There are many many many eduacted Zoroastrians - who are as educated as you and me - who disagree with you on this issue. They firmly believe that there is physical reality only (the complete nature of which we still do not know, of course, but nevertheless) and they firmly believe that this is COMPATIBLE with the Gathic text. Simply because any EXTRA-physical reality requires dualism, which is an Egyptian-Greek invention which does NOT exist in Indo-Iranian cultures prior to Manicheism.
The vast majority of the people I talk about are not even converts or westerners but rather Iranians and Indians born into the Zoroastrian faith.
Please argue for your case, but don't tell people who have lived as Zoroastrians for thousands of years that they can not be Zoroastrian. What would you possibly gain by that? Live and let live. OK?
Alexander/has not seen any evidence yet of any extra-physical reality whatsoever and does not think it is SMART to argue for one either, as Zarathushtra would happily agree when he said that "good thoughts" foster "good words" within the one and only world which he belived in...
2010/1/24 ardeshir farhmand
The whole point i am making here is that we all have our niche of expertise.
some of us might be excellent in philosophical thoughts/studies, some of us might be good with poetry and might be fluent/well-versed in the original gathic language and comparative studies, another one might be just a bright/unique mind and a sharp intellect; and one might be the voice of common sense,.........
and one might be just a cynic with some good point nevertheless here and there.
all this said, we are here to compare and exchange our ideas and learn from each other since Zoroastrianism per Yasna 43.10 is all about discovery and freedom of spirit/awareness.
for example when Dino suggested "awareness" for "minoo/manesh" i felt it is an additional good idea/explanation that could be used in EXPLAINING/NOT TRANSLATING the concept.
when alexander, suggested "dynamic universe" i strongly felt he is right, since it avoids misunderstandings by the public. i incorporated the above changes in my FB articles.
The problem arises when we start using an unpleasant and hostile approach when we encounter a poetic language not to our personal liking, or when we find out that the original text has concepts that DO NOT agree with our personal beliefs.
Is the whole point here not to professionally discuss alternatives and suggest constructive ideas, or agree to widen our horizons and admit brighter and smarter possibilities????
Anyone with reasonable familiarity with the ORIGINAL GATHIC TEXT and the rich and truly brilliant ZOROASTRIAN EXEGESIS and TRADITION has no difficulty in objectively establishing that Zoroastrianism does not in any way agree with and/or is limited to PHYSICAL REALITY ATTITUDE ONLY.
Zarathustra was much smarter than that. when he talks about MAZDA, he is talking about insight, vision, wisdom and intelligence not just expressed in man, but in animals and all other possible sparks/manifestations/forms/expressions of vision and genius.
i think it is extremely cynical and unprofessional when e.g. parviz attacks my extensive knowledge of the gathic text; and sarcastically equates his mis-understanding of meta-physics or new age hocus pocus with my writings.
we say in every morning meditation/havan gah: we adore FREEDOM OF SPIRIT and LEARNING and STUDY.
yet reducing Zarathushtra's message to a cynical short-sighted materialism and ambigous "cow worship" is SIMPLY UNSUBSTANTIATED and NOT TRUE.
ZARATHUSTRA and HIS ENCHANTING GATHAS are all about VISION, FAR SIGHT, and WIDER AND MORE LUMINOUS HORIZONS AND POSSIBILITIES.
It is a very dynamic, fluid, luminous, and optimistic message; and that is precisely why is it NOT restricted to cynical and limited materialism. IT IS A MESSAGE THAT CELEBRATES BOTH SPIRIT and MATTER, e.g look at Yasna 16 among many other Yasnas and Sirozae.
so, calling this "ardeshir's version of the gathas" without any credible gathic citation to the opposite, and at the same time talking about "GAAUOOSH URVA" without even admitting its real meaning shows simply personal bias and unconditional favoritism for one's own personal convictions.
By the way, it is "GEUSH URVA" with a long french sounding "e," and it refers to "the spirit of life" in general and "the intuitive soul of animal kingdom" in particular. see Yasna 29.1 Yasna 29.2 and Yasna 29.9.
Zoroastrianism is NOT A RIGHT, IT IS A PRIVILEGE THAT MUST BE EARNED, and we are here to earn it through exchange of our higher awareness/spirits of understanding and brilliant ideas.
There are many jews that do not believe in TORAH or agree with it on every aspect, but they are still culturally jewish and more importantly do not label their personal beliefs as TORAH and/or HALACHA.
