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Thoughts on Zoroastrianism

Discussion in 'Zoroastrianism DIR' started by Corthos, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Heya folks! =) I have to admit that prior to finding this forum, I never even knew that Zoroastrianism ever existed. It seems to me, after looking into it some, that Gathic Zoroastrianism reflects many of my own personal beliefs/ideas about God. I do have some questions, though...

    From what I understand, Zoroastrians have a strong reverence for truth. Truth comes from Ahura Mazda, and lies come from Ahriman (or do I have that wrong?). What about white lies, or lies told for the greater good/with good intention? Even if they result in making a bad situation better, or are meant to protect people from undue harm that the brutal truth would inflict, are they still an evil thing?

    Also, from what I read, there are 3 staple principles of Zoroastrianism. Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. I love this... =) From what I also read, there are a lot of rituals associated with this religion... I guess I'm wondering if there are many Dogmas or rules that must be kept with this religion, or is it really just as simple as those 3 ideas?

    It seems, according to some Christian sources that I've read, that they think that the wise men who brought gifts to Jesus at his birth were Zoroastrian Magi. I know that's kind of an odd thing to bring up, but I'm wondering how you folks (as Zoroastrians) feel about this. Not sure I believe any of that, but it seems interesting to me that Zoroastrians would be mentioned in the Bible in such a reverent way (especially when they would be considered pagans by Christians).

    Lastly, I understand that people of certain backgrounds aren't accepted as converts by Parsis. What about Iranian Zoroastrians? Also, what about Parsi communities in America? Is acceptance into the community something that only "fringe" Gathic Zoroastrians practice?

    Thanks! =)
     
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  2. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am not a Zoroastrian. I write because there are few Zoroastrians around. IMHO, not much of Gathic Zoroastriansim has been left. It was heavily changed during the Median, Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanian periods. The three principals can be found in all religions including Buddhism and Hinduism. As for adoration of Magi, it is only a myth.
     
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  3. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    We do indeed reverence the truth. We call this broadly Asha and it is similar very much to the Hindu concept of Rita, if you have ever heard of that. It doesn't just mean truth, but cosmic law, perfection etc. and really just reflects "The Good Mind", in my understanding, so it is not just about not telling lies.


    Here is a nice description http://www.pyracantha.com/Z/asha.html

    Of course, lying to protect people is sensible at times. If the typical mad axeman comes to your door and demands to know where your daughter is would you tell him, even if you knew? Of course not.



    It is not very dogmatic at all. I can't participate in any social ritual because I live in the UK and cannot get to a Fire Temple often enough or even once, at the minute. A lot of dogma &c. were added later and are not generally a part of Gathic Zoroastrianism. Certainly it is not filled with Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots. Nobody is going to stone you to death for being gay, or for leaving the faith. It really is pretty simple.


    I believe it and there's a lot more history to the Zoroastrian/Jewish history than a lot of folks realise. The Bible also calls King Cyrus "The Anointed One" i.e. Messiah, though he was a Zoroastrian. I recommend looking into Jewish and Zoroastrian history before discussing this further. At the same time, the Magi story could just be a myth. We'll never know.


    Parsis don't let you convert but, as far as some of us are concerned, they have butchered the faith anyway lol. Most modern Reform Zoroastrians are fine with converts. Since I don't live in the U.S. I don't know about over there.


    Sorry this reply is kinda short I'm sleepy.
     
    #3 Rival, Dec 28, 2015
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  4. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Very interesting. Do you feel that modern Gathic Zoroastrians have always been around in some form or another as a group, or are they more of a modern "revival" of the oldest ways?

    You seem to have a good grasp on the history of the religion... Would you happen to have any sources I could thumb through and educate myself with? I always loved history, and Zoroastrianism seems to have that in spades. =)

    I'll admit that I know almost nothing about Hinduism or Buddhism... Those are concepts that seem very alien to me. Not that they are bad things... Not at all. I'm just woefully uneducated on those subjects, hehe. =) I will say that the 6000 years history of Hinduism is extremely fascinating!
     
  5. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    I love the more sensible approach to truth that Zoroastrianism has... It seems to give a lot of leeway for synchronizing with other ideas such as evolution, or that it could even be synchronized with other faiths pretty seamlessly. Very cool stuff. =)

    Very interesting... Hmmm, so I'm curious then. Do you practice privately almost always then? Is there no community of Zoroastrians where you live? I would imagine that'd get lonely at times.

