onsdagen den 27:e maj 2009

Zoroastrianism and Zurvanism

Correct! The translation "the first beginning" is clearly sloppy. It's tautological. "First" and "beginning" are synonyms. But Iris is an excellent reader to have found this passage and realised its contradiction. However, this translation does not indicate anything about Zoroastrian beliefs. More important is to stress - as Iris correclty has observed - that the concept of Zurvan already among early Zoroastrians shows that they were fully aware of the importance of time and that an existence outside of time was both feasible and possibly necessary to contemplate. Those who even went off to worship time as the true divinity were called Zurvanites (Zurvanism). Although many of us (including Parviz and myself) are very inspired by Zurvanism, it has historically not survived as its own faith.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/27 Special Kain



Dear Iris,

Translations always carry the translator's bias. That's why it is so important to consult different translations of the Gathas and, after all, discuss them with different Zoroastrians. And since it is a compilation of poems, we shouldn't read the Gathas literally. So it makes more sense to catch the SPIRIT expressed in the Gathas, rather than pondering on every single word.

Ushta,
Dino


--- irisfilpot schrieb am Mi, 27.5.2009:


Von: irisfilpot
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Mazda Carpenter, Me Chair! - or not?
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Mittwoch, 27. Mai 2009, 5:20

Hi

yasna 31 7 "He who in the first beginning... ." then 31-11"....Thou didst first create us having bodies and spiritual..

This seems to indicate to me that there are many beginnings ( at least more than one) and it seems to me that it indicates that creation wasn't all at once. Or isn't all at once. It is seems open to a possibilty that the "creator" was already there before the "first beginning.' (He used his intelligence to first create.)
Taking the Gathas by themselves, I am seeing a range of possibilities as to meaning.

>>And in Zoroastrian history, the focus on "Zurvan" s unique. The idea that time created everything, in other words, that the current world came into existence with the existence of time.<<

Interesting. I haven't read anything about Zurvan yet. The idea that "time created everything". Yes, that seems to be pointing to "It You" sort of thinking. When someone is in that timelessness there is no you or I or it or separations. There isn't birth or death so it is essentially immortality "Time created every thing." Intellect, thought in words, is very time conscious and dependant on time. Our identified selves are dependant on time. Very good description of what isn't being in timelessness.


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Alexander Bard wrote:
>
> Where does the Gathas indicate this? Could you provide an example?
> Ushta
> Alexander
>
> 2009/5/26 irisfilpot
>
> >
> > The Gathas seem to indicate multiple creations.

måndagen den 25:e maj 2009

Living in accordance with Asha

Exactly!!!
In other words: Zarathushta is concerned with our freedom to DEFINE who we are. And then reminds us that what we think, what we say, and what we do ARE what we are when combined. The definition of who we are only gets meaning by being LIVED precisely as such. We programme ourselves to be who we have chosen to be, that is precisely what Zoroastrian meditation is all about. This is what living in accordance with asha is all about.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/25 Special Kain

Please bear in mind that Zarathushtra was concerned with the freedom to do something (which is directed at the future), rather than the freedom from something (which is directed at past events).

--- irisfilpot schrieb am Mo, 25.5.2009:

Von: irisfilpot

Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Building communities
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Montag, 25. Mai 2009, 2:26

Hi
OK. Thank you.

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Special Kain wrote:
>
> There are situations where considering future ramifications is necessary and there are other situations where it isn't necessary.
>
> --- irisfilpot schrieb am So, 24.5.2009:
>
> Von: irisfilpot
> Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Building communities
> An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
> Datum: Sonntag, 24. Mai 2009, 20:50
>
> Hi
>
>
>
> >>And we can't be held responsible for anything that happens, because the world out there is far too complex, so many things will happen that are beyond our control. All you can do is to have good intentions and choose wisely.
>
> What you are referring to is a mystical universe<<
>
>
>
> No not a mystical universe. I am asking if as an individual to be of the Good Mind also means taking into CONSIDERATION the POSSIBLE future ramifications of their own actions or if they only take into consideration the present moment. (I think this is more of a practice question.)
>
> Using for an example, ecological concerns or city planning. We don't waste water now so future generations will have some. That would be taking into consideration the future ramifications of a said action of right now.
>
>
>
> --- In Ushta@yahoogroups. com, Special Kain wrote:
>
> >
>
> > Dear Iris,
>
> >
>
> > Anything we do affects the future to a certain extent, whether one chooses to be one with Asha, a hysterical slave to Mohammed, a decent rocket scientist or a porn star. It doesn't make any difference. And we can't be held responsible for anything that happens, because the world out there is far too complex, so many things will happen that are beyond our control. All you can do is to have good intentions and choose wisely.
>
> > What you are referring to is a mystical universe in which one only has to be one with a transcendental force and everything would automatically (or, rather, mysteriously) turn out right. This is New Age esotericism that didn't exist 3700 years ago. Zarathushtra was much more pragmatic. He was a social reformer and a civilizationist, not a fancy wizard.
>
> >
>
> > Ushta,
>
> > Dino

The rich variety of Zoroastrian beliefs, Part 2

Dear Parviz

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.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/25 Parviz Varjavand



Dear Alex,

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.

Ushta te,
Parviz

--- On Sun, 5/24/09, Alexander Bard wrote:


From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The rich variety of Zoroastrian beliefs
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Sunday, May 24, 2009, 3:39 AM


Dear Iris

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.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/24 irisfilpot


Hi
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.)

