunavaiti _( It means Choice of the Leader) Gatha 3.2 " Listen attentively with your ears to the Best and Highest, ponder , and mediate on it with clear and logical mind, then, let each man and woman for them selves choose between the alternatives. Awake to this doctrine of mine before the moment of choice comes upon you unaware!"
This is the principle of choice which is then expanded and illustrated on what has been called the most important prayer of the Zarathushtrian religion the Yatha Ahu. Actually is not truly a prayer but a Manthra , a thought provoking message , that is a message to be meditated upon. it reads as follows
Both the leader and the spiritual guide must be chosen according to their store of righteousness ( asha)) both these appointments are made through the good loving mind; so that the acts of life many be done for the Most Wise and the Dominion of the Lord will be indeed where those chosen to lead and guide become the rehabilitators of the opressed. ( Amplified Version)
Asha is defined in one of these Manthras ( The Ashem Vohu) as the very standarde of goodness ; It reads The Right Order good loving, Best and Highest it is , enlightenment it is. Enlightenment comes to him who is for the right and for the highest only for their own sake, the Right Order this is. (Amplified Version)
So we chose according to the Right Order because it is goodness itself and the standard there of. Indeed its delievering wrong to the Right order that allows us to achieve unto god likeness
In Ahunavaiti 3.8 it is said: And when the erred ones have received their recompense they too shall be taught how to deliever wrong ( druj) unto Asha . Then the power of evil shall be shatered and will be no more and all shall share in the serene abode of the .Most Wise
As for maxims we have those also
For the Most Wise Lord has established rewards as the consequences of our choices good for the good and bad for the bad , untold bliss for the righteous and constant woe for the wrongful
Enlighted be the man who works for the enlightenment of others
Righteousness is the only path, all other paths are no paths at all
Good thought, Good Words and Good Deeds, these resume the life of the righteous
11-19-2010, 01:48 PM
1)What is Navjote?
Navjote is that ceremony in which a Zoroastrian child is invested with Sudreh and kusti.
2)What is the meaning of the word Navjote?
The word Navjote means ' a new initiate who offers prayers '.
3)Why has the child to undergo Naahn or sacred bath before the Navjote ceremony?
The child has to undergo sacred bath before Navjote ceremony for the sake of external purification.
4)Why is the child given Nirang or consecrated bull's urine to drink before the navjote ceremony?
The child is given Nirang to drink before the Navjote ceremony for the sake of internal internal purification.
5)Why is the child given a leaf of pomegranate tree to chew before the Navjote ceremony?
The child is given a leaf of pomegranate tree to chew before the navjote ceremony because the evergreen pomegranate tree reminds one of the immortality of soul.
6)Why does the priest initiating the child holds his hands while investing him with sacred girdle.
Its significance is that the priest transfers his own magnetism to the child, who is to be invested with spiritual strength together with the sacred shirt and the girdle.
7)What is the childs responsibility after Navjote?
After navjote the child enters a new phase of life which aims particularly at moral and spiritual uplift.
8)What confession does the child make at the navjote ceremony?
The child declares his faith openly to the assembly on the Mazdayasni religion.
9)What is Sudreh?
The word Sudreh means true or advantegeous path and constantly it reminds every Zoroastrian to tread this path and not to abandon it even in the midst of the most adverse circumstances.
10)Of what is Sudreh made?
Sudreh is made of white cambric because white represents purity and it is also the symbol of Mazdayasni religion (Meher Yast - 126)
11)What do the two parts of Sudreh signify?
The two parts of the Sudreh signify the material and the spiritual world.
12)What is the most important part of Sudreh?
The most important part of Sudreh is Kisseh i Kerfeh or bag of virtuous deeds and it signifies that man in the material world should fill this bag with virtuous deeds so that the future life would be secure.
13)Why should Sudreh be worn next to skin ?
Sudreh should be worn next to the skin because our body constantly gives off heat with other impurities from within and Sudreh absorbs them.
14)What is Kusti?
Kusti shows the direction where every Zoroastrian should aim at and that is the direction of Light and Truth.
15)Of what is Kusti made up of and why?
Kusti is made of lambs wool because lamb typifies innocence.
16)How is kusti made?
Kusti is first spun into 72 threads which are then woven into a kusti on a handloom.
17)Why is kusti tied in the middle of the body?
Tying kusti in the middle of the body signifies that a Zoroastrian should always put into practice the principle of moderation or golden mean in all his activities.
18)What does the 4 knots of the kusti signify?
The four knots of the kusti signify that:
1. Ahura Mazda is the only one unequalled
2. The religion of Mazda worship is the word of Ahura Mazda
3. Zarathustra is the prophet sent by Ahura Mazda and
4. One must think good thoughts, speak good words and practice good deeds.
19)What does kusti symbolize?
Kusti serves as a permanent symbol of service to God.
20)Why should we wear sudreh & kusti?
Sudreh & kusti play a vital part in the development of an overall personality.
21)When did the custom of putting on kusti start?
It started from the time of king Jamshed of the Peshdadian dynasty and Zarathustra continued it. (Pahlavi Dadastan i Denik XXXVIII)
22)Is it proper for a Zoroastrian to move about without sudreh and kusti?
