torsdag 7 januari 2010

Who is Zarathushtra? - Dina McIntyre on the Author of The Gathas

Dear Parviz

I believe our dear Dina gets the Gathic figure of Zarathushtra spot on here. Don't you agree?
I would appreciate your always inspiring comments, as I'm sure we would all on Ushta.


--- On Wed, 1/6/10, wrote:
> Dear Parviz,
> I think, (with due respect) that you are attributing to
> Zarathushtra, certain ideas and practices of later
> Zoroastrians, as reflected in texts which did not exist in
> Zarathushtra's day, and were composed several centuries
> after him.
> 1. On monotheism: I do not see in the Gathas,
> the monotheism of a "God" who is a separate being from the
> rest of the living. Rather, I see a being who is part
> of all the living, -- the difference between the divine and
> the rest, being that the former has attained a state of pure
> truth, pure goodness, asha personified, whereas the latter
> has not -- yet. The notion of "God" as a separate
> being, appears more strongly in the Pahlavi texts, all of
> which (that have survived) were written after Zoroastrians
> had lived under Islam for over 300 years, and reflect the
> conditioning of their environment.
> 2. The imagery which equates darkness with evil was
> definitely a later invention. The Gathas are expressly to
> the contrary. In Y44.5 Z
> asks "... Which craftsman created the
> luminous bodies and the dark spaces?..." the 'luminous
> bodies being the stars, and moon, which are mentioned on a
> footing of equality with the dark spaces of the night
> sky. And in 44.7 he answers "...By these (questions),
> Wise One, I am helping to discern Thee to be the creator of
> everything by reason of Thy [spenta mainyu]..." If
> Zarathushtra believed that Mazda created the 'dark spaces'
> by reason of his spenta mainyu, then it follows (as the
> night the day) that spenta mainyu (which by definition is
> the all good way of being) could not create a darkness which
> is evil. Bear in mind, in the Gathas, the
> word Zarathushtra sometimes uses for creation (at least two
> or three times) is zatha- which means birthing, i.e. a
> creation by emanation.
> 3. There is no mention of menstural blood in the
> Gathas. This particular custom of regarding
> menstruation as a source of spiritual pollution is in the
> Vendidad, the (unknown) authors of which regarded
> menstruation as a sickness, and attributed all sickness to
> Ahriman. They did not think things through however,
> because if indeed they believed that menstruation was
> generated by Ahriman, it surely should have occurred to them
> that women regularly beat Ahriman once a month, every month,
> (which would of necessity could only be done by a
> spiritually powerful being). Whereas the
> (presumably male) authors of the Vendidad could hardly make
> the claim that they regularly overcame Ahriman every
> month. Today, of course, we know that sickness has
> nothing to do with Ahriman. And menstruation is far
> from being a sickness in any event. It is the lining
> of the uterus which is enriched to nourish a fertilized egg,
> and when conception does not occur, this lining sloughs off
> as menstrual blood. So if it is a spiritual pollution,
> then the whole human race is spiritually polluted, because
> that is what nourishes the fetus of every human being,
> if conception occurs.
> I will not comment on your characterization of Zarathushtra
> as a politician et cetera. I simply disagree
> profoundly with it. A man to whom truth and goodness
> are the highest priorities could not possibly fit the
> description you ascribe to him.
> You are welcome to forward this to any one or any list that
> you think appropriate.
> Wishing you the best,
> Dina G. McIntyre.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Parviz Varjavand
> To:;
> Parviz Varjavand ;
> Ali Jafarey
> Cc: Dina G. Mc.Intyre
> Sent: Mon, Jan 4, 2010 11:40 pm
> Subject: Re: [Ushta] Who is Zarathushtra?
> Dear Ardeshir,
> I was in love with Zarathushtra most of my life, but I am
> daring to become a realist and fall out of love with
> Zarathushtra. He was most off all a POLITITIAN, a social
> climber who wanted and did take the position of the old
> shamans of the courts of the local tribal kings away from
> them. With him begins the religious mess that we are in
> today called Monotheism. If he invented the idea of one
> good God, then he also invented the black hole also in which
> we need to park all the bad that we face. Remember "the two
> shall not agree in any way, not in thoughts, not in words,
> and not in deeds".
> The Aryans vs. Semites division many like to talk about is
> a false one. If you equate Light with Good, you also equate
> Dark with Bad and the whole Patriarchal Mess of our dominant
> religions of today begins. Father and Light above becomes
> Good and Mother and Earth and the Darkness in the ground
> becomes Bad. I know you want to argue with this point, but
> please remember the preocupation of Zoroastrian with
> menstrual blood. That is hate for the feminin and how the
> feminin functions. That is the seed that grew with Mani and
> his heaven and earth division, but Zarathushtra planted the
> seed with his twin spirit idea.
> Please know that these words taste very bad in the mouth of
> one like me that was born and raised to worship Zarathushtra
> and his Gahan. But Zarathushtra also thought me to seek the
> truth, choose the truth, and speak the truth. In that
> tradition, I am a true follower of him, even if what I say
> about him may shock many when I paint a picture of him which
> is not so flatering. I hope that good scholars like yourself
> will prove me wrong, I truly whish this. It is very painful
> for me to finally say about the prophet of my religion what
> I think about him.
> Mehr Afzoon,
> Parviz Varjavand
> --- On Mon, 1/4/10, ardeshir farhmand <>
> wrote:
> From: ardeshir farhmand <>

