But are you not possibly assuming that we read the Gathas LITERALLY and considering that the Gathas is a poem that is meant to be sung rather than a formal text studied as a "scripture of truth", I believe we must be careful not to read The Gathas literally. The Gathas is amazing but not a holy book such as The Bible is to Christians and The Qoran is to Muslims. Our own minds and their capacity to think take precedence to uncritical blind faith in a book. This way we read The Gathas in the spirit of Zarathushtra and do not read the Gathas as if we were for example Muslims reading the Qoran.
So my point is that while the cosmogony is there for all to read and see, the context does not make it a belief to be literally and slavishly followed by all Zarathushtra's disciples. It could be meant poetically, to inspire, and in that case, since Zarathushtra is peoccupied with ethics and despises all things supernatural (such as astrology) we should read passages as this one with care. As you most probably agree with me. Asha vs druj is a battle inside our heads, not in the world of physics.
2009/12/9 ardeshir farhmand
Dear Alexander and Dino,
i find ur writings very interesting. but i have to say per Yasna 31.7 and 31.8, our seer does talk about cosmogony. it is however, a complete different approach than the biblical one. it is about the thought of ahurmazd mixing with spiritual lights and creating new manifestaions. there is a wonderful exegesis on this subject on the Varsht-manthar gathic book of commentaries. again, i ask everyone of to please cite the gathic text, and justify ur explanations on the words, etymology of the words and wonderful body of exegesis.
now what i found fascinating about gathic cosmogony is the view of the prohet about the amazing possibilities present in various levelS of being or myriad of worldS and their corresponding creative orderS.
i alluded in my ahun-var article to this, the very name "mazdâ," not only suggests inherent wisdom and intuitive understanding, but it is connected to thoughts, memory and brilliant ideas, Lith. mintis "thought, idea, and vision mantis "one who divines, prophet, seer. more interestingly the word is related to Skt. mahan/mahas "the great world of possibilities."
"this is strongly confirmed by the ancient exegesis. accordingly, this shows most interesting connection to O.E. mæg (inf. magan, pt. meahte, mihte), from P.Gmc. root mag-, O.N. mega, Ger. mögen, Goth. magan "to be able"), from PIE *mogh-/*megh- "power to realize." O.C.S. mogo "to be able," mosti "power, force," ." "mazdâ" is not only vision and wisdom, but also the power to realize that vision and make it happen and möglich.
Furthermore, "shyaotha-na-nãm" in ahunvar or Yasna 27.13 refers to the manifesting act of "spentâ mainyû" or the auspicious spirit of ahurmazd.
Well, that's not quite the opposite of what I said, dear Alexander!
I made perfectly clear that the creation of the world must be understood ethically rather than cosmologically, even though some translations suggest to read certain passages as cosmological speculations and, if one chooses to take such passages as cosmological speculations, we'd end up with objective idealism.
But since I've already said that the universe is essentially indeterministic - a statement that didn't get that much support when some people still wanted to drown everything in Spinoza's ultra-determinism which doesn't leave much room for us to do something about the course of the world -, the only plausible understanding is purely ethical and not cosmological at all.
It is our thoughts leading to certain words leading to certain deeds that co-create the world. And that's exactly what I said about two years ago already. Anything that enters a situation DOES act upon the situation and all other players involved.
This is probabilism, simply because there are probabilities only - and probabilism is totally different from determinism.
--- Alexander Bard
Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Zoroastrian ethics vs Zoroastrian cosmology
Datum: Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2009, 19:24
Zarathushtra is not the slighest bit concerned with cosmology, dear Dino!
It is precisely the lack of cosmological speculation - which for example the Bible is embarrassingly full of - which makes The Gathas such a fresh and modern read still today 3,700 years after it was authored. For cosmology, we shold instead read books on quantum physics and superstring theory and the like! ;-)
Zarathushtra is concerned with ETHICS and how ethics must be constructed. And if Ethics can not be based on some ULTERIOR divinity's mischiefs, such as Abrahamic religion, it MUST be based on THE INTERIOR EXPERIENCE, on Mind and on how Mind sees itself. The world of Minoo!
This has nothing to do with cosmology, it does not even have anything to do with ontology or phenomenology, other areas of thought which Zarathushtra completely ignores.
His interest is ETHICS and the self-identity of ETHICAL BEING: How we become one with asha and manifest Ahura Mazda in our lives. This starts with how the mind sees itself, as mind, the same question Hegel (another "idealist" who was not really an idealist at all but rather a good speculative dialectician) addressed in Germany in the early 19th century. Zarathushtra had already done so and done so superbly well.