    Interesting... Did you start off believing as a Christian, but are now exclusively a practicing Zoroastrian, or do you still hold many (other) of the same ideas or beliefs that you held before becoming a Zoroastrian? Sorry if my questions get too personal. I see the parallels of Zoroastrianism and Christianity pretty clearly. They seem more than just a little similar. =)

    Thanks for taking the time to respond!
     
  6. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    No, there is no community; only me. I'm cool with it.


    I was a Christian for a while but no, I don't keep Christian ideas. But nor do I think the Bible is all myth. I know Cyrus existed and Zoroastrianism has/had Magi so the story of them in the NT sounds plausible. I believe Yeshua existed too. I'm quite big on Biblical stuff and I collect Bibles. I own like 15-20 different translations.
     
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  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    The Indo-Aryans and Zoroastrians were brother clans. The Gathic tradition survives more in Hinduism in RigVeda and other Vedas than in Avesta because it suffered less modification. I think Zoroaster's family/Clan had visited India. The first Fargard of Vendidad* mentions this:

    “I, Ahura Mazda, created as the created as the fifteenth best country, Hapta Hendu** [from the eastern to the western Hendu]. In opposition, Angra Mainyu created untimely evils, and pernicious heat [or fever].”

    So perhaps pernicious heat (or fever) of the Indus valley was the reason for their return. Vedas mention Athravans and Angirasas as the two original fire-priests of Indo-Aryans.They are mentioned as 'fathers'. I think it was sectoral rivalry which prompted Zoroaster to branch-off and become a monotheist. Zoroaster perhaps was an Athravan.

    * "However, some consider the Vendidad a link to ancient early oral traditions, later written as a book of laws for the Zoroastrian community. The writing of the Vendidad began - perhaps substantially - before the formation of the Median and Persian Empires, before the 8th century B.C.E." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vendidad#Contents
    ** Hapta-Hendu corrosponds to Sapta-Sindhu in India, the land of seven rivers (basically comprising of Pakistani and Indian Punjab) - probably Kabul, Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Vyas and Sutlej with Saraswati, a river which disappeared around 1,900 BC being mentioned in RigVeda as 'one with seven sisters'). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigvedic_rivers#Identity_of_the_seven_rivers

    Sapta-sindhu.png

    Here is something that will give you information about Zoroastrianism: http://www.avesta.org/ka/yt19sbe.htm
     
    #7 Aupmanyav, Dec 28, 2015
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  8. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Sorry that it took me a while to get back to you. Been busy lately with Christmas stuff (still not done yet, heh).

    Hmm.. Honestly, that sounds right up my alley. =) I've gone to a lot of different kinds of churches, and found a lot of disappointment in how those churches "changed"... Not to say that I couldn't do that with Christianity (which I have), or that I couldn't join bible studdies (which I also have done), but the idea of a personal, private faith sounds appealing. After all, the bible does say not to forsake the gathering. =/

    That reminds me... Aside from Good thoughts, good words, and good deeds, and the reverence of greater truth, what are some of the other tenants/traditions associated? If I recall correctly, things like keeping a flame lit in the house (such as a candle) when people are home is one tradition, but there seems to be others such as a respect for dogs, and keeping your head covered for prayers. Do you observe any of these traditions personally? If you could educate me (or if you could direct me to where I could better educate myself) on others, I would love to read about them. Your religion is a beautiful one. =)

    I have to admit that I have a love for biblical history, so I'm big into biblical stuff as well! Especially the older/ancient stuff. I feel I need to learn more about Persian history, heh.

    Aupmanyav, I will be leaving for work soon, so I will reply when I get back! Thanks for the informative post!
     
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  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Aryans kept the house-fire burning all the time and prayed to it five times a day. When a person married, his house-fire was lit from the fire at his fathers house and never allowed to go. It was the house-wife's responsibility to keep it burning (or at-least smoldering so that it could be lit again easily) - 'Garhastyagni' - house-fire. And the prayers and rituals are available in many Garhastya Sutras (books which detail it):
    http://www.hinduwebsite.org/sacredscripts/hinduism/grihya/index.asp
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalpa_(Vedanga)#G.E1.B9.9Bhyas.C5.ABtras

    There are opinions that Aryans hailed from sub-Arctic regions where there was a two-month long dark cold night (Ati-Ratra - Greater Night). And the period was early stone age. One can understand why fire was so important for them. So, house-fire rituals in one's own dwelling and public fire-rituals in the Shaman's hut (Yajna-shala). The night without the sun was ruled by demons. :)
     
    #9 Aupmanyav, Dec 29, 2015
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  10. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Hmmm... It's interesting that you say that Gathic tradition survives more in Hinduism. Hinduism seems like a deep, daunting, and extremely complex religion to me... Then again, I am completely ignorant when it comes to Hinduism.

