In Yasna XLVI, the Prophet is asked, “O Zarathushtra! Who is thy pious friend for the great cause, and who is it that wishes to announce it?” The reply given is, “It is he himself, KaviVishtaspa.” It was on the RojKhordad, Mah Farvardin that King Vishtaspa adopted the new, rather, the young religion from AshoZarathushtra.
King Vishtaspa was a great ruler, powerful and just, and has secured his place in history as one of the great Persian monarchs. Us Parsis, rather all us Zoroastrians, have a soft corner for him – we love him and hold him in great esteem because the first and the greatest of the lawgivers of all times, the first great Prophet of the Indo-European race, Asho Zarathushtra entered upon his holy mission during his reign. King Vishtaspa and his queen were amongst the first of Zarathushtra’s disciples. Prof. Lawrence H. Mills says, “Zarathushtra was one of the greatest and purest men that has ever been afforded upon us as a boon upon the earth.”
In ZamyadYasht we read that Mazda created the powerful Kaveam Khareno, the kingly glory that attached itself to Zarathushtra so that he would think, speak and act in accordance to the Daena, the law. This elevated him, in purity – the purest, in rule – the best, in victory – the most victorious and in glory – the most glorious.
At the time of Zoroaster’s appearance, Iranians followed a monotheistic form of worship known as ‘Paoryo-tkaeshi,’ meaning the religion of the previous faith.The word Paoryo-tkaeshi means “The first or the advanced ones in the faithful practices of devotion.” It is applied in Avesta to saintly and spiritually advanced souls.It was Mazdayasnism, wherein Mazda was the one God. This primeval faith of Iran is probably the oldest of all the religions known to men. It is based on the belief that God made the world by his power and his providence; his foreseeing care love and affection. Mazdayasnism exhorted its followers to hold him in awe, love and adoration. It also laid stress upon reverence for ones parents and for the aged, to hold the entire human race in a fraternal affection and to be tender towards the entire animal kingdom, the brute creation.
The religion of Paoryo-tkaeshi emphasized upon ablution before reciting prayers. The prayers comprised the kushti tying ritual, prayers appropriate to the five Gahs, prayers before the sun, the Meher Yasht, the Afringans, and the Nirangs. They observed the days of Muktad, feasts in commemoration of the dead, and celebrating Gahambars, seasonal festivals.
This is the period when the eight great Mazdayasnan teachers and benefactors, the Saoshyants had arisen time and again. They were Kayomars, Hoshang, Tehmurasp, Homa, Jamshed, Feridun, Kai Kaus and Kai Khusrau. Haoma is said to have made his abode on the Mount Albruz where he discovered and studied many medicinal plants and herbs. Homa is the best known herb amongst all. The vedic Hindus called it Soma.
Zoroaster came to reform and rejuvenate the old Paoryotakesh faith. He wanted it to be made more comprehensive and more consistent. He came at the time when man’s mind was befogged with superstition and magic. There was no rationalization. In all probability, he was the first of the great rationalists. He met with stiff and bitter opposition yet he had the courage to stand up and preach the holy truth, to enlighten the minds dwelling in the impenetrable darkness of ignorance. One comes face to face with a contradiction here with what Er. P. S. Masani says, and one cannot help but agree with him. He says that “the Zoroastrian religion has never been a religion of reforms. It is the entire law of the Universe, called Daena in the Avesta, as taught by the great soul, Zoroaster. Zoroastrianism is nothing but the natural law of evolution or unfoldment of soul,and this moral law inculcates the government of the moral order of the universe by Ahura Mazda helped by his Archangels and Angels. Zoroastrianism is but another name of universal science” or “Universal Knowledge of the Law of Nature”
Zarathushtra change the creed of ‘Paoryo-tkaesho’ to what we the followers of Zoroastrianism call ourselves, ‘VidaevoAhura-tkaesho’ or the faith of Ahura Mazda as opposed to demonism.