Essay on the Rise and Fall of Zoroastrianism
It is only on the basis of these hymns that we can draw more or less his intellectual appearance as well as reforms and thoughts of this Aryan scientist.
There is not any trace of reign and royal court, neither of the complicated civil and urban society, nor Babylonian sciences and specially astronomy.
The environment of the hymns belongs to a simple and primary society, which is surely formed in an area far from the Babylonian civilization, and without smallest information about it. Furthermore, we do not find any mark of the religions and beliefs of Mesopotamia and Semitic religions.
One of the principles of “Mazdisna” religion is happiness and cheerfulness. Crying and weeping is the deed of Ahriman. As the historians have written, Zoroaster religion had been popular and considered happiness and love to life as one of God’s great favours.
They celebrated their birthday, and were proud of their home and family. They regarded idleness and beggary as sin, refused spite and malice, and honesty a requisite of generosity.
For more familiarity of the reader with Iranians in this brief explanation, hereunder we will refer to some of their religious principles.
“Iranians were the first monotheist nation in the world. It was under the influence of the Iranians that monotheism was formed in the Judaism.
Monotheism of the Jews was so absolute that it is evident in the writings of Jewish leaders after conquer of Babylon by Iranian. Zoroaster religion had a great influence on the other religions, specially Judaism and Christianity, helping them to improve.”
“Zoroaster is The Prophet of ancient Iran. Citizenship of Azarbaijan, Rey, and mostly east north of Iran is attributed to him. There are a lot of differences about the time of his life. Tradition of Zoroastrians indicates that he has been living 600 years BC and most of the orientalists attribute him to 6 or 7 centuries BC.
His father was Pour Vashb and his mother was Daghdou. He was contemporary with Goshtasp, and that king accepted his religion. As it is narrated he was killed by a Touranian named Beratrak Rash in the second attack of Touranian Arjasp.
Ahoura Mazda, Zoroaster’s God was named Ahoura Mazd in Avesta. Avesta is the book of Zoroaster and it is originated from Apestak, meaning firm.
In the Persian literature, the word “Ahoura Mazsa” is called “Hormazd”, “Hormozd”, “Ahoura Mazd” and “Hormoz”. Furthermore, the Persian directories have recorded the meaning of these words as “God”, and also synonymous to the words “Berjis” and “Zavosh” meaning “Jupiter”. The reason of denomination and comparison of Jupiter with Hormazd is not evident. But the following causes may be considered:
1. The Iranians considered “Ahoura Mazda” as the Greatest God, and on the top of other Gods, and Jupiter too is one of the greatest planets.
2. The influence of idea of the Greeks and Romans about “Zeous” and “Jupiter” is due to mingle of the Greeks with Iranians, and penetration of their idea on Iran caused to accept Jupiter synonym with God. Although, the Iranians before Zoroaster used “Ahoura” and Indians used “Asura” for the word “Varouna” meaning “Lord of Sky”, and since “Zeous” or “Jupiter” is the “Lord of Sky”, this denomination is made.
Zoroaster named the Unique God of Iranians “Ahoura Mazda”, and cancelled the group of Aryan Lords (demon) who had still divinity rank in India.
He called “demon”, which had meant God among the Aryans before Zoroaster, ghoul and deviating. Afterwards monotheist was called “Mazdisna”, and followers of the false religion were called “Divisna”.
“Divisnas” were a sect of Iranians who did not accept the religion of Zoroaster and the followers of Zoroaster were called “Mazdisna”, that is, Mazda worshipper or monotheist.
As it is implied from the Gasehs (hymns), Ahoura Mazda is the creator of beneficence, light, day and night. In addition, Zoroaster called Him “Beginning and End”, and believed that beginning and end of everything is Ahoura Mazda. “Angareh Minou” cannot be considered as an existence in front of and against Him, rather like the other things, it is created by Him.