Iris

söndagen den 24:e maj 2009

The pathos and ethos of Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is not a democracy where we vote for which interpretation is right.
We study the religion all for ourselves, but most importantly, we think critically for ourselves.
This is not a religion for people to follow, this is a religion for people to get their own critical thinking started!
And that is widely agreed, Iris! Because this is the pathos and ethos of Zarathushtra himself combined. We are asked to follow his example, not follow him personally directly. That sort of blind faith was exactly what he was opposed to.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/24 Special Kain



Dear Iris,

Yes, other Zoroastrians will disagree (but not all of them). And I'm perfectly fine with that, since Zoroastrianism has such a rich culture. It is so old and there have been so many encounters, influence and change throughout the centuries.

--- irisfilpot schrieb am So, 24.5.2009:


Von: irisfilpot
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: Immortality in the Zoroastrian sense
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 24. Mai 2009, 1:45


Hi

>>Immortality here is therefore not immortality in any Judeo-Christian- Muslim sense but rather approaching the transcendental quality of The Divine as outside the limitations of time and space.<<

OK thank you sir. Let me ask this, since you and Dino seem to be on the same page on this, if I ask other Zartouche's they may disagree with you two on this?

The rich variety of Zoroastrian beliefs

Dear Iris

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.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/24 irisfilpot

Hi

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.)

Iris

Mazda Carpenter, Me Chair! - or not?

Dear Iris

Ahura and Mazda are constantly used separately in The Gathas, it is actually the combination of the two concepts that is rare. I believe there is a purpose for this. Also, I wonder where you get the sense that intelligence causes creation according to The Gathas? Besides the illogical aspect of the statement (if intelligence proceeds creation, then how did intelligence come about?), what are the literary grounds for this statement? I would say that Zoroastrianism uniquely demonstrates that Intelligence and Creation are mutually dependent and therefore co-creating and co-created. Whether we place divinity in the transcendental (panentheism) or purely in the immanent (pantheism) we arrive at contemporary Zoroastrianism and both options are compatible with The Gathas. However, I don't see anybody studying neither The Gathas nor folk Zoroastrianism arriving at a "one-caused-the-other" logic. What do you think?

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/24 irisfilpot

Hi

Looking at this again.

>>The Mazda part of Ahoora is that part of Ahoora who somehow miraculously has become alive and then has developed to the level of being able to Think. The Ahoora that thinks is Ahoora Mazda. <<

HUMMMM I find this kind of different. So your pretty much on the God came out of creation instead of creation out of God?
The Gathas though seem to be saying intelligence caused creation.
This statement you made also makes me ask. Why do you separate Ahura Mazda into parts instead of thinking about it as they are not separate but two inseparately concepts that seem separate but are not?

(No right or wrong answer here.)


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Parviz Varjavand wrote:
>
> My dear teacher Jafarey.
>
> Flowery speech and writing often tries to hides the naked truth of what is being talked about. Part one of the ideas you express in your post below is known as the carpenter and the chair story and no amount of fancy imagery and wording thrown in changes the core idea being presented. The second statement sandwiched in after the first seems to be what you expect me to want to say, and it is not. It may be what the Monists or Pantheists say, but it is not what I am saying. I am a Mazdaist and Mazdaism is different from Monism, Pantheism, or Athaism.
>
> As a Mazdaist, there is two parts to my God, there is the Ahoora and there is the Mazda. The Ahoora is all that IS. Stars, galaxies, rocks, rivers, these are just so much stuff that exist, and what ever exists has an Ahooraic reality. But ninety-nine percent of what is Ahoora, is not Mazda and can not THINK! The Mazda part of Ahoora is that part of Ahoora who somehow miraculously has become alive and then has developed to the level of being able to Think. The Ahoora that thinks is Ahoora Mazda. I have reverence both for Ahoora and Mazda.
>
> Please share with me any objections or comments you may have to my school of Mazdaism if you find the venture worth your while. I wish you Ushta in all phases of your very rich and productive life.
>
> Mehr Afzoon,
> Parviz Varjavand

lördagen den 23:e maj 2009

Immortality in the Zoroastrian sense

Dear Iris

I would definitely say the second alternative. I don't believe in any conscious after-life and I don't see any reason why you would have to believe in one either after reading The Gathas. The importance of the after-life was an Egyptian rather than an Indo-European idea. Zoroastrians disposed their dead towards recycling (feeding the corpses to vultures) and did not build pyramids like the Egyptians. Zarathushtra's own approach towards any ideas of an after-life seems to have be an ethical obsession with the here and now instead of the future. That which to him was unknown remained unknown. Immortality here is therefore not immortality in any Judeo-Christian-Muslim sense but rather approaching the transcendental quality of The Divine as outside the limitations of time and space. What is eternally valid? That's the question which Zarathushtra was concerned with.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/23 irisfilpot

Hi
Are immortals refering to life after death or is it refering to the suspension of time from being in the present without identifying to the future or past? (As in we are immortal in the present.)

