-Zarathushtra (Zoroaster in Greek; Zarthosht in India and Persia).Core Teachings-Human man can over come darkness in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds. These qualities are necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster's concept of free will.
"When power becomes gracious and descends into the visible — such descent I call beauty. And there is nobody from whom I want beauty as much as from you who are powerful: let your kindness be your final self-conquest."
Zoroaster was famous in classical antiquity as the founder of the religion of the Magi. His name is mentioned by Xanthus (fifth century B.C.E.), Plato (c.428-c.348 B.C.E.) in the Alcibiades, Pliny the Elder (23-79 C.E.), Plutarch (c.46-127 C.E.), and Diogenes Laertius (c.200-250 C.E.). Ancient Greek estimates are dependent upon Persian mythology, and give dates as early as the seventh millennium B.C.E., which are the dates to which Parsis subscribe.
Persian mythology, primarily from the Shāhnāma ("The Book of Kings") of the Persian poet Ferdowsi (935-1020 C.E.), and oral tradition place Zoroaster quite early. Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990), in his book Twelve World Teachers, arrives at a rough estimate ranging from 10,000 to 1000 B.C.E.
"Truth is of no denomination and beyond form, as the Buddha stated. Its essence shines forth of its own nature when the ego/mind is transcended. The ego represents the limitation of form in that it indicates a positionallity from which stem duality and the illusion of supposedly autonomous, separate self as the doer of actions, thinker of thoughts, etc. The ego's illusions provide narcissistic satisfaction and thus self propagate over endless lifetimes. The key to deliverance is via the spiritual will, which is inspired by the power of the spiritual energy and truth of the Great Teacher, whose vibration is ongoing in the field of human collective consciousness."
-Dr. David Hawkins
Nonduality: Consciousness Research and the Truth of the Buddha
Nonduality: Consciousness Research and the Truth of the Buddha
The Macedonian philosopher Aristotle of Stagira thought that Zoroaster (the Greek name for Zarathustra) lived six thousand years before Aristotle's own teacher Plato (427-348 BCE). The earliest hieroglyphs appear at about the beginning of the pharaonic age. 365-day calendar introduced. 1st Dynasty (2920 - 2770)
The traditional Parsi people of India place the Prophet as older than 6000 BC  . The hymns attributed to him, the Gathas, are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism.
Zarathustra spoke of a single Universal God, the core beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.Zarathustra is the prophet of the belief systems that helped shape the European Enlightenment, the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, and the beginning of the Christian. There is little explored on Zarathustra as his teachings for thousands of years were passed down by word-of-mouth before the pre-Classical form of Sanskrit known as Vedic Sanskrit, with the language of the Rigveda being the oldest and most archaic stage preserved, its oldest core dating back to as early as 1900 BCE. The traditional Parsi people of India place the Prophet as older than 6000 BC 
"The second group coming from the area of the Caspian Sea migrated through the Himalayas to India. These people were known as Aryan or exalted ones for they carried with them the knowledge of a great civilization. These Aryans carried with them a language of mind very clearly expressed in mathematical terms. This language is called Sanskrit. It is closely allied to the language in which the Zend Avesta was written. The Zend Avesta is the Holy Book of the followers of Zarathustra. The Jewish and Christian Bible is a later adaption with additions of Persian, Babylonian, Chaldean, Egyptian and Indian Holy Books. A Holy Book is a book that is written in the language of mind and explains creation. The early written languages of Sanskrit, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the language of the Avesta, are all picture languages.
Those Aryans who migrated to India conquered the native peoples. They kept the teaching of the ancients alive by producing the Vedas. Later, they produced Holy works known as the Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabarata, of which the Bhagavad Gita is a part, and others."
-by Dr. Daniel Condron
"The Key to Happiness"
As author of my blog 'The Key to Happiness' I have been searching for a path to stay in the presence of God. I've had experiences of overwhelming energy like electricity flowing through me with the emotion of all-inclusive love while singing praise to God in the mist of Glide's Gospel choir. I wondered if this exquisite emotion of love and complete fulfillment was sustainable throughout my day. I began a search for techniques to obtain what is known as Enlightenment. Zarathustra is on Dr. David Hawkins list of great Avatars in the teachings of unconditional love; his message was so powerful it changed all mankind. I have spent days reading everything I can find on Zarathustra and composed this blog with love of his teachings.