Dualism (which is most probably appeared in the mind of Aryans before Zoroaster from the expansion of meaning of “Taboo”), and thereby Zoroaster received it as a mental and cultural heritage in his expression, is apparently based on the idea of purifying Ahoura from dependence and immediate connection with the material world.
There is struggle between good and bad in all of its components and the meaning of “Taboo” has necessarily originated from this meaning.
But in the field of struggle between good and bad, man who is willing to achieve eternal prosperity, cannot avoid malevolence and lie, which “Angereh Minou” is its manifestation, except by reliance on his will and belief, which indicates his liberality, and access to goodness and honesty which belongs to “Espitaneh Minou”.
Of course, there is a big difference between one who follows goodness and resembles to its Ahouraian origin and one who follows falsehood.
Lie and pride have been always condemned and hated among Zoroastrians and Persians of Achaemenian period.
In the inscription of first Daryoush, we observe the sentences which have useful instruction and very superior moral teachings with the following content:
“I wish Ahoura Mazda preserves Persian Estate from the army of enemy, moral mischief and lie”.
‘Zoroaster claimed for suggestion of inspiration and took himself for missioner of publication and propagation of contents of this inspiration, so he inspires and obliges a topic of monotheism, prophecy and resurrection.
In the religion of Zoroaster, mentality has advantage over belief and love. In fact dualism of Zoroaster intends to a kind of monotheism due to belief in prevalence of Hormoz and proximity with charity.
Monotheism is not merely an eminent thought in the basis of metaphysical and supernatural, rather it is a manifestation of development of science and knowledge in one society and among one tribe and nation.
The old writers all together have named Zoroaster as the leader of Magian religion, or in other words, the message of Mazdisna religion. According to one of the philosQphers, in native language Magian means one who is aware of divine knowledge and worships God, and Magi were well-known for honesty.
Plato, the famous Greek philosopher and a number of other great men have indicated Zoroaster, as founder of Magian philosophy and first Magian. The word “Mobed” (Zoroastrian priest) is originated from Magian.
Zoroaster himself too was from clergyman class like the Magi of Maad and Pars, and probably as the other priests and son signers have passes a special training and educational course access to secrets of his profession.
Yes, Magi had a clerical authority. The government had given them the authority of dominion on the people’s life and property. Execution of marriage contract, accuracy of divorce as well as title of legitimacy, goodwill and other rights, were in their monopoly. All of these rights have caused their full penetration.
One of the Magian tribes who sang hymn was Mago. Some of the researchers believe the word “Mag” means generosity and donation.
Zoroaster rejected belief in several Gods and only accepted Asura or Ahoura, the Great God. So Ahoura Mazda or Ourmazd, namely the Wise God was worshipped by Aryans. Today’s orientalists and scientists all believe that in the prehistorical periods, the ancestors of Aryan people live together in the Central Asia and spoke in the same language before branching and emigration to different parts of land.
The said language was older and more simple than Sanskrit. This language was the mother of all Aryan languages of Asia and Europe. Meanwhile, all of Aryan people believed in one common religion and mode of worship. Then one branch of Aryans departed towards west north and immigrated to five different parts of Europe.
Scientists believe the “Salt” people have also originated of Aryan race and settled in different parts of west of Europe, that is France, England, while the Totani people settled in north and centre of Europe, and Slavic people resided in east of Europe (Russia and adjacent areas), and Italians and Greeks settled in their countries in south of Europe.
Another branch of Aryans settled in south of Asia, namely, area of Indus and Euphrates. At that time, they were called Indo Iranian. Then a religious separation happened between the Aryans and they were divided to two branches. Gradually, this separation increased and at last the Indians who settled in west north of India were called Indo Aryan or Indian, and Aryans who resided in Iran were called Iranian.
Zoroaster believed that a New World will be established, and only the followers of good thought, good speech and good deed will enjoy this New World. They should pass across the bridge which leads the virtues to Paradise and sinners to Hell.
According to the religious writings of Zoroaster, “Saoushian” will appear at the end of this world, and will found a new world. He will restore the dead to life; a huge fire will be prepared, and human beings should await in a big river of melted metals.