Iris

fredagen den 22:e maj 2009

Important clarification regarding the concept of haurvatat

Dear Iris

Here is the danger in reading somethig literally that is meant metaphorically:
The idea of PROGRESSIVISM, that history progresses from one plane to another plane of ever-increasing excellence, belongs in 19th century romanticist Germany (Hegel, Marx etc) but has nothing to do with Zarathushtra in Iran 3,700 years ago.
Zoroastrianism is not progressivist. Such ideas were completely unheard of at the time of The Gathas and for another 3,500 years.
"Haurvatat" should probably be left as it is and not translated. When translated to "perfection" we miss the point of the word. Zarathushtra was clearly not a Platonist 1,200 years before Plato. "Haurvatat" is merely to live and exist in accordance with asha. It is a state we can achieve in the hear and now, as Zarathushtra claims to have done himself. The more haurvatat there is, the more civilized we are. That's all. It's consequently an ethical imperative and not an historicist claim.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/22 irisfilpot


Hi

>>But the question is whether we really want a religion that encompasses all aspects of human life?<<

I can see if one means alot of rules and dogma, but I can't see how having a faith in a religion wouldn't end up encompassing all aspects of one's life.


>>What we are left with to solve as Mazdayasni is how our ethics is constituted and our ethics is philosophical: Live life to the fullest, enjoy existence in all its variety, cherish the fact that there is something rather than nothing, and identify yourself with your thoughts, words and actions,thereby making yourself responsible for how exciting (or dull) you are!<<

It seems to me that the Gathas are asking alittle more than that. They seem to be asking to improve the world and to help in making it progress towards perfection.


--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard wrote:
>
> Dear Parviz
>
> Very good points!!!
> But the question is whether we really want a religion that encompasses all
> aspects of human life? Perhaps the best we can get is a religion which
> provides an ethical framework for us and then stays out of the way of our
> cultural undertakings. I'm not so sure I want my religion to be present when
> I go to the theater or the circus or the opera or to an art exhibition.
> Rather my religion should be what helps me HANDLE life in all its variety
> when it has been exposed to me (something art does not do, art only tells us
> how things are but not how to handle them). This is why I have always
> promoted Mazdayasna as The Philosophical Religion. Not the religion of art
> (please keep those two things apart) but the religion of philosophy and
> ethics. And Zoroastrians are not dull, you are the perfect example of a
> not-dull Mazdayasni yourself!
> Having said this, primal principles mean very little to me unless they are
> specified. Something I believe science does better than religion. What we
> are left with to solve as Mazdayasni is how our ethics is constituted and
> our ethics is philosophical: Live life to the fullest, enjoy existence in
> all its variety, cherish the fact that there is something rather than
> nothing, and identify yourself with your thoughts, words and actions,
> thereby making yourself responsible for how exciting (or dull) you are!
>
> Ushta
> Alexander

torsdagen den 21:e maj 2009

The Philosophical Religion - not the artistic religion

Dear Parviz

Very good points!!!
But the question is whether we really want a religion that encompasses all aspects of human life? Perhaps the best we can get is a religion which provides an ethical framework for us and then stays out of the way of our cultural undertakings. I'm not so sure I want my religion to be present when I go to the theater or the circus or the opera or to an art exhibition. Rather my religion should be what helps me HANDLE life in all its variety when it has been exposed to me (something art does not do, art only tells us how things are but not how to handle them). This is why I have always promoted Mazdayasna as The Philosophical Religion. Not the religion of art (please keep those two things apart) but the religion of philosophy and ethics. And Zoroastrians are not dull, you are the perfect example of a not-dull Mazdayasni yourself!
Having said this, primal principles mean very little to me unless they are specified. Something I believe science does better than religion. What we are left with to solve as Mazdayasni is how our ethics is constituted and our ethics is philosophical: Live life to the fullest, enjoy existence in all its variety, cherish the fact that there is something rather than nothing, and identify yourself with your thoughts, words and actions, thereby making yourself responsible for how exciting (or dull) you are!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/21 Parviz Varjavand



My dear teacher Jafarey,

Your challenges are odd ones! "Primal Principals of Existence" are not something that Zaratustra could have ever discovered in full. A partial glimpses here or there, maybe, but never in full. Even existence itself can not figure out all of its own Primal Principals. Existence is Shiva dancing, no one can say it better than that. The joy is in watching Shiva dance. "Primal Principals" and "Pristine Purities", are such dull and such static statements.

Existence has a lot of darkness in it, and Zaratustra refuses to look at the dark side. Kali Ma is a dear Mother, She kills, and I love Her for that. Soon I will kiss her sweet lips, and this without any expectation of an afterlife. Zaratustra has not dared to even look at Kali Ma. This is why most Zoroastrians can be such sticks in the mud and dull personalities; they do not know how to dance with life AND death. They have a phobia about death and the dark side of life. They have a phobia about kissing frogs. (This was directed at my other teacher Mr. Khojeste Mystree who has a phobia about all the Kharafstars and creepy crawlies ;-)

Mehr Afzoon,
Parviz Varjavand

--- On Wed, 5/20/09, Jafarey@aol.com wrote:

From: Jafarey@aol.com
Subject: Re: [zoroastrians] Re: Song 4 - stanza 8
To: solvolant@yahoo.com, Ahura-Mazda@yahoogroups.com, zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com, creatingawareness@yahoogroups.com, xsatra@yahoogroups.com, zoroastrianacceptance2@yahoogroups.com, zoroastrianfriends@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 12:53 PM

In a message dated 5/19/2009 9:28:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time, solvolant@yahoo. com writes:

My dear Ostad Jafarey,

There are several clubs that have a Book, and they can for ever hide behind that Book.
No matter what you talk to them about, it ends up with this comment that you have not read The Book well enough. One can not get anywhere with them in philosophy because they can for ever dive back in their sacred Book and hide there until the storm blows over. Then once again they come out of their Book and repeat the same nonsense that they have been repeating for ever. I am sorry to see that Zoroastrianism is also being reduced to the level of the Book people.

