A QUICK LOOK AT THE RELIGION OF ASHU ZARATHUSHTRA
THE RELIGION OF ASHU ZARATHUSHTRA
Ashu Zarathushtra, a Messenger of truth and wisdom, was born in Iran on 6th ofFarvardin month, 1768 B.C. The Holy Avesta mentions “Rageh”-a place next to “Droji” river and near Lake “Chichast”, as His birth place.
Ashu Zarathushtra’s father was Pourushaspa. His mother was Doghdhova, His wife Hvavi, His 3 sons Isadvastar, Orvatadnar and Khorshidchehr and His 3 daughters were Triti, Frini and Pouruchista.
When an adolescent, Ashu Zarathushtra realized that superstitions and the worship of several and unreal gods were wrong. At the age of Twenty, he chose seclusion, pondered in nature and finally came to know God. When 30 years old, God chose Him as a Prophet and He made the religion of monotheism known to the world for the very first time.
God is referred to as Ahuramazda in Ashu Zarathushtra’s message and thought. “Ahura” means “lifegiving”, “maz” means “great” and “da” comes from the word “knowledge” In this viewpoint, God is the “Great Wise Creator” As such Ahura Mazda does not consider Human being as His slave, He has vested into human beings the virtues of “Intelligence” and “Humanity” with the power of a thinking Mind (Manah) and that of the Conseience(Daena).
To Ashu Zarathushtra God is not spiteful, vengeful, angry or one who penalizes every body. He believes in a God who is “All good”, All wise” All judicious”
’’GATHAS” THE SACRED “BOOK” OF ZARTOSHTIS
Gathas is the religious and sacred book of Zartoshtis. Being Ashu Zarathushtra’s own words, it is a part of Yasna and exists in the heart of Yasna. The other 5 parts of Avesta including “yasna”, “Yashts”, “Vandidad”, “visperad” and “Khordeh Avesta” have been written by Moghan council and great Mobeds in ancient eras. These Books are sacred to Zartoshtis, and form their Scriptures.
Ashu Zarathushtra’s Messages
Ashu Zarathushtra did not need any “Mmiracles” for conveying the Message of Asha, to the people,. Talking with the language of wisdom, Ashu Zarathushtra has given Ahuramazda,s message in His hymns in an eloquent manner The Gathas, which are, about, the earliest written poem-like hymns, talk about the ways and means of a good life and salvation. It makes us think deeply and wisely, also inspiring our conscience. Gathas announces the best & easiest pattern of behavior for everybody in every place & time in a logical way, far from all superstitions.
In Ashu Zarathushtra’s words, Gathas has been named “Manthra” meaning “Holy & Ahuraic challenging words” Thus, “Gathas” meaning “Pure hymns” is the name given by the people who have applied Ashu Zarathushtra’s message -based on their perception & understanding.
From the point of view of the Gatha’s, material life should be coordinated with nature & the rules governing it – called Asha – and in the Spiritual point of view, everybody should use Vohuman’s help to sense the Real Light (Ushta).
Only wise people can fathom the deep meanings of the Gatha’s words, because the ignorant ones act according to their inept feelings & do not listen to Ahuraic messages.
When wise people learn through their good thoughts, they should propagate their knowledge & insight to others -especially to inept ones. In this way superstitions and evil thoughts can be eradicated.
THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE RELIGION OF ASHU ZARATHUSHTRA
The religion of Ashu Zarathushtra has 9 basic principles, as follows:
- Faith in Ahuramazda, the only God
- Faith in Ashu Zarathushtra’s prophecy
- Faith in spiritual world & eternity of soul
- Faith in the law of Asha (Truth, purity & Ahurai love)
- Faith in equality of all humans
- Faith in Amshaspandart & the 7 steps of Zartoshti theosophy
- Faith in munificence & helping poor people
- Faith in the holiness of the 4 natural Elements (water, air, soil & tire) & trying to keep the environment clean
- Faith in Frashkard (Progress & innovation)
It is clear that other, Monotheistic, Religious orders agree with these principles as well.
THE LAW OF ASHA (RIGHTEOUSNESS)
Ashu Zarathushtra’s ideology , is following & reaching Asha law (meaning truth).
In His viewpoint, Almighty God has created the world based upon a law ruling over the whole universe. Our Iranian Prophet names this precise rule Asha. Assistance to keep up the Consistency of the Law Of Asha, in the universe, is what Ahura Mazda demands from us Humans. The rule of Asha coordinates the universe and it is the foundation of everything – from atoms to galaxies. In Zartoshti belief, one is truly successful that matches himself to the law of nature and also develops good human characteristics such as love, purity, truthfulness and modesty.
