RELIGION

 

RELIGION_Zoroastrianism  
(A handbook of religion was published by the Foundation for Pluralism in August 2004. All the groups were given the same set of questions, and some are really silly like denominations in Atheism.  Here is the production of such writings from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every one in between; it is in two parts, essence of the faith and general information about it. We invite you to send your suggestions to suggestions@foundationforpluralism.com  for updates and new information.- Please send us the preferred websites to be linked at the bottom - THE INFORMATION IS IN TWO PARTS)

PROFILE & ESSENCE

Compiled by: Poras T Balsara and Nina Kalianivala

Origins:       Ancient Iran around Central Asia, approx. 3500 to 3700 years ago (around 1700 to 1500 BCE)

Originator:   Asho Zarathushtra (known as Zoroaster to the ancient Greeks)

Who is worshiped?  One, Supreme, All-Knowing, Eternal God of all good creations - Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom.  He is a friend to all and never to be feared by man.

People who shaped the religion: Asho Zarathushtra and his first disciples, Maidyoimaongha, Frashaoshtra, Jamaspa and Kavi Vishtaspa.  Rejuvenation of the religion and compilation of all the scattered religious literature was done in the early Sassanian era (224-379 CE) by Mobedan Mobeds Tansar, Kirder and Adurbad Marespand.

People who wrote the books:  In the early days, the religion was transmitted orally.  The scriptures were subsequently written by the priests from the three Persian empires.  Pazand prayers and Pahlavi commentaries to the Avestan texts were composed by Mobedan Mobed Adurbad Marespand during 309-379 CE (early Sassanian era).

Holy Books (Original Language)    The Avesta, which also includes the divine hymns, the Gathas, which are the very utterances of the Asho Zarathushtra himself.  The daily prayer book, called the Khordeh Avesta is a short extract from the entire Avesta.

Holy Places of Worship:  Iranshah Atash Behram in Udvada (India), Yazd Atash Behram (Iran) and other Fire Temples (Atash Behram, Agiary, Atash Kadeh, Dar-e-Mehr).

Key Tenets:  Humata (Good Thoughts), Hukhta (Good Words) and Huvareshta (Good Deeds).
Men and women are equal and through free will, they should choose to promote good and vanquish evil by emulating the Amesha Spentas:  Ahura Mazda (Spenta Mainyu) gives us the benefit of Good Mind (Vohu Manah) to those who work selflessly.  This Good Mind guides us to choose the path of Righteousness (Asha Vahishta) in all our thoughts, words and deeds.   We gain Strength and Courage (Kshathra Vairya) through wisdom and righteousness, to vanquish evil.  If we follow this path with Devotion (Spenta Armaiti) we will finally reach Perfection (Haurvatat) and be attuned with the Divine Laws of Nature.  True Happiness and Immortality (of soul) (Ameretat) is assured through the achievement of perfection.

Symbols:    Fravahar (winged figure which represents the essence of divinity within man).  Fire (a physical symbol of the invisible God).  Most Zoroastrians wear Sudreh, a white undershirt (a symbolic armor against evil influences), over which is tied the Kushti, a woolen cord (reminds one to generate good thoughts, good words and good deeds at all times).

Prayer Rituals:  Prayer is a link with the divinity.  Prayers may be performed at any time and any place, individually or in a group.  Minimally, a Zoroastrian recites the Kushti prayers daily, while performing the ritual of tying the Kushti around the waist over the Sudreh.  Jashan, a thanksgiving ritual for all occasions.

Current Leadership:  High priests are called upon from time to time to make recommendations related to scriptures and rituals.  However, salvation for the individual depends on the sum of his thoughts, words and deeds. There can be no intervention by any divine being to alter this. Each man bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, as well as sharing in the responsibility of the fate of the world.

Decision Makers:   Anjumans (elected) and Federation of Anjumans in different regions represent the community, e.g., the FEZANA in North America.

Myths:   There may be myths in early parts of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh related to the Peshdadian dynasty.

Major Festivals:  Gahambars (six seasonal festivals) celebrating the creations, Fravardegan (remembrance of all departed souls), Nouruz (New Year), Khordad Sal (Asho Zarathushtra’s birthday), Tirgan, Mehergan, Yalda (longest night of the year), Zarathosht-no-diso (death anniversary of Asho Zarathushtra), Jashne Sadeh.

Sensitivities:            Zoroastrians are not fire worshippers.  Fire is a physical symbol of the invisible God.  Asho Zarathushtra saw fire to be the physical representation of Asha (Truth, Righteousness, and Order) and as a source of light, warmth and life for his people.

What is not polite?   It is not polite to defile fire

Customs from birth to death:  Navjote or Sudreh-Pushi (initiation), Navar ceremony (for ordaining priests), Wedding ceremony, funeral rites and subsequent ceremonies for protection of the departed soul and for providing solace and support to the living.