I first heard of Zarathustra from Dr. Hawkins' book
'Truth vs Falsehood',
"The great avatars set the ultimate paradigm of reality and standard of conduct for all of humanity for thousands of years. Of those, the Lords Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, and Jesus Christ all calibrate at 1,000.All the names for Divinity calibrate as Infinity. The revered great sages and their teachings calibrate in the 700's (extremely rare) such as Huang Po and Ramana Maharishi.”
-Dr. David Hawkins, M.D. PhD.
Zarathustratells us that it is through the medium of the material world we achieve spiritual completeness. An interesting paradox. To be worth anything, (at least in our reality), they have to be expressed through the material medium of thoughts, words and actions. That simple Zarathushti maxim: good thoughts, good words and good actions,: to advance each individual spiritually towards haurvatat, (perfection, completeness) with each good choice in thought, word, and action, and in so doing, make our world a better place, for it is impossible to think a good thought, say a good word or do a good deed without benefiting the people and places affected by such thoughts, words and actions.
I found this great story on Zarathustra by Michele Moramarco, who was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy, in 1953. He studied Philosophy and graduated in 1977 with a dissertation on the Indian thinker Shri Aurobindo.
On becoming a Zoroastrian in Italy[i]: a shining naojote on a rainy day
Later Zoroastrian Literature
On the day Bahman, month Avan, 1373 A.Y.[ii], I received the naojote by a fully ordained Zoroastrian priest. This personal event took place in my hometown, Reggio Emilia, northern Italy. The venue for the holy ceremony was the “Patanjali Center”, a sort of Indian cultural outpost that looks out on a road where, in times gone by, an affluent of the great Po river used to flow.
Also appropriate for a month dedicated to the Waters was the weather, cloudy and moisty, but one could certainly feel the powerful touch of swift-horsed Khorshed yazad as the mobed poured rice and rose petals on me while reciting the Doa Tan Dorosti at the close of the exalted ritual.
I had been waiting a long time for that moment, though I had stated my decision of petitioning for naojote only one year before, in a letter to an Iranian-American acquaintance.
I never thought the investiture would suddenly or once for all transform my inward life. I didn’t have any miracolous expectations (after all, European Enlightenment, the philosophy of Reason, had played a major role in my spiritual growth). But I did think that it would “seal” the changes which had taken place in me during the previous thirty years. Plus, that it would add a strong push upwards. And all this has happened.
I asked to be initiated because, after professing the tenets of the Good Religion for some seven years, I was sure that the ritual reception of mazdayasna would strengthen my will to carry on along this sublime path. Giving a clear form to my innermost yearnings seemed to me a bit like linking menog and getig, the two states of being which at the time of Frashkart, according to zoroastrian eschatology, will be perfectly balanced and fused.
I was living - or at least endeavouring to live - as an “unseen” Zoroastrian. I decided that I wanted to keep on living and eventually to die as a “visible” one. I’ll be forever grateful to the learned and sensitive mobed who gave me this chance.
When we got out of the “Patanjali Center”, the mobed rejoiced in the rain that had started falling softly but insistently. I asked him why: after all there were four of us with only one umbrella within reach, and we had to walk a long way. “Ask the trees”, he replied quietly. Summer had been exceedingly hot and dry, and the simple wise words whispered by the mobed unveiled to my eyes the twin jubilation of Khordad and Amardad.
A long path leading to Daena
My name is Michele Moramarco. I was born in 1953 and raised as a Catholic. From the age of seven, I started having some sort of spiritual experience, like being moved to tears of joy, in a dark church aisle, by the light of a white candle which spoke of God to my tender mind.