Your definition of Asha is confused and confusing. The Laws of gravity are being mixed with the instructions for how to cook the perfect meatloaf. These two are not the same. Doing "the RIGHT this and that to get to the RIGHT that and this" are basically meaningless statements. The RIGHT way to dress for a prom or the RIGHT way to dance the tango are being put in the same category as the RIGHT speed the light travels on. ASHA defined as this RIGHT is the most confusing definition you can give ASHA. What you want is an ASHA with a heart, and there is no such a thing; Asha does not have a heart.

If you want to say that behind an Asha without a heart stands an Asha-maker with a heart, then you are asking us to take a leap of Faith. Then Zoroastrianism becomes a religion of Faith rather than Reason. You add a Book to that formula, and we become another Abrahamic religion. That is the core of this argument.

We do have a problem in communication, but other than that, I admire you very much.

Bedrood and Mehr Afzoon,
Parviz Varjavand



Dear, dear!

Now you have brought up the "The BOOK" topic. Daenaa Vanguhi, the Good Conscience of Zarathushra is presented in Gatha, seventeen Sublime Songs and not in one book or more. Books were made hundreds of years later. It was the Sassanian Theocracy, which placed the Gathas, their Supplements, and pre-Zarathushtrian and post-Zarathushtrian materials with their translations and interpretations in the Pahlavi language in a book form. It was they who made 21 nasks, volumes of the Sacred Scriptures. And that is why the Prophet of Islam considered Zoroastrians (Majoos) the People of Book just the Jews, Christians and Sabians were considered. It was Bani Umayyah, who formed the first Islamic Empire, larger than the Achaemenian Federation, who for political and property reasons, started treating Zoroastrians as Kafirs and the situation continued to get worse until the Pahlavi Time.

Please take a NOTE that I have never considered or stated that we are People of the Book -- Ahl-e Kitab. We have the Gathas, the Sublime Songs of Zarathushtra, to tunefully enlighten us by provoking our bright and clear mind to contemplate and freely choose the best for a life that is all goodness and beneficial for the entire environment in which we live. The Gathas are not a book or a part of a book.

I am Mazdayasni Zarathushtri, Super-Intellect venerator Zoroastrian, but would not mind at all if someone name-calls me as "Gathic -- Songful."

To me ASHA is RIGHT -- "to do the right thing, at the right time, at the right place and with the right means to get the right result" is enlightening. That is how the Cosmos works. And Mazda Ahura, the Super-Intellect Essence creates, maintains and promotes these Cosmos by these very Principles. They are divine created.

It has never, never confuse me. And I have never, never "taken a leap of Faith." I have, since I came to contemplate on the Divine Doctrine of Zarathushtra more than 70 years ago, been guided to clearly contemplate and then freely choose the best. And that too by continuously updating myself with scientific and logical facts.

Here I have yet another challenge: I wish some one comes forward to show that any scientific and logical discovery, old or new, lies out side of the "Primal Principles of Existence" presented by Zarathushtra in his Sublime Songs and that Zarathushtra did not discover that principle.


Songfully yours,

Ali A. Jafarey

söndagen den 17:e maj 2009

Ahura Mazda, asha, logic and faith

Dear Zaneta

There is no such thing as blind faith in Zoroastrian thinking. Rather the opposite: Zoroastrian philosophy is allergic to wishful thinking and distrusts emotions in favor of rational intellect. This is why Parviz is addressing the issue with pure intellect: How can we claim that the world is ordered thoughtfully when there seems to be little proper order in place? Blind faith is not allowed to enter the reasoning anywhere.

Personally I trust the almost tautological statement that Asha is whatever is, whatever functions. This does not necessarily mean that Ahura Mazda or The World have to be good (rather than evil) but rather that Something is better than Nothing and that the existence of substance is what we cherish as Mazdayasni, nothing more and nothing less.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/16 Zaneta Garratt

Hi Parviz and Ali Jafarey,

I have been following the dialogue between you too with great interest. My opinions are rather close to those that Mr.Jafarey expresses but I do indeed understand your mode of questioning, Parviz, and why you are posing these questions. It maybe that faith plays a part in the opinions of Mr.Jafarey as I find his faith in Ahura Mazda to be really appealing. I would so much like to answer your questions, Parviz, but I won't as I feel Mr. Jafarey's answers would be better than mine. Perhaps the faith needed to believe in the All-Good God Ahura Mazda can be found by seeking a deep meaning in the Gathas when you read them, for they are truely fascinating.
Every blessing from me,Zaneta

To: Jafarey@aol.com; ushta@yahoogroups.com; zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
From: solvolant@yahoo.com
Date: Sat, 16 May 2009 09:29:40 -0700
Subject: [Ushta] Re: [zoroastrians] Re: Song 4 - stanza 8


Dear Ostad Jafarey,

I thank you very much for your kind and considerate response to me. Other than that, I feel we have a slight problem in communicating. The point I am trying to make is that there is a difference between introducing a philosophy of life and inventing a God named Ahoora Mazda who has so many good qualities but has put a heartless law in charge of running the world called Asha.

