Fellow Mazdayasni Zarathushtris,
The following letter was published recently in the famous Jam-e- Jamshed Zoroastrian newspaper of India. It is from Mrs. Pervin Mistry, a staunch Zarathushtri lady of Canada who has had the moral courage to stand up to the "liberal" outsiders and their destructive propaganda of inter-marriage, which has spread like a dangerous POISON among the Zarathushtris in the West, and which ultimately threatens our religion itself.
Kudos to Mrs. Mistry for speaking this RELIGIOUS TRUTH, that inter-marriage is wrong and harmful to ANY religion on the face of the earth, particularly a small religion such as ours.
I have always believed that it is due to Zarathushtri ladies such as her, with full faith in their religion and who vow to marry only to a fellow-Zarathushtri, that the Zarathushtri community and religion will never die out. We need more women like this today, the stuff our mothers and grandmothers were made of: for them, "inter-marriage" was a very, very wrong and unthinkable. Their feelings could be aptly summed up as:
"I would die, but I would not
Let a non-Zarathushtri touch
Even a strand of hair from my body!
I am a Kusti-Bastian, a Mazdayasni Zarathushtri
I shall WED HE WHO WEARS THE KUSTI and none other,
Ahura Mazda, Help me in this strong resolve!"
Letter from Mrs. Pervin Mistry, published in the Jam-e-Jamshed
LEARN FROM THE OTHER COMMUNITIES
Many Zoroastrians believe that the survival of our religious community rests in numbers. They are alarmed at the recent trend of low birth-rate which is not exclusively confined to the Zarathushtri population but worries all the communities in all developed countries (Including Italy, which is a predominently catholic country wherein birth control is minimal). Statistics show that the increase in population is mostly restricted to third world countrIes. This concern regarding dwindling numbers produces "demographic paranoia" among some Zarathustris who prescribe an "open door" policy encouraging our youth to marry outside the community. Some have accepted proselytism to increase the statistical count.
However, our community would do well to learn from its past history which proves that groups of Zarathushtris who left Iran after the Arab conquest, to settle in Europe and Asia (except India) perished through their "open door" policy of inter- communal marriages. There are no living, practising Zarathushti descendants of these groups. Only some archeological evidences stand as mute testimony to the annihilation of these Zarathushtri communities who INTER-MARRIED, proselytised and PERISHED!
Even the most recent scientific studies PROVE the "open door" policy to be an inevitable exercise in rapid extinction. I submit the following account for those who prescribe inter-communal marriages and proselytism in order to increase our numbers. The issue of National Geographic, July 1991, on the "Geographica Page' published the report of an anthropologist who bemoans the extinction of the tribe of Birale in Africa and their language, DUE TO INTER-MARRIAGES. It has been shown that this remedy of inter-marriage is A LETHAL POISON instead of a cure to survival.
It is not just the Birales who face extinction due to seeking marriages outside their own tribe in order to increase their numbers, but other indigenous tribes in various parts of the world are also documented as facing extinction due to the influence of outside cultures.
Anthropologists are concerned about the loss of languages and cultures. What about our concern for our religion and our survival as a religious community? If languages become obsolete if not spoken; if animal species die because their habitat and environment change as a result of mankind's disrespect of nature's intricately balanced laws of ecology, can any religion survive if it's laws are not adhered to, its rituals/traditions either forgotten or changed or "reformed" to suit societal trends which are not always progressive or conducive to spiritual growth?
In "Hinduism Today", July 19, 1994, in a short article: "Must We Marry Within Our Religion", it is stated: `The mutual spiritual unfoldment of man and wife is the central purpose of marriage. WHEN WE MARRY OUTSIDE OUR RELIGION, WE CREATE DISHARMONY AND CONFLICT FOR OURSELVES AND OUR CHILDREN. SUCH A MARRIAGE DRAWS US AWAY FROM RELIGIOUS INVOLVEMENT INSTEAD OF DEEPER INTO ITS FULFILMENT. FOR MARRIAGE TO SERVE ITS SPIRITUAL PURPOSE TO THE HIGHEST, HUSBAND AND WIFE SHOULD HOLD THE SAME BELIEFS AND SHARE THE SAME RELIGIOUS PRACTISES." (Emphasis added).
