Dear Zarathushtis all around the world,
A great danger to our Zarathushti community world wide is the proposal to form a so-called Zarathushti World Body. It is believed that the proposed World Body is soon to take off sometime in June, 2005 at the time of the 8th World 'Zarathushti' Congress to be held at London. This so-called Zarathushti World Body proposes to accept all fake converts (insidiously designated as neo-"Zarathushtis").
We would request all Zarathushtis to please inform all their family, friends and neighbours as to what is about to take place, i.e. the formation of a World Body that will use the word "Zarathushti" but it is actually created to officially bring in the fake converts from Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world through the back door.
Conversion, meaning proselytism, is absolutely contrary to our religious traditions, scriptures and rituals. It is important to pass this information to the community because the BPP is deeply involved through its connection with the WZO to legitimize this so-called World "Zarathushtrian" Body that will destroy the very foundation of our religion and religious community!
It is proposed that BPP Chair, Mr. Minoo Shroff becomes the first President of IZO (International Zoroastrian Organization) that will be over and above the two arms of the World Body, namely WZOI (World Zoroastrian Organization of Individuals, the current WZO) and WZOF (World Zoroastrian Organization of Federations, the current FEZANA).
In spite of previous promises and idle talks, the BPP has still kept the entire community in the dark regarding their clandestine efforts to legalize this farcical "World Body" and acceptance of converts. This warning should be an eye opener as to the clandestine conspiracy about to be employed by the BPP trustees against the community. Besides the BPP the other major culprits are FOPZAI, WZO and FEZANA.
Other concerned Zarathustis like Mr Khojeste Mistree too have given their opinion against such an attempt. Mr Mistree, warned the community in his lecture at the Framji Cawasji Institute on 21st October 2004. The opinion of persons who attended this lecture was that there was no need for the FPZAI/BPP to join the Proposed World Body of Zoroastrians and the harm that will come to us Parsis if this body is set up.
The proposed World Body of Zoroastrians (PWBOZ) does not even have the word Parsi in its name or constitution. It has no definition of who is a Zoroastrian except that "anyone claiming to profess the Zoroastrian faith" is deemed to be a Zoroastrian, and therefore any one of any race or ethnicity from any religion will be a eligible to become a member of the proposed World Body of Zoroastrians!!!
Hence Muslims, Cubans, Venezuelans, Brazilians, Swedes, Africans, Tajiks, Kurds, Yazidis and anyone else will be eligible to become members of this so-called Zarathushti 'world body'. We already know that dangers posing our community from Ali Jafarey and other bogus non-Zoroastrians have started a missionary movement to "convert" all and sundry to our faith.
It is time the community becomes aware of what is at stake and the dangers we are facing.
With best wishes to all members of the community,
from The Traditional Zoroastrian Mailing List (TZML)
Please circulate this warning to all members of our community in India and world-wide.
Readers may print this warning and pin it on the notices of their Agairies, Atashbehrams, Parsi colonies and other Parsi institutions.
Dear TZML Members,
Three of our esteemed members, Ervad Jal Birdy, Mehlli Bhagalia and Mrs. Pervin Mistry were invited by Mrs. Roshan Rivetna, Editor of the FEZANA Journal, to write their personal replies to questions submitted by the Journal. These were to be published in the December issue. However, FEZANA has postponed publishing these replies.
We would like to post these three replies, and would request all members to please inform all their family, friends and neighbours as to what is about to take place, i.e. the formation of a World Body that will use the word "Zarathushti" but it is actually created to officially bring in the fake converts from Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world.
The following three replies will be at least an eye opener as to the clandestine conspiracy about to be employed by the BPP trustees against the community. Besides the BPP the other major culprits are FOPZAI, WZO and FEZANA.
It IS time the community becomes aware of what is at stake.
Here are the three letters one by one.
Reply from Fezana to the three authors
Dear authors of articles on "Neo-Zarathushtis":
This is to inform you that, upon advisement from some members of the FEZANA executive, we have decided to drop all articles (including yours) addressing "neo-Zarathushti" issues, from this forthcoming FEZANA Journal.
We really appreciate all the work you have done in submitting your thoughts.