It is a sin for a Zoroastrian to move about without sudreh and kusti.
23)What should a Zoroastrian do before untying and tying kusti?
Before untying or tying kusti a Zoroastrian should wash thr external parts of the body. This is known as paadyaab.
24)What is the importance of fire in the zoroastrian religion?
Fire is the most excellent and the most useful of Gods creations.
25)What is fire called in the Avesta?
In Avesta fire is called the son of Ahura Mazda.
26)What should a Zoroastrian do rising up early in the morning?
A Zoroastrian risiing up early in the morning should put on clothes, wash hands, search for fuel and enkindle the household fire. (vendidad 18-19)
27)Where should the fire be installed?
The fire should be installed at a proper place after performing certain ceremonies.
28)What are the three grades of fire amoung the Zorastrians?
The three grades of fire amoung the Zoroastrians are Atash Behram, Atash Adaran and Atash Dadgah.
29)How are the different grades of fire installed?
To install an Atash Behram sixteen different kinds of fire are required, for an Atash Adaran four and for Atash Dadgah only one fire is required. They are installed after performing some ceremonies which are the most elaborate in the case of an Atash Behram.
30)Who should tend the fire of an Atash Behram?
Befitting its exalted position fully qualified priests who have undergone the highest form of purificatory ritual (Barshnum) and observe Khub, that is, who perform the Yasna ceremony, can tend the fire of an Atash Behram.
31)Why do the Zoroastrians pray before fire?
When the Zoroastrians pray before the fire they offer their worship to Ahura Mazda through fire which is the symbol of Ahura Mazda.
32)What constitutes a sin against fire?
To burn dead, decomposing matter on fire is regarded as sin.
33)What are the objects of Zoroastrian rituals and ceremonies?
The first object of Zoroastrian rituals and ceremonies is to purify atmosphere with fire burning with incense, the second is to secure blessings of divine spirits, and the third is to express gratitude to Ahura Mazda for the seasonal bounties bestowed upon mankind.
34)What are the high ceremonies of the Zoroastrian religion?
These are mainly Yazashne, Visperad and Vandidad ceremonies.
35)By whom are these ceremonies performed?
These ceremonies are performed by those priests who have undergone Barshnum and are pure in body and soul.
36)Where are these ceremonies performed?
These ceremonies are performed in a specially reserved place in fire temples, called urves.
37)By what other names are these ceremonies known?
These ceremonies are also known as paav Mahal ceremonies. Paav means pure and Mahal means building.
38)What are the requisites for these ceremonies known?
The requisites for these ceremonies are derived from minerel, vegetable and animal kingdoms representing different creations.
39)What is the main object of Yazazne ceremony?
The main object of Yazashne ceremony is to show different creations are inter-related and work for mutual benifit and how man should be in tune with different creations represented by a variety of requisites in the ceremony.
40)What is the main part of Yazashne ceremony?
The main part of Yazashne ceremony is the pounding of Homa twigs and extracting Homa juice.
41)On what occasions is Visperad ceremony performed?
Visperad ceremony is performed at seasonal festivals (Gaahambars)
42)When is Vendidad ceremony performed?
Vendidad ceremony is performed at mid-night after 12 O clock because evil influences predominate especially in the dark at night.
43)What is Baaj?
Baaj is a religious prayer recited in honour of the divine spirits (Amesh Spentas and Yazatas) or the guardian spirits (Fravashis)
44)What is Afringaan?
Afringaan or prayer of blessing is a ceremony performed by two priests and sometimes even by a single priest with few requisites as fruits, flowers, water, milk and sandalwood.
45)What is Farokhshi?
Farokhshi is also a simple ceremony with the same requisites as those in Afringaan ceremony.
46)What is stum?
Stum is a prayer in praise of the guardian spirits (Fravashis)
47)What is Jashan?
Jashan is a prayer with ceremonial offerings performed by 2 priests with the attendance of other Zoroastrians who also pray.
48)Why are ceremonies after death neccessary?
Ceremonies after death are neccessary as they guard the soul of the deceased from evil influences because according to Zoroastrian teachings the soul of a person after death remains within precincts of this world for three nights (Fragments of Haadokht Nask chs II and III)
49)Why are ceremonies during three days after death performed in honour of Sraosha?
This is because the soul is clothed in a more tenous astral body and is under the guidance and protection of Sraosha who is the protector of men in both the worlds (Larger Srosh Yasht - 25) and the soul guides till its journey to the next world on the dawn of the fourth day.
50)Why are ceremonies performed for the souls of the dead after the dawn of the fourth day after death?
These ceremonies offer consolation to the soul of the dead in the spiritual world and they bless the living.
51)What are the Farvardegan or Muktad days?
These are the ten days at the end of the Zoroastrian calender year when the Guardian Spirits (Fravashis) move about freely in the material world expecting prayer and offerings from the living. (Farvadin Yasht 49,50)
52)By what name is the supreme god called in Zoroastrian religion?
The supreme god in the Zoroastrian religion is known as Ahura Mazda.
53)What does the word Ahura Mazda mean?
The word Ahura Mazda means 'Omniscient Lord'
54)How is Ahura Mazda potrayed in the Zoroastrian religion?
