You have understood everything 100%!!!
As an older Zoroastrian man said to me once: "You know, if we had believed in the Garden of Eden story, as Zoroastrians we would have put our votes in that story on The Snake."
The point not only being that Eve defined herself and humanity by eating the forbidden fruit, but also that Ahura Mazda would be the deity that CHEERED THIS ON! Go Eve go!
Rather than constructing a feudal religion in the service of landlords to make their slaves obedient (like all the Abrahamic faiths, Cunfucianism, and the Indian caste system), Zarathushtra instead created a faith which made us all co-responsible and co-creators of our very own universe. His ethos was built on the BEAUTY OF HUMAN COLLABORATION and not a moralism built on the idea that if we follow orders and obey a superior lord (always superior lords) we get points in a heaven and a pat on the back. He was concerned with cosmos as the opposite of chaos, and his cosmos was collaborative and interdependent, not organised in castes, classes or any other hierarchies.
What a difference!!!
Regarding the concept of striving towards a sublime state, I agree with you 100% that mankind should "tend towards" (great choice of words) a sublime state and also agree with Alexander's earlier warnings against idealism. Idealism to me would mean believing that a sublime state is achievable and nothing less would be acceptable.
Regarding saints, I will explain why I asked you this and why I find your answer important to me. In Christianity the adoration of anything other than the trinity is sacriligeous. Saints are "venerated" and they pray to saints to intercede with the deity. Although Christians will all but adore their saints they would never in any way associate a saint with godly attributes, to a Zoroastrian however a man can actually be a part of the deity. To someone like me with all sorts of "Abrahamic baggage" the Zoroastrian view of both Ahura Mazda and of man are completely life-changing. Having said all of this, your explanation for the meaning of "worship" is itself vastely different from other religions.
I found your explanation of how you "can believe in what you cannot perceive" to be very interesting. When you talk about believing in what you cannot perceive I call that "faith". What is totally different from the religion I was born into is that it STARTS with the faith part and then builds on this assumption from there, requiring one to have faith in all sorts of amazing ideas along the way and to do "mental gymnastics" to try and get round a lot of the facts that conflict with the all the faith. However, with Zoroastrianism, the only requirement for "faith" is in areas where man (science?) has not been able to perceive/understand and the "faith" is a question of taste. It doesn't seem to usually have a dominant bearing on the practice of the religion itself. Most importantly for me your explaination for your belief is based entirely on your own observation and not one word of it refers to dogma which I find truly inspiring. Your faith is your own choice WITHIN your religion.
As you said "By teachings of Zarathushtra it is incumbent upon each one of us to think and arrive at our own choice based on our GOOD THOUGHTS". I am not yet at a stage where I have fully formed my own choice in this question. I have a lot more to learn and see first. Thank you for your explanations.
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Jehan Bagli
> Dear Rory:
> ..... does this mean you believe that we can reach a "sublime" state
> during our lifetimes?
> The answer to this is DEFINITELY NOT. I do not believe it is easy to
> reach sublimity in a lifetime. BUT I also believe it is incumbent upon
> mankind to keep trying. Reaching the sublime is a daunting task but
> yes, each one must tend towards it. No question that only the
> exceptionals such Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi make it. By hindu
> philosophy we do not even know what incarnation of life one is in, and
> then each human being has a character and life experience that
> presents a mode of evolution based on the opportunity that the
> corporeal existence offers.
> ......If so then this begs the question, are there then any
> Zoroastrian saints?
> Zarathushtrian Faith does not recognize sainthood as does
> Christianity. However, there has been individuals in Zarathushtrian
> history who are literally worshipped by some believers. I must however
> point out, that these individuals are One with Mazda. When they are
> worshipped, the question arises who do the believers worship the
> individual or Mazda. Is there a difference? Worship is a kind of
> thinking and bottom line is its all what is in the MIND.
> Discussing the matters beyond the physical consistently raises
> questions, rather than answering them. I tell you why. When we do that
> we are adding an unknown to the unknown.That is unfortunately 'false
> logic' and never stands scrutiny. But human mind has a craving for
> knowledge so thinking is boundless.
> How do you see the continued existence of the mind taking place
> without a body?
> ........convince me of some way in which the mind could exist without
> a body which theory would not require blind faith!
> The simple answer to this is I cannot and nobody can. Remember when I
> said the Mental continues the life, my actual words were and i quote,
> " there is the Mental/Spiritual that... continues the life". We are
> discussing here not the life as we know it the corporeal existence. It
> is a life beyond the concepion of human mind.
> Those who experienced it speak of a life in terms of light. Even the
> views presented by Sir Roger Penrose were not widely accepted in the
> scientific circles.
> I believe that there are many attributes in life for which corporeal
> existence cannot provide a factual proof of whether they exist.