Your work has not been in vain, though. We are saving all these articles, in
case we decide to address this topic at a later date when the time is more
Again, thanks for your efforts,
cc: FEZANA execs
FEZANA Journal editors
Mrs. Pervin Mistry's reply to Fezana on the FAKE CONVERTS issue
1. Describe v. briefly how prevalent you believe the incidence of "neo-Zarathushtis" is -- both (A) the entirely new converts (such as those in S. America or Joseph Peterson, or a converted spouse), as well as (b) those wishing to revert back to their ancestral religion (such as those in Iran and Central Asia).
Answer: Very recently and unprecedently, the incidence of so-called "neo-Zarthushtis" is alarmingly high. Survival of a religious community does not depend upon numbers; it depends upon the faith and will of the followers to adhere to the established and revealed tenets. Demographically we have remained at about 100,000 for centuries without becoming extinct.
A: The incidence of new converts is due to the enticing propaganda of offering political safety (as in Middle East), material benefits (as in Latin America) as well as the indiscriminate laxity to "do as you please". The act of proselytism is unZarthushtrian. The Holy Gathas do not dispense the license to choose between two religions or to act without bearing consequent responsibilities. The act of choosing is an ethical choice between the two paths of good and evil only and not between religions. Religions are more than just two to choose from! As proven by accredited religious scholars there is no such word as 'to convert' in the Holy Gathas if conversion implies proselytism. Hence, the sacrilegious practice of acceptance/conversion is unZarthushtrian and as such there are no "neo-Zarthushtis" to accept or to contend with!
B: The question of "reverting back" does not arise. The Irani Zarthushtis have proudly proclaimed to be adherents of the Madayasni Zarthushti Religion through unimaginable and inhuman multiple holocausts. In the case of Tadjikistan and neighboring countries, communism existed only in the last century. Prior to that, unlike in Iran and India, the world was oblivious of the existence of any "Tadjik" Zarthushtis. The ancient Pahlavi language spoken in the region does not bear the stamp of Zarthushti Religion because a) the area surrounding present day Iran was under the rule of Parsi Kings and hence Pahlavi was prevalent; b) Zarthushtis in India speak Gujrati without being Gujrati Hindus! If there are any clandestine Zarthushtis in Iran, as hinted, the question of conversion does not arise. The true Zarthushtis did not abandon their religion even when they were mercilessly massacred time and again in the past 1300 years under Islamic yoke. They did not convert to Islam even at the cost of their lives! Converting those "reverting back" would be to slight the memory of those who sealed their fate in blood to preserve and perpetuate the Religion!
2. DO you accept them as "Zarathushtis" into the Zarathushti mainstream? GIve reasons for your answer. What are the implications?
Answer: No! Zarthushtis are not 'made' by accepting apostates from other religions! The ritual of 'navjote' is not a magic wand that brands a proselyte as "Zarthushti"! A child born of both Mazdayasni Zarthushti parents is entitled to all our religious institutions such as agiaries, atash-behrams and dakhma before 'navjote' is performed! Mazdayasni Zarthushtis are "tokhmak paspaan" as described by the Din Dasturs of Iran who wrote the Pahlavi Denkard during the "worst days" our religious community suffered. Through millennia-old preservation of 'tokham', Zarthushtis are 'born' as followers of the Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion! Apostates who renounce their own religion can never be accepted into our Religion as "neo-Zarthushtis", a term that is misleading and incorrectly applied to proselytes!
3. Do you accept them as a separate branch of the Religion of Zarathushtra -- say "Neo-Zarathushtis" or some other name? Give reasons for your answer. What are the implications?
Answer: The so-called "neo-Zarthustis" are free to form their own "neo-religion" distinct from our spiritually revealed religion that identifies us as "People of the Book", "followers of Din-e Asmani" as revealed by Ahura Mazda to Asho Zarathushtra alone! The "neo-proselytes" are mutilating our millennia-old traditions, rituals and scriptures with total disregard of the established spiritual practices of the true adherents. The implications of accepting such masquerading "Zarthushtis" under any "branch" of mainstream will be disastrous. When one generation alters any established rituals, scriptures or traditions, these cease to be practiced by the succeeding generations due to loss of continuity. By accepting sham "neo-Zarthushtis" we ourselves would be deviating from the mainstream and consequently cease to be the adherents of the Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion! As followers of Holy Paigambar Asho Zarathushtra, we can have only One Mazdayasni Zarthushti Religion! Proselytes and detractors are free to form their own 'religion' but they cannot use our religion to suit their convenience or whim and therefore, we must ask they leave us, the true followers, in peace.