Ahura Mazda is potrayed in the Zoroastrian religion as the highest epitome of virtues (Yasna 1-1)
55)With what is the concept of Ahura Mazda associated?
The concept of Ahura Mazda is associated with light.
56)Can we see Ahura Mazda?
No we cannot see Ahura Mazda because He is the most spiritual or invisible (Yasna 4-7) and pervades the entire creation.
57)What is the meaning of Amesha Spenta?
Amesha Spenta means Bountiful Immortal.
58)How many Amesha Spentas are there and what do they signify?
Amesha Spenta are seven in all: Ahura Mazda, Vohumana, Asha Vahista, Khshathra Vairaya, Spenta Armaiti, Haurvataat and Ameretaat and they signify the attributes of Ahuara Mazda.
59)Over what creations do the Amesha Spenta Preside?
The Amesha Spentas preside over mankind, animals, fire, metals, earth, water and plants.
60)Does the theory of Amesha Spentas lead to the worship of many gods?
No, Amesha Spentas are by no means independent gods, but they are of the same thought, word and deed with Ahura Mazda who is said to be their father and preceptor (Fravardin Yasht -83), and who has created them all. (Hormuzd Yasht -25)
61)What is the meaning of Yazata.
Yazata means adorable one.
62)How many Yazatas are there and who do they signify?
The exact number of Yazatas cannot be specified and they are in rank next to Amesha Spentas.
63)How are Yazatas classified?
The Yazatas are classified as spiritual and material (Khurshed Nyaish-9) the former personifying some virtues and the latter presiding over material creations.
64)What is the meaning of Fravashi?.
Fravashi means a guardian spirit.
65)What do Fravashis signify?
Fravashis are a seperate class of divine entities which permeate all creations.
66)Has every human being has his Fravashi?
Yes, every human being has his Fravashi.
67)What is the difference between soul and Fravashi?
According to Zoroastrian Teachings a man's soul is accountable after death for all the deeds committed in the material world, while Fravashis function is to guide the soul, like a divine monitor, in the perilous sea of life.
68)How are Fravashis classified?
Fravashis are classified as those of the departed, of the living, and those of the unborn.
69)What is the function of the Fravashis as regards different creations?
Fravashis sustain the sky, the water, the earth, the cattle, develop physical organs of a child when it is conceived in the mother's womb (fravardin Yasht -86), energize life and are the prime source of motion.
70)What is the main occassion for the invocation of Fravashis?
Fravashis are mainly invoked during the during the Fravardegaan days, or the last ten days at the end of Zoroastrain calendar years.
71)What is Daeva and Druj?
Daeva and Druj are evil spirits which lead mankind astray from the path of rectitude.
72)In what different senses are the words Daeva and Druj used?
They are used in three different senses (i) Invisible evil spirits acting against Amesha Spentas and Yazatas, (ii) Thieves, robbers, tyrants, murderers and sinners referred to as Daeva and Druj, and (iii) Evil qualities in man like anger, jealously, avarice, lust etc. are also known as Daevas.
73)What is Druj-i-Nasush?
Germs which give rise to decomposition and disease are known as Druj-i-Nasush.
74)What is Daevaysni?
Daevayshni means worship of many gods and their idols.
75)What does Daevayasni consist of?
It consists of false beliefs and superstitions about true idea of divinity.
76)What are the types of Daevaysnis?
1. Worshipping the forces of nature like thunder, lightening, storm as well as stones, trees and ferocious animals out of fear,
2. Worshipping imaginary gods presiding over creations like sky, sun, moon, air, fire and water, making their idols and installing them in the temples.
77)What is Mazdayani?
Mazdayasni declares its belief in one omniscient lord-Ahura Mazda who creates, sustains, protects and administers the affairs of the universe through eternal laws.
78)Who first listened to the teachings of Ahura Mazda?
Gayomard, the first sovereign of the Peshdadian dynasty which ruled in ancient Iran, first listened to Ahura Mazda and embraced Mazdayasni religion.
79)Who after Gayomard put faith in Mazdayasni religion?
After him a long line of illustrious kings of Iran like Hosang, Tehmuras, Jamshed, Faredoon, Minocher, Kay kobad, Kay Kaus, Kay Lohrasp and a holy sage named Hom put faith in Mazdayashni religion and propagated its teachings amoung the Iranians resisting the power and influences of the Daevayashnis.
80)Who finally strengthened Mazdayashni religion?
Zarathushtra finally strengthened Mazdayashni religion and secured for it a firm foothold in Iran dealing a severe blow to Daevayashnis and image-worship.
81)What is Asha?
Asha signifies order and regularity in nature according to which all its activities like rising and setting of the sun, waxing and wanning of the moon, rise and fall of tides, the dawn, the day and night going their daily rounds and non stop seasonal changes take place.
82)What is Ashoi?
To put the principle of Asha observable in nuture in day-to-day life is called Ashoi.
83)What does Ashoi include?
It includes all the principal virtues, but specially it refers to purity which can be classified as physical purity and purity of soul.
84)Why has Zoroastrian religion stressed on purity?
It is said that purity is the best for man from birth and purity itself is Mazdayashni religion (Vendidad 5-21) because all round purity - physical, mental and that of environment leads to the uplift of the soul.
85)How is physical purity observed?
