‘Fate’ Accompli Or Free Will?
There is perhaps another religion as empowering as our Zoroastrian religion. We are told to pursue happiness, to keep our minds and bodies in a state of happiness (little surprise then, our love for music and food!) by following the simple yet profound tenets of Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds, which truly elevate the standard of our lives, while gently nudging us towards indulging in acts of charity and goodness, ensuring that we give back, much more than we have taken, to our environment and all in it, in life and in death.
Our religion is unconditional – it does not ‘test’ us – we are not expected to starve (fast) or indulge in any form of mental or physical penance. There is no ‘…or else, be condemned to hell’ undertone that we live fearfully under. Our Creator, Ahura Mazda is symbolised by light – the ultimate insignia of truth and wisdom. And there is no greater truth than Free Will, or greater wisdom than knowing that our thoughts, words and deeds shape our destiny. In fact, free will is the fundamental assumption on which our very tenets are based. We are taught and beseeched, as the fortunate followers of our glorious Zoroastrian religion, to freely will ourselves into thinking good thoughts, speaking good words, and doing good deeds.
Clearly, ours is a religion more deed-oriented than destiny-dependent. Analogically, we could surmise that destiny is the cards we are dealt with; deeds is the game we play with the hand dealt to us by destiny, using freewill. Unfortunately, some of us who are uninformed and therefore gullible, tend to oversee this truth and end up placing our misguided faith in external beliefs, when we should be looking inwards for reinforcements. This births uncertainties and fears, which has us resorting to blindly placing our faith in beliefs that defy logic and truth, thus becoming the antithesis of wisdom!
Many of us find comfort in the misinterpretations of our religion (and other religions), and we end up accommodating unfounded expectations from ‘destiny’, and consoling our fears when these expectations crash-land. Which is a self-fulfilling prophecy in itself, isn’t it? We give away the steering wheel of our vehicle (life) to an ‘unknown force’ (destiny) and then end up constantly complaining and cribbing about the bumpy ride, or worse, the wrong destination! That is not faith! In fact, that is fear coated with convenience and garnished with delusion. Faith is taking that wheel in your own hands and knowing you will be safe through that bumpy ride, and that you will be able to make the best of any destination you arrive at. Faith is within, not outside… within ourselves, our beliefs, and our religion.
In addition to giving you all the relevant, authentic and latest news about our community every week, Parsi Times endeavours to share with our readers the wisdom and the essence of our religion that helps clear any religious cobwebs or spiritual confusions we all encounter in our lives. We are privileged and grateful for the patronage of some of our leading religious scholars and priests, who regularly take the time to share their knowledge with our readers, in the joint spirit of enlightening those who seek the truth. This issue presents one of our foremost writers, the scholarly Noshir Dadrawala discussing the Parsi penchant for astrology (Pg.04).
Proclivities form part of our belief systems and are not meant to be necessarily debunked, but simply looked at without a jaundiced eye, so that they do not end up becoming the sole or most crucial factors that affect our decisions and our lives. A couple of months ago, I met a very renowned astrologer and religious expert, who has dedicated four decades of his life into the study of most religions including ours, and the science of astrology. He put it best when he said, “Those of us who believe in astrology need to view it as a GPS or a guide – astrology has the potential to guide you but can never ever predict what will be, beyond a shade of doubt, because of the existence of free will. Predictions are nothing but assumptions and interpretations made by the astrologer based on his knowledge about you, your temperament and your planetary alignment – from your birth-chart. Astrology does not predict. You can’t depend on your GPS to decide where you want to go, or even lesser, get you there, can you? But yes, it will guide you through the least traffic and save you the trouble of hitting dead-ends. Astrologers are popular not because of their ability to point out your issues – you usually seek out astrologers when you need help anyways. They’re popular because of their ability to guide you out of your problems.” And when I asked him, what about those of us who do not believe in astrology, he said, “You people are Zoroastrians, you are born into one of the most advanced and powerful faiths. You don’t need astrology, you just need to read your prayer book to get empowered!” Touché!
Have a weekend full of love and light!
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