onsdag 16 juli 2008

Bard vs Jafarey: Clarifications on "The art of following the spirit of Zarathushtra"

Dear Ali

Thank you for your excellent clarifications. I believe we can agree that concerning the issues at stake here, our differences are mostly semantic. I obviously did not mean anything demeaning by referring to Zarathushtra as "illiterate" and there are also many other explanations to the word "illiterate" (in addition to the quotes you have provided) in English that are not demeaning. And I wrote "betrayal" and not betrayal, to mark the unusual positive connotation I ascribed of the term "betrayal". What I speak about is the way a son is supposed to "betray" his father to find an identity of his own, and positive and creative "betrayal" within the very spirit of that which is betrayed. It is the spirit of Zarathushtra we stay true to as proper Mazdayasni.

My point is to stress that what was the most important thing to Zarathushtra, was to follow him in mind and in spirit rather than word-by-word. Zarathushtra was concerned with us being alive, with us being intelligent and appreciative of life for our own sake, for us to become enlightened brothers and sisters of him. He was not interested in us becoming slaves or robots in an army of Zoroastrians like so many other religions dupe its followers into.

This makes Zoroastrianism stand out. What in other religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity is merely at best to be found as marginal mystical movements (such as Zen, Brahmanism or Sufism) is within Zoroastrianism the mainstream religion itself: The desire to become one with Ahura Mazda, and learning and experimenting towards this goal, is not something mystical and marginal to us, it is rather the very core of the Mazdayasna faith and practice.


2008/7/16 <Jafarey@aol.com>:
- Dölj citerad text -

In a message dated 7/15/2008 6:57:42 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, bardissimo@gmail.com writes:
Dear Ali

There is less of a conflict here than you might be think. But let's be clear about our possible differences and then offer friendly disagreement if we must do so. Mazdayasna will be all the richer for it.
Comment: This what I have been saying and agreeing.
First of all, Zarathushtra WAS an illiterate. But what is wrong with that? There was no written language around at the time when he lived in Central Asia over 3,700 years ago. Instead, he composed his texts as poetic songs, PRECISELY so that they could be remembered and verbally passed on from one generation to the next. Mazdayasni of later generations then wrote down his songs and thereby turned them into a text. These are all historical facts. I see no reason to argue about them. And this is also why Mazdayasni people throughout the ages never portray Zarathushtra WRITING any texts. Because he never did.
Comment: We all know beyond doubt that the mode of writing did not exist at time in northeast Iran. But, let us look at the impression this word gives. Here is the definitions of an "illiterate" by the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:
<<1 : having little or no education; especially : unable to read or write *an illiterate population*
2 a : showing or marked by a lack of familiarity with language and literature *an illiterate magazine* b : violating approved patterns of speaking or writing
3 : showing or marked by a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge *musically illiterate*
synonyms see IGNORANT.>>
Does it apply to Zarathushtra, the Discoverer of MAZDA, Super-Intellect and the Expounder of the Primal Principles of Existence? He was and is an Intellectual Par-Excellent. He is LITERATE--educated and cultured.
My point is not to degrade Zarathushtra by stating this fact. If you believe illiteracy is degrading for human beings, then that is YOUR prejudice, Ali, I have no such prejudices. How learned a person is does not affect that person's value as ahuman being, far from it. It is also irrelevant to whether a person is wise or not. There are many uniwise learned people and many wise unleraned people. And there were also people who were learned while still being illiterate where literacy was an uncommon quality.

Instead, my point is that Zarathushtra did NOT have any ambition whatsoever to turn The Gathas into a bible or a qoran for the followers of his religion. He couldn't have had, anymore than Jesus could have expected televangelists to spread his message 2,000 years after his death. Therefore, trying to turn Zoroastrianism into a religion of the book, the way Christanity, Judaism, Islam is, is historically incorrect, goes against the wishes of Zarathushtra himself, and is alien to the religion we have lived with for the past 3,700 years. I therefore strongly (albeit friendly) oppose such attempts. I resent Zoroastrianism becoming a Christianized or Islamized religion. We worship our living minds and not dead texts. That's all there is to it.
Comment: Then let us have him at the grade he is. Why obsessed by the Bible and Quran? Why not by the way Hindus, Buddhists, Jainists and especially the Sikhs hold their sacred literature, now in form of books? Gita of Krishna stands high among them. Can we call them the "People of the Book"?
The Gathas have nothing in common with the Semitic books and just have a traditional style with the Indian scriptures.
I would not compare the Gathas with any of them. The Gathas stand unique in their contents--THE EVER-FRESH MESSAGE..
The Gathas are, according to Yasna 55, composed a short time after Zarathushtra, worthy of dedicating our "entire life, body, bone, life, form, strength, and knowledge to the progressive Gathas, the prime prayers, ... [which are] the support, refuge and food for wisdom; the support, refuge, and food for soul, ... the Primal Principles of Life ... meant to renovate life as God wishes..." And this is how we hold them. I do not need to keeping on repeating that the Gathas are "OUR GUIDE" to progress and up-to-datedness. That makes it so dear to us. And the Gathas do NOT make themselves a "Book" for us. Far from it. They are MANTHRAS, Thought-provokers in mind, memory, words and deeds, in fact, in every phase of our good and progressive way of life.
As for you and me: We SHARE an enormous admiration for Zarathushtra. We both follow his doctrine and consider it one if not the outmost accomplishment in the history of philosophy and religion. You refer to this doctrine as "divine". I would be careful to make such an attachment since it again folds Zoroastrianism among the "revelationist" and "supenertural" faiths of the deserts to the west of Iran (where Zoroastrianism simply does not belong). But I will conclude that Zarathushtra's doctrine is a formidable and most inspiring human doctrine, still valid after three millennia, and as such unique in human history and a superb platform for a religious conviction (which is why we both have chosen to convert to Zoroastrianism).
Comment: I am sorry. It neither makes Good Conscience "revelationist" nor "supernatural." It is Zarathushtra whose search and research raised him to REALIZE Mazdâ Ahura, the Super-Intellect Essence, the Creator, Maintainer and Promoter of the created Cosmos. And that is what makes his Doctrine Divine.
However, The Gathas is NOT a science book and we are not doing Zarathushtra any justice by making such claims. He was interested in ethics and creating a credible, timeless faith for all humankind. Science was not even on the agenda. Science is therefore better understood through reading science books, which good Madayasni ought to do as well. The Gathas is a good start but not the end of our studies. It is an inspiration.
Comment: The Gathas are a guide to science and ethics is a part of science. The Gathas are fully based on science, logic and ethics, all in one. Yes, an inspiration and inspiration guides.
Let's always remember that while Muslims believe that Muhammed is Allah's ONLY prophet and Christians go so far that they believe their founder Jesus is outright divine, we have no such beliefs in Mazdayasna. Zarathushtra is 100% human, just like the rest of us, he is not divine and neither is The Gathas. Our divinity is Ahura Mazda and Ahura Mazda only, not humans nor books. And Ahura Mazda manifests itself thorugh our MINDS by which we are to judge everything for its own merits (including The Gathas itself). This is what it means to be a true Mazdayasni.

Comment: You are just agreeing to what I have stated and written for the last 40+ years, plus that the Gathas are "Inspiration and Inspiring." They are "Divine."
Ali A. Jafarey

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