Physical purity is classified as external and internal the former consisting in keeping the body pure externally and the latter in taking proper nourishing food and observing temperance in eating habits.
86)How is the purity of soul observed?
The purity of soul is observed by keeping it from evil propensities like lust, anger, avarice, temptation, pride and jealousy which are most often called the six enemies of the soul.
87)What are the purificatory rituals enjoined by the zoroastrian religion?
These are mainly these: 1) Paadyaab 2) Barshnum, the last being the highest form of purification.
88)What is the fundamental teaching of the Zoroastrian religion?
The fundamental teaching of the Zoroastrian religion is Humata, Hukhta, Hvarshta or good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
89)What is the most important of the triad according to Zoroastrian religion?
According to the Zoroastrian religion good thoughts is the most important of the triad because thoughts when expressed through mouth become words and when put into practice become actions.
90)How can we please Ahura Mazda?
We can please Ahura Mazda through virtuous deeds.
91)What does the Zoroastrian religion enjoin upon man?
To keep in readiness his hands, feet and intelligence to perform lawful, timely and good deeds.
92)What is the best type of prayer?
The best type of prayer is that which helps a person to improve his life physically, mentally and spritually and inspires him to serve the surrounding world to the best of his ability.
93)How should true prayers be offered?
True prayers should be offered with devotion, sincerity of heart and deep yearning for spiritual joy.
94)What purpose does prayer serve?
Prayer purifies heart, gives inner strength and self-confidence and leads to enlightenment.
95)What is Maanthra?
Maanthra are the holy spells of the Avesta which when properly recited produce a soothing effect on mind and body espicially on the former.
96)What is Tarikat?
Tarikat is an Arabic word which means religious injunctions to be observed in daily life.
97)How does Tarikat help man in his daily life?
Tarikat help man gain control over his mind and body and thus discipline his life rendering the mind receptive to noble ideas and impressions much in the same way as a blacksmith hammers a piece of iron to make it malleable.
98)What are some important Tarikats of the Zoroastrian religion?
They are i) to recite one Ashem Vohu while rising from bed early in the morning ii) to enkindle the household fire after arising from bed, iii) to wash the exposed parts of the body after answering natures call and untie & tie the kusti or the sacred girdle reciting the kusti prayer iv) to observe silence while eating meals and excreting waste matter from the body after reciting certain small prayers and v) to spare time for praying to God.
99)What purpose these Tarikats serve?
These Tarikats act as stepping-stones to true religious and moral life.
100)Why according to the the Zoroastrian religion, man is a unique creation of God?
Man is a unique creation of God because he can think and speak, so God has entrusted to him the Soverignity of time over creations for their management, by virtue of his skill and power of speech.
11-19-2010, 01:49 PM
101 What is the Zoroastrian ideal of being in tune with future?
:To be in tune with nature is to explore every possibility to be a source of joy to all creations following the fundamental principle observable in the workings of nature viz.it is better to give than to receive.
102 What virtue should a pure Zoroastrian follow in his dealings with nature?
:A true Zoroastrian should observe temperance or moderation in his dealings with nature,never to over-exploit the bounties of nature as that would seriously disturb ecological balance to the detriment of mankind.
103 How should a true Zoroastrian regard this world?
:A true Zoroastrian should regard this world as a battlefield and himself as a soldier under the chieftainship of Ahura Mazda to do battle against the forces of Darkness and Wrong.
104 How should a true Zoroastrian perform actions?
:A true Zoroastrian should perform actions in accordance with the will of Ahura Mazda,that is virtuous deeds completely devoid of egoism dedicating them to the supreme god.
105 What is the true Zoroastrian way of life?
:The true Zoroastrian way of life consists in spreading happiness all around - happiness unto him through whom happiness unto anyone whomsoever.(Yasna 43-1)
106 What is Haoma?
:Avestic Hoama and Vedic Soma is the name of a plant known to the ancient iranians and the vedic Aryans from ancient times.
107 Who identified the Haoma plant?
:The man who identified the Haoma plant was a holy sage named also Haoma who was well advanced in matters spiritual and who got the Iranians acquainted with the excellent qualities of the plant.
108 What is the main quality of the Haoma plant?
:The Hoama plant is advantageous both for the body and the soul,because all other intoxicating drinks lead to anger,but the drink prepared from Haoma plant is joy-giving and leads to holiness,and it renders the mind of the poor exalted.Today in Yazashne ceremony juice is extracted from Haoma twigs.
109 What different kinds of Haoma were known to the ancient iranians?
:They were 1) Haoma Zaairi or the green Haoma, ii) Haoma fraashmi or the refreshing Haoma and iii) Haoma duraosha or the death-averter Haoma.
110 What is death according to the Zoroastrian religion?
:In Zoroastrian terminology the phenomenon of death is spoken of as the seperation of consciousness from the physical body (Vendidad 9-43)
111 Where does a man's soul remain after death according to Zoroastrian religion?
:According to the Zoroastrian belief a man's soul after death remains within the precincts of this world for three nights, under the protection of angel Srosh,the soul's guide (dastagire ravaan) and the soul of a holy man is happy and joyful because of his good conduct in the material world,whereas quite opposite is the case of soul of a wicked man.