4. Do you believe there should be a difference in acceptance of new converts (type-A above) and those with ancient Z heritage (type-B above)?
Answer is given in #s 1, 2, and 3 except to add that the Sacred Avesta also condemns intermarriage as a "spiritual sin". No revealed religion or its devotees will accept a "sin" as justifiable. Intermarried Zarthushtis, their spouse and progeny are free to join the "neo-Zarthushtis" in their "new religion" leaving us to follow ours as has been handed down for countless generations.
5. How do you think the mainstream Z's should address this phenomenon? Stop their emergence? Discourage them? Encourage them? Accept them? DOn't accept them? Ignore them? Educate them? Help them? How should the mainstream relate with the neo-Z's? Or should there be no relations at all? At a personal level and at an organizational level.
Answer: Vada Dasturjis and the community as a whole have not accepted the proselytes as 'neo-Zarthushtis'. We cannot stop their emergence but by establishing relations at personal or organizational level we give undue legitimacy to these impostors and to the heretics who 'accept' them. We should educate our own community and the world citizens that these so-called "neo-Zarthushtis" are not Zarthushtis but impostors who wish to desecrate the oldest revealed religion that exists.
6. Should systems, organizational structures be put into place to seek out the facts, understand the implications, and address the attendant issues? At local level? National level? or World level? Who should be coordinating this effort?
Answer: As Zarthushtis we cannot rationalize, justify or accept a wrong incidence just because it is taking place. No "systems" or "organizational structures" can supersede religious strictures. Any effort that justifies religious transgression should be denounced. If killing, acceptance of gay rights, common-law partnership, theft, etc. are on the rise, should there be a coordinated effort on any level to justify and accept these religiously wrongful acts? No! Similarly, why should some detractors take it upon themselves to justify the spiritually wrongful incidence of accepting "neo-proselytes"? Wrong is vehemently condemned in our religion as an act of Ahriman. The implications of accepting proselytes within our small numbers will be disastrous to our survival. They are already mutilating our scriptures, rituals and traditions. We will be swamped over by the proselytes and as a minority within our own community we, the true Zarthushtis, will witness the extinction of our own religion as it has been followed since millennia.
7. Any other closing thoughts, comments, suggestions?
Comments: If we do not heed historical evidence, soon we will become history! Groups of Zarthushtis who left Iran after the Arab conquest and sought shelter in Europe and China (except the group that landed on the west coast of India) perished because they accepted intermarriage and assimilated with the "neo-Zarthushtis" of that era. Consequently, religious disciplines were altered and diluted and these groups ceased to be practicing Zarthushtis. It is important to note that these previous diaspora did not impose 'acceptance' on the indigenous followers. In those days there was no instantaneous dissemination of ideology through cyber space and other media. This segregation ensured the survival and continuation of our religion without it being diluted or altered in India and Iran. Winds of 'change' may blow over Iran and India in recent years but change is not always spiritually progressive. In fact, it is time to stand firm, oppose detrimental changes and boldly teach the spiritually suffering humanity that our religious community has survived peacefully and with distinction in India and Iran without a land of our own, without numbers (we are micro-miniscule compared to other communities) because we have lived by the principle of The Charter of Human Rights that Asho Zarathushtra taught and Cyrus the Great and his successors upheld! We have not accepted proselytes nor interfered religiously or politically with any other community. These are our glorious trademarks and the proven formula for our survival. We will survive if we adhere to these proven ways of socializing yet retaining our religious and ethnic perspective and identity! Atha jamyat yatha afrimani!
Ervad Jal Birdy's reply to Fezana on the FAKE CONVERTS issue
FOR FEZANA WINTER-2004 JOURNAL
(By Ervad Jal N. Birdy)
INTRODUCTION: Roshan Rivetna invited me to state my views on a set of questions related to Zoroastrian demographics for publication in this journal. I would like to give a general introduction before answering the specific questions so that my views become clear at the outset and the reasons for my answers are easily understood.
