First of all, thank you both for your balanced and thoughtful responses to my concerned posting.
To Steve: I believe it is important that we realise that The Gathas is primarily a poetic text. So when Zarathushtra states that he feels "chosen by the living world", this is not the same as stating that Ahura Mazda has chosen Zarathushtra as if this was a scientific fact. We ae not speaking about Moses on Mount Sinai or Christ in Jerusalem or Muhammed in Medina here. What Zarathushtra is describing is his EMOTION, his joy towards the mission he has been set to accomplish, that he identifies with. This is a feeling of joy towards the construction of civilisation that we should ALL feel as Mazdayasni. In this sense, we are all "chosen". But this Mazdayasni belief does not make Zarathushtra a stand-out one-and-only above-the-rest-of-us hand-picked prophet sent by a god in the heavens. To read such a meaning into the text is to read the text without having taken off the Christian-Islamic glasses first, which we as westerners always have to do before we approach The Gathas. Poetry is poetry, science is science. And it's actually not that hard to keep the two apart.
To Ali: I am certainly not accusing you of anything and you should of course not feel any responsibility whatsoever for statements which you have not made. What I am trying to do, however, is to take a statement of yours and look at its logical conclusion, albeit in the most extreme possible way. So my concern remains: Whether Zarathushtra is chosen by Ahura Mazda or chosen by the living world, if we read more into this poetic statement than there really is, this joy over the responsibility of building civilisation that Zarathushtra FEELS and instead begin to interpret the text as a theological ultimate truth about Zarathushtra, making him a transcendental superhuman of a quality superior to ourselves, we run into a major dilemma and a paradox: Mazdayasna is the ultimate religion of The Natural, of science, of logic, of the laws of causes and effects. So let's avoid ascribing supernatural qualities to Zarathushtra. Let's avoid to try to turn Zarathushtra into our Virgin Mary, into our go-between ourselves and Ahura Mazda. We do not have the need for such a figure in our faith. At the end of the day, the process of election is in itself the utlimate process of choseness as well. There can no more noble title in Mazdayasna than to be elected by the people. Teher can consequently be no God-induced vote superior to the vote of humankind itself. That's what I wanted to point out, and if we agree on this, dear Ali, then all for the better. Then together we have kept Mazdayasna separate and different from the prophet-worshipping religions of the desert, as we all should.
Wishing us all the best
Posted by: "Stephen Williamson" email@example.com wordsbysteve
Sat Nov 3, 2007 10:45 am (PST)Alexander,
If Zarathustra was not chosen by Ahura Mazda how do you explain Song # 2
(Yasna 29) where Zarathustra is chosen as the leader of the living
world? I have read several translations of Yasna 29 and each seems to
say that Zarathustra was chosen.
Below is a link to Dr. Jafarey's translation and commentaries. I would
be interested to see the translation you are using and how this song is
translated so that Zarathustra is not chosen. Do you also have the Ahuna
Vairya in this same translation?
Posted by: "Jafarey@aol.com" Jafarey@aol.com
Sat Nov 3, 2007 7:59 pm (PST)Dear Mr. Bard,
You wrote "I don't understand this. Or lets put it this way, I truly and
sincerely hope I have misunderstood your statement below." and then turned
emotional to state in about 350 words what I have never ever stated, written or
posted. Please, first cool down and the read my posting that it is the "Living
World" which elects him--you elect him, others elect him and I elect him as
our "Ahu and Ratu." The election started by the first
Zarathushtrian-by-Choice continues and will continue for those who consider the Gathas as their
Guide. And Ratus, competent leaders, are elected for their posts from the family,
the smallest unit of the human society to the World Fellowship, the biggest,
what we may the United Nations--all elected by the well-informed considerate
members of the relevant units.
The Ahuna Vairya Democracy is far above the present democracies in the
world. Although promoted during his age and then thriving up to the early
Achaemenian period,it was annulled by the following events and then crudely
re-introduced by the West, yet it is still IDEAL and we have to work for it.
Please also re-note that when I quote Zarathushtra, it is only and only
from his Sublime Songs and I give the references, and when I quote from other
sources, I mention them in clear words. The Gathas are practically my daily
Guide for the last 70 years.
Ali A. Jafarey