torsdagen den 29:e april 2010

Vegeterianism and Zoroastrian ethics

And I would like to add to Rory's excellent posting that what is "natural" or not is totally irrelevant to us as Zoroastrians. Zoroastrian ethics is based on existentialism: We are what we think, what we say and how we act. We IDENTIFY with all those things. But it is not the other way round: Nature does not force us to act in any particular way. We do not have to behave like apes seem to behave just because we are related to them. We should find our own way to exist and cherish exactly that. This is what the Mazdayasna way is all about. If vegetarianism is healthy and saves the planet, then it should be encouraged. But nature does not tell me whether I enjoy a lamb curry or not. I know that myself, from my own very natural taste buds, thank you very much! So thereby by my own nature! And the same thing goes with who I go to bed with etc. Nature as a guide for ethics is just banal moralism and does not belong on a Mazdayasni agenda. Sometimes going against nature (as in not killing people because I happen to hate them for a moment) is actually the ethucally correct thing to do. So let's avoid the N-word in our ethical discussions. Vegetarianism is such a good cause anyway it does not need to be defended from that angle.
Ushta
Alexander

2010/4/29 Rory

Hmmmmm....

Human beings are NOT "by nature herbivorous, just like their cousins, apes and monkeys" as Dr jafarey puts it. It is a well known fact that the reason we were able to develop these big brains of ours is because we were able to eat large amounts of protein which came from hunting. Early man were hunter-gatherers not vegetarians! ALL of the most ancient tribal societies still in existence such as the Biaka, the Twa, the San hunt and consume large amounts of meat. The Baka for example, although they live in one of the most species diverse rain forests on earth eat a wide variety of animals, fruits and nuts but the leaves of only one tree. Man is by nature omnivorous, and so are most of our closer ape relatives such as chimps. The only members of the diverse Hominidae family in Africa that are exceptions to the rule are Gorillas and Geladas. However we do need to TRANSFORM ourselves to become more herbivorous because of our developing situation. This happens in nature, a good example is Side-Striped Jackals in Southern Africa. In areas where they compete with Black-Backed Jackals over 70% of their diet is vegetable matter, for example fallen fruits whereas in areas where their is less competition then carrion and kills make up the majority of their diets. If man is going to change then somehow we need to change the instincts of our species or adapt our food to fool ourselves and make meat MORE EXPENSIVE and keep it something special. 1st world countries have reached a ceiling. The growing danger is developing nations. In the third world the first thing you do when you can afford it is buy meat or fish to eat and with growing populations and more money there is going to be more and more pressure on the environment. Telling these people not to eat meat when they can do so "just don't work". Most importantly alternative sources of protein such as Soya have to be improved encouraged among these populations in order to reduce the need for meat. Telling them to become vegetarians is as likely to succeed as offering a yoghurt to a leopard. It's nice that a few people around the world become vegetarians but to have a real impact something more needs to be done.

In a nutshell, vegetarianism is NOT natural but we do need to evolve if we are going to save our environment.

Ushta,

Rory

P.S.Regarding Boars. They are not found in Africa outside of Egypt and certainly not is South Africa (although Boers are but I doubt they would be please to be called pigs-although right now there is a fellow called Julius Malema who would probably agree wholeheartedly!!!)). However I agree 100% removing carnivores upsets the equilibrium. Biodiversity is critical.

--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Parviz Varjavand wrote:
>
> Dear Ostad Jafarey,
> Â
> I like to keep the Nabors, but it is hard to keep the old Z. names of the days in mind with all else that one needs to do in a day. So by remembering that Monday is the Moon day, I just do not eat meat on Mondays. I do love and cherish each of the names of the Zartoshti days, but to make life easier for those who come in contact with us, can we tie each of the seven days of the week to an Amshaspand's name, like Monday to Vohu Mana, the Moon, Ram, and Gawush?Â
> Â
> It will also make teaching children about the concepts behind each name a lot easier too. Children love routines and a weekly schedule and this will help them keep that. I know many will say that "what is wrong with teaching them to observe the 30 day calendar". But when we make a road too hard, many will stop traveling it (like telling the parents, "teach them the Din Dabireh script, teach them Persian, teach them Shahnameh, teach them this, teach them that", the end result becomes that both parents and children give up all-together and go play video games).
> Â
> Ushta te,
> Parviz Varjavand
> --- On Mon, 4/26/10, Jafarey@... wrote:
>
>
> From: Jafarey@...