Being a Parsi-Zarathushti, my views are conditioned by what I consider to be good for the welfare of my community. We traditionally define a Parsi as a person descended from the original migrants from Iran, who settled on the western shores of India after the fall of their Sassanian empire to the arabs in the seventh century A.D. They migrated out of necessity to escape persecution at the hands of their newly converted countrymen and to preserve their beloved Zarathushti faith and identity. The present day Parsi is thus one who is descended from both Parsi parents and who has been accepted into the faith by the Navjote or affirmation ceremony conducted by ordained Parsi priests. By definition therefore, following the Zarathushti religion is a natural part and parcel of being a Parsi. A Parsi who renounces the Zarathushti religion or marries outside the fold can no longer be called a Parsi. The Iranis who continued to migrate to India through the ages are also Parsis and so the Zarathushtis of India can be collectively termed as Parsi/Irani-Zarathushtis or simply Parsis.
After migrating to India, the Parsis have followed a set of unwritten faith-based rules for the last thirteen centuries, which have enabled them not only to preserve their Zarathushti faith but also to prosper and be recognized as a progressive model community in a vast sea of different Indian cultures. The core set of rules by which Parsis are recognized are:
1) Always speaking the truth and being clean and righteous in one’s dealings (Asha)
2) Wearing the Sudreh/Kushti at all times
3) Showing reverence to Fire as the instrument of all Ahura Mazda’s creations
4) Reciting only the holy Manthras prescribed by their faith
5) Practicing religious festivals such as Ghambars
6) Avoiding pollution of the environment, e.g., the practice of Dokhme Nashini
7) Preserving the Parsi-Zarathushti lineage by marrying within the fold.
To assist them in following these rules and remain a distinct entity, Parsis built their own places of worship, schools, charitable institutions, libraries, hospitals, etc. Being progressive and prosperous they also built charitable facilities and several industrial infrastructures for all Indians. They have practiced their faith in their own quiet way without fanfare or enticing others from different faiths to convert. They have thus earned respect and trust from the indigenous population of India.
It is worth remembering that besides the Parsis who settled on the western shores of India there were other migrants who traveled to different lands around the world including Europe and China in the same pursuit. Yet only the Parsis are alive today to tell the tale; all others have been assimilated into the indigenous populations. This is not owed to any miracle; but to sheer determination of the Parsis to survive by following time-tested rules.
There has been a great pressure for us to change ever since we arrived on this continent. Words like “be more open minded”, “compromise”, “move with the times”, “shed outdated ideas”, “be realistic”, etc., are constantly banded around to shame the Parsis into giving up their time tested rules. We must bear in mind, however, that unless we have in place rules modified to suit our present environment, but that are as effective as our forefathers devised on the Indian sub-continent, our chances of survival as a Parsi community beyond a couple of generations are minimal. The process of assimilation is insidious, i.e., it is so subtle that it will be going on under your nose for decades and you will not notice it until it is too late. It is not easy for a microscopic community like ours to survive without disciplining ourselves into following some tough rules, especially in an open western society. Once our identity is lost, our Faith will go the same way. Of course, if we have lost the will to survive as Parsis in the first place, nothing more needs to be said.
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS:
Q.1. Describe v. briefly how prevalent you believe the incidence of "neo-Zarathushtis" is -- both (A) the entirely new converts (such as those in S. America or Joseph Peterson, or a converted spouse), as well as (b) those wishing to revert back to their ancestral religion (such as those in Iran and Central Asia).
One of the main reasons that others are drawn towards the Zarathushti religion is the perception offered these days that it professes a complete freedom of choice. People of other major faiths who have become frustrated with the prescriptions and proscriptions of their own faith find it a convenient outlet and are keen to try out a religion that they are told has no restrictions. This applies equally to the various categories of people mentioned in this question.