112 Where does a man's soul go on the dawn of the fourth day after death?
:On the dawn of the fourth day after death the soul of the holy man meets face to face with his own conduct called Daena in the Avesta,in the form of a very beautiful maiden with a very fragrant wind blowing,and the maiden leading the soul across the Bridge of Selection; to the best existence,whereas quite opposite is the case of the soul of a wicked man(Fragmentess of Haadskht Nask,chs II and III)
113 What is Chinvat bridge?
It is not a bridge built of any material like iron,wood or stone,but it is the name of a place where selection for the soul is made, whether it has to proceed to heaven or to be dragged down to hell.
114 What is Behest(Heaven)
If a man's good deeds in the material world outnumber his evil deeds his soul is entitled to Behest which is of four different grades (i) Humata(star station) (ii)Hukta(moon station) (iii) Hvarshta(sun station) and (iv) Anagra raochaao (endless light) or garodemaan (house of songs) (fragments of Haadokht Nask chs II and III)
115 What is Dozakh(hell)
If a man's evil deeds in the material world outnumber his good deeds his soul is doomed for Dozakh which is also of four different grades (i)Dushmata (ii)Duzukhta (iii) Duzvarshta and (iv)Anagra temah (endless darkness)
116 What is Hamistagaan?
When a man's good and evil deeds are equal his soul is entitled to a place called Hamistagaan where there is neither happiness nor much sorrow.
117 what is Ristaakhez ?
Rishtaakhez means rising of the dead.Zoroastrianism predicts a time when all the dead will rise up with the help of Soshyos,the last great benefactor, and attain immortality after undergoing the final judgement.
118 What is Frashgird ?
Frashgird means the act of renovating.Zoroastrianism presages a time when the world will be completely renovated and it will be never decaying,never rotting ever living and ever progressing going on in nature with the change of old order yielding place to new.
119 What is Tan-i-pasen?
At the time of the final great renovation mankind will lead an existence devoid of disease,old age and death.This is known as Tan-i-pasen or final most bodily condition.
120 What is virtue ?
Virtue means good quality and virtuous deeds are approved by God because they are performed according to His Will which is that man should practise virtues in his day-to-day life.
121 What are the kinds of virtue ?
These are i)active virtues ii) passive virtues iii) private virtues and iv)public virtues.
122) What are active virtues?
If a person exerts himself to make others tread the path of virtues and actively resists evil, he is said to follow active virtues.This type of virtues is extolled by Zoroastrian religion.
123) What are passive virtues?
If a person is honest,just and truthful and rests satisfied with his virtuous life, he is said to follow passive virtues.
124) What are private virtues ?
Private virtues are those which make a person's private life happy, for example married life,contentment,simplicity,frugality.
125) What are public virtues?
Public virtues are those which benifit a large number of people,for example courage,bravery,generousity,public spirit to fight for truth and justice.
126) What is sin ?
To act against moral principles is considered a sin - All acts of sin slow down soul's progress towards perfection and they are a heavy burden on mind.
127) How are sins classified ?
Sins are classified as i) Sins of commission and ii) Sins of ommission.If a person performs an evil action knowingly it is a sin of commission, but if a person knowingly avoids an oppurtunity to perform a good deed it is a sin of ommission.
128) What is repentance?
To repent is to retract from sin and return to the path of virtue.
129) How does repentance benifit a person ?
Through repentance a person gives expression to his suppressed thoughts and feelings and thus lightens the burden off his mind.Sincere repentance before God helps man cease from sin.
130) How can one repent ?
One can repent of one's sins in three ways i) repentance through thoughts (Paititem mano) ii) repentance through words (Paititem vacho) and iii)repentance through deeds(paititem shyaothnem)
131) Why has the Zoroastrian religion stressed purity of elements ?
The four natural elements fire,air, water and earth enter into the composition of human body,hence on their purity depends the general health of mankind.Also, the four natural properties in human body viz. heat,moisture, coldness, and dryness are derived from those four elements.
132) How is the purity of these elements observed?
It is observed by not burning dead and decomposed matter on fire,nor throwing it into water,nor interring it in earth.
133) Based on the purity of elements which is the best method of disposing the dead ?
It is exposing a dead body to birds on the highest places.Also, on high open spaces sun-light and air act as very powerful purifying agents, and prevent decomposition from spreading around.
134) Why is it called the best method?
It is the most economical.Certain birds like vultures and ravens are meant specially for the purpose of devouring the corpses and carcasses, and they are called scavengers of nature.
135) What important purpose does this method serve?
All living beings have life-force to sustain them.This life force derives its strength from the food which is consumed.It is one of the teachings of the zoroastrian religion that nothing should be wasted.Thus, even a dead body is put to good use insofar as it is consumed by the carnivorous birds and strengthens their vitality
136) Of what, according to Zoroastrian teachings, does man's physical organism consist ?
Man's physical organism consists of physical body containing all the external and internal organs, and it is termed " tanu " in Avesta and there is also the bony skeleton called 'azda' supporting the fleshy part.To energize and vitalize the physical body heat and energy necessary, and the process of respiration called 'ushtaana ' imparts vitality and life to the body.There is also the form of the body called 'kehrpa ' and strength to move about and will called 'tevishi '.
