In Search of the Zoroastrians

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History of Zoroastrians

 

PATH OF ATTAINMENT

Man's life, according to Zoroastrianism, is a moral struggle, not a search for knowledge or enlightenment. He is put on the Earth to affirm and approve the world, not to deny it, not to escape from it. Salvation is found in obedience to the will of Ahura Mazda as revealed and taught by His prophet, Zoroaster. Man has but one life. He also has the freedom to choose between good and evil, the latter being embodied in Angra Mainyu who rebelled against God. At death, each is judged and consigned to his deserved abode.

Zoroastrians hold truth as the greatest virtue, followed by good thoughts, words and deeds. They value the ethical life most highly. Though there will be a resurrection of the dead, a judgment and a kingdom of heaven on Earth, followed by punishment of the wicked, all sins will be eventually burned away and all of mankind will abide forever with Ahura Mazda. Hell, for the Zoroastrian, is not eternal.
















 

FOUNDED: Zoroastrianism began 2,600 years ago in ancient Iran.

FOUNDER: Spenta Zarathustra (Zoroaster).

MAJOR SCRIPTURE: Portions of the Zend Avesta (Persian).

ADHERENTS: 125,000, mostly near Mumbai, where they are called Parsis.

SECTS: The present-day sects are three: Shahenshai, Kadmi and Fassali.
















 

SYNOPSIS

Two principles form the basis of Zoroastrian ethics: the maintenance of life and the struggle against evil. In order to maintain life, one must till the soil, raise cattle, marry and have children. Asceticism and celibacy are condemned; purity and avoidance of defilement (from death, demons, etc.) are valued. In order to combat evil, one must at all times oppose the forces of evil and those who side with them. Zoroastrianism stresses monotheism, while recognizing the universal sway of two opposite forces (dualism). The powers of good are led by Ahura Mazda, or Ormazd (the Wise Lord), and the forces of evil by Angra Mainyu or Ahriman (the Evil Spirit). Each side has an array of warriors; bands of angels and archangels on one side and hosts of demons and archfiends on the other. Good will eventually triumph on Judgment Day, when a Messiah and Savior named Saoshyant will appear to punish the wicked and establish the righteous in a paradise on Earth. A central feature of the faith is the sacred fire that is constantly kept burning in every home, fueled by fragrant sandalwood. Fire is considered the only worshipful symbol, the great purifier and sustainer, of the nature of the sun itself.

ZOROASTRIAN BELIEFS

  1. I believe there are two Great Beings in the universe. One, Ahura Mazda, created man and all that is good, beautiful and true, while the other, Angra Mainyu, vivifies all that is evil, ugly and destructive.
  2. I believe that man has free will to align himself with good or evil, and when all mankind is in harmony with the God Ahura Mazda, Angra Mainyu will be conquered.
  3. I believe the soul is immortal and upon death crosses over Hell by a narrow bridge -- the good crossing safely to Heaven and the evil falling into Hell.
  4. I believe that a savior named Sayoshant will appear at the end of time, born of a virgin, reviving the dead, rewarding the good and punishing the evil, and thereafter Ahura Mazda will reign.
  5. I believe that Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, is the foremost Prophet of God.
  6. I believe in the scriptural authority of the Zend Avesta.
  7. I believe that purity is the first virtue, truth the second and charity the third -- and that man must discipline himself by good thoughts, words and deeds.
  8. I believe that marriage excels continence, action excels contemplation and forgiveness excels revenge.
  9. I believe in God as Seven Persons: Eternal Light; Right and Justice; Goodness and Love; Strength of Spirit; Piety and Faith; Health and Perfection; and Immortality -- and that He may best be worshiped through the representation of fire.

 

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