At the age of twelve I began to question many of the christian/catholic dogmas: among others, I couldn’t accept the idea of an exclusive “incarnation” of God in history and, even less, that of an “eternal damnation”. A close schoolmate of mine, a nice and amusing kid named Dennis, had died of leukemia and I was upset - even outraged - by the commonly held, yet blasphemous idea that God had willed and created death. I could conceive Deity only as the perpetual Source of Life and Light.
In 1968, a year of social turmoil in the western world, I was a fifteen-year-old long-haired lad seeking for new meanings in life, so it was only natural for me to discard all religion and join the libertarian movements.
I was a high school student with a conspicuous interest in English, History, Philosophy and Music (in good music of all kinds I’ve always perceived the echoes of Garodman), but spent a lot of time as a political activist, and often went to Carrara, among marble-quarrymen, where the headquarters of the anarchist movement were located. Italian anarchism was mainly a humanistic movement; followers of Tolstoj and Gandhi also belonged to it, pursuing the utopian vision of a perfected mankind, able at last to govern itself peacefully without the need of any outward power. For a while I found an ideal haven in it; in the light of events, I can say it was a pre-religious experience.
At seventeen, I distinctly felt the call of the Spirit, and after the years of denial I turned to the religious dimension with a new awareness. As an “angry” young freethinker, I was interested, above all, in Eastern religions - the Beatles had just opened the doors of India to western teenagers - and in so called heretical groups, such as the Christian Cathars and the Manichaeans. It was at this point that I first ran across Zoroastrianism, which many scholars described as the remote background for all those who refused to bow to a tyrannical “God”. From the very start I felt at ease with the friendly, just, pure and healthy image of Ohrmazd. I could only worship a rayomand and khoremand God, who would have nothing to do with evil. The puzzling and discouraging problem of all the absurd ills which afflict nature and man, became the trembling focus of my reflections; the solutions offered by catholic theology and language seemed unsuitable. But I was obviously rooted in the christian tradition, and, being of a loyal disposition, I didn’t want to leave the fold. So I decided to explore those fringes of Christianity which could offer nobler, higher and more rational ideas of God and faith. I found something of this kind among Quakers, Unitarians, Universalists and Liberal Protestants. Ideas like the universality of revelation, the relevance of reason and conscience in religion, the presence of an “inner light” in all creatures, the prophethood of Jesus (instead of his being part of a baffling Trinity, devised and imposed by riotous church councils), the final salvation of all people, were current among them and appealed to me. At different times I was in communion with each of these minorities. In the late eighties and early nineties I was listed as the italian contact in the directory of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Boston, and on the “Inquirer”, a London unitarian periodical, a couple of articles appeared dealing with my religious activities. Now the UUA, I discovered quite soon, had become much too liberal: even atheism could be preached by their pulpits, and as far as lifestyles were concerned, absolute freedom was admitted. This really put me off and I quit belonging, though I kept holding the original anglo-american free religious tradition in high esteem, for its intellectual soundness, theological richness (the English review Faith and Freedom, for instance, makes fascinating reading) and ethical commitment to peace, right sharing of world resources, etc.: enough to make me decide that I still wanted to commune with them, albeit from a critical standpoint.
Meanwhile, I had continued to study Zoroastrianism with a sympathetic attitude, on the sources available in Italy at the time.
In 1975 I had been made a Mason. Italian Freemasonry used to have strong philosophical connections; its symbolism of building and its enlightened universalism appealed to me. In 1977 - the year I graduated in Philosophy with a final dissertation on the great hindu thinker Shri Aurobindo - I wrote my first book on the subject (in 1990 it was also translated in Russian and published by “Progress” publishers in Moscow). My best accomplishment in the field of masonic studies has been the authorship of the Nuova Enciclopedia Massonica (in three volumes, 1989-1995) favourably reviewed by the field magazines and the press at large. A few inadequate pages of that work deal with the symbolical and historical relationships between Zoroastrianism and Freemasonry (the historical ones having to do mainly with the masonic membership of many Parsi philanthropists and scholars of the past two centuries). I think the masonic ethos - which, for instance, emphasizes solar symbolism: Mozart wrote a wonderful lodge hymn devoted to the Sun as the “soul of the universe” - contributed to increase my interest for Zoroastrianism.