137) What according to Zoroastrian teachings, are invisible principles, which motivate the physical organism ?
They are: i) Ahu or life, ii) Daenaa or conscience, iii) Baodha or intellect, iv) Urvan or soul and v) Fravashi or guardian spirit.
138) What is Ahu ?
Ahu is the active principle of life which has its abode in the heart,and vitalizes all senses of perception.
139) What is Daena ?
Daena is the inner voice of conscience which guides one while performing actions which will ultimately determine one's future state.
140) What is Baodha ?
Baodha or intellect reacts to the impulse carried to the brain centre through sensory nerves, which reaction is carried back to the sense organs through motor nerves and perception results.
141) What is Urvan ?
Urvan or soul is purely spiritual principle in the human constitution. Every human soul is potentially divine and through the best righteousness one can so illumine one's soul as to be in the nearest relationship with Ahura Mazda.
142) What is Fravashi ?
Fravashi or the guardian spirit is the most spiritual of all the invisible principles in the human constitution,and its function is to guide the soul in its material existence.Fravashi is also associated with the function of providing energy to the body along with ushtaana.
143) What are the instruments or faculties of soul ?
Instruments or faculties of soul(ravaan avzaaraan) are mainly three : 1)reasoning (vir) which penetrates, 2)consciousness (osh) which protects, and 3) wisdom (khrat) which determines.
144) Wisdom is classified as innate wisdom (aasn-khrat) and acquired wisdom (goshosrut khrat).Without the former one is unable to acquire the latter.One can sharpen inate wisdom through acquired wisdom which can be obtained through learning and knowledge.
145) What is one of the fundamental theories of Zoroastrian cosmogony ?
One of the fundamental theories of Zoroastrian cosmogony is that at first there was the spiritual existence and Ahura Mazda first produced material creation in a spiritual form and then again He produced it in material form.Cosmogony means the birth of the whole creation.
146) What is another theory of Zoroastrian cosmogony?
Another theory of Zoroastrian cosmogony is that the material creations have come into existence at different stages.This is the evolutionary theory of Gaahambaars according to which the order of creations is the sky,the water, the earth, the vegetation, the animal.
147) What is the third theory of zoroastrian cosmonogy ?
The third theory is that the creations have emerged from light.Ahura Mazda out of his own light first produced a form of creation in the shape of fire,bright and white.
148)What is the fourth theory of Zoroastrian cosmonogy?
The fourth theory is that before anything came into existence Ahura Mazda uttered Ahuna Vairya,the holy spell,which may be called Zoroastrian logos.It must have produced vibrations,and step by step creations must have come into being.
149)What is behind the act of creations?
Zoroastrian concept of divine Mind is behind the act of creations.Ahura Mazda first thought and mingled happiness with luminaries and through wisdom produced the immutable law of Asha (Yasna 31-7)The workings of the universe also reveal the mental power of the Architect of universe.
150)How is the factor of time associated with Zoroastrian cosmonogy?
It is but natural.Creation cannot be conceived apart from time.It must have come into existence at some particular time.Ahura Mazda fashioned limited time from infinite time and the creation took place in the former.
151) By what name are the priests known amoung the Zoroastrians ?
Amoung the Zoroastrians the priest are known as Athravans.The word Athravan means one who tends the fire.In the eastern Iranian provinces in ancient times they acted as fire priests.
152) What were the different grades of Athravans in ancient times?
There were different grades of Atharvans in ancient times depending on their holiness and spiritual attainments at different levels.Three grades of Athravans are mentioned in the Avesta.(khurdaad Yasht - 9)
153) What are the three classes of Athravans today?
The three grades of Athravans today are Ervad,Mobed and Dastur.
154)Who is an Ervad?
The word Ervad is derived from Avesta aethrapaiti which means a teacher or an instructor.In ancient times one who was most advanced in righteousness,was deemed fit for priestly profession,and for three years he had to acquire holy wisdom under an able teacher.
155)Who is a Mobed?
The word Mobed is derieved from Pahlavi magupat which means a master Magian.Magians were the priests in Western Iran in ancient times.A mobed can perform high ceremonies of the inner circle like Yazashne,Visperad,Vendidad and Baaj.
156)Who is a Dastur?
The word Dastur is derieved from Pahlavi Dastabar meaning one who exercises authority.A Dastur should combine in himself the best qualities of head and heart.He is expected to be holy, having innate wisdom and spiritual insight which are the two important qualities expected of a high priest.
157)What is Naavar?
Before being initiated as an Ervad the son of the priest today has to undergo Naavar ordainment which consists of two Barshnums with nine nights of retreat in each to observe strict rules and gain self-control and four days for performing ceremonies.
158)What is Maraatab?
To become a Mobed an Ervad has to undergo Maraatab ordainment for which one Barshnum with nine nights of retreats is required and then two days for performing ceremonies.
159)What is Aalaat?
Aalaat is an Arabic word which means implement,apparatus, and these are required for performing some high ceremonies like Yazashne,Visperad and Vendidad.The Aalaat are first of all rendered pure before being used in the ceremonies.
160)Who is an Ashmogh?