> Subject: Re: [Ushta] Who is Zarathushtra?
> To:
> Date: Monday, January 4, 2010, 7:37 PM
> On Mon, Jan 4, 2010 at 1:52 AM, Justin
> <haubrichjustin@> wrote:
> Ushta,
> The Following is a article which I just finished writing,
> which I plan to publish to my website Zarathushtra. org
> after I get some suggestions and feedback from the group.
> Most of it I wrote myself (I would say about 3/4), the other
> 1/4 was copied and edited into my own wordings. Most of it
> is based on some books I've been reading as well as research
> I have been doing on the web.
> If anyone can spot anything which might be wrong, or that
> you would like the contribute or fix, I am more than willing
> to make changes to the article before publishing it to my
> site.
> Thanks
> :)
> ---
> Who is Zarathushtra?
> Zarathushtra, also known as Zoroaster in Greek, and
> Zartosht in Farsi, lived about 3700-3800 years ago, in the
> beautiful and fertile land of the Aryana Vaeja (Or the
> VejAryana as it was known by its Sanskrit contemporaries to
> the South). This man was a Teacher, Philosopher/ Poetical
> Prophet, Astronomer, and Mathematician, but most of all he
> was the Mâñthran - "the giver of the Manthra". This is how
> he refers to himself in the Gathas, which are the only
> remaining 100% unchanged and untampered product of his life
> which have survived the turmoil, and sometimes darker side
> of history to this very day.
> The Gathas are composed in Gathic Avestan, which is the
> oldest reconstructed language of Indo-European origin (e.g.
> Latin, Hellenic, Sanskrit, Italic, Germanic, Persian, etc.),
> a remarkebly close cousin to the contemporary Sanskrit of
> 3700 years ago. The Gathas are universally acknowledged and
> accepted to be the actual words and thoughts of Zarathushtra
> himself. No other Western religion has preserved the words
> of the founder himself. The Jewish Torah, though called the
> Books of Moses, is edited from ancient traditions and
> contains no actual writing of Moses. Jesus' words are
> preserved in the Gospels, but he never wrote anything
> himself, and many of the gospels were recorded years after
> his life, by many different authors. And most recently,
> according to Mohammed in the Quran, its verses were dictated
> to him from a heavenly being (or as others legends recount,
> a heretical-Zoroastri an companion of his), which he
> remembered and recounted to his scribes later on.
> Even when the language of the Gathas became virtually
> extinct around 1000-800 BC, the Gathas were recited by
> priests in an oral tradition, and then written down and
> preserved textually in the latter Avestan script. The
> rhythmatic meter, the rhetoric, and the ritual language kept
> the poems amazingly well-preserved, and they were sung and
> celebrated yearly throughout their 3700 year-long lifespan,
> even though the priests and the laity no longer understood
> the language of the Gathas, until the modern era when Gathic
> Avestan was finally reconstructed and the Gathas were
> translated and resurrected back into multiple languages,
> thanks to the zealous work of dedicated scholars and
> professors within the past 100 years. The very words,
> thoughts, and teachings of Zarathushtra have found new life
> in this world, and are here to guide and progress the whole
> of this living planet towards a better future, so that the
> creation can continue to evolve (Physically and Spiritually)
> towards completeness.
> Besides what is in the Gathas, very little else is known
> about Zarathushtra for sure. There are many legends and
> myths which were created by priests, as well as latter
> Iranian Poets of the Safavid era such as Firdousi. Let us
> disregard these myths and preserve them merely for cultural
> sake.
> What we do know about Zarathushtra is that he grew up in a
> priestly family (we know this because of he was an Athravan,
> which refers to the priestly-class he grew up in) of
> practicing Proto-Hindu polytheists, refered to by
> Zarathushtra as Daevayasni's, worshippers of false gods.
> Zarathushtra taught for the first time that there is only
> one God, Ahura Mazda (this was a new term which Zarathushtra
> himself coined, it has been translated as Lord of Wisdom,
> hence he named his new-founded religion Mazdayasna, the
> worship of the Great Wisdom).
> From early on in his life, Zarathushtra began to question
> things. He had a deep desire to understand the true nature
> of reality. Zarathushtra became aware of the corruption
> which existed in the ritualistic activities of the
> Daevayasni priests, who through the ignorance and fear
> present in the population of the uneducated laity, these
> corrupt priests were able to scare and manipulate the masses
> for their own worldly benefits. Zarathushtra was very upset