In 1984 I was invited by the noted orientalist, professor Alessandro Bausani (author of the unsurpassed synopsis Persia religiosa), to give some talks on comparative mysticism in one of his courses at “La Sapienza” State University in Rome: working with him for some months gave me the chance of getting better acquainted with ancient Persian culture and of learning more about the influence of Zoroastrianism on later Iranian mystical Islam (especially on Sohrawardi). At this stage of my search, I delved into the doctrines, practices and history of many religious groups: Ramana Maharshi’s Advaita, Baha’is, Sikhs, Radhasoami (an offspring of Sikhism), Ismailis, Mevleviyya Sufis, Lotus Sutra Buddhism, Japanese New Religions etc.: in order to make a thoughtful choice, one has to be well up in the matter concerned. In 1985, while teaching Italian and History in State schools, I engaged in the regular study of humanistic psychology and at the end of a four-year specialization course I qualified as a therapist.
Between 1987 and 1992 I gathered valuable materials on the Good Religion. In September 1987, being in London, I bought Darmesteter’s translation of Avesta, Mary Boyce’s Zoroastrians. Their Religious Beliefs and Practices and Khojeste Mistree’s Zoroastrianism. An Ethnic Perspective”. Mistree’s book - which is actually much more than a Parsi-centered portrait of the Faith, because it expounds theological concepts which are mightily universal - was a great source of inspiration and knowledge for me, a truly faithful companion in my first wanderings across the spiritual landscapes of Zoroastrianism. For months it lay permanently on my bedside table for me to read it over and over again, and it is still a recurrently indispensable tool.
In 1990 I got in touch with two outstanding western scholars: Mary Boyce, who kindly presented me with a copy of her Textual Sources for the Study of Zoroastrianism, and James Russell, who - invited by me in 1992 to be the guest speaker at a conference on the Noachide legacy (the universalist side of the Jewish tradition) - brought me his Zoroastrianism in Armenia and a number of intriguing papers on many topics connected with the Good Religion (from the symbolism of sun, cock and horse in ancient Iran, to the contemporary Parsi garbas and monajats). Before a meal at my home, James lit a candle with my then six-year old son, Graziano, staring respectfully at him while he, at my request, recited the Jamvani Baj.
Three years after, quite unexpectedly, my wife decided to divorce (a fashionable trend among Italian women in the last decade): this caused my soul a piercing sorrow. The day I left home in sadness, the gathic verse “ushta ahmai ushta kahmai cit” came to my mind by grace of Ohrmazd, and I made a twofold vow: to keep making my son laugh each day, even more than before, and to devote part of my time and skills - as a psychology teacher and therapist - to the kids of divorced parents who would ask me for help.
I guess I can say I fulfilled the vow: my beloved son, who chose to live with me, has been growing happily and is now a smart seventeen, with manifold keen interests and a genuine sympathy for Zoroastrianism; more than fifty students suffering from parental strife have shown me their trust and affection by looking for me whenever they needed advice.
When Ahriman’s forces seemed to be tearing my life to pieces, my urvan stood firm, drawing strenght from the sound morals, lofty visions and powerful prayers of our noble Faith. I tried to follow the straight path and eventually won the battle against destruction. I found relief and guidance in Zoroastrianism; I owe it my spiritual enrichment even amidst those stormy months. More than ever, the idea of a falsely “omnipotent”, in fact a “mixed” God, author of both good and evil, didn’t speak to my condition, whereas I could wholeheartedly praise Ohrmazd, the true God who needs us and wants us as His hamkars.