There is this myth behind every dictator; the the dictator himself is a very good person but it is his henchmen who are crude and inconsiderate. The henchman in charge that we have to deal with is Asha. How do I know that behind Asha stands a kind and considerate Ahoora Mazda? (Yes, I know, "look at the birds that sing and lovers that cuddle" and all that. I am sorry, these do not cut it philosophically)

Mehr Afzoon,
Parviz Varjavand

--- On Mon, 5/11/09, Jafarey@aol.com wrote:

From: Jafarey@aol.com
Subject: [zoroastrians] Re: Song 4 - stanza 8
Date: Monday, May 11, 2009, 7:00 PM

In a message dated 5/8/2009 12:31:06 AM Pacific Daylight Time, solvolant@yahoo. com writes:

My dear teacher Ostad Jafarey,

You know me well, but allow me to remind other readers that our relationship as a student and teacher does go back some fifty five years now. I do read the Gahan over and over and have done so religiously in the past. Some students are dumb and I must be one of the dumbest students that any teacher could have ever wished for because I still do not get what you are trying to teach about the make-up of the God of Zaratustra.

Adjectives are what we humans can pile up on one another, but can we do so with God too and get away with it? Our child comes home with a report-card and on it the teacher comments that Jonny is a good kid, he has got an A in math and A+ in spelling; he is A++ in sports and this list goes on and on until we get the picture that Jonny is truly an outstanding kid and a jolly great little chap. But this is Jonny and not God; we can not make such a report-card about God in order to explain what a clever little God we have got on our hand! No matter how loud we shout how great our God is, in fact if we go shout from rooftops that Mazda is GRRRREEAATTTT and the GGGRRREEEAAATTTEESS ST ten times a day, all we are doing is making such a God smaller and smaller.

Your descriptions reduces Mazda into some clever little God that Zaratustra invented and that if we want to call ourselves Zoroastrians, we have to become good little lambs of Zaratustra and bow down to the clever God he invented and called Mazda. This formula does not satisfy my thirst any longer. We must describe exactly what Ahoora and Mazda are rather than just pin adjectives on their fragile structures. Gods that MAKE things but are not part of what they have made are carpenter gods. Carpenter gods do not get any bigger by the fantastic adjectives we pin on them, in fact the more fancy the adjectives get, the smaller the god gets.

Let us go over some of the adjectives that have been pined on Mazda in your response to me. "God is wise. He is the wisest. He is knowing, the most knowing. He knows best the past, present, and future. He remembers all that exists….etc.etc". Here God sounds like the CIA, KGB, and Mosad rolled into one, and since we are all afraid of those entities, here we must be even more afraid of such a God.

"God is mighty. He is the mightiest. He is the greatest. He is powerful, most powerful. He is ruling-at-will. " --- He is the mightiest compared to what? ---He is the most powerful compared to what?-- All these cooperative adjectives work when we have something on the other hand to compare our God to. What is on the other hand with which we are comparing God?

You also say that "God is of one-accord with asha". Now this is a very important statement. Asha is the LAW that governs ALL that is going on in the Cosmos. Think of Gravity as Asha; we do not go around saying that "Gravity is Progressive, Gravity is Kind, Gravity is Wise, …etc…etc." Gravity is Gravity and its laws to be studied and understood. No amount of kiss kiss love love will change an iota of the laws of gravity. If Ahoora Mazda and Asha are One and the same, we do not need all those flowery adjectives any more. If they are not one and the same, then the problem becomes for us to describe in what way they are different.

Forgive me if I am too dumb to get what you are trying to teach about Zaratustra and Mazda. I bow down and kiss your hand for you are senior to me and were my teacher once. May your other students be more intelligent than I and not disturb your serenity long after you think you are finished with teaching them.

Mehr Afzoon,

Parviz Varjavand



My dear Varjavand,

Dorud pas az dorud!

Why think of introducing a kid? Why think of belittling? Why not a high personality to a great gathering? What would the person-in-charge use? Adjectives as nouns, phrases, and sentences to describe that personality. That would not amount to belittle the high personality, but to present a virtual view of his/her qualities, definitely less than what the personality is in actuality. No belittling and no aggrandizing but only describing and that too in as much as the audience get a good idea of the him/her, whom they will be understanding and appreciating more and more in leading their life of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.

This is what Zarathushtra has done and that too at a time when the people had vague notions and fantastic fancies about gods and goddesses. He describes the “Mazda Ahura -- Super-Intellect Essence,” he has discovered in his searches and researches of over 20 years. Zarathushtra is what he is, a Maanthran, a thought-provoker, a true teacher, a good guide.

Is a creator of any of our inventions, from the Neolithic stone instrument to the ultra-modern Internet, a “CIA, KGB, and Mosad rolled into one” when he/she takes a very good care of his/her invention?

Are the human being and the principles of living the same? It is Mazda, Super-Intellect, that has created Asha, Precision and many more Principles of Existence to make the Creation a progressive Cosmos.

I do not want to go any further. Please, take it with cool consideration and see what Zarathushtra states, and then make any remarks. Also see the difference between what Zarathushtra provokes his audience to think bright and choose right, and those who direct their sheep and slaves what to do and what not to do in total obedience.