The word Asmogh is Avesta ashemaogha which means one who violates Asha.The main teachings of the Zoroastrian religion are based on Asha.Therefore one who does not follow the principles of Asha is heretic,So an Ashmogh or a heretic is in contradistinction to an Ashavan or a holy person.
161)Who is a Dravant?
Dravant is an Avesta word which means 'a wicked person'. He is the one who deviates from the path of Asha or righteousness.There is a clear-cut distinction between an Ashavan or a holy man and a dravant or a wicked man.
162) What is Butparasti?
Butparasti is a Persian word which means idol worship which is castigated by the Zoroastrian religion.To offer prayers before any image made of stone or wood or any other material is against the spirit of Zoroastrianism,which categorically declares that the supreme god Ahura Mazda is the most invisible and hence cannot be represented by any material image.
163) What is Maachi?
Maachi is derived from Sanskrit manch which means a throne.While feeding the fire of the first grade fire-temple viz.Atash Behram. six pieces of sandalwood are placed on fire.The highest grade of fire is regarded as a king.Hence six pieces of sandalwood should be placed on it to make a kind of throne,pairs of two pieces one above the other.
164) Where did the religion of Zarathustra come into existence first ?
The religion of Zarathustra first came into existence in ancient Iran,because Zarathustra is spoken of as famous in Iran Vej(Yasna 9-14)
165) What religion was there in ancient Iran before Zarathustra ?
Before Zarathustra the religion of ancient Iran was Poryotkeshi Mazdayashni.
166) What is the meaning of Poryotkeshi Mazdayashni?
The meaning of Poryotkeshi Mazdayashni is the foremost creed of the worship of Mazda or the Omniscient.
167) What is meant by Saoshyant ?
The word Saoshyant means benefactor of mankind.
168) Who were the Saoshyants that preceded Zarathushtra?
They were Gayomard,Hoshang,Tehmurus,Hom,Jamshed,Faredoon,Kay kaus and Kay khusru.All these Saoshyants followed Mazdayashni religion.
169) Why did Zarathustra accept Poryotkeshi Mazdayashni religion?
There were many good elements in the Poryotkeshi Mazdayashni religion,so Zarathustra accepted it.It was a powerful deterrent against Daevayashni.
170) Against whom did Zarathustra preach his religion ?
Zarathustra preached his religion against the Daevas who refused to worship the one Omniscient Lord and were rooted in evil mind.
171) Who first supported the religion of Zarathustra?
King Gustasp of the Kayanian dynasty,who ruled at Balkh in ancient Iran,first supported the religion of Zarathustra after putting it to test in the assembly of the wise and the learned from different countries who put to the prophet several questions.
172) Who was the first disciple of Zarathusthra ?
The first disciple of Zarathustra was his own cousin Medyomah
173) After his acceptance of the Zoroastrian religion whom did King Gustasp send to propogate it?
After his acceptance of the Zoroastrian religion King Gustasp sent prince Asfandyar to propogate it in distant lands.
174) Who destroyed the literature of the Zoroastrian religion?
Alexander the great, after conquering Persia in the 4th century B.C. burnt the library of Zoroastrian writings at Daz-i-Nipisht, at Persipolis, and the writings which were deposited in another library, named Ganj-i-Shapigaan,fell into the hands of Greeks,who took them to Greece and translated them into Greek.
175) Who rejuvenated the Zoroastrian religion and literature ?
King Ardeshir Baabegaan, the founder of the Sasanian dynasty in the 3rd century A.D. made commendable efforts to rejuvenate the Zoroastrian religion and literature with the help of his high priest Tansar.Thereafter other Sasanian Sovereigns like Shapur I, Shapur II and Noshirvan Adil made efforts in various directions to reorganise and revitalize the Zoroastrian religion and literature.
176) In what language is the Zoroastrian scripture written?
Zoroastrian scripture is written in Avesta.
177) Originally how many Nasks or books were there of the Zoroastrian religion ?
Originally there were 21 Nasks or books of the Zoroastrian religion divided into three classes as per their contents viz. Gaasaanik or religious, Daatik or pertaining to laws and handhmaansrik or the intermidiate between the two,each group consisting of seven books.
178) What is the extant Avesta literature?
The extant Avesta literature is in a very small quantity.It consists mainly of Yasna,Visperad,Vendidad,Yasht and Khordeh Avesta
179) What is Yasna ?
Yasna has 72 chapters and contains prayers with offerings unto Ahura Mazda and other divine spirits like Amesha Spentas,Yazatas and other spiritual entities presiding over divisions of time.
180) What is Visperad ?
Visperad has 23 chapters and contains prayers in praise of all the divine entities presiding over the creation.It is recited on the occasion of Gaahambaars or seasonal festivals.
181) What is Vendidad ?
Vendidad has 22 chapters and covers topics as geography of the ancient Aryans,history of king Jamshed of the peshdadian dynasty,five kinds of different places producing joy and sorrow,instructions to keep away from nasaa or decomposing matter,Barshnum ceremony,different species of dogs and their care,qualifications of the priests etc.
182) What is Yasht?
A yasht is a prayer in praise of a divinity.Some of the Yashts contain valuable information about the history of ancient Iran.There are 22 Yashts in all
183) What is Khordeh Avesta?