As my research continued at an increased speed after 1994, the inward assurance that I could only worship a completely pure and righteous God led me to consider also other “religions of the Light”, such as Gnostic Christianity, Mandaeism, some schools of Mahayana Buddhism etc., but I realized that besides lacking the richness and integrity of Zoroastrianism, they all tend to overstate the negative aspects of the material creation and to undervalue the good ones. This attitude eventually leads to a gloomy unbalance. Now, as a father I had my share in giving birth to a human being in the material world and I don’t think anyone should ever disclaim the value of parenthood, which gives man the highest joys on earth and a sense of glory. So, even if at times a sort of “cosmic pessimism” rose within me - as happens to many sensitive people, I believe - I knew that only creative optimism, based on the law of Asha (which is the real source of ushta) could sustain and nourish the meaningfulness of parental duty, in fact of all duties. Once again, the long path led me to Zoroastrianism, which started meaning “religious wholeness” to me. When I used to worship according to other religious traditions, I always felt there was something missing. Being a believer in some sort of universal revelation, I could easily draw inspiration from them, but I gradually came to realize that the roots of that “religious wholeness”, devoid of ambiguities and twistings, I was looking for, were best preserved in the Good Religion. Since I had always thought it’s a moral duty for everyone to tread the spiritual path which best suits one’s conscience, entering the gates of Zoroastrianism became a viable necessity for me. And I knew too well that acting otherwise would make me drown in the marsh of hypocrisy, double standards, unworthy compromises.
Because of the long search which led me through many different spiritual landscapes, I know I will always uphold a universalist approach to religious matters, yet being convinced that the fundamentals of a reasonable, lofty, ethically grounded and amiable system of faith are to be found in Zoroastrianism. Other religions enclose seeds of truth, but also corrupt them with illogical and sometimes awful dogmas (the worst being that of an evil-doing “god”, however disguised); they can add supplementary ideas, “atmospheres”, i.e. aesthetical richness, to the spiritual life of man, but can never match with the primary revelation - and with the consequent theological patterns and behavioural codes - provided by the Good Religion.
This is why I became a Zoroastrian. And this is why - at least, I think so - I feel at home in this tradition, despite the fact that I’m a scattered behdin.
Conversion: turning towards the Light
We have now come to the hot point of “conversion”. I have a heartfelt admiration for the Parsis, who valiantly protected the Faith from destruction and assimilation and passed it on across the centuries. I’m sincerely eager to learn from them. I also think that talking of a zoroastrian survival without - or, even worse, despite - the Parsis, like somebody seems to be doing, is plain nonsense. At the same time, I can hardly understand why some Parsis - even among the most brilliant and authoritative in the knowledge of religion - can get so bitter on this issue. Most likely it’s because they fear that conversion from other faiths would dilute the principles and practices of the Good Religion, or that, once approved, it could affect their own community, some sections of which may be more easily allured by widespread or “fashionable” religions. I’m sure they also thwart conversion because they know how debasing it can be, for some people, to leave the inherited religion behind.
But, reasonable as these motivations can be, they all seem partial to me, and founded more on a defensive attitude than on a constructive thought-process. A defensive attitude among Zoroastrians is historically justified, but probably not consistent with the effusive attributes (spenta, rayomand, khoremand) which we ascribe to God and to our resplendent Daena. In the long run, it always brings about the worst kind of defeat: implosion. All closed communities are bound to implode.
The anti-conversion Parsis are right when they say that conversion is somehow “useless” because the Good Religion contemplates salvation for all righteous people, no matter what confession they follow; but they seem to be inconsistent with their own theological assumptions (centered in that precious “dualism” which asserts that God is only latently omnipotent or, if you prefer, that He is all-powerful only on the plan of Good) when they claim that changing one’s religious affiliation goes against God’s will, since He Himself decided that one should be born in a certain religion. On a parallel line of thought, one could end up arguing it’s God’s will that one should be born with a genetic disease or the like. Now, can anybody seriously and earnestly declare this, or that God wills anybody to live his life, say, in a stupid or bloody “religious” environment?
In this case, farewell Zoroastrianism! one would be tempted to say, because such an outlook, with its simplistic “providentialism”, sounds more jewish, christian or muslim than zoroastrian. And after all, no human being is entitled to compel anybody else’s conscience to stick to doctrines or practices that it finds no longer adequate or acceptable. And if it’s legitimate to maintain that one can be a Parsi only by “birthright”, it’s likewise sensible to declare that becoming a disciple of Zarathushtra is a God-given right.