> Subject: Re: [zoroastrians] Re: Food Inc and Vegeterianism in Zarathushti faith
> To: zoroastrians@yahoogroups.com
> Date: Monday, April 26, 2010, 5:15 PM
>
>
> Â
>
>
>
>
> Dear Capt. Daroowalla,
> Â
> Ushta!
> Â

> I am sorry to give a short reply because of my religious and cultural engagements. The life on our good earth has been created by Vohu Manah and Asha. It is all good. The herbivorous and the carnivorous animals are living side by side and keeping the environment as natural as possible. Take away the carnivorous and the whole earth will stink of petrified dead bodies. The carnivorous help the ailing animals by a quick death and not a long suffering. This has been proven. Years back, the authorities in South Africa killed the preying carnivorous and the result was the increase of boars that made life difficult for others. The death of vultures has brought the increase of many noxious animals. The nature knows how to proceed. The creation on the earth could not be without the environmental law of Asha for the living. It is Evolution under Asha that has created the two.
> Â

> Human beings are by nature herbivorous, just like their cousins, apes and monkeys. Circumstances have turned them into carnivorous, and today we realize that becoming "vegetarian, " we are helping our selves and the environment.
> Â

> And when, we comprehend the Gathas, we understand that we should be progressively as natural as possible to make the living world "fereshotemem -- most fresh."
> Â
> Ushta, Ali A. Jafarey

måndagen den 19:e april 2010

Zoroastrianism, the Vendidad and The Issue of Homosexuality

Dear Ardeshir

Excellent clarification!!!
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.

Ushta
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.

ardeshir

måndagen den 5:e april 2010

Persian Propaganda vs Historical Fact?

Dear Mickey

There was no clear cut theology to be followed anywhere in ancient Persia simply because Zoroastrianism has never been a dogmatic religion. So there were always a VARIETY of isms in circulation, often popularised by kings and courts and then followed by the middle classes etc. I believe it is wise to refer to this myriad of beliefs as "folk Zoroastrianism" and Mithraism is one of the most prominent examples of it. This also explains why it is hard to follow any specific idea like "human rights" within such a multitude of thinking and beliefs. The fact that Cyrus The Great was inspired by Zarathushta's IDEAS when he authored the Babylonian cylinder is without doubt. It is also without doubt true that Cyrus was as cruel and cynical in his methods as any emperor of that age.

Ushta
Alexander

2010/4/5 mickey patel

Alexander/Dino

Do you academic/concrete sources which you can share to prove if the Achimenian
Kings were indeed Zoroastrians or followed Mithraism?

I have read different articles with no unanimous agreement if indeed Zoroastrianism
was followed by Achemanians
Same applies with Parthians - who might have followed Mithraism instead of Zism.
Why would Sassanians be so cruel to Parthians labelling Arsacids Pagans at times?



--- On Mon, 5/4/10, Alexander Bard wrote:

From: Alexander Bard

Subject: Re: [Ushta] Persian propaganda vs. historical fact?
To: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Date: Monday, 5 April, 2010, 11:33 PM



Good, agreed!!!
Any enlightenment on the issue from you or anybody else here on this forum would be much appreciated.
Whether Cyrus The Great really was the innovator of human rights or not will eternally be an issue of debate.
Let's just agree we have a very strong case for the innovator of the IDEA that human rights are not merely rights but also a good for society as a whole, or rather a sacred exercise, was Zarathushtra.
Cyrus The Great is after all secondary to us as Zoroastrians.
Ushta
Alexander

2010/4/5 Special Kain

Dear Alexander

Please don't confuse the messenger with the sender. I was simply asking for the truth, reliable sources, feedback, etc. I did not stand up for anyone's truth here, neither for that alleged campaign against Cyrus The Great nor for anyone else's agenda. I just wanted to discuss whether Cyrus The Great was the originator of human rights. Nothing more, nothing less.