The said river of melted metals will be like warm milk for the righteous and virtues, and the same melted metals for the sinners and evil doers.
However, sinners and evil doers will be purified in this severe trial and all of the world of existence will return towards the creator.
“Saoushian”, the final personality of Zoroastrian will set up the resurrection of the dead. He will sacrifice a bull at the end of world and hereby starts the second existence of mankind.
As Zoroaster has predicted, there will be no other death. When the dead are resurrected, Saoushian and his followers sacrifice a bull named Hdyayans, and will prepare “White Houma”, namely water of life from his tallow, and grant it to all human beings.
So the mankind will be eternal forever. The corporeal eternality is made possible by sacrificing the bull, while spiritual eternality will be achieved by drinking Houma or water of life; so all people will become prosperous.
In the Persian culture, and the scriptures of that time is mentioned that Zoroaster praised Ahoura Mazda and His angles after entering the Minou world, and sat in the position of fact seeking. Then the Great God bestowed him the divine splendour.
In the Greek of Homer era, the kings and commanders were concerned sacred and possessing divine grace. They believed that sovereignty of righteous kings cause the black soil to grow wheat and barley, and the trees to be fruitful, and the livestock to bear more, and the seas to culture more fishes.
However, the divine grace of kings was not out of commitment of justice and obligation to follow command of morality and conscience. This point shows that the sovereignty of ancient Iranians was not at all the same as what the Greeks called barbarism and dictatorship.
Kianian who apparently propagated the myth of divine grace for strengthening their sovereignty, considered it as a divine contract, deviation of which could take away the right of sovereignty from them.
Zoroaster believed that only followers of good thought, good speech, and good deed would take interest from this New World. Zoroaster teaches that speech originates from thought, and deed of each person results from his thought and speech.
It is mentioned in Vandid that since man is created innocent and worthy for paradise, he will be again purified from abomination due to the grace of religion of Ahoura Mazda, which is honesty, in case he purifies his thought, speech and deed.
The main purpose of existence of everyone is purification of himself, and expanding it in him. Ahoura Mazda is the lord of light, and creator of all beautiful and noble things, which make the Sun City. In the all Tani and Minoui creatures, whatsoever is superior, good and positive belongs to Him.
Light is the body of Ahoura Mazda, and this is the reason why fire is worshipped. Because Ahoura Mazda himself exists in all lights, but He is not sun or moon. Iranians only respect light and whatsoever is created by Ahoura Mazda is alive, free and eternal.
The lightening stars are the main sign of Ahoura Mazda. Emshapandan are his first sons, from which Mehr too is named. Herein Mehr is apparently the guardian angel of internal and superior life of human. There are also other guarding angels who are inferiors of Emshaspandan and world’s commanders and guardians.
Forouharan, who are more or less equivalent to worldly spirit, are distinguished from the creatures of this world. We cannot call them spirit.
According to our supposition, because they exist in any matter, either fire or water and soil. They have been existing from the first day, and everywhere, in the roads, cities, etc., ready to help the oppressed.
Jamshid is the son of Ahoura Mazda, and most probably he is the same who was called Achaemenian by the Greek. His descendants are called Pishdadian, from which Kourosh arose. It is said that Jamshid pierced the land with a golden poniard, indicating that he circulated agriculture among people.
The golden period which is considered a kind of Youtopian plan from the picture of myth’s world, in which there is not any fear and disturbance. The picture of golden period is realized with final victory of Ahoura Mazda over Angereh Minou.
The time of golden period is at the end of Jamshid era, after which the dragon named Zahhak prevails the world. Carnivorousness became popular as well as killing people for maintenance of life of Zahhak.
Before Jamshid age, the periods of Houshang and Kioumars apparently reflect the expansion and development of a golden era in the history, of course of myth. It is obvious that herein too, like the similar cases, searching that Lost Paradise makes recovery of the Lost Golden Period as man’s moral ideal.