It has been proven that most children of inter-communal marriages do not practise any one religion. They are caught between two religions and end up following no particular religion. They follow the trend of "Humanism" or "Universalism" which subscribes to leading a "good life" without prescribing any differentiation between "good" and "evil". This trend has led to the current movement of Egality and "Rights" - which are not morally and spiritually right or correct, as proven by the rising tide of crime, violence, atrocities worldwide!
Newsweek, July 22, 1991, pg. 48, "The Intermarrying kind", reveals another documented proof of a "A gloomy study (which) leads Jews to fear for their future." (parenthesis mine). "According to a major study sponsored by the council of Jewish federations, 52 percent of Jewish men and women who have married since 1985 took gentiles for spouses. More significantly, the massive study found, nearly THREE out of FOUR children of inter- mariages ARE BEING RAISED EITHER AS CHRISTIANS OR WITH NO RELIGION AT ALL. This trend, combined with a below-replacement birth rate, a rising tide of divorce... is shrinking the Jewish community. For orthodox Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York, ASSIMILATION THROUGH INTER-MARRIAGE REPRESENTS NOTHING LESS THAN A "DEATH-KNELL". THERE'S NEVER BEEN A COMMUNITY OF JEWS THAT HAS ABANDONED RITUALS AND SURVIVED. (Emphasis added.)
Rabbi Gunther Plaut of Holy Blossom temple in Toronto, in response to the question "Why do Jews continue to object to a mixed marriage?" replied that "IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH SELF- PRESERVATION and has a religious and an ethnic component." He wrote an article titled "MIXED MARRIAGES MEAN OBLIVION". He writes, "The religious factor goes back to the Bible, which states unequivocally that exogamous marriages were to be avoided because THEY WOULD LEAD TO A DILUTION OF RELIGIOUS FAITH AND PRACTISE. Increasing numbers of young Jews no longer consider Judaism a vital factor in their lives, nor are they convinced maintenance of the Jewish people is a goal that must be pursued at all costs. Instead, THEY WILL PLACE THEIR PERSONAL DESIRES ABOVE ALL ELSE. They will marry out of the faith, and if this means the diminution of age-hold Jewish hopes and even implies the potential destruction of the Jewsish people, they will still put their own predilections first... Jews are a tiny majority in the world and barely more than 1 percent in Canada. MIXED MARRIAGES ARE CLEARLY THE WEDGE FOR FURTHER DIMINUTION. IT IS THEREFORE, LUDICROUS TO SUGGEST THAT JEWS SHOULD INTER-MARRY FREELY. TO SUGGEST THIS IS NOTHING LESS THAN AN INVITATION TO RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC DISAPPEARANCE." (Emphasis added).
I hope that our reformist Zarathushtris will pay heed to the warning and concerns the other communities are expressing for their own survival. The rising number of youth marrying outside their own religious communities is another current trend which is not confined to our community alone. As Rabbi Platt has correctly said, EXOGAMOUS MARRIAGES DILUTE RELIGION. When religion, which should be the guiding principle in daily living loses its importance, society becomes materialistic and begins to DEGENERATE MORALLY. Unethical values are then accepted in the name of "change", because without RELIGION, life itself becomes self-destructive. Religion is a prescriptive moral code of conduct and when religion and society's relationship begin to separate one from the other, spirituality wanes and the destruction of moral values sets in. WHATEVER IS SPIRITUALLY WRONG IS THEN JUSTIFIED, RATIONALISED, AND ACCEPTED AS "CHANGE" AND "RIGHTS".