Textual support for Pluralism: Message from one of the three cardinal prayers, the Ashem Vohu is:  “Happiness to Him Who Gives Happiness to Others.”

World Population:  around 300,000 worldwide (based on year 2000 data).

US Population:   about 18,000

North Texas Population:  around 350

ESSENCE

Compiled by: Poras T. Balsara & Nina Kalianvali

Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed, monotheistic world religions. Adopted as the faith of the Persian kings, it became the official religion of the Achaemenian, Parthian and Sassanian empires, which flourished almost continually from the sixth century BCE to the seventh century CE.

Zoroastrianism is so named because its prophet, Asho Zarathushtra was known to the ancient Greeks as Zoroaster. He lived in Ancient Iran somewhere around Central Asia between about 1700 and 1500 BCE, when the Stone Age was giving way to the Bronze Age. Asho Zarathushtra of the Spitama family is known to us through seventeen great hymns which he composed and are still extant, known as the Gathas.

These divine songs show great depth of vision and his intellectual and spiritual quest to understand the workings of the world. According to tradition, he spent many years wandering in search of the truth. His hymns suggest that he must have seen many acts of violence, pillaging and slaughter and carrying off of cattle. He became filled with a deep longing for justice and for the law of Ahura Mazda (Lord of Wisdom) to be established for strong and weak alike so that all may be able to pursue the good life in peace.

Asho Zarathushtra was thirty when revelation finally came to him. The core of Asho Zarathushtra’s teachings center around a perfect world created by the One, Supreme, Eternal, All knowing God of the good creations, Ahura Mazda, the Lord of Wisdom, who is mighty and the strongest though never to be feared, for God is an ally and a friend of man.

The Zoroastrian system may be best defined as monotheism modified by a physical and moral dualism, with an ethical system based on the triad of Good Thoughts (Humata), Good Words (Hukhta) and Good Deeds (Huvareshta), and on a divinely revealed moral code and human free will. The doctrine of divine heptad formed by Ahura Mazda and His Amesha Spentas is fundamental to Asho Zarathushtra’s teachings, as they form the crux of the ethical structure of the religion. The first of these is Good Mind (Vohu Manah), which is God's greatest gift, to man. Asho Zarathushtra declared that we must think for ourselves before we can believe. It is from the Good Mind that we learn to recognize the Best Truth (Asha Vahishta). Asha embodies truth, righteousness, order, wisdom and progress. Through Asha we gain Strength and Courage (Kshathra Vairya) to fight evil and accomplish noble objectives. If we dedicate our life to this path with Devotion (Spenta Armaiti) we will reach Perfection (Ameretat) and be attuned with the divine laws of nature. True Happiness and Immortality (of the soul) (Ameretat) is assured through the achievement of perfection.

Asho Zarathushtra presents a view of the world in which Ahura Mazda originally creates an ideal existence in accordance with the Law of Asha. As the world progresses, there is conflict between the opposing forces of Good (Spenta Mainyu) and Evil (Angra Mainyu). In this struggle, Ahura Mazda gives man not only the freedom to choose between good and evil, but also the responsibility to actively promote good, vanquish evil, and move not only himself, but the whole world towards Frashokereti, the final resurrection, when all will be in a state of perfection and everlasting bliss.

A Zoroastrian is encouraged to live life to the fullest, in order to champion the cause of ecology against those responsible for polluting all that is natural and good. Monasticism, fasting, celibacy and mortification of the body are abhorrent to a Zoroastrian as it is believed that such practices weaken man and lessen his ability to fight evil. The role of man in the struggle between good and evil is to assist God in bringing about the final annihilation of evil and the eventual triumph of the forces of good through the cumulative power of good thoughts, good words and good deeds.

The most essential ritual for all Zoroastrians is the Navjote (or Sudreh-Pushi in Farsi), which is the initiation of a child into the religion. A qualified priest endows the initiate with the Sudreh, a white muslin undershirt, over which is tied the Kushti, a woven, woolen, hollow cord. The Sudreh is viewed as armor against temptations and evil influences and the Kushti symbolically reminds one to generate good thoughts, good words and good deeds at all times.

Asho Zarathushtra taught us of individual judgment, Heaven and Hell, the future resurrection of the body, the Final Judgment and everlasting life for the reunited soul and body. Salvation for the individual depends on the sum of his thoughts, words and deeds. There can be no intervention by any divine being to alter this. Each man bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, as well as sharing in the responsibility of the fate of the world. Asho Zarathushtra's gospel is thus a noble and strenuous one, requiring courage and moral fortitude to actively combat evil.
 

PREFERRED WEBSITE LINKS

www.

 

kamagra jelly uk viagra pills uk kamagra 100mg uk viagra for men for sale levitra generic cialis pills uk cheap kamagra uk cheap viagra online uk cialis tadalafil uk viagra for women

    © FoundationforPluralism.com. All rights reserved.