Khordeh Avesta means Smaller Avesta.It contains short prayers to be recited daily such as five Gaahs,Five Nyaaishs,some smaller Yashts,Stum prayer and one or two Monaajaats. 184) What is Avesta?
The sacred literature of the Zoroastrians and its language are called Avesta The word is variously derived by different scholars,but the most probable derivation seems to be from he stem vid to know so Avesta means 'What is known'.It is generally acknowledged that Avesta was the language of east Iran.
185) What is the relationship between Avesta and Sanskrit?
Avesta and Sanskrit are sister languages,having much in common.Not only is there a close relationship between the words of the two languages but at times even the whole sentences are found identical.In particular there is a close affinity between the Vedic sanskrit and the Gathic Avesta,and by applying some rules of phonetics entire Gathic stanzas can be changed into sanskrit.
186)What is Zand?
When Avesta language ceased to be properly understood,translation and commentary were made in another language viz Pahlavi, by the learned for the use of the general public in the Sasanian times,that is, from 3rd century A.D. onwards.
187) What is Pahlavi?
Pahlavi language was he language current in Iran in the Sasanian times from 226 A.D. onwards.It is a polyphonous language as the letters of its alphabets are variously pronounced.There are some words of Semetic origin in Pahlavi because ancient Iran was under Semetic influence at different periods in its history.Pahlavi is also called Middle-Persian because it stands midway between the old Persian and Modern Persian.
188) What is Pazand.?
Pahlavi being a curious admixture of Iranian and Semetic elements was difficult to be understood.Hence,to simplify the language all the Semetic words were banished from Pahlavi and substituted by their Iranian equivalents.Hence a new and simplified language viz.Pazand came into being.It is written in Avestan characters.
189)In what age did Zarathustra live?
It is not certain when exactly Zarathustra lived.Greek and Roman writers place his age in a very remote past.Aristotle,pliny and Plato place his age at 6000 B.C. and Hermippus at 7000 B.C. Some have attempted to place him between 2500 to 1000 B.C. and still others after 1000 B.C.
190) Who were the main opponents of Zarathustra?
They were Kavis and Karapans or the willfully blind and the willfully deaf who refused to embrace his teachings which aimed at moral and spiritual uplift.
191) What is Zarathustra's greatest contribution to spiritual philosophy ?
Zarathustra's greatest contribution to spiritual philosophy is the Gathas.They are the prime-utterances of the prophet and forms the quintessenee of his religious faith.They are five in number Ahunavaiti,Ushtavaiti,Spentamainyu,Vohukhshatra and Vahishtoisti,composed in archaic metres.Spiritual element preponderates in the Gathas.
192) What types of evil plagued society when Zarathustra was born ?
Anger,robbery,rapine and all kinds of wickedness stalked the face of the earth at the time of Zarathustra's birth and mankind was plunged into the darkness and gloom of materialism
193) What new theory did Zarathustra offer to solve the problem of evil ?
Zarathustra traced the origin of evil to one of the twin spirits who differ in thoughts,words and deeds,one being better and the other evil(Yasna 30-3) Further it is said that the two spirits produced life(gaya) and non-life.(ajyaaiti)
194) What is meant by saying life and non-life ?
Any form of life can be produced but what about non-life? How can it be produced ? The implication is that life (gaya) refers to positive life-force, and non-life (ajyaaiti) to negative force of decay and destruction which acts against life.And it is a fact that all life-force in existence meets with resistance which seeks to stifle it.
195) What do the terms Spenta and Angra Signify?
Spenta and Angra are the two spirits instrumental in the administration of the affairs of the universe.Spenta means increasing or benificient,and Angra means destroying or straitening.
196) Does this theory lead to the belief in two gods?
No.The two spirits in the Gathas, are personified.But the gathas are composed in poetic form and personification is the characteristic feature of poetry.This personification does not endow the two primeval causes with real personality,but it is apparent in poetry.
197) How did Zarathustra fight evil?
Zarathustra carried on a constant crusade against evil arising out of magic,sorcery and materialism which in his days were rampant in those days.The propagators of evil creed in his days were known as Daevas whom Zarathustra has singularly denounced.
198) In which categories is mankind,according to the zoroastrian religion divided ?
Mankind according to the Zoroastrian religion may generally be divided into two categories i) ashavan or those who are on the path of rectitude and ii) dravant or those who detract from that path.All kinds of evil in society emanate,for the most part,from the second category of people and it is the bounden duty of every Zoroastrian to exert himself to resist and stem the tide of evil.
199) What type of life is a true Zoroastrian expected to lead to resist evil in society ?
A true Zoroastrian is expected to lead a life of active virtues and must always be on his feet to rise against any injustice or oppression done to the righteous or the downtrodden.He should under no circumstances, be a party to injustice tyranny or wickedness.
200) Is only fight against evil enough?
No.According to Zoroastrian teachings struggle against evil should proceed hand-in-hand with the zeal to reform.Not only to strike a blow in the teeth of wrong but also to improve and rehabilitate the wicked on the path of virtue should be ideal of a crusader against evil.Druj should be handed over to Asha,that is the wicked should be reinstated on the path of rectitude.
Taken from the book :
200 short questions & answers
Z O R O A S T R I A N I S M
Ervad R.R. MOTAFRAM
11-23-2010, 04:24 PM
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