I see my personal zoroastrian choice not as a denial, but rather as a refinement and an enlargement of my previous religious experiences, along moral and intellectual lines which I felt were traced by a higher hand. After all, the very word “conversion”, which comes from Latin, doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s path completely, but rather making it turn towards a certain direction, for the sake of one’s own spiritual safety. The seeking soul, like a sunflower, naturally turns to that point whence the Light comes to it.
I’ve never felt like a renegade, but like a fragile yet determined person in search of Light and evolving under God’s promptings. I still prize and love many teachings of Jesus (who, I believe, was a seeker of Asha within the jewish frame and, like the Essenes, by some hidden influence made many jewish concepts shift towards zoroastrian ones). I dare say that studying and practicing Zoroastrianism have provided me with a better understanding of his message.
Ideas of a Universalist Zoroastrian
Although I’m only a recently initiated behdin, a newcomer with so much to learn and not even welcomed by some in the fold, I have personal views on Zoroastrianism, which I would style as neither orthodox nor liberal, but rather as “composite”. Like the veritable traditionalists, I subscribe to a “dualistic” interpretation of Zarathushtra’s teachings and would steadily join in the doctrinal battle that Khojeste Mistree is bravely fighting to guard this invaluable treasure of the Faith against all shallow or “academical” attacks; like the reformists, I support sincere conversion (and deem Kersey Antia’s The Argument for Acceptance a milestone in this direction). Like the traditionalists, I reckon the wondrous power of sacred mathras and rituals as vehicles of divine energies which nourish the “subtle body” of the sincere faithful; like the true reformists (not those who want to get rid of all post-gathic traditions), I am suspicious of excessive ritualism, which ceases to be a resource and becomes a burden to the soul. Like the traditionalists, I consider the dakhmenashini system as the one which best befits our Daena (incidentally: some years ago, the chairman of the Italian branch of WWF said it was a pity there were no Zoroastrians in our country, for the use of dakhmas would repopulate our mountains with vultures and other rapacious birds which are on the verge of extinction); like the reformists, I don’t think this or other traditional practices represent the core of the Faith and can’t at any rate be dispensed with.
Well, mine must seem a strange position to many. I grew up in the so called swinging Sixties as a young radical, yet I have long turned “backwards” in terms of values; I’m a staunch supporter of conjugal loyalty and decency in customs; I don’t think any kind of promiscuity is spiritually sound in a zoroastrian perspective; I believe in a rightfully hierarchical social order and dislike all sorts of fatuous rebelliousness. I would expect Zoroastrians to be in the forefront of the impending battle against vicious customs which entail the supremacy of bodily seductiveness, “exclusive” status (as opposed to the general prosperity of the righteous championed by the Good Religion), motor-worship and so on, but this doesn’t seem to be the case: though these devilish delusions are rottening the very fabric of humanity and environment, it seems to me there’s too much of an adjustment to them even among Zoroastrians.
On the other hand, I’m definitely “progressive” in terms of economic patterns: I made researches on many past experiences of industrial self-government, on the Cooperative Movement in Europe, on Vinoba Bhave’s gramdan in India, etc., and I’m an admirer of the ancient Mazdaki Zarthoshti reform movement, on which I’m trying to collect all the existing materials. Furthermore, I wouldn’t certainly depict myself as an austere formalist: I believe that laughter is one of Ohrmazd’s greatest endowments to mankind, and I’ve even written a book, which was reviewed thrice on the National TV channels, about a cabaret group (“I Gufi”, in English: “The Owls”) who used to make fun of all kind of bigoted habits. One of the keys to the zoroastrian spirit, I think, is the interweaving of seriousness and mirth.