Parsis cannot stop others from being drawn towards this kind of interpretation of Zarathushtra’s Gathas. For the Parsis, the Gathas are a small part of Zarathushtra’s teachings and they do not put as much emphasis on them as people from other backgrounds do. Religion is not an intellectual exercise to be debated but something one grows up with, something one cultivates faith in and uses for one’s spiritual gratification in their own way.
To the “neo-Z’s” who have their own interpretations of the Gathas and their own set of beliefs, we can only say “Good luck to you, but please go your own way and let the Parsis follow their faith as they are used to. Please do not brainwash us with your views and please do not intrude into our sacred places of worship or institutions meant for our use.”
Q.2a. Do you accept them as "Zarathushtis" into the Zarathushti mainstream? Give reasons for your answer. What are the implications?
Q.2b. Do you accept them as a separate branch of the Religion of Zarathushtra -- say "Neo-Zarathushtis" or some other name? Give reasons for your answer. What are the implications?
Q.2c. Do you believe there should be a difference in acceptance of new converts (type-A above) and those with ancient Z heritage (type-B above)?
Q.2d. How do you think the mainstream Z's should address this phenomenon? Stop their emergence? Discourage them? Encourage them? Accept them? Don't accept them? Ignore them? Educate them? Help them? How should the mainstream relate with the neo-Z's? Or should there be no relations at all? At a personal level and at an organizational level.
Each of the above parts of the question deals with acceptance of outsiders. The answer is the same for all parts. I take it that what is meant by “Mainstream Zarathushtis” are the Parsis and the present day Iranian Zarathushtis in Iran. In my view the Parsis and the Iranian Zarathushtis are themselves like chalk and cheese. They differ in almost every aspect of religious and social life. If they cannot accept each other’s practices, how can you expect them to lay down procedures for accepting others?
Moreover, who are we to lay down laws of acceptance or rejection? We may not like or agree with what the “Neo-Z’s” are doing, but do we have the right to stop them from believing what they want, especially in the free western society? Do we have the resources or the teeth to stop them? My answer to them would again be the same as given for Question No. 1.
Q.3. Should systems, organizational structures be put into place to seek out the facts, understand the implications, and address the attendant issues? At local level? National level? or World level? Who should be coordinating this effort?
Having lived in India for the last thirteen centuries, Parsis have developed their own special bond among themselves, what is often called “Parsi-panu”. Parsis feel at home with their own kind although they are also very friendly with members of other communities. It is more than the Zarathushti religion that binds them together. In fact you will find Parsis having vastly different interpretations about their own religion to the extent that they will become extremely vociferous when religious topics are discussed.
To integrate people of different backgrounds into one entity whether it is at the local, national or world levels, on the basis of religion alone is not only a bad idea but it can also be counter-productive and cause fresh divisions. It is like putting the Shias, the Sunnis, the Boras, the Aga Khanis, etc., in one box or to unite the Catholics, and the various sects of the Protestants into a common entity. It has been tried before and it simply does not work; it only brings about more misery. Let us take a lesson from past history instead of re-inventing the wheel. It is all very well for a few well-meaning intellectuals to put together a plan on paper, but I think it is certain to be a futile exercise in the long run.
To those who say that the Parsis will be left out in the cold if we do not change, we say - “That’s just the way we like it. We have always been a small, distinct and progressive community and have looked after ourselves for the past thirteen centuries. So where is the need to change anything? Let the “Neo-Z’s” look after themselves.”
September 19, 2004.
Mehlli Bhagalia's reply to Fezana on the FAKE CONVERTS issue
Response to Questions
Ans. to Question.#1
" Neo- Zoroastrianism" is a temporary phenomena of total convenience on the part of some Zoroastrians on the one hand and fickle caprice on the part of most Non Zoroastrian convertson the other. This is explained below.
The modern culture in the US, that we have been placed in, has no real long term history to look back on. Itisalso a historyof violence, greed and the Darwinian theory of "survival of the fittest". Most of us have not only survived in this brutal environment but have been able to prosper, with the grace of Ahuramazda, beyond our dreams. This is also because we adapted ourselves physically and mentally to this tough new environment.
The Neo Zoroastrianism although attractive, on the"surface", is in it's conceptbased on an elusive " freedom of choice" principle, which has no basis in our religionand is fed by and stands on the twin pillars of FEAR and Temporary Convenience .Mostof us ( including this writer)have in the aggressive pursuit of wealth, higher education and an elusive concept of happiness,( in keeping with American values) have lost our spiritual way.