Mehr Afzoon,

Ali A. Jafarey

måndagen den 11:e maj 2009

Zoroastrianism and Existentialism

Dear Iris

Dino is absolutely right.
Let me just add that we usually recommend people who are familiar with Western thinking to read Baruch Spinoza as a reference. Spinoza is the European philosopher whose thoughts are most reminiscent of Zarathushtra. Many Spinozists regard themselves as Zoroastrians, and vice versa.
Also, our ethics is very important to us. We are what we think, what we say and how we act. We totally identify ourselves with what we do and how we appear to ourselves. This is what we mean with the Zoroastrian saying "good thoughts, good words, good deeds" where we also believe that it is the order and not just the queality of those things which is important. This is why thinking is so important to us. Our religion is called Mazdayasna (the worship or celebration of Mind) and we call ourselves Mazdayasni.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/11 Special Kain

Dear Iris,

As far as I know it's not merely about existence as such: the biological fact that both you and I are alive and breathing. It is about Existence (with capital letter), which is Ahura. We're amazed by the fact that there is something, rather than nothing. Throughout the Gathas, Zarathushtra is speaking of actions and deeds, so it's about doing and not about un-doing. We're obliged to enjoy life as it is and live to the fullest. In a way we are celebrating the capacities and faculties that evolution gave us. Remember that there's no asceticism in Zoroastrianism, we're not opposed to our passions and desires. It's existentialism without Sartre's "gloom 'n' doom". While French existentialists are desperately trying to deal with the absurd, we maintain a constructive mentality, continually increase our understanding of existence, cultivate good feelings and good thoughts, actively and creatively contribute to the world (as it is), etc. See, we don't condemn this world, because there's no hierarchical relationship between heaven and earth - both heaven and earth are governed by the very same principle, which is Asha. It is a philosophy of joy.

Ushta,
Dino

The Zoroastrian Idea of Existence

2009/5/10 irisfilpot

It seems that you all are familiar with a different type of Buddhism than I am. "Supreme reality" is usually used in discussions about God and I have never seen this term in a Buddhist discussion. I think for me, since I do seem to know a different kind of Buddhism than you two do, that just an explanation of the Zorasterian idea of existance would be more helpful for me without comparisons to Buddhism. Would anyone like to explain that to me? ( The Xorasterian idea of existance?)Anyone out there is OK. Not holding anyone hostage. If no, I figure the subject will eventually come up on this list so I can be patient.


Dear Iris
There is no Zoroastrian idea of existence and that is precisely the point.
Existence is primary, the idea of existence is secondary, so the idea of existence constantly CHANGES in Zoroastrianism, this is what makes it unique from other religions.
Zoroastrians believe in a world of flux or at least an understanding of the world in flux.
Asha is then whatever fits, however this world works, this is asha. And to live in accordance with asha, our ethical imperative in Zoroastrianism, is to live in accordance with the world as we know it according to our best knowledge. It's a religion which is very pro-science and pro-knowledge.
Ushta
Alexander

söndagen den 10:e maj 2009

The Essence of Zoroastrianism and The Difference of Wills, Part 2

Dear Iris

I believe Dino has explained the difference between Zoroastrian and Buddhist philosophy spot on. It is a difference of attitude towards existence as such. We can agree on many things, but the diiference of attitude is the core difference.
Also, about the translation we were discussing of "first and last" versus "first and latest", the most important thing is not what we like to hear the most, but rather which translation that catches the original meaning in Avestan the best. Since the expression is used metaphorically in the original text, the translation of "first and last" was widely believed here to better catch the intended meaning.
We can then like or dislike phrases, but in the world of translation, getting the text right compared to the original is what it is all about.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/9 Special Kain
- Dölj citerad text -



Dear Iris,

First of all, welcome! Make yourself comfy. :-)
Your words definitely are very interesting and your observations quite smart, but please don't confuse the model with reality. When I was saying that every coin has two sides, I didn't say that we would have to flip the coin back and forth, because we can learn to see the PARADOX as it is (and subsequently create new paradoxes). What really matters here is the idea that there's only one world (monism) that we see as a multitude of different things (pluralism). But there's one overriding principle only. In Buddhism you still have the distinction between reality (or supreme reality) and illusion (different appearances). You don't have this distinction in Zoroastrianism, which makes it even more fascinating. Rather than opposing such appearances, Zoroastrians don't see any of them in that philosophical sense at all and willingly surrender to what's going on. We don't have such hierarchical relationships between different levels of The Real, not do we think that there ought to be such relationships. We don't think that this world is an illusion that we have to overcome in order to be in tune with The Ultimate Reality Behind All Appearances. We want to love this world as it is, and active participation is a sacred duty to us. As a Zoroastrian philosopher I reject all transcendentalism, but sincerely respect panentheists that don't agree with me on this. When digging deep into mysticism and occultism several years ago, I learned to see GOD as the union of immanence and transcendence (although I say that god is the universe and all the stars within).
Furthermore, you can read the Gathas literally or poetically. So I see the Gathas as a collection of inspiring poems, a key to develop and maintain a constructive mentality and become a better person. So, studying the Gathas can lead us to much more beautiful places and much more interesting identities. But inspiration can also be found elsewhere.

Ushta,
Dino


--- irisfilpot schrieb am Sa, 9.5.2009:


Von: irisfilpot
Betreff: [Ushta] Re: The Essence of Zoroastrianism and The Difference of Wills
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Samstag, 9. Mai 2009, 6:47

Hi everyone.

I am new here. I hope I am not over stepping or being presumptous in posting on my first day here. Posts seem interesting here.