> and distressed by this, so he began to speak against it. Not
> even his parents would listen to him, and soon they grew
> tired of their son, who would not comply with the
> ritualistic orthodoxy of Daevayasna. It is said that around
> age 20, Zarathushtra left his home, his land, and his
> family, and he ventured towards the mountains, where he
> sought out the truth through meditation and observation of
> nature. This is where Zarathushtra's life took a profound
> leap towards an unprecedented understanding of nature,
> reality, and the creator.
> Years later, Zarathushtra returned to the land of his home
> and his family with his newly formed philosophy, ready to
> share with his community the many revelations that he had
> while in the mountains. He had hoped that the community
> would except his teachings, but his hopes were not met. The
> people were unwilling to give up their Daevayasni way of
> life. As true as Zarathushtra's teachings are, it is hard
> for someone who has been deluded all their life to
> understand and except a new doctrine. So Zarathushtra needed
> to simplify his teachings for everyone, while at the same
> time still reserving the truth of reality and helping people
> to comprehend the nature of this existance and to make the
> best of it.
> This time, however, Zarathushtra was met with resistance
> from the leaders, priests and laity of his homeland, and he
> and a few of his only followers were expelled from the
> community. Zarathushtra recorded this event in Song 11 of
> the Gathas, as follows:
> "To what land should I turn? Where should I turn to go?
> They hold me back from my folks and friends. Neither the
> community I follow pleases me, nor do the wrongful rulers of
> the land. How can I please You, Wise God?"
> Zarathushtra does not know what to do, so he prays to God
> for help through good mind:
> "I know, Wise One, that I am powerless. I have a few cattle
> and also a few men. I appeal to You. Please, Lord, see to
> it. Lend me the help a friend gives a friend. Grant, through
> righteousness, the riches of good mind."
> According to Zarathushtra, Good Mind is the only gift which
> God can grant through prayer:
> "Whoever is united with me, I promise him the best through
> good mind, my only riches. But I oppose him who places
> himself in opposition to us. Wise One, I want to please You,
> because this is the discernment of my intellect and mind."
> It is believed that around age 40, Zarathushtra and his
> followers found their way to the court of King Vishtasp in
> Bactria, believed to be modern-day Afghanistan. There,
> Zarathushtra is given the chance to explain the truth of his
> philosophy to the king. King Vishtasp is so impressed with
> Zarathushtra's explanation of the Creation, in which Ahura
> Mazda zealously and lovingly manifests himself through the
> progressive and beneficent process of Evolution, namely the
> 7 chronological creations: (1) Sky and Luminaries (including
> Fire); (2) Water (3) Earth coming out of the waters; (4) the
> Mineral Kingdom; (5) the Vegetable Kingdom; (6) the Animal
> Creation; and finally; (7) Mankind.
> According to Zarathushtra, the orderliness which regulates
> all natural phenomena in the universe would lead man to the
> only rational conclusion that there is a most-wise
> Intelligence (Ahura Mazda), which through its mind fashioned

> for us this physical reality, and put forth the fundamental
> laws of nature into place at the beginning so that the
> cosmos could continue down a miraculous path of progressive
> growth and development. Zarathushtra refers to this

> fundamental law of nature as a part of Asha. According to
> Ali A. Jafary's translation of the Gathas, Asha stands for
> "truth, order, righteousness." It is the universal law of
> righteous precision. It may best be explained by stating
> that it means "to do the right thing, at the right time, in
> the right place, and with the right means in order to obtain
> the right result." It would be something which is of
> constructive and loving benefit not only for oneself but
> also for one's fellow creatures and for God. It is
> constructive, beneficial and unselfish precision par
> excellence. It has been translated as righteousness and
> precision. Asha is one of main "Primal Principles of Life".
> With the public conversion of King Vishtasp to
> Zarathushtra's philosophy, followed by the Queen and then
> the courtiers, a turning-point for Mazdayasna took place in
> which it would result in the rapid expansion of Mazdayasna
> throughout the Iranian plateau. From here on out, it was
> smooth sailing for the great teacher Zarathushtra, who lived
> a long and happy life with his family and followers until
> the age of 77.

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