> Consciousness ,love, kindness compassion and many others. If we
> believe in them, then we can only discern them by the physical
> results that they produce. This is even true often in scientific
> Allow me to elaborate how and why i believe in things I cannot
> perceive. In my professional career as Director and Distinguished
> Research Fellow of Medicinal Chemistry, myself and my group have
> synthesized literally hundreds of new and unknown molecules for
> screening against pathogenic condition of diseases. We could never see
> these molecular entities at their atomic, or subatomic level but we
> still believed we knew their exact structure at the atomic level. We
> confidently draw them as molecular structures to further theorize
> their behaviors. The entire structural details were solely based on
> the analytical results that we obtained through Infra red, Nuclear
> Magnetic Resonance and Mass spectroscopic results. So even in science
> I learned to believe in the existence of matter we cannot physically
> see but believe in the truth of their existence based on the results
> of certain events (tests).
> Let me move a step further. As the science moves towards the study of
> subatomic particles, the line of demarkation between the energy and
> matter begins to blur. We begin to encounter charged particles -
> postive/negative - as in electrons and protons that we can only
> visualize as flashes of light. They are barely visible and yet we
> believe they exist as a fundamental components of atoms.
> As we go further down the line we come to light itself. What is
> light? Is it wave or is it particle? The answer to that depends on
> what frequency we are talking about the visible light or invisible
> (electromagnetic radiations) one. Light is believed to be made up of
> particles as well as waves depending upon the conditions of the
> scientific experiments. The fundamental particle of light is photon
> which is defined as a quantum of electromagnetic field. Photon is a
> quanta of light energy with particulate properties (Albert Einstein
> 1905). In fact it was the result of the study devised by Einstein
> that demonstrated the presence of photon. We cannot see photon but we
> believe it exists because shining a certain frequency of light on a
> metal generates electric current. Einstein was able to give a
> convincing explanation for that and was awarded Nobel prize in 1921.
> Let me now return to consciousness. Penrose and Hameroff have defined
> consciousness as a result of quantum gravity effect in microtubules.
> At this level of science the scientist make a number of assumptions. I
> have to admit this level of physics way beyond my understanding, but
> there are individuals who have challanged Penrose's views. Penrose has
> not been able to convincingly establish the relationship of
> consciousness in terms of science. The interesting thing i have noted,
> is that these scientist and more particularly physicist and even some
> biologists when they reach their deepest level of investigation they
> begin to see the true limitations of science and of mankind.
> Interestingly i found a website
> "There is a certain sense in which I would say the universe has a
> purpose. It's not there just somehow by chance. Some people take the
> view that the universe is simply there and it runs along –it's a bit
> as though it just sort of computes, and we happen by accident to find
> ourselves in this thing. I don't think that's a very fruitful or
> helpful way of looking at the universe, I think that there is
> something much deeper about it, about its existence, which we have
> very little inkling of at the moment." Roger Penrose
> The above demonstrates that regardless of how deeply one is involved
> in science,there is a point at which one begins to see something that
> is more profound that one cannot fathom with all the science at their
> disposal. So what does all this have to do with the question of
> 'continued existence of the mind taking place without a body'. Well
> all this is just a background knowledge. As I started out I cannot
> convince you, but i can tell why i am convinced of what I believe. By
> teachings of Zarathushtra it s incumbent upon each one of us to think
> and arrive at our own choice based on our GOOD THOUGTS.
> Peace and Light
> On 25-Oct-09, at 2:06 AM, Rory wrote:
> > Dear Zaneta and Jehan,
> > If death is a transition and the body has quite clearly ceased to
> > operate then I understand you believe the mind somehow continues to
> > exist and operate(?). Therefore you believe that death is somehow a
> > transition from a unified body and mind to a mind only. How do you
> > see the continued existence of the mind taking place without a body?
> > I have yet to see any convincing argument put forward for this and
> > the only reasonably scientific theory of consciousness outside of
> > the brain, put forward by Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff,
> > takes a great leap of faith when taken from consciousness outside of
> > the brain (and taking place in the body as a whole) in a living
> > being to conciousness outside of the brain after death (and taking
> > place without the body). I do not absolutely dispute the theory I
> > have just never been convinced and until I am I continue to believe
> > in the end of consciousness at death of the body. I would be most
> > grateful to you if you could convince me of some way in which the
> > mind could exist without a body which theory would not require blind
> > faith!
> > Ushta,
> > Rory
> > --- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Zaneta Garratt
> > >
> > >
> > > hi Rory and Jehan,
> > >
> > > I would agree with Jehan's views-when he writes-
> > >
> > > I understand death as a transition and not a completion of life.
> > Yes, it is the end of material existence, but to me, it is the
> > > end of the terrestrial and the beginning of the
> > > celestial journey of life. The organic return to water and carbon
> > > dioxide, the inorganic returns to earth and then there is the
> > > Mental/Spiritual that as I see continues the life. Here Perhaps I
> > may
> > > find disagreement with views of others on
> > > Ushta. However that is a part of Zarathushtra's teaching. It is
> > the concept of winning death over (Ys 53.8) that Zrathushtra
> > expresses in
> > > the aspect of A-meretat
> > > (non-death-ness) when time may stand still. This can happen in
> > > microcosm for an individual and in the macrocosmic fashion for the
> > > entire humanity. That is when the corporeal existence will evolve
> > to a
> > > level where it will be one with Mazda.