THE TWIN SPIRITS (GOOD & EVIL)
In His message, Ashu Zarathushtra mentions the twin opposite spirits. These two play a role in maintaining the needed harmony within God’s creation. The consequence of these two appears as positive & negative energy — existing in the smallest particles like Electron & Proton and affect the whole universe as Push and Pull. None of these have been created “Bad” according the rule of Asha and they exist as “Relative” to the other Thus, Ahuramazda is not the creator of any evil or vice. He is the creator of all good things. The opposition of these twins only comes to its expression in our thoughts when thinking about choosing good and bad. The wise person makes use of “Spentamainyu” (Promoter of good thoughts) in his mind and on the other hand, the ignorant ones, merely, follow evil thoughts and prejudice or “Angramainyu” (Devastating thoughts) which is known as Ahriman in farsi language. Thus, the creator of Ahriman or devastating thought is not God but unwise person that changes devastating thought into devastating words & deeds.
Derived from Avestan word “Daenah”, Deen means Conscious Awareness; in other words the power to distinguish between good and evil based on wisdom and with complete freedom of choice. In this viewpoint, a Religious person is one who thinks deeply and with the help of his good thoughts, chooses the Path Of Asha and, thereupon tries to be a Spentaman (Pious). As such human beings are responsible for their choice and deeds in both worlds (material & spiritual) and, finally, face the result of their deeds accordingly.
PARADISE AND HELL
Ahuramazda wants happiness and salvation for all His creatures. So, He has shown the path of good life to the people who utilize their conscience and wisdom. Those who choose bad thoughts and act against the law of Asha, bring about bad word & bad deeds and will receive the result of their behavior based on the law of action & reaction. From this point of view, not only God has never created Hell for punishment, and, also, that it is the human behavior that creates paradise or hell for his soul..
Paradise (Vahishtem Mano) or the best spiritual place – which is reaching happiness and spiritual serenity -is the reflection of good thoughts, words & deeds. Hell (Achishtem Mano) or the w’orst spiritual place -is conscious suffering and spiritual depression – and is the reflection of bad thoughts, words & deeds coming back to that person in his material & spiritual worlds.
DYNAMICITY AND FRESHNESS (FRASHKART)
In Ashu Zaratushtra’s religion & based on the rule of Asha, in which not only retrogression is not meritorious but also inertness & inactivity is not satisfactory. “Frasha” is a word of Ashu Zaratushtra’s message that directs every body to freshness and development. Human’s thought, spirit, culture & morality must move forward to development & freshness. In His message, Ashu Zaratushtra wants His followers to make the world novel and the life fresh. As the prophet of ancient Iran believes, one must try – even if in small steps- to reach a better and more useful life with peace.
Endeavor And Effort
May we be amongst the people who make the world novel and lead people toward truth and piety.(Gathas)
Endeavor and effort is one of the most effective factors leading to happiness of all world. In Gathas, Ashu Zaratushtra requests every body to endeavor for peace & development of human society with the help of good thought & according to Asha rule as much as they can. Zartoshtis believe that one of the best ways of praying God is trying to accomplish in art, economy & good deeds. Thus, abstinence, begging & lazing are unappealing acts.
In traditional Zartoshti belief, human beings are endowed with five Powers. By their coming together & interaction, development results. These 5 parts include: body and life — pertaining to material world-and spirit, the power of realizing good & evil (wisdom and conscious) and Fravahar — all pertaining to spiritual world.
“Fravahar” is made up of two parts: “Fra” meaning foreward & “Vahar” meaning “taking, driving” Being a beam of Ahuramazda’s glow, Fravahar is the most valuable part of human being. It is the source of all “Ashui” characteristics in one person. Fravahar prevents one’s spirit from tendency to lie and incompetence. Giving humans the power of innovation, Fravahar helps one’s spirit to pass the path of theism & become eligible to become a Spentaman.
In Achamenid era, a picture with this name was selected as the national symbol – respecting basic thoughts of Ashu Zarathushtra religion.
Each parts of this symbol convey a message:
– The shiny old face reminds one to use the wisdom and experiences, of an elderly
– Praying to Ahuramazda, Fravahar’s hand is upward and symbolizes upward growth and development towards progress.
– The ring in his hand is the symbol of Mithra and reminds human’s agreement with God for fol lowing the Path of Asha.
– The 3 parts of the wings recall good thoughts, words & deeds.
– The ring about Fravahar’s wrist shows eternal world & also human power to get rid of inelegant desires and reach God.