In Canada, the most recent statistics show (StatsCan, the Toronto Star, June 22, 1995) that since "COMMON LAW" (COHABITATION) became legally accepted, 50 percent couples do not marry but live as "common law" families. The Statscan research also reveals that these couples separate within five years, and the adults then renew their search for a new family! In such a situation, FAMILY - the PILLAR of society crumbles and consequentlly, society's values also crumple - as is evident from today's happenings on a global scale. One wedge opens the others!
The important lesson for Zarathushtris to remember is that after the Arab conquest of iran, it was ONLY in India and India alone (outside of Iran) that the migrant Zarathushtris flourished and preserved their religion because they clung to their identity by not permitting inter-communal marriages and by OBSERVING RELIGIOUS SECLUSION - although socially and culturally they mixed. They were the only group to survive outside Iran because they staunchly adhered to their rituals/traditions and did not try to increase their numbers through proselytism or inter- communal marriages.
Our ancestors who left Iran to settle in India knew that inter- communal marriages were the chief cause of the downfall of the Sassanian empire, resulting in treason, corruption and religious rivalry which contributed to the Empire's downfall from within. Due to the internal dissertions caused by EXOGAMOUS MARRIAGES, Manichaeism and Mazdakism also gained strength and the once mighty Empire yielded to Arab invasion and was disintegrated and TOTALLY DESTROYED.
Some Zarathushtris believe that inter-communal marriages were accepted and encouraged in the Sassanian times, because the Shah- namah gives instances of Sassanian royalty marrying Juddin princesses. They erroneously believe that only after coming to India, did the Parsis oppose such exogamous marriages due to the promise given to Jadi Rana not to engage in contracting inter- communal marriages or proselytizing the Hindus.
This notion that inter-communal marriages were accepted during the Sassanian times, can be proven to be ERRONEOUS through an old book "Gangesayigan" written in the 6th century AD. In the "Preface" of this book, (translated from the original Pahlavi text by Peshutan Dastur Behramji Sanjana, printed at the Duftur Ashkara press, 1885), Vazorgmithra, one of the chief ministers at the court of King Khushro (Noshervan), is quoted as advising the King NOT TO HAND OVER the Crown to Prince Hormazd as he was the son of Khusro's wife who was the daughter of the Emperor of Rome. (pg. x1v). This proves that even in the days of the Empire, inter-communal marriages were not promoted but strongly opposed - not only among the laity but even among the royalty.
Just because a large number of our youth today choose to mary outside, does not mean we, as a community, should throw up our hands and ACCEPT A SUICIDAL POLICY WHICH IS SURE TO LEAD US TO OUR DOOM. SHOULD WE, AS A COMMUNITY, CONDONE WRONG, OR BY EDUCATING OUR YOUTH, TRY AND REVERSE THIS DESTRUCTIVE TREND?
OUR YOUTH HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR ACTS WHICH ARE CONSEQUENTIAL NOT ONLY TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES, BUT, ALSO TO THEIR COMMUNITY AND RELIGION AS WELL.
TILL NOW, BY PRESERVING OUR RITUALS AND TRADITIONS WE HAVE SURVIVED, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO SURVIVE AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE TO PRESERVE AND FOLLOW THE "CLOSED DOOR" POLICY WHICH HAS ENSURED OUR SURVIVAL TILL TODAY.
PLEASE, LET US NOT FORGET THE LESSON OF OUR OWN PAST HISTORY AND THE LESSONS THE OTHER COMMUNITIES ARE TEACHING US EVEN TODAY!
Pervin J. Mistry,
I dont know about the rest of you, but I am convinced.
I VOW herewith to marry only to a fellow Zarathushtri. May Ahura Mazda help me to keep this holy vow, notwithstanding all the trials and temptations all around, notwitstanding the "liberals" and the outsiders who mock this resolve.
Come, who will join me in this noble task of preserving our great religion?
* "Hormazd Dadari, ahreman marochinidari", Ardibehest Yasht Nirang
* Ahura Mazda is the Creator, the evil one the destroyer
* Fellow Mazdayasni Zarathushtris, please dont destroy your religion.
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