>>>>>The Mahayana philosophy is the consequence of the attempt of obtaining DETACHMENT from reality. It is not really concerned with seeing the world correctly, rater it is the consequence of a specific will and the nurturing of this will, the will towards detachment, towards accepting death as the ultimate outcome and possible "essence" of life<<<<<

Your understanding of this is totally different from mine. My understanding of it is that Mahayana philosophy is very concerned with seeing reality as it truly is, Seeing the world as it is. Death is seen as one with life. They are not separate. One can not live without death, and one can not die without life. To try to avoid death would be avoiding life.
It isn't a detachment from reality Buddhism is teaching, but a detachment to illusionary attachments and perceptions.
Of course you may be right on this and I could indeed be wrong. I perhaps am familiar with only one type of Mahayana Buddhism and undoubtly it is a large subject with different views within it.
Someone mentioned the "two sides of one coin". The expression does mean "the same thing" in English but in Buddhism I understand it to mean that while one looks at one side of the coin they are not seeing the other side and therefore not "seeing" the whole together. It's sort of an explanation of englightenment. Many people think of enlightenment as being bliss. Enlightenment in Buddhism is not the experience bliss or of oneness either. It is "seeing" Reality as both multiplicity and oneness in the present, in the same moment, instead of seeing only one or flipping between the two. In the example of the coin, and relating it only to sides, it would be the seeing of both sides simultaneously instead of having to flip it back and forth.
On another subject, the Gathas. (Which is what this group is about I think )I really like the translation that someone posted ( in a post with a bunch of different translations) that said "the first and latest." Instead of "First and last." Then there was an explanation in another post saying the implications of no aging. What I like about it, using that particular wording of "First and latest" is that latest brings it more into the present, as it is happening now. When I read it as "First and Last" it seems as if it's all finished and done with. "First and Latest" seems on going, now, continuously beoming the latest, right now.
Someone else mentioned they didn't think it was necessary to read the Gathas ( as in all the time.) In my experience intellectually picking apart scriptures is sometimes good and insightful, at other times a hinderance. Intellectual study, although good and necessary in my view,does not make up or replace the reading of scriptures as a vehicle to spiritual awareness. So for me, I can attempt to read the Gathas intellectually. But I can also read the Gathas as a way to clear the mind of all thoughts. In my case, I try to fill my intellectual thinking self with the words of the Gathas and when the mind is clear of all other outside thoughts to let the words of the Gathas fade into the silence of meditation. I don't know if that person has tried using the Gathas in such a way, but if haven't and they think it might be worth while to try, they may find it something to their liking.
Well, I certainly have written a much longer post then I thought I would write, if you have read this far, let me just wish you all happiness and health.

Iris

torsdagen den 7:e maj 2009

The Tail of the Faravahar

Dear Parviz

I totally get your point and of course I agree with you 100% (except that the Palm Island in Dubai is not withering away, that's probably just another urban legend, I was there the other week and it is very much in place). However, I must say that adding an asshole to the Faravahar makes him, shall we say, seem more human, more complete. Don't we all have assholes and they serve a very good function? At least as long as they are considers as assholes proper. ;-) It sounds like it makes our symbol different and more real than the symbols of other religions, which show no signs of any bodily activities or functions whatsoever. How dull!

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/6 Parviz Varjavand

I agree with Alex and the way he looks at Zoroastrianism.

Yet the same Zoroastrianism is full of baseless and negative pronouncements that drag down its lofty points of view.
Some times back, a Moobed in Iran had made an analysis of what the meaning of the different parts of the Faravahar are. For example he has claimed that while the three segments of the wings of the Faravahar represent Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds, The three parts of the tail of the Faravahar represent Bad Thoughts, Bad Words, Bad Deeds!!??

This most stupid pronouncement is totally baseless and there is not a single historic statement that backs this ugly and tasteless claim. Yet all the Zoroastrian children are thought this in their religious class and when the same children grow up, they become staunch defenders of such world views that have their roots in the Manichean view that all that happens below the belt must be somehow evil and dirty.

There is a plan on the way to make a huge artificial island in the Iranian side of the Persian Gulf in the form of a Faravahar. This is similar to the Palm Island built on the Dubai side (I hear that island is sinking in the sea because of faulty foundations). The architect of the Faravahar Island (A Muslim) was asking the Zoroastrian community what to place on the tail side of this Faravahar Island, and the logical answer was that the sewer treatment plant and garbage dumps of the island should happen on the tail section.

Pondering Point ;-)
Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer, and when the stupid answer comes from some religious authority, the religion gets stuck with it for ever. Our Faravahar has ended up having an asshole whether we want it or not!

Ushta,
Parviz Varjavand

--- On Wed, 5/6/09, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard
Subject: [Ushta] The Essence of Zoroastrianism and The Difference of Wills
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2009, 3:39 AM

The Mahayana philosophy is the consequence of the attempt of obtaining DETACHMENT from reality. It is not really concerned with seeing the world correctly, rater it is the consequence of a specific will and the nurturing of this will, the will towards detachment, towards accepting death as the ultimate outcome and possible "essence" of life. In Zoroastrianism, we actualy turn the whole issue around. Our starting point is the will towards INVOLVEMENT. While this will is based on pathology, this is then a conscious encouragement of pathology, we will the impossible, we will the utopian, we will the existence as one with the world (rather than the non-existence) . This explains why Zoroastrianism is against monastery lifestyles, against dualism, against the worship of the beyond in relation to the degradation of the here and now and why Zoroastrianism holds the elements of the material world as sacred.
Ushta
Alexander

onsdagen den 6:e maj 2009

The Essence of Zoroastrianism and The Difference of Wills

The Mahayana philosophy is the consequence of the attempt of obtaining DETACHMENT from reality. It is not really concerned with seeing the world correctly, rater it is the consequence of a specific will and the nurturing of this will, the will towards detachment, towards accepting death as the ultimate outcome and possible "essence" of life. In Zoroastrianism, we actualy turn the whole issue around. Our starting point is the will towards INVOLVEMENT. While this will is based on pathology, this is then a conscious encouragement of pathology, we will the impossible, we will the utopian, we will the existence as one with the world (rather than the non-existence). This explains why Zoroastrianism is against monastery lifestyles, against dualism, against the worship of the beyond in relation to the degradation of the here and now and why Zoroastrianism holds the elements of the material world as sacred.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/6 Special Kain