In this process, we took on the American concept of happiness which means , a 2 car garage, a million dollar home and a social circle of American Non Zoroastrian "friends" who pretend to acceptus as equals.We were placed in difficult situationswhere the only possible mates available in the near vicinity were Non Zoroastrians. The American continent has produced a hardy attractive race and as such we were attracted to persons outside our religion for marriage.The attraction was too strong for many of us to resist and we now have Non Zoroastrian spouses in our midst. In any other religious community, this would not be a problem.
In our case however, our religion recognizes only a marriage betweena Zoroastrian male and a Zoroastrian female as a legitimate marriage. This has been established for centuries in our religious laws, traditions and customs. Further, seeing the fate of all small ethnic minorities in the world who have allowed themselves to be assimilated by the majority population, and who have eventually disappeared, it would be suicidal for the Parsi Zoroastrian community to officially sanction interracial marriages, against the well established and long standing tradition and custom of centuries, which has preserved our ethnic community.
This phenomena of inter racial marriages was part of our Karma. We can do nothing about it. Attracted by persons who were different from us in their ways andwith no Zoroastrians in the vicinity, we forgot :
--the mature and benign culture of the Indian/Pakistan subcontinent,
--the tenets of the religion of our birth,
--the qualities which made Parsi Zoroastrians, with their high moral and religious integrity, their charity, their staunchness in the face of the highest adversity,a unique phenomena in the world.
So now some of us are in a situation where we have foreign spouses, who have not been accepted as Zoroastriansfor centuries according to our religion and traditions. This has been a heart wrentching dilemma for both the Traditional Zoroastrians, who want to preserve the "the ethnic quality" of the race, our religion and scriptures in tact.
These Zoroastrians whoare inter racially married realized belatedly the richness of their culture, religion and heritage. They knew at the time of their marriage that their marriage was not recognized by Zoroastrian religious law and that it placed them outside the Zoroastrian religious community. They defied both religion and religious tradition. They are trying ever since to somehow find a way or a technical loophole to bring their wives and children within the Zoroastrian fold, even though it would be against every religious tenet and tradition spread over thousands of years. They naturally want to legitimize their situation.
In order to do this, they want the religion and the Zoroastrian community to change their religious rules, tenets and scripture to fit their circumstance. All this in the name of being flexible, in keeping with the times etc. Under their inspiration, our religious scriptureshave becomea fertile ground for rewriting the religious text, editing portions which did not fit the agenda of the Zoroastrians married outside the religious community (ZMOTRC FOR SHORT), mistranslations and misinterpretations of scripture. The problem was further compounded by the fact that Pehelvi in which much of the texts are written is an extremely difficult language. A change of one letter in a word here, can change the meaning of the word and the whole sentence. A word also can have 7 different meanings. The scenario was therefore perfect for anyone who wanted to change the meaning of words in the scripture to suit their particular agenda today and new agendas in future. This would continue until the religion, it's religious texts and the Zoroastrian culture are devoid of their original meaning and completely destroyed.
The ZMOTRC has been ready with new translations and interpretations of our scriptures,to create technical loopholes. The Zoroastrian community, which is by and large technically very highly intelligenthas been unfortunately very lethargic in the matter of learning about our religion and the scriptures in real depth. They have therefore, not been able to discriminate between truth and falsehood in religious matters.In view of their predicament, they have been willing too easily toaccept the word of born again scholars, against the word of our Pegumbar Zarathustra and the scriptures. No other religious community has allowed this to happen, as it inevitably opens a floodgate of irresponsible interpretation of scriptures and heresy.Intelligent Zoroastrians have allowed themselves to be blind to the fact that in all of History, only the Mystics have given birth to or reformed religions. They have allowed themselves to be hoodwinked into bereaving that mere scholars can reform religions, in order to find loopholes for their situation.
