It is worth reminding ourselves again and again that Zarathushtra had absolutely no idea that his ideas would one day end up in a book. He was not a writer, he was a preacher and a founder of a religion. The Gathas was written down long after Zarathushtra had died. And this is perhaps something we should be jolly about. Writers tend to think that they can catch The Truth when they write. Preachers are much more modest (and therefore ironically also closer to The Truth). A good preacher will always tell you to "don't follow others, think for yourself, without thinking for yourself, you are nothing!", exactly like Zarathushtra did. He was an excellent preacher and teacher but not a man of any book. He had no idea books would ever exist. Especially not as weapons with which one could find an excuse to kill others.
2009/5/25 Parviz Varjavand
I enjoyed reading this post of yours and I red-flagged it for future references. Thank you for your sharp observations about a complex situation Zoroastrianism finds itself in. I think this is to be expected when Zaratustra demands that each of us use our best mind and observe what makes sense to us individually. This is in stark contrast to other religions that demand their followers to dive into some collective soup and surrender their minds to some book or another.
--- On Sun, 5/24/09, Alexander Bard
From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The rich variety of Zoroastrian beliefs
Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009, 3:39 AM
Practiced Zoroastrianism shows a rich variety of beliefs. There are Indian Parsees who are more or less Hinduist (with even beliefs in a caste system and reincarnation) . There are Iranis who believe in a conscious after-life. There is the Gathas-only teachings of The Zarathushtrian Assembly with its dualist interpretation of The Gathas. Some Zoroastrians are happy to decalre their "Atheism" with Ahura Mazda merely as an ethical ideal. Then there are Gathas-centric beliefs there are monist and pantheist (like my own Mazdayasna beliefs) and then there are Zoroastrians who refuse to decide what their beliefs are and rather walk in and out of the different options. We've come to accept this as a more-the-merrier situation. It is quite natural in a large religion with a 3,700-year-old history located geographically and culturally between East and West, North and South. Nothing else should have been expected. What is, however, unifying is the strict ethics of Zoroastrianism. In practice, the religion is actually very uniform around the world. The world is fundamentally a good and sacred place and it's our job to keep it that way.
I hope I am not wearing you all out. I looked around alittle on the internet etc. What I am understanding is that there are Parsis who do believe in an afterlife etc that have alot of additional literature besides the Gathas. Then there is the Zarthustrian Assembly that is into "The Gathas Only". Is that right? That would be a huge reason for real differences in theological thought etc.
Now what exactly is the difference between Parsis and Zartouche's in Iran (that are not part of the Zarthustrian Assembly)?
Ok Thank you again. I'm sorry for being a pest but not sorry enough to not ask. (I don't have anyone else to ask.)