The existence or non-existence of the coin is what matters here. Shunyata is the non-self, the void, that which does not exist or, philosophically speaking, Nothingness. Every coin has two sides, but since there are no two sides, there's no coin, either. According to Mahayana Buddhism, there's no substance at all, which is typical for mysticism. There's only one world (monism), which we see as a multitude of things (pluralism), but since all things are one and the same, there's no world at all. It's not supposed to make sense logically, it's really all about experiencing the sacred. Whereas in Zoroastrianism there's positive substance (Ahura) or, philosophically speaking, Existence. Because everything that is is sacred to us. There's no division between sacred and not so sacred experiences, there's just a multitude of sacred experiences.

Ushta,
Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 5.5.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Poetic panentheism?
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 5. Mai 2009, 17:14

Correct!!!
And this "obsession with the something rather than nothing" makes Zoroastrianism unique, and different from Buddhist-Hinduist thought.
Although I'm not sure I quite follow the metaphors here. Isn't the point with the expression "two sides of the same coin" to say that what appears as two is really only expressions of one and the same thing.
And this sense, there is indeed a "coin", namely The Universe as whole, nope? But with thousands of sides to the one and same coin.
Ushta
Alexander

tisdagen den 5:e maj 2009

Poetic Panentheism?

I believe translations often get colored by the worldview of the translator.
However, I don't see any panentheism in the original text (and context).
But it's no big deal for me if some Zoroastrians regard themselves as Panentheists. It makes things more complicated for them (since this is still a form of dualism) but that's their problem and no big deal for me.
And as a poetic addition to my pantheism, I would be happy to describe myself as a poetic panentheist!
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/5 Special Kain

I agree. I don't think that there's anything beyond time, space and change, either. There is only one world, and we're a part of it. But some translations of the Gathas suggest that Zarathushtra was speaking to someone or something beyond this world, locating the cause beyond the realm of effects.

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Di, 5.5.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Gathas: Song 4 - Stanza 8
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Dienstag, 5. Mai 2009, 15:34

This is if we assume that Zarathushtra really was a panentheist.
I accept that some Zoroastrians think he was, as a matter of belief. But I'm personally a pantheist and a Zoroastrian pantheist too. The author of The Gathas is a pantheist to me.
Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/5 Special Kain



Dear friends,

Maybe I didn't fully understand, but the panentheistic idea of Ahura Mazda (who now happens to be the universe-at- large plus SOMETHING beyond it) seems to be the BIRTH of metaphysics: thinking of something that's beyond space, time and change. Because the deities prior to Zarathushtra's reformulations were one and the same with the changes they effected. The God of, say, the oceans was embedded within them, not some being living separately from them. In this sense Zarathushtra was, by locating Ahura Mazda both within and beyond this world, the first metaphysician, but I could be totally wrong about this.

Ushta,
Dino


--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 3.5.2009:


Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: [Ushta] Gathas: Song 4 - Stanza 8
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
CC: "Zoroastrian Friends" , "Zoroastrians"
Datum: Sonntag, 3. Mai 2009, 15:57

Dear Parviz, Zaneta, Friends
The Universe itself is beyond time and age.
Time is merely an aspect, a dimension, of the spacetime of The Universe. For example, when traveling at the speed of light (which photons do), time stops completely.
So we don't need Ahura Mazda to be outside of The Universe to be one and the same as The Universe = monism.
I don't understand "the first and the latest" translation though. Would not "the first and the last" make better sense, as this so obviously refers to a metaphor for that which is beyond time? "Latest" assumes there is still something else to come, afterwards.. .
Ushta
Alexander

måndagen den 4:e maj 2009

Zarathushtra and Civilizationism

Dear Parviz

In all fairness, what Zarathushtra is reacting against is not nomadism per se, but the short-sightedness in letting others do the hard job for you and then plundering their results because you did not have patience enough to invest in your success (much like the Vikings of Scandinavia did against innocent peasants in continental Europe some 1,500 years after Zarathustra). This is what Zarathushtra rightly is against. I believe this is referred to as "civilizationism" in ethics and I must agree with Zarathushtra that I am a "civilizationist" myself. I'm also convinced many nomadists are civilizationists.

Ushta
Alexander

2009/5/4 Parviz Varjavand


We must realize that Zaratustra comes at a time that the nomadic tribes are settling down. He is for those who form settlements and against those who move in tribal fashions. History has shown that nomadic tribes are not an evil phenomenon on the planet. Nomads are very strong humans compared to those who live in settlements. We can not twist a message given at a specific time with a specific intent in order to make it apply to all times as if it contains the absolute infallible truth and a Divine message.


And is the "Wise Lord" that Zaratustra talks to, what develops ultimately into "Our Father who art in Heaven"? That is another phenomenon that we should be allowed to examine realistically. Those who elevate the Gathas too high are forming a terror nucleus within the Zoroastrian movement just as it exists in Abrahamic religions. To me, no mind can be truly free if at the onset it is thought to be afraid of examining some texts realistically and dealing with it as "Divine and Infallible".

Ushta,
Parviz Varjavand