Conversion of Non Zoroastrians. As far as Non Zoroastrians who want to convert to our religion are concerned, our religion with it's exotic name, it's ancienthistoryand the secrecy of the Holy Fires in Indiais by and large, a new toy for them. Western culture likes new things, new toys in their lives as there is no stability in their environment and families. After a while they will cast it aside as they do all things in their culture. They cast aside their wives and husbands for the least disagreement, they want new cars, new appliances, new homesevery few years. What is just a new religion to them, but something to play with. They are by and large creatures of instant gratification, ever addicted to all new things and concepts.Long term commitment to anything or anyone is a joke. With this background, many persons from other religions are temporarily attracted to something new, which they had never heard of before, like our religion. For them it is glamorous to try on something new, even a religion. They call it being "cool". Do we really want to introduce this Trojan horse into our religion and culture to destroy it, as surely it will ?Does any intelligent Zoroastrian really bereave that for such people, religion is anything more than a convenient conversation piece at cocktails andat stand up brunches and lunches, where one walks around trying to find new faces to meet and new people to temporarilyimpress ? Do Zoroastrians really want to bring something so sublime as our ancient religion to the level of something so ridiculous ?
We cannot prevent Judases among us to "so called convert" Non Zoroastrians into Neo Zoroastrians.We can however effectively neutralize their efforts by denying these so called converts access to our religious institutions like the fire temples, the Dakhmas and all our religious ceremonies.These are the things which attract their acquisitive and inquisitive minds. If these are denied, they will soon lose interest. Further by educating Non Zoroastrians that our religion is not a country club which anyone can join by just paying the fees, or by just wearing a Sudra and Kusti, they will come to understand the futility of their endeavor. If they are so naive as to bereave that one can become a Zoroastrian by just wearing a sudra and kusti, they and their mentors are ignorant of the Divine Law of Nature by which we have all been divinely selected to be born in our own particular religion in order to progress toward Salvation.They may also be unaware , like their mentors, that it is the highest sin to cast asideone's own Divine Prophet and religion divinely selected at one's birth. We have to educate them that our religion and Prophet is no better than their own. The error is in not trying hard enough to understand their own Prophet and their own religion and casting something divine away like old clothes.
Answer to question 2a
Non Zoroastrian Converts
We definitely cannot accept Non Zoroastrian converts, as it would be like introducinga Trojan Horse into our religion and culture. They would infiltrate our Holy institutions and destroy our religion and community from the inside. They have no vested interest in the stability, sanctity and continuance of our religion and culture. They do not understand our ancient history and the purpose of our first migration to India. They can never understand what our Holy Atast mean to us. If they did, they would not venture on this self destructive journey to destroy our religion and institutions. If they at all understood our religion, they would respect it and our community for maintaining it for over 6000 years. As it is, they want to just collectour religionas a trophy like foreigners who came to India did ,to hunt from the safety of tall trees and backs of elephants, the magnificent tigers of India. Do we want ourselves and our religion to hang in some home as a trophy ? I do not and I will fight so that this does not happen, along side with all Zoroastrians who want to preserve our religion. Such conversions are a he racy and we must all fight it.
As far as Inter married Zoroastrians are concerned, the question of what to do is heart wrenching. These are Zoroastrians by birth. Because of their Karma, they did what they did. They are all probably happy in their lives with their families and we are happy for them.
There are two questions here.
One, from the point of view of our religion and the very survival as an ethnic group of our Zoroastrian community. Second, the humanitarian, sentimental and social point of view in respect of those who have and may in future marry inter racially.
The second question is simple to answer. The Zoroastrian community must embrace and welcome all intermarried Zoroastrians and their families in all the Social functions of the community. There can be no objection in this respect.
The first question cannot be answered unless we have an understanding of our religious institutions like the Fire Temples, the differences in the Fire energetics in the composition of the human bodies of persons of different religions.Further there are spiritual Manthric rings or "Kasks" which were prepared by the original consecrators of each of these institutions, which have existed for centuries around these institutions. Theseinstitutions are not just ordinary buildings and fires. These have been built and consecrated after many months/years of preparation of both the land and building and after months of consecration religious ceremonies. How can a person from South America understand these things when even Zoroastrians have not taken the time and effort to do the same. If our intermarried Zoroastrians are educated in our religion and history, they would understand the sublime sanctity and beauty of our religious and consecration ceremonies and not want to defile and destroy the sacred. They would realize that such acts are the highest sin requiring a 100 Karmic lives to cleanse.
