Which also means that we once and for all can get rid of all ideas that there is inherent homophobia within Zoroastrianism. We all know that Zarathushtra was certainly not homophobic (that which is done out of love and is good for mankind can never be wrong in Zoroastrian ethics; which is also tied to the fact that Zarathushtra was opposed to al discrimination of women, especially evident in the last chapters of The Gathas). But this also goes to show that even the authors of the Vendidad had little or no interest in pursuing a homophobic agenda.
Still, we should differentiate between that which is ethical (timeless and valid for all mankind) and that which is merely cultural (transcient values of a specific epoch). The Gathas is concerned with the former, the Vendidad with the latter.
Alexander/plans to go to Mumbai again this coming winter
2010/4/19 ardeshir farhmand
Vendidad or more accurately "vi-daävö dátá" is an interesting and culturally valuable document that beside incantations, myths, medicine and animal husbandry deals strictly with hygienic codes and beliefs of the ancient indo-europeans. Its purity customs are followed almost verbatim among the kalash and nuristani people of nortwestern pakistan-afghanistan.
Also, many imaginative and very interesting legal arguments of "shia islam" soundly trace their root back to Vendidad. Vendidad consists of an ancient corpus of purity codes and a much later addendum of punishments. The prescribed punishments show numerous grammatical errors. It is doubtful that such lengthy and graphic punishments were ever carried out. However, it is certain that monetary substitution were paid instead, to fund the newly built temples. As we read in Herodotus, Persians had NO temples and offered their prayers at the summit of the mountains or by waterfalls. However, after conquering Babylon, it appears that Zoroastrians slowly borrowed the concept of temples from subjugated nations.
The name Vendidad itself consists of 3 parts; "vi-daävö,"without/free of demonic forces and “ dátá" decisions, judgments. Vendidad purity codes were designed to hold back/defeat disease, decay, rot and putrefaction; for rot and decay are accordingly the embodiment of the demonic forces and the afflicted spirit is all death and decay (vispa mahrkö.)
An objective understanding of Vendidad is impossible without grasping its sole-preoccupation with "rot, decaying/dead matter and infection."According to Vendidad; Sin is that which was once in place, and now it is out of place and causes rot and waste. Hence, sin is a great deal of disease, infection, WASTE and misapplication.
It should be added that Vendidad is the last of, and belongs to the "Dátic" Category of nasks or writings. And "Dátic"nasks deal according to the Holy Denkard; with decisions/rulings concerning an ever evolving and changing, temporal world and subjects that change and evolve over time.
Also, Yasna 17.13, Yasna 22.25, Yasna 25.6, and Yasna 59.13 all refer to 3 distinct sources of jurisprudence:
"Daatem Ví-döyüm," or decisions against demons;"Daatem Zarathúshtri," or ZOROASTRIAN DECISIONS and "Dareghaam Upayanaam," or longstanding tradition. All the cited Yasna quotes would be part of the "staót yasn," or the most sacred writing of the ancient canon. The same sentence is repeated in Prelude to Yasna.10, Yasna 1. 13, Yasna 2. 13, Yasna 3.15, Yasna 4.18 and Yasna 71.5.
Now, does Vendidad deal with homosexuality as it is commonly believed or focuses on something different ??? The word commonly understood to mean homosexuality is "vaäpayö," and appears twice in the vendidad text namely chapter 1.12 and chapter 8.26-32.
The word also appears frequently in the vedic hymns as “vipra” and also appears once in the poetic gathas, the first line of Yasna 51.12 in the sense of a well-versed poet, one fluent in vedic hymns. Also it comes in Yasna 10.12 with the prefix “para,” where we read: liberate/free me from an evil teacher. The root of the verb seem to mean to spring, gush forth, flow.
It has been designated in its first occurrence in vendidad as “a-perethö” meaning unable to pass, referring to inability to pass the chinvat bridge. Although the term has been translated as a sin that can not be atoned; yet it is important to remember that in Mazdyasni literature the above term refers to a childless person. Whenever, a person dies childless or without adopting children; his relatives must appoint him a designated adopted child for his soul to pass the bridge. The process is known as creating a pass/bridge for the deceased.
The second occurrence of the term relates to the release of semen/khshvdra into anus and reception/deposit of semen into anus. In vendidad commentaries it is emphasized that the focus is on “anal intercourse and deposit of semen into anus” and is condemned equally whether the recipient be a female or male partner. It should be added that semen is considered alive and very precious in vendidad and its misapplication is a great waste.
It is important to look at this ruling from 2 points, vendidad rules against all “bare” anal sex due to its barrenness; the high concentration of disease causing waste articles in the anus and the possibility of bleeding/dead matter. Majority of the vendidad commentators judged all anal sex to be WASTEFUL, while a minority condemned it only as long as it was unprotected.