Best wishes,

Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am Mo, 5.4.2010:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Persian propaganda vs. historical fact?
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Montag, 5. April, 2010 14:36 Uhr


Dear Dino

Nobody has claimed that Cyrus The Great was good-hearted or noble. And The Bible is as good or bad as any other source. The Jews being liberated by the Persians in Babylonia is by the way not a Biblical myth but rather an established historical fact from a myriad of sources. One of them of course being The Talmud which is NOT in The Bible.
The claim is rather that Cyrus introduced a more efficient way of running an empire where multitude was included as principle, where several nations were included under one central rule. The model was later copied by both the Hellenists and the Romans. We all know that the model itself ORIGINATED within Zoroastriant thinking which is PRECISELY beyond good and evil and just an ethical pragmatism.
And human rights has its origin precisely in this principle.
You have nasty habit of telling people off with a condescending attitude and then we you are opposed you don't argue for your statements but rather just tell people off in return.
This is hardly the best way to network and learn from and inspire each other, don't you agree?
I'm not saying that I'm necessarily any nicer, but at least I TRY not to put people off because I frankly don't see the point. What do you think? Do you think I'm overreacting?
Or do you think you have a successful way of communicating?
Either you think Zoroastrianism is a grand principle that needs to be put to use. Or you are just wasting other people's valuable time. What is your ambition?

Ushta
Alexander

2010/4/5 Special Kain

Dear Alexander

I have never claimed that somebody else had claimed that Cyrus The Great was a democrat. So please stop making me look more stupid than I ever was, OK?
And I'm not talking about the fulfilment of the human rights, but exactly their birth. And there's still little evidence that Cyrus The Great was that good-hearted and noble liberal - no matter how eagerly one chooses to see such critical remarks as Islamic or Eurocentric propaganda. I just don't count The Bible as evidence.
Secondly, I am merely suggesting to see him as a brilliant strategist and much more Machiavellian in acting rather than humanistic. Not everyone who's a Zoroastrian is automatically a better person, too.
But all of this is futile. I just wanted to know the truth, but raising such questions makes people go mad and see me as a poor victim of (usually) Islamic propaganda. What a pity.

Best wishes and good-bye,

Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 4.4.2010:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Persian propaganda vs. historical fact?
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Sonntag, 4. April, 2010 22:42 Uhr


Well, I strongly disagree simply because you are now distorting the facts to fit ANOTHER political agenda.
Sure, Cyrus was no western democrat from the late 20th century. But nobody ever claimed that he was.
We are dicussing the birth of the concept of human rights here, not its fulfilment.
And I would be very happy to see which other inventors of human rights predated Cyrus. I have never seen any. None whatsoever. Not even Akhhanten was the slighest bit interested in letting people choose religion and ethnicity for themselves. Babylonian historians were shocked about Cyrus kissing Marduk's feet. That's not even Iranian history-writing.
Ushta
Alexander

2010/4/4 Special Kain

Yes, the cylinder is there. It's not made up. But it's how we CHOOSE to read the text that matters in this context. And some of the liberal ideas ascribed to Cyrus The Great had already been in practice hundreds of years before his birth. Thirdly, such liberal texts were no exception, but often the rule. So there's only little originality left with the alleged originator of human rights.
The only fact we can draw from this picture - combined with all the other evidence - is that Cyrus The Great was an incredibly successful ruler. He was a pragmatist and a brilliant strategist. And he tortured his enemies brutally and mercilessly. So why not act like a decent and good-hearted person as long as there's no threat, but turn to inhuman practices as soon as someone stands up against the ruler? It's perfectly Machiavellian.

Ushta,
Dino

--- Alexander Bard schrieb am So, 4.4.2010:

Von: Alexander Bard
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Persian propaganda vs. historical fact?
An: Ushta@yahoogroups. com
Datum: Sonntag, 4. April, 2010 14:19 Uhr


Dear Dino

I will happy to look into Fragner's theory please, especially as I'm likely to disagree with him. Any links you could provide are most helpful.
I'm not a Christian, dear Dino, and I resent being called one. I just don't think German Iranologists are necessarily any better than Iranian Iranologists. What counts is the facts.
And the question remains unanswered: Who originated the concept of human rights if Cyrus The Great did not? I have read the Babylonian cylinder, it's an undeniable historical fact. So who explored those ideas prior to Cyrus (unless we count Zarathushtra himself)?
That I would indeed like to know.

Ushta
Alexander