In other words, as a Zoroastrian I believe that our religion wheels around cosmic justice as the source of all happiness. I’m talking of that justice always longed for by earnest men, that justice which is true, good and beautiful (descending from Asha, which personifies the pattern designed by Ohrmazd for Creation, partially and temporarily subverted by Ahriman: Asha does not coincide with the destructive “natural law”); that justice which is the essential goal of the Good Religion. The Soul of the Cow and Asho Zarathushtra pleading for it and knitting it with Truth and immortal Bliss; the will to safeguard and increase the Good Creation: these, we all know, are the divine roots of the Message.
To be frank, I think traditionalists should be more worried about the mundane, “easygoing” wave that is sweeping their own ranks than about intermarriage or conversion, which can be highly spiritual choices; and as regards extreme reformists, I’m afraid they’re just heading somewhere else, outside the zoroastrian lineage, by pursuing a rather unnerved version of the Faith which can’t be easily identified as a sequence to Asho Zarathushtra’s preaching. I sense that this attitude is an outcome of a mistake made by quite a few Zoroastrians in the last two centuries, namely that of falling into the “monotheistic obsession”. In european religious circles, the “abrahamic religions” are often branded as superior to the others because of their absolute “monotheism” postulating a jealous God who will never share his glory with other entities or beings. I’m convinced – and I think history shows - that this type of theology is likely to generate arrogance and conflict. Zoroastrians should vindicate, I think, that the majestic and pluralistic metaphysical scenery offered by Amesha Spentas, Yazads and Fravahrs is an inspired syntesis of what is best in both monotheism and so called polytheism.
I positively stand for a form of integral and universalist Zoroastrianism. Universalism applied to Zoroastrianism doesn’t mean diluting its message, but rather affirming that it constitutes the root of any good concepts or practices developed in other religious contexts. Universalism is but an implementation of Farvardin Yasht : the righteous of every place and time are entitled to our veneration, and this also consists in studying their best thoughts, words, deeds, and in incorporating them in our heritage, or at least in counting them among our sources of inspiration. This, I think, is a bounden duty for every thoughtful Zoroastrian. In the past I’ve had contacts with a branch of the Brahmo Samaj, the hindu universalist movement founded in 1828 by Raja Rammohun Roy. I envision the day when an “Ohrmazd Samaj” will work the rallying around noble Daena of its dispersed particles which can be retraced in every reliable spiritual effort of man. This will mark the completion of the mazdayasni edifice. Universalism will not destroy the Faith, but rather exalt it and prove that it is excellent for “all the worlds”. Its revival will be made possible by the joint workings of a strict adherence to arcane fundamentals and of a universalist vision.
Practices and action
As regards my religious practices, apart from the kushti prayers I read portions of the Gathas daily and listen to them and to various nyayeshes and yashts through audiocassettes. Also some of the Pahlavi texts are bounteous purveyors of high vision to me.
Often, at dawn, I merge spontaneously with the spirit of praise and recite some verses from Hoshbam. During the day, which is devoted to my son, my work, my studies, music and some fun, I often pray from the Khordeh Avesta, especially Doa Nam Stayishn, Doa Tan Dorosti, Din-no Kalmo, Mazdayasno Ahmi (I often read the Naismi Daevo, the longer profession of Faith from Yasna 12) and Kerfeh Mozd, praises and invocations which I find most strengthening. Every meal of mine is heralded by the Jamvani Baj The Ashem vohu comes up intermittingly to my lips nearly all the time. By grace of Ohrmazd, I’m constantly drawn to the lofty words of the Good Religion; in a sort of perpetual prayer, my mind is catched up by the celestial sounds and images of Daena even while I’m performing life’s ordinary tasks. I just hope I will never set my home afire through absent-mindedness!
Let’s now turn to action. Since there are other people interested in Zoroastrianism, I know that sooner or later a small italian Dar-e-Meher will be established, but this isn’t obviously my main task at the moment. What I’m doing these days is trying to widen my “experiential” knowledge of the Faith and to bridge the geographical gap between myself and the zoroastrian world. I answered WZO’s Bam Appeal as my means allowed, and I’m willing to establish links with the Zoroastrians of Iran. I’d be glad to give assistance to all Zoroastrians coming to Italy for whatever purpose. In my school a girl asked me to help her plan a paper on “Poverty in India” for her final exams. I told her about a giant industrial group which has done and is still doing a lot against poverty in India, and directed her to the Tata website: she decided to devote some paragraphs of her paper to the scientific and humanitarian activities sponsored by the group (I’m glad to see that the expansion of Tata has reached this country; how exciting it would be to set up a small branch of TISS in Italy!)