– The 2 hanging tracts, underneath , signify the following Spentameynu (holy thought)
& refusing Angrameynu (wrong thought).
– The part under Fravahar’s wing – which is also made up of 3 parts – conveys the discarding of bad thoughts, words & deeds.
THE UNIVERSAL PEACE AND LOVE
We worship Mazdiyasni religion which remonstrates weapons and is the religion of peace & devotion. (Mazdiyasno Ahmi Avesta)
Ashu Zarathushtra believes that one must think for the benefit of all humans, work for his nation and live a life based on His religion. Thus, war – either for conquering others to extend the country or for spreading the religion – is unethical and a Zartoshti must think of a world full of peace and friendship.
Everyone should propagate kindness and unity by following Asha and then world friendship will appear. Each Zartoshti repeats his belief & promise in Mehr (Love and kindness) and peace while, daily, praying the “Mazdiyasno Ahmi Avesta” He follows a religion which is against war and praises piety & devotion.
Happiness is for that person who makes others happy.(Gathas)
Derived from “yasna”, “Jashn” means uttering Prayers. The religion of Ashu Zarathushtra is a religion of happiness. So, His followers have selected happiness and avoid depression & grief. In this Religion, happiness & celebration is one of the ways of w’orshipping God. For this reason Zartoshtis have the Gahanbar feasts, which involve acts ofgenerosity & munificence, the monthly celebrations – when day & month have the same name – in addition to the Nowrooz, Mehregan & Sadeh celebrations.
The Iranian Prophet wants His followers to be happy because this is the way through which human body becomes strong & his spirit achieves happiness and enthusiasm for working & endeavor increases. In Ashu Zarathushtra’s viewpoint, only real peace and happiness brings about “benevolence according to the rule of Asha. Otherwise, one won’t reach real happiness.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS
In Ashu Zarathushtra religion, all people have equal rights – no matter what nationality, race, skin color, language, religion and belief they have. Following the rule of Asha , good thoughts, words & deeds are the only factors of predominance. Ashu Zarathushtra believes that God has given all people wisdom & conscience.
They are free to choose the best way of living with complete freedom – after pondering in different suggestions & viewpoints. Just the same as people have right of freedom in thinking, they have the freedom in choosing their religion, too. When all people have equal rights, man & woman have equal rights in their material & spiritual lives.
FORCE AND FREEDOM
Listen with your ears the highest truth; consider them with illuminated minds carefully. Then each man and woman, choose personally and freely between the two paths, good and evil.(Gathas)
Ashu Zarathushtra’s religion teaches that force is a subsidiary of the law Asha, talks about freedom in choosing one’s way. without making any mention of “force”.
In Ashu Zarathushtra’s belief, the theory of ” force ” is rejected; and so is the theory of” initial sin ” Thus, every body is born sinless and pure & one makes his life and future based on the way he chooses. With every kind of corporal, spiritual & familial efficiency, one can acquire knowledge and thereby get to know the forces present in the rule of Asha. Thus, by overcoming deficiencies, insufficiencies change to competencies.
The religion of Ashu Zarathushtra is the religion of hope, freedom and bounty Gathas suggests every body to choose good thought, knowledgable leader, wise friend and Ashu mate but does not force anybody. This religion respects everybody as a free person. The right of freedom of choice is amongst the most precious Ahuraic gifts which nobody is allowed to take it from another person.
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
The law of Asha expects, human beings to be responsible for the universe & what happens in it. One should refrain from destroying any material & spiritual sources of the world. By applying one’s Good Thoughts – which has been emphasized strongly in this Religion — environmental protection will result. Each Zartoshti must keep his environment and the four cleansing elements (water, fire, soil & air) clean. Polluting these elements or misusing them is considered unrighteous in the Zartoshti Religion.
The AMESHA SEPANTAS
(THE 7 STEPS OF ZARTOSHTI THEOSOPHY)
Knowing God, developing moral charecteristics and trying to be a Spentaman are the main goals of living that Ashu Zarathushtra has suggested. He believes that if one coordinates his behaviour with the six charecteristics emanatedfrom God, he will reach the 7th step & he will see only God and nothing else.
The first step for reaching Ahuramazda is “Vohuman” or good thinking. This word has been changed to Bahman in Farsi language. Being one of the innate charecteristics of God, good thinking is amongst Ahurai gifts to human that every body must develop.
The second step in reaching Ahuramazda is “Asha Vahishta” or the best Ashui. This word has been changed to Ardibehesht in Farsi language. Ashui is truth, the only rule of universe & the ability of coordination in God’s nature. Developing this trait in human is also an effort to coordinate deeds with Asha.