Zoroastrianism is not rigid or dogmatic. Zoroastrianism has nevertheless very "clear and established spiritual message and fundamentals". and is certainly not "post modernist polemic ambiguity" and/or "short-sighted and limited absolute materialism."
all i am saying is: let us first understand the enchanting gathas accurately, discuss them, try to express them in best possible manner through OBJECTIVE exchange of ideas, and always admit "wider horizons and better possibilities" in true harmony with the spirit of the gathas.
each one of us has his/her unique expertise and valuable contribution to make, let us admit that and try to work together and refrain from cynical, personal attacks and/or using less than collegial language.
my contribution to ushta is simply: try my best to clearly advise everyone as to the original and fascinating speech of the gathas; and through every one's help find brilliant but nevertheless CONSISTENT language to express them. if this can be done ONLY objectively and collegialy i would be happy to share my niche here.
On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 4:09 AM, Alexander Bard
I don't believe any Zoroastrian has the right to say that he or she is the sole interpretor of the Zoroastrian religion or Mazdayasna philosophy. This amounts to sectarianism and extremism. Zoroastrianism is a religion that has been PRACTICED for 3,700 years in a myriad of MULTIPLE ways and we need to respect this and be humble towards this fact.
Having said this, I agree with you on YOUR specific sentiment. Basically, I'm a huge fan of Zarathushtra too, I believe that The Gathas is an excellent text on which I'm happy to base my worldview and my philosophical conviction.
But unless you can prove that Mazda has taken other forms or manifestations than human minds, you risk turning Mazda into something superstitious and supernatural, and that is opposed to what Zarathushtra himself preached. Mazda MAY have othe rmanifestations, but Zarathushtra ever claims that Mazda DOES have other manifestations, and so far Sceinvce has not found any (as Parviz and Dino have both rightly pointe dout).
I would therefore recommend you to be careful to say YOUR interpretation is the OBJECTIVE one. It smacks more of pomposity rather than the amazing intelligence and integrity which you otherwise show so often. Just propose your arguments for what they are, SUBJECTIVE and learned interpretations, and you will be listened to much more and accepted for your wisdom, rather than being seen as a highly questionable sectarian. OK?
I have always said that Zoroastrianism, historically and Gathas-studies based, can be both Pantheistic and Panentheistic. Consequently, Mazda can be seen as Human Minds only and also possibly extrernal to human m inds (which however remains to be proven and can only be believed and not be a requirement for calling onseself a Mazdayasni). The one thing Zoroastrianism is and should not be, however, is sectarian and rigidly dogmatic. It would be the very opposite of The Geist of Zarathushtra himself who wanted nothing of the sort. Don't you agree?
2010/1/23 ardeshir farhmand
it is truly regrettable if we choose to deviate from the true "Zarathushtiran Mazdyasna," and create our own cult/religion.
although, parviz or anyone else here is entitled to their opinion, yet NO ONE has the right to twist the words of Zarathushtra
or hijack Mazdyasna's name and create their own religion and call it Mazdyasna.
Mazdyasna is the name of Zarathushtra's message ONLY,
There HAS NEVER BEEN a MAZDYASNA WITHOUT ZARATHUSHTRA AND HIS POETIC GATHAS
i am solely here, because i am interested in an OBJECTIVE comparative study of Mazdyasna with other similar philos.
I simply can not believe my eyes when parviz suggests to remove our spiritual scripture, the poetic gathas and their avestan commentaries;
and become a philo without a pristine bardic source.
also, claiming that MAZDA is nothing more than our minds,
that no awareness/consciousness exists outside the material brain, and that "GAUSH URVA" alone is alive;
all this amounts to creating a brand new religion.
no much worse, it is using ZARATHUSHTRA's TERMINOLOGY and twist it around and call it mazdyasna.
The very name GEUSH URVA suggests a soul for the dynamic universe, a soul for all life.
disregarding tiese FACTS and presenting contrary and opposite ideas to our personal liking;
and call it MAZDYASNA is simply unsubstantiated and without legitimate authenticity.
either we are MAZDYASNI
or we are creating our own religion in accordance with our personal beliefs e.g cow worship as parviz likes to call it.
ZOROASTRIANISM IS NOT A RIGHT, IT IS A PRIVILEDGE that must BE CHOSEN.
if we are born into it and does not like the message of zarathushtra, well then, we are not mazdyasni or zoroastrian,
simple as that.
THE FACT IS THAT There is a CONCEPT of a GREAT BEYOND of GREAT, AWESOME and REAL POSSIBILITIES
BEYOND IN THE GATHAS AND MAZYASNA, there is RENOVATION OF THE EXISTENCE in the GATHAS,
there is PASSION, ENERGY, SPIRIT awareness in the GATHAS,
and many other concepts that will not please or agree remotely with a "PHYSICAL REALITY ONLY" attitude.
If we can not objectively study and understand that, there is no point for me to post or discuss anything further here.
we can disagree, but we can not create a new cult of our personal likes/dislikes in the name of Zarathushtra and Mazdyasna.