One more field of perspective action for me is the editing of zoroastrian texts in italian. Two great occasions of making the Avestan scriptures correctly known in Italy have been sadly missed in the last decade. In 1996 a major publisher released an italian translations of the Gathas, but apparently the translator - who drew freely and abundantly from the existing english translations - enjoyed twisting the language. Since Avestan is still partly cryptic, he must have thought, let’smake it even more so. A brilliant idea indeed! As a result, his rendering of the Prophet’s chants makes troubled reading and the whole book - which comprises a disputable introductory essay on Zoroastrianism - gives the reader a scanty if not distorted idea of the Faith. Even sadder one could label the recent issuing, by another prestigious publishing house, of the whole Avesta in Italian. In this case also, the editor brought out a partially avowed second-hand version, translating from translations. This is quite acceptable, considering the lack of Avestan scholarship in Italy; what is not acceptable is the multitude of conceptual and linguistic inaccuracies - plus quite a few misprints - that spoil the finely hardbound volume. I’ll write about this for Parsiana in a specific review. I’m not an Avesta scholar, but I plan on working at a readable italian edition of the Gathas and the Khordeh Avesta (original text with translation opposite), based on the most authoritative english versions and, hopefully, with the assistance of ZS. To this end, I intend to set up a “Centro di Studi Zoroastriani”, which should work under the aegis of ZS and interact with the departments of Iranian Studies attached to italian universities.
Religiously speaking, the italian situation doesn’t look particularly favourable to the spread of zoroastrian ideas. Owing to the present government’s cultural policy, Catholicism is regaining more and more ground in the media. “Miracles” by “saints”, often conjured by disturbed people in culturally deprived areas, are presented as factual truth on TV. Superstition overflows. The other side of the coin is a devastating secularization, which makes up actual reality beyond lip-service to God. Islamic membership is growing fast by reason of the constant immigration waves. Some Italians are converting to Islam, some to Buddhism (which is trendy among managers, artists, etc.); many more prefer to join groups like Jehova’s Witnesses or Pentecostals, both biblical literalists.
There have been Zoroastrians from abroad (Iran, for example) who temporarily settled in Italy to study or work, and a famous Parsi, the great orchestra director whom co-religionists proudly call apro Zubin, is often around here, but - as far as I know - there has never been a steady organized presence nor did any Italians ever joined the ranks of the Good Religion. During the final centuries of the Roman Empire, Mithraism spread in many parts of the country, but - despite the reference to Mithra and some shared values - it differed a lot from Zoroastrianism, and soon vanished in the haze of history. This means that Italian mazdayasnis will lack the support of an indigenous tradition, yet I’m sure that the freshly ignited white light of our Daena, though placed in a tiny vessel and covered by many clouds, will shine on.
[i] This paper is based on 3 part articles that appeared in the Parsiana journal, Mumbai, India in year 2004, and was posted on vohuman.org on February 22, 2005 courtesy of the author with concurrence of the editor of Parsiana. [ii] November 19, 2003 C.E.
My book "From Hollywood to God" is now on Amazon and Kindle books!
My first stop was to The World Sound Healing Conference in San Francisco. I wanted to understand the science of frequencies, especially if everything in the universe was vibrating to their own unique song!
I waited in the large conference room to hear Dr. Susan Yale's lecture on the Harmonic Oscillator.
"You can hear the sound of "nature" between the Pyramids of Giza," Dr. Yale said, pausing, "it's a perfect F Sharp."
No one moved. She spoke slowly, "If you knew there was a place in the world where you could hear God, would you go?"
I always wanted to sleep on the Nile!"
~ from my Memoir, (click link—"From Hollywood to God" Kelly Granite Enck on Amazon books and Kindle.