“Khshatra Vairya” – which has been changed to Shahrivar in Farsi language – means the power of spiritual strenght & self-controling. This is like the innert power of God but confined which one shall develop. Khshatra Vairya includes the power of controlling wrong behaviour with coordination of feelings and wisdom, the power of following Asha’s path, the power of defending one’s right and defeating lies, the strenght to reach freedom in thinking, the strength of devotion & love,… .
The fourth step is love, mentioned in Gathas as “Spenta Armaiti” It has been changed to Spendarmazd or Esfand in Farsi language. Ashu Zarathushtra believes that God and human’s relationship is based on friendship & love but not horror & dread. So, one must nurture love in himself. Some traits of Spenta Armaiti are: fulfilling promises, devotion, modesty and munificence.
The next trait is “ha Urvatat” in Gathas and Khordad in Farsi. Getting knowledge will help one attain the step of gamut & perfection in order to be an ideal person. Khordad & “Amoidad or Ameratat” (perpetuity) – the sixth step of maturity – go together It means that if one achieves perfection, he will simultaneously acieve eternity, too.
Undoubtedly, Ameratat – Amordad in Farsi – which means perpetuity is the innert characteristic of God; but human being can gain eternity in another way that has been predicted in his creation.
The seventh step of zartoshti theosophy in knowing Ahuramazda is being the perfect human (Spentaman) who has understood Ahura and the light of reality. Traits like effort & endeavor, purity & truth, the power of innovation and love will be increased in him so that by development of perfection he succeeds to know God.
LIGHT, THE WORSHIP DIRECTION OF ZARTOSHTIS
The followers of Ashu Zarathushtra religion who call themselves Mazdiyasni (worshippers of Mazda), pray God with a clean body and soul while facing light. In their prayers, they wish a life full of peace for all people with good deeds around the world. Zartoshtis respect fire besides the other three elements (water, soil & air) and keep “Atashkadeh” as the symbol of love & purity. When praying, they use the light of fire or other lights as the worship direction.
Zartoshtis believe that fire, the symbol of Asha, has some special qualities that the inward fire of humans – adjoining one’s wisdom to God’s – can learn from them and then teach them to others, too.
Some of these qualities include the followings: cleansing dirt, lightening darkness, always moving upward, self- burning but donating energy, light, heat to others & making industry run. Zartoshtis respect the “Verahram Fire” made up of 16 fires of different jobs and the ancestors’ fire and consider that as the flag of their Religious identity, of wliich they are proud of.
Atashkadeh is a complex of fire temple, library, school & its related halls. In this complex, fire of love, knowledge, coordination, unity & wisdom is burning and spreads Ashui.
A SUMMERY OF ZARTOSHTIS’ HISTORY
The Religion of Ashu Zarathushtra was introduced, gradually, in Iran from Achamenid and Kianian era. It was propagated in the Parthian Era. During the Sasanian era, it became the formal religion of Iran When Arabs invaded Iran, some of the Iranians changed their religion while some other that couldn’t tolerate the strangers’ rulings, migrated to India By their efforts, truthfulness & assiduity these people made great advances in industry and now are amongst valuable & famous citizens of India
The Zartoshtis that remained in Iran , had difficult time in the very first reigns after Sasanians because of the harsh vailable prejudice. After years of labor & discomfort they took refuge in the central cities of Iran like Yazd & Kerman making aqueducts and doing agriculture (the work the prophet has suggested).
Centuries later, in Ghajar era, “Manekji Limji Hateria” succeeded to help a lot and cancel Jeziye (a tax that Zartoshtis had to pay). When prejudice and injustice became less, Zartoshtis managed to migrate to other cities of Iran and with the help of some Parsians like “Markar” could build social, cultural, therapeutic & religious buildings in Yazd & Tehran, which provided humanitarian services for Iran & Iranians.
Nowadays, zartoshtis live their lives in peace along with their other patiots. They always wish pride & stability for their country ( Iran ) and try to play important roles in building & developing the Ahurai country of Iran.
The summary of Ashu Zarathushtra’s message is that one must think for the benefit of all humans, work for his nation and live a life based on his religion. We hope that all Zartoshtis may reach the status of propagating good thoughts, words and deeds in the whole world in this Ahuraie path.
Some selected Messages of Ashu Zarathushtra
O, Mazda Ahura, I pray you through Asha path and get to approach you with good thoughts, (50-8)
I believe that no sincere prayers offered devotedly to you from heart shall remain unanswered. (28-10)