    Pernicious heat [or fever] would make sense to me, too, since if they did travel to a new land, they could have contracted an illness that they had no immunity to. Huh. =)

    Great links! Very fascinating stuff! Reading it more in depth as I find the time. =)

    When I first saw this post about Aryans, I felt a little apprehension... All I knew about "Aryans" before were the blond hair and blue eyed variety that stiffly flung up their arm while shouting "SIEG HEIL!!!"... Thankfully a quick google search was able to remedy my ignorance some. XD The more I read about the ancient Iranian people, the more interested I become!

    With as far back as this history extends, it makes me curious if any of this has any correlation with things such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Göbekli_Tepe . Probably not, but it's fun to speculate... Maybe I'll create some post on that later. =)

    The correlation to fire that you point out can't just be a coincidence. It's interesting to think that the religion I feel might have lent more than a helping hand to the Abrahamic religions was so closely related to Hinduism... That would mean that Hinduism would have a hand in most modern religions practiced today. Fascinating... =)
     
  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    More, if you think that the family/clan came from Bactria to Punjab. It must have felt incredibly hot and humid (Indian summers and someone falls ill). Babar, though became an emperor in India but always remembered Kabul and Samarkand. Even I wonder why my great grandfather migrated from Kashmir to Jodhpur in Rajasthan desert? Could he not have settled somewhere near the Himalayas? :D
     
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  12. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    No, Indo-Aryans never thrust their arms shouting anything. They were nice people who peacefully mixed with the indigenous population in a way that you cannot separate them now. And Gobekli tepe does not stand in isolation. Aryans shared their culture all over Eurasia. We only added the Aryan Gods and Goddesses to our already bulging portfolio of indigenous Gods and Goddesses. :D

    [​IMG] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-European_migrations

    Indo-Europeans did contribute to Abrahamic religions through Zoroastrian monotheism and Mithraism, but Hinduism remained true (and distant) from them by continuing in its polytheistic tradition.
     
    #12 Aupmanyav, Dec 30, 2015
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  13. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Hmm... I have a hard time understanding polytheism. I suppose that if I think about it, Christianity shares more with polytheism (some denominations more than others) than other abrahamic religions. Still... You know how the whole trinity thing goes, I assume. =)

    I guess that's why I can appreciate Zoroastrianism's monotheism (or at the very least, duality). It feels like a more primal, yet more sensible faith than my own. =) Not that it's "superior" (cause honestly I could give a damn who has the "best" faith), but that it just clicks into place for me. Then again, I'm an ignorant guy, so I'm sure there are others out there that might fit that description for me. I guess it all boils down to research... I guess lately I haven't been to happy with Christianity, though. =/
     
  14. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Well-Known Member

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    I like their image of the bird spread out with the king in the middle.
     
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  15. Rival

    Rival Noahide
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    Faravahar
     
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  16. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    Uhhh... That sounds utterly confusing. XD
     
  17. Corthos

    Corthos Great Old One

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    I agree... It's pretty damn cool looking. I've always loved that art style, heh. =)
     
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  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Come to the Hinduism forum. It is not difficult to understand. Not suitable for this forum beyond this. :)
     
  19. GoodbyeDave

    GoodbyeDave Well-Known Member

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    If you go back to the Gathas, there was no dualism. Zarathustra taught that God created two spirits, one of whom rebelled. Later believers confused the Good Spirit who remained faithful with God and ended up with the idea of two equal spirits.

    He also acknowledged the existence of subordinate divinities: " We worship Ahura Mazda and his Spirits; we worship the entire creation of God, bother the spiritual and the physical." (Yasna 35) So, not the same sort of monotheism as Islam, or even Christianity.

    One passage that Aupmanyav might find interesting is Yasna 37.1 where we are told that God created "the cow and the righteous man" -- note the order of precedence.

    Reading the Gathas is terribly difficult, because there's no literature of the same period to clarify the meanings of words. We can compare Avestan to Vedic Sanskrit, but for Cyrus, it would have been like a modern trying to read Old English without a grammar or dictionary: God ana wat hwa þære wæstowe wealdan mote! (i.e. God alone knows how things will turn out.)
     
  20. The Emperor of Mankind

    The Emperor of Mankind Currently the galaxy's spookiest paraplegic

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    The verse clearly says "Spirits"; which are not gods. Monotheism is the worship of One God - and all other gods are false. That doesn't preclude subordinate lesser divine entities like spirits.
     
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