Parviz caught this issue spot on!!!
What Parviz realises is that the term "amordad" like all Zoroastrian concepts must be seen as an attitudal guide and not as some silly metaphysical reward (we have none, we DO NOT NEED rewards to act, we act out of our willingness to become something desirable, not to be rewarded, which is precisely what makes us ethical rather than moral beings).
This is precisely the difference between Zoroastrianism and the Abrahamic faiths. Ethics as opposed to moralism.
The term "amordad" is therefore an ATTITUDE. To defy death, to bring forth that which has life in it, to empower existence, is an ETHICAL quality, something which we "desire to be" and NOT "desire to get". It is consequently NOT a phenomenon to be rewarded to passive followers of a Father Figure-God in return for their obedience. This is why the translation "immortality" is so unfortunate, even outright wrong.
Because what Zoroastrians believe is NOT that there is an "immortality" waiting for us as a reward for following some Ten Commandments (we have none, remember?) but rather that nurturing an ATTITUDE which is pro creativity, which defies death, is what is ETHICALLY BEAUTIFUL and what ultimately gives our limited existence its meaning, which gives it "transcendence". Zoroastrianism is about ethics and aesthetics (or rather an aesthetic ethic), to live life as a work of art! Nothing more and nothing less. Just forget about scoring points in a heaven, once and for all.
Once again, the project of Mazdayasna we have undertaken is not the project of cleansing it from its rich variety of ideas but cleansing it from all this Abrahamic junk people constantly try to force on us.
"Defying death in your thoughts, words and deeds" is what amordad means. As you can tell, this has little or nothing to do with "immortality". Rather it is its opposite!
Dear Mr. Varjavand,
When I was a young boy I was fortunate to spend time in the wild. I was amazed at the awareness, knowledge and understanding of certain people for their surroundings. I knew a few sounds, could tell a few plants and trees apart and so on, but they knew it all. They could track where I couldn't even see a sign, they seemed to be completely aware of everything happening around them, they knew every plant and it's uses, could identify every bird, animal and insect and so on and were confident and relaxed and at home in a world deadly to 99% of the world's population. I wanted to have that knowledge.
After spending the greater part of my life with these people and eventually, after years of learning, finally becoming one of them, I could do the same. I had learnt to differentiate between skill, which usually comes with practice and effort, such as shooting, tracking, skinning, etc. and knowledge, such as all the names, amimal behaviour, plant uses and so on. But most importantly I learnt that there are certain mental "tools" or principles that allow one the ability to live and act in the wild. They allow one to make the right decisions in any different situation.
Right now I really feel again as I did when I was a child, except this time the wilderness is quite different. It is a wilderness of existence. I am desperately trying, as quickly as possible, to learn everything about this new "wilderness". The tools in this new "wilderness" are the Ameshasepands. With your words below you have just taken it from a vague and confusing concept in my mind to a useful tool that I am aware of. Thank you! I will put it to good use!
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Parviz Varjavand
> Dear Rory,
> As far as I am concerned, you are not "Vaguely" but "Absolutely" on the right track.
> All Zoroastrianism does is give you pointers as to how to choose your Better Truths (Vahishtayi Ashem) and strive for the higher Ushtas that those truths will bring you. For example A-Mordad (A means defiance and Mordad means Death, so Amordad means Not-Death or Death Defiance) is one of the Ameshasepands. Every decision you take, it is not bad to ask yourself, is there Death Defiance in this act of mine or not. If the act somehow Defies Death, it should be a better act than the one who Brings About Death. Planting trees is a good act because it promotes the life of those trees. Killing animals is a bad act as it ends the life of those animals, but it becomes a tolerable act as we eat the flesh and our lives gets prolonged. My grand children love to eat meat and I can see them grow and get strong eating well, so I do some wrong in buying meat, yet I go towards Amordad as my grand children grow and get strong. I have to choose every Truth by weighing
> its pros and cons and live with the Ushta (Or lack of it) that my decisions brings. That is how I understand Zoroastrianism.
> Ushta te,
> Parviz Varjavand
> --- On Sat, 10/10/09, Rory
> From: Rory
> Subject: [Ushta] Re: The Art Finding theTruth
> To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Saturday, October 10, 2009, 2:10 AM
> Dear Parviz,
> Thank you for your kind and constructive words.
> I would very much like to read what you have written regarding the Ashem Vohoo. I've seen so many varied and completely different interpretations. The one below appeals to me not only because it appeals to reason but it is most in harmony with my own "nascent" beliefs and therefore gives me a pleasant affirmation that I may be vaguely on the right track.