I believe all three of us belong to the block Parviz is describing so elegantly.
Bahman refered to this alternative as an in-between between the other two extremes, but Parviz pinpoints exactly where the third alternative is at by pointing out that the third alternative (Mazda-Yasna) sees books as great sources of knowledge and inspiration but not as sacred literature. And precisely therefore our own minds take precedence over the books. We have our minds (Mazda) to use to judge the books on their own merits. We have chosen, rather than obeyed to, the Zoroastrian creed.
2009/10/9 Parviz Varjavand
The third option,
Mr. Noruziaan presented below the two options in Zoroastrianism that most of us are familiar with, those who consider the Gathas to be the corner stone of the religion and those who respect all of Avesta, Gatha and other ancient religious texts included. The Iranian Zoroastrians belong more to the first camp and the Parsi ones to the second.
There is a third block of Zoroastrians too that did not get mentioned, and since I belong to this block, allow me to introduce it. This block calls itself simply Mazda-Yasna or Philo-Sophia. Zoroastrianism is the only religion which does not command that its adherents need to pledge obedience to a Sacred Book or revere a Divinely Chosen Prophet. Zoroastrianism simply wants you to increase your ability to Think Good Thoughts, Speak Good Words, and Do Good Deeds. By this token, we who love Good-Thoughts go beyond what is in any and all Zoroastrian texts and choose that Philo-Sophi that makes us Think Best.
Because of being Mazda-Yasni, we Celebrate the Thoughts that seem to stimulate our minds best. We feel that the wisdom apparent in all of creation dwells within the creation and not outside it. So, even though we worship Ahoora as the Body and Mazda as the Mind of creation, we also worship Asha as the Law that govern all the behaviors in creation and consider it to be one with Ahoora and Mazda. The Trinity we worship are 1- Ahoora, the Body, 2- Mazda, the Mind, and 3- Asha, or the Laws apparent and governing the behavior of all that exists in Creation. We are the third option and we hope that you will join us in our Zoroastrianism if and when you want to join this religion.
--- On Tue, 10/6/09, Bahman Noruziaan
From: Bahman Noruziaan
Subject: [Ushta] Avesta and Zoroastrian Tradition vs the Gathas
To: "Ushta Ushta"
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 6:59 PM
For those who are novice in Zoroastrianism I need to say a few words.
There are two camps among those who call themselves Zoroastrians nowadays.
One camp believes that all of what is remained from Avesta, including the Gathas are divine and are rooted in the words of Zarathushtra. A large number of Parsis belong to this camp. There may still be some Irani Zartoshtis who have the same belief.
The other believes that Gathas only, are the true words of Ashoo Zarathishtra. The rest of Avesta is the fabrication of others. Among these group there are some who beleive those who have fabricated the rest of Avesta were cheaters and liars and corrupt minds who only for their own goals have composed some words and literature and have attributed them to Zarathustra to give them legitimacy. They believe the whole Zarathustrian tradition stretching after death of Zarathushtra to the Sasanian times is an absolute fraud. There is no credibility to such literature, there is no reliability in them and one should stay away from such literature as a Zoroastrian. Only the Gathas and based on some translations that are perhaps only a couple of centuries old are the sources of understanding of Zarathushtra. There are some Parsi and some Irani Zartoshtis as well as number of so called new-Zoroastrians who belong to this camp.
There are people who may be in between the two camps, such as myself. We believe the Gathas are the source and all other parts of Avesta must be studied in light of the Gathas and Gathas can be understood better in light of Avesta and Zoroastrian tradition. We do not believe that all parts of Avesta is product of some fraudulent minds who had no attachment and sympathy and understanding of the words of Zarathushtra. A large number of Irani Zartoshtis and I can say the Iranian Zartohti Mobeds as well as a good number of Parsis, and some new Zoroastrians belong to this spectrum.
You, my friends will make a decision where you will be standing.