In view of the above, the Non Zoroastrian spouses cannot be allowed access to any of our religious institutions.
In respect of the Zoroastrian spouse and the children, the Anjuman in India and the courts have decided in the matter. Happily in the US, as we do not have any religious institutions, the question of their access does not arise.
Neo Zoroastrians may have a separate religion of their own based on their beliefs and separate Temples which they may build from their own recourses. They cannot be a separate branch of our original Zoroastrian religion. That can be the prerogative only of a Syosyant or Rainidar There would be dire and fatal implications of any attempt to make Neo Zoroastrianism a branch of the original religion. They have to be a separate religion so that in their religion they can do and say whatever they want without impinging on the rights of the original Zoroastrians to follow their religion in the original manner. To allow them to be a branch is like introducing a Trojan horse into the religion, whereby, under the umbrella of the Zoroastrian religion, they could gain entrance for themselves and all their converts into our original Zoroastrian institutions and obtain benefits which are only available to Zoroastrians. If Neo Zoroastrians want to "have the cake and eat it", they should have "their own cake" to do with as they like. Just leave our religion alone. They should prepare their own new scriptures, their own new fire temples which they should build themselvesand they should start their own new institutions and their own priests. They should have their own new Messiahs to guide them
There is no question of accepting converts into the religion. NOONE EXCEPT A PROPHET OR A SYOSHENT OR RIENIDAR HAS THE SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY TO CONVERT ANYONE FROM ONE RELIGION TO ANOTHER.
There is only one main stream Zoroastrianism as mentioned below. However, Zoroastrians come in two colors.
1.There are Zoroastrians who believe in the traditional religion, scriptures and institutions and that these are unchangeable and undefilable by outsiders. They will fight to the death to uphold the ancient religion, its scriptures, institutions and traditions. They are mostly in India and Pakistan. These are the only mainstream Zoroastrians
2.Then there are Zoroastrians in the US and overseas, with liberal interpretation of scripture and as such willing to allow, non Zoroastrians access to our religious institutions and Fire temples. They also call themselves Neo Zoroastrians. They are the ones who encourage conversions and converts into the religion. They cannot be called mainstream, because, in spite of all their loud talk and large financial resources, they have not been able to build a single fire temple or religious institution for themselves, anywhere in the world. In spite of all their criticism of the religion, its scriptures and institutions, at the end of the day, they all want to go to Traditional Fire temples and have all traditional religious ceremonies and prayers recited for their loved ones at time of death. Who are they kidding.
3.Then there are recent converts from South America and any Tom Dick and Harry who has an itch to try out a new fad religion. These also want to be Neo Zoroastrians as it sounds sexy.
HOW TO ADDRESS THE PHENOMENON.
Just ignore them as our religion is a temporary fad for new converts like a new and sexy toy. Within a hundred years they will be dead and forgotten. However, in the meantime, we have to be vigilant that, helped by misguided Neo Zoroastrians, they are not allowed to defile our Fire temples in India and Pakistan. Their mentor also, who are converting them are on an ego trip as Messiahs and will die a natural death in a few years and the craze will die out. We may if possible peacefully explain to so called "new converts", that our religion is not a country club to join by paying a fee.
Liberal Zoroastrians/NEO ZOROASTRIANS
Traditional Zoroastrians may enter into a dialogue with them and suggest to them that if they believe in a strip down version of our scriptures and do not like the traditional methods of worship, they should" put their money where their mouth is" and build their own new fire temples for worship according to their ideas, have their own separate scriptures, traditions and institutions under the name of Neo Zoroastrianism. This would solve all problem between the two groups.
It is neither fair nor acceptable that Traditional Zoroastrians who want to worship in the Traditional way and who want to maintain the thousands of year old sanctity of our scriptures and Fire temples, should be asked to change their timeless traditions, customs and scriptures, for Neo-Zoroastrians who now have changed their minds and beliefs.
There should be cordial business, social and personal relations between the groups, as long as there is no intrusion into the Traditional Fire temples on the Indian sub continent
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