2009/12/9 Special Kain
According to the Gathas, it all starts with the mind. Ethically speaking, the thoughts we think this morning determine which words we will speak and what exactly we will do in the afternoon. But cosmologically speaking this is objective idealism.
Objective idealism states that the mind constitutes the fundamental reality and that solid objects are nothing but «dead thoughts», while subjective idealism denies the existence of solid objects as existing independently of one's mind. The thoughts I have create the world I live in. But objective idealism isn't the opposite of realism, simply because objective idealists take such solid and independently existing objects for granted.
See Charles Sanders Peirce who was ahead of his time and provided an organic and indeterministic understanding of the universe at a time when everybody else took the universe for a big machine that's based on necessity and determinism: «The one intelligible theory of the universe is that of objective idealism, that matter is effete mind, inveterate habits becoming physical laws.»
But if we look closely at the Gathas, it's all about the natural world, and it's a world that constantly changes and is affected by the thoughts we think, the words we speak and the actions we undertake. In this sense all Gathic talk about the creation of our world must be understood ethically and not cosmologically.
--- Special Kain
Von: Special Kain
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The birth of our universe, the creation of life
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2009, 10:19
But if that's everything as in «100% everything» and not only cultural artefacts, the entire universe was someone's (undeniably great) idea who would then build it out of nowhere. Science tells completely different stories that are far more exciting and fascinating.
When I hear religionists talk about a secular scientist's world view, they always seem to pity him, since «his» disentchanted universe must be a helplessly lonely and depressing universe. But that's just total bullshit: if you listen to the story of cosmology and astrophysics, it's a most fascinating story and truly inspiring! The scientific story is far more exciting and overwhelming than any religionist' s creationistic gibberish. There's definitely some beauty to modern physics and chemistry that's most enjoyable!
If Zarathushtra was a little more «psychological» , then he was totally right: the thoughts we think this morning will determine what we will say and do in the afternoon. So it's better to start the day with a constructive attitude, since what we do will unquestionably shape the world we live in. In this sense the Zoroastrian story about the origin and creation of our world is rather ethical than cosmological.
--- Fariborz Rahnamoon
Von: Fariborz Rahnamoon
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] The birth of our universe, the creation of life
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Mittwoch, 9. Dezember 2009, 6:39
You are most probably referring to Gatha Yasna 28.11 when you say "Zarathustra repeatedly asks Ahura, Mazda, Asha and others how the universe came into being," my question is Did Ahura Mazda ever reply and give him the answer?
Such translations are influenced by the Greek standards of an anthropomorphic God . Zarathustra in the Gathas mentions "Ahura Mazda" only 8 times. I have explained it in this article Please click to read.
http://ahura. homestead. com/files/ IranZaminSixteen /GATHAS_OF_ ZARATHUSHTRA_ 16_FARIBORZ. mht
What I read in 28.11 is in fact what we so proudly announce as our main principle GOOD THOUGHTS GOOD WORDS GOOD DEEDS while being told how CREATION COMES INTO BEING. Of course he is concerned with the creation On Earth and not the creation Of the Earth,
A free translation of 28.11 will read as follows
Every thing that is created was first a Thought.
So let your Thoughts be Good
Good Thoughts are those that are in harmony with the Wisdom in Creation
Let your Good Thoughts be know through Good Words
For that's when Creation first comes into being
ZARATHUSHTRA - GATHA - YASNA HA. 28.11 (FR)
GOOD THOUGHTS - GOOD WORDS - GOOD DEEDS
With Regards & Best Wishes
--- On Tue, 12/8/09, Special Kain
From: Special Kain
Subject: [Ushta] The birth of our universe, the creation of life
To: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 1:51 PM
I've just seen a wonderful and fascinating documentary about the creation of life and our universe: from the Big Bang to our ancestors 40'000 years ago. The second documentary was about Christianity, Judaism and Islam and their views about evolution and the creation of the universe. They all agree that God simply appeared in a world that was outrageously chaotic, so he started to analytically seperate some things that had already existed and creatively invent brand new things, such as human beings.
It's most important to note that there's no talk about such matters in the Gathas. The world is there already, and it's a world that constantly changes. Zarathushtra repeatedly asks Ahura, Mazda, Asha and others how the universe came into being, how things work, what's the cause and what's the effect, since the whole universe is based on this terrifically simple principle of cause and effect.
I see such religious theories as stories that are competing with each other and compose the elements of future stories. To stop arbitrarily and claim that one of all these stories was the only true story and all future stories were necessarily incorrect would be super-overhasty.
My two cents after watching TV,