A Zarathushtri youth writes:
"I am a fairly `young' Zarathushtri. It is only recently that I have begun to look into my faith what it means and so on. I would really like to learn more about my religion."
I am very happy. The MazdaYasni Zarathushtri religion of our ancestors is the religion God gave us birth in, so it will definitely answer all our questions and satisfy us.
Question: "I would like to know how you have managed to obtain so much knowledge on the Zoroastrian faith? Are there books I can read?"
Thanks. My elders and Dasturjees definitely know more than me. What I know, I know by the Grace of God. I attended religious classes conducted by Zoroastrian Studies (of Khojeste Mistree), which gave me a very good start and overview of the religion. Then, I bought the English Translations of the Gathas, YASHTS, VENDIDAD and Yasna by *Tehmrasp Rustomjee Sethna*. These books were a great help - they inspired me a lot, because they are pure Aryan scriptures. All my doubts vanished - all my questions were answered. No other religion (and I had studied a few before I studied our religion) had held the answers for me, mine did. It was then that I realized that God had given us birth in our religion by His Divine Will, so that our religion would guide us.
I recommend these books of TR Sethna to you, the translations of our scriptures. They are available for 100 Rupees or so each from Bombay. If you are interested, I can ask my friend Neville Gandhi in Bombay to forward to you some details, prices etc. His address is Flat 2 Bldg 25 Old Khareghat Colony Hughes Road Bombay 7. You can write to him and mention my name. You can also write to Zoroastrian studies, Ground floor, K.R. Cama Institute, opp Lion Gate, Fort Bombay, for the same books plus a list of others.
Your local library should also have some books on Persian mythology. Books by German scholars are quite good. That will give you a good background.
Question: "What is the Vendidad, Dinkard etc.? What exactly are the Gathas?"
The Gathas are the Divine songs of our Holy Prophet. They contain the inspiring message of Zarathushtra - that He was sent by Ahura Mazda Himself, to proclaim the MazdaYasni religion to the Aryans of Iran. They are pure, inspired poetry - sung by the Prophet of God, praising God. Zarathushtra tells us in the Gathas to choose between Good and evil. He proclaims the promise of God: He who does good will reap the rewards in Garo-Deman ie. the House of Songs or Paradise where Ahura Mazda exists. He who does evil will be away from God, and will stay in drujo-deman ie. the abode of evil.
Zarathustra proclaims that Ahura Mazda will send the Divine Saviours (the Saoshyants) who will teach men righteousness and fight evil. Finally, one day, the world will be "made fresh" by God - the divine event of Frashogad will take place, when all men and women will be judged and made undying and immortal, evil defeated, and the dead made alive once again.
These concepts of heaven and hell, of the Saviours to come, the Virgin birth (the Saviour will be born of a virgin), the Final Judgment, the Bathing of the world by Fire, the final battle between good and evil, the final defeat of evil and the resurrection of the dead - these are all Aryan Zoroastrian concepts which filtered down into Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Truly, our religion was the mother religion of the world!
What is Good, and what is evil, is explained in another ancient and holy scripture - the VI-DAEVO-DAT, later called the Vendidad, meaning "Against-evil-given" ie. the Law that was given against evil. In it, Ahura Mazda reveals to Zarathushtra the various actions prohibited in our religion, and the actions welcomed. Marriage is enjoined very strongly in the Vendidad - the earth becomes most happy when the righteous MazdaYasni builds on it a house, marries and produces beautiful children, and worships the Holy Fire in the house, living with the dogs, cattle, goats and roosters of the household (all of the Good Creation - unlike snakes, and cats, which are of the brood of the evil one). The SUDREH-KUSTI is to be worn at all times, on the direct commandment of God.
Ahura Mazda prohibits homosexuality and prostitution and enjoins that the Mazda-worshipper (MazdaYasni) should marry only a Mazda-worshipper. Various laws of cleanliness are detailed eg. the menstruating woman, because of her putrefying discharges had to observe great caution - she could not touch any holy fire, could not cook for those three days, and had to take rest. Besides it is forbidden for a man to have sex with his wife during the menstrual period, and during pregancy, and in any unnatural way. Sex in our religion is a gift from God, provided it is enjoyed with the married wife and for procreation.
This is mentioned in the DINKARD - another great and holy book, which explains the Creation of the whole world by Ahura Mazda. According to the Dinkard, Ahura Mazda perceived that evil was about to attack the spiritual (Minoi) world. So, Ahura created the material (Geti) world and the good creation of plants and animals such as the cow, dog, horse, goat, cock etc., then Gayo- Maretan (the first man) and finally Fire, which entered into the Creation and gave it life.
For the 1st 3000 years, Gayo-Maretan lived a perfect life, worshipping Ahura Mazda constantly (therefore he was a MazdaYasni ie, he who worships Ahura.) Then, the evil one rose from his abyss. As God had forseen, the evil one was attracted by the material world, and attacked it through the sky. He polluted the ocean, the earth, and caused the plants and trees to wilt and die. He attacked the cow, who died very soon, and then the body of Gayomaretan, who witstood him for 30 more years. Finally, Gayomaretan died too. It seemed the evil one was victorious, and that death reigned everywhere on the earth.
However, new plants spang up from the old. From the body of the slain Gayomaretan, the first man and woman sprang forth as if flowers from a tree. They were Mashya and Mashyani. They united in divine love, and more children were born - God had brought love and birth into the world. The death and destruction wrought by the evil one came to *naught*.
The evil one turned to escape from the Geti (material) world - but God had blocked his way, sealing off the spiritual from the physical world. (The Chinvad bridge became the only link between the physical and the spiritual world from then on, for the souls of the slain.) The evil one was trapped - and God immediately sent more Fravashis to be born on the earth, to be his Ratheshtars (warriors) and fight against evil.
The battle between good and evil thus goes on - till the end time, when God will send His Saviour (Saoshyant) and defeat evil once and for all, making the creation Fresh once again. This is called Frasho-kereti, the Making Fresh of the world. At that time, unhappiness, poverty, illness, disease and death will be no more, and men will neither hunger nor thirst.
This is the creation of the world as per our faith. I believe in all this with all my heart.
Gayomaretan was created a MazdaYasni ie, worshipping Ahura Mazda. Our scriptures say the first Aiwiyaongahana (Kusti girdle) was placed around his waist by Ahura Mazda, the mark that he was a MazdaYasni, and a member of the Aryan people.
Zarathushtra was the Saviour of the Faith - he was sent by Ahura thousands of years later when the Mazdayasni faith had deteriorated. He restored the faith to its ancient purity. Therefore, our sacred Aryan Yashts all have the seal of Zarathushtra - Zarathushtra asked Ahura Mazda, Ahura Mazda answered, and so on.
The YASHTS are very ancient, sacred scriptures. They contain the MazdaYasni Aryan verses of prayer to the Divine Elements of God, such as FIRE, the SUN, MOON, STARS, WIND, EARTH and WATER - all divine for the Aryan, to be venerated - never to be polluted. These divine verses are what our Aryan ancestors prayed to the Creation for thousands and thousands of years. They were ONE with the earth, one with God's Creation. They were the true MazdaYasnis, worshippers of God.
The Vendidad also contains, in the first Fargad (chapter) the ancient history of the Aryan race in the ancient homeland Aryanam Vaejo (Seedland of the Aryans) under King Jamshed before they migrated to Iran, upper India, Greece and Europe. Inspired by this, I wrote the "Saga of the Aryan race", which tells the story of our Aryan ancestors, and their MazdaYasni religion. The book has been published in Bombay.
"I know examining your faith at the age of .. is a little too late, but better late than never I guess?"
It is a good time. You have your whole life ahead of you. I think I started later than you did. According to our religion, the age of Fifteen ie. PanchDasavo (Avestan) is the most perfect age. The Vendidad says that King Jamshed's reign was so perfect that father and son both looked like fifteen-year olds. 15 is when a youth attains to physical and spiritual manhood, as per our scriptures.
Chapters of the Saga
Saga of the Aryans Home Page
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How to get the Saga in book form