söndag 29 november 2009

The Zoroastrian attitude towards suffering and sorrow

Exactly!!! Soooo well put, Ardeshir!
Like I said in my interview with Kurdish TV yesterday: As a Zoroastrian, you are not allowed to turn yourself into a victim and then NURTURE your victimhood. This is also why I have always claimed that Zarathushtra is philosophically speaking extremely close to Spinoza and Nietzsche in his ethics (with the exception that he is the originator of these ideas, having lived more than 3,000 years before the other two guys!!!). Evil is banal, more than anything, it is the LACK of life, the lack of creativity, the lack of self-respect (from those who do evil), it is short-sighted and impulsive rather than long-term and creative (the Zoroastrian ethical ideals).
What is important about this is also the consequences this has in relation to Indian philosophy: This is where Mazdayasna (Iranian philosophy) is radically DIFFERENT from Brahmanism in India. Our distancing from suffering as the basic premise for existence also means that there is no need for reincarnation in Zoroastrianism. Life comes from and returns to the universe, this is how life is "recycled" according to us (rather then endlessly traveling from one body to another). It is not so much "the eternal return of the same" but rather "the eternal return of the always slightly different due to our and asha's creative input".
Consequently, Zoroastrianism has no asceticism. This makes it unique among leading religions. I would even go so far as to say that for Zarathushtra the ethics of living life to its fullest potential, in balance with our surroundings, constructively and creatively is even an ethical IMPERATIVE: Don't wait for the feeling to come along, just do it, and the feeling will arrive with your actions! He is consequently not a moralist, Zarathushtra is a strong ETHICIST.

2009/11/30 ardeshir farhmand

The Zoroastrian View on Suffering and Sorrow

We in the Zoroastrian faith do NOT cherish suffering, NEITHER do we believe that suffering is indispensable to progress and growth. In fact, one of the worst enemies of progress in our view is suffering and sorrow. It is our duty to fight sorrow, and never cause any additional suffering in the world. It is the Zoroastrian view that progress is made through cheerfulness, serenity, clear and calm intelligence. In our view, calamities in the material world, are the work of the hostile forces.

We read in the last line of Yasna 34.11; "mazdâ vîdvaêshãm thwôi ahî."
Like almost all the gathic verses, this verse has a number of meanings due to the intentional sound-word play. If we read "vî-dvaêshãm," it means "Mazda, you are without hostility and exempt from infliction," or that "You do not deceive."

If we read "vîdvaêshãm," it means "You are victorious (have wit/win with vision) over hostility and afliction." "vîdvaêshãm" could come from the avestan root "vid," O.N. vit, Dan.vid, Swed. vett, O.Fris. wit, O.H.G. wizzi; vision, to know, ABILITY TO MAKE SMART MOVES IN AN AMAZING FASHION."

Based on the same gathic verse, we read in the Ohrmazd Yasht or the hymn to Ahura Maza; "cathru-dasô imat vîdvaêshtvô," my fourteenth (name) is the remover of all sorrow and harm.

We further read in the 14th verse of the same hymn: "a-devish nãma ahmi," my name is he who does not deceive; "vî-davish nãma ahmi," my name is he who is not deceived; "paiti-pâyush nãma ahmi," my name is the protector of all; "tbaêshô-taur-våw nãma ahmi" my name is he who destroys/tears down malice; "hathra-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who is victorious/wins at once; "vîspa-vana nãma ahmi," my name is he who wins all; "vîspa-tash nãma ahmi," my name is he who has shaped everything.(Avestan "tash" is the same as Gk. tekhno-, tekhne "art, skill, craft, method, system," Skt. taksan," Latin. textere "to weave;" the word technology comes from the same root.) "vîspa-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is All weal; "pouru-khvâthra nãma ahmi," my name is the fullness of weal; "khvâthra-våw nãma ahmi, " my name is the Master of weal.

But if Ahura Mazda is "vîspa-tash" the shaper of all, and creator of all things through his auspicious spirit, (Yasna 44.7;) where does enmity, evil, hostility, suffering and calamity come from???? The whole universe is the manifestation of Ahura Mazda' s SUPERB CREATIVITY, but a manifestation which is PARTIALLY WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE and AWARENESS of its GENIAL ORIGIN.

In other words, evil and calamities are a direct result of dullness and slow-wit in the material universe. Evil is not creative, but ultimately DULL and of poor understanding. It drifts aimlessly and without much forethought and causes calamity. This is a view quiet opposite to the traditional christian doctrine that blames the original sin on eating from the tree of knowledge. In Zoroastrianism, it is dullness and poor judgment on part of the material manifestation that gave birth to evil and suffering. It could be very well said that when inhabitants of the material universe ate the fruit of of slow-wit and poor understanding they found evil.

The superb creativity and genius of Ahura Mazda is the wonderful truth that must be fully realized in our material plane and then all evil and suffering will disappear. And that is our mission.


On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 2:12 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear Ardeshir,

Brilliant!!! Thank you again and again!
It has never been about worshipping spooky father figures originally, but about creative and bright minds and their accomplishments! What you've just added, dear Ardeshir, reassures me that Bahram Varza's German translation is one of the best possible translations available. And it fits perfectly with what we've reformulated as Mazdayasna.


--- ardeshir farhmand schrieb am So, 29.11.2009:

Von: ardeshir farhmand
Betreff: Re: [Ushta] Too many translations of Ahura Mazda
An: Ushta@yahoogroups.com
Datum: Sonntag, 29. November 2009, 1:23

Dear Friends

ahura is the same as aesir in the norse mythology, and asura in the vedas, they all come from the root ah, as, ans meaning living force, supreme power, ... .

mazda is the same as metis in greek mythology, and medha in the vedas, also medhir in the vedas is a cognate. medhir is insight, understanding into the cosmic order, medha is wisdom, counsel, superb intelligence, understanding, genius.

it comes from the root mand, manz and there are a number of gathic passages including Yasna 31.6 that use and explain it through word play.

ahura is the FORCE, mazda is the ability to understand, figure out, GENIUS.

also if u take in the word play, mazda ahura not only means that GENIUS is the prime force of all the existences and being, it also suggests that genius/mazda is the ahura maximus, or the most magnificent FORCE .

the traditional translation is "mas danak khoday" which confirms the above assertions. notice the word play in danak which not only means wise, but wisdom and vision;
in other words wisdom, vision and genius is the zoroastrian supreme power of the universe.

i was about to write my weekly article in facebook on this subject with extensive etymology and gathic citations but due to e-mails recieved, will write about suffering and zoroastrian view on suffering. i will post them here as well.

also jaffary is NOT even remotely a gathic or avestan scholar, i appreciate some of his works and tireless energy over the years but using him or his rather boring translation as a source is a grave mistake. he merely repeats bartholeme with minor differences and his choice of words in his translation are rather poor. jaffary should be appreciated for his good work but calling him an scholar is inacurate.

On Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 11:47 AM, Special Kain wrote:

Dear friends,

I'd like to have this settled once and for all: What does «Ahura Mazda» mean in English? Ali Jafarey claims that it means «The Wise (Mazda) Lord (Ahura)», Parviz Varjavand and I seem to agree that «Ahura» simply means «existence (that which exists)» and «Mazda» is «wisdom». Now I've read somewhere that it should mean «the force that creates (Ahura) wisdom (Mazda)». So we can all be sure that Mazda is «wisdom», but what about Ahura? There's a huge difference between existence and creativity